Bob Timberlake Biography
Bob Timberlake is an internationally acclaimed realist painter and designer who makes his home in Lexington, North Carolina. After graduating with a B.S. degree in Industrial Relations in 1959 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he worked in five family businesses in a hands-on, executive capacity. He married his childhood sweetheart in 1957 and has three children and seven grandchildren.
Timberlake began painting as a young child but began his professional career in 1970. Although he received no formal art education or training, his work is best known for its intricate attention to color and detail. His depiction of the simple life in his native North Carolina has endeared his work to millions of admirers around the world for over 40 years. From the Somewhere In Time book, Charles Kuralt quotes “What happened was this: I met a painter, also a North Carolinian, who, like me, has known some of these old things himself and heard to tell of many others, and has felt within himself the strong urge to get it down, as much as he can, and pass it on.” Victor Hammer, brother of Art Collector & Connoisseur, Dr. Armand Hammer, and Director of Hammer Galleries, N.Y.C. is quoted: “Nobody likes your work but the PEOPLE and they always will.”
Timberlake’s art career has been marked by consistent and resounding success. The first one-man exhibition of his work was held in 1970 at the Gallery of Contemporary Art (now SECCA) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The show sold out immediately, a first for SECCA. He has had eight highly successful exhibitions at New York City’s prestigious Hammer Galleries. His first show at Hammer Galleries sold out prior to opening and subsequent shows have also sold out and been successful. Timberlake’s work has also been exhibited throughout the United States and is the first and only Southerner in modern history to have a one-man exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. He also has exhibited at the FryeMuseum in Seattle, Washington, the R.W. Norton Gallery in Shreveport, LA, the North Carolina Museum of Art, the North Carolina Museum of History, the Huntington Museum in Huntington, WV (twice), the Greenville County Museum of Art in Greenville, South Carolina and internationally two shows at the Isetan Gallery in Tokyo, Japan. In 1990 and again in 1991, Timberlake was selected by the renowned HubbardMuseum in New Mexico to exhibit his works twice in competition for the prestigious Hubbard Award for Excellence, which recognizes outstanding American Realist artists. After opening in New Mexico, the exhibition traveled to Moscow and Berlin. Among others, he has also exhibited at the WakeForestArt Museum, Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and exhibited four times with his mentor, Andrew Wyeth.
In 1995, Bob was honored by the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, North Carolina with a 25th anniversary retrospective showing of his work entitled “At Home in North Carolina with Bob Timberlake”.
Throughout his career, Bob Timberlake’s work has been featured in scores of magazines and newspapers including The Atlanta Journal and Constitution Magazine, Art Voices/South, Midwest Art, Southwest Art, Today’s Art, Art World News, Southern Living, Southern Accents, Audubon, Acquire, Sporting Classics, Forests, NC Business, Our State, Reader’s Digest (only the second time an artist was featured in that publication), and almost all of the “shelter” magazines. Timberlake has released seven books: The Bob Timberlake Collection (with text by Charles Kuralt) in 1977, The World of Bob Timberlake in 1979, Somewhere in Time in 1989, Roots and Reflections in 1998, an autobiography, Partial to Home: A Memoir of the Heart in 1999 and a cookbook, The Seasonal Palette in 2000. The most recent publication, Bob Timberlake, Recipes from Home, was released in the fall of 2004.
Not content to confine his talents to a single medium, Bob Timberlake has designed four stamps for the US Postal Service. Bob was one of only a handful of artists to be asked to design a Christmas stamp and his work was featured on a very popular Seasons Greeting Christmas Stamp in 1980, both the North and South Carolina commemorative Statehood Stamps (1988, 1989), and the bi-centennial postcard for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1993.
Timberlake has been honored by Presidents Carter and Reagan in the White House for his work with Keep America and NC Beautiful, Inc. and by Prince Charles in Buckingham Palace.
Well known for his charitable endeavors, he has received numerous awards in recognition of his service to the Boy Scouts of America, the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Duke Children’s Hospital, the Lions Club, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and Keep America and NC Beautiful, Inc. He has also been the recipient of the prestigious Albert Schweitzer Medal for Artistry (the only artist to receive this prestigious award) and the American Forestry Lifetime Award. Timberlake’s donation of a print release entitled “Jonquils” as well as additional donations of other limited edition reproductions have raised millions of dollars for the Duke Children’s Hospital, DukeComprehensiveCancerCenter and UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancers Centers. Duke has honored him in 1989 with the Shingleton Award for his support of cancer research. He also received the First “Iron Eyes Cody Award” for his work for Keep America Beautiful.
In 1979, the artist was the honored recipient of the North Carolina Public Servant of the Year Award. Other humanitarian awards include The North Carolinian of the Year from the NC Press Association and the Silver Beaver, which is the highest Civilian honor awarded by the Boy Scouts of America.
Bob Timberlake received the American Forestry Lifetime Award for “Enhancing Public Appreciation of America’s Natural Resources through Art” in 1982. He is a lifetime member of the American Forestry Service.
In 1990, Timberlake launched a highly successful licensing company, Bob Timberlake, Inc., with The World of Bob Timberlake® collection of furniture. This collection revolutionized and brought excitement back into the industry by introducing the concept of branding a furniture collection according to a famous personality or lifestyle concept. The collection was recently named the most significant introduction of a line of furniture in the last 40 years and is the most successful in the history of furniture. The media touted his furniture as “The Antiques of the future”.
Since that initial offering, seven additional lines have been released: Old Salem in 1994, An Arts and Crafts Collection in 1998, Riverwood in 1999, Lodge in 2000, GrandKids in 2001 and Vintage Reserve in 2002. Bob Timberlake furniture has well passed the $1 billion mark in wholesale sales. Bob Timberlake has licensed products to over 20 leading manufacturers in many other areas including home textiles, home furnishing accessories, building products, and apparel.
Timberlake has been presented with several awards in the home furnishings industry as well including the top designer award for bed fashions from Cotton, Inc. in 1993 and the prestigious Academy of Achievement Award from the Accessories Resource Team (A.R.T.) in 1994. He was recently awarded the 2004 International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA) Trailblazer Award. Most currently, he was inducted into the Furniture Hall of Fame.
In 1997, Timberlake introduced a collection of 24 home plans and licensed structural and fashion building components in order to create complete Bob Timberlake homes, built and furnished with Bob Timberlake products. The first Bob Timberlake show home was built in High Point, NC in 1997. Since then, additional show homes have been built in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Utah. Bob Timberlake home plans are currently available through Southern Living®. Many Lodges, Hotels, and Inns have been furnished and decorated with the “Timberlake” style.
He has helped, along with his talented folks, to create a magnificent Inn over looking ChetolaLake and the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. The Bob Timberlake Inn at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock, NC opened to the public in September 2004. The Bob Timberlake Inn is an 8-room bed and breakfast featuring Bob Timberlake furniture, lamps, accessories, artwork and personal mementos in the historic 1846 Manor House at Chetola. The Inn and complex offer a top Spa, fishing, many outdoor activities, great food, accommodations, and events. Bob’s 1930-31, 6-wheel Model A Ford Roadster is used for weddings, parades, and other activities in Blowing Rock. It is the perfect backdrop for Timberlake’s extraordinary furnishings, accessories, artwork and personal mementos. The Bob Timberlake Inn takes you back to a glorious time in the past with all the comforts of the present.
Also in 1997, Bob Timberlake opened a new 15,000 square foot retail facility at 1714 East Center Street Ext, The Bob Timberlake Gallery in his hometown of Lexington, North Carolina27292. The gallery features Bob Timberlake art, apparel, furniture and home furnishing accessories as well as a broad selection of gift and collectible items. The Bob Timberlake Gallery also has a fine collection of the artist’s original paintings and memorabilia showing some of his many and varied collections. A second Bob Timberlake Gallery opened in September of 2001 at 946 Main Street in Blowing Rock, North Carolina 28605. Local folks and travelers from all over the world visit the Galleries. The Lexington Gallery has been touted by NC Tourism as the best place to visit.
In addition to the retail facilities, Bob Timberlake offers a comprehensive selection of art and accessories on its website, www.bobtimberlake.com The site features a broad range of both Bob Timberlake licensed products and related products, which are offered through The Bob Timberlake Galleries.
Bob Timberlake accessories, home textiles, apparel and more are available through a retail relationship at Bass Pro Shops throughout the United States and online at www.basspro.com.
In December of 1999, Bob Timberlake held his eighth exhibition at Hammer Galleries in New York City, one of his most successful to date. During 2000, a traveling exhibition entitled “Andrew Wyeth/Bob Timberlake: Painting on Familiar Ground”, exhibited the artist’s work at Salem College in Winston-Salem, NC, The Fayetteville Museum of Art in Fayetteville, NC, the Saint John’s Museum in Wilmington, NC, the Huntington Museum of Art in Huntington, West Virginia and High Point University. In January of 2002 the exhibition opened at the Chapel Hill Museum in Chapel Hill, NC. The Appalachian Cultural Museum in Boone, NC hosted “Bob Timberlake: Across Time, An Originals Exhibition” in the fall of 2004.
The year 2005 marked the 35th Anniversary of Bob’s professional art career. In celebration of Bob’s 35th Anniversary and the 35th Anniversary of Piedmont Community College in Roxboro, NC, the college hosted an originals exhibition to honor him. The retrospective exhibition entitled “Bob Timberlake: Coming Home” was held in June. Bob’s ties run deep in Roxboro. In 1905, Edgar Anderson Timberlake moved his wife, four sisters-in-laws and widowed mother-in-law from Roxboro (PersonCounty) to Lexington where his descendants, including his grandson, Roberts Edgar “Bob” Timberlake, still live today. After 100 years, Bob “returned home” to commemorate this event. The Timberlake Family History was also featured at the Person County Museum of History in Roxboro during his exhibition.
On January 19, 2006, Governor Mike Easley presented Bob Timberlake with the “Order of the Long Leaf Pine” during a private ceremony at The Bob Timberlake Gallery. “Bob Timberlake is not only known in our state, but also around the world for his rural landscape paintings and award winning furniture designs,” Easley said. “The citizens of this state are truly proud and honored to have such a talented artist calling North Carolina home.”
An announcement was made on March 1, 2006 that The World of Bob Timberlake furniture, America’s most successful furniture line in history, would continue to be domestically manufactured by Linwood Furniture Inc, in Lexington, North Carolina, thanks to a partnership between Bob Timberlake, Kepley-Frank Hardwoods, Inc., and Lexington Home Brands. Since The World of Bob Timberlake debuted in the fall of 1989, many furniture companies have shifted major lines to overseas production. But Bob Timberlake remained dedicated to his beliefs. He insisted this line be produced in the United States, especially in his own hometown by hometown crafts folks.
In January 2007, Bob Timberlake celebrated his 70th birthday. To celebrate Bob’s birthday and legendary career, The Bob Timberlake Gallery in Lexington hosted “Bob Timberlake —Celebrating 70”. This exhibition was a unique gathering of 70 original Bob Timberlake paintings — each commemorating one of Bob’s 70 years. The exhibit also featured childhood and early works, as well as highlights from Bob’s career in furniture and home design. The exhibition was the first of its kind at the Lexington Gallery and was originally scheduled for June 15th – July 28th but was extended through August 31, 2007 due to popular demand.
The release of “Ella’s” marked a significant milestone in the production of Bob Timberlake’s artwork. In the spring of 2008, “Ella’s” was the very first limited-edition Timberlake reproduction to be produced entirely by the Giclée Printing Process. It offered Timberlake Collectors the very best and highest quality art reproductions available in the marketplace. Bob has for 40 years been the “milestone” of art reproduction, and his printers have won numerous National & State Awards.
On March 24, 2009, the North Carolina Department of Transportation dedicated a 4.8-mile section of I-85 from U.S. 64 to NC 8 as the Bob Timberlake Freeway, in honor of Bob Timberlake. Transportation Secretary Gene Conti officially named the highway at a ceremony presented at the Bob Timberlake Gallery in Lexington.
Bob has been and is involved with many art and environmental issues and boards. He has raised funds for so many worthwhile projects from County & Volunteer Fire Departments to our NC Wildlife Habitat Foundation and many others. Bob has used his talents and art to raise many thousands of dollars for the Keep America & NC Beautiful and Green, Lions Clubs, Easter Seals, Cystic Fibrosis, Boy Scouts of America, Duke Cancer Research and Children’s Hospitals, Save the Hatteras Lighthouse, Salvation Army, and too many local and distinct worthwhile projects to list.
In celebration of Bob’s release of “Lighthouse Window,” Bob was present for a signing at the Woods Gallery on Bald Head Island, North Carolina on May 23, 2009. Other works of Bob’s on Bald Head were shown and sold that evening also. It was a highly successful show and enjoyed by everyone in attendance. Bob has been a visitor to the island for 56 years and has done many paintings there.
In 2009, Bob’s staff at the Gallery and Bob Timberlake, Inc. donated products and volunteered time to make ABC’s “Extreme Home Makeover” in Davidson County a “Resounding Success” for the Creasey family. “It brought our county and the area together”.
The Charity League of Lexington presented their fiftieth annual Holiday House Tour that featured the 200th Birthday Anniversary Celebration Tour of Bob Timberlake’s Studio. This historic property was open to the public for the first time as part of the organization’s largest fundraiser of 2009. Thousands attended and over $34,000 was raised for local charity. Bob’s studio was originally built by Henry Shoaf in 1809 and was located on Highway 64 just west of Lexington, NC. In 1989, Bob Timberlake acquired the building from the Shoaf Family and moved it to its present location on Highway 47 just south of Lexington.
Bob Timberlake, the artist/designer, is currently the chairman of Bob Timberlake, Inc., the licensing company that acts as manager and agent of the Bob Timberlake brand across two divisions: Bob Timberlake Licensing and The Bob Timberlake Gallery.
The year 2010 marked Bob’s fortieth year as a professional artist. He was also inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame.
2011 was a momentous year starting with two of the most respected families in furniture – Bob Timberlake and Hickory, NC based Century Furniture – teaming up to build upon the success of one of the longest running licenses in industry history in 2011.
Bob also partnered with Shaw Living to produce a collection of rug designs inspired by the classic Timberlake themes of everyday rural southern living.
Longleaf Collection brings Bob’s reflections of nature into the world of door hardware and bath accessories.
Timberlake and Dixie Seating Company teamed up to produce quality, North Carolina based solid wood rockers.
Bob, an avid pet lover, partnered with Plantation Dog Foods, to launch Bob Timberlake Signature Series Super-Premium Dog Food.
Bob’s 75th Birthday Celebration began in January of 2012. The Celebration showcased Seven Decades of Art, from the 1940’s to 2012 of original artwork. The show began at High PointUniversity’s Sechrest Gallery, moved to Blowing Rock Art and HistoryMuseum and came home to The Bob Timberlake Gallery in Lexington in December!
“Timberlake’s” Restaurant opened in July at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock, NC.
Bob’s latest book: LIFE’S LESSONS: Lines of Wisdom from a Faithful Stream. Two men, Bob Timberlake and Ambassador Mark Erwin, both collectors of aphorisms, tales, and inspirational quotations for many years, collaborated on this book to share their favorite lines of wisdom from sources as diverse as Grandma Moses and Billy Graham, George Carlin and a Bermudian taxi driver. Over sixty Timberlake paintings accompany the quotations.
2013 - Bob Timberlake and the Timberlake family celebrate 100 years in home furnishings. Bob’s grandfather founded and later incorporated Piedmont Furniture Company in 1913.
This year marks Bob’s 45th year at High Point Furniture Market.
For more information on Bob Timberlake, please contact The Bob Timberlake Gallery, 1714 East Center Street Extension, Lexington, NC27292. Phone: 336-249-4428.