Butler LIbrary, 1964
Oil on Board
28 x 28 inches
Robert Herrmann hid his paintings from the public for over 40 years. In fact, nothing is known of his artistic life after his years of formal education in both art and art history. Herrmann’s architectural landscapes from the 50s and 60s reflect a comprehensive and deeply felt knowledge of early Precisionist School painters Charles Demuth and Charles Sheeler. Presumably, Herrmann would have been greatly admired by his contemporaries and desirable to galleries. Even so, he shunned all avenues to show his work. After his death, Herrmann’s confidante and sister, Marion Grasser, called our gallery to see if we would have any interest in looking at her brother’s paintings. We were thrilled to discover such a magnificent body of work that had never been seen.
Herrmann’s interest in Modern American Art, and the Precisionist School in particular, dates back to undergraduate school where he was already excelling in classes like Architectural Drawing, Modern Architecture, and the Development of American Art. His post-graduate work included Baroque Art and Architecture, Oriental Arts and Architecture, and Modern Art and Architecture. In the doctoral program at Columbia University, Herrmann declared his major interest to be Fine Arts and Architecture. Most telling of all, he chose to write his Master’s Thesis (1949) on "The Stylistic Development of Charles Demuth’s Art." Now, after years of silence, Herrmann’s paintings have the opportunity to speak for themselves.