Gallery Artists > Robert Abbett Biography :

Robert Abbett (b. 1926)  Artworks >>

Organizations* : SAA, SI

Robert Abbett is one of America’s contemporary art masters in the genre of outdoor art, and he is most at home painting the scenes of sporting dogs, fly fishing, western life and the portraits for which he is so well known. A Chicago-based illustrator, his works include illustrations for national magazines and books, commissions for groups such as the National Quarter Horse Association and a portrait of actor Jimmy Stewart.

Abbett has illustrated an impressive number of books, including The Outdoor Paintings of Robert K. Abbett, and Abbett from the Masters of the Wild Series. As the country’s foremost sporting dog artist, Abbett is widely appreciated for his ability to paint each dog as an individual, placing it naturally into an authentic background. Indeed, George Bird Evans once remarked, “I have more than once walked with my gun into thinning autumn woods behind my setters, and devouring the beauty around me have thought: That’s just how Robert Abbett would paint it.” Abbett’s fishing scenes and portraits carry the same realism and human quality that he is so interested in. “When I’ve been to a cover, trudged around on it and worked closely with the dogs, then I can paint with a conviction that brings the viewer into the scene with me.”

Born in Hammond, Indiana, Abbett currently splits his time between Oakdale Farm, Connecticut and Scottsdale, Arizona. Educated in the Midwest at Purdue and Missouri Universities, Abbett then worked in illustrative art in Chicago and New York until 1970, at which time he moved his attention to gallery art. Of his work, he says, “I learned quite quickly that I am not an artist who reconstructs historical scenes. I have to relate to things I can see and experience. My responsibility as an artist is to summon up feelings and experiences that have also happened to others. When they look at my paintings these sensations re-emerge and then my work has been done successfully.”

Abbett’s work is represented in the permanent collections of the Genesco Country Museum Gallery of Wildlife Art in Mumford, New York, the Dog Museum of America in St. Louis, Missouri and the National Bird Dog Museum in Grand Junction, Tennessee. His portrait of actor Jimmy Stewart in western gear hangs in the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Formerly an active member of the Society of Illustrators in New York City, Abbett is now a member of The Society of Animal Artists, and is a featured columnist for The Pointing Dog Journal, as well as a staff writer for Wildlife Art.

He has exhibited at the Artists of America show in Denver, Colorado, as well as the National Academy of Western Art in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Articles on his work have appeared in dozens of magazines such as Sports Afield, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Wildlife Art and Sporting Classics.


  • SAA = Society of Animal Artists
  • SI = Society of Illustrators
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