Robert Spring, (1938 – 2016) was born in Racine, Wisconsin. He moved to Sarasota, Florida with his parents in 1946. As a high school student, he had a working scholarship with the late Hilton Leach, a well known watercolorist of the 1950’s. In 1956 as a high school senior, he won two national scholarships and accepted on to attend the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida.
In the 1960’s he turned to sculpture and won several regional awards including the Arvida Award in 1969. He was introduced to scrimshaw in 1964, and in 1969 he became involved with scrimshaw on a full time basis. His work is featured in the Leslie Lindsay book Scrimshaw and a major piece of his work is illustrated in William Gilkerson’s book The Scrimshanderer. His scrimshaw is internationally known. During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, he became interested in military modeling and won many prizes with his dioramas.
In 1987, he returned to watercolors for the first time since art school. Since that time, he had won many awards including the 1989 Museum Purchase Award for “Ice Edge” and an Award of Excellence in 2003 at the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport. In September 1996, his painting was accepted into the permanent collection of the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine. He had also participated in many invitational shows as well as having numerous one-man shows.
Some of his activities included modeling and sculpture. He received an award for his diorama “Bitter Road Home” at an international modeling exposition in Washington D.C. in 1993. In 1994 he added oil painting to his list of interests and activities within the world of art and in November of 2000, his oil “Trawler in Storm” was accepted into the permanent collection of the Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport, Maine.