Rafael Leonardo Black, Solitary and Self-Trained Artist, Dies at 71

By Holland Cotter
Rafael Leonardo Black in his apartment in Brooklyn in 2013, the year he had his first New York gallery show. He spent years creating art but, he said, “just never made the effort to sell it.”Victor J. Blue for The New York Times
This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here. Rafael Leonardo Black, a self-trained artist who spent more than 40 years creating elaborate pictorial mythologies steeped in art history and popular culture, and who had his first New York gallery show at 64, died on May 15 in Brooklyn. He was 71. The cause was complications of Covid-19, said Francis M. Naumann, the art dealer who represents him. Mr. Black’s debut, in 2013 at Francis Naumann Fine Art in Manhattan, consisted of collagelike pencil drawings of historically diverse figures and scenes brought together under umbrella themes. [More]