Biography: Robert Colescott is best known for his appropriation of art historical themes that he transforms into works that question racial and gender stereotypes. Colescott was raised in an artistic family—both of his parents were musicians—and as a result, the artist found himself in creative circles at a very early age. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree, he studied in Paris with Fernand Leger and later received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
Colescott began working on appropriations of European and American masterpieces in the mid-1970s, questioning stereotypes and notions of beauty—the same time these racial and political identities were being explored throughout the United States. In 1980, the artist began a series of paintings based on traditional bather themes found throughout the history of Western art. Colescott taught at the University of Arizona from 1983 to 1995 and in 1997, represented the United States at the 47th Venice Biennale.