Although Robert Reid was born and raised in Massachusetts, and was an early practitioner of the Impressionist technique, he was never drawn into the Boston School of painters lead by Edmund Tarbell. Instead, after having studied at Phillips Academy and the Boston Museum School, Reid departed for New York in 1884 in order to study at the Art Students League. However, by the fall of the following year, Reid set sail for Paris to study at the Academie Julian. Reid returned to the United States, settling in New York in 1889.
Reid supported himself as a portraitist and teacher until 1892, when he also began accepting mural commissions. Reid completed numerous murals over the course of his career, including commissions for the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition in 1892; the American Pavilion at the 1900 Paris Exposition, the Fine Arts Building at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915; and in New York at St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, the Imperial Hotel, the Fifth Avenue Hotel, many private residences and even an ocean liner.
Although mural assignments claimed much of his time and energy, Reid also executed many easel paintings–his favorite theme being beautiful young women in flowering gardens. Reid is well-remembered for his membership in “The Ten”, America’s premier group of Impressionist painters who exhibited together annually for twenty years from 1898 to 1919.
After suffering a stroke which paralyzed his right side, Reid retired to a sanitarium in Clifton Springs, New York where he died in 1929.
Owen Gallery credits this information to: “Impressionism in America: The Ten American Painters” by Ulrich W. Hiesinger.