“There are two parts of my brain: the economics side and the art side,” explains businessman-turned-artist Robert Weingarten, shown here with Guernica (64″ x 143″), part of his Pentimento series, exhibited at NYC’s Marlboro Gallery in January. Photo by David Shanton.

[dropcap sid=”dropcap-1446584437″]W[/dropcap]hen Robert Weingarten (’62) was a boy, he was fascinated by city newsstands and their ever-changing montage of front-page images. But instead of pursuing a photography career, he chose to study finance at Baruch. Was it the right decision? “Absolutely,” says the businessman–fine art photographer whose works have been featured in 92 exhibitions worldwide and grace the permanent collections of 30 museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution.

“It was important to establish a career and make some money,” says the alumnus, who only later understood that business success ensured artistic freedom. “I don’t have to worry about being commercial; I do what I want to do artistically and flow from there.”

That maverick streak was also evident in Weingarten’s more-than-40-year business career, which included such successes as founding and building First Capital Holdings Corp., which he led as chairman and CEO and which, when it was sold to American Express, did $3 billion of business annually.

So what’s next for the California-based alum, whose photography runs the gamut from traditional black-and-white prints to digital mash-ups? “I don’t usually talk about new works before I start on them,” he says modestly.

—Diane Harrigan