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"Robert Beck's representational canvases seem to catch a moment of movement frozen in time. His genre scenes of the area and slices of life in the country (as much as farther afield) have brought recognition to the artist and to the county."
-Erica Jaeger Smith, Former Associate Curator at the Michener Art Museum, American Art Review, June 2005
Robert Beck grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and left a career in the business world at the age of forty to pursue painting. He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Beck currently maintains studios in New Hope, Pennsylvania, and New York City, New York.
Beck’s paintings have been the subject of three in-depth museum exhibitions: the Michener Art Museum (1999), the City of Trenton Museum at Ellarslie (2007), and the Maine Maritime Museum (2016).
Beck’s work has been presented in thirty solo gallery exhibitions, including the National Arts Club (New York), the Rosenfeld Gallery (Philadelphia), the Morpeth Gallery (Pennington and Hopewell, New Jersey), New Hope Arts Center, and the Gallery of Robert Beck (Lambertville, New Jersey). His paintings have been accepted to more than fifty juried exhibitions. Beck is currently represented by Morpeth Contemporary in Hopewell, New Jersey.
Beck has received twenty-nine significant painting awards, was a finalist for the Pew Fellowship in 2000, and was awarded the Philadelphia Sketch Club Medal for Excellence and Contribution to the Arts by the oldest arts club in America in 2014. He was the Honored Artist at the 2017 Phillips' Mill Exhibition and celebrated as the New Hope Arts Center Legacy Artist in 2018.
Aside from working as an artist, Beck is also a teacher, curator, lecturer, and writer. Additionally, he has hosted a radio interview program. Beck's column on his art-related experiences, entitled A Thousand Words, has appeared monthly in ICON Magazine since 2005, to a current readership of 75,000.
Beck is known for painting in “visual essays,” in which he addresses a subject through multiple images. This includes work created live while traveling the Mississippi River on a towboat pushing barges, amidst a symphony orchestra during its performances, with a racing team in Europe, and traveling with doctors in Senegal. His paintings depicting life in the Maine Maritime community are his largest body of work with a single focus. Beck's subjects vary, but the common thread in all of his images is viewpoint: the depiction of his encounter. Through Beck’s deft observation and description, his paintings serve as a chronicle of our time.
Beck is a member of the Salmagundi Club, the Philadelphia Sketch Club, and the American Society of Marine Artists. He lives with his wife, Doreen, in New Hope and New York. You can view his work at www.robertbeck.net.
Robert Beck. Photograph by Bob Krist. Image courtesy of the artist.
Education and Training
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1990-1992
Studied with Al Gury, Peter Paone, Glenn Rudderow and Louis Sloan
Teachers and Influences
Studied under Al Gury, Peter Paone, Glenn Rudderow, and Louis Sloan
Influenced by George Bellows, James A. Whistler, Toulouse Lautrec, Tom Thompson, Daniel Garber, Robert Henri, John Sloan, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, and Edgar Degas, and the Ashcan School Artists.
Colleagues and Affiliations
Paul Matthews, Tom Birkner, Ed Adams, Mavis Smith, Jack Rosen, Susan Roseman, James Freehan, Joseph Crilley, Bill Osler, Kim Kurki, Bob Krist, Mark Pettegrow, Ed Murphy, Jeff Gola
Served as president of Artsbridge in Lambertville, New Jersey Member of the Salmagundi Club, The Philadelphia Sketch Club, and a Signature Member of the American Society of Marine Artists.
Connection to Bucks County
Robert Beck has lived in Bucks County since he was thirteen years old. He presently lives and maintains a studio in New Hope.
Major Solo Exhibitions
Twenty nine one-artist shows in the Philadelphia area and in Bucks County, including the Ruth Morpeth Gallery in Pennington, New Jersey; National Art Club, New York, 2011; Rosenfeld Gallery, Philadelphia, 2011; New Hope Art Center, 2018; Morpeth Gallery, Hopewell; Pennsylvania 1996-98
Individual works exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Major Group Exhibitions
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Annual Exhibition, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1991
Second Bucks Biennial Juried Exhibition, Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1992
Phillips' Mill Annual Juried Art Exhibition, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
Bianco Juried Exhibition, Buckingham, Pennsylvania, 1995
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Fellowship Juried Exhibition, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1996
New Century Juried Exhibition, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1996
Woodmere Art Museum Juried Exhibition, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1997
Contemporary Arts Corridor Juried Exhibition, Golden Door Gallery, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1997 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Unbroken Line (Retrospective), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1997
Bucks County Invitational III, Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1999
Phillips' Mill 75th Anniversary Retrospective Exhibition, New Hope, PA, 2005
Group Exhibition, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, UK, 2006
Michener Art Museum, River Painters, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 2008
Gratz Gallery, Then and Now, Doylestown, Pennsylvana, 2010
New Hope Arts, Continuum, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 2012
Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Second Time Around, Winchester, Virginia, 2014
Michener Art Museum, Local Playhouse Makes Good, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 2014
Bucks County Community College, Bucks County Artists: A Cross Section, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 2014
Delaware Valley University, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Campbell Soup Collection
Grundy Museum, Bristol, Pennsylvania Lambertville Public School System, Lambertville, New Jersey
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia School District Board of Education, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Teaching and Professional Appointments
Painting Instructor, The Lawrenceville School, New Jersey, 2001
Curator, Representational Art Exhibit, Artworks, Trenton, New Jersey, 2000
Instructor of Drawing and Painting, Advanced Painting, and Portrait, Flemington Art School, Flemington, New Jersey, 1996-2000
Instructor of Drawing, Painting, and Landscape, The Art Room, Oldwick, New Jersey, 1994-1995
President, Artsbridge, 1994-1996
Board Member, Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy, 1994-1995
Commissioned for more than sixty paintings for corporations, foundations, and private clients as a portrait artist
Instructor and demonstrator for numerous cultural organizations
Bergman Prize, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1992
Best in Show, Bianco Gallery Annual Juried Exhibition, 1995
McLintock Award, Phillips' Mill Annual Juried Art Exhibition, 1995
McNeely Award, Phillips' Mill Annual Juried Art Exhibition, 1996
Hobsensack Award, Phillips' Mill Annual Juried Art Exhibition, 1998
Audubon Post Award, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Fellowship Exhibition, 1996
Riverbank Arts Prize, New Century Annual Juried Exhibition, 1996
Bramhall Award, New Century Annual Juried Exhibition, 1997
Emerson Prize, Woodmere Museum of Art, 1997
Woodmere Prize, Woodmere Museum of Art, 1999
Mary Butler Award, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 2001
Award for Impressionist Painting, Phillips' Mill Annual Juried Exhibition, 2003
Award for Oil Painting, Phillips' Mill Annual Juried Exhibition, 2004
Stewart Prize, Phillips' Mill Annual Juried Exhibition, 2005
Conti Prize, Phillips' Mill Annual Juried Exhibition, 2006
Philadelphia Sketch Club Medal for Excellence and Contribution to the Arts, 2014
Honored Artist, 87th Phillips Mill Art Exhibition, 2017
Signature Member of the American Society of Marine Artists
Affiliations and Memberships
Artsbridge, Lambertville, New Jersey
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania