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Overview

A sunlit landscape set in the outskirts of Giverny, 45 miles northwest of Paris, this painting is one in a series of three closely related views completed by Theodore Robinson in the summer of 1892, and reflects the influence of Robinson's friend, French impressionist painter Claude Monet. Monet had settled in Giverny in 1883, and Robinson, a frequent visitor to the picturesque town, befriended the well-known but aloof master. Over their years of friendship, Monet influenced Robinson's work in notable ways, inspiring him to lighten his palette and to relax the highly polished painting techniques acquired from his academic training. Most importantly, by referencing Monet's practice, Robinson began to create multiple works depicting the same subject under different effects of light and weather.

By early August 1892, Robinson had completed the ambitious series of three sweeping panoramas of which this is a part. To accurately capture the play of sunlight and clouds on the meadows, Robinson alternated working on the three canvases as weather conditions shifted. The present painting depicts the sunniest of the scenes; the second sun-filled painting, Valley of the Seine, is owned by the Addison Gallery of American Art (Andover, MA). The third painting, also titled Valley of the Seine, but depicting the area under cloud cover, is in the collection of the Maier Museum of Art (Lynchburg, VA). Encouraged by Monet's praise, Robinson sent the Addison Gallery canvas to the Society of American Artists exhibition in the spring of 1893. Although the other two paintings would not be publicly exhibited until after the artist's untimely death in 1896, the series remained a touchstone of artistic achievement for Robinson throughout his career.

Provenance

The artist; (his estate sale, American Art Association, New York, 24 March 1898); William T. Evans [1843-1918], New York; (his sale, American Art Association, New York, 31 January - 2 February 1900); Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington; acquired 2014 by the National Gallery of Art.

Exhibition History
1898
Oil Paintings and Studies by the Late Theodore Robinson, American Art Galleries, New York, 1898, no. 39.
1900
American Paintings Belonging to William T. Evans, American Art Galleries, New York, 1900, no. 250.
1951
American Landscape Painting from Kensett to the Present, Howard University, Washington, 1951, no catalogue.
1954
Extended loan, The White House, Washington, 1954-1959.
1961
American Landscape Painters 1800-1960, Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences, 1961, no. 28.
1971
Americans at Home and Abroad, Meredith Long and Co., Houston, 1971, no .29.
1972
Conservation in the Museum, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 1972, unpublished checklist.
1973
Theodore Robinson, 1852-1896, Baltimore Museum of Art; Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Ohio; Worcester Art Museum; Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha; Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, 1973-1974, no. 43.
1980
La Pintura de los Estados Unidos de Museos de la Ciudad de Washington [Painting in the United States from Public Collections in Washington], Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, 1980-1981, no. 34.
1982
Impressionistes Américains, Musée du Petit Palais, Paris; National Galerie, Staatlich Museum zu Berlin; Museum moderner Kunst, Vienna; Art Museum of the Socialist Republic of Romania, Bucharest; National Gallery of Art, Sofia, Bulgaria, 1982-1983, no. 55.
1987
Novye Gorizonty: Amerikanska i a zhivopis' 1840-1910, State Tretyakov Museum, Moscow; State Russian Museum, Leningrad; Minsk State Museum of Belorussiya; National Museum of Western and Oriental Art, Kiev, 1987-1988, no. 42.
1990
Landscaft im Licht: Impressionistiche Malerei in Europa und Nordamerika, 1860-1910, Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, 1990, no. 158.
1992
Lasting Impressions: American Painters in France, Musée Américain, Giverny, 1992, no. 8.
1993
Extended loan to for use by the Ambassador to France, U.S. Embassy residence, Paris, 1993-1997.
1999
American Impressionism: Selections from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Strathmore Hall Arts Center, North Bethesda, Maryland, 1999, unnumbered checklist.
2003
The Impressionist Tradition in America, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 2003-2004, unpublished checklist.
2004
In Monet's Light: Theodore Robinson at Giverny, Baltimore Museum of Art; Phoenix Art Museum; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, 2004-2005, no. 57.
2005
Encouraging American Genius: Master Paintings from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Parrish Art Museum, Southampton; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte; John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, 2005-2007, checklist no. 58.
2008
The American Evolution: A History through Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 2008, unpublished checklist.
2009
American Paintings from the Collection, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 6 June-18 October 2009, unpublished checklist.
2013
American Journeys: Visions of Place, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 21 September 2013-28 September 2014, unpublished checklist.
Bibliography
1905
"American Collections: The Collection of Mr. George A. Hearn." Collector and Art Critic 4, 2 (December 1905): 49.
1946
Baur, John I.H. Theodore Robinson, 1852-1896. Brooklyn, 1946: 79, no. 242.
1947
Corcoran Gallery of Art. Handbook of the American Paintings in the Collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Washington, 1947: 14, 58.
2011
Larkin, Susan G. "Theodore Robinson, The Valley of the Seine, from the Hills of Giverny." In Corcoran Gallery of Art: American Paintings to 1945. Edited by Sarah Cash. Washington, 2011: 33, 176-177, 273, repro.