Robert Else (1918 - 2008)


A Columbia University graduate, Robert Else taught at several schools in New York after returning from World War II. In 1950, he became a Professor of Art at California State University, Sacramento, and retired in 1979 as a Professor Emeritus. In addition to teaching, Else served on the Board of Trustees of the Crocker Art Museum from 1972 to 1975.

In the early 1950s Else worked mainly with lithographs and received the 1950 Purchase Prize at the First International Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Color Lithography. Else went on to illustrate the Herman Melville biography by Leon Howard.

During the 1960s Else became interested in painting beach landscapes. Dead Doll was part of a series painted from black and white photographs taken at the beach. According to Else, “I was fascinated by the tide line where everything was deposited; in this case bits of wood, feathers, little jelly fish, plastic squeeze bottles, dead dogs, and abandoned dolls.”

In 1966 Else had a one-man show at the Candy Store Gallery in Fair Oaks, where he met many permanent collection committee members who frequented the gallery. After speaking with Norman Jones, Else donated Dead Doll to the collection in 1970. It was later lent to the Crocker Art Museum in 1977 for the exhibition, Robert Else: A Retrospective.

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