As a fine artist, Robert R. "Bob" Auth considered himself a "producer"; indeed, when viewing his body of work, one might rightly assess him as prolific.
But defining the artist and his creations is more difficult. Although numerous descriptions correctly attach – renaissance... experimental ... curious... – he and his art were understandably of greater depth. With natural talent, and skills developed over many years, Bob Auth was prolific on his life-journey to express his passions, personal interests and unique edgy style in widely diverse media. Acrylic paintings of pop-art reflective surfaces, pen-and-ink lithographs of grizzled mountain men and the American West, symbolic paper maché sculptures of historic periods in American history are a few of the media to which he applied his unique talent and style.
Bob was also a natural storyteller. Over a six-decade career as a painter, printmaker, and sculptor, he produced a body of work both wide-ranging in its subject matter and precise in its reverence for historical detail. His lithographs of trappers and frontiersmen, the Nez Perce War of 1877, and scenes from early Idaho airmail fields provide a stirring visual record of little-known stories of the West, combining an illustrator’s eye for narrative and a historian’s devotion to accuracy. Whatever the medium, from acrylic pop art, to gun engravings, to “cartridge boards” – illustrated, mounted collections of historic bullets and casings – Bob transformed it into a way of telling his story.
Robert Auth was born on October 27, 1926 in Bloomington, Illinois. At age
17, he left school to join the U.S. Navy, where he served aboard a naval destroyer during World War II. After receiving an honorable discharge, he resumed his education and received a bachelor’s of fine arts degree from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1952.
Bob spent the next seven years working in his family’s restaurant and grocery store in Bloomington, but moved to Boise, Idaho (Pacific northwest USA) in 1959 after being inspired by Idaho’s landscape on a hunting trip near the Salmon River in 1955.
In Idaho, Bob began his long career in art and art education, first for a year at Burley High School, and then in Boise, the state capital, where he spent the next 20 years teaching arts and humanities at East Junior High School (1961-67) and Boise High School (1967-81). For the final six years of his career with Boise Independent Schools, he held the position of District Art Supervisor, during which time he designed the current Boise Schools Logo. Bob also enjoyed an adjunct professor position with Boise State University instructing Art. He retired from teaching in 1988; and, from then until his death in May of 2011, largely resided in the small mountain village of Yellow Pine, Idaho. During this time of "aloneness", he corresponded with friends and relatives - often spending more time decorating the envelope than the message within - and worked on more art projects. Never the idle man, at the end of his days compiled his family history's "chapters" in written and visual terms; and, along with the many hundreds of hand-written pages of his own "chapters" - and their influence upon his art - serving as the basis for his biographical portfolio, Francie's Camera - The Art and Stories of Robert R. Auth.
The artist's works are on display in public buildings and museums, private collections throughout the world, and have been accepted by the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.