Robert Michael Shaw was born in l937, not far from where his family settled in New York City, in the mid-nineteenth century. After graduating from the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, in l960, he embarked upon a lifetime of painting that has seen very few interruptions. Although Shaw has maintained studios in New York City and Chicago, the major part of his artistic career has been lived abroad.

He has lived and painted in such diverse places as the U.S.Virgin Islands, Palma de Majorca, Spain. The Greek islands and the Peruvian Andes. Since l980, he and his wife have been full-time residents of Italy and currently live in the hilly countryside near Lucca, in the Northwest part of Tuscany. Their l8th century farmhouse sits on a private estate, surrounded by lush forests and sweeping views of the Apennine mountains.

In 2001, the city of Lucca hosted a major exhibit of his works, to celebrate twenty years of painting in Tuscany. The exposition took place in the l6th century Villa Bottini, which serves as the city's cultural centre.

Robert Michael Shaw follows a long, traditional road of en plein-air painting that, to his mind, came to full maturity in the works of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, in the early l9th century. Nowhere is that opinion more borne out than in Corot's paintings of Rome and the surrounding countryside, in the l820's.

Like many of the great traditional landscape painters of the past, Shaw insists upon working exclusively on location, absorbing the light and textures that surround his everyday life. This provides him with an intimate knowledge and rapport with his subject, thus enabling him to pay homage to the unspoiled beauty of the Tuscan landscape without resorting to either fantasy or sentimentality.
"There is only one master here - Corot. We are nothing compared to him - nothing." Claude Monet, l897