Lieutenant Robert Allan Barr was born in 1890 in Chiswick, London, England. He studied at the London School of Art under Frank Brangwyn, John M. Swan, George W. Lambert, and William Nicholson from 1907-11. Followed by studies at the Regent Street Polytechnic, London from 1908-10.
During World War 1 he served in England and France with the British Army first as a cadet in the Artists’ Rifles and then as a Lieutenant with the first Monmouthshire Regiment. Many of his portraits were done of lieutenants who served in the war.
He came to Kingston, Ontario in 1922, moving to Toronto within the year. In Toronto he distinguished himself as a portrait painter. He was known for employing excellent craftsmanship and using dramatic treatment of light and shadow.
His paintings hang in the National Gallery, the AGO in Canada, the Royal Academy & the Victoria & Albert Museum in England as well as many private collections around the world.
Barr died in1959.