Born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1938, Robert Heindel recalls that both drawing and painting were a natural focus for him. A progression to art school simply wasn’t possible either financially or practically. Instead, like many young artists he found himself a job in a professional art studio. He became a correspondent of Famous Artists School during those years and comments "Famous Schools taught me self discipline - the very fact that I had to meet deadlines, ensure I returned my work and then await the outcome, certainly prepared me well for the future at first in the illustrative and later the gallery business. Most significantly, it taught me quickly to function alone, for painting is not a joint project". Forty years on and Heindel is himself an honorary member of the Schools board and now an inspiration to young artists.
Following graduation from Famous Artists his career flourished. At first in the world of illustration where, during the 1970’s, he was recognized as one of Americas finest, and achieved work on the covers of ‘Time’ magazine and won a place in the permanent collection of The Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. One night in the early 1980’s chance tickets to the ballet (Nureyev & Fonteyn no less) presented him with unfamiliar territory which he found at once compelling and his obsession with dance was fired. More than twenty years on he has made contemporary ballet his world, earning such responses as ‘the greatest painter of dance since Degas’ (David Bintley – Artistic Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet). Heindel has worked with many of the worlds leading ballet and dance companies, always preferring their rehearsal periods. Such companies include The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Rambert Dance Company, American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet. In pursuing this direction he has accordingly worked with and painted many leading names from dance - Darcey Bussell, Irek Mukhamedov, Viviana Durante, Sir Anthony Dowell, and Sir Frederick Ashton to name but a few. Heindel’s oil canvas of ‘Sir Fred’ is now within the permanent collection at The National Portrait Gallery in London. Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber commissioned Heindel to paint impressions from his musicals ‘Cats’ and ‘Phantom of The Opera’ during the mid 1980’s. These impressions were then seen world-wide in the theatre productions.
Diana, Princess of Wales was an admirer and collector of Heindel's work, attending some of his exhibitions. Other royal guests to his exhibitions over the years have included Princess Margaret, Princess Caroline of Monaco and Prince Takamado of Japan.