Artist of the moment…..African- American Expressionist Bob Thompson…

Mediums used by the artist include gouache, oils, pastels, crayon, ink, oil, pencil, and ink.

A short clip showing works of the artist. Very good selection of paintings here.

Sadly, this artist passed away just after his twenty ninth birthday while he was in Rome. The art world was certainly robbed of a prodigy, I find his work similar to another well known African American artist, Basquiat. Both painted the figure, I would say Thompson painted more a likeness and Basquiat was more about expressing himself and his views.



When comparing Expressionist works of any kind I first look at the color. Many times I get the feeling that Basquiat had so many feelings going on, he chose not to concentrate on one emotion, but rather jumbled them into singular canvases. With Thompson, the viewer gets to see large bright and bold canvases exploding with color.
I get the feeling of warmth and togetherness just from his arrangement of color and compositional style. In using colorful, flat shapes of color his method of painting is similar to that of Paul Gauguin, the French master.


When you compare the bios of Basquiat and Bob Thompson you notice that both died before reaching thirty years of age. I always think to myself what if they had another 3 to 5 years to develop their skills fully.

Bob Thompson was born Robert Louis Thompson in Louisville, Kentucky in 1937. When he was only thirteen years old his father was killed in an automobile accident. Thompson then lived with relatives who got him interested in the fine arts as well as jazz music.

The artist started college at Boston University where he was a pre-med student. Giving up on pre-med, Thompson moved  to the University of Louisville where he studied art under Expressionist Ulfert Wilke.

Thompson moved to New York City in 1958 and became a fixture at the hottest jazz clubs and befriended many popular musicians. He also did some performance art.

In 1960 he was given his first solo show at the Delancy Street Museum. Also in 1960 the artist married. He then moved to Europe in 1961. The artist was a heroin addict and thought he might be better off in Europe. The couple lived in London, Paris, and Spain. Whilst in Spain they settled down in Ibiza.

After a gall bladder surgery the artist died of a heroin overdose in 1966. .  Basquiat also died of a heroin overdose at only twenty seven years of age nearly two decades later.

The artist was very prolific, producing more than 1,000 works of art over an eight year career. This artist was one of few African American artists to be on the national art stage during the civil rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s by people of color.

High priced range: Oils and gouache studies of his large works including people for $100,000 for the oils and $75,000 for the gouache.

Low priced range: Works done in ink and lithographs between three and five thousand dollars.


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