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Short Biography of Robert Lindneux
If you are selling a painting or reproduction by Robert Lindneux you may use the Short Biography of Robert Lindneux but please link back to our website as the source you are using.
Short Biography of Robert Lindneux:
Robert Lindneux, born in 1871 and died in 1970, trained in Germany and Paris. He worked in New York, Boston, Montana, and Wyoming and finally settled in Denver Colorado. His best known Paintings include Portrait of Buffalo Bill, Trail of Tears, and the Sand Creek Massacre. Source: robertlindneux.com
Biography of Robert Lindneux
If you are a student or researcher and want to quote part or all of the long biography you may do so, please see the citation example provided which will include the link to this web page.
Robert Lindneux was born in New York City in 1871. Orphaned by the age of five, Robert was raised by his Aunt Lucille. Demonstrating a talent for art Robert was enrolled in drawing lessons. When Robert was 17 Lucille made arrangements for him to attend the Art Academy in Dusseldorf, Germany under the tutelage of Benjamin Vautier. In 1889 Lindneux borrowed some money from a friend and traveled to Paris to see the Buffalo Bill Wild West show; this was a pivotal experience that sparked his passion for the American West. With the encouragement of Vautier, Robert also attended the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, France and during this time trained under Michael von Munkacsy. Later Robert attended a class at the Munich Academy taught by Franz Stuck.
Lindneux returned to America in 1898 working in Boson and New York and eventually worked his way west to Montana. He worked as a trapper, horse wrangler and cowboy, learning about the life he wanted to paint. He and his wife then moved to Wyoming and later settled in Denver, Colorado in 1918 where Lindneux embarked upon a prolific career. Lindneux’s best known works are the life size portrait of Buffalo Bill at the Buffalo Bill Museum on Lookout Mountain near Denver, Colorado and Trail of Tears on display at the Frank Phillips Woolaroc Museum, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The Colorado History Museum houses several of Lindneux’s significant historical works including Sand Creek Massacre. 1
- Christina Smith, “Biography of Robert Lindneux”, www.robertlindneux.com/about/biogrpahies. Source: Memoir of Robert Lindneux owned by Christina Smith and Robert Lindneux Millard Jr. Mesa, Arizona.
The Memoir of Robert Lindneux Project
The biography provided on this web site covers a fraction of Lindneux’s adventures over his long life. We hope that this web site has sparked your interest in the art and life of Robert Lindneux and that you found yourself wanting to know more about his life story. The full story of Lindneux’s art and life is told in Robert Lindneux’s own memoir; a document that has been with the family since the 1960’s. We (Jackie and Christina) are working diligently to publish this document and make it available to you.
Though the memoir document is complete, a great deal of research has been necessary, (and is still in progress) in order to verify and document the information Lindneux provided. Needless to say, as is the way with research, we have uncovered a few mysteries and many more questions that need to be answered. If you have an interest in this project, or if you believe you have any information that may be of help to this project, please go to our contact page.
The Creation of Robert Lindneux’s “Trail of Tears”
The following is based on information from Lindneux’s memoir and other documents included in his archive.
Robert Lindneux painted the “Trail of Tears” at the request of Frank Phillips who built the Woolaroc Museum in Bartlesville Oklahoma. In the April 1976 issue of the magazine “Southwest Art” on page 46, writer Scott Dial who interviewed Lindneux’s daughter, lists the seven steps that Lindneux always followed when creating a historical painting, they were: 1) Research 2) Compilation 3) In the field sketches 4) Charcoal composition 5) Pencil drawings 6) Oil skin transfer 7) Work on the oil on canvas painting. Lindneux used only ten pigments to create all of the shades and hues in his paintings. Colorado History archive houses much of Lindneux’s personal items including one of his paint palates and paint boxes. The colors observed in the paint boxes are…. These exact colors likely changed over time based on availability. These were all technics that Lindneux learned in his training at the Art Academy in Dusseldorf, Germany, the Ecole in Paris and Munich Art Academy.
Lindneux did extensive research for this painting to make it as historically accurate as possible. Some of this research was done at the Woolaroc Museum itself where Lindneux took notes about and made sketches of material at Woolaroc related to the Cherokees, Osages and Seminoles. Letters from Lindneux to Mr. John N. Seward, who was a manager for Mr. Phillip, also describe the research he did. Lindneux gathered information from the Museum of Natural History in New York City, the Heye Foundation Indian Museum also in New York City, the Field Museum in Chicago, the Studebaker Museum in south Bend, Indiana, (for examples of the Studebaker wagons in the painting.) The soldiers in the painting are from copies of military plates made by R. A. Ogden, who Lindneux states was an authority on uniforms of the United States Army. Lindneux also states that the dog pack is authentic according to George Catlin and Edward S. Curtis’ “Indian Days of Long Ago”. Lindneux also says in one of these letters that, “I feel the best account of the “Trail of Tears” is recorded by James Mooney in the “Myths of the Cherokee” page 132 of the 19th Report 1897-98, of the Bureau of American Ethnology.”
The first of these letters to Mr. Seward was dated, August 2, 1941. In a letter dated November 15, 1941 Lindneux thanks Mr. Seward for some of his suggestions including having the caravan coming through a gap in the hills in the background. This indicates that Mr. Seward also had input into how this painting was executed. In another letter dated January 30, 1942, Lindneux encloses a photo of his initial drawing of the painting for Mr. Seward to review and approve before he began work on the actual oil painting.
Lindneux’s memoir indicates that he cut back his teaching schedule to four days a week so that he could dedicate more time to working on this painting. In a letter to Frank Phillips on April 20, 1942 Lindneux declares that after an “untiring” amount of research the “Trail of Tears” painting was finally done and that he felt it was an artistic and truthful rendition of this event. Lindneux spent around six months doing research for this painting and three months painting it.
The History of the Lindneux Art Publishing Co.
Many of the questions we receive from visitors to this web site are about reproductions of Lindneux paintings and most of these were printed by the Lindneux Art Publishing Co. Since this is an area of interest for those who admire Lindneux’s work we have gathered the information that we have from Lindneux’s memoir and his correspondence into a brief history about the Lindneux Art Publishing Co.
Our area of expertise is the history of Robert Lindneux’s life; we are not art appraisers and cannot provide values for any reproduction or painting. We can only share the advice that Lindneux himself would often state: “A painting (or vintage reproduction) is only worth what you can get for it.” The other thing to keep in mind is location, certain genres of art sell better in certain parts of the country than others.
Another piece of advice: art work must be inspected and evaluated in person. Photos sent via email are not enough to properly determine if what you have is an original oil painting, (it could be on canvas or art board) or, a lithograph on canvas or art board, or a printed reproduction, (note that some art printing is done on textured paper that can almost look like canvas.) Our best recommendation is to do your homework and research the appraisers in your area; always ask for references making sure to contact the references.
History of the Lindneux Art Publishing Company:
When Robert Lindneux and his wife Gertrude first moved to Denver, Colorado in 1918 Lindneux had already developed a reputation as a fine western artist and there was a considerable call for reproductions of his work since people could not pay the price of an original painting. Lindneux would have photographs of his paintings enlarged and then would color them by hand with photo oil colors. The process of coloring each of these enlarged photographs by hand consumed a great deal of his time, which Lindneux had to balance with the time he needed to continue work on other original paintings.
In 1921 Lindneux printed his first catalog of these reproductions entitled, “Pictures of The Great West by Robt. Lindneux”. The little booklet was 5-13/16 inches high, 3-7/16 inches wide in size and had 20 pages. The inside cover read, “Pictures of the Great West – A tribute to its animal life and scenic beauties from the brush of the sportsman artist Robert Lindneux – Copyrighted 1921 by Robert Lindneux, Denver, Colorado.” In the back of this catalog Walter H. Carson is listed as the Sales & Advertising Manager for The Lindneux Studios on E. Colfax, Denver Colo.
The Foreword of this catalog mentions the fact that by this point in time Lindneux had in his employ colorists who would assist him with the work of colorizing the enlarged photographs. Even with the help of his colorists Lindneux still found it difficult to keep up with the demand.
In 1922 after Lindneux had completed work on the life-sized portrait of Buffalo Bill on his white horse Isham, Lindneux met Charles LaPointe, Manager of the Colorado Engraving Company. LaPointe proposed that Lindneux should have his paintings reproduced by a four-color process thus relieving Lindneux of much of the hand work, not to mention aggravation when his colorists did not produce work to Lindneux’s satisfaction. Robert and Gertrude discussed the idea and soon decided to proceed with the plan. So in 1922 “The Lindneux Art Publishing Company” was created as a branch of the Colorado Engraving Company. Robert Lindneux was elected the President; Mr. Samuel S. Sherman was elected Vice President, (Sherman was also the Editor in Chief of the Rocky Mountain News of Denver, Colorado) and Mr. Charles LaPointe was appointed the Secretary and Treasurer.
In 1923 a new catalog was published entitled, “Pictures of The Great West by Robt. Lindneux – Catalog of The Lindneux Art Publishing Co., … Fourteenth St. Denver, Colo.” This catalog is 7-13/16 inches high by 4-5/8 inches wide and had 32 pages.
Despite Lindneux’s earlier success with his reproductions it appears that the Lindneux Art Publishing Company was never quite able to fulfill the hopes and expectations it began with. Based on various correspondences we have, it appears that by 1930 the association with the Colorado Engraving Company had ended.
If you own one of these reproductions (or even one of the original paintings) and would like the text of the description of the image from the catalog see the contact page to reach out to us describing the painting, or the name from the list below, and we will email you the text of the description and any other information we have.
Below is a list of the images found in these two catalogs:
The 1921 Lindneux Art Publishing Co. catalog:
A fight to the finish (A man fighting with a bear)
Black Bear and Cubs
The Silvertip Grizzly
Sheep Lake, Estes Park
The Tawny Killer (A mountain lion stalking two deer)
The Ranchers Serenade (coyotes howling on a cliff top overlooking a ranch)
Hooked – Rainbow Trout
The Foster Mother (horse and baby burro looking out a stable window)
Western Sage (landscape)
Old Timers (landscape of windblown trees near timberline)
The 1923 Lindneux Art Publishing Co. catalog:
Western Pep (a cowboy riding a bucking bronco)
Portrait of Buffalo Bill
A Fight to the Finish (see above)
Black Bear and Cubs
Buffalo Bill on Horseback
The Foster Mother (see above)
The Proud Mother (mother and baby horse looking out a stable window)
An Unwelcome visitor (a mountain lion on top of an old stone cabin)
His First Trophy (Father and son carrying the head of a bull moose)
The Tawny Killer (see above)
The Ranchers’ Serenade (see above)
A Critical Moment
The Silvertip Grizzly
The Challenge (Bull elk bugling)
Rolling A Pill (A cowboy rolling a cigarette)
The Night Herder
Sheep Lake, Estes Park
Bang! Bang! (Hunters shooting ducks)
The Dude Wrangler (Man on an outcropping of rocks, second man handing him a gun)
A Coyote Hunter
The Lure of the Prairie (pack train of horses making its way across the Wyoming prairie)
This is not yet an exhaustive bibliography, but it does list the majority of sources about or relating to Robert Lindneux that you might find interesting.
- Art Digest, The. “Lindneux’s ‘Death the Victor,’ and Symbolism That Will Not Die” 9 no. 1 (1 October 1934): 8.
- Chandler, Mary Voelz. “Robert O. Lindneux at Home on the Range.” Denver Co. Rocky Mountain News, Sunday, 17 November 1991, final edition, Sunday Magazine/Travel section, 12M.
- Dial, Scott E. “Robert Ottokar Lindneux, 1871-1970.” Southwest Art, April 1976, 40-47.
- Forrest, James Taylor. “Robert Ottokar Lindneux: The Last of the Cowboy Artists.” Great Plains Journal 6:1 (fall 1966): 32-35.
- Halaas, David Fridtjof. “Robert Lindneux: Western History, Patriotism, and Art.” Colorado History Now (November 1998): 3.
- Hedren, Paul L. “The Contradictory Legacies of Buffalo Bill Cody’s First Scalp for Custer.” Montana: The Magazine of Western History , Vol. 55, No. 1 (Spring, 2005), pp. 16-35
- Rocky Mt. News, “Denver Artist Will Paint 32 Most Famous Indians,” Sunday, 3 September 1933, Main News Section, 6.
- Spring, Agnes Wright, “Rosa Bonheur and Buffalo Bill,” The Western Horseman, April, 1962.
- Wolf, Mark. “Historian Calls West Cradle of U.S.” Denver Co. Rocky Mountain News, 2 November 2000, final edition, Lifestyles/Spotlight section, 3D.
- Carr, James F., comp. Mantle Fielding’s Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors and Engravers: With Addendum Containing Corrections and Additional Material on the Original Entries. New York: James F. Carr, 1965. 217.
- Dawdy, Doris Ostrander. Artists of the American West: A Biographical Dictionary. Chicago: Sage Books Chicago, 1974. 145.
- Falk, Peter Hastings, editor-in-chief. Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America. Vol. 2. Madison: Sound View Press. 1999. 2030.
- Fielding, Mantel. Dictionary of American Painters Sculptors & Engravers: From Colonial Times through 1926. Flushing: Paul A. Stroock, 1960. 217.
- Friesen, Steve. Buffalo Bill: Scout, Showman, Visionary. Golden, Colo: Fulcrum Pub., 2010. 78, 154.
- Harmsen, Dorothy. Western Americana. Flagstaff: Northland Press, 1971. 128.
- Opitz, Glenn B., ed. Mantle Fielding’s Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers. 2nd ed. Poughkeepsie: Apollo, 1987. 544.
- Young, William ed. and comp. A Dictionary of American Artists, Sculptors and Engravers: From the Beginnings through the Turn of the Twentieth Century. Cambridge: William Young and Co., 1968. 286.
- Lindneux, Robert. “Robert Ottokar Lindneux Interview, 1964 Nov. 14.” Interviewed by Sylvia Loomis. Sound tape reel transcript, Denver CO, 14 November 1964. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Oral History Collection.
- Lindneux, Robert. 2002/1949. Oral history interview of Robert Lindneux. Denver, Colo: Colorado Historical Society.
- Amon Carter Museum. Catalogue of the Collection 1972. Fort Worth: Amon Carter Museum, 1973. 52.
- Lindneux, Robert. Pictures of the Great West: Catalogue of The Lindneux Art Publishing Co. Lindneux Art Publishing co., Denver CO. 1923.
- Patterson, Patrick. Woolaroc Museum. The Frank Phillips Foundation, Inc., 1965. 30, 31, 40, 46, 50, 52, 53.
- Sotheby Parke Bernet. Exhibition by Robert Ottokar Lindneux from the Estate of Ben E. Bond, Tulsa. Public Auction Monday, March 4, 1974, Lo Angeles.