Robert Alexander Graham
Untitled (View of the Continental Divide from near Genesee, Colorado)
circa 1930

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Oil on canvas. Housed in custom hand-carved gold leaf frame; outer dimensions measure 18 x 20 x 1.75 inches; image measures 12 x 14 inches.

About the Artist:
Robert Alexander Graham set out to be an artist at a time when Impressionism was at the fore of American art. Born on the family farm near Brooklyn, Iowa, he schooled in Des Moines, then the Chicago Art Institute, and then the Art Students League in New York City, where he studied with artists like John Henry Twachtman, John F. Carlson, and Joseph DeCamp. Adopting plein air techniques and palette, American Impressionists never dissolved their subjects into an array of brushwork, maintaining a sense of solid form and drawing rather than pure light and color. At the turn of the century, the style was considered a sophisticated import and “worn” by the upper classes like Parisian couture. The country boy quickly became the gentleman artist.

At the Art Students’ League, Graham was awarded first-prize scholarship for best drawing in advanced life classes. He became a member of two grand art institutions, the New York Water Color Club and the Salmagundi Club, whose members included artists like William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, and Louis Comfort Tiffany. For thirteen years, he had a studio in New Jersey and Manhattan, and his work appeared in the exhibitions of distinction of the day, such as the National Academy Exhibition in New York and the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh.

By the time he arrived in Denver in 1920, art movements from Europe suited more adventurous tastes in post-war New York; but Colorado afforded Graham the opportunity to remain at the top of his profession, and he soon joined others in advancing art in this cultural outpost. He taught drawing and painting at the Denver Academy of Applied Arts, which became the Cory Art School, and he also offered private instruction. A member of the Civitan Club, he was a charter member of the Denver Artists Guild. Given his talent as a keenly observant outdoor painter, he worked his color to convey the brilliance of Colorado elevation, and his foothill landscapes offer a view of an undeveloped Front Range — perhaps even then romanticized.

Family reminiscences of a visit to Graham in the thirties read like a throwback to studio visit circa 1900, and the artist held on to the style he mastered in his youth: “So many interesting artifacts or props -- brass vases, American Indian relics, shells, a human skull, pieces of turquoise, and much more! Uncle Rob made quite a production of displaying his paintings for the four of us that night. He slowly and carefully displayed each painting to perfection -- first preparing the "perfect" lighting, then placing the "perfect" frames around each painting. Then he quietly and carefully placed the selected painting on an easel draped in black.” (Grace Lang Davidson).

Already having made trips to California, during World War II he relocated to San Francisco, where he died in a nursing home in 1946.

Member: Denver Artist's Guild

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    18 in. H x 20 in. W x 1.75 in. D
    Seller Location
    Denver, CO
    Reference Number
About the Seller

1stdibs seller since 2013

Typical response time: 6 hours

Located in Denver, CO

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