Organizations* : CAA, NAWA
Robert Lougheed, who came to be known as “the painter’s painter,” was born and raised on a farm in Ontario, Canada. At nineteen, he was a mail order and newspaper illustrator for the Toronto Star, studying at night at the Ontario College of Art and later at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Montreal. At age twenty-five, Lougheed came to New York as the pupil of Frank Vincent DuMond and Dean Cornwell at the famed Art Students League. He continued working for over thirty years as an illustrator, and his work appeared in magazines such as National Geographic and Reader’s Digest, as well as books such as Mustang and San Domingo. He also designed Mobil’s flying horse logo.
Lougheed traveled widely throughout the West, particularly the old Bell Ranch country of New Mexico. He was a quiet, forceful man, dedicated to painting. Concerning outdoor painting he said “the best information is always in front of you,” and he lived by that credo. Years of observation had taught him to work quickly and from nature whenever possible. His enthusiasm was boundless when natural phenomena were under discussion; a favorite comment was “Isn’t it wonderful?”
Because of his early years on the farm and years of study devoted to animals and landscape, his knowledge was encyclopedic. This strong background coupled with a fine color sense continued to make Lougheed one of the most forceful painters of our time, a true artist’s artist. In his ability to select, he saw the best and the most telling of whatever was before him. When his rapid brush struck in sunlight on an adobe wall, to many viewers it was better than the wall itself.
He was a multiple-award winner at both the National Academy of Western Art and the Cowboy Artists of America, and in 1970, Lougheed was commissioned by the United States Postal Service to design the six-cent buffalo stamp for the Wildlife Conservation Series. Lougheed was also awarded the Western Heritage Award in 1966 and gold medals for painting by the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1969 and 1972.
Lougheed’s interest in art went far beyond his own easel. He was one of the prime movers in the founding of the National Academy of Western Art, and continued to serve as an advisor for many years. He also gave generously of his time as a teacher to many young painters who came to him. As a beneficiary of the legacy of Frank Vincent DuMond, Harold Von Schmidt, Sir Alfred Munning, Frederic Remington and a legion of others, Lougheed felt obliged to help preserve their artistic traditions. He championed realism at a time when the mainstream of American art had lapsed increasingly into abstraction.