National Gallery of Art - EXHIBITIONS
American Impressionism and Realism

Biography: Theodore Robinson, 1852 - 1896


Theodore Robinson 1852 - 1896 Theodore Robinson was born in Irasburg, Vermont, and grew up in Evansville, Wisconsin. Drawn to art at an early age, he entered the Art Institute of Chicago in 1869, but the following year he moved to Denver, seeking relief from his chronic asthma.

In 1874, his health much improved, Robinson moved to New York and enrolled at the National Academy of Design. In 1876 he left for two years in France, where he studied with Emile-Auguste Carolus-Duran and Jean-Léon Gerôme in Paris, and spent the summer of 1877 at Grez-sur-Loing. After trips to Venice and Bologna, he returned to the United States in 1879.

By 1881, Robinson was firmly established in New York, having secured both a studio and teaching position. That same year he joined the Society of American Artists and was soon working with John La Farge on mural decorations. In 1884 he returned to France, and after 1888 spent most of his time in Giverny working with Claude Monet.

On his return to New York in 1892, Robinson obtained a teaching position with the Brooklyn Art School and conducted summer classes in Napanoch, New York, and at Evelyn College in Princeton. He later taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. He spent his last years applying his Monet-inspired impressionism to the American scenery of Vermont and Connecticut. These late American works, favorably received by critics at his first one-man exhibition, at the Macbeth Gallery in 1895, unleashed in Robinson a new and deeply felt emotional bond with his native land. A year later, Robinson died at the age of forty-six, succumbing to the asthma that had plagued him all his life.


Baur, John I. H. Theodore Robinson [exh. cat., Brooklyn Museum] (New York, 1946).

Clark, Elliot C. Theodore Robinson: His Life and Art. Chicago, 1979.

Johnston, Sona. Theodore Robinson, 1852 - 1896. Baltimore, 1973.

Theodore Robinson, American Impressionist (1852 - 1896) [exh. cat., Kennedy Galleries] (New York, 1966).