About The Artist
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Robert McGreevy is a Great Lakes historian and marine artist whose family history is steeped in the shipbuilding industry. McGreevy’s grandfather and father worked for Harland & Wolff, Belfast’s biggest shipbuilder; additionally, in 1912, his grandfather worked on the building of the Titanic. During his formative years and surrounded by talk of shipbuilding, McGreevy began building models and sketching ships.
McGreevy’s parents, accomplished artists in their own right, immigrated to the United States in the early 1950s. McGreevy’s father and an uncle worked for the Great Lakes Engineering Works in Detroit during the construction of the Edmund Fitzgerald. McGreevy went on to study art at Detroit’s Cass Technical High School. He also attended the Society of Arts and Crafts (present-day Center for Creative Studies in Detroit). With fond memories of summers spent with family in Port Austin, after a career in industrial arts at Chrysler Corporation where he developed an eye for technical detail, Bob and his wife, Suzanne, moved from their Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, home and retired to the Harbor Beach area.
McGreevy’s interest in ships had him wondering what ships looked like in their proper environment and this curiosity spurred his interest in painting. With no known photographs capturing the image of many ships, McGreevy delved into research by studying a ship’s enrollment papers and reading contemporary accounts. McGreevy has completed over 300 paintings of Great Lakes ships, encompassing all periods of ship design and development. A historian first and an artist second, by relying on his technical training and drawing in perspective, through his paintings, McGreevy is able to share the results of his research.
In addition, McGreevy has completed numerous underwater drawings, a viable tool for divers when visualizing a shipwreck. While a ship’s enrollment papers provided McGreevy with scale dimensions, they lacked color documentation. Recent wreck discoveries have shed new light on the colors of early steamers. Through his images, McGreevy depicts how ships looked when they sailed and how they look on the bottom of the lake. He also offers an audio-visual presentation on these Lost Legends free-of-charge to historical societies and non-profit groups. McGreevy’s dedication to preserving maritime history and his commitment to historical accuracy have earned him great credibility and a dedicated following. In 2004, McGreevy was named Historian of the Year by the Marine Historical Society of Detroit, and Michigan’s Alcona Historical Society awarded him Historian of the Year in 2008. In addition, McGreevy served as a contributing author to the state history award-winning book Celebrating 150 Years, Huron County, Michigan, 1859-2009, self-published by the Huron County Historical Society in 2009.
McGreevy is a past two-term board member of the Great Lakes Maritime Institute, and he is a member of the Great Lakes Historical Society, Marine Historical Society of Detroit, Lake Huron Lore, International Ship Masters Association, Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse Society, and the United States Life-Saving Service Heritage Association. For McGreevy, the research continues. He is currently working on research and paintings for his second book.
Robert McGreevy was written about in the March, 2015 edition of The Lakeshore Guardian: (View article)