recto: calendar grid at center; text overall in squares and bands; drawing of standing women at left and right edges; woman at left has brown skin, short brown hair, and wears a lacy blouse and short girdle-like pants, with flowers at her feet; woman at right, with brown hair in an updo and seen from back, is nude except for white stockings and looks over her PL shoulder verso: black painted border with rounded corners; image of linear 1950s style house with ice cream cone shaped pot on a platform at front center; two large trees; blue sky with clouds

%C2%A9 Royal Robertson %2F Artists Rights Society %28ARS%29%2C New York

Untitled, 1989

A self-proclaimed prophet, Royal Robertson witnessed his first vision at age 14. After his wife divorced him, he lived a reclusive existence in Louisiana, dedicating himself to recording and deciphering his divine perceptions. Robertson’s thought-provoking works shed light on his personal narrative. Living with mental illness, he experienced vulnerability within solitude. His story leaves us with insight, empathy, and value for his very real and raw experiences.

Robertson’s mastery of common materials, such as posterboard, ballpoint pen, and marker, elevates his elaborate illustrations. Despite the bright colors, the subjects of his dreamscapes render real topics of foresight, divinity, and the battle with internal trauma. Untitled presents painful sentiments and misogynoir, an ingrained prejudice against Black women. Fire Dangon Fighting Giant Electric Ell refers to “the end of days'' and futuristic interpretations of biblical premonitions. In Vision of Times, the coy stance of orphan twins sitting near a goldfish pond nearly mirror each another. This subject might refer to the artist’s contempt for the women around him, who he described as two sides of “the same coin.”

“I get off work at twelve-o-clock, I’d go on and do what the boss tell me ‘cause they like the way I work. I’d sit up there, up there in the bleachers, and try to do somethin’, draw somebody. I would always bring me some paper, I didn’t care where I went, I always had some paper with me to draw on somethin’.” - Royal Robertson

Details
Title
Untitled
Artist Life
1936 - 1997
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2019.16.23
Curator Approved

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recto: calendar grid at center; text overall in squares and bands; drawing of standing women at left and right edges; woman at left has brown skin, short brown hair, and wears a lacy blouse and short girdle-like pants, with flowers at her feet; woman at right, with brown hair in an updo and seen from back, is nude except for white stockings and looks over her PL shoulder verso: black painted border with rounded corners; image of linear 1950s style house with ice cream cone shaped pot on a platform at front center; two large trees; blue sky with clouds

© Royal Robertson / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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