Robert Cronbach: Abroad
Drawings from the University Art Collection depicting the artist’s experience in WWII.
Adelphi University is proud to present Robert Cronbach: Abroad, an exhibition of plein air drawings by the artist while serving in the Merchant Marines during WWII. These quick sketches were made during his time at sea and include portraits of fellow service members, civilians, and the ship interiors. This work is a document of the artist’s experience and serves as an interesting contrast to our current era of instant and abundant photo documentation. Cronbach’s drawings do offer some objective details offered by photography, but provide an additional subjective emotional experience which is poetically communicated through the artist’s gesture and style. Through drawing, the artist is able to provide for a more immersive and humanist depiction of his experience than he ever could with a camera.
Cronbach was born in St. Louis and studied sculpture at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In 1930 he worked as an assistant to the sculptor Paul Manship. His commissions included sculptures and fountains at the United Nations General Assembly Building and the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Federal Office Building in St. Louis. Cronbach had his first solo show at the Hudson Walker Gallery in New York in 1940 and exhibited for many years with the Bertha Shaefer Gallery. He taught at Adelphi College in Garden City, NY from 1947 to 1961 and was also an instructor at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, serving as chairman of the school’s board of governors from 1975 to 1982.
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