In the early 1990s Rob journeyed to Carmel to assist with a colleague's ailing gallery for a year, but decided to divest the gallery in Corpus and open a new gallery by the cool Pacific. Once in California, this native Texan wasted little time in shaking up the art crowd in earthquake country. Carmel was the home of over one hundred art galleries nestled into one square mile of area, and only one piece of public sculpture. "And I put it there," Rob adds. Shortly after opening Pitzer's Fine Arts in Carmel, Rob placed a sculpture across the street from his gallery. Sculpted masterfully by George Lundeen
, the bronze statue depicts a life-sized elderly couple sitting quietly on a bench, in a touching moment of togetherness evoking its title, "The Valentine."
The statue first caused a furor, with detractors calling for its removal, supporters arguing for its permanence, and cynics who insisted to Rob that installing public artwork in that community "couldn't be done."
Rob's eyes twinkle mischievously as he describes his response to the pack of naysayers. "I just said, I was just a good ole Texas boy and didn't know any better" he grins. In the end, astute Texan tenacity won the day, and with fundraisingefforts organized by Rob, the city of Carmel bought the sculpture to keep it there permanently. "It's probably one of the most photographed things there," says Rob.