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 Robert A. Herzberg  (1886 - 1960)

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Lived/Active: Michigan      Known for: mural, circus genre, city scenes

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Ad Code: 4
Robert A Herzberg
from Auction House Records.
Motor City
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Robert Herzberg came with his family, at age four, from Furstenberg, Germany, to settle in Toledo, Ohio. At 21 he went to Chicago to study at the Chicago Art Institute, where he studied under John Vanderpool. Other teachers were Joaquin Sarolla, (with whom he studied in Europe) Antonin Sterba and Frederick Freer. He was commissioned at that time to paint an a mural for Tuley High School, and the mural won an award.

From 1911 to 1913 Herzberg studied at New York's Art Students League under Robert Henri, Ernest Blumenschein, Thomas Fogarty and Graham Cootes. Here he subsidized his studies by working as a theatre prop boy. With sketch book in hand, he did backstage portraits. Encouraged by Ethel Barrymore, many prominent people of the stage sat for Robert Herzberg portraits.

Moving to the Detroit area in 1913, he organized and ran the Detroit School of Fine and Applied Arts in 1922, a common meeting space for Detroit area artists. During the 1930's Herzberg was a WPA (Federal Art Project) easel artist, painting well-known Detroit industry scenes and cityscapes. He entered many national mural competitions and painted a mural for the Detroit USO. He exhibited paintings in many museums in this country and abroad and received many awards. He also had several one-man shows at the Arthur Newton Gallery in New York City.

His early love of the theater turned to a fascination for circus subjects. Spending many winters with the circus in their winter quarters in Florida, Herzberg painted and sketched many famous circus people and clowns. He also traveled to Europe several times, appearing as an artist sketching Katherine Hepburn in the movie "Summertime."

Robert A. Herzberg died in 1960 in Birmingham, Michigan survived by five sons and two daughters.

Submitted by family member, grand-daughter in law Annette Westerby

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