Robert Wood was born on March 24, 1889, in Sandgate, England, a small town on the Kentish Coast near the white cliffs of Dover. He was the son of W.J. Wood, also a painter and was encouraged by his father to pursue a career in art. At the age of twelve, Robert was enrolled in an art school in nearby Folkestone and later also attended the South Kensington School of Art.
Robert Wood came to America in 1910 to explore the country and to apply his craft. He found little lucrative work as an artist and was forced to take any job available. He became a "hobo artist" traveling the country by hopping freight cars, sketching and painting wherever he went.
In 1924 Robert Wood, with his wife and two children ended up along the Texas Gulf Coast. He was a very skillful painter and had developed an act in which he created miniature paintings on stage and in store windows. When the family came to San Antonio sometime in 1924, he continued to paint the miniatures in a window in his downtown studio. The colorful city seemed to suit Robert's temperament very well; he lived there and in the neighboring Hill Country until 1941.
In the 20's Robert continued his serious painting career, studying with Jose' Arpa, who also became a close friend. Wood's painting style reflects Arpa's influence with its competent interpretation of nature.
Wood was active in local art organizations and exhibited regularly in regional shows, and one of its staunch supporters. Although there is little evidence that Wood ever did much teaching, he is credited with encouraging Porfirio Salinas (1910-1973), who also became a Texas landscapist.
In 1941, Wood left Texas for California. In the mid 40s he moved to the Woodstock Art Colony in New York. In the early 50s moved back to California, remaining there until his death on March 15, 1979.
Robert Wood was an exceedingly successful painter in his day, and since his death his paintings have escalated in value. His work is being sought as eagerly as Julian Onderdonk's or Jose' Arpa's. He is known in the art world as the most popular and published artist in America. To him life was a continuing challenge, and he was fond of saying, "No matter how many mountains you climb in your life, there is always one more facing you."
Art listings: "Artists of the American West", 1985; "Samuel's Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West", 1985; Index to Artistic Biography, Vol. I & II, 1973; Who Was Who in American Art, 1985; American Artist: Signatures & Monograms, 1990; Art For History's Sake, 1993; Dictionary of Texas Artists, 1800-1945, 1999; "Texas Painters, Sculptors & Graphic Artists, A Biographical Dictionary of Artists in Texas before 1942; "The Last Mountain, the Life of Robert Wood", 1983 (biography).
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