Horace Wolcott Robbins
(1842 - 1904)

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View to the High Peaks

A Jamaican Waterfall


Horace Wolcott Robbins was born of New England parents in Mobile, Alabama on October 21, 1842. The family left the South for Baltimore when Horace was six. Later, he attended Newton University. During college he took drawing lessons with a German landscape painter August Weidenbach. After college he went to New York to study formally at the studio of James M. Hart. In 1863, Horace Robbins was elected a member of the Century Club and a year later, an associate of the National Academy of Design. In the 1860s he also exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy (1862-1864), the Boston Art Association ((1862-1883) and the Brooklyn Art Association. Robbins was a trustee of the New York School of Applied Design for Women.

In 1865, the artist traveled to Jamaica and the West Indies with Frederick E. Church and worked intensively for several months. His next voyage took Robbins to England, Amsterdam and finally, to Paris where he opened a studio and often studied with Rousseau. “It is always a problem,” said Robbins, “to determine how far or how much a favorite painter may be studied. One’s temperament of course, must be taken into consideration. A mind too easily impressed is with difficulty able to resist the fascinations that best it, and the result may be a sickly dilution of a great man’s mannerism, without his ability or originality. I have tried to be myself and represent Nature as she impresses me.” In 1866 Robbins sketched in Switzerland before going back to Paris. He returned to New York in the late fall of 1867 and was described as painting seven or eight landscapes a year.

Robbins connection to Connecticut came shortly after his return to America as he spent summers in the Farmington Valley documenting the majestic elms and river scenes. Robbins also built a studio in upstate New York near the studio of his teacher and friend James Hart. Robbins was a member of the American Watercolor Society, Artists’ Fund Society and the National Academy of Design. He was also a member of the New York Etching Club. In between paintings, Robbins found time to attend Columbia Law School. He took the bar and practiced in New York city. His last known address was New York.



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