Theodore Robinson

Theodore Robinson was one of the first American Impressionist painters in the nineteenth century. Born in Irasburg, Vermont in 1852, Robinson’s family moved to Evansville, Wisconsin. At the age of seventeen, he began his art education at the Art Institute of Chicago. After a brief hiatus due to an illness, he continued on to the National Academy of Design in New York in 1874. He remained there for two years before moving to France to attend the École des Beaux-Arts under the instruction of Jean-Léon Gérôme. He traveled extensively during his stay, once to Venice in 1879 where he became friends with James Abbott McNeill Whistler, who proved influential in Robinson’s work.

In 1879, Robinson returned home to New York and took commissions as a mural painter to supplement his income. He returned to France five years later and began to visit Giverny, a commune in Northern France, where he became a close, influential friend of Claude Monet. Their similar interests in landscapes, figure compositions and dabbling with a panoramic view of Giverny through sequential portraits formed a lasting bond between these two painters. Through the next five years, Robinson returned home to New York over winter and fall, and would return during the spring and summers to Giverny. He began teaching in the summers to supplement his income and received his first solo exhibit in February of 1895 at the Macbeth Gallery in New York. One year later, Theodore Robinson suffered from an acute asthma attack, a condition he had battled his entire life, and passed away in New York City.