Artist: Philip Pearlstein (American, 1924-2022)
Title: President Francis P. Kilcoyne
Dimensions: 44″ x 36″
Location in Library: First floor
Media: Oil on canvas
Owner: The Brooklyn College Library Collection. © Philip Pearlstein
President Francis P. Kilcoyne (1903-1985) was Brooklyn College’s third president, serving from 1966 to 1967. A lifelong liberal, Kilcoyne spoke at a college antiwar rally in 1935, and as college president asked for leniency for antiwar protesters arrested in a clash with police on campus. In 1976, Kilcoyne resigned from the city’s Board of Higher Education, protesting plans to impose tuition at the colleges in the City University of New York system. In 1980, after his wife’s death, Kilcoyne was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in the Brooklyn Diocese.
The artist, Philip Pearlstein, enjoys an international reputation as a leading figurative painter. In the early 1960s, Pearlstein formulated a new American realism by painting the human body in a highly objective manner, breaking with the Western tradition of idealizing figures. He advocated painting images the way the eye actually sees them, including optical distortions and perceived anomalies. Pearlstein taught at Brooklyn College from 1964 to 1989.