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 Robert Edward Weaver  (1913 - 1991)

About: Robert Edward Weaver


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Lived/Active: Indiana/North Carolina      Known for: painting, illustration, murals

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Ad Code: 3
Robert Edward Weaver
Daniel (In the Lion's Den)
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following information was submitted by the artist's son:

Born - November 15, 1913 - Peru, Indiana
Died - July 18, 1991 - New Bern, North Carolina

Peru, Indiana Grade School and High School
BFA - Herron School of Art, Art Association of Indianapolis
Received scholarships his entire four years at The Herron School
Awarded JOHN ARMSTRONG CHALONER PRIZE  for independent study in England, France, and the Low Countries.  After these travels he set up a studio in Greenwich Village.

Born in Indiana, home to the American Circus Corporation and The Indianapolis “500”, 90% of his work in his lifetime was influenced by these two great interests.

During WW ll he received a Commission in the United States Navy and served with Air Sea Rescue Squadron VH-3 which won Presidential Recognition for its work during the Okinawa, Iwo Jima and Tokyo air strikes.

After his separation from the U. S. Navy he joined the Faculty at The Herron School of Art, Indianapolis where he served as Chairperson of Department of Illustration.  He retired from teaching at Herron School of Art, now a part of Indiana University, and received his title of Professor Emeritus of Illustration from the Trustees of Indiana University.

His Illustrations appeared in Saturday Evening Post Holiday - Good Housekeeping - Children’s Playmate - The Brownie Reader - and Child Life.

He executed Murals for Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical Company - Methodist Hospital - Riley Tar and Chemical Company, all in Indianapolis; Knightstown Soldiers and Sailors Home, Knightstown, Indiana;  Alameda Naval Air Station, Alameda, California.

His awards were numerous and spanned over fifty years - - Two Beaux Arts Institute of Design Medals while a student - Julius Halgarten Prize, National Academy of Design, New York City;  as well as top prizes from the Hoosier Salon - Indiana Artists’ Club - Indiana State Fair - “500” Festival of Arts Exhibition. Was a consistent exhibitor in Indiana Artists - Mid States Art Exhibition, Evansville -College of Mt. St. Joseph, Cincinnati, Ohio - Society of Illustrators - Wabash Valley Regional - Tippecanoe Regional Art Show, Lafayette.

Exhibited by Invitation at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Carnegie  International, Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco World’s Fair.

He spearheaded the establishment of a community circus in Peru, Indiana to rekindle the area’s interest in its rich Circus Heritage.  The first Circus was an enormous success and is an annual event in July of each year in Peru.  Chosen acts have appeared in Monaco, by invitation.  Along with this he established Operation Facelift to encourage the merchants to adopt the circus theme for their storefronts and decor.  To finance this project the entire community rose to the occasion and produced A Night With Cole Porter (a native Peruvian).  For his many civic efforts he was named Man of the Year by the Peru Daily Tribune and Outstanding Citizen by the Peru Chamber of Commerce.  Mr. Weaver was a life member of the Grand Central Art Gallery, New York City.  He enjoyed One Man Shows at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (fundraiser) - Indiana State Museum - Murat Shrine Circus Show.  Indianapolis - Muscial Arts Center, Indiana Universtity - Wm. H. Block Company Gallery and Indiana National Bank Tower Gallery, Indianapolis and the Bank of the Arts, New Bern, North Carolina.

He was particularly honored to have his work Butterfly Ladies (aquired by the Indiana State Museum) included in CENTER RING, THE ARTIST - Two Centuries of Circus Art which originated at the Milwaukee Art Museum and traveled to Columbus (Ohio) Museum of Art, the New York State Museum at Albany and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washingtion, D.C.  Included in the exhibit were works by Daumier, Toulouse-Lautrec, Seurat, Picasso, Walt Kuhn and Calder.

Posthumously, his works were exhibited at Whitehall at The Villa, Chapel Hill, North Carolina Grand Opening of Antiques and Fine Art Shop and Robert Weaver One Man’s World in depth display by Eckert Fine Art of Indianapolis.

His works are in many collections including Grand Central Gallery, Kollsman Collection (later owned by Andrew Crispo), New York City - Indianapolis Museum of Art,  Indiana State Museum, International Business Machines, Mechanics Laundry, Melvin Simon, all of Indianapolis;  Taggart Collection, West Baden, Indiana; Wabash Valley Bank Gallery and YMCA, Peru, Indiana; Craven County Building, New Bern, North Carolina; Fred Pfening ll Collection, Columbus, Ohio, David Levin Collection, Mexico; and The John W. Mecom Collection, Houston, Texas.

Quotes about the artist -
..... from The Spirit of America - American Art from 1829 - 1970, Spanierman Gallery Exhibit “ ..... A Hoosier artist who captured the “drama, pathos (and) comedy of the Big Top,” Robert Weaver devoted much of his career to depicting circus themes, ranging from clowns, musicians, acrobats, and bareback riders to horse-drawn caravans, floats, and teams of elephants.  Admired for their strong draftsmanship and rich colorism, his paintings capture the splendor and excitement of the great American circus and function as important visual records of an institution that has all but vanished. .....”

..... from Robert Weaver One Man’s World - Eckert Fine Art “..... Robert Weaver’s professional life documented every aspect of the American Circus - the joy, excitement and tragedy of a world he saw flourish and eventually decline. His paintings are stunning.  You seem drawn into each one and their images remain with you long after you view them.  ..... Entering Robert Weaver’s world has been one of the highlights of our careers as art dealers. .....”

..... and a direct quote from the artist “The American Circus furnished an ingredient so necessary to the growth of our country that it had to be. As America grew up so grew the circus.  The circus was a kind of traveling supermarket which offered a growing America both education and entertainment.  It embraced music, dramatics, history, science, logistics, management, et cetera, and it reached out to the most remote corners of our land. It was the one thing that man could hope and dream about and know it would always come true.  In essence, the circus offers in a small space a total life image from which to create.”

If he had a spare moment, he executed portraits - judged art shows - designed an art table (The Octopus), built a “half” size Indy Race Car - did paintings for Lynell Marketing, Inc. to be used on porcelain plates - designed stationery and box tops for a nationally known company, built a house from wrecked railroad bridges and restored a century- old country home. Born one of America’s GREATEST GENERATION and a man for all seasons.

On May 14 and 15, 2010 the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra premiered a new work by Pulitzer Prize nominated composer James Beckel, Jr. entitiled: In the Mind's Eye, a concert piece for 5 French horns and orchestra based on the visual impression of art works viewed by the composer.  The slow movement of the work, was inspired by Robert Edward Weaver's 1952 painting entitled, Daniel (In the Lion's Den).  The painting depicts the Biblical story of the prophet Daniel, and his night spent in a den of lions where he was placed as punishment for his faith.  The composer states the following: "This biblical subject has been a favorite choice for many artists over the centuries.  For me, Robert Weaver’s work is the most stunning of those I have seen.  The music, as well as the painting, addresses the concept of faith."

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