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Hugo Robus Portrait

Hugo Robus

Cleveland, Ohio 1885

New York, New York 1964

Photo Caption:
Courtesy Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Luce Artist Quote

“I once thought that I would be perfectly willing to work at some trade and devote my leisure to painting. I am now sure that painting must have consecutive days, weeks, months, and years for its own justice.” The artist, 1913, quoted in Tarbell, Hugo Robus, 1885-1964, 1980


Born in Ohio, later studied in New York City and Paris. Primarily a Cubist painter until 1920, he became a sculptor whose lyrical, expressive style reflected his interest in "pure form," especially in the human body.

Charles Sullivan, ed American Beauties: Women in Art and Literature (New York: Henry N. Abrams, Inc., in association with National Museum of American Art, 1993)

Additional Biographies

Luce Artist Biography

Hugo Robus studied at the National Academy of Design in New York, where he described his experiments in painting as “daubing away; spoiling canvas and trying to gain knowledge.” He worked in a jeweler’s shop, then spent several years in France, painting landscapes and studying sculpture at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. Robus returned to America in 1914 and established a studio in New York. He experimented with modern painting styles such as futurism and created brightly colored, semiabstract images of figures and landscapes. When he was thirty-five, however, he turned his attention completely to sculpture and spent the rest of his life modeling images in clay to be cast in plaster and bronze. (Tarbell, Hugo Robus, 1885-1964, 1980)