Summers has created numerous public art projects, including the WORLD’S LARGEST bronze for the Pioneer Plaza at the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. The piece, a cattle drive, includes seventy longhorn steers herded by three riders on horseback. Completed in the mid 1990’s, it took him two and a half years. He is famous for his bronze of Coach Tom Landry at Texas Stadium and for his John Wayne bronze at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California.
A representational oil painter and sculpture of the contemporary West, Robert Summers was born in Glen Rose, Texas, where he still lives. “I paint the people and things I know,” he observes, “I find it hard to paint anything unless it relates to my own experience. Occasionally I’ll read some historical story and try to recreate that moment, but I have to be careful to make the costumes and weapons correct.
Of his youth, Summers says, “I was brought up in a small country town, among normal people, and I intend to keep it that way.” In 1964, a cousin paid Summers’ living expenses for a year so he could paint full time. “Things got pretty tight,” he recalls, “and if we hadn’t lived in a small town, it would have been impossible.” However, two years later, he was exhibiting successfully. In 1969, he sold twelve paintings at a solo show in Odessa, Texas, and in 1973, and in 1979, he sold out at the Western Heritage Show in Houston. The following year he was commissioned to model a heroic memorial of John Wayne.