Robert E. Tindall was born an only child in Independence back in 1913, and grew up at 315 N. Liberty, where he lived most of his life. From childhood, he was destined to become an artist. Tindall did well with his academics at William Chrisman High School, and then graduated from the University of Kansas City, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in art and a master’s degree in art education. From there, he went on to also earn a bachelor of fine arts from the Kansas City Art Institute. It was there that he struck up a friendship with his instructor, the nationally acclaimed artist, Thomas Hart Benton, who was very complimentary of Robert’s style and creative abilities.

Tindall was one of two students that Benton chose for an opportunity to show alongside of his own works in New York City at one of the Benton exhibitions.

One of Tindall’s paintings was apparently favored by President Harry S Truman and his wife, Bess, as it hung in the White House during the Truman administration.

Tindall worked in numerous medias, from oil paints to watercolor. He even played with egg tempera, which made for very delicate petals on his many flower paintings, which he had a passion for. When not painting flowers, his work reflected heavily on the American scene and its people. Tindall distinguished himself by winning numerous awards and displaying his work in many galleries and museums across America. Places such as the Evansville Public Museum in Indiana, the Philbrook Museum in Tulsa, the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, the Denver Art Museum of Colorado, and the Nelson Art Gallery in Kansas City.

Like most starving artists, Tindall never realized the big money and attention he deserved during his lifetime, but following his death in 1983, the value of his artwork began to climb rapidly and now commands as much as five figures through the Kodner Gallery in St. Louis.

Tindall was a charter member and served as the fifth president of the Community Art Association of Independence, which was the forerunner of today’s Independence Art Association. Upon his death, Tindall willed his entire studio and art collection along with the copyrights to the Independence Art Association to create, maintain, and foster scholarships and award them in his name to any graduating high school senior interested in continuing their education in art. Students from William Chrisman, Truman, St. Mary’s, Fort Osage and Van Horn High Schools have been eligible to apply through their counselors or art instructors since 1986.

Periodically, the art community comes together to help bolster the fund in order to keep it going for many years to come. So, beginning today, March 5, through March 28, the Independence Art Association, will be sponsoring “The 6th Annual Robert E. Tindall Scholarship Art Show and Sale” in the Gallery of George Owens Nature Center, 1601 S. Speck Road, east of Missouri 291 and 23rd Street in Independence.

Ann Golden’s father was a Methodist minister who was friends with the Truman family, Mr. Truman’s body guard Mike Westwood, and Artist Robert Tindall. In 1958, Ann’s mother purchased a Tindall original for Ann’s father, “Pumpkin Vines,” an egg tempera with an oil glaze to accent the delicate pumpkin blossoms. Recently, Independence Artist Leo Fabro managed to purchase that painting from Ann and it will be on display at the art show, along with many other fine works by local artists.

The artist’s reception will be held in the nature center from 1 to 4 p.m. March 15. All proceeds go toward maintaining the scholarship fund. Hours for the free exhibit are Tuesday-Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The park is closed Sunday and Mondays.

Reference: Kodner Gallery of St. Louis,

At the Blue & Grey Book Shoppe, 106 E. Walnut St., we have received new photo book about those days gone by on the Independence Square, “Images of America, Independence, Missouri” by Richard N. Piland and Marietta Wilson Boenker.

To reach Ted W. Stillwell, send an email to or call him at 816-252-9909.