Project Description

Biography – Rob Vander Zee

Rob Vander Zee is an artist, a nature enthusiast and a world traveler.  He has an unquenchable curious mind and seeks out new ideas and experiences as he explores the world around him.

He has had an active career in the visual arts in Michigan, the Washington DC area and New York.  In 2003, Rob opened the Vander Zee Gallery and the Vander Zee School of Painting in Alexandria, Virginia.  For 13 years, Rob mentored over 80 artists and helped many of them establish careers in painting.

Rob has organized and led many groups on educational and inspirational art trips abroad.  In recent years, he has taken groups to Italy, Spain, Portugal, Japan, Chile, France, Hungary, Austria and Croatia.  His enthusiasm for different cultures, art and the remote and wild places of the world help fuel these trips and ensure that the students will have an adventurous and fascinating experience.

In 2006, he was selected to be the “Ambassador in Arts” by the Estonian Embassy in Washington DC.  As ambassador, he toured Estonia giving lectures and demonstrations in painting.  Upon his return to the United States, he created over 30 paintings inspired by the trip and exhibited them at the Estonian Embassy.

In 2008, Rob was chosen to participate in Europe’s Centennial Celebration of the Arts in Vilnius, Lithuania.  He lectured and exhibited a series of his paintings as a part of this program.

In 2009, he was selected to be the Artist in Residence for Ecuador’s 200 year celebration of Darwin’s exploration of the Galapagos Islands.  Rob lived in Ecuador for three months while he created 25 paintings based on evolution and genetics.  His paintings were displayed as a national exhibition at Itchimbia, Ecuador’s National Cultural Institution.

In 2015, Rob was invited to Udaipur, India as the guest of the Maharajah to lecture and teach a group of Indian students for two weeks. He helped each student develop his or her own unique style in their paintings and worked with them to mount an exhibition of those paintings at the Udaipur Palace National Art Gallery.

Rob has exhibited his paintings in museums throughout the United States including the Pensacola Museum of Fine Arts, Florida, the William King Museum of Virginia, Ferris State University Museum, The Saginaw Art museum, Michigan, Kent State University Gallery, Ohio, The Anderson Center for the Arts, Indiana, The Charles B. Goddard Center for the Arts, Oklahoma, and the Ellen Noel Art Museum in Texas.

Rob’s paintings have been added to many private collections throughout the United States, Columbia, Denmark, Ecuador, Chile’, Lithuania, Estonia, Spain and Costa Rica.

In the spring of 2016, Rob moved back to his childhood state of Michigan to build his new art studio and home in the wilderness of the Manistee National Forest.  Surrounded by bountiful nature, he draws his inspiration from his surroundings while he continues to conduct educational seminars and inspirational trips abroad.