Theodore Robinson, an American painter best known for his Impressionist landscapes, was born on July 3, 1852 in Irasburg, Vermont. When Robinson was a young child his family moved to Evansville, Wisconsin, where he spent the majority of his boyhood. In the late 1880s, he was one of the first American artists to take up Impressionism; several of his works are considered American Impressionism masterpieces.
Robinson studied briefly at the Art Institute of Chicago before moving to New York City in 1874. Here he studied at the National Academy of Design. In 1876, Robinson went to Paris where he studied for two years under Carolus-Duran and Jean-Leon Gerome, and alongside John Singer Sargent. During this time his paintings were mostly of landscapes and figures executed in a realistic style.
Theodore Robinson taught in both New York City and Boston upon his return to the U.S., and did decorative work for public and private buildings under John La Farge. During this time he made several trips, on which he summered with artists Joe Evans and Abbott Thayer and produced paintings of local subjects.
In 1884, Robinson returned to France; he worked in Paris and Barbizon and was strongly influenced by the Barbizon school. In 1887 while living in Giverny, Theodore Robinson met resident artist, Claude Monet. He took tremendous inspiration from Monet; his colors became softer, his brushstrokes lighter, and his paintings more sensitive. Like Monet, he utilized the same outdoor scene in different lights.
Robinson returned to the U.S. in 1892, applying his fully developed Impressionist style to American subjects. He painted New England scenery, landscapes along the Erie and Delaware Canals, and taught outdoor summer classes for Evelyn College in Princeton, New Jersey, and at the Brooklyn Art School. Theodore Robinson died of an acute asthmatic attack on April 2, 1896 in New York City.
Theodore Robinson’s 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.