Roger Lynn Crossgrove, Professor of Art Emeritus, painter and photographer, passed away peacefully at the age of 95, on December 14, 2016, in Storrs, CT. Born in Farnam, Nebraska in 1921, Roger was raised on the family farm where his father ran a farming cooperative. Roger’s mother, a self-taught artist, encouraged his interest in art. He served in the US Army as a Staff Sergeant, 73rd Field Hospital, in the Philippines from 1942 to 1946, receiving several medals including the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with 1 Bronze Star.
Roger received his BFA from the University of Nebraska in 1949 and his MFA in 1951 from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He lived and painted in Mexico for two years, first in 1950 on the GI Bill and again in 1965. Roger married Wynona McDermand in 1948. Moving to Brooklyn NY after college, he taught in the Pratt Department of Graphic Art and Illustration between 1950 and 1968 when he was recruited for the position of Department Head at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. He taught there until his retirement in 1988.
Roger exhibited widely in group shows as well as solo shows; in Mexico City, Artworks Gallery in Hartford, The William Benton Museum, The Babbidge Library and The Slater Memorial Museum. He received numerous awards including an Emily Lowe award, a National Arts Club Gold Medal, and others from the American Watercolor Society, Audubon Artists, and the Butler Institute of American Art. He was a member of the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, Connecticut Watercolor Society, and a founding member of Artworks Gallery. He is listed in Who’s Who in the East and Who’s Who in American Art.
He spent several summers in residency at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY. Roger produced watercolor monotypes for more than fifty years. He participated in traveling exhibits of monotypes, and his work is referenced in anthologies of the technique. In 1976 Roger began to explore photography. Roger explored time exposure and penlight drawing, referencing classic sculpture, Muybridge motion studies and abstraction in his figurative work. Roger’s instruction had a lasting influence on his students. He is beloved as teacher, mentor and friend by countless former students including Tomie DePaola, Robert Mapplethorpe, Joseph A. Smith, and Michael Maslin.
In 1976 Roger began to explore various aspects of photography, focusing on the male nude. His photographic work is included in Exposed: An Anthology of Photographs of the Male Nude by Phil Braham, (Thunder’s Mouth Press NY, 2000) and in Male Nude Now: New Visions for the 21st Century by David Leddick (Universe Publishing NY, 2001).