Robert Wood

I’m thinking that if anyone of us comes up with a way to do a search on paintings when we know the painting but not the name of the artist or the title of the work, we who design that reverse word search engine will be the next Google millionaires! That is, wouldn’t it be nice to put the picture in our heads into the search bar, and get back the date, title, and artist’s name?

Oh, well. In the meantime, there’s many a fine artist who deserves to be named and whose work should be discussed–by title and description. Today’s spotlighted artist is Robert Wood.

Considered a master of the American landscape, Robert Wood was for decades, says one scholar, America’s best-known painter of landscapes. Born to and raised by father W. L. Wood, who was also a painter of Victorian pieces, Robert showed skill and abilities early. He studied painting in Folkstone, a town near the White Cliffs of Dover and Sandgate (where he was born and grew up). He served for a time in the Royal Army, then immigrated to America, where he first worked on a farm, then traveled the country (moving with family, often) recording in splendid detail the environs he would later depict.

After traveling to and living in Florida, Los Angeles, Ohio, and elsewhere and after settling in Texas, Robert Wood would make “sketching trips,” according to one authority, on which he would detail the Cascades, the Grand Tetons, the High Sierras, the Rocky Mountains, and Yellowstone National Park.

For seventeen years Wood would engage in artistic activities, in what would become hundreds of paintings such as “Evening in the Tetons,” “Texas Spring,” “Texas Blue Bonnets,” and “Desert in Spring;” and would then move to Laguna Beach in California–to give us such stunning paintings as “Coast of Monterey,” “West Wind,” and “Pacific Coast.”

While each and every painting by Robert Wood is vibrant with blue spreads of blue lapin or dreamy in muted greens and subtle golds, for example, and while his work was constant and much appreciated in the original form, what also contributed to the painter’s popularity was the practice of reproduction.

According to Jeffrey Morseburg, artist, lecturer, and art dealer, Wood’s reproductions made their way further and in greater volumes than his originals–covering the whole of the US and finding homes in Europe and elsewhere (purportedly, even Africa!).

When you see a Robert Wood, then, you’ll know it. Or will you? Might it be a reproduction?