Robert Abbett, born in Indiana in 1926, is best known for his depictions of sporting dogs, fly-fishing, and Western life. He began his career as an advertising illustrator, attending night and weekend classes at both the Chicago Academy of Fine Art and the American Academy of Art where he found himself drawn to editorial and advertising art. In 1953 he moved from Chicago to Connecticut to be closer to the editorial markets. He illustrated for Argosy, The Woman’s Home Companion, Sports Afield, Reader’s Digest, and True magazines. He also worked with several West Coast motion picture studios and drew covers for many of the leading paperback publishers. Robert Abbett was commissioned to paint his first animal portrait of Luke in 1970. It was with this painting that he transitioned from working as an illustrator to a full-time gallery artist. Abbett is recognized as a master in the field of sporting dog portraiture.
This is a portrait of the artist’s own Labrador, Bo Jangles. In his book, A Season for Painting, Abbett recalls: “Bo’s worst problem was his unlimited energy; he should have belonged to someone who hunted ducks with him at least twice a day, twelve months a year, with an occasional field trial or two thrown in. As a pup, he would sit in the studio watching me, crouched like a leopard about to spring, and I would tell him, ‘Look, Bo, I’m sorry, but there’s just not a lot going on right now.’ Perhaps I should have named him ‘Patton’: his charge was unstoppable.”
Provenance: Private Collection, Florida
Literature: Robert K. Abbett, A Season for Painting: The Outdoor Art of Robert K. Abbett, Dallas, TX, 2001, p. 71.
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