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Monday, 16 November 2009


Remembering Richard Merkin


Artist and RISD professor Richard Merkin in 1976.

 This just in from the Rhode Island School of Design:

Author Tom Wolfe and other luminaries are expected to attend a celebration honoring Richard Merkin, the longtime RISD professor, New Yorker contributor and bespoke fashion icon who died Sept. 5 at his home in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. The event, which will include an afternoon program of toasts, testimonials and film screenings at RISD followed by dinner at the Providence Art Club, will take place Saturday, December 5.

Known as much for his style sense as he was for his stylish drawings and illustrations, Merkin cultivated a persona that combined elements of the Edwardian dandy, the bourgeois-defying artist-bohemian and the Jazz Age hipster. It was a look Merkin himself neatly summed up in a 1967 interview, telling a reporter "My sartorial aspirations lie somewhere between the Duke of Windsor and the Duke of Ellington."

According to RISD, the festivities will begin at noon with a screening of two of Merkin's favorite films — the Marx Brothers comedy "Horsefeathers" and the Todd Browning creep-out classic "Freaks" — at the RISD Tap Room (55 Angell St.). At 4 p.m., it's on to the Chace Center auditorium for toasts, testimonials and recollections, followed by dinner ($50 per person) at 8 p.m. at the Art Club.

Needless to say, attendees are urged to wear "snappy clothing."
Bill Van Siclen