Born in Bushnell, Illinois, Robert Sperry earned a B.A. degree at the University of Saskatchewan, a B.F.A. in 1953 at the School of the Art Inistitute of Chicago, and an M.F.A. in 1955 at the University of Washington. Early in his ceramic career Sperry found inspiration at the Archie Bray Foundation in Montana, where he worked with Peter Voulkos and Rudy Autio. An influential ceramist, Sperry was on the faculty of the University of Washington from 1955 until his retirement in 1982, serving as the head of the ceramics department for twenty-two years.
Kenneth R. Trapp and Howard Risatti Skilled Work: American Craft in the Renwick Gallery (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998)