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Sailboat Race

Sailboat Race

23x20, Watercolor

1912 - 2003

ROBERT N. BLAIR was born in Buffalo, New York in 1912. He is considered
one of the most influential artists to use watercolor in the mid-twentieth
century. He studied art at the Albright Art School in Buffalo and the Museum
of Fine Arts in Boston during the early 1930s and it was during this time that
he met and befriended fellow watercolorist Charles Burchfield. 

Although he is best known for his watercolor paintings, Blair also worked

in sculpture, oils, pen and ink, acrylic, and printmaking. His style varies from

expressionistic to almost pure abstraction. Through the use of movement

and color, he deftly captures the beauty and drama of nature.

In his thirties, Blair served overseas in World War II. As a result, his subject

matter subsequently changed and he produced works that reflected the destruction and devastation caused by war. One of his most famous wartime paintings is The Battle of the Bulge. After he returned from the war, he settled down with his wife, who was also an artist, and his three children in East Aurora, New York, and began to teach art throughout Western New York and across the country.

During the 1940s Blair received many awards and major commissions. In 1947 he painted a large mural for the Bethlehem Steel Corporation. In 1946 and 1951 he was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship, which allowed him to travel on motorcycle across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The goal of these journeys, which continued well into his eighties, was to remove himself from the familiar and ultimately create something entirely different.

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