Marchant, Samuel Beals Thomas family

  • Marchant, Samuel Beals Thomas family

If you friend Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, you might get updates on the collection, if the recent posting is any indication. An 1830 family portrait by Edward Dalton Marchant went up yesterday and Theodore Robinson’s “World’s Columbian Exposition” was posted June 14.

I’ll save you the trouble of switching over to Facebook by putting their information on the paintings here. On the Marchant:

Little-known, but talented Edward Dalton Marchant, painted this oil at age 24 in 1830 and it stayed in the Thomas family until 1980. Samuel Beals Thomas commissioned the portrait and displayed it at the family business and home, “Thomas’ Exchange Coffee House and Inn” on Lincoln Square in Worcester, Massachusetts. Samuel and wife, Sarah, adopted Pauline and Abigail after their father, Samuel’s brother, died.

And on the Robinson, contributed by UA associate professor of American art history Dr. Leo G. Mazow:


Three of Robinson’s works had been selected for display at the exposition held in Chicago and he visited the fairgrounds in May of 1893, shortly before the opening. Later that year, painter-muralist Francis David Millet*, the exposition’s director of decoration, commissioned a painting, most likely for reproduction, from Robinson. Although Robinson preferred to work outside, in front of his subject, he based his composition on a photograph of the grounds. He corresponded with his mentor, Claude Monet, about painting from a photograph and his frustration completing the commission. In the end, Robinson did the best he could, painting in way he was not used to, interpreting the exposition’s Greek and Roman inspired architecture “through the au courant [fashionable] lens of impressionism, conceiving the grounds as an atmospheric tableau of cascading natural and man-made forms. With its pulsating hues, middle-class subject matter, and outdoor setting, ‘World’s Columbian Exposition’ certainly counts as a monument of American impressionism.”
* Millet died on the Titanic.

This is probably the painting the curator referred to during the press tour in May when he said he was looking forward to getting a landscape by an artist whose mentor was Monet. Two readers guessed Theodore Robinson, and I think they should contribute their comments to Eye Candy more often!

Robinsons World Columbian Exposition

  • Robinson’s “World Columbian Exposition”