Robert Pearson McChesney (1913-2008) was a California Abstract Expressionist painter and muralist.
Robert McChesney was born on January 16, 1913 in Marshall, Missouri. His parents were Ruby Eversmann Pearson and Jack Wiley McChesney who ran a photography studio. McChesney attended Washington University School of Fine Arts in St. Louis, Missouri from 1933-1934 and Otis Arts Institute in Los Angeles, California from 1936-1937. In 1937, he married Frances, an artist figure model, and they later divorced.
McChesney worked in the mural division of the depression-era Federal Works Project Administration on the Golden Gate International Exposition (GGIE) in San Francisco from 1938 to 1940. At the GGIE, McChesney and other artists worked on a mural series designed by Herman Volz. During World War II, he served in the U. S. Merchant Marine in the South Pacific. He painted a great deal while he was in the South Pacific and when he returned to San Francisco those paintings became the basis for his first solo exhibition in 1944 at the Richmond and Richmond Gallery.
After the war, McChesney lived in a house in Point Richmond, California with several artists, including the sculptor Mary Fuller whom he married in 1949. Beginning in 1950, he taught at the California School of Fine Arts, California State University at Hayward, and the California Labor School. In 1952, he moved to Sonoma Mountain in Petaluma, California where he built in a house and studio.
Over the course of his artistic career, McChesney had over 40 solo exhibitions and his artwork is included in the collections of many museums such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Robert McChesney died on May 10, 2008 in Sonoma County, California.