Robert Ernst Marx

Robert Ernst Marx

Robert Ernst Marx in his studio (1985).
Photo by Joan Stormont

Robert Ernst Marx (1925–2020) had a seven decade career as a painter, printmaker, and sculptor. During this time, he also held teaching positions at the university level; most notably at SUNY Brockport (Brockport, NY) where he was awarded the title of Distinguished Professor Emeritus in 1990.

Robert was first invited to show his work at Main Street Arts in an exhibition called Being Human, which opened in January 2014. A two-person exhibition was held in April 2017 called Re-Emerging Artists, which included the work of Robert and John Greene of Pine Plains, NY. In 2019, the solo exhibition Silent Voices…Silent Rooms featured Robert’s new drawings and paintings on the main floor along with a selection of etchings on the second floor. Later in 2019, plans for an exhibition to coincide with Robert’s 95th birthday were made. Heavy Metal opened on December 12, 2020 and was the largest exhibition of Robert’s work at Main Street Arts.

Robert’s work has been exhibited internationally and is held in major museum collections, highlights include: The Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, Seattle Art Museum, and Whitney Museum of American Art among many others. Robert’s work is also included in rare book libraries at the University of Chicago, Yale University, Oxford University, and Harvard University. He received his M.F.A. in 1953 and B.F.A. in 1951, both from the University of Illinois (Chicago, IL).

My visit to Robert Marx’s Studio by Main Street Arts’ executive director and curator, Bradley Butler. 

Current Exhibition

Library Exhibition:
Selections from the archive
January 7–March 31

Upcoming Exhibitions

2023 Library Exhibitions
Quarterly rotation of artwork in the Robert and Francie Marx Art Resource Library

January 7–March 31
April 5–June 30
July 5–September 30
October 5–December 29

On our Main Floor:
Last Impressions

September 23–November 2, 2023

“The people I draw, paint and sculpt personify the human condition. They are also the people we see around us, every day. I have favorite themes. I am troubled by the arrogance of power, the exclusivity of the institutions of church and state, the abuse of and by both spouse and child, and our own and others’ personal fears and insecurities. We are also to some degree trapped by the conventions we have chosen to impose upon ourselves.

While painful to express, these themes desperately need expression, and I have done it by creating my own visual language while building upon the inventions of my artistic ancestors. For example, Picasso was the first to paint a dismembered human body to convey a sense of futility. I also use symbols: mannequins, masks, and dangling limbs on puppet strings, as my visual ‘shorthand’ for the controlling forces which frustrate us all.

I work not only for myself, but also to make a connection with you. I do so as elegantly as I can and with an ambiguity that invites you to join your interpretation with my own. If I am successful, my people will now make eye contact with you…and our dialogue will begin.”

—Robert Ernst Marx

Past ExhIbitions at Main Street Arts

Dec 12, 2020 -
Jan 8, 2021
Feb 22, 2020 -
Mar 27, 2020
Jan 9, 2014 -
Feb 28, 2014


Follow the links below to view photos and videos from past exhibitions at Main Street Arts, which featured Robert’s work.

Play Video
Francie Marx on the Drawings of Robert Ernst Marx
Play Video
Heavy Metal Exhibition Walkthrough: Robert Marx
Play Video
Re-emerging Artists Promo Video
Play Video
Robert Marx Talks About a Series of Drawings
Play Video
Robert Marx on Painting the Human Face
Play Video
Robert Marx on Being a “Re-emerging” Artist

Join us on June 24! Limited tickets available.