Robert Bushong

(American, 1922–1995) Active NYC and Nantucket

“Bobby Bushong and his sister Polly were famous for their party costumes and their wild sense of humor. They helped enliven the social circuit of artists that dominated the 1950s and 1960s on island. Polly often dressed as a mysterious character, Cora Pratt, in outlandish costumes and carved buck teeth (top left). Photographer Diane Arbus captured Polly as Cora, the Counterfeit Lady, several times with her camera.

Son and daughter of a pioneer cinematographer, the Bushongs joined the Artists Association on Nantucket in 1952, and in 1954 held a two-person show at the Kenneth Taylor Galleries. They moved together to Nantucket in 1955. Bobby left a successful career in commercial art in New York City, while Polly was a portrait photographer in their native city of Worcester.

Bobby studied at the Worcester Art Museum School and at the Museum School in Boston with Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius. Polly was self-taught under the tutelage of her brother, employing a sophisticated folk-art approach to her painting. They both exhibited at the Lobster Pot Gallery, where attendance for their 1971 opening set a Lobster Pot record, as well as at the Artists Association,  the Main Street Gallery [and Sailor’s Valentine Gallery, all on Nantucket.] Bobby’s studios included locations at the Barnsite on Straight Wharf and the Barn on Coffin Street. ~ Artists Association of Nantucket.

Recent Examples at Auction