At the Piano

Media - 1929.6.90 - SAAM-1929.6.90_1 - 453
Copied Theodore Robinson, At the Piano, 1887, oil on canvas, 16 1225 14 in. (41.864.2 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly, 1929.6.90
Free to use

Artwork Details

At the Piano
Not on view
16 1225 14 in. (41.864.2 cm.)
lower right in ink: Th. Robinson -- Paris -- 1887
Credit Line
Gift of John Gellatly
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Performing arts — music — piano
  • Figure female — full length
  • Object — flower
  • Architecture Interior — domestic — living room
Object Number

Artwork Description

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)