Robert Guinan (b. 1934 in Watertown, New York) is a Chicago-based American painter. The subject matter of his work includes but has not been limited to street performers, musicians, barflies, historical scenes, landscapes and building structures. Lauded in Europe but widely unknown in his native Chicago, Guinan's work work reflects a documentary quality that has been compared to "that of the Parisian demi-mondes as chronicaled and interpreted by Toulouse-Lautrec.". Toulouse-Lautrec was in fact an influence on Guinan; as a young man he saw the film "Moulin Rouge" and felt like Toulouse-Lautrec, the 19th-century French painter known for his portraits of night life in Paris.
Public collections include Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon; Musée de Grenoble; Musée du dessin et de l’estampe originale, Gravelines; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Sintra Museu de Arte Moderna, Collection Berardo, Sintra, Portugal.
Guinan's work has been featured in exhibitions as follows:
|1950||Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library, Watertown, New York.|
|1961||"The Little Chapel around the Corner”, Chicago; “Robert Guinan: paintings, drawings, lithographs”, Contemporary Art Workshop, Chicago.|
|1969||Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL.|
|1972||Galerie Ariadne, Vienna.|
|1973||Galerie Albert Loeb, Paris.|
|1974||Galerie Albert Loeb, Paris.|
|1976||Atelier-Galerie Le Lutrin, Lyon. “Dessins”, Galerie Albert Loeb, Paris.|
|1977||“Peintures”, F.I.A.C., Paris, Galerie Albert Loeb. “Peintures”, Galerie Albert Loeb, Paris.|
|1978||Galerie Albert Loeb, Paris.|
|1979||Galleria Documenta, Turin. “Peintures”, Galerie Albert Loeb, Paris.|
|1981||F.I.A.C., Paris, Galerie Albert Loeb. Musée de Grenoble.|
|1982||Musée d'Ixelles, Bruxelles. Lens Fine Art, Anvers.|
|1985||Galerie Albert Loeb, Paris.|
|1986||“Dessins”, F.I.A.C., Paris, Galerie Albert Loeb.|
|1988||“Dessins de 1972 à 1987”, Galerie Albert Loeb, Paris.|
|1989||Chicago International Art Exposition, Galerie Albert Loeb. “Peintures et études”, Galerie Albert Loeb, Paris.|
|1990||F.I.A.C., Paris, Galerie Albert Loeb. Galerie Albert Loeb, Paris.|
|1991||F.I.A.C., Paris, Galerie Albert Loeb.|
|1997||“Les portraits de Loretta”, peintures et dessins, F.I.A.C., Paris, Galerie Albert Loeb.|
|1998||“Dessins 1988-1998, oeuvre gravé et lithographié 1961-1998”, Association Malbodium Museum, Centre Culturel de l’Arsenal, Maubeuge;
"Oeuvres des années soixante", Galerie Albert Loeb, Paris; "Peintures et dessins", LARC, scène Nationale, Le Creusot.
|2001||Galerie Albert Loeb, Paris.|
|2005||Académie de France à Rome, Villa Medici, Rome|
|2006||Galerie Albert Loeb, Paris.|
|1957||“Seventh Regional Art Exhibition”, Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts, Etat de New-York.|
|1968||“Nonplussed Some”, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, with Ed Paschke, Edward C. Flood, Sarah A. Canright, Richard D. Wetzel.|
|1972||Foire de Bâle, “Art 72”, Galerie Ariadne, Vienna.|
|1976||"Chemins de la Création", Château d'Ancy-le-Franc, France. “Nouvelle Subjectivité”, Festival d'Automne, Paris.|
|1977||“Nouvelle Subjectivité”, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles. “Nouvelle Subjectivité”, Espace Lyonnais d’Art Contemporain, Lyon. "Réalisme, réel, réalité , Abbaye de Beaulieu en Rouergue|
|1978 - 1979||Ateliers d'Aujourd'hui : Oeuvres contemporaines des collections nationales, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.|
|1982||Biennale de Venise, Pavillon International.|
|1984||"L'Imagine e il suo doppio", Italie (exposition itinérante). “Souvenirs d'un musée à la campagne”, Château de Tanlay, France.|
|1985||“Neuf artistes de la Galerie Albert Loeb”, Galleria Forni, Bologne.|
|1987||Foire de Bâle, “Art’ 87”, Galerie Albert Loeb.|
|1990, 1991||Salon de Mars, Paris, Galerie Albert Loeb.|
|1991, 1996||F.I.A.C., Paris, Galerie Albert Loeb.|
|1997||“La Pelle Nera”, Galleria Marieschi, Monza, Italy.|
|1999–2000||“Exterior Spaces, Interior Spaces”, Musée de Villach, Austria.|
|2000, 2003||Pavillon des Antiquaires et des Beaux-Arts, Paris, Galerie Albert Loeb, Paris.|
Robert Guinan's life and work has been the subject of two films including the 1995 documentary "Division Street U.S.A.: while following Robert Guinan" (Frederic Compain, 52 min, Coproduction Dune, Leapfrog Production, Arte - G.E.I.E.) and the 2006 documentary "Robert Guinan, un peintre en marge du rêve américain"(Albert Loeb and Nicole Sérès, 48 min, Les Films Lazare)
Life and career
Guinan was born in 1934 in Watertown, New York. His mother, the late Dorothy M. Guinan, encouraged his interest in art. Because formal art instruction was not offered at Immaculate Heart Academy (IHA), night classes were arranged beginning at age 13 or 14 with Mary Morley, an art teacher at Watertown High School who was mentioned in Who's Who of American Art. Guinan's first exhibition occurred when he was just 15 at the Watertown library. A critic in the Watertown Daily Times called the show "a most creditable exhibit for an artist of his age and training" and said of his work the following: "slightly on the impressionistic side, his paintings display a fine sense of color rendering, theming and composition, although still lacking a little in delineation." That show led to annual exhibits of his works through his high school years. Times writer David F. Lane wrote in 1950 that his paintings were "of such character in composition, coloration and brush technique as to definitely forecast a promising future for him in the field of art." He praised the 16-year-old artist's "rare genius for capturing action in tense moments, and in rendering facial expressions which accurately represent the mood and thought of the character..
Guinan graduated from IHA in 1951, and initially worked a day job in a dental lab. He lived in a YMCA hotel. In 1953, Guinan enlisted in the Air Force after considering a potential Army draft during the Korean War. He served as a radio operator in North Africa and Turkey while continuing to practice drawing and painting.
In 1959 Guinan began living and working in Chicago, Illinois after enrolling in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. "I would go out in the joints and draw, Guinan is quoted as saying. "One joint was called the Green Mill, a name which Guinan appreciated due to its correlation with a painter he'd been inspired by. "Toulouse-Lautrec hung out at the Moulin Rouge, the Red Mill..
In 1972 Robert Guinan was introduced to Parisian art dealer Albert Loeb. Beginning in 1973, Guinan worked regularly with the Albert Loeb Gallery. As of 2010 he is represented locally in Chicago.
Guinan continues to live and paint in his home on the north side of Chicago. One son, Paul Guinan, is a comic-book artist and creator of the fictional character Boilerplate. Another son, Sean Guinan (b. 1970) is a film maker and musician known for prize-winning films including "Teplitz; the Tyranny of Paradox" and "Flipping the Whale", and his cabaret-style band, Candy Town.
- Robert Guinan: Beyond Biography, Beyond Story by Andrew Patner. Robert Guinan Exhibit, Academie de France, Villa Medici. 2005. pp. 17–19.
- Golden, John. "HUNTING GUINAN: An artist renowned in France finds fame elusive in his native land". Article. New York Times. Retrieved 2004.
- Loeb, Albert. "Robert Guinan". Artist Profile. Gallerie Albert Loeb.