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Herbert Fink

Born on Sept. 8, 1921 in Providence, R.I., he was the son of Harry H. and Clara (Cohen) Fink. He first enrolled at the Art Students' League of New York (1941-1942). Fink worked as a systems engineer for Walsh-Kaiser Shipyard in Providence, R.I. and in San Francisco. His studies were disrupted with World War II when he served in the U.S. Army in France, distinguishing himself by being awarded three battle stars and the Purple Heart.

Following his military service, Fink resumed his artistic training attending Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Penn. for one year and received his bachelor of fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1948. Fink married Polly A. Norton in 1948. He then taught drawing and design at the University of Kansas (1949) and at the Albright-Knox Art School, Buffalo, New York (1950). A year later he resigned to accept the Chaloner Fellowship, which enabled him to travel and study in Europe.

In 1958, Fink graduated from Yale University with a master of fine arts and for the following three years taught art classes at both Yale and at the Rhode Island School of Design. From 1958 to 1961 he was a visiting critic in drawing and printmaking at Yale where he also conducted graduate seminars. Fink was made professor of art and chairman of the Art Department at Southern Illinois University in 1961. He later became director of the School of Fine Art and dean of the College of Communications and Fine Arts at that University and held this post until his retirement after 1987. Fink was the first recipient to be awarded Distinguished Professor of Art at SIU/C.

Fink's contributions as an artist, teacher, arts administrator and scholar have been evidenced through his many awards during the past 30 years, including the Tiffany Award and the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Ford Foundation Purchase Award. He was a trustee of the Tiffany Foundation and the John R. & Eleonor R. Mitchell Foundation; was elected to the National Academy of Design; and was honored by Gov. James Thompson as the Visual Artist of the Year for the state of Illinois in 1986.

His original drawings and etchings are included in collections in the Baltimore Museum of Art, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Georgia Museum of Art, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, the University of Michigan Museum of art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Corcoran Gallery, the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, Yale University Art Gallery, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Trishuvan University, William A. Farnsworth Art Museum, Nepal, Liaoning University, China, Chinese University, Hong Kong and Escola de Bela Artes, Bahia, Brazil.

Herbert passed away in September 2006 aged 85.