Robert Hewitt, Photograph of Robert N. Blair reproduced in "Robert N. Blair Community Tribute Exhibition" Catalog, c. 1966; commercially produced paper; Image courtesy of the Burchfield Penney Art Center Archives
The Art of Robert N. Blair
Community Tribute Exhibition
On View Monday, September 12–Friday, September 30, 1966
From the exhibition catalogue for The Art of Robert N. Blair:
" Robert N. Blair, born in Buffalo in 1912, has devoted forty years of his life to art since he decided to become an artist at the age of fourteen. He is a versatile and sensitive artist, working in a variety of media, frequently starting out in new directions in a never-ending quest for excellence. Although his oils, drawings, and sculpture have received some recognition, his vigorous and sometimes tempestuous watercolors have won for him a national reputation. They are sensitive and fresh, and make an effective use of color in a seemingly effortless use of the brush.
Some of his paintings reveal his interest in sculpture as he defines solid forms almost as if he were carving with the brush, while others have atmospheric and mystical qualities which disclose a close communion with the nature he loves. In searching out the romance in reality, his work ranges from expressionistic interpretations to near abstracts. His special love of horses is reflected in a number of his works, one of which is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
He has exhibited widely in many prominent exhibitions, both in the United States and Europe, winning numerous awards, and has had about fifty one-man shows. His work is represented in many museums and private collections. Although his principal activity for many years has been his painting, he enjoys teaching and has had numerous students in private classes, and in special courses at local schools and colleges. The Buffalo State University College is pleased to join others of his friends in this tribute to a distinguished artist whose achievements and recognition have brought credit to the Western New York community in the eyes of the world."
From the press release, September 2, 1966:
" FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
One of the most comprehensive showings of Robert N. Blair's works of art will be presented September 13 to September 30 in Upton Hall Gallery at Buffalo State University College (Elmwood Avenue). A College and community committee are bringing together over 70 of Blair's watercolors, oils and pieces of sculpture so that residents of Western New York may become more familiar with the total scope of his work.
A native of Buffalo, Mr. Blair has been a dedicated artist for over 40 years. He has worked in a variety of media which have received recognition, but his sometime tempstuous watercolors have won for him national reputation.
He has exhibited widely in many prominent exhibitions, both in the United States and Europe, winning numerous awards and has had about fifty one-man shows. His work is represented in many museums and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
His work has been the subject of articles in "Art News, Art Digest" and "The New York Times." He received Guggenheim Fellowships in 1946 and 1951.
Over 100 persons interested in the art of Robert N. Blair are sponsors for the show which will open Monday, September 12 at 8:30 p.m. with a reception in honor of the artist. From then on the exhibit may be seen daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
In the Catalogue of the show, fourteen distinguished civic, art and community leaders have written tributes to Mr. Blair. The one which perhaps sums up the high regard many feel for Bob Blair is by Dr. Paul G. Bulger, President of Buffalo State "The State University College is pleased to join with the Niagara Frontier community in honoring one of our citizens whose art has enriched the cultural life of the region and whose national reputation has brought credit to the community. In honoring Robert N. Blair, the College acknowledges its debt to the many creative, visual and performing artists whose works bring constant pleasure to all of us fortunate to be able to live and study in this rich cultural environment.""