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 Robert W. Hines  (1912 - 1994)

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Lived/Active: District Of Columbia/Ohio      Known for: illustrator of animals in natural habitat, wildlife painter

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following was submitted November 2005 by T.O. Duncan, a friend, co-worker, who prepared the following biography for a university art-history class.  Duncan and Hines worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.     
Born in Columbus, Ohio, Robert (Bob) Warren Hines, (1912-1994) grew up in Fremont, Ohio on the banks of the Sandusky River.  He is known for his illustrative art of animals in their natural landscapes.  He illustrated a wide variety of books, plushad  a long career with the United States Government. 

He started drawing in his early years, and his brother commented to Mr. Lynn Greenwalt while he was Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, that he was drawing with a fair degree of reality when he was three years old.  He tended many animals at his home.   His parents were very tolerate and gave Bob this freedom of having animals as long as he cared and tended them.  He was an Eagle Scout with 36 merit badges, and was a nature counselor at a Boy Scout camp.  He learned the art of taxidermy by correspondence, and this provided him with an education in animal anatomy, an important factor in his later life.  He was basically self taught, but had art training in his local high school.  His first published art was in his high school yearbook, a medieval hunting scene.  

During the Depression after a bout with colitis, his doctor suggested he find a less stressful occupation.  He decided to turn to drawing, one of his enjoyable hobbies.  He decided on wildlife art after an incident over a melanistic pheasant was shot near Fremont, and no one could identify it.  He knew what it was and knew the public needed and education on wildlife.  After submitting some of his drawings to the Ohio Division of Conservation and Natural Resources in Columbus, he was offered a job as staff artist.  He was told that some of his paintings were to be done in oils.  He had never painted in oils before.  He called his high school art teacher and she gave him a four day short course on oil painting.  

He was a keen observer of wildlife, especially in their anatomy, colors, and habits.  He quickly became well known in wildlife publishing circles.  He illustrated The Ohio Conservationist magazine monthly with pen and ink and other line drawings.  On his meeting of Frank Dufresne, an Alaska Fish and Game commissioner, he was asked to illustrate Dufresne’s book Alaska’s Animals and Fishes, published in 1946.  This led to his 1948 employment with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in the U. S. Department of the Interior. 

He was a little uncomfortable when they told him his supervisor was a woman.  It happened to be Rachel Carson, a biologist-editor in the FWS and later the author of Silent Spring and other books.  They had a long and successful professional relationship even after Ms. Carson resigned from FWS.  The book Edge of the Sea by Rachel Carson was by far the most successful book of Bob’s career. 

He did the artwork for four three-cent U.S. conservation postage stamps in 1956.  These included the antelope, wild turkey, king salmon and whooping crane.  The latter was in multi-colors.  While with the FWS, Bob supervised the Annual Duck Stamp Art Competition for the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp.  He setup the rules and procedures, and the competition has become one of the Nation’s most coveted art awards for wildlife artists.  Bob was one of the artists of a duck stamp for the period 1946-47 before he was employed by USFWS.  During his career he traveled extensively to draw and paint wildlife in their natural habitat.  His painting of an American Bald Eagle, printed by the U. S. Government Printing Office, sold over 150,000 copies.  His waterfowl flyway maps were first published in Albert M. Day’s book, North American Waterfowl.  Since then these maps have been reproduced many times.

He was given the Department of the Interior Citation for Distinguished Service in 1971, by Secretary of the Interior Roger C. B. Morton.  Secretary Morton had this comment about Bob Hines: “…possesses a remarkable visual perception… He paints wildlife in the act of being alive.”  His last title in 1979 before his retirement was “National Wildlife Artist” and he was the only person to have achieved this title. He retired in 1981 after 32 years with the Fish and Wildlife Service.   It is believed that Hines died in Alexandria, Virginia.
Hines created many paintings in oils and watercolors at home during evenings and weekends.  He illustrated fifty-two books.  On his own time after work he prepared a small waterfowl identification guide booklet for hunters entitled Ducks at a Distance.  He sent the manuscript to several publishers, and all refused him.  He gave it to FWS and it was published in three languages and over four million copies were distributed.  He received a $500.00 award for it!  After becoming “public domain” it has been published by other private companies.

The brochure for the exhibit at the Ward Museum of Wildlife Art states, "He gave a very large body of art works “that allows each of us, no matter what station in life, to connect with the natural world that Hines understood and cherished.” (Juriga, 2003.)

His art has been exhibited in the U.S. Department of the Interior Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, in Salisbury, Maryland.  


1.    Juriga, John D.  Bob Hines National Wildlife Artist.  May 17, 2003. Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury, Maryland.  (Program for exhibition.)

2.    Duncan, T. O.  Bob Hines, The National Wildlife Artist.  Special Problems in Art History, Henderson State University, Spring Semester 2000.  17 pages. Twelve Appendices.

3.    Miscellaneous papers, letters, cards and interviews with other Fish and Wildlife Service employees and retirees. Also a series of interview tapes recorded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Author of this biography:  Thomas O. Duncan, (prefer use of initials “T.O.”) retired USFWS Supervisory Fisheries Research Biologist.  Bob Hines and I became friends when I met him at the First Day of Issue for the King Salmon 3-cent stamp in Seattle, Washington in 1956. 


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