Collection: National Gallery of Art, Washington
Chester Dale Collection 1954.4.3
About Robert Henri
Robert Henri was a major proponent of a gritty style of urban realism around the turn of the century. His style was shaped by early years in Europe in the 1890s, where he discovered the vigorous brushwork of William Gedney Bunce, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Édouard Manet, and Diego Velázquez. Upon his return, Henri worked against the grain of New York City’s more conservative art establishment and, with a group of artists who came to be known as The Eight, helped organize an independent exhibition in 1908. This group (the core of what would come to be known as the Ashcan School) broke new ground by focusing on realistic, often gritty scenes of everyday urban life. Painting portraits of people from all classes, from street children to foreigners to high society women, Henri democratized a genre up until that point generally reserved for the wealthy. Henri's work is characterized by bold brushstrokes and thickly applied paint, and his palette gradually grew more vibrant as his interest in color theory developed.
American, 1865-1929, Cincinnati, Ohio, based in New York, New York