Robert Cardinal, originally from Montreal, has been living on Cape Cod for most of the past forty-five years. In the late 1950’s, he left Canada and moved to Greenwich Village, New York City, where he worked with artist, Albert Handell. From there, he traveled to Paris where he studied and copied the paintings in the Louvre. He attended La Grande Chaumiere School of Art during his two and a half year stay. Returning to Cape Cod, Cardinal and fellow artist, Frank Milby, opened a gallery where the Sun Gallery had once been in Provincetown. In the 1970’s, Cardinal departed from oil paintings to lighted box constructions and took part in a successful show with Frank Milby and Jackson Lambert.
Cardinal has always been fascinated with art history and those who painted before him in the Realist and Impressionist schools. Some of his favorites being Goya, and the more contemporary, Maxfield Parrish and Edward Hopper, whose influence is predominantly evident in Cardinal’s painting. He, like Hopper, can hardly resist a lonely house on a forgotten road. These paintings remind us of the everlasting solitude that one can easily still find on Cape Cod.
Cardinal looks for a harmony between nature and what is man-made. He searches for simple scenes: isolated beaches, lighthouses, lonely Cape homes. He stresses color, light and mood in an effort to achieve a moment in time. Usually he paints at sunrise or sunset- when the light offers him the drama and exact mood he is looking for. These times also offer striking combinations of color- although closely related in value, they are bold and vibrant, and even somewhat shocking in hues. He often returns to the same subject over and over, as they never appear quite the same twice.
Cardinal’s distinct purple skies have lured and enticed many collectors. His work hangs in homes and businesses throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in England, France, Germany, Ireland and Japan. He has had several one-man shows and continues to be one the Cape’s most distinct landscape artists. He now resides in North Truro, in the midst of his beloved landscape. He spends a great deal of time in his studio in the village of North Truro, where visitors are welcome to visit, see him paint and talk with him about the vast world of art. Built in 1858, his studio was one of the original elementary schools of Truro. Once know as the Schoolhouse Gallery, this charming, historic structure is now the Robert Cardinal Studio and Gallery.
“There is a certain nostalgia in my work, a yearning for time gone by, a more quiet time.” -Robert Cardinal