Robert Franz Albert von Neumann Sr. (1888 - 1976)

Birth date: 9/10/1888 Death date: 2/12/1976  
Birth location: Rostock, Germany Death location: West Bend, Wisconsin  
Media: Drawing , Graphic Art , Illustration , Painting Web site:
Comprehensive (file rating) - Major Wisconsin artist file that includes comprehensive documentation on artist's life that can be researched on site at MWA.

Biographical Brief

Von is an honorary title given to Robert von Neumann Sr.
Robert von Neumann Sr. is the father of Robert A. von Neumann Jr. and Angelica von Neumann Ulbricht. 
2007: received Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award
Represented in the permanent collection of the Miller Art Museum, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.


Robert von Neumann Sr.
Born 1888 in Rostock, Germany
Died 1976 in West Bend, Wisconsin
Robert von Neumann received a scholarship to study art from 1910-1914 at the United State Schools for Free and Applied Arts in Berlin under Bruno Paul and Emil Orlik.  After serving in the German army in World War I, he taught art in Berlin.  

Von Neumann settled in Milwaukee in 1926 and became a naturalized US citizen in 1933. He worked as a lithographer and was on the art staff of the Milwaukee Journal. In 1933, he went to Gloucester, Massachusetts to study at the Earnest Thurm School of Art under Hans Hoffmann.

He also taught at the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee from 1929-1930 and later at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Wisconsin State Teachers College (1930-1959) and the Ox-Bow Summer School of Painting at Saugatuck, Michigan. Von Neumann was a member of the Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors, and its president in 1931 and 1932. He was also one of the founding members of the Wisconsin Watercolor Society.

Much like the American Regionalist work of the 30s and 40s, von Neumann’s drawings, paintings, pastels, etchings, mezzotints, and lithographs illustrated the virtues of the common man hard at work. Von Neumann was an extraordinary printmaker who taught printmaking to many others while continuing to produce his own work in quantity.  He is best known for his shoreline scenes filled with bulky and heroic fishermen. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee bestowed an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts upon him in 1972, and in 2007 he was one of the recipients of the Wisconsin Visual Arts Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Selected One-Person Exhibitions

1941 Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois
 Pennsylvania of Fine Arts, Philadelphia
1960  Milwaukee Art Center, Wisconsin
1972  Milwaukee Art Center, Wisconsin
1989  University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Robert von Neumann: Works On Paper, 1930-1970

Selected Group Exhibitions

Chicago Art Institute, Illinois - American Annual (also 1931, 1932, 1935, 1936, 1937 and 1938)
1930 Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin, Milwaukee Journal Gallery, Wisconsin
1932 Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors 19th Annual Exhibition,
1933 Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors and the Wisconsin Society of Applied Arts Annual Exhibition of Wisconsin Art 
1935 Chicago Art Institute, Illinois - Chicago Annual (also 1936, 1937, 1939, 1943, 1945, 
1939 World's Fair, New York, New York 
1943 Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors, (Henry B. Shape award for best composition) Madison
1944 Art Association, Wisconsin
1946 Tri-state Show, Indianapolis, Indiana
1982 Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin - Reflections of the Milwaukee Journal Gallery of Wisconsin Art 1983
1992 West Bend Gallery of Fine Arts (now known as West Bend Art Museum), Wisconsin, Early Wisconsin Ambiance: Environments & Landscapes by Wisconsin's Early Artists 1880-1940
1996 Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, Neenah, Wisconsin, Collecting the Art of Wisconsin: The Early Years
2007 Midwestern Virtues: A Robert von Neumann Retrospective, Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend, Wisconsin

Selected Awards

1972 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee bestowed an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts upon him
2007 One of the recipients of the Wisconsin Visual Arts Lifetime Achievement Awards.
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