Robert Vonnoh

(1858-1933)

The American Impressionist Robert Vonnoh was born in Boston, and at the age of fourteen decided to become an artist. After apprenticing as a lithographer, he attended the Massachusetts Normal Art School, from which he graduated in 1879. Vonnoh traveled to France in 1881, and spent two years studying at the Académie Julian under Boulanger and Lefebvre. Upon his return in 1883 he taught at the Boston Evening Drawing School, the Cowles Art School, and at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Three years later he was back in France, where he remained for five years, principally working at Grez-sur-Loing, an artists’ colony near the Forest of Fontainebleau popular with Americans, British and Scandinavians. In 1891, Vonnoh returned to America where he served as an instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts until 1894 and again from 1918-1920. Through his teaching there and at the summer art school in Old Lyme, Connecticut, he became a major influence in the development of American painting.