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Robert Kennedy Abbett

 (1926 - 2015)
Robert Kennedy Abbett was active/lived in Connecticut, New York.  Robert Abbett is known for genre-huntsmen-dogs painting, illustration.

Robert Kennedy Abbett

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Robert Kennedy Abbett
Robert K. Abbett, noted as one of America's contemporary masters of sporting and wildlife art, was born in Hammond, Indiana in 1926 and is a graduate of Purdue University and the University of Missouri.

After attending night and weekend classes at both the Chicago Academy of Fine Art and the American Academy of Art, Abbett pursued a career in editorial and advertising art in Chicago, moving to Connecticut in 1953 to be closer to the editorial markets.  There he illustrated for The Woman's Home Companion, Argosy, Sports Afield, Reader's Digest and True magazines; worked with several of the west coast motion picture studios and did covers for all of the major paperback publishers.

In 1970, the commission to paint the English Setter, "Luke", his first animal portrait, led him from illustration to becoming a full-time gallery artist.  Abbett, with his wife Marilyn, now lives and works at Oakdale Farm, his Connecticut estate.  There he can roam the fields and woods, observing wildlife in its true environment - to look at his art and to participate in what Bob Abbett calls "Being there", insuring a solid connection with his viewers.  His work continues to grow and expand in subject matter, encompassing his unsurpassed paintings of sporting dogs, fly fishing scenes, the world of horses, western scenes and portraiture.

Robert Abbett is a past president of Westport Artists, formerly active with the Society of Illustrators, and is a member of the Society of Animal Artists.  He was the recipient of the Salmagundi Club Gold Metal in 1973, and his paintings and/or prints have been shown as far away as Tokyo.  Early in his career he showed at the Brandywine River Museum at Chadd's Ford, Pennsylvania where his work hung alongside that of Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth.

He has exhibited in numerous group shows, including the Prix de West at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City and the Artists of America in Denver.

Several books have been written on his work; The Outdoor Paintings of Robert K. Abbett, published by Peacock Press/Bantam Books; Abbett, by Michael McIntosh in 1989 and Wings from Cover by Ed Gray in 1996.  He is the author of his latest book, A Season for Painting, published by Collectors Covey in Dallas.  Feature articles about him have appeared in Country Gentleman, Sports Afield, Southwest Art, Wildlife Art and Prints Magazine.  His painting of a steer wrestler, Some Days won the purchase prize at the 1981 Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, and the painting hangs in the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum.

Abbett's work was selected for the first in the series of the Trout Unlimited Stamp Prints, for the 1982 Wild Turkey stamp, the 1982 artist for the Ruffed Grouse Society's Conservation Stamp Print and in 1990, he was chosen as Ducks Unlimited Central Flyaway Artist of the Year.

Often wearing his writing hat, Abbett has written his column, "From Behind the Easel" for Wildlife Art magazine since 1986 and created the "Favorite Covers" feature for The Pointing Dog Journal and The Retriever Journal where he is a frequent contributor.

His paintings are now in the permanent collection of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, the National Bird Dog Museum in Grand Junction, Tennessee, the Genesee Country Wildlife Museum in Mumford New York and a bronze sculpture of the Gordon Setter, "Dare", is in the collection of the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog in St. Louis.

He remains a resident of Bridgewater, Connecticut and also spends time in Scottsdale, Arizona where, at the turn of the century his grandfather taught school on the Diamond S Ranch near Camp Verde. For several years Bob taught a workshop at the Scottsdale Artists School.

Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, I
Biography photo for Robert Kennedy Abbett
Robert Abbett is one of America's contemporary art masters in the genre of outdoor art, and he is most at home painting the scenes of sporting dogs, fly fishing, western life and the portraits for which he is so well known. A Chicago-based illustrator, his works include illustrations for national magazines and books, commissions for groups such as the National Quarter Horse Association and a portrait of actor Jimmy Stewart.

Abbett has illustrated an impressive number of books, including "The Outdoor Paintings of Robert K. Abbett," and "Abbett" from the Masters of the Wild Series. As the country's foremost sporting dog artist, Abbett is widely appreciated for his ability to paint each dog as an individual, placing it naturally into an authentic background. Indeed, George Bird Evans once remarked, "I have more than once walked with my gun into thinning autumn woods behind my setters, and devouring the beauty around me have thought: That's just how Robert Abbett would paint it." Abbett's fishing scenes and portraits carry the same realism and human quality that he is so interested in. "When I've been to a cover, trudged around on it and worked closely with the dogs, then I can paint with a conviction that brings the viewer into the scene with me."

Born in Hammond, Indiana, Abbett currently splits his time between Oakdale Farm, Connecticut and Scottsdale, Arizona. Educated in the Midwest at Purdue and Missouri Universities, Abbett then worked in illustrative art in Chicago and New York until 1970, at which time he moved his attention to gallery art. Of his work, he says, "I learned quite quickly that I am not an artist who reconstructs historical scenes. I have to relate to things I can see and experience. My responsibility as an artist is to summon up feelings and experiences that have also happened to others. When they look at my paintings these sensations re-emerge and then my work has been done successfully."

Abbett's work is represented in the permanent collections of the Genesco Country Museum Gallery of Wildlife Art in Mumford, New York, the Dog Museum of America in St. Louis, Missouri and the National Bird Dog Museum in Grand Junction, Tennessee. His portrait of actor Jimmy Stewart in western gear hangs in the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Formerly an active member of the Society of Illustrators in New York City, Abbett is now a member of The Society of Animal Artists, and is a featured columnist for "The Pointing Dog Journal," as well as a staff writer for "Wildlife Art."

He has exhibited at the Artists of America show in Denver, Colorado, as well as the National Academy of Western Art in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Articles on his work have appeared in dozens of magazines such as "Sports Afield," "Gray's Sporting Journal," "Wildlife Art" and "Sporting Classics."


Biography from Jackson Hole Art Auction
Born in Hammond, Indiana, in 1926, Robert Abbett stands as one of the foremost wildlife and sporting artists in the country. After serving in the United States Navy, Abbett attended Purdue, where he received a B.A. in general science. Continuing his pursuit of knowledge, Abbett went on to study fine art at the University of Missouri at Columbia—where he graduated with his second B.A. In 1948 Abbett began an apprenticeship in commercial art at Steven Gross Studios in Chicago, while taking night classes at the Chicago Academy of Art for two years to hone his quickly developing artistic skills. Abbett made two big life changes in 1952, going to work for Bielefeld Studios and also marrying Marilyn.

After starting a family, Abbett moved to New York in 1955 to be at the center of the commercial art hub. In the city Abbett worked for Chaite Studios before striking out on his own and beginning a thirteen year career as a freelance illustrator. Including his time spent working for commercial art studios in Chicago and New York, Abbett worked as an illustrator for an illustrious twenty-two years. During his time as a commercial artist Abbett illustrated everything from album and book covers to movie posters, pattern books, and National Football League program covers.

Not until 1970, when Abbett moved to Connecticut did he finally break from illustrating to focus solely on fine art. He spent two years painting landscapes with little acclaim, until one fateful afternoon in 1972. A neighbor asked Abbett to paint a portrait of her dog Luke as a Christmas present for her husband, and Abbett discovered his true artistic calling—bird dogs in all their glory. From this one painting Abbett gained gallery representation at Grand Central Galleries, and then his work was discovered by Fred King at Sportsman's Edge. In his forties Abbett thus begun the second phase of his long artistic career. While most well-known for his paintings of eastern hunting scenes, Abbett spends his winters in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he draws inspiration from and paints the Native American and western subjects that surround him.

Robert Abbett, by Michael McIntosh, Briar Patch Press: Camden, South Carolina, 1989.

Biography from Stephen B. O'Brien Jr. Fine Arts, LLC
Robert K. Abbett (American, born 1926)

Bob Abbett was born in Hammond, Indiana, and was trained as a commercial illustrator. In the 1970s he began painting sporting art, creating paintings for conservation stamp and print programs as well as private commissions. His work is included in many collections, including a portrait of Jimmy Stewart, which hangs in The Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Widely regarded as one of the country's foremost sporting dog artists, Abbett captures what is most unique about each animal's personality and translates it into oils. Abbett has illustrated "TheOutdoor Paintings of Robert K. Abbett" and Abbett "Masters of the Wild Series", and has been featured in the television segment, "The Fall Colors of Robert Abbett." Abbett is a columnist for Wildlife Art News.

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About  Robert Kennedy Abbett

Born:  1926 - Hammond, Indiana
Died:   2015
Known for:  genre-huntsmen-dogs painting, illustration

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Robert Kennedy Abbett