Pearlstein, Philip. President Robert L. Hess

Philip Pearlstein, President Robert L. Hess, 1989

Artist: Philip Pearlstein (American, 1924-2022)

Title: President Robert L. Hess


Date: 1989

Dimensions: 44″ x 36″

Location in Library: First floor

Media: Oil on canvas

Owner: The Brooklyn College Library Collection. © Philip Pearlstein


Robert L. Hess (1932-1992) was Brooklyn College’s sixth president, serving from 1979 to 1991. President Hess assumed the presidency amid campus turmoil related to the 1970s “open admissions” policy. Under his leadership, the college adopted a core curriculum requiring students to take courses in art, classics, computers, mathematics, and the sciences. By 1988, the college was rated fifth in the nation in liberal arts education.

Pearlstein’s composition and powerful colors beautifully convey the bold leadership style of President Hess. The artist’s careful observation of life and emphasis on objectivity is reflected in his meticulous recording of the President’s characteristic thoughtful expression and manner.

Related Websites

Philip Pearlstein at MOMA

Philip Pearlstein at Metropolitan Museum of Art


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