Ronald Brooks Kitaj
R.B Kitaj (1932 – 2007)
Kitaj was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1932 and lived until October 2007, when he committed suicide shortly before his 75th birthday. His early education culminated in a period of travel as a merchant seaman, after which time he served in Europe in the United States Army (1956-1958). As a mature student Kitaj enrolled at the Ruskin School of Art, at Oxford University, before transferring in 1959 to the Royal College of Art in London. There he assumed the informal leadership of an exceptionally talented group of students, which was to become the Pop generation and included David Hockney, Allen Jones and Patrick Caufield. Kitaj’s first solo exhibition was in London at Marlborough Fine Art in 1963, where he continued to show work throughout his life. From his student days he made his home in London, until the media fracas surrounding his Tate Gallery retrospective in 1994 and the sudden tragic death of his second wife, the painter Sandra Fisher, persuaded him to leave England for Los Angeles in 1997.Now known simply as Kitaj, his work gave visual embodiment to a lifetime’s observations and perceptions about the human condition.