Robert "Bob" William John Olszewski
March 3, 2013
Robert Olszewski was born on May 2, 1945 in Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania. His natural interest in art developed early and was first demonstrated in painting and drawing. At age 16, he began winning awards for his work at local art shows, and was encouraged to pursue a career in art. Robert graduated in 1968 with a BS in Art Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, married and moved to Southern California in the same year to live near a major US art center and teach. While teaching he painted in the summers and at night. The security of teaching plus the free time, allowed him to experiment freely and develop his skills. He had his first one-man show at the Ryder Gallery on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles at age 27. At the same time he enjoyed his young family and made toys for his children to play with.
Along with the toys, he built a dollhouse for his daughter and this was his first introduction to the world of miniatures. His interest in miniatures turned from playful to a serious exploration of miniature figurative works as a new medium of expression. After 11 years, Robert left teaching in 1978 and pursued miniature figurative work full-time. Within a year his work was receiving national attention. In 1979, at age 34, Robert was brought under exclusive contract with the major European porcelain company, Goebel, maker of the world famous M.I. Hummel figurines, and was co-founder of the Goebel Miniatures Studios. As a master artist from 1979 to 1994, Robert oversaw the development of the modeling and painting studios, and watched the company grow from a staff of four painters in 1979 to 65 painters in a studio number 95 personnel.
In 1993, a 30-year museum retrospective of his work was mounted at the Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard, California, and in the same year Robert was named "International Collectible Artist of the Year." In 1994, Robert re-established privately owned Olszewski Studios and began exploring his art in a smaller studio to enable him to devote more time to his personal artistic growth. This new direction followed his personal artistic interests and reflected his love of exploring and combining new materials. In his early fifties, his move to an independent status left more time to pursue in depth his art and address those areas he had been waiting to explore. In 1995, Robert was commissioned by the Walt Disney Company to prototype miniatures for their Enchanted Places Program. In 1996, a second museum retrospective of his work was mounted at The Carole and Barry Kaye Museum of Miniatures in Los Angeles, California. In 1998, Robert received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a third retrospective of his artwork was mounted at the University Museum. In 1999, Robert was commissioned by Indiana University of Pennsylvania to create a commemorative gift for their 125th Anniversary.
Robert continued his close association with the Walt Disney Company as he was commissioned to design and create the commemorative gift to be associated with the opening of Disney/Pixar's A Bug's Life, in 1998. In 2000, Robert would introduce a new line of miniatures titled "Story-Time," which led to the invitation to create a special work for the 2001 Disneyana Convention. Steamboat Willie - Cast Members Premiere was successfully received and caught the eye of Disneyland's Product Development Merchandise Manager, Deanne Hill. Disneyland commissioned Robert and Olszewski Studios to design and create a scaled replica of Main Street, U.S.A. "Sleeping Beauty Castle" was the first piece in the collection and was introduced in December of 2002. To the present, in December of 2005, a total of 12 buildings, 4 vehicles and 4 character packs have been released to the general marketplace. Robert and Olszewski Studios have since completed Cinderella's Castle for the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida and have begun work on the Main Street, U.S.A. for the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida as well.
Shown above is the
Olszewski Family Home
on High Street, Natrona Heights, PA
Courtesy of Ray Olszewski
Taken on a visit there with
Bob Olszewski in 1980s
House is still Standing
To augment the above information about Robert Olszewski, the below Wikipedia article published in 2011 is provided. Click here to access the article on Wikipedia.
Birth Name: Robert William Olszewski
Born: May 2, 1945 Natrona Heights, PA
Field Specialty: Painter, Teacher, Miniature Figurative Artist, Sculptor, Architect
Movement: Pop Culture
Influences: Thomas Hart Benton, Charles Burchfield, Edward Hopper, Rene Lalique, Vincent Van Gogh, Peter Brugel, Thomas Eakins, Claude Monet, N.C. Wyeth
Awards: International Collectible Artist of the Year 1993, Distinguished (IUP) Alumni of the Year Award 1998
Robert William Olszewski
(pronounced ol-shes-ski) has established himself as a major influence in the
creation and production of miniature figurative art. Robert Olszewski began his
art career first as a painter and as an art teacher who evolved to become a
world known miniature figurative artist, sculptor, and architect. In 1977, his
first serious miniature figurative works were sculpted to accessorize a doll
house that he built for his daughter, Meredith. Over a 30-year career,
Olszewski’s miniature work continues to evolve, and he has created a body of
work that is collected worldwide.
passion for the art of miniature has provided him numerous opportunities to
interpret and produce art at varying scales under license and commissions with
companies such as Goebel Porzellanfabrik
GmbH Rodental Germany, Goebel Miniatures, the Danbury
Mint, the Franklin Mint, Harmony Ball, Norman Rockwell[], Ettore "Ted"
Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) Alumni Association[], Enesco[], and, The Walt Disney
Goebel Porzellanfabrik is the name behind
figurines found on collectors' shelves around the world. The company designs and
manufactures porcelain and earthenware products. Goebel's collectible figurines
and tableware, which are based on artists' renderings and made by on-site
artisans, draw visitors from near and far to the company's factory in Bavaria.
Its products are also sold through retailers around the world and through its
e-commerce Web site. Franz Detleff and William Goebel founded the company in
1871, initially producing toy marbles, slates, and slate pencils. In 2007,
Merrill Lynch and Strategic Value Partners took over ownership of the company
after it became insolvent.
Goebel Miniatures was established as a
subsidiary of Goebel in 1978 to create and produce miniature figurines for the
U.S. collectible markets. It operated in the town of Camarillo, California in
Ventura County until the mid-1990s. Robert Olszewski, who co-founded the
business in 1979, left the business in 1994.
The Danbury Mint, is a division of
MBI, Inc. that markets a variety of collectibles. Danbury Mint historically
marketed high quality medals and ingots produced by others exclusively for them.
The company also sold numerous other collectible offering including plates,
bells, sculptures, etc.