The Anacostia Community Museum recently received an exciting donation. “Outdoor Art Fair” by John Robinson was painted in 1946 and depicts a scene from an open air art fair in Lafayette Park, here in Washington. John Robinson was born in Georgetown in 1912, but moved to Anacostia in his youth. He was primarily a self taught painter and focused on scenes from his everyday life, much of it from Southeast Washington, where he painted for over 60 years. His technique is realistic, but also stylized with what feels like emotion coming through the canvas.
The artist has included a number of art historical techniques that are interesting given his self training. He has included himself in the painting, included a subject staring right at the viewer, and positioned a subject in the foreground with his back turned to the viewer inviting the eye deeper into the scene – reminiscent of Manet’s “Luncheon on the Grass” from 1862.
This painting is a fantastic addition to our collection. In particular, the artist included his portrait of Maud Jones titled “Woman Reading a Bible” from 1940 in “Outdoor Art Fair”. The staff at ACM was thrilled to see it, because we actually have that painting in our collection. Maud Jones was a local woman who sold newspapers in Washington and wanted her portrait specifically with the Bible.
John Robinson was involved with the early Anacostia Museum and this piece is believed to have been exhibited here. ACM is honored to have this work join other works in the collection by this local artist.