Robert Genn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Robert Genn on location at Lake of the Woods, Ontario

Robert Douglas Genn (May 15, 1936 – May 27, 2014) was a well-known Canadian artist, who has gained recognition for his style, which is in the tradition of Canadian landscape painting.[1][2]

Life and work[edit]

Robert Genn was born in Victoria, British Columbia to an English mother and Scottish father.

Picnic Point to Philip Glass Lake of the Woods, 30" x 34", acrylic on canvas, by Robert Genn.

He identified with, and has been compared to the 1920s Canadian Group of Seven.[3] In 1961, he met Lawren Harris who was a neighbour in Point Grey, Vancouver.[4] Genn had problems with painting skies, and Harris's advice was to turn the picture upside-down: "Paint down from the trees to the clouds at the bottom of the picture to get the perspective right."[4] Genn said this was "valuable advice", which enabled him "to control the gradation, and work up into the trees in a more abstract manner."[4]

He ran the Painter's Keys web site, a worldwide artists' community, with his staff and volunteers. The web site sends out an erudite[1] free twice-weekly newsletter, which is sent to 135,000 artists in over 100 countries,[5] and claims the largest collection of art quotes online with over 5,382 authors quoted.[6] His "Ten Commandments of Art Pricing" on his web site (reprinted on advise starting cheaply, raising prices slowly, keeping them the same for all purchasers and pricing by size.[7]

In 2005, Genn campaigned against the Chinese website,, which was selling thousands of high-resolution images of around 2,800 artists' work illegally, without permission.[4][8] After failing to gain support from the Canadian government or the African embassy in Ottawa,[4] Genn used his web site to enlist subscribers' support to email objections to the arch-world, resulting within days in over 1,000 online complaints from artists, dealers and politicians[8] to the company and governments.[5] This stimulated a diplomatic protest letter to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Trading and Law Department from the Canadian Embassy in Beijing.[5] Genn credited the campaign with the subsequent removal of images by 800 Canadian artists from arch-world,[4] although many works were reinstated on arch-world soon after.[8]

Genn has been a member of the Board of Directors at Emily Carr College of Art & Design.[3]

Genn announced in his Twice-Weekly Letter of 25 October 2013 that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.[9] He died at his Surrey, British Columbia home at 10:20 am on 27 May 2014 according to his daughter Sara Genn in the Twice-Weekly Letter of 30 May 2014.[10][11]


Genn has written three books. In Praise of Painting (2012) is an illustrated autobiography of his early years. The Dreamway (1987) is an account of a meeting with a spiritual seer. The Painter's Keys (2000) is a handbook for painters based on one of his creativity seminars.

Representation and collections[edit]

As of mid 2017, 430 works have auction sales.[12] His work is represented by 12 galleries in Canada.[13] Solo shows include Jenkins Showler Gallery, White Rock; West End Gallery, Edmonton; Hambleton Galleries, Kelowna, The Art Emporium, Vancouver;[3] and Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB.[14] He is one of the 60 elected senior members (SFCA) of the Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA).[2]

His work is in corporate and public collections, including Air Canada, Bank Of Montreal, Canadian General Insurance, Canadian Airlines, Canadian Utilities, The Churchill Corporation, Expo '86, Esso Resources, First City - California II, Highfield Oil & Gas, Molson Brewery Ltd., Montreal Trust, Shell Resources, University of Alberta, Westgate Chevrolet,[3] Glenbow Museum and Government of Belgium.[14]


  1. ^ a b "Painting using cues from nature", Retrieved 15 September 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Robert Genn, SFCA", Federation of Canadian Artists. Retrieved 14 February 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d "Robert Genn" Jenkins Showler gallery. Retrieved 14 February 2007 A fuller list of collections is on this site.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Brennan, Brian. "Homage - Robert Genn", Galleries West, 1999. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
  5. ^ a b c "Chinese firm 'steals' art by painters here", The Vancouver Sun, 29 December 2005. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
  6. ^ "Resource of art quotations", Retrieved 14 February 2007
  7. ^ Boddy-Evans, Marion. "The Ten Commandments of Art Pricing", Retrieved 15 September 2009.
  8. ^ a b c Whyte, Murray. "Chinese site rips off art", Toronto Star, 9 December 2005. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
  9. ^ "The bomb". Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  10. ^ "Robert Genn (May 15, 1936 - May 27, 2014)". Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  11. ^ Alex Browne (2014-05-29). "Noted Canadian landscape artist Robert Genn passes". Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  12. ^ [1], Retrieved 15 July 2017
  13. ^ "Robert's work is represented by:", Retrieved 14 February 2007
  14. ^ a b "Robert Genn SFCA", Canada House Gallery. Retrieved 14 February 2007.

External links[edit]