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Lowell Nesbitt papers, 1903-1993, bulk 1950-1993

Biographical Note

Painter, photographer, and sculptor Lowell Nesbitt worked primarily in New York City.
Lowell Nesbitt was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1933. In college he studied stained glass and printmaking, graduating from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia in 1955 and attending the Royal College of Art in London from 1955 to 1956.
After serving for several years in the United States Army in the mid 1950s, Nesbitt received his first exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art in 1958. By 1963 he had moved to New York City and by the 1970s had emerged as one of the most well known artists in the United States. Nesbitt was frequently grouped with the photo realists and was best known for more than four hundred works he created with the flower as his central theme. In addition to flowers, Nesbitt's subjects included studio interiors, dogs, fruits and vegetables, bridges and buildings in New York, and male nudes. He began experimenting with printmaking in the 1960s and produced more than a hundred original prints in the course of his lifetime, primarily in the medium of dry point engraving. In 1963 he began a series of x-ray inspired paintings and was credited with being the first artist to produce a body of work of this kind. During the same period he began a long-standing relationship with the Howard Wise Gallery in New York, a space known for it's devotion to art and new technology.
In 1969 and 1970 the National Aeronautics and Space Administration named Nesbitt the official artist of the Apollo 9 and Apollo 13 missions. In 1980 the United States Postal Service released a series of four postage stamps based on his floral paintings.
Following a major one-man show at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC in 1964, Nesbitt's work was exhibitied widely in Europe and the United States. In New York City he was represented by the Stable Gallery, the Robert Stefanotti Gallery and the Andrew Crispo Gallery. In the late 1960s and early 1970s Nesbitt taught at Towson State and Morgan State Colleges in Maryland, and the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Nesbitt was active in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society from the early 1980s until his death, serving as co-chairman on the Society's annual juried Project Rembrandt exhibition for artists with multiple sclerosis. He was also actively involved in fundraising for artists with HIV/AIDS.
Nesbitt's work is represented in many major museum collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, Baltimore Museum of Art, Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris), Corcoran Gallery, Detroit Institute of Art, Hirshhorn Museum, Museum of Modern Art, and the National Gallery.
Lowell Nesbitt died in 1993 at the age of 59.