Robert Sexton, an American writer and artist who shunned gallery representation and carved his own path to success, has died. He was 74.
Mr. Sexton began writing and self-publishing books in 1970. His first book was “The Morning People”. He had editions of his original drawings reproduced in lithography, framed and sold these works at Harvest Festivals around the West. Later, he made his work available directly to collectors through advertisements in such magazines as, Yankee, Southern Living, The Smithsonian, Cowboys and Indians, and Coastal Living. His “Robert Sexton, An American Romantic” gallery on Grant Ave. in San Francisco’s legendary North Beach exhibited his entire collection and fulfilled the many orders for his art.
Mr. Sexton would begin his creative process by writing prose or poetry and then create an accompanying drawing with a technique called stippling. The strength of his work lies not only in its sentimental appeal, but also in the pristine snapshots of life he put down in pen and ink. These black and white portraits speak to many people. Although a staunch liberal, he was especially honored to have had his work, “The Promise” read at Nancy Reagan’s funeral.
Born in Montclair, NJ in l943 to Irene and Robert A. Sexton, Sr., he attended schools in Caldwell, NJ and went on to graduate from Montclair State University with a degree in English Literature. After serving in the US Air Force in the late 60’s, he taught high school English in North Caldwell, NJ. In the mid 70’s he moved to San Francisco, working at Macy’s while writing and drawing at night. It was here that his self-taught artistry came to fruition.
Intelligent, articulate and well-read, his favorite author was F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was always lively and interesting to discuss literature, art and politics with him. His many interests included travel, his beloved West Highland terrier always at his side. An avowed Francophile, he once owned a remodeled farmhouse in Augers-en-Brie, outside of Paris where he spent many months each year. He had a passion for cars, which he collected. He had both classic automobiles and a huge assortment of collectible model cars, specializing in 1/43 model cars & promotional models of full sized autos from all over the world. He attended the Paris Auto Show each year, always excited about the new cars on display.
Mr. Sexton is survived by his sister, Mary Ellen Sexton of Asheville, NC, and his brothers, Peter Sexton of Winston-Salem, NC and Tom Sexton of Salisbury, NC, plus several nieces and nephews and many beloved friends.
In each artist, there is a spark of the Divine that drives their creativity. His was clear and true and will forever shine.