''In 1968 Robert Semans enrolled in the art department of San Jose State University and began studies with Maynard D. Stewart. In his classes Stewart emphasized those classical principles of drawing and painting which he himself had embraced at the Art Students’ League in New York under the influence of the legendary Frank Vincent DuMond. Dumond, an instructor at the League for half a century, had learned this classical approach as a young student in Paris from the great Boulanger, LeFebvre and Constant. And so a link to the the theory and practice of the great academic tradition of the 19th Century was forged.
In 1970, after he had finished a Master Degree, Semans moved to Florence, Italy where he worked for the next two years in the studio of the famed Italian teacher Nerina Simi. In his second year there he also taught painting and drawing at Gonzaga University’s extension program, Gonzaga-in- Florence, which led to an invitation to be Artist-in-Residence at Seattle University in Seattle, Washington. It was there that he began his work in portraiture with paintings of several prominent figures in the Seattle community.
Although he paints a variety of subject matter from landscape to still life, Semans still prefers the challenge of painting people, whether in the context of portraits or scenes from his own imagination. He draws inspiration from many of the old masters, but has been most influenced by the paintings of Vermeer, Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin, Fantin Latour, and John Singer Sargent. It is these painters who have inspired the the soft tonality and careful design which characterize his work. A meticulous artist, Semans always paints studies, or ‘dress rehearsals,’ before commencing the final portrait. In these studies, he carefully works out the details of composition, color scheme and pose.
His portraits may be found in the collections of NASA—Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California, NASA-Langley in Virginia, the California State Senate in Sacramento, the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, Gonzaga University in Spokane, San Jose State University, the law firm of Flehr, Hohbach, Teste, Albritton, and Herbert, as well as in many private collections throughout the United States.''...
Robert Semans is a member of the American Society of Portrait Artists.