Robert P. Kilbert (1880 – 1945)
Robert Kilbert was born in Austria (or Germany as noted elsewhere) on September 14, 1880. He was known as a painter of murals, portraits and landscapes. Kilbert studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago under John H. Vanderpoel and Frederick Freer, the Chicago Academy of Fine Art under J. Francis Smith and Edgar S. Cameron, the Académie Julian in Paris with Jean Paul Laurens and in Munich. He was an instructor at the Chicago Art Academy which had an affiliation with the Julian Academy of Paris. In addition he was an illustrator for the Chicago Tribune and the Niagra Lithography Company.
Kilbert was active in the art life of Chicago where he exhibited widely and received a number of honors.
He won a gold medal from the Chicago Art Association in 1900, several awards from the All-Illinois Society of Fine Art (a purchase prize in 1930, a gold medal in 1935 and another prize in 1937), and the Popular Prize from the Society for Sanity in Art in 1937. Kilbert also exhibited two watercolors at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1905 and 1906: “Along the Chicago River” and “The Mouth of the Chicago River.”
Kilbert was a life member of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Palette and Chisel Club, the All-Illinois Society of Fine Arts, the American Federation of Art and the Municipal Art League. In 1929 he established the Treasure Hill Art Academy, a summer school active during the months of July and August, which was nestled in the beautiful hills of Bridgman, Michigan.
Kilbert was included in the collections of the Los Angeles Art Institute, the Michigan Normal School, Jennings Seminary, Aurora, Illinois, two high school in Chicago (Delano and Schurz) and one in Rockford, Illinois (Harlem). Kilbert died in Chicago on June 14, 1945.
Sources: Archives of AskArt (Edward P. Bentley); Mantle Fielding’s Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors and Engravers; Esther Sparks: A Biographical Dictionary of Painters and Sculptors in Illinois 1808-1945; and Peter H. Falk’s Who was Who in American Art 1564-1975.
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