Theodore Robinson USA
6-3-1852 Irasburg, USA - 4-2-1896 New York, USABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
In 1874 Theodore Robinson journeyed to New York City to attended classes at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League. In 1876 he traveled to Paris to study under Carolus-Duran and at the École des Beaux-Arts, with Jean-Léon Gérôme. He first exhibited his paintings at the 1877 Salon in Paris, and spent the summer of that year at Grez-sur-Loing.
After trips to Venice and Bologna, he returned to the United States in 1879 for several years. During this time Theodore Robinson painted in a realist manner, loosely brushed but not yet impressionistic, often depicting people engaged in quiet domestic or agrarian pursuits.
In 1884 Theodore Robinson returned to France where he lived for the next eight years, visiting America only occasionally. Robinson gravitated to Giverny, which had become a center of French impressionist art under the influence of Claude Monet.
It's unclear when Robinson met Monet, but by 1888 their friendship was enough for Robinson to move in next door to the famous impressionist. Robinson's art shifted to a more traditional impressionistic manner during this time, likely due to Monet's influence. While a number of American artists had gathered at Giverny, none were as close to Monet as Robinson. Monet offered advice to Robinson, and he likewise solicited Robinson for opinions on Monet's own works in progress.
Theodore Robinson left France and Monet for the final time in 1892, although he meant to return. Back in America, Robinson obtained a teaching post with the Brooklyn Art School and conducted summer classes in Napanoch, New York, near the Catskill Mountains, where he painted several canal scenes. He also taught at Evelyn College in Princeton, New Jersey, and later at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia.
With New York City as his base, Theodore Robinson circulated among a growing number of American artists pursuing Impressionism. He was particularly close to John Henry Twachtman and Julian Alden Weir, and spent time at the nearby Cos Cob Art Colony in Connecticut.
While his reputation as an important American Impressionist was growing, Robinson still needed to teach to support himself. He also harbored doubts about the quality of his work.
In 1895, Theodore Robinson enjoyed a productive period in Vermont, and in February 1896 he wrote to Monet about returning to Giverny, but in April he died of an acute asthma attack in New York City. He was 43 years old.
Art Movement: Impressionism
Influences: Carolus-Duran, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Claude Monet
Traveled: France, Italy