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Paul A. Robbert

Oct. 1, 2008

Paul A. Robbert, who for 41 years served as a professor of art at Western Michigan University, died Monday, Sept. 22, at his home. He was 80.

Robbert was born in Holland and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in fine arts at Michigan State University in 1954 and 1955, respectively. He was hired as an art instructor at WMU in 1957, eventually rising to the rank of professor and serving as acting chair of the department in 1972-73. Robbert taught graphics, papermaking, printmaking, drawing and painting.

Robbert also was an acclaimed artist, both nationally and internationally, and exhibited widely in the United States and abroad. His affinity for materials and color eventually led to his exploration of paper as an art form, which he pursued for the past 30 years. As a faculty member, he established the papermaking curriculum.

Robbert designed and constructed his own equipment to further his experimentation in handmade paper. His innovations were adopted and used around the world. He first became interested in papermaking in the '70s when it appeared there would be a shortage of quality, handmade paper. During his WMU career, he inspired many young artists with his experimental approach and spirit until his retirement in 1998.

Robbert was a founding member of the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center. A celebration of his life will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 5, at the center, located in the Park Trades Center, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Suite 103A. An exhibition of his work will be on display at the center during the Art Hop on Friday, Oct. 3, and continue through Oct. 31.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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