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Theodore Robinson Biography
American Impressionism painter
born 1852 - died 1896
Student of: Emile Auguste Carolus-Duran (1838-1917), Jean Léon Gérôme (1824-1904).
One of the first and most important of the American Impressionism painters, Theodore Robinson was responsible for introducing French Impressionism to many Americans.
Theodore Robinson painter was born in Irasburg, Vermont, in l852
but moved with his family to Wisconsin when he was three. Robinson was a sickly
child; an asthmatic condition plagued him throughout his life and was
responsible for his premature death at age forty-four.
His studies began in Chicago, but in l874 Theodore Robinson artist moved to New York City to study at the National Academy of Design. In l876, he went to Paris to study under Emile Auguste Carolus-Duran, but left to enroll at the Ecole des Beaux Arts under Jean-Leon Gerome. Theodore Robinson paintings were mostly of landscapes and figures executed still in a realistic style. Robinson spent summers in the village of Grez-sur-Loing with a colony of Americans, including the artists Birge Harrison and Will H. Low and the writer Robert Louis Stevenson. Before returning home in l879 Theodore Robinson spent some time in Italy. His only meeting with James McNeill Whistler occured in Venice, where the two artists painted side by side.
Upon his return to America, Theodore Robinson painter taught
in New York City and Boston, where he did
decorative paintings under
John La Farge
for both public and private buildings.
During this time Theodore Robinson also made a number of
journeys from the city: to Jamaica, Vermont,
Boston and then to Nantucket where he summered with artists Joe Evans and Abbott
Thayer and produced a number of Theodore Robinson paintings of
local subjects. By l884, however, Robinson
had accumulated enough money to return to
his beloved France to paint.
The turning point in his artistic life came when Theodore Robinson went to live at Giverny, near Rouen, and met the resident artist there, Claude Monet. Although never Monet’s student, he became part of his inner circle. His colors became softer, his brushstrokes lighter and Theodore Robinson paintings more sensitive, although he still retained decisive contours at this time. Like Monet Theodore Robinson artist often painted serially, utilizing the same outdoor scene in different lights.
|His style at this time had evolved closer to Monet’s. The outlines of the forms were hazy and the colors were applied with loosened strokes.|
|But before he could carry this style any further Theodore Robinson suffered an acute asthmatic attack and died in New York City in l896. Theodore Robinson paintings are in the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Columbus Museum of Art, the Terra Museum of American Art, the Georgia Museum of Art and in many other public and private collections.|
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