Robert Sarsony is a self-taught painter and printmaker who began exhibiting in local shows in New Jersey in 1963. The following year he made his New York debut in a group show at Allied Artists. From 1969 until about 1974 he did a series of paintings based on book and magazine illustrations—“pop antiques,” he calls them—from the 1920s through the 1940s. Subjects ranged from silent movie photographs and pictures of important historical events to reproductions taken from period children’s books. In the corners of his canvases Sarsony often paints small images copied from cards found in cigarette packages and cereal boxes during the first half of this century. In doing so he follows in the steps of the nineteenth-century trompe l’oeil artists who depicted visiting cards that looked as though they were tucked under the edges of their paintings’ frames. More recently Sarsony has portrayed figure and landscape subjects with an attention to light effects that gives his canvases an impressionistic air.
Virginia M. Mecklenburg Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1987)