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American Paintings — Charles Dorman Robinson - A View of Mt. Tamalpais with Passing Clouds

Charles Dorman Robinson - A View of Mt. Tamalpais with Passing Clouds Charles Dorman Robinson - A View of Mt. Tamalpais with Passing Clouds

A View of Mt. Tamalpais with Passing Clouds
Signed lower right 'CD Robinson'
Medium:  Oil on wood cigar box top
Dimensions:  Cigar box top: 5 ½” x 6 ½”; Framed: 8 ½” x 9 Ύ” framed

Charles Dorman Robinson
(American, 1847-1933)

Charles Dormon Robinson, though born in East Monmouth, Maine, is known as the “dean of Pacific Coast artists.” Robinson lived in Vermont in his early childhood years, and moved to California with his family in 1850. His father, David Robinson, was a theater producer for Gold Rush mining towns and constructed theaters for the first stage productions in San Francisco. Showing an interest in art from an early age, Charles Dorman Robinson received his first lessons in art from Charles C. Nahl (1818-1878), an artist most well-known for designing the grizzly bear for the California state flag, as a child in San Francisco.

During his teenage years, Robinson studied with well-known marine and landscape painters such as William Bradford (1823-1892), George Inness (1825-1894) and Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) in the eastern US, as his family had relocated to Vermont in 1861. He briefly moved to Clinton, Iowa to court and marry Kathryn Wright, before returning to San Francisco in 1874. While in San Francisco, Robinson became acquainted with the marine painter James Hamilton (1819-1878), whom he had greatly admired. Shortly thereafter Robinson began exhibiting marine paintings of the San Francisco Bay, which established his reputation as a professional painter of stature. By 1876, Robinson was regularly exhibiting his paintings, his works showing influences of both the Hudson River school and the Plein Air styles. Robinson and his wife also wrote and produced illustrations for Overland Monthly and Century magazines.

In 1880 Robinson began regularly visiting and painting Yosemite, and spent 24 subsequent summers at Yosemite. The artist traveled to Paris in 1900, where he briefly worked under Eugene Boudin (1824-1898), a Plein Air marine painter. While in Paris, Robinson offered the Paris Exposition in 1900 a painting of Yosemite that was 50 by 380 feet and weighed five tons. When the committee rejected the panorama, he cut it into pieces, which he sold for passage money to return to San Francisco. In the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, many of his paintings were destroyed in a warehouse where he had thought they would be safe. In 1921, a fire in his San Rafael home destroyed 20 years worth of California paintings.

This tranquil scene by Robinson is of Mt. Tamalpais in idyllic Marin County, California, were Robinson lived later in his life. This views was most likely painted on location, and was executed on a cigar box lid.

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