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 Robert Paul Sivard  (1914 - 1990)

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Lived/Active: District Of Columbia / France      Known for: illustrator, photo-real genre

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Ad Code: 3
Robert Paul Sivard
from Auction House Records.
© Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY See Details
Biography from McBride Gallery:
Robert Sivard:  A Period Painter of Character Studies and Historic Buildings

There is a story, probably apocryphal, about a novelist who started writing because he wanted to learn to type.  There is another story, probably true, about an artist named Sivard, who started to paint because his wife wanted a souvenir picture of Paris.

Robert Sivard was born in New York in 1914, studied art at Pratt Institute, the National Academy of Design, the Academie Julien in Paris, and worked for some years as a commercial artist and art director.  In 1949 he moved to Paris with a job as director of visual information for the United States Embassy.  After Sunday-painting his first 'souvenir,' a French grocery store, Sivard found he couldn’t stop, and his government job gave him a chance to paint shopfronts in Moscow, Havana, San Juan, Rome, New York, Annapolis and in Washington, D.C. where he lived with his wife and two children.

Sivard was an anachronism in his day - a painter who was interested in subject matter more than technique, although he developed a distinctive style.  His favorite subject was that hardy breed, the small businessman, the shopkeeper.  He painted these shops and shopkeepers from close-up, head-on, 'portrait of owner and business'.  These are portraits, as Sivard said, not of the individual alone, but of the urban scene.  The portraitist searches for the character revealing details, the wear and tear of life.  He must be close enough to see texture and character flaws, the creases of age and the lines of laughter.  Old cities like Paris and Rome, have had time to develop laugh wrinkles....the character lines of a city and its civilization are in its side streets.

In 1953, Sivard had his first one-man show in France, featuring unusual portraits of famous artists and writers in Parisian settings.  After his Parisian stint, he participated in several expositions in New York’s Midtown Galleries, reviewed favorably by Time Magazine.  In 1976 for the centennial celebrations, Sivard painted a series of Washington, D.C. scenes focusing on historical buildings and the well known personalities associated with them. This exhibit was featured in the Smithsonian magazine and was the subject of several television specials.  Scenes included Lincoln at Stuntz Toy Shop, Eleanor Roosevelt at the Georgetown Toy Shop and President Cleveland at Brooke & Harry's market.

McBride Gallery in Annapolis, Maryland hosted a one-man show for Sivard in December of 1980 featuring oil paintings of four historical Annapolis pubs with their owners, soon published into a limited edition series.  The exhibit also included storefronts from a variety of cities worldwide, the personalities ranged from Presidents to restaurant wait-staff in aprons.  With characteristic humor, a watercolor of a popular barber on Randall Street, quite bald, stands beside the barber pole in front of his local shop.

Biography from Butler Institute of American Art:
Robert Sivard

A member of the United States Foreign Service of Diplomatic Rank, he won from the French a less official title, "peintre-poete de la rue Parisienne."

Previously his paintings have been exhibited at the Galerie Craven, American Embassy, Salon des Beaux Arts and the Galerie Charpentier, all in Paris. Many of Mr. Sivard's paintings have been acquired by French collectors, and since his recent association with Midtown Galleries, by a growing number of American purchasers.

Sivard was born in New York in 1914. His formal education was at Pratt Institute and the National Academy of Design and the Academie Julien in Paris. After several years as a mural painter and commercial artist and four years of service in the United States Army, he moved to Geneva, Switzerland as a consulting art director, and then to Paris for five years in the American Embassy. He then was stationed with the United States Information Agency in Washington, DC where he lived with his wife and small son.

(1963): He won the Thomas B. Clark award at the National Academy of Design exhibition, and his paintings were invited to the Carnegie International, to the University of Nebraska, Illinois Wesleyan, Springfield Museum; Corcoran Gallery of Art.

From a Midtown Galleries exhibit catalog of February 1963 and April 1955

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