Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Robert Heindel: The Path from Detroit to New York

Born in Toledo, Ohio in 1938, Robert Heindel could not afford to attend art school. Instead, he went to Detroit and landed a job in the same art studio where Bernie Fuchs had started out.

He also took the Famous Artists correspondence course, which may make him the school's most famous graduate.

The website quotes Heindel as saying, "Famous Artists School 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."

Harry Borgman (who began his career doing automotive art in Detroit a couple of decades before Robert Heindel) recalls, "I was quite astonished upon first seeing Heindel's work. There were quite a few really good upcoming illustrators in the '60's Detroit, but Heindel really stood out."

In David Apatoff's interview with Robert Heindel in Illustration magazine #15, the artist says, "When I arrived in Detroit in the 1960's, anyone who was in Detroit worshipped at the shrine of Bernie Fuchs."

"He blazed the trail from Detroit to New York, he put up all the sign posts on the way, and showed the people who followed him how to do it."

"When I wanted to follow that same path, Bernie was very gracious. There was a lot of humanity in Bernie."

My Robert Heindel Flickr set.


  1. stunning and very inspirational

  2. like how Heindel used tangents as part of the design of the Buick illustration.
    The line of the top of the cat & the color behind it, The man's shoulder & her neckline', his collar & the bkg. color, the roof of the car & the color streak behind the car.

  3. Anonymous6:10 PM

    Great information on Bob Heindel. I did not know about his automobile ads. This combines two of my joys in life of automobiles and great illustration. My dad Tom Heigh was one of Ford Motor Companies Advanced Stylist designer illustrators in Ford's "DreamRoom" under direction of George Walker in the 1950's to 60's. I'm sure he was very familiar with Bob's work and I'll pass this great blog onto him. Bob Heindel's work was always just sensational and artistic. A man well ahead of the times. Thanks

  4. Anonymous6:24 PM

    On a purely technical end coming from the automobile industries history prior to Heindel and Fuchs illustration work in automobile ads there's an interesting change that occured in automobile illustration. The big auto manufactures were told in the late 50's to stop illustrating their car ads with these elongated perspectives that gave a false presentation of the cars that were being manufactured. It all came out of the concept car drawings being done in the 50's. There were complaints about false advertising and possible law suites. You will see in Fuchs and Heindel's work a more true to the actual product rendition of an automobile. It was by no accident and I'm certain they were instructed on being true to that element of their illustration. It's a little known thing but very interesting to see how artistically they pulled it off without being just a product shot.