Robert Frame was an important Santa Barbara, California, artist well known for his colorful oils of coastal landscapes, figurative subjects, and still life. He attended Pasadena City College and Pomona College, Claremont, in the mid-1940’s, emphasis on art. Frame received several awards in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Among these were awards from the National Academy of Design in New York and the Pasadena Art Museum in California.
From 1951 this consistent, prodigious, and scholarly painter produced successful one-man shows and museum exhibitions annually. Widely admired and respected by both artists and collectors as a “Painter’s Painter,” his experience and versatility in painting are recognized by the truly sensitive, knowledgeable collector.
Robert also showed in the 1950s at such renowned Los Angeles galleries Ester Robles Gallery and Ankrum Gallery whereby the exhibits were entirely sold. During this time in the Los Angeles gallery scene, Robert Frame was among exhibiting artists such as Sam Francis, Richard Diebenkorn, James Strombotne, and Ed Keinholz. Although he was very well received and recognized as a studio artist, Robert Frame always loved to teach.
Frame taught art at Santa Barbara City College from 1966 until 1986. His paintings have a strong sense of design and symmetry with a master’s intuitive understanding of color and its effect on the viewer’s interpretation of light and form.
From 1948 to 1965, Frame won 22 prizes in painting in national exhibitions, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in Creative Painting, was represented in numerous National Exhibitions of American Painting and featured in several art publications. As a well-respected professor in fine arts, he was influential in institutions such as Otis Art Institute, University of Southern California, Scripps College, and Santa Barbara City College.
Frame’s paintings are a celebration of sumptuous color and painterly surface. His subjects are figures, landscapes, and interiors, saturated with light and vibrant color. To this he brings a strong, but understated structure. One thinks of Bonnard and Matisse when viewing his paintings, yet his work is intense and original. He painted in the Abstract Expressionist and Bay Area Figural Style and at the time had shows concurrently with the major figures of those movements.
Robert studied with Millard Sheets and Henry Lee McFee, and exhibited in public exhibitions at the National Academy of Design, The San Francisco Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum, the Desert Art Museum in Palm Springs, California, Phoenix Art Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the DeYoung Museum, and many others.
He often began a work by sketching an architectonic form that provided the painting with a solid compositional base. He would then proceed to develop spontaneous imagery within these forms. In this way, Frame built his works to result in paintings of strong design and fluidity.
Robert Frame’s work was included in group showings at museums that included San Francisco Museum of Art, DeYoung Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Phoenix Art Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art and many others.