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Robert Abbett ( 1926–2015 )


Born in Hammond, Indiana, in 1926, Robert Abbett was one of the foremost wildlife and sporting artists in the country. After serving in the United States Navy, Abbett attended Purdue, where he received a B.A. in general science. Continuing his pursuit of knowledge, Abbett went on to study fine art at the University of Missouri at Columbia—where he graduated with his second B.A. In 1948 Abbett began an apprenticeship in commercial art at Steven Gross Studios in Chicago, while taking night classes at the Chicago Academy of Art for two years to hone his quickly developing artistic skills. Abbett made two big life changes in 1952, going to work for Bielefeld Studios and also marrying Marilyn.

After starting a family, Abbett moved to New York in 1955 to be at the center of the commercial art hub. In the city Abbett worked for Chaite Studios before striking out on his own and beginning a thirteen year career as a freelance illustrator. Including his time spent working for commercial art studios in Chicago and New York, Abbett worked as an illustrator for an illustrious twenty-two years. During his time as a commercial artist Abbett illustrated everything from album and book covers to movie posters, pattern books, and National Football League program covers.

Not until 1970, when Abbett moved to Connecticut did he finally break from illustrating to focus solely on fine art. He spent two years painting landscapes with little acclaim, until one fateful afternoon in 1972. A neighbor asked Abbett to paint a portrait of her dog Luke as a Christmas present for her husband, and Abbett discovered his true artistic calling—bird dogs in all their glory. From this one painting Abbett gained gallery representation at Grand Central Galleries, and then his work was discovered by Fred King at Sportsman’s Edge. In his forties Abbett thus begun the second phase of his long artistic career. While most well-known for his paintings of eastern hunting scenes, Abbett spent his winters in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he drew inspiration from and painted the Native American and western subjects that surrounded him.


Artist Works

Lot 355
Robert Abbett (1926–2015)
Stonewall Brittany (1990)
oil on board
24 x 36 in
Lot 14
Robert Abbett (1926–2015)
The Partridge Hunter (1992)
Oil on Board
20 x 30 in
Lot 11
Robert Abbett (1926–2015)
Ruffed Grouse ()
oil on board
20 x 30 in