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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

A Normandy Mill

Photo: Susan Cole

A Normandy Mill


Theodore Robinson

Born Irasburg, Vermont, 1852; died New York City, New York, 1896

Robinson befriended French painter Claude Monet in Giverny, France, and like Monet, painted in a loose, impressionistic manner. Robinson’s paintings are characteristically soft in their light effects and mood. Watercolor allowed him to work in mediums that functioned as pure pigment, like pastel crayons. In this instance, he used thin washes on tinted paper to achieve the effect of moonlight reflected off the broad side of the white mill, which illuminates the surrounding landscape. The artist’s “squared” areas of the drawing—note the pencil grid—were intentional, so that he could enlarge it in oil.

Watercolor on gray academy board
9 7/8 x 15 in. (25.1 x 38.1 cm)
Gift of Raymond J. and Margaret Horowitz
Provenance: An English collection; [Bernard Black Gallery, New York], by 1968; sold to donors, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz, New York, 1968
Photo: Susan Cole
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistoryNew York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Impressionist and Realist Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz, Apr. 19-June 3, 1973. Text by John K. Howat and Dianne H. Pilgrim. Cat. no. 16, pp. 60-61, reproduced.

New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Turn-of-the-Century America: Paintings, Graphics, Photographs, 1890-1910, June 30-Oct. 2, 1977. Not in catalogue.

New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Drawings, Watercolors, and Prints, June 11-Oct. 5, 1980. Text by Kathleen Foster, John Caldwell, and David W. Kiehl [published as The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 37, no. 4 (Spring 1980)]. Not in catalogue.

Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, American Impressionism and Realism: The Margaret and Raymond Horowitz Collection, Jan. 24-May 9, 1999. Text by Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., et al. Cat. no. 38, pp. 122-123, 189, reproduced p. 122.

Published ReferencesStebbins, Theodore E., Jr. American Master Drawings and Watercolors. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1976; p 236.

Hoopes, Donelson F. American Watercolor Painting. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1977; p. 64, reproduced p. 89.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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