In 1987, Robert Cottingham was commissioned by the Connecticut Bank and Trust Co. to create a series of unique works depicting American railroad imagery. These twelve panels feature historical railroad company logos, or heralds as they are referred to in railroad jargon, that were installed in Union Station in Hartford, Connecticut for nearly 30 years. The series marked Cottingham’s first and only public commission. 

Robert Cottingham b. 1935

Born in 1935, Robert Cottingham is a painter and printmaker whose body of work finds inspiration in the urban American landscape. After graduation from the Pratt Institute in 1963, he began his advertising career in Los Angeles. He ultimately left the field to pursue painting, but the influence of the ad world can be seen in the execution of his work.

Although regarded as a Photorealist, Cottingham maintains that he is a realist painter working in a long tradition of Americana painters. His subjects range from mid-20th century commercial signage and architectural details to railroad boxcars and storefront marquees. An interest in typography is seen through the isolation of words and letter forms cropped into photo-realistic, dynamic compositions.

Cottingham’s work is among many of the most important collections both in the United States and Europe including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Tate Gallery in London, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been exhibited in the Centre national d’art contemporain in Paris, Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. He lives and works in Connecticut.

Auction Results Robert Cottingham

ROBERT COTTINGHAM, Ral's | wright20.com

Robert Cottingham

Ral's

estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $26,400
ROBERT COTTINGHAM, American Signs (portfolio of twelve works) | wright20.com

Robert Cottingham

American Signs (portfolio of twelve works)

estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $20,000
ROBERT COTTINGHAM, American Signs (portfolio of twelve works) | wright20.com

Robert Cottingham

American Signs (portfolio of twelve works)

estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $15,000
ROBERT COTTINGHAM, Santa Fe | wright20.com

Robert Cottingham

Santa Fe

estimate: $1,000–1,500
result: $2,750
ROBERT COTTINGHAM, Rolling Stock (three works) | wright20.com

Robert Cottingham

Rolling Stock (three works)

estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $2,500
ROBERT COTTINGHAM, C & O | wright20.com

Robert Cottingham

C & O

estimate: $1,000–1,500
result: $2,500
ROBERT COTTINGHAM, Santa Fe | wright20.com

Robert Cottingham

Santa Fe

estimate: $1,000–1,500
result: $2,125
ROBERT COTTINGHAM, One Way | wright20.com

Robert Cottingham

One Way

estimate: $1,000–1,500
result: $1,750