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Robert De Niro Sr.

American, 1922-1993


Curating Works


Robert De Niro Sr. was born in Syracuse, New York in 1922 to an Italian-American father and an Irish-American mother. De Niro studied at the renowned Black Mountain College under Josef Albers from 1939 to 1940. De Niro studied with Hans Hofmann at his Provincetown, Massachusetts summer school. Hofmann's teaching had a strong influence on De Niro's development as a mature artist. In 1944, De Niro had a relationship with the poet Robert Duncan. At Hofmann's summer school, he met fellow student Virginia Admiral, whom he married in 1942.  The couple moved into a large, airy loft in New York's Greenwich Village, where they both were able to paint. Admiral and De Niro separated shortly after their son; famous actor Robert De Niro Jr. was born in August 1943. After studying with Hans Hofmann and at Black Mountain College, De Niro worked for five years at Hilla Rebay’s Museum of Non-Objective Art. In 1945, he was included in a group show at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century in New York, which was a leading gallery for the art of both established European modernists and members of the emerging Abstract Expressionist group. De Niro had his first solo exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim's gallery in April and May of the following year. By the mid-1950s, De Niro was regularly included in important group exhibitions such as the Whitney Annual, the Stable Annual, and the Jewish Museum. De Niro’s works are in the collections of the Metropolitan, Whitney, Brooklyn Museum, Hirshorn Museum, and Smithsonian.