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Robert Cumming

Also Known as: Robert H. Cumming

Worcester, Massachusetts 1943

Active in:

  • West Suffield, Connecticut
  • California


Robert Cumming revealed an early talent for art when he won a drawing contest sponsored Boston Sunday Herald. The prize was one dollar. In 1965 Cumming earned a B.F.A. degree at the Massachusetts College of Art, and two years later received his M.F.A. at the University of Illinois. His first teaching job was at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, where he became involved with mail art, an early conceptual movement that conferred art status on items sent through the postal system. In 1970 Cumming moved to southern California to lecture on photography. While there, he also engaged in creative writing and developed conceptual drawings and constructions that he then photographed. Cumming has developed technical virtuosity in a variety of media, including painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. His works layer meanings within meanings, with references to science and art history, always with a distinctive wit. In 1978 Cumming moved back to New England, where he continues to teach and make art.

Joann Moser Singular Impressions: The Monotype in America (Washington, D.C. and London: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1997)