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Robert P. Baker

Born:
London, England 1886

Died:
Hyannis, Massachusetts 1940

Active in:

  • Woods Hole, Massachusetts

Luce Artist Biography

Robert Peter Baker was born into a family of sculptors and craftsmen in London, England, and determined at an early age that he wanted to be an artist. He exhibited his first work at the age of eight and later, along with his brother Bryant, studied at many of the city’s finest art schools. As World War I approached, Baker, a pacifist, avoided military service by traveling to the United States. He established a studio in Boston, Massachusetts, and supported himself by painting portraits and creating sculptures. In the 1920s, Baker briefly worked and studied in Paris and New York City before permanently moving to Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Critics frequently compared Baker’s sculptural work to that of the popular French artist Auguste Rodin. Both artists focused on the emotions artworks elicited from viewers and used dramatic surface treatments to emphasize textures.

Additional Biographies

Born in London, Robert Peter Baker came from a family of sculptors and carvers. At age ten he began studying at the Lambeth School of Art and continued at the City and Guilds Technical Institute; this was followed by five years at the Royal Academy of Arts. At twenty-one he was working for sculptor Adrian Jones on the architectural sculpture for the top of the memorial arch to Inigo Jones in Hyde Park. His ability to model portraits and the figure won him a medal at the Royal Academy in 1911. A pacifist, he came to America to avoid military service at the outbreak of World War I and remained the rest of his life. Initially he established a studio in Boston, where he hired as an assistant young Donald De Lue and supported himself through portraits and commissions for architectural sculpture. Baker's main interest, however, was figurative sculpture of imaginative subjects in a romantic, symbolist vein similar to the work of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. During the 1920s he worked in Paris and New York City, then moved in 1929 to Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where he died in 1940.

National Museum of American Art (CD-ROM) (New York and Washington D.C.: MacMillan Digital in cooperation with the National Museum of American Art, 1996)