Biography

Robert Genn on his flat-bottomed scow Alexander Mackenzie on the Nicomeckl River, South Surrey, BC, Canada circa 2000. 

Robert Genn on his flat-bottomed scow Alexander Mackenzie on the Nicomeckl River, South Surrey, BC, Canada circa 2000. 

ROBERT GENN (May 15, 1936 - May 27, 2014)

One of Canada's most accomplished painters, Robert Genn gained international recognition for his landscape subjects of Canada's West Coast. Extremely prolific and dedicated to his art, he painted in most parts of Canada, the United States, Central America, Europe, and Asia and made comprehensive land and sea explorations painting en plein air on Northern Canada's Mackenzie River and the Arctic, Haida Gwaii, North Ontario's Lake of the Woods, Lower Canada and the American Southwest. He hiked and painted Canada's West Coast Trail, The Grand Canyon and Lake O'Hara and pioneered what he called "heli-painting" in the Canadian Rockies.

Robert was born in Victoria, British Columbia in 1936 and attended Victoria College, The University of British Columbia and The Art Centre School in Los Angeles, California. Genn carried on the tradition of the Canadian Landscape with fresh, painterly techniques and strong design, often exhibiting his devotion to painting by reducing grand themes to small panels painted on location in the wilderness he loved.

Robert's technique includes a tradition of strong design with patterns of colour and form, revealing a pervasive sense of personal style. He worked principally in acrylic, though he did considerable work in oils, watercolour and lithography and silk screen printing. 

In October, 2013 at age 77, Robert was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He passed away at his home in South Surrey, British Columbia on May 27, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Carol, his children David, James and Sara and his grandchildren Beckett, Zoë and Poppy. 

Robert Genn's illustrated memoir In Praise of Painting (1981) provides an insight to the progress and trials of a Canadian painter. Other published works by Robert Genn include The Dreamway (1987), The Painter's Keys - A Seminar With Robert Genn (1997), Love Letters to Art (2007) and The Twice-Weekly Letters: July 10, 1999 to Sept 25, 2009 (2010). 

The Robert and Sara Genn Twice-Weekly Letter is ongoing and subscribed to by tens of thousands of artists worldwide. The Painter's Keys website archives 17 years of letters, written weekly since 2000. You can subscribe and receive republished letters of Robert's and new letters from Sara, here

The Robert Genn Archive is managed by Sara Genn. A list of representing galleries is here. 

Robert Genn and his airedale, Dorothy in his South Surrey, BC studio, 2012. 

Robert Genn and his airedale, Dorothy in his South Surrey, BC studio, 2012.