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Robert Whitmore, Charter Member

Date 1968                                      

Medium  Print

Dimensions  4.75 h. x 5.75 inches


Robert Whitmore
In the Glen: The Art of Robert Whitmore

January 31 2009 - April 5 2009

An accomplished painter, printmaker and draughtsman, Robert Whitmore expressed a genuine love for the world around him with vibrant line, vivid color and a disciplined eye for composition. The Dayton Art Institute honors the artistic legacy of this native son with the retrospective exhibition, In the Glen: The Art of Robert Whitmore. This survey features nearly sixty works of art that have been jointly selected by Will South, The Dayton Art Institute chief curator, and Kay Koeninger, associate professor of art history at Sinclair College.

Robert H. Whitmore was born in Dayton on February 22, 1890, the son of Thomas and Florence Damon Whitmore, both of whom enjoyed an interest in art. Robert attended Steele High School in Dayton before going on to study at the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago from 1913 to 1917.

These were heady years in American art, as both Impressionism and Realism were being widely practiced and both were being challenged by the rise of Modernism. In Chicago, a city with an active gallery scene already by that time, young Robert would have been exposed to the latest trends and ideas in American art. While a student, he supported himself in part by teaching drawing at Hull House which social reformer Jane Addams had founded in 1889.

From Chicago, Robert served for a year in World War I before attending the Cincinnati Art Academy in 1919. In the 1920s, he began teaching at the recently established Dayton Art Institute. In the numerous prints and paintings he made during and following these years, we see clearly that Whitmore had learned his academic lessons—careful drawing first and foremost—at the same time he admired more progressive impulses in painting, which included the use of bright color and dashing brushwork. Autumn Trees is typical of Robert Whitmore’s mature blend of artistic sources. The drawing beneath the paint is steady and sure (his debt to tradition), while the layers of vibrating, high-keyed color comes from Impressionism (his debt to innovation). He worked directly from nature, as did so many of his peers, believing that honest interpretation of earth and sky could come only from direct contact with it. To work out of doors, he outfitted a Model T truck into a mobile studio.

In 1924, Whitmore purchased twenty-nine acres outside of Yellow Springs that
were once part of a farm owned by Horace Mann, the first president of Antioch College. He continued painting until his death in 1979 at the age of eighty-nine, a legend in the Yellow Springs community. Today, Whitmore’s youngest son, Jon, lives on that same acreage along with hundreds of works of art by his father, and it is through Jon’s generosity in sharing them that In the Glen: The Art of Robert Whitmore has been made possible.


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                       |  48 High Street, Dayton, OH 45403  |  937.228.4532
Gallery Hours: Fridays & Saturdays: 12-5pm during exhibits & First Fridays: 5-8pm. Also by appointment.  

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