Robert Strimban

12/31/2017 12:30 AM |

Robert Strimban died at the Kanas Center for Hospice Care in Quiogue Dec. 29, 2017. He was 94.

He was born in New York City Aug. 18, 1923, to Max and Yetta (Spitzman) Strimban.

Robert grew up in Glen Cove, and once said that since he was 4 years old he knew he wanted to be an artist. When he was 12 years old he showed his paintings in Greenwich Village.

In his teens, he received a scholarship to attend the Leonardo da Vinci Art School and then entered Pratt Institute on a scholarship at age 16.

Robert attended Pratt until he was 17 ½, when World War II broke out. He received his mother’s permission to enter the U.S. Air Force, where he served from 1942 to 1945. Robert wanted to become a fighter bomber but his vision was not what it needed to be to complete training. He served in the ground force and was stationed in Burma, China and India. He was proud to share that he had driven the Burma wall before he was 18 years old, and he carved his first wood sculpture during this period, while in India.

When he returned to the states after the war, he worked in the advertising world creating illustrations for every major magazine in New York, as well as The New York Times and the National Observer. He also created book jackets, and his cover for Rachel Carson’s “The Sea Around Us” won the Art Directors Club book award. Bob won many awards for his covers, including those he did for Forbes magazine.

Robert met Irma (née Ferguson) in art class at the studio of Chaim Gross and they married in 1959. They had many adventures together. They did not have children but they always had dogs and loved their dogs as family. The dogs traveled with them. They had a farm upstate, then bought a brownstone in Chelsea and renovated it over time. In their home in Chelsea, Bob and Irma rented rooms and Bob had a studio in the house. Artist Louise Bourgeois was their next door neighbor and friend. They had many dinner parties together.

For a time, Bob and his brother had a commercial studio in the Chelsea Hotel when Janis Joplin, Sid Vicious and Andy Warhol were all coming and going through it. It was a vibrant and exciting time for them to be in New York. Bob and Irma fought for the preservation of Chelsea and won.

They bought land in the Florida Keys and spent 12 years driving there to stay in a non-electric beach house, only accessible by boat.

Eventually, Bob and Irma ended up in beautiful Cutchogue, where they moved to in 1983. His desire was to produce art full time. Bob created many large outdoor metal sculptures, including those that can be found at Peconic Landing, East End Arts, and a corporate plaza in Farmingdale.

Robert created hundreds of paintings, paper sculptures and paper illustrations as well. During the past year, even while recuperating from illness, his passion for art never waned and he was always working on an art project. Art was his second love; Irma was his first.

The family will receive visitors Wednesday, Jan. 3, at 11 a.m. at DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Mattituck, where chapel services will follow at noon. Rabbi Gadi Capela, spiritual leader of Congregation Tifereth Israel in Greenport, will officiate. Interment with U.S. Army honors will take place at Calverton National Cemetery.

This is a paid notice. 

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