Smithsonian Collections

At the Piano

Image for At the Piano
Data Source
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Center Label
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)
Theodore Robinson, born Irasburg, VT 1852-died New York City 1896
Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly
oil on canvas
16 1/2 x 25 1/4 in. (41.8 x 64.2 cm.)
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Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Painting and Sculpture
Object number
Performing arts\music\piano
Figure female\full length
Architecture Interior\domestic\living room