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 Robert C. Knutson  (1913 - 2007)

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Lived/Active: Minnesota/Alabama      Known for: wildlife-wildfowl painting, illustration, design

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Robert Knutson, American Commercial and Wildlife artist (1913-2007)

Born in May, 1913 to Norwegian parents,and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Bob retired to  Lillian Alabama where he died at the "young age" of 94 in July, 2007

Knutson was hired straight out of high school by Mr. Albinson, and worked for Albinson’s in Minneapolis for six years..[1]  Within six years Albinson changed direction toward Albinson Retrographics (currently ProColor). Knutson and Kline bought out the art group and launched K&K Advertising Art which operated from 1941 to 1973 under their owneship. At its height, K&K was located on the 22nd and 23rd floor of the Foshay Tower in Minneapolis and employed over 55 manual artist. K&K still operates to date as K&K Studios.

Robert Knutson was an artist in the commercial art field.  Knutson went on to open the Studio Arts Department at the University of Minnesota during the 1960s and 1970s with Mr. Jim Smith.  Knutson achieved success as a commercial artist during the 1940s through the 1970s achieving commendations from the Art Director's Club. He led a team of up to 55 artists over 40 years supporting small to fortune firms in newspaper advertising, billboards advertisements, cereal box backs, and other print advertising.  Due to the firms success, K&K Advertising art was the largest advertising house West of the Mississippi for over 40 years.  K&K is applying for the Guinness World Book record of 1. Longest continuously operating Advertising Art firm in the USA. and 2. The most printed advertising produced by an advertising firm in the USA.

Knutson and Smith also created billboards of the Marlboro Man to include the national landmark at Hollywood and Vine, and the Pacific Coast Highway, both of which were in California and both won Guinness World records for largest portrait of a man.  The Marlboro Man billboard at Hollywood and Vine was a national landmark until legislation changes forced it to be taken down.[2]

During this time Knutson also began exhibiting his work in fine art galleries and managed to exhibit in a group exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.

After retirement in 1984, Robert Knutson started to produce State Duck Stamps.  He is the only artist on record to win four State Duck Stamp competitions.

1986 Pennsylvania Duck Stamp, Blue Winged Teal
1987 Alabama Duck Stamp, Pintails
1993 - Alabama Duck Stamp, Special Edition - The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Teal backs, Artist: Robert C. Knutson
1994 Alabama Duck Stamp, Canvasbacks
1998 Alabama Duck Stamp, Goldeneyes

Robert Knutson was a methodical and quiet person with a great love of art.  Among his many popular quotes and comments he stated famously that "The true art of life - is in the living of it."

Foot notes:
1.  Albinson Reprographics - What's New
2.  "Marlboro Man hangs up billboard hat, CNN, April 23, 1999.

Information provided by Thomas Knutson, the artist's son

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