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"I choose and compose subject matter that is beautiful and interesting, then present it in the most pleasing way I can."
Born in Baltimore, Robert Forbes moved to Bucks County in 1976, settling in Lahaska and adopting the name Peter Keating to sign his paintings and drawings of countryside farms. Keating was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and the Maryland Institute College of Art where he developed his highly detailed style, what he referred to as "illustrative" or "romantic realism." According to his mother, Helen McKee Forbes, his favorite subjects were "the bare bones of the trees- the bare, wet, black branches." This is most clearly demonstrated in his winter landscapes, for which he primarily used pen, ink, and watercolor washes to evoke a somber and sometimes haunting atmosphere, as opposed to his rich spring and summer scenes painted in oils.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Keating's works were well-received and exhibited widely in Bucks County and Philadelphia. From 1979 to 1985, he was the main artist for the Bucks County Conservancy's annual calendars depicting historic, local architecture. In 1987, a limited edition series of his print, Rural Elegance, was signed by him and James Michener to raise money for the James A. Michener Art Center, opened in 1988. The original watercolor for the print is in the permanent collection of the Michener Art Museum.
Eventually Keating left Bucks County, traveling and painting extensively in the American South and West, New England, and Nova Scotia before marrying and settling down in Campbellsville, KY in 2004. He died of a heart attack on November 18, 2007 at the age of 57.
Peter Keating. Image copyright of the 1980 Primrose Press. James A. Michener Art Museum archives.
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
Connection to Bucks County
Keating lived in Lahaska from 1976 until the late 1980s, using the surrounding countryside as his main source of inspiration. He exhibited locally at the Golden Door Gallery in New Hope.
The Golden Door Gallery, New Hope, PA, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1987, 2006
Art Coop II Ltd., Doylestown, PA, 2003
The Hang-Up Gallery, Doylestown, PA, 1984-1988
BCCA Arts Center at the Rodman House, Doylestown, PA, 1985
Philadelphia Art Show, Philadelphia, PA, 1982-1983
Mickelson Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1982
Gallery on the Green, Woodstock, VT
George Knight and Herman Silverman with Peter Keating and James A. Michener
Peter Keating and James A. Michener
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