Robert Lougheed was born in Massey, Ontario, Canada, in 1910, but grew up in nearby Grand Valley. His childhood days were filled with farm chores and hockey games (at one time, he even considered playing professionally). Yet, despite the considerable demands on his time, Lougheed always felt compelled to draw. And draw he did; cattle, horses, pigeons, pigs, and everything else of interest in his immediate surroundings. His guiding principle even then was not to imagine the subject, but rather to always paint directly from the source.
With his parents' support, Lougheed took a correspondence art course. At nineteen, he landed a job as an illustrator for the Toronto Star while continuing to take night courses. Wanting to further his education, he moved to New York to begin his studies at the Art Students League. There, in 1933, he met the impressionist painter Frank Vincent DuMond, who practiced and taught the principles of Plein Air Painting; painting outdoors directly from nature. Years later, DeMond said of his student, “There goes the best I ever had.”
Lougheed left the Art Students League in 1938. Soon, he was well established enough to spend half of each year painting and the other half illustrating for publications such as Reader's Digest, True, and Colliers. Eventually, Lougheed moved to New Mexico, and in 1967, he joined the newly created Cowboy Artists of America. He had his first exhibit at the National Academy of Western Artists in 1968.
During an interview published in American Artist magazine, Lougheed said, “I am a realist in painting. I know that a serious composition must include those emotional and spiritual qualities extolled by the professional art theorist. Like every other artist, I also know that accurate reporting of detail does not, of itself, constitute art; but unlike other theorists, I cannot feel that realistic treatment need detract from my reasonable or sensible idea.”
Eiteljorg Museum of Art; National Center for American Western Art; National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum; Phoenix Art Museum; Rockwell Museum of Western Art; National Museum of Wildlife Art