Born in Victoria, BC in 1936, Robert Genn attended the University of Victoria, the University of British Columbia and the Art Centre in Los Angeles, California.
One of Canada's most accomplished painters, he has gained recognition on an international scale for his genre subjects of Canada's west coast. He has painted in most parts of Canada and the USA, Central America, Europe and the Orient. He is also a man of many talents, one of which is Robert the Inventor. He is often seen sitting on his 'Art Dog', a tow behind a bicycle portable easel that he has designed and built.
Strongly influenced by the Group of Seven, Genn carries on a tradition of strong design, fresh painterly techniques and the ability to reduce grand themes to small panels. In recent years Robert has developed his techniques and has moved away from the Group of Seven influences to become a painter recognized by his own emerging style. Bob loves painting "en plein air".Assimilating a wide range of influences, from Japanese woodcuts and North West Coast Native art to the Group of Seven, he has kept alive the tradition of Canadian landscape schools in a style that is his alone. Genn bridges the gap between popularity and the elements of good art and, as a result, has earned a large and faithful following without compromising his standards.
An unpredictable man, willing to shave his beard for charity or raffle off the chassis of a car at his fortieth birthday party, Robert's enthusiasm and curiosity about life are transmitted through his personality and his art. He owns a 31' classic mahogany speed boat that gives him an opportunity to patrol the ocean and rivers in the Crescent Beach area of British Columbia. You have to see the glint he gets in his eye when he speeds past the pier in White Rock to the cheers of those standing on the wharf. His dedication and perseverance have sustained him through the fluctuations of the art market, and he has passed the most crucial test of the artist, the test of time.
Robert has for years reserved a part of his life to explore some of the far reaches and more secluded parts of the world as a source of inspiration and content for his paintings. Through his eye and by his hand we are all able to see the North West coast, the Yukon River, the West Coast Trail, and the Robert Louis Stevenson Trail in France.
In 2000, with his daughter Sara and visits from a chosen few, he set out to become familiar with the Mackenzie River first hand in a boat called the Alexander MacKenzie, designed by Robert himself and built in three weeks by his brother. Embarking from Edmonton, the Genns emersed themselves in the second longest waterway in North America next to the Mississippi. Storms, bears, mosquitos, solitude and the landscape that is the backbone of our collective conscience painted canvases through the eyes of Robert and Sara. The Alexander MacKenzie was winterized for its stay in Norman Wells and the Genns completed their trip to Inuvik with a side trip to Tuktyuktuk in 2001.
We have received numerous paintings that give us a look northward through their eyes and we have also enjoyed reading about their exploits in his twice weekly newsletter.
The magazine 'International Artist' featured Robert Genn and his trip with Sara down the MacKenzie in March 2001.
Robert's paintings are held in many private and corporate collections worldwide. He spends some of his time writing books and a twice-weekly email letter as well as several periodicals. He still has time to help fellow artists by attending and giving workshops.
Cabin, Scouler Anchorage 1980 10 x 12 in. Oil on board
Hardy Islet, Sunset 1979 10 x 12 in. Oil on board
Hardy Islets Light 1978 16 x 20 in. Oil on canvas
Salt Spring A/P 13 x 17 in. Print Media
Snowbound A/P 13 x 17 in. Print Media
The White Pony - 1973 24 x 30 in. Oil on canvas
Sound One - AP 12 x 16 in. Print Media
At Tully Lough - 1987 24 x 30 in. Acrylic on canvas