The Absinthe Drinker
43 x 33 in. (109.2 x 83.8 cm)
Robert Lee MacCameron
(Chicago, IL, 1866 - 1912, New York, NY)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mrs. John Van Voorhis
Location: Not currently on view
Robert Lee MacCameron was well-known for two very different kinds of paintings: society portraits of people like President Taft, Auguste Rodin, and Lady Astor, and depictions of the sordid demi-monde of his adopted city of Paris. The Absinthe Drinker, completed in the year of the artist’s death, is an excellent example of the latter. Despite the painting’s poor condition, the sitter’s ghastly complexion and stooped posture evoke the fate of those who lost themselves to “the green fairy,” as the potent and inexpensive spirit was sometimes called.
MacCameron married Louise Van Voorhis, a member of one of Rochester’s most prominent families. Her mother donated this painting to MAG many years after the painter’s death at age 46.
[Label text from It Came From the Vault exhibition, 2013]