Nell Irvin Painter is a celebrated historian, and the author of books such as “The History of White People” and “Creating Black Americans.” When she retired as a professor of American history from Princeton University in 2005, art called to her. At age 64, she went to Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers for her BFA, then the Rhode Island School of Design for her MFA. Most of her classmates were quite young. They were skeptical of her -- including one teacher who said she’d never be an artist. Now Nell Painter is out with a new book about her second act.
Artist Nell Painter. Credit: John Emerson.