Robert Hardee

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Pickens Museum Displays Route 66 Murals by Robert Hardee. Robert Hardee, who passed away in 2008 at age 55, is well known throughout the Ponca City area through the much exhibited prints of his "Ponca City Landmarks" painted from 1985 through 1993.
Pickens Museum Displays Route 66 Murals by Robert Hardee. Hardee's paintings are characterized by bright colors, which the artist obtains by using a technique which he says is "reminiscent of an early Flemish technique."
Grand Avenue in Ponca City by Artist Robert Hardee.
Robin Hood Flour Mill in Ponca City by Artist Robert Hardee.

Robert Hardee, an artist, teacher and charter member of the Tulsa Indian Coalition Against Racism, died Friday. He was 55. A celebration of life is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Booker T. Washington High School auditorium. The Cremation Society of Oklahoma is handling arrangements. A memorial service Monday was co-sponsored by Ticar and the United Aerospace Workers American Indian Intertribal Society at the Aerospace Workers Union Hall. Hardee was an adopted member of the Ponca Nation. A longtime Tulsan, he graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a bachelor's degree in fine arts. He was a department supervisor at the University of Chicago Regenstein Library and taught an adult education course for the Field Museum of Natural History. Hardee taught art in Tulsa Public Schools beginning in 1995. He later became the visual art instructor at Booker T. Washington High School, where he taught the international baccalaureate art program. He also tutored in American Indian education programs and taught art classes for Indian children. He was an artist in residence for the Arts Council of Oklahoma for 10 years. In recent years, he was a visiting artist with a Bakersfield, Calif., college arts in corrections program, in which artists taught painting to prison inmates.

Heritage Day

Former local artist, Robert Hardee, who is known for his paintings of various Ponca City historical buildings and scenes will be attending the Heritage Day Festival at the Ponca City Cultural Center, Saturday. The award-winning artist, now an instructor at Central High School, Tulsa, will autograph copies of his paintings of the Cultural Center.

Hardee, who lived in Ponca City for many years, is well known throughout the Ponca City area through the much exhibited prints of his "Ponca City Landmarks" painted from 1985 through 1993. The prints can be found hanging in many businesses and homes throughout the area.

In addition to teaching in schools and museums throughout Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia and Illinois, Hardee has served as Oklahoma State Arts Council Artist in Residence for several years. In conjunction with his job, he has recently completed writing the Tulsa School District High School Visual Arts Curriculum.

His most recent art exhibits have been with Living Arts of Tulsa, at Devena's Gallery in Tulsa, and in the East Gallery of the Oklahoma State Capitol Building. He has scheduled shows at Eureka Springs, Ark., and Taos, N.M., in the near future.

Hardee's historic landmark paintings, in addition to the Cultural Center include the Arcade Hotel (formerly located on the southwest corner of Grand Avenue and First Street, Downtown Ponca City featuring the Poncan Theatre, the old Rock Island Depot, the early day Ponca City Library; and the City Hall, which includes the statue of Marland.

All prints are limited editions and most of the earlier prints are sold out. Each painting is characterized by bright colors, which Robert obtains by using a technique which he says is "reminiscent of an early Flemish technique."

First, an under painting is made using acrylics in shades of brown-gray and white. About two dozen layers of paint are applied to a sketch to obtain the necessary subtleties in shading. Then, three to four layers of translucent oil paint are glazed on top of the underpainting. Several months are required to accomplish the technique.

Hardee was also offered commissions to paint the Marland Mansion, the old Bus Depot, some 101 Ranch Buildings and a nighttime scene of the Poncan Theatre.

When not painting, teaching or riding a horse, Roberts says he can be found down at White Eagle visiting his Ponca relatives.

Autobiography

Robert Hardee - biography

Through the years, Robert Hardee has been and done many things. two things in particular, have been continuous:

Robert’s need to question himself and everything else, and his need to express himself as an artist. Robert Hardee has been an artist all of his life, and a professional artist since 1980.

Robert grew up on the central gulf coast of florida (b. 1953). during his early years, there were some profound events that helped to shape his path as an artist.

In first grade, with a wonderful teacher, mrs. brown, there was the class fieldtrip to the ringling museum of art in sarasota, florida, where Robert Hardee first discovered oil painting and somehow knew that he must do this as well.

In second grade, there was the teacher who could not stand that Robert did not wish to do his art projects exactly the same as everyone else. it was the "discouragement" of this teacher that helped to strengthen Robert's resolve to continue on a "different" path.

Robert's fourth grade teacher, mrs. alice sleasman, continued to be a positive influence on his artwork both then and later in high school.

Of course, several teachers throughout my entire public school education were very helpful and many in college as well. i thank all of them from my heart, yet time and space prevent me from naming each one.

During the summers of his teenaged years, Robert Hardee would walk to the beach many afternoons, just to watch the sunset over the gulf of mexico. the colors were always different each time and they were always spectacularly beautiful. this natural spectrum and it's manifestations of relativity, had a great influence on how Robert perceived and used color in his work for the rest of his life.

After first majoring in electrical engineering in college in florida (to assure his parents that he would not starve to death); Robert Hardee later graduated with a bfa from one of the most prestigious art schools in the country, the school of the art institute of chicago.

Here i must acknowledge and thank especially my parents and also my grandparents for many years of love and support. the path of an artist is often difficult. having my parents believe in what i am doing has been a great help.

During this time in chicago, he also supervised one of the smaller departments of the university of chicago regenstein library, and also taught an adult education course for the field museum of natural history. needless to say, mr. hardee has a very eclectic background. he spent many years living only from the sales of his artwork.

Among other things, Robert Hardee served as an artist-in-residence for the state arts council of oklahoma for 10 years. he founded and ran a studio/gallery in ponca city, oklahoma.

Robert Hardee has served as a tutor in indian education programs and taught art classes for native children in juvenile facilities. he has taught art in tulsa, oklahoma public schools since 1995. he is also professionally certified to teach in new mexico.

Robert Hardee feels that knowledge* gained becomes most worthwhile when it is shared with others, especially younger generations. this is one reason why teaching is so important to him. at the same time, it is equally important to Robert Hardee that he continues to live as a working artist. like other aspects of Robert's life, this creative path has chosen him, and the creative force which comes from within is a gift not to be taken for granted. (by knowledge, i do not mean simply a finite collection or megalist of "correct facts"; but rather, the courage to directly address the questions that we, as human beings have continued to ponder as we seek to better understand our world. in other words, learning to think for oneself).

Currently, Robert Hardee is a visual art instructor for tulsa’s booker t. washington high school, where he teaches the international baccalaureate art program. he is also the fine arts department chair.

In recent years, Robert was a visiting artist with the bakersfield (ca) college arts-in-corrections program, presenting a workshop in a california state penitentary.

On a personal level, Robert Hardee currently lives alone in tulsa, oklahoma. he helped raise two children (now grown) whom he loves very much. they are ponca indians. many years ago, Robert Hardee (a human being who happens to be non-indian) was adopted into the ponca nation by tribal elders.

Here, Robert Hardee must acknowledge the many elders (each one who provided so much guidance) who made this way for him. there are certain special people who stand out; however, to name each individual here would fill this page. the gifts of the spirit that were given to Robert were nothing that he asked for, and without the generosity and blessings of these elders, these gifts are nothing that he would have on his own.


For many years, Robert Hardee lived in the country, and raised from a youg colt, his arabian horse, khalifa (pictured at top of this page),who left this life at the young age of 18.

Khalifa was a very special horse. he was never “broke” in the traditional sense, yet he let Robert ride him with no saddle, no bridle, nothing but the two of them.

Khalifa was the son of Saturf (pictured above and elsewhere on page), a magnificent arabian stallion who taught Robert how to ride. yes, you read correctly; this horse taught this person how to ride.

Robert and saturf were first introduced by Robert’s very dear friend, mark mayo (now departed). mark and saturf are featured in a chapter in the book, panhandle cowboy and they were both on the original cover (which now features the author, john erickson).

Mark Mayo was the finest horseman that i have ever known. he truly loved his horses and they truly loved him. also living at the ranch was mark's australian shepherd, hank, who used to travel around the ranch with (me) Robert and saturf and everywhere with mark. he was the original namesake of "hank the cowdog", whom author, john erickson based on a composite of several dogs.

actually, this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg; however, it is more than enough of an introduction.

As was made clear early on, Robert Hardee has a very eclectic background. he simply refers to it as, “experiencing life”. one thing that he realized long ago is this:

No matter how much one may learn and / or think that they know, that which one “does not” know, will always be far greater.

Life truly is a "great mystery".


Robert Hardee

Obituary

An Indian activist, he also taught art at Washington High School.

Robert Hardee, an artist, teacher and charter member of the Tulsa Indian Coalition Against Racism, died Friday. He was 55. A celebration of life is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Booker T. Washington High School auditorium. The Cremation Society of Oklahoma is handling arrangements. A memorial service Monday was co-sponsored by Ticar and the United Aerospace Workers American Indian Intertribal Society at the Aerospace Workers Union Hall. Hardee was an adopted member of the Ponca Nation. A longtime Tulsan, he graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a bachelor's degree in fine arts. He was a department supervisor at the University of Chicago Regenstein Library and taught an adult education course for the Field Museum of Natural History. Hardee taught art in Tulsa Public Schools beginning in 1995. He later became the visual art instructor at Booker T. Washington High School, where he taught the international baccalaureate art program. He also tutored in American Indian education programs and taught art classes for Indian children. He was an artist in residence for the Arts Council of Oklahoma for 10 years. In recent years, he was a visiting artist with a Bakersfield, Calif., college arts in corrections program, in which artists taught painting to prison inmates.

Pickens Museum Displays two Murals by Artist Robert Hardee

Pickens Museum Displays Route 66 Murals by Robert Hardee. Robert Hardee, who passed away in 2008 at age 55, is well known throughout the Ponca City area through the much exhibited prints of his "Ponca City Landmarks" painted from 1985 through 1993.
Pickens Museum Displays Route 66 Murals by Robert Hardee. Hardee's paintings are characterized by bright colors, which the artist obtains by using a technique which he says is "reminiscent of an early Flemish technique."

Robert Hardee is well known throughout the Ponca City area through the much exhibited prints of his "Ponca City Landmarks" painted from 1985 through 1993. The prints can be found hanging in many businesses and homes throughout the area. Hardee's historic landmark paintings include the Arcade Hotel, Downtown Ponca City featuring the Poncan Theatre, the old Rock Island Depot, the early day Ponca City Library; City Hall, which includes the statue of Marland, the Marland Mansion, and the Marland Grand Home. All prints are limited editions and most of the earlier prints are sold out but occasionally come up for sale on ebay over thirty years after they were created.

Now Pickens Museum is displaying two large murals by Hardee, who passed away in 2008 at age 55. The two murals called "Route 66" and "Route 66 Roadhouse “ are on display in the library for Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa." "These two murals were originally commissioned for a restaurant in Ponca City and on display in their dining room," says Hugh Pickens, Executive Director of Pickens Museum. "When the restaurant went out of business about 15 years ago, we had the opportunity to purchase the two murals."

Hardee's paintings are characterized by bright colors, which the artist obtains by using a technique which he says is "reminiscent of an early Flemish technique." First, an under painting is made using acrylics in shades of brown-gray and white. About two dozen layers of paint are applied to a sketch to obtain the necessary subtleties in shading. Then, three to four layers of translucent oil paint are glazed on top of the underpainting. Several months are required to accomplish the technique.

Hardee was an adopted member of the Ponca Nation. When not painting, teaching or riding a horse, Hardee could be be found at White Eagle visiting his Ponca relatives.

Hardee graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a bachelor's degree in fine arts. He was a department supervisor at the University of Chicago Regenstein Library and taught an adult education course for the Field Museum of Natural History. Hardee taught art in Tulsa Public Schools beginning in 1995. He later became the visual art instructor at Booker T. Washington High School, where he taught the international baccalaureate art program. He also tutored in American Indian education programs and taught art classes for Indian children. He was an artist in residence for the Arts Council of Oklahoma for 10 years.

Hardee's philosophy was that knowledge gained becomes most worthwhile when it is shared with others, especially younger generations. This is one reason why teaching was so important to him. At the same time, it was equally important to Hardee to continue to live as a working artist. "This creative path has chosen me," wrote Hardee, "and the creative force which comes from within is a gift not to be taken for granted."

References

Pickens Museum

Osage Warrior in the Enemy Camp by Sculptor John Free. Seeking to attain his tribe's highest war honor by touching his enemy. This action among indigenous peoples is called "Counting Coup".
Osage Warrior in the Enemy Camp by Sculptor John Free. “Osage Warrior in the Enemy Camp” is a bronze created by Osage Artist John Free. The bronze, eight feet high and twelve feet long) was enlarged to 1-1/4 life size through the efforts of John Free of the Bronze Horse foundry in Pawhuska and Hugh Pickens. Pictured (L-R): Hugh Pickens, Executive Director of Pickens Museum and Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear of the Osage Nation.
Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman by Artist Daniel Pickens. “Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman” is a mural painted by fine artist Daniel Pickens. Daniel was born in Lima, Peru in 1974 and is currently living in Stockholm, Sweden. This mural is at our Ponca City location.
Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman by Artist Daniel Pickens. Our mural "The Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman" is located in City Central at our Ponca City location.
Doctor Pickens Museum of Turquoise Jewelry and Art. Pickens Museum displays art works at NOC Tonkawa campus. Pictured (L-R): Dr. Cheryl Evans, NOC President, Hugh Pickens, Executive Director of Pickens Museum, and Sheri Snyder, NOC Vice President for Development and Community Relations. (photo by John Pickard/Northern Oklahoma College) This art is at our Tonkawa location
Native American Artist Yatika Starr Fields Completes Mural for Pickens Museum.
The World's Largest Naja. Future location of Pickens Museum on Route 60 and "U" Street West of Ponca City
Architectural Renderings of Pickens Museum.
Aerial View from East of Future location of Pickens Museum along Route 60 at "U" Street West of Ponca City
Display of Turquoise Jewelry.
"Red Man" by Native American Artist Fritz Scholder. Pickens Museum Director Hugh Pickens on right.
Native American Jewelry Artist Tonya Rafael with a silver frame she created to honor my wife Sr. S.J. Pickens. My wife and Tonya worked together over the years creating new jewelry art pieces. My wife had an eye for color and would often design a spectacular piece and ask Tonya to execute it for her. A skilled silversmith, Tonya would sometimes stay in our guest house, set up a workshop, and work for days at a time on a Squash Blossom, Bolo, or Bracelet my wife commissioned. The piece is a silver picture frame that Tonya cut out of thick silver plate. Around the edge of the picture frame are 95 small turquoise stones. In the top is a large spiny oyster stone in the shape of a heart. The frame contains a photo that Tonya took of my wife a few years ago. Dr. Pickens is wearing one of her favorite outfits and if you look closely you can see a special squash blossom and necklace that Tonya created for my wife. In the bottom of the frame is an inscription.
Native American Artist Jolene Bird. Jolene Bird is an accomplished artist who learned her craft from her grandfather over 20 years ago. Jolene makes her jewelry in the tradition of the Santo Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico. This is a Fender Stratocaster guitar onto which Jolene has attached pieces of Kingman and Sonoran Turquoise highlighted with Jet. The stars are in Abalone, Mother of Pearl, Pipestone, Yellow Serpentine, and Spiny Oyster. The artistry in this piece is simply breathtaking and has to be seen to be believed. Consider that this is a three dimensional mosaic, a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle if you will. Jolene told me that each individual piece of turquoise had to be cut, shaped, and ground down to fit perfectly with the other pieces. Each individual piece probably took six to eight hours to produce and there are literally hundreds of pieces covering the guitar.
American Indian by Paul Manship This piece at Pickens Museum is the only known existing copy of this sculpture.
Painting by Peruvian Artist Josue Sanchez. Photo Credit: Hugh Pickens Pickens Museum

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