Robert Griffing grew up in Linesville, Pennsylvania, where he roamed the fields and beaches around Pymatuning Lake collecting stone artifacts, the key factor for his love of history and native cultures. After graduating from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and a thirty year advertising career, he returned to the subject of his early fascination, the Eastern Woodland Indian of the 18th century. Griffing decided to devote his time and energy to his passion after receiving an enthusiastic response to his early paintings and prints.
He describes himself as a painter of 18th century scenes that involve or feature the Eastern Woodland Indian. His Paintings focus on a time that marked the beginning years of chaos and uncertainty for the Woodland tribes as they struggled to survive the encroachment of Europeans.
In addition to his extensive library of books, historical papers and journals, he is grateful to his historian and re-enactor friends who provide information and act as models for some of the characters in the paintings.
Griffing hopes that his paintings shed some light on this time period that has been neglected through society's romance with the American West.
Awards And Recognition
Robert Griffing studied illustration and design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and went on to enjoy a thirty-year career in advertising. His lifelong interest in Native American and colonial history was the result of growing up in western Pennsylvania, where many eighteenth-century historical events took place. He still resides there with his family.
Today Griffing paints the Native Americans of the Great Lakes and Eastern Woodlands. His work has been included in educational packages, TV historical documentaries, the covers of national magazines, and Native American museums and cultural centers, including the 2007 exhibition Emissaries of Peace: The 1762 Cherokee & British Delegations at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.
At the 2013 Quest for the West Art Show and Sale at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, he received the Patrons’ Choice Award and the Henry Farny Award for best painting. At the 2009 Quest for the West, Griffing received the Artist of Distinction Award, which entitled him to a large exhibition of his work at the Eiteljorg in 2010. In 2008 he received the Masters of the American West Purchase Award for his painting Council at Slippery Rock Creek at the Autry Museum “Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition and Sale”. Later that year, at Quest for the West, he received the Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award for his painting Secrets of the Dark Forest. His research and historical accuracy has earned him two awards: the Forbes Medal for his contributions to Pennsylvania history and the Arthur St. Clair Historic Preservation Award.