A Painter’s Prose

The Cooley Gallery is proud to announce A Painter’s Prose, Recently Acquired Works by William S. Robinson, an exhibition of over 25 historic paintings by the Old Lyme art colony artist.

As a fine writer illuminates the journey with a pen so William Robinson worked with a brush. He found beauty everywhere as evidenced through his early landscapes of France, bucolic scenes while a distinguished member of the Old Lyme Art Colony, and the seasonal vignettes painted throughout tireless explorations of New England. Robinson’s final destination was the therapeutic warmth of Biloxi, Mississippi where he taught, painted and added to his ever growing list of admirers. This exhibition is a recently acquired trove of varied works throughout Robinson’s travels.

This exhibition, A Painter’s Prose, opening at The Cooley Gallery on September 6th, is a collection of paintings by Mr. Robinson (1861-1945) of various sizes and subjects that communicate a sense of place with an ease and gentleness in a very clear, poetic and non-verbal way.

William S. Robinson (1861-1945) was a long time member of the art colony in Old Lyme.  When he arrived in 1905, artists were trending away from the original ideal of an American Barbizon to an American Impressionism and William Robinson felt right at home.  Robinson returned to Old Lyme every summer until 1921, when he decided to live in the village year-round.

According to his Salmagundi Club biographer and fellow painter from Lyme, Frederick Lester Sexton (1889-1975), “His best pictures are not always of sailing vessels but more often of Connecticut hillsides and pasture lands, especially about Old Lyme where he lived for thirty-one years in the old Griswold House, working in a studio across the brook from the Lyme Art Association Gallery.”  Travel was a significant part of the artist’s life.  Born in East Gloucester and the son of a fisherman, he taught at a boys school until he could afford the travel to Paris and study at the Académie Julian in Paris.

From there he went on to Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, New London, Old Lyme, and finally, by the 1940s, to Biloxi, Mississippi. In between were painting excursions to Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, and New York State, during which Robinson captured the diverse landscape of the eastern seaboard with a palette that ranged from autumnal and tonal early in his career to brightly impressionistic in the 1920s and 1930s.

This exhibition documents some of those travels and includes paintings from Old Lyme, Europe, Vermont and Mississippi.

After Miss Florence’s death in 1937, Robinson was off again, to rejoin a childhood friend in Biloxi. The paintings he left behind make it easy today to record his movements. Though they were done hundreds of miles apart, they are uniformly lovely, the work of an impressionist master, often on the road, but always in the moment.

Founded in 1981 and located in the heart of historic Old Lyme, the Cooley Gallery specializes in fine American paintings from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, including the Hudson River School, American Impressionism, and select contemporary artists. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10am to 5pm. Please call (860) 434-8807 or visit www.cooleygallery.com for additional information. The Cooley Gallery is located at 25 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT 06371.

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