Engman was born in 1927 to parents who had emigrated from Sweden. He joined the Navy at the age of 15, serving in World War II in the Pacific. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA, and from Yale University with an MFA in 1955, in Painting and in Sculpture, where he studied with Josef Albers. Albers wrote of him: “Only a few independent ones were courageous enough to concentrate on the plane—the in-between of volume and line—as a broad sculptural concept and promise.”
In his work, he often explores minimal surface intersections of geometric forms. Others have been fascinated with the science and mathematics of such surfaces, including the late R. Buckminster Fuller.
Triune (1975), near Philadelphia City Hall
- Column, 1963, Public art at Yale
- "Robert Engman" (PDF). List Visual Arts Center. MIT. Retrieved 2017-03-19.
- Robert Engman page, Philadelphia Public Art @ philart.net
- "CultureNOW - Untitled: Robert Engman and MIT Public Art Collection". culturenow.org. Retrieved 2017-03-19.