Robert Reid was an American Impressionist painter known for his grand murals and glowing figure scenes depicting young women. Born in Stockbridge, Massachusetts on July 23, 1862, Reid showed great promise at an early age. He attended Boston’s Museum School for three years studying under Otto Grundmann (1844-1890) and Frederick Crowninshield (1845-1918), two instructors that made a lasting impression on his creativity. Within a few years, Reid began selling small scale works and took a position at Museum School as an assistant instructor and was later promoted to their founding editor in chief of the school’s publication. He furthered his education at the Art Student League but after attending for a year, he was unimpressed with the curriculum. He travelled to Paris to enroll at the Académie Julian where he remained for the next four years. During his stay, he encountered the works of the Italian artist Titian, whose warm tones and lightening effects deeply impacted Reid’s artwork.
He returned to New York in 1889 and accepted teaching positions at both Cooper Union and the Art Students League. In 1897, he accepted a membership invitation from the Society of American Artists but it was short lived. That same year he left the Society out of disgust for the quality of work accepted and became one of the ten founding fathers of “The Ten American Painters”, also known as “The Ten.”
Through connections made with a friend, Reid became a prolific muralist, gaining commissions to paint the Library of Congress and the New York Appellate Court House to name a few. Around 1900, Reid spent five years designing and crafting stain glass windows for Rogers Memorial Church in Massachusetts, a skill he learned from Crowninshield. He was married shortly to Elizabeth Reeves for two years. Twenty years later, Robert Reid was diagnosed with polio, with severe paralysis on the right side of his body. Determined to continue to paint, he taught himself to paint with his left hand which provided him the ability to continue his passion for creating his brightly colored scenes. He was awarded a solo exhibition at the Grand Central Galleries in 1929 and passed away three months later due to complications associated with his crippling disease.