Seacoast Artist Association celebrates Black History Month with the 'Prophet of Color'

Portsmouth Herald

EXETER — The Seacoast Artist Association Second Sunday Series celebrates Black History Month with "The Prophet of Color" on Feb. 11.

The presentation by Amesbury, Massachusetts artist Bob Richardson honors his late teacher and mentor Edward Loper, Sr.

Loper was an artist known for a palette of vibrant colors that would reflect the world around him. He was born in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1916.

Edward Loper, Sr.

Loper was a self-taught painter, although he also studied at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia for ten years. He is represented in major permanent collections in the Philadelphia Art Museum, the Delaware Art Museum, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC, Howard University, the Museum of African American Art in Tampa, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and Clark-Atlanta University Collection of African American Art, among others.

Loper was associated with the WPA Art Project from 1936-1941. In 1947 he started teaching full-time.

Bob Richardson met Loper taking private classes in his studio. He would spend 30 years studying under him.

“We painted in the Cezanne style, using the Cezanne pallet of colors, under the direction of an award-winning artist with three honorary Dr. of Art’s degrees to his credit!” recalls Richardson. “Today, as a former Loper student and a Cezanne-style oil painter, I use the Cezanne pallet of eight colors, making sure that my work brings forth the importance of composition and other critical relationships between light and dark and the added value of different hues within a color. Considering the shape of different colors and how the balance of all these elements fit upon the canvas allows me to create not merely a ‘nice’ painting but rather a very good, balanced oil painting with my signature proudly visible in the lower right corner.”

Richardson will demonstrate some of his techniques at the presentation.

Starting in the late 1940s, to escape some of the racism he experienced at home, Loper began traveling to Quebec City in Canada, where he would paint boldly colored cityscapes.

Richardson was among the small group of his students that he began taking there every summer starting in the 1960s. As a teacher, Loper was known for his charismatic, intense, and demanding demeanor. He also taught at the Delaware Art Museum, Lincoln University, and the Jewish Community Center. A retrospective of his work was held at the Delaware Art Museum in 1996, representing some 60 years of his work. He died in 2011.

Loper received many awards, among them an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from Delaware State University, and the Governor's Award for the Arts. Two of Loper's paintings hung in (then-vice president) Joe Biden’s official residence in Washington, D.C.

Amesbury, Massachusetts artist Bob Richardson will honor his late teacher and mentor Edward Loper, Sr. on Sunday, Feb. 11.

Richardson’s presentation and demo will take place on Sunday, Feb. 11, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Seacoast Artist Association gallery at 130 Water St. in downtown Exeter. Parking is free. Email Mr. Richardson at with questions, and follow the SAA on Facebook and Instagram.