Robert “Bob“ Mangold, a loving and dedicated husband and father, and one of the most renowned sculptors in Colorado, has died at the age of 92. He passed away on August 13 in Hospice near his Denver home. In 2022, he was preceded in death by Peggy, his wife of 67 years. He is survived by his daughters, Lisa Mangold-White and Mickey Mangold, her husband, Andy Herb, and by Lisa’s daughter Zella Mäkelä, all of whom reside in Colorado.

Robert was born in Huntingburg, Indiana on November 28, 1930, to Mazo Cato and Ernest Mangold. They raised their six children during the Great Depression and Robert, a middle child, necessarily began working at an early age. “I got old too young,” he affirmed to his daughter, “because I needed to take care of others.” As a young man, the only way to afford the higher education he yearned for was to get the GI Bill. In 1949, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, where he was quickly promoted to Staff Seargent and sent to Germany as a radio communications expert.

While in the military, Robert was given a career aptitude test. He scored highest in the categories of furniture maker and artist, and decided to pursue art. He enrolled in Indiana University and began working in metal, teaching himself to weld, with help from a campus handyman. While in school, he met his wife and love of his life, Peggy Burks, and they married in 1955. They had the first of their two daughters, Lisa, in 1958 and Robert graduated with his Master of Fine Arts in 1960.

Robert was fascinated with natural systems and would often explain that it was the majestic Indiana forests — and lying on his back beneath the trees as a boy — that fostered his love of those systems and fueled his fascination with space, time, and motion, which ultimately led him toward his large abstract kinetic and implied kinetic sculptures. As a graduate student, Mangold was greatly influenced by George Rickey, who was an associate professor at IU during his time there. He also studied under Albert Elson, Henry Hope, and Robert Laurent. When Laurent took a sabbatical in 1959, Mangold was asked to teach Laurent’s classes, which proved to be the beginning of his many decades-long teaching career. He was as passionate about fostering his students as he was about making art.

In 1960, Mangold moved to Denver and soon thereafter accepted an offer to teach art classes at the University of Denver from the renowned painter Vance Kirkland who was then the head of the DU Art Department. In 1964, Peggy and Robert had their second daughter, Mickey. That same year, Mangold decided to leave DU to focus on his sculpture career and his active role in the Denver art scene. The next year he was given the opportunity to start the Fine Arts Program at Metropolitan State College of Denver and taught there until his retirement from teaching in 1995. Robert made and sold sculpture throughout his teaching career. After his retirement from teaching, he continued to create and sell his art well into his 80s.

From the time they first came to Colorado, the Mangolds were intensely involved in nurturing the contemporary art scene. The couple emerged as “influencers” during that era.

In 1977, Robert was a founding member of the sculptural group “Form,” a consortium of sculptors showing large-scale sculptures across the plains and the mountain west. He was also among the founders of Friends of Contemporary Art (the forerunner to the modern and contemporary department at the Denver Art Museum) and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. In 1980, he and Peggy opened Artyard, which was a highly regarded indoor/outdoor space that combined Robert’s studio with Denver’s first outdoor gallery for large and monumental sculpture. Robert was also a long-time member of the Executive Board of the International Sculpture Center, which was working to advance the creation and understanding of contemporary sculpture. His involvement with the ISC put him among the dominant names in late 20th-century abstract sculptors.

Robert’s artwork is in numerous private, corporate, and public collections across the US and the world. His work has been displayed in the White House Rose Garden, Spain, and Mexico, as well as Japan, where his work is in the permanent outdoor collection at the Hakone Open-Air Museum and he was awarded the Superior Prize at the prestigious Henry Moore Grand Prize Exhibition in 1989. Locally, his work is prominently displayed in Denver’s Civic Center Park, Auraria Campus, and many other locations, and included in the collections of the Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities, Denver Art Museum, the Museum of Outdoor Arts, the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art, the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, and the Loveland Art Museum.

Robert’s legacy is in his art, which is displayed across the globe, and in the memories of his family, students, art collectors, and countless others whose lives he touched.

The memorial will be on Sunday, September 10, 2023 at 1pm inside at the Arvada Center for the Arts, 6991 Wadsworth Blvd. Arvada, CO 80003.
In lieu of flowers the family is asking for donations to the Arvada Center or Museum of Outdoor Arts.
Use the QR codes below to instantly send a donation.
If you prefer to send a check, please make it out to Arvada Center for the Arts and include the memo: In memory of Robert Mangold

Donations can be made to Arvada Center for the Arts using the QR code below.

Charitable contributions made in honor of Robert Mangold will play a pivotal role in supporting the Arvada Center’s Galleries, enabling Arvada Center to continue to foster artistic excellence, nurture talent, and provide free exhibitions for the community.

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Access the QR Code below to make a donation that will benefit MOA’s Design and Build arts education program, which provides young artists and students opportunities to create collaborative public art projects.

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20 thoughts on “Robert Lee Mangold”

  1. Mickey, Andy and family, so sorry for your loss. What an incredible husband, father, friend, teacher and talent. His loss leaves a hole in the heart but his art lives on and stands as testament of a man dedicated to life.

    Dory

    1. Thank you Dory. He loved the time that he got to share with you and all of my dear friends at South. He especially enjoyed the football games and the parties at their house afterward. Thank you for sharing part of your life with him.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. I have very fond memories of Uncle Robert. Sitting under the shade tree on Jackson Street with him & Grandpa Ray are some of my fondest memories. I loved listening to his stories & looking through his books of art work. What a great man he was.

  3. I was a friend of your cousins Sandy and Sharon Mangold . I remember you girls and your dad oh so well . He was a very intelligent and nice man. I remember how proud Sharon was of her Uncle Bob for the amazing things he did. I’m so sorry for loss.

  4. I was a friend of your cousins Sandy and Sharon Mangold . I remember you girls and your dad oh so well . He was a very intelligent and nice man. I remember how proud Sharon was of her Uncle Bob for the amazing things he did. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  5. Mickey, I wanted a chance to express my condolences in person, but I haven’t been able to connect with you. I came to appreciate your dedication and love for your father as you advocated and cared for him tirelessly and fiercely. You’ve been a giver to all of our people at Monarch House and your presence will be just as missed as Robert’s. I loved my interactions with him, as few as they actually were, because he advocated for HIMSELF and his ART, and that was the spark in him that I truly enjoyed. You’re in my thoughts, I hope you can rest well knowing you served well.

    Much love,

    Sherry

  6. Dear Lisa and Mickey,
    Growing up in the neighborhood and with you two , Bob was so cool, the coolest dad among all our friends. I have so many memories of parties they had, your stylish home and their great presence in the Denver art scene as we grew into adulthood. I know Bob had a great influence on my brother, Paul, as he began studying at Metropolitan State. Peggy and Bob had a beautiful life together and two great daughters. Offering condolences and solace.

  7. He was cool! And stable. And kind. And fun. I could go on and on…The best dad! It is a difficult loss.
    And nice to hear your thoughtsabout him.
    Thank you, April.

  8. William Dick Brown and I have long enjoyed the small kinetic sculpture that we own of Robert Mangolds. And it is always a pleasure to spot his sculptures in public places.
    How proud your family can be of his long, well lived life.

  9. We have enjoyed being neighbors to Bob and Peggy for over 30 years. We loved hearing stories of their motorcycling adventures. Our special memories are of Bob walking their dog, Baxter, all around the neighborhood. Baxter and our dog Josie were long attracted to each other. We miss seeing Bob and Peggy sitting on their front porch.

  10. I wasn’t lucky enough to get the pleasure of his company…however his daughter Michelle is a good friend and mentor to my children. If who she is…is a reflection of Robert…he was an excellent father and teacher.

  11. Mr. Mangold was my instructor at Metro from 1969 to 1973. I learned much about materials, design and process from him.
    In the 1990’s he judged the Envisage Art Show for Denver Parks and Recreation a show I organized.
    A very professional college professor and a really great teacher.
    My condolences – Robert Lopez

  12. Phil and Joanne Thank you so much! He was both!! And I know you would have liked him. He would have really enjoyed playing games and barbequing with us at the Ohio farm!!

  13. I knew Robert through my dad T.S. Magoon. Had no idea at that time how blessed I was to be in the presence of such a kind and benevolent person. My utmost sincerest condolences to long lost friends.

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