Oral History Interview with Robert Hamilton, March 18, 1998

Oral History Interview with Robert Hamilton, March 18, 1998


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Interview of Robert Hamilton, conducted by Barbara (Bunny) Harvey from her studio in Providence, RI on March 18, 1998. Hamilton speaks of what the Rhode Island School of Design was like in the 1930s when he first attended the school along with serving in the Air Force during World War II and teaching G.I.s when he returned to RISD. Hamilton also recalls the dynamics of the people he worked under at RISD, like Robert Frazer, Gordon Peers, and Albert Bush-Brown. Along with this, Hamilton discusses his dislike of Conceptual art and how his own work is influenced by jazz and improvisation.

Biographical/Historical Note

Robert Hamilton (1917-2004) was a painter who retired in 1981 after teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design for 34 years, beginning in 1948. He studied Painting at RISD, graduating in 1939 and continuing his studies at the Art Students League of New York in 1940 before serving in the Air Force from 1943-1945 during World War II. Following the war, Hamilton returned to RISD to receive his BFA in 1947.

Hamilton is interviewed by alumna Bunny (Barbara) Harvey who studied with Hamilton. She attended RISD from 1967-1972 where she received a BFA in Painting, MAT and MFA in Painting before teaching in the Providence Public School System. Harvey taught both Drawing and Painting at RISD and received the Rome Prize in Painting, a two-year fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. The interview takes place on March 18, 1998. In the interview, Hamilton discusses his time as a student, his teaching experience, and his move to Maine where he maintained a studio and gallery after he retired. Directed by Frank Muhly.

Oral History Interview with Robert Hamilton, March 18, 1998



Date of Interview



Bunny Harvey


Robert Hamilton



Run Time

54 min.

Original Format(s)



World War II, Painting, G.I. Bill, ARTnews, John Frazier, Illustration, Conceptual art, Gordon Peers, Albert Bush-Brown, Ronald Binks, Harvard University, jazz, RISD Oral Histories, oral history, archives, interview, raw footage