Thursday, October 25, 2007

Robert G. Schneeberg: An unknown unknown

Before seeing these illustrations in the July 1954 issue of Cosmopolitan, Robert G. Schneeberg's work was unknown to me. And after unsuccessfully searching the internet for more images or information about the artist I'm afraid I must report that Schneeberg will remain unknown for now.

Cosmo AD, Robert C. Atherton, made a brilliant choice in assigning this story to Schneeberg. He could have called upon any one of his regular stable of illustrators, any of whom would have delivered a thoroughly professional interpretation of this story of "Mme Pineau's Three Screams".

But Atherton decided to go far off the beaten path - even for this daring AD.

Schneeberg's work, filled with quaint stylized buildings, people and animals, cars and houses that look like they were drawn for a children's story book, and homey decorative elements, is entirely unlike anything I've seen used to illustrate articles in Cosmo during this period. By choosing Schneeberg to illustrate a murder story, Robert Atherton lulls the viewer into a sense of cosy security.

He has us completely fooled...

Until we turn to the third spread...

And look closely at this unnerving detail.

That such a violent act is being portrayed in such a naive, child-like style makes the visual so much more disturbing than if any of Cosmo's more "literal" contributors had illustrated it.

Whatever became of Rober G. Schneeberg after this one assignment? The internet offers only this one clue: The Smithsonian American Art Museum has a Schneeberg in its collection. No image was available.

* Take a closer look at these images in my Robert G. Schneeberg Flickr set.


  1. Anonymous7:29 PM

    'Art's untidy, and artsy people are free to make artsy mistakes and commit artsy crimes and to do bad art.'

  2. Anonymous10:29 AM

    Wow! It is so different from the usual. I wish this artist weren't such a mystery, great find :)

  3. Anonymous9:52 AM

    Bob Schneeberg is my father-in-law. Worked for Hallmark cards as a very successful artist for many years. He is now retired.

    1. I just found a letter S done in seashells and what appears to be old jewelry. It has a small metal round plaque with Robert G. SCHEENBERG on it. Do you know anything about this piece?

  4. Thanks for the info, Leslie. We'd love to learn more about your father-in-law's career and see more examples of his work.

    Please feel free to contact me at if you think he'd like to have his story told here on the Today's Inspiration blog.

    Best - Leif

  5. Best information about Robert G. Schneeberg's work. Professional Interpretation Company I also found a professional interpretation company in California.

  6. syncrow@hotmail.com4:36 AM

    Robert G. Schneeberg is a favorite of mine! I own several of his Hallmark Keepsake ornaments and Springbok puzzles. These can often be found on eBay. He also did wall mural collages for the Halls store at Crown Center in Kansas City, MO in the mid-1970's.

    I also own one of his original collages, "34. Letter 'S' Silver" created in 1976. I received it as a wedding present when I was married on July 4, 1976, the bicentennial. My new last name started with "S".

    I plan to give it to my niece for her wedding in August, 2010. She is marrying a Pixar animator whose last name begins with "S".

    My best to Mr. Schneeberg!

  7. Leslie A. Chandler,
    Bob Schneeburg was a friend of mine and I knew him at Hallmark Cards. I was assigned to him as my first supervisor. I had just arrived from Ringling School of Art.

  8. There is a huge, incredibly elaborate assemblage at the Lawrence Journal World office (Lawrence, KS) that uses the old print supplies before things changed to electronic.
    I've admired it for years and just asked for info - its Robert Schneeberg! They showed me a couple of old articles about him - one from a Hallmark newsletter, and a couple from the Journal World. He was ahead of his time in recycling and transforming old throw-away items into art, and preserving history as well.

  9. Robert Schneeberg created a great series of "Nostalgic Early American Scenes" for Hallmark in the 60s. I saved ours (1966-8) because the images are delightful and fun -- and because each month a tiny striped cat was hidden on the page. As a child I loved looking for the cats. Sometimes only a tail was visible.

  10. Left out a word -- I was describing his series of calendars - !

  11. While living in Kansas City I took my Brownie Troop on an outing to Hallmark Cards.. As part of the tour, the mosaic murals, of which they were very proud, were pointed out as being done by the famous New York artist, Robert Schneeberg. Out of my mouth popped, oh my heavens...."He was my brother's counsellor at camp". What a delightful moment for me.... My brother was so pleased to hear the story as he remembered him as being a wonderful and inspirational counsellor.

  12. Just found a calendar full of his collage work (in print form) produced by Hallmark in 1967. I picked it up at an estate sale in Portland, OR--for sale now in my resale vintage shop: (

    I found your blog via a search for more info on Schneeberg--thanks for the post.

  13. i used to work with Bob at Hallmark about a light year ago. i would love to reconnect with him if anyone can hook me up. He might go "Oh no, not THAT guy!" i'm kidding. i miss the old days there... He made an amazing butterfly sculpture for me for my third anniversary as a designer at Hallmark.

    russ richter

  14. I found what I believe to be an original Schneeberg piece called "Salmon Fishing" that I got at an estate auction grab box. I Googled the name and found your blog. Do you know anything of this? It looks pretty neat, and something told me to hang on to it...

  15. Donna Schwartz12:40 PM

    I have 6 prints of R G Schneeberg in my possession. They are the most delightful prints. I have two prints pertaining to ships & the other four are scenes of home life. Also, I beleive these prints each have a very small cat. While looking these prints over, I discovered a cat & hence found a cat in each one. I love these prints. Each are 8 X 11.

  16. Hi! I also found your blog trying to find out a little more about Mr. Schneeburg. I have some Hallmark cards illustrated by him and they are absolutely amazing.

  17. Anonymous10:07 AM

    My family became acquainted with his work through my father, who was an executive at Hallmark in the 60s and 70s. My parents are gone now. Their three Schneeberg assemblages are now loved and displayed in my generation's homes in California, Texas and New Jersey.

  18. Anonymous2:28 AM

    My late husband worked with Bob Schneeberg at Hallmark. He made a custom letter R collage - in the early 1980's. We provided a box of family mementos so it is quite special and hangs in my dining room.

  19. I would love to see some examples of the collages and assemblages that Mr. Schneeberg created -- and of his other work too. Is there a way for people to submit images here? Or maybe we could create a gallery elsewhere.

  20. I have several of the hearts he produced for Valentine's Day that were sold at Hall's. Would like to know if they have any value.

  21. Anonymous8:12 PM

    I worked with Bob at Hallmark in the late 70s. I would sculpt small objects for him if there was something he needed (like a small dove, or belt buckle). I came across one of his works at an estate sale and found it a good home just yesterday! So I did a search and came across this post. Great to read all the comments. He was a nice guy.