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Robert McGinnis

Ocotillo Wells, Acrylic, 17 " x 38" ©


Inducted into the in 1993, Robert McGinnis is truly an American icon. For two generations Bob has interpreted the story lines and mythical characters of such authors as Erle Stanley Gardner, Carter Brown, and John D. MacDonald. The product of such illustration has given immense visual gratification to millions of readers in book covers, movie lovers in hundreds of movie posters, and fine art to collectors all over America.

Bob's favorite medium is egg tempera, and like Andrew Wyeth, uses its unique qualities to create skillful compositions that provide narrative and graphical impressions of lasting significance.

McGinnis was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1926 and grew up in Wyoming, Ohio. Despite a lifetime of residence in the East and principally in Connecticut where he still resides, Bobs roots in Midwestern conservatism and rural depression Ohio are invariably traceable in the fine art he now embraces.

Influenced by his father's love of "Popeye" and other cartoons and the urging of a sixth grade teacher, Bob got his first taste of art instruction at Saturday morning classes at the . Although preferring to play ball with his friends, that initial instruction paid off in California where Bob hitchhiked after graduation to become an apprentice at doing animation and cartoon illustrations. With the outbreak of WWII, Bob returned to and later enrolled in night classes at the Central Academy of Commercial Art. There the connection with illustration soon drove him to NYC with his wife, Ferne, and a position with Fredman-Chaite Studio.

A series of chance meetings and opportunities opened up assignments with Dell, Good Housekeeping, Guidepost, the Saturday Evening Post, Readers Digest, and National Geographic among others publishers. Those illustrations collectively document one of the most broadly talented artists on the American scene. They also represent an extraordinary foundation for the fine art paintings that grace private and public collections throughout America today. Now in his 70s, Robert McGinnis is putting his enormous skills to work in easel paintings ranging from nudes, still lifes, and landscapes to narrative interpretations of the Old West.

Biography courtesy Stephen Zimmerman, collector of the artist's work.






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Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas. Site last updated January 2004.