Leaves Aloft

Dublin Core


Leaves Aloft


Robert Kipniss


17 x 14 inches



Still Image Item Type Metadata


Robert Kipniss is an American painter and printmaker. His mature paintings, lithographs, mezzotints, and drypoints share stylistic characteristics and subject matter and typically depict trees seen close up or at varying distances in fields. Other works show one or more houses in a landscape or town setting. Some are interiors with a view toward a window or with a still life set close to one, frequently with a landscape beyond. No human figures are present, and all forms are reduced to essentials. The time is often dusk or nighttime. Kipniss' use of exceptionally subtle black and white tones or, less often, lightly toned hues creates an overall atmospheric effect. His works have been described as conveying solitude and inward experience. Kipniss often uses the subject matter of a painting in a lithograph or mezzotint, sometimes with variations. His paintings date from the early 1950s. His main body of prints are lithographs and mezzotints, the former dating from 1968 into 1990, the latter since 1990.
Since 1998 Kipniss has lived and maintained a studio on the Hudson River in Westchester County, New York. That year he also set up a print studio at his weekend home in northwestern Connecticut. He married his second wife, Laurie Lisle, a writer, in 1994. He has four children, Max, Ivan, Ruby, and Benjamin, from his first marriage, in 1954, to Jean Prutton. They were divorced in 1982.
Robert Kipniss was born in 1931 in Brooklyn, New York, to Simeon and Stella Kipniss, both of whom worked in Manhattan. His father, a Sunday painter, was employed for thirty-five years by Sears, Roebuck and Company as a layout director designing catalogue pages. Kipniss's mother, née Schwartz, drew fashion illustrations for many years for newspaper advertisements run by Gimbel's and other department stores. Kipniss's only sibling, a sister, Betty Ann, was born in 1936. The family moved to Laurelton, Long Island, that year and to Forest Hills, Queens, New York, in 1941. At age sixteen, Kipniss attended New York's Arts Students League on Saturdays. He began college in 1948, attending Wittenberg College in Springfield, Ohio, for two years before transferring to the University of Iowa, Iowa City, in 1950. He began writing poetry in 1948. After graduating with a B.A. degree in English literature in 1952, Kipniss stayed at the university and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1954. By then he regarded himself primarily as a painter although he continued to write poetry.
In 1951 Kipniss was awarded a one-man show at the Creative Gallery, on 57th Street in Manhattan, as the result of a painting competition and showed semi-abstractions "suggesting romantic images of ethereal landscapes and half-grasped moments." In 1953 the Harry Salpeter Gallery, also on 57th Street, gave him his second one-man show.
In 1954 Kipniss and his wife, Jean, moved to Manhattan, and he continued to paint. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1956 and assigned to the Instructional Aids Division of the Quartermaster Corps at Fort Lee, Virginia, where his drawing skills were put to use in making training aids. Discharged in 1958, Kipniss returned with his wife to Manhattan. That year he received representation at the Contemporaries, a Manhattan gallery, and showed there in 1959 and 1960. He continued what had become a routine, painting by day and working at the Manhattan General Post Office during the evenings; by 1964, he was able to earn his living creating paintings.





Media Details

Color Lithograph, X/XV, AP (roof - bare trees with leaves flying)

Signature Position

Signed and numbered, in pencil; titled, verso


Martin Gordon, Inc., 1000 Park Ave., NY, NY, 10028


Robert Kipniss, “Leaves Aloft,” Westport Public Schools Digital Collections, accessed December 3, 2023,

Item Relations

This Item dcterms:relation Item: Staples Art Storage
This Item dcterms:creator Item: Robert Kipniss