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At the Piano

1887 Theodore Robinson Born: Irasburg, Vermont 1852 Died: New York, New York 1896 oil on canvas 16 1/2 x 25 1/4 in. (41.8 x 64.2 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of John Gellatly 1929.6.90 Not currently on view

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The shiny surface of the piano, the luminescent fabric of the woman’s dress, and the image of fingers stroking ivory keys conjures a variety of textures and sounds. Theodore Robinson painted this scene of a favorite model playing a piano in the Paris apartment of his wealthy friend “Archie” Chanler. Robinson was in love with Marie but never married her. The two spent a great deal of time together in Giverny, where their relationship sparked much gossip among American tourists staying at the elegant Hôtel Baudy. One lodger wrote to her friend the Boston painter Philip Leslie Hale: “By the way, dear, it looks very strange but Mr. Robinson has a model down here who has a little daughter . . . Everyone says that . . . the little girl is the daughter of Mr. Robinson [and] the child looks very like him.” (Johnston, In Monet’s Light: Theodore Robinson at Giverny, 2004)


Architecture Interior - domestic - living room

Figure female - full length

Object - flower

Performing arts - music - piano


paint - oil

fabric - canvas