Alexander Robertson (artist)
Robertson was born in Monymusk, near Aberdeen, Scotland in 1772. His father, William Robertson, was a draftsman and architect. He was the middle of three artistic brothers, which included Archibald and Andrew.
Robertson painted miniature portraits and landscapes, influenced by William Sawrey Gilpin. He engraved, including topographical engravings. Archibald and Alexander collaborated on works, like the engravings.
With his brother, Archibald, Robertson came to the United States in 1791. at the invitation of several wealthy individuals to teach art. Alexander joined his brother in the United States in the autumn of 1792. In the 1790s the brothers established the Columbian Academy of Painting in New York on William Street. It was one of the country's first art schools. Their students included John Vanderlyn, Francis Alexander, and, rare for the time, woman miniaturist Ann Hall. Alexander taught painting and drawing. The brothers taught art to amateur and professional students with a wide variety of mediums and subjects. Their methods were based upon those taught in European and British art schools at that time.
Robertson exhibited at the American Academy of the Fine Arts (AAFA) in New York and was made director in 1816. Both of the Robertson brothers were active in the management of the AAFA. From 1817 to 1825 Alexander was the school's secretary. He was the curator from 1820 to 1835. In 1821 he became an honorary member of the Academy of Fine Arts in South Carolina.
Robertson traveled along the Mohawk and Hudson rivers and captured the landscape and towns in a travel sketchbook of pen and ink drawings. According to Elizabeth Allen, "Robertson's stylized approach reveals a preconceived notion of what a landscape should look like, based upon his exposure to the topographical tradition of Great Britain. It was up to the next generations of American landscape artists to free themselves from the restraints of that tradition to produce drawings that were more spontaneous and more faithful to nature."
His works are in the following collections:
- Albany Institute of History & Art
- British Library
- Brooklyn Museum of Art
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Smithsonian Institution
- Alexander Robertson (1772-1841). Art & Architecture of New Jersey. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- William Dunlap (1834). History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States. George P. Scott and Company, Printers. pp. 425–426.
- William Beekman, by Alexander Robertson. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- Kevin J. Avery; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) (1 January 2002). American Drawings and Watercolors in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 338. ISBN 978-1-58839-060-8.
- Alexander Robertson biography. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- Kevin J. Avery; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) (1 January 2002). American Drawings and Watercolors in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 102. ISBN 978-1-58839-060-8.
- Mount Vernon Hand coloured engraving
- Alexander Robertson
- Elizabeth K. Allen (January 1, 1998). Open-air Sketching: Nineteenth-century American Landscape Drawings in the Albany Institute of History and Art. SUNY Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-939072-13-2.
- Alexander Robertson. Albany Institute of History and Art. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- Alexander Robertson. Brooklyn Museum of Art. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- Alexander Robertson. Metropolitan Museum Collections. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
Media related to Alexander Robertson at Wikimedia Commons