Capri

Theodore Robinson

Capri

Robinson, Theodore

Irasburg, 1852 - Nueva York, 1896

Capri, 1890

© Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza

Signed and dated lower left: ''Th. Robinson. 1890''
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on loan to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Oil on canvas

44,5 x 53,3 cm

CTB.1979.47

Artwork history

  • The artist’s collection.

  • Hamline Robinson. (his brother).

  • Ms. Betty Prather.

  • Mrs. Francis J. Oakes, Jr.

  • Mrs. Oakes Colford, Brookline (MA).

  • Andrew Crispo Gallery, New York.

  • Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Lugano, 1979.

  • Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on loan to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid.

1932

Exhibition of Paintings by American Impressionists and Other Artists of the Period 1880-1900, New York, Brooklyn Museum, nº 89.

1946

Theodore Robinson 1852-1896, New York, Brooklyn Museum, nº 36.

1979

American Impressionism, New York (NY), Andrew Crispo Gallery, nº 28.

1979 - 1980

America & Europe. A Century of Modern Masters from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Perth, Art Gallery of Western Australia; Adelaide, Art Gallery of South Australia; Brisbane, Queensland Art Gallery; Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria; Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales; Wellington, New Zealand, National Art Gallery; Auckland, Auckland City Art Gallery; Christchurch, Robert McDougall Art Gallery; Dunedin, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, nº 9, pp. 32, 135.

1997 - 1998

The Spirit of the Place. Masterworks from the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, New York, The Frick Collection; Hartford (CT), Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, nº 18, p. 60 (only in Hartford).

1999

Aspectos de la tradición paisajística en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Málaga, Salas de Exposiciones del Palacio Episcopal, nº 79, p. 242.

1999 - 2000

Del impresionismo a la vanguardia en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Barcelona, Centre Cultural Caixa Catalunya, p. 70.

2000

De Corot a Monet. Los orígenes de la pintura moderna en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Valencia, Museo del Siglo XIX, p. 224.

2002

L'Impressionisme américain 1880-1915, Lausanne, Fondation de l'Hermitage, p. 98.

2017 - 2018

Scenarios. From Monet to Estes. From Trouville to Nueva York. Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra, 16 March 2017-14 January 2018. p. 28-29.

  • -America & Europe, a century of modern masters from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. [Exhib. Cat. Perth, Art Gallery of Western Australia – Christchurch, Robert McDougall Art Gallery, 1979-80]. Sydney, Australian Gallery Directors Council, 1979, nº 9, pp. 32, 135, illus. [Sheet by Zafran].

  • -Novak, Barbara: Nineteenth-Century American Painting: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Ellis, Elizabeth Garrity… [et al.]. London, Sotheby´s Publications, 1986 , nº 105, p. 300, illus. [Sheet by Pyne].

  • -The Spirit of the Place. Masterworks from the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Nueva York, The Frick Collection; Hartford (CT), [Exhib. Cat. Hartford], 1997, n. 18, p. 60.

  • -Aspectos de la tradición paisajística en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Málaga, Salas de Exposiciones del Palacio Episcopal, [Exhib. Cat. Salas de Exposiciones del Palacio Episcopal,], 1999, n. 79, p. 242.

  • -Del impresionismo a la vanguardia en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Barcelona, Centre Cultural Caixa Catalunya, [Exhib. Cat. Centre Cultural Caixa, Barcelona],1999, p. 70.

  • -De Corot a Monet. Los orígenes de la pintura moderna en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Valencia, Museo del Siglo XIX, [Exhib. Cat. Museo del Siglo XIX, Valencia], 2000, p. 224.

  • -L’Impressionisme américain 1880-1915, Lausana, Fondation de l’Hermitage, [Exhib. Cat. Lausana], 2002 p. 98.

  • -Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Arnaldo, Javier (ed.). 2 vols. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2004, vol. 2, p. 232, illus. p. 233 [Sheet by Kathleen Pyne].

  • -Scenarios. From Monet to Estes. From Trouville to Nueva York. Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra, 2017,  p. 28-29 (Exhib. Cat.)  [Sheet by Kathleen Pyne]

Expert report

Robinson lived at Giverny in the shadow of his good friend Monet from 1888 to 1893. Though he never considered himself a student of the Impressionists, in 1890 Robinson was a recent convert to Monet’s aesthetic. Not only did he take to heart Monet’s theoretical admonitions and his requirement to portray the beauties and mystery of nature in a manner stringently truthful to one’s personal vision, but he also studied works that were available to him in “The Master’s” studio. At one time Robinson even made a pochade of one of Monet’s Bordighera landscapes of 1884 as a “souvenir of tone.” The Impressionist themes of modernity were of no interest to Robinson. Instead, he invariably focused on the provincial landscapes of Europe and the United States in which time had seemed to stand still.

Capri was probably inspired by Monet’s paintings of the cliffs at Varengeville, Pourville, and Entretat and of the rocks at Belle-Île of the early 1880s. In these compositions Monet wrestled with the same pictorial problem as that which engrossed Robinson here: the tension between surface design and spatial illusion. One of three known paintings Robinson executed of the Italian island in 1890, Capriindicates his awareness of the decorative possibilities in the design of the landscape, even while he maintained a linear perspective which he saw as true to nature. Robinson carefully observed values and constructed the landscape so that it moved back in space convincingly along the diagonal plane of the architectural structures established in the street at the lower right. The viewer’s eye follows the two figures of priests there, dressed in black robes, and moves not only back into the space of the hill town, but also diagonally up the surface of the canvas to the upper left. For Robinson, the hill is also rendered as a large abstract shape that nearly covers most of the surface area of the canvas.

The desire to play with the design of the surface was one that Robinson shared not only with Monet, but also with his close friends, the American painters Julian Alden Weir and John H. Twachtman. Robinson, Weir and Twachtman were as committed to Whistler’s aesthetics of abstracting from nature and designing a harmonious and simplified pictorial surface as they were to Monet’s practice of seeing nature truthfully. To this end, they studied Whistler’s portraits and “nocturnes”, and they collected Japanese prints-the original source of such spatial innovation which they hoped would lead them to a fresh vision of nature.

Kathleen Pyne