MacArthur Fellows Program

Robert H. Blackburn

Printmaker | Class of 1992

New York, New York
72 at time of award
April 21, 2003
Area of Focus
2-D Visual Art
Published July 1, 1992

About Robert's Work

Robert Blackburn, an educator and a printmaker, provided generations of artists with the chance to develop their talents.

In 1948 he created the Printmaking Workshop in New York City, an exceptional, nonprofit studio that encourages aspiring and professional artists to apply their creativity to woodcutting, etching, and lithography.  The Workshop emphasizes human and artistic development over commercial or economic success.


In 1957, Blackburn became the first master printer at Universal Limited Art Editions, a small, fine art print publisher on Long Island.  He left the job in 1963 to devote his time to the Printmaking Workshop and to his own lithographic art.  Over the course of his career, he taught at Brooklyn College, Cooper Union, New York University, and the School of the Visual Arts at Columbia University.  He was designated a Master Printer by the National Academy of Design (1949).  He received a Governor’s Art Award from the New York State Council on the Arts (1988).  Blackburn received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the College Art Association and the National Fine Print Association (2000).

Blackburn grew up in Harlem and began his career by attending classes at the WPA-sponsored Harlem Art Center. 

Last updated January 1, 2005

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