Dr. Robert Rogan, Exceptional Modern Artist, Professor, and Mentor: Photos of His Art
Writing about Dr. Robert Rogan (known to family members as Bob) is near and dear to my heart. Sharing some information about this extraordinary man who is my husband's great uncle through marriage is my great pleasure for this my 200th post on HubPages. He is indeed not only a talented artist and professor. Bob Rogan has also been a mentor and exceptional person to many who have been fortunate enough to have crossed his path.
My husband was about 4 or 5 years old when Bob's wife Ann introduced him to family members at a family gathering in Iowa.
Ann was the youngest sibling of my husband's maternal grandmother. My husband's mother was only about seven years younger, so they were raised like sisters. Thus the relationship was close.
Academic Experience and Education History
Robert Rogan had Midwestern roots (as did my husband's family) and started his academic career as an instructor at Fort Dodge Junior College in 1950.
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Washburn University in 1948. He followed that with a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa in 1950. In 1964 Robert Rogan attained his Doctorate in Education at the University of Kansas.
His career path led him to the following institutions:
- Instructor at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, from 1951 - 1954.
- Professor of Art at Central Missouri State University from 1954 - 1959.
- Instructor at the University of Kansas in Lawrence from 1959 - 1961.
- And finally, Dr. Rogan was a Professor of Art and the Department Head at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, from 1961 to 1990 when he retired from his long and satisfying academic career.
My husband credits his great uncle by introducing him to art and cultivating his interest in art appreciation.
My husband's dad had died when my husband was still a toddler. His mother had relocated to San Antonio, Texas, from Iowa and was busy earning a living as a pharmacist. Ann and Bob would often visit family members in San Antonio. Bob would take my husband and his two boys to McNay Art Institute and other museums for a fun daytime outing when that would occur.
Because of Bob's genuine enthusiasm and knowledge of the subject matter, artistic creations came alive in my husband's mind and were no longer merely static canvasses of color adorning walls but became something much more. Each piece told a story no matter which art medium was on view.
Different Styles of Painting
Most artists like to experiment with different styles of artistic expression. Being a professor of art, Bob Rogan would have had additional reasons for experimentation. After all, he was a teacher!
In a few of his paintings, he used the dribble or drip approach Jackson Pollock made famous. This Pollock painting style was not his usual expression style, but it made for some colorful canvasses.
Beaumont Home and Art Studio
The first time I visited Ann and Bob at their home in Beaumont, I was fascinated! They were both warm, welcoming, intelligent, and genuinely kind people.
As a person who has dabbled with creating art for most of my life, here was a living and breathing art gallery. Every room of their home held another beautiful collection of creations. I took some photos and wish now that I had taken even more.
Most exciting of all was Bob's art studio! He had converted his garage into his studio. It was brimming with his creations, and many of the canvasses stacked one against another. There was not enough room on the walls to hold everything. Also, some paintings and works of art given to him by his students helped fill the walls with a vibrant mix of colors and styles.
Easels, vast collections of brushes, and other artist supplies were also there with artworks. Some paintings were still in progress. It was quite simply a wonderland and feast for the senses!
As much as Robert Rogan loved creating art, he admitted to my husband one day that he loved teaching it even more. He loved opening this vast world of artistic expression and helping students explore it while on their journey to becoming artists in their own right.
Serving as an instructor Dr. Rogan became a mentor to many of his students who thought the world of this warm and gentle soul. Several of his students have received accolades, and at least one has even published an art book. Bob still has some former students visit him though it has been years since he headed the art department at Lamar University. My husband has personally met several former students of his great uncle who have personally attested to great admiration for their former professor.
Exhibitions and Sales
For many years Bob would display some of his art in different exhibitions at museums and universities, and other venues, even winning prizes. Still, he truly hated to sell his works. Occasionally he would let a piece go and then wish that he had kept it. They were like his babies, everyone near and dear to his heart.
Once he decided to start letting some of his pieces go, suddenly the word spread like wildfire, and people began knocking on his door to collect his works. Many of the photos in this post may or may not be available any longer.
The first piece of Rogan's work sold at William Reaves Fine Arts gallery in Houston was the dove painting. It was on display at their Three Professors At Work exhibition in June - July of 2008. It had a red dot (sold sticker) on it before the official opening of the exhibit! I am happy that I had taken a photo of it and can remember it visually in addition to having just a fond memory of that particular painting. Hopefully, the new owner appreciates it as much as we did.
The photos below as they were on display in the William Reaves Art Gallery show an abstracted nude mingling amid Bob's other works. That voluptuous nude painting used to hang in the Rogan bedroom, and Bob had told us that it was his abstracted interpretation of his beloved wife, Ann. What an outstanding tribute to their love and long marriage that has surpassed the Golden Anniversary (50 years of marriage) some time ago!
Inspiration for Robert Rogan's paintings has come from many familiar surrounding sources. Beaumont, Texas, has an active shipping industry, and cranes hoisting supplies of all types on and off of ships is a commonplace activity.
Can you see that in this painting exhibited below? Notice the reflections in the water? Or do you see farm equipment during harvest time?
Although I am mostly a self-taught artist, Bob's interest in what I have accomplished has always seemed genuine. It is no wonder that his former students still enjoy visiting with him. Art is a subject and discussion that he relishes.
If we only lived closer, it would have been fun to have spent some time with him while working in his home studio. We saw a canvas in progress with a relatively realistic grouping of flowers he intended to make more abstract. Watching him work would have been a priceless education in and of itself.
Hearing stories about some of the mediums he has utilized through the years was fascinating. At one point, Bob used automotive paints and created amazingly vibrant colors until it became known decades later that this type of paint could be toxic. This medium is no longer in use, but the canvasses already painted are terrific!
What do you see in the painting above?
Family Member and Friend
In my husband's early paper industry career, he traveled from Houston to Beaumont and Port Arthur every two weeks, making sales calls. He always made a point of stopping in to see and visit with his great aunt and uncle. They shared many dinners in the Rogan home. He fondly remembers those days! As he got promoted and eventually ended up running a paper company, those travel days to that part of the world ended. Still, his memories are ones to relish forever. While the visits may have been less frequent, genuine affection remains strong.
The picture above shows Bob petting our dog Reggie in my mother-in-law's home in San Antonio. My husband is standing next to Bob, and the year was 1989. He and his wife Ann had traveled from Beaumont to San Antonio for a visit, and we traveled from Houston to be able to see them.
Hopefully, by seeing a few of Robert Rogan's art creations, you have gained some insight into this gentleman's artistic genius. Bob has created different types of art using other mediums throughout his long and successful art career. He was a longtime head of the Art Department at Lamar University in Beaumont. The style of the majority of his paintings is most recognizable as being a distinctive Robert Rogan creation.
It has been my great honor to shed some extra light upon this noted and exceptional artist that we know and love as a family member and friend. He encompasses all the qualities one would seek in such an individual were you fortunate enough to know him as we do.
Bob quietly passed on to be with his beloved wife on October 7, 2020. Both of them will remain in our hearts and fond memories as long as we live.
Foltz Fine Art now represents his work at 2143 Westheimer Road, Houston, Texas 77098. Telephone: 713-521-7500
Location where Dr. Rogan's art is available for sale.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2010 Peggy Woods