Sunday, 1 January 2017


ALBERT H. ROBINSON, R.C.A. (1881-1956)
St. Tite, 1928
Oil on panel 11. 1/8" x 12. 7/8"

Albert Henry Robinson was born in 2 January, 1881 in Hamilton, Ontario.

Initially he worked as a self-taught illustrator for The Hamilton Times. Then he studied at the Hamilton Art School, under the important impressionist painter John Sloan Gordon. Gordon had trained at the Académie Julian in Paris, and was considered a pioneer in Canadian art education. Robinson followed his lead and trained under William Bouguereau at the Académie Julian. This was followed by further training at the École des beaux-arts.

For a while, Robinson traveled in Europe with British artist Thomas William Marshall and met Canadian painter W. Blair Bruce. However, in 1905 a bout of typhoid, forced him to return to Canada, where he taught at the Hamilton Art School with John Gordon.

At this time he was painting Ontario landscapes, but after his move to Montreal in 1908 his fascination with life in Quebec took hold. Robinson had a particular love of snow and white is predominant in his palette. His works lean towards impressionism and are idyllic and pastoral, reflecting his deep love of Quebec and its people. He was an exceedingly fine colourist and his methods include a characteristic square brush-stroke, almost pointillist, with which he conveyed a sense of dappled light.

In Quebec he met William Brymner and Maurice Cullen and showed at the Royal Canadian Academy. Robinson met A.Y. Jackson in 1910, and they became lifelong sketching companions. He also sketched and exhibited with Quebec painters, Clarence Gagnon, Randolph Hewton and Edwin Holgate. He was elected an RCA associate member in 1911 and a full member in 1920.

Robinson was invited to guest exhibit with Robert Pilot and Randolph Hewton, at the 1920 Group of Seven exhibition. While a contemporary of the Group, he preferred a quiet life and has often been called “a painter’s painter” working for the pure joy of it. He won numerous awards and participated in many exhibitions in Canada, Europe and the United States. In 1930, he suffered a heart attack, after which severe arthritis in his hands forced him to stop painting. In 1933 he became a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters.

 He died in Montreal in 1956.