The Plum Tree
oil on canvas
24.25 x 18 inches
Inscribed (in pencil, on original backing board): The Plum Tree / Theo Robinson
Provenance: A. Watson; to [Ferargil Galleries, New York, 1933–53]; [Milch Gallery, New York]; private collection, and by descent, until the 2008; to [Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York]; to private collection, MN; to private collection, VA
Exhbited: The Brooklyn Museum, New York, 1946, Theodore Robinson, 1852–1896, p. 73 no. 180
He first studied in Chicago and then in New York and after that, spent eight years in France studying in Paris with Jean Leon Gerome, Carolus Duran, and Benjamin Constant, and in Barbizon* with Jean Corot. He was one of the first Americans to paint at Giverny* during Claude Monet’s presence there and the only American to work directly with and have a close friendship with Monet. He has been described as physically frail and a gentle human being.
From 1888-1992, he made Giverny his home, and from that time became known for impressionist style landscapes with prominent realistically depicted female figures–elements of realism from academic studies at the Ecole des Beaux Arts* and the National Academy of Design* in New York City. He also traveled and painted during that time in Italy.
In 1892, he returned permanently to the United States and attempted to meld French Impressionist techniques with American landscape subjects. He died very unexpectedly from an acute asthma attack, and, although was well respected by his peers at the time of his death, he achieved national attention posthumously, many years later. For a person living only forty-three years, he had, in retrospect, a remarkably successful career as an artist.