Definitely filing this one under ‘we think we get weird, but those old guys they could get pretty weird themselves.’ I was very very close to doing a double image post, with the boys play with guns and girls play with dolls paintings. So weird and unforgiveable. This one, I thought, made for a nice follow-up to the Dana Schutz painting.
plus, unlike a tiresomely high proportion of contemporary painters, he can actually draw.
It definitely sounds like the surfaces would be great to see in person. The chronology section on the site says this:
“At this time to enhance his linear vision he developed a unique technique with oil paint: beads of pigment laced with sun-thickened copal varnish were individually applied with a small brush.”
Is any of his work on view anywhere? I’d love to see some.
i came across this guy’s work in a catalog called “prize-winning paintings, representational edition” from 1962. pretty obscure. i have no idea if any of these are on view anywhere. but it’s too bad. i look at these and they really look like something you might think of seeing in an mfa painting studio at yale or vcu today. wilt’s work itself is absorbing. the website reprints a review of a retropective exhibit that called him ‘prolific’. it would be nice to find more and more of these. but it also makes me think about how much newer painting is concerned with the idea of the artefact—painters like brian calvin, dana schutz, logan grider or jesse chapman (to a lesser extent, a. zielinski who we posted last month) who make paintings that look as if they could have been made by a painter working at a past moment.
I have a collection of about 10 paintings and several watercolors by Richard Wilt from the late 40′s and early 50′s. Mr. Wilt initially worked in an American scene/precisionist style (see “Farewell” 1943 at the Ogden Museum), then in the late 1940′s developed a post-cubist/post-modernist style that continued to evolve until his death. He was on the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Art and Design from about 1950 on. The pieces on his website are mostly from the late 1950′s and are very personal in nature, highly rendered, and show a very unusual application of paint. In person, they are stunning in their attention to detail. Early on, Mr. Wilt was clearly influenced by Ben Shahn in his choice of subject matter and style. Richard Wilt can be seen as part of a generation of artists that came of age just before, during. or right after WWII. This generation experimented with new styles of painterly expression within the framework of representational art. Their work rather quickly diasppeared from the fine art radar with the shift to more abstract forms of expression in American art. I would be glad to share images of his work with anyone interested.
Marvin Oleshansky: Richard’s wife Ellen now 90 is putting together some bio info
on Richard for use in approaching museums to place some of the pieces she has. I wondered if you had any old catalogs or other bio info which might be useful. I knew them both while living in Ann Arbor in the late seventies.
Many thanks, Dewey Blocksma
I saw Mrs. Wilt in late August and we have been in touch since about the show. I don’t really have much in the way of catalogs. I only started collecting his work in the last ten years. Do you have some of his work?
I was just thumbing through the internet looking for comments about Richard Wilt. I lived close to him in Ann Arbor for several years and have one of his watercolors and a delightful pen and ink that he gave me. I attended art classes at UofM in the late 50′s and remember Dick and many of the other professors there and their comments on his works…quite varied as you might imagine.
Unfortunately we were not in a position to “collect” Dick’s works but I had friends who purchased many of his larger paintings..