Albert H. Robinson R.C.A.

At the Store, 1921

oil on canvas
13x16 in.
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Provenance
Albert H. Robinson;
Private collection, Calgary (direct from the artist);
Masters Gallery Ltd., Calgary;
Collection of Don McMorland, Calgary;
Mayberry Fine Art, Winnipeg;
Private Collection, Ontario

Exhibited
Art Association of Montreal, Annual Exhibition, 1921;
Hommage à Albert H. Robinson R.C.A., Galerie Walter Klinkhoff, Montreal, 1994

This delightful Albert Robinson from 1921 depicts his favourite season of winter, wherein a somewhat dejected horse waits for the absent occupants of the raspberry-coloured sleigh to return after their time in a store. Robinson was a keen observer of winter, aided and supported in challenging pursuit by his sketching companion and fellow winter-lover A.Y. Jackson. They would work together, out-of-doors, in all kinds of winter weather, depicting the St. Lawrence and the villages along its banks in storms, on sunlit winter days, and blanketed in ice. Robinson and Jackson took a sketching trip together to France in 1910, where their ideas of colour and light were set afire by the French avant-garde of the time: Impressionism. As one of the most influential movements on modern painting, Impressionism changed the way we see the world, and Robinson returned to Canada, to see our landscape with new eyes. And through a new range of colours. Jackson’s influence, along with that of James Wilson Morrice can be seen in Robinson’s work, but his palette is all his own. Art historian Joan Murray wrote that he introduced Canadians to “…an unusual colour element – pinks, corals, dark blue. His skies are coloured boldly and unrealistically like a stage-set backdrop. And he orchestrated the effect of space. He was concerned throughout his painting career, short as it was, with the creation of a more simplified, powerful form – he wanted to eliminate the trivial.”

1881-1956 Albert Henry Robinson was a native Hamiltonian who studied with John S. Gordon during the evenings and worked for the Hamilton Times as a chalk plate artist during the day. In 1903, he left for Paris and continued his training at the Julian Academy with Bouguereau and Bachet, and…