American Painter, 1850-1917
was a German born painter and art teacher who spent most of his career in the United States of America. Koehler was born in Hamburg; his family spelled their name Köhler until they moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in Robert's childhood. There he attended the historic German-English Academy. Koehler studied art from Henry Vianden and apprentice himself to a lithography firm. After some time working as a lithographer in New York City, Koehler went to Munich to study fine art at the Royal Academy in 1873. Koehler's work while in Munich won him silver and bronze awards from the Academy, and Bavaria's Cross of the Order of St. Michael. Koehler then set himself up as head of a private art school; pupils included Alfons Mucha. In 1892 Robert Koehler returned to New York City to work as a portrait artist. The following year he moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, accepting an offer to be the director of the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts (now the Minneapolis College of Art and Design) Koehler was also involved with the establishment of Minneapolis' Museum of Fine Art, now the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.