'Cosby Show' artist Varnette Honeywood dies at 59

Artist and printmaker Varnette Honeywood won accolades for her colorful depictions of African American life and symbols. Honeywood’s family today announced her death in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Her work was easy to recognize — bright, rounded forms that emphasized the upbeat, voluptuous and funny side of life.

In one, teens lounge at a street corner after school. Two girls in the center of the frame wear the blue blazers, white blouses and plaid skirts that set them apart as Catholic school students. The one who’s rolled her skirt way up drags on a cigarette.

Varnette Honeywood’s art appeared on countless walls — including those of the fictional Huxtable family on TV’s “Cosby Show.”

Honeywood — a graduate of historically black Spelman College, with a master’s in education from USC — successfully marketed her paintings, prints and note cards through a mail order business she began in the 1970s. The L.A. native was 59 years old when she died of cancer.

Her final exhibit — prints based on symbols of the Ashanti people of Ghana — is on display now at the Watts Towers Art Center.

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