Robert A. Nelson, Former Millersville Art Teacher and Accomplished Artist, Dies at 96 | Entertainment


Robert A. Nelson, a former Millersville University art professor and working artist who has exhibited internationally, died Dec. 2 at his home in Lakeside, Oregon. He was 96 years old.

According to a statement from his Karen Anderer of the Karen Anderer Art Gallery in Lancaster and Nelson’s wife Louise Schintz-Nelson, Nelson had recently recovered from a breakthrough infection of COVID-19, which left her heart in a weakened state.

Nelson is survived by his sons, Mark Nelson and his wife Anita, Max Nelson, and his “adopted art student son”, Patrick O’Loughlin. He is predeceased by his son, Zack.

Nelson studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. He went on to teach at his alma mater, as well as at Cleveland State University, University of Winnipeg and Millersville University, the latter of which he obtained Professor Emeritus status in 1997.

Nelson, who was inspired by great masters like Leonardo Da Vinci, created intricate, highly technical, yet surreal and imaginative drawings, prints and collages that showed his talent as a draftsman and showcased his unique creative vision. Nelson, who was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 1, 1925, worked on his art every day, even in the last weeks of his life.

“I’m still here at the drawing board,” Nelson said in an interview with LNP | LancasterOnline from October this year.

Nelson has exhibited his work locally at the Karen Anderer Fine Art Gallery in Lancaster. Anderer worked closely with Nelson for over a decade.

“I am so lucky to have worked alongside Bob for 12 years. He was my inspiration, my wonder and above all my friend, ”Anderer wrote in an email. “I will continue to work tirelessly to speak to the world of Robert A. Nelson and share his legacy.”

Nelson’s last exhibition “Animals” was recently closed at Karen Anderer Fine Art, although some of his works are still on display there. The exhibition featured a selection of recent works and pieces from Nelson’s Vast Vault.

“This latest collection of new work has exceeded my wildest expectations,” Anderer said during a phone call for the October story on Nelson’s “Animals” exhibit. “Not only is this the best work I have ever exhibited of him, but it was done at the age of 96. It keeps improving; more detail, more precision, stronger coloring, more layers in his stories – much more complex, like him, I guess.

Anderer says a documentary on Nelson’s life and work is currently in production with Natural Light Films.

Nelson was the main artist of Karen Ander Fine Art, and Anderer was her only performance in the past 12 years.

“I don’t know where I would be without him,” says Anderer.

A celebration of Nelson’s life event will be announced by Karen Anderer Fine Art.

Nelson’s October Conversation with LNP | LancasterOnline was the artist’s last interview, which can be read here.


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