Robert S. Neuman was born in Kellogg, Idaho, in 1926. After an honorable discharge from the Air Force in 1946, he received his BA in 1949 and his MFA in 1951, both from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. He moved from the Bay Area to the East Coast in 1957 where he began teaching art at SUNY New Paltz, then at Massachusetts College of Art, Brown University, and Harvard University’s Carpenter Center for Visual Arts. He received a Fulbright Fellowship for Painting in 1953 and the John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 1956. He has been the subject of countless exhibitions, including five solo shows in 2013. Neuman’s work has been on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His work is included in public collections including the Carnegie Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University. He died in June 2015.
During the 1950's, Neuman painted in an Abstract Expressionist style, incorporating the stylistic signifiers of the Bay Area School such as broad surface treatments, a full color palette, and atmospheric light. In the 1960's, Neuman's art evolved into geometric abstraction, fusing form and content that often verged on symbolism. He produced various bodies of works such as the Kandinsky-esque cosmos paintings of the 1970's and the complex allegories of the 1980's. Most recently he became interested in honoring the bygone landscape of Native Americans. Like his original Bay Area peers, Neuman was able to bridge his passion for pigment with abstraction, landscape, and most importantly, application of color.