Theodore Robinson: Pioneer of American Impressionism



Following are the endnotes of an essay which was written in March 2000 by D. Scott Atkinson for the catalogue of the Theodore Robinson exhibition held at Owen Gallery, New York, from April 15 through June 15, 2000.

1. Birge Harrison, "With Stevenson at Grez," Century Magazine, vol. 93, no. 2 (Dec. 1916), p. 307.

2. Ibid.

3. The basic facts and chronology of Robinson's biography are a synthesis of the three principle monographs written about the artist: John I. H. Baur, Theodore Robinson (Brooklyn, New York: Brooklyn Museum Press, 1946); Eliot Clark, Theodore Robinson (Chicago, Illinois: R. H. Love Galleries, Inc., 1979); Sona Johnston, Theodore Robinson, 1852-1896 (Baltimore, Maryland: Baltimore Museum of Art, 1973). A fourth primary source is the artist's diaries, Frick Art Reference Library, New York.

4. Will H. Low, A Chronicle of Friendship, 1873-1900 (New York: 1908), pp. 66-67; cited in Baur, p. 15.

5. Betty Kathryn Koeninger, Theodore Robinson's La Débâcle, 1892: An American Artist in France, master's thesis, University of California, Riverside, 1992, p. 17.

6. Baur, op. cit., p. 16.

7. Koeninger, op. cit., p. 23.

8. Harrison, op. cit. p. 307.

9. Ibid.

10. Baur, op. cit., p. 16.

11. Koeninger, op. cit., pp. 25-6.

12. Baur, op. cit., p. 17.

13. Baur, op. cit., p. 18.

14. Richard Guy Wilson, "The Great Civilization: Expressions of Identity" The American Renaissance, 1876-1917 (Brooklyn, New York: The Brooklyn Museum, 1979), p. 12.

15. William Kloss, The Figural Images of Theodore Robinson: American Impressionist, ed. Bev Harrington (Oshkosh, Wisconsin: Paine Art Center and Arboretum, 1987), p. 16. Dewing's influence is also visible in a group of paintings Robinson produced in France between 1886 and 1887 featuring young women with musical instruments. One example is Young Woman with Violin and Rose of 1886.

16. For a general discussion of Bastien and his influence see, Gabriel P. Weisberg, Beyond Impressionism: The Naturalist Impulse (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1992), pp. 61-8.

17. Koeninger, op. cit., pp. 32-3. Robinson would certainly have had more than a passing knowledge of Bastien-Lepage because J. Alden Weir was a mutual friend of both painters.

18. William H. Gerdts, American Impressionism (New York: Abbeville Press, 1984), p. 67.

19. Koeninger, op. cit., pp. 35-7, 79, n. 80.

20. William H. Gerdts, Monet's Giverny: An Impressionists Colony (New York: Abbeville Press, 1993), p 22.

21. Claire Joyes, "Giverny's Meeting House, The Hotel Baudy," Americans in Brittany and Normandy, 1860-1910 (Phoenix, Arizona: Phoenix Art Museum, 1982), p. 97; also, Gerdts, ibid., pp. 23-6.

22. Dawson Dawson-Watson,"The Real Story of Giverny," Theodore Robinson (Chicago, Illinois: R. H. Love Galleries, Inc., 1979), pp. 65-7. The "chap named Taylor" was the American painter, Henry Fitch Taylor.

23. Two works essential in any survey of the establishment of Giverny as an artists' colony are. William H. Gcrdts, Monet's Giverny: An Impressionists Colony (New York: Abbeville Press, 1993) pp. 29 30; David Sellin, "Giverny, 1887-1900," Americans in Brittany and Normandy, 1880-1910 (Phoenix, Arizona, Phoenix Art Museum, 1982), pp. 65-76.

24. Dawson-Watson, op. cit. pp. 66-7

25. Gcrdts, Monet's Giverny, p. 37.

26. Ibid., p. 35.

27. Baur, op. sit., p. 27.

25. Ibid.

29. Ibid.

30. Baur, op. sit., p. 29); D. Scott Atkinson, Lasting Impressions: American Painters in France, 1865-1915 (Evanston, Illinois Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1992), p. 133.

31. Baur, op. cit. p. 31

32. Sona Johnston, Theodore Robinson, 1852-1896 (Baltimore, Maryland: Baltimore Museum of Art, 1973), p. 11

33. For further explanation of this connection see Atkinson op. cit. pp. 133-4.

34. This contradicts the suggestion that Robinson did not respond to the influence of Japanese prints until the summer of 1893, a year aftcr his final summer in Giverny. Susan G. Larkin, "Light, Time, and Tide: Theodore Robinson at Cos Cub," The American Art Journal, vol. 23, no. 2 (1991), p. 81.

35. For their influence of Japanese prints on American painters see, lbid., p. 106, no. 10. Claire Joyes, Claude Monet: Life At Giverny ( London: The Vendome Press, 1985), pp. 94, 97.

36. Baur, op. cit., p. 32.

37. Baur, ibid. p.32. Of the numerous American painters flocking to Giverny during the 1890s, Robinson was among a very small circle close enough with Monet's to have the master review his efforts. It was Monet's critiques on Robinson's paintings that probably fueled the speculation that he was Monet's student.

38. Baur, p. 26

39. Koeningcr, op. cit., pp. 50-5, 61. La Débâcle was sold to a collector in December 1892 who in turn loaned the painting to the spring 1893 exhibition of the Society of American Artists. In a review one critic noted that Robinson, "seems to find it no longer necessary to hold pure colors apart, but blends them more one into another with increasing suavity."-- New York Times, April 25, 1893.

40. Sona Johnston, Theodore Robinson, 1852-1896, p. 42. The interest of the American painters in his step-daughters concerned Monet. John Leslie Breck abruptly left Giverny when his romantic interest in one of the daughters had been thwarted by Monet. According to Koeningcr, op. cit., p. 46, Monet asked Robinson to attest to Butler's good character before the wedding took place.

41. Atkinson, op. sit., pp. 135, 139.

42 Theodore Robinson, "Jean Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875)," Modern French Masters, ed. John C. Van Dyke (New York: The Century Company, 1896), p. 107.

43. D. Scott Atkinson, Nicolai Cikovsky, William Merritt Chase: Summers at Shinnecock, 1891-1902 (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1987). Throughout the 1890s William Merritt Chase conducted summer painting classes at Shinnecock, Long Island comprised almost entirely of young women. This had also become the predominate gender setting up easels each summer in Giverny during the same decade.

44. Sona Johnston, Theodore Robinson, 1852-1896, p. xxiii

45. Larkin, op. cit., pp. 104-5.

46. Baur, op. cit., p. 45.

47. Theodore Robinson Diaries, June 15, 1895, Frick Art Reference Library, New York.

48. Baur, op. cit., p. 50.

49. Theodore Robinson "Claude Monet," Modern French Masters, ed. John C. Van Dyke (New York: The Century Company, 1896), pp. 170-1

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Mr. Atkinson's essay is courtesy of the Owen Gallery, 19 East 75th Street, New York, New York and the author.


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