Hudson River Museum Announces Librado Romero: From the River to the Desert

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YONKERS, NY, December 8, 2020 — Hudson River Museum announces Librado Romero: From the Desert to the River, which is on view through June 27, 2021. The exhibition, which includes paintings and sketchbooks, explores the varied landscapes of the artist’s journeys, both internal and external, from his childhood in Calexico, California, to his studio in Yonkers and a home overlooking the Hudson River.

Librado “Lee” Romero was a contributing photographer to a team that earned The New York Times a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. He has crossed the continental United States by train eight times, taking in the nuances of the varied landscapes during those journeys. His physical travels, around the country and all over the world, can be seen as a metaphor for his interior thoughts on the interrelationship of art, photography, and his reminiscences of these locales over time and throughout his life.

“Lee Romero’s evocative landscapes help us see how the places we inhabit can help form our personal identities and how exploring that relationship through art can be rewarding for ourselves as well as others,” says Laura Vookles, Chair of the Curatorial Department. “This theme puts him in conversation with many great landscape painters in our collection, including the work in our concurrent exhibition, Landscape Art & Virtual Travel: Highlights from the Collections of the HRM & Art Bridges.”

Broadly painted in jewel-like tones, Romero’s paintings have an expressionistic quality, but not necessarily from working quickly. Romero often develops his pieces over a long period of time, with many layers and revisions. His paintings remind us of the power of place in forming our sense of self and in anchoring our deepest memories.

Romero was born in Los Angeles in 1942, and while he was still young, his parents relocated to Calexico, on the US-Mexico border, where his father was a railroad worker. Some of his paintings, such as Blessing the Water Tower, pay homage to water as a precious resource in the arid countryside surrounding his hometown, which is irrigated with canals. Water still fascinates the artist, and his deep sense of connection to his natural surroundings underlies much of his current work, whether painted glimpses of the Hudson River and the Palisades through stands of trees or meditations on the landscape of his youth.

Romero studied painting at the San Francisco Academy of Art before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1965. An assignment as the regiment’s photographer changed his career path for the next fifty years. While he continued to paint and exhibit his work, he also became an intrepid and insightful photojournalist, working for the Providence Journal, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Examiner, and El Sol de Mexico, as well as Newsweek, Time, and other magazines. In 2001, Romero was a contributing photographer for the “How Race Is Lived in America” series, which earned The New York Times a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. After having worked for The Times for five decades, Romero retired in 2013 and established his full-time painting studio in Yonkers. His childhood memories and his extensive travels as a photojournalist combine to make Romero deeply appreciative of living and painting along the beautiful and historic Hudson River:

“I believe that the success I experienced as a photographer was largely due to my proclivities as an artist. And in return, like the weave of an artful basket, the photography aided my exploration and efforts at drawing and painting. As a photographer, I captured reality. As an artist, I deal with my imagination, unbridled creativity, serendipity, and ambiguity.”

The exhibition is organized by the Hudson River Museum and curated by Laura Vookles, Chair of the HRM’s Curatorial Department. It will be featured on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter via the hashtags:

#HRMLibradoRomero and #HRMLeeRomero

Supported in part by California Friends of the Hudson River Museum and the Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts Center of Calexico.

Exhibition programs are supported in part by Cesar Bujosa and Phyllis Fernandez, Ysabella Hincapie-Gara, and Gordy and Lydia de Necochea.


Related Programs

The Hudson Carries Me Away
Saturday, April 10, 11:30am
This workshop, led by artist Librado Romero, will guide participants on how to paint the view from their home that inspires them to travel, or move toward something in the world or in their mind’s eye. The program will begin with a video showing the artist painting en plein air, on location in Riverdale Park looking through the trees toward the Hudson River and Palisades beyond, the source of the images in his exhibition From the Desert to the River. We shall then join him on the balcony of his 9th floor studio for a demonstration of how he designs and paints his compelling views.

Artist Insights: Virtual Road Trip with Librado Romero (Video)
As a photojournalist who was part of a Pulitzer Prize–winning team at The New York Times and longtime painter, Librado (Lee) Romero is accustomed to capturing scenes while traveling. Take a journey with Romero as he guides participants on a virtual tour of his exhibition and Landscape Art & Virtual Travel, stopping at select artworks along the way to focus on subject matter, iconography, composition, and technique, comparing and contrasting the way different artists render the landscape. The artist will share techniques for capturing the essence of a scene. Watch the video here.

In the Museum Shop
The Museum is proud to offer a selection of drawings by Librado Romero, which were studies for his paintings. They can be purchased at the Museum Shop.

Image: Librado Romero (American, b. 1942). Traveling East, 2018. Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.


Press contact:

Jen McCaffery
(914) 963-4550 x240



Hudson River Museum ( is a preeminent cultural institution in Westchester County and the New York Metropolitan area. Situated on the banks of the Hudson River in Yonkers, New York, the HRM’s mission is to engage, inspire, and connect diverse communities through the power of the arts, sciences, and history.

The Museum offers engaging experiences for nearly every age and interest, with an ever-growing collection of American art; dynamic exhibitions that range from notable nineteenth-century paintings to contemporary art installations; Glenview, an 1877 house on the National Register of Historic Places; a state-of-the-art Planetarium; an environmental teaching gallery; and an outdoor Amphitheater. Accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM), the Museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting these multidisciplinary offerings, which are complemented by an array of public programs that encourage creative expression, collaboration, and artistic and scientific discovery.

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