Media File
Robert S. Pious
Date: American illustrator and portrait artist, 1908–1983
Biography: Born in Mississippi, Pious was raised in St. Louis and Chicago. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago and launched his career as a cartoonist in the 1920s. In 1929 he left the Art Institute to work as a freelance illustrator. He also made portraits for the African-American community. When one of his portraits was honored by the Harmon Foundation in New York, his reputation began to rise. In 1931, Pious moved to New York with a scholarship to study at the National Academy of Design. He and his wife settled in Harlem and immersed themselves in the Harlem Renaissance art scene. During the 1930s he worked on murals for the Federal Art Project. Starting in the 1940s, Pious was a celebrity illustrator and comics artist, and details of his life were reported on in the African American popular press.