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La Débacle (or The Debacle of Marie)

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Theodore Robinson, American, (1852–1896)
La Débacle (or The Debacle of Marie), 1892
Oil on Canvas
18 in. x 22 in. (45.72 cm. x 55.88 cm.)

Object Type: Painting
Technique: Painting
Credit Line: Gift of General and Mrs. Edward Clinton Young
Accession Number: YO52

Alternate Title: The Debacle of Marie at the Little Bridge

"American Reflections" exhibition catalog, Scripps College, p. 52.

"American Reflections", exhibition organized by the Scripps College and Pomona College galleries, 12/15/84-12/87
"75 Years of American Painting" California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, 1942

Oil paint on canvas.

Object Description
La Débacle has been descibed as one of the finest paintings that Theodore Robinson produced in France. In its subject, composition, color range, and brushwork it typifies Robinson's work of the period and indicates clearly both his debt to French Impressionism and his divergence from it. In La Débacle, Robinson's figures and architectural forms, while bathed in flickering, natural light, are never permitted to dissolve into it; they remain solid and substantial.

La Débacle, painted during Robinson's last summer in France, beautifully reconciles academic and Impressionist tendencies. The drawing is firm and sure, as is the composition, dominated by the strong diagonals characteristic of his work. The figure of Marie, his favorite model, is comfortably integrated into the scene while remaining distinct from the landscape, and the progression from foreground to background is convincing. The unassuming and anonymous figure, caught unawares in nature, and the specificity of season (La Débacle refers to theh break-up of the ice in spring) are characteristically Impressionist, as are the color range and broken brush strokes that create a lively surface texture.

- Marjorie Harth Beebe

For more information, please refer to the American Reflections exhibition catalogue.

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