Robert Philipp began to draw at the age of three which seems only natural since family members were highly attuned to the arts, prominent in Europe and America in opera singing, composing, and theatre management.
Through constant travel, beginning with the turn of the century, Philipp was exposed to the invaluable cultural influences of some of the major cities of the world. Renoir, Monet, and Degas were active in his favorite Paris, the "City of Light," which, along with London, Amsterdam, and Venice, attracted and inspired him for a lifetime.
He studied art in Paris and at the National Academy and at the Art Students League in New York, developing the masterful, yet intensely personal style, which produced his success. Collectors from around the world, Tokyo or Tel Aviv, Sydney or Capetown, Rio or Montreal, made him one of the rare Americans with a truly international following. Among Phillipp's famous collectors was the distinguished J. Paul Getty.
Robert Philipp was elected to the National Academy as Associate in 1935, full Member in 1945. An extensive biography would be necessary to discuss all the exhibitions, prizes and awards, gold, silver and bronze medals, and various honors accorded him from 1917 onward, not to mention a listing of his extensive representation in museum collections such as the Metropolitan, Whitney, Brooklyn, Corcoran, Dallas, Houston, to name only a few.
As important to him as painting was his teaching, which preoccupied him continually for over forty years at the Art Student League, National Academy, University of Illinois, and Atlanta High Museum.
A powerful and memorable instructor, he teased and challenged his students, encouraging some, infuriating others, leaving a few in tears, but imbuing all with what he considered a serious responsibility,,, to awake in each an awareness of talent for artistic expression.
Sometimes called "America’s last impressionist," Philipp projected an image romantic and evocative, colorful and engaging, haunting or humorous, always perceptive. The observer is spellbound by his daydreaming girls, swept up in the glamour of his restaurant parties and glittering opening nights, touched by emotional involvement with each character caught in a frozen moment. His adored wife Rochelle was a favorite model.
Robert Philipp’s place in American art is secured by his legacy of beautiful works remaining to enrich the lives of future generations and by the vital creativity he sparked in thousands of pupils who will continue in the tradition of his dedication to fine painting.