Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Favorite Painting or Two.....or Three!

Edna Smith In A Japanese Wrap

Dutch Girl in White 1907

Spanish Girl of Segovia

The Little Dancer


The Laundress

'Pet' aka Wee Annie Lavelle

Carl Sprinchorn

Johnny Patton

Isolina Maldonado, Spanish Dancer

The Goat Herder aka Mexican Boy 1917


Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney 1916

Robert Henri (1865 - 1929) was an American painter born (Robert Henry Cozad)  in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father was a gambler and real estate developer who became embroiled in scandal out west and the family eventually worked their way east to New York and later Atlantic City, New Jersey, the children having changed their names.

In 1886, Henri enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia where he studied under a protege of Thomas Eakins.

In 1888 Impressionism claimed another convert when Henri traveled to Paris. He was eventually accepted at the Ecole Des Beaux Arts and traveled to Italy and Brittany as well.

Upon his return to Philadelphia in 1891, Robert Henri began the most influential role of his life, that of teacher.

From Wikipedia:  In Philadelphia, Henri began to attract a group of followers who met in his studio to discuss art and culture, including several illustrators for the Philadelphia Press newspaper who would become known as the 'Philadelphia Four': William Glackens, George Luks, Everett Shinn and John French Sloan.

The gatherings became known as the Charcoal Club, featuring life drawing and readings in the social philosophy of  Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Emile Zola and Henry David Thoreau. By 1895, Henri had come to reconsider Impressionism, calling it a "new academicism".

Note: I've featured both William Glackens and John Sloan on the Saturday Salon.

Robert Henri later taught at the New York School of Art in 1902 where his students included Joseph Stella, Edward Hopper and Rockwell Kent.

Henri reconstituted his approach to painting, calling the National Academy of Design, 'a cemetery of art.'

The art critic Robert Hughes said of his work, "He has given it urgency with slashing brush marks and strong tonal contrasts. He's learned from Winslow Homer, Edouard Manet and from the vulgarity of Franz Hals."

Henri was closely associated with a movement in art which would later come to be called the 'Ashcan School' - but the name would not be coined until 1934, after Henri's death.

Henri admired the anarchist Emma Goldman, publisher of Mother Jones. Goldman - who sat for him -  called Henri 'an anarchist in his conception of art and its relation to life.'

Henri died from cancer  in 1929 at the age of 64. He was honored by a memorial exhibition of his work in 1931 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Please use this link to read much more about Robert Henri's life and work.  Additional information can also be found at this link.

Robert Henri - Self Portrait


  1. One can certainly see the influence Henri had on the work of Edward Hopper. As an artist who usually builds form through glazes and small brush strokes, I'm always interested in and impressed by artists who work with palette knives or who use broad brush strokes. That self portrait is a tremendous example of realism through reduction of form.

  2. Gosh, I wish I used broad brush
    effect. I just use small strokes because I do lots of small paintings. Maybe I'll try a bigger canvas. Fantastic reading Yvette
    I had heard of most the Artist's and even R. Henri,his background
    was interesting.


  3. Isn't Salome wonderful?!!!

    By the way, congratulations on your blog award, Yvette. So well deserved.


  4. I love the the way Henri was able to capture the spirit of his subjects through their eyes...each face is so distinct and tells a story.
    It was wonderful learning about the life he lived beyond his personal canvas.
    xo J~

  5. I like the palette knife approach as well, Mark. I can't fathom how it works though. I can't even imagine how Sargent used gobs of paint of a brush to build his images on canvas without any underdrawing. AMAZING.

    But the palette knife seems to me to be an even dicier thing. I love the way Henri does his whites. Very swoon-worthy.

    You can really seen the influence he had on the painters mentioned. He really was revered as a teacher.

  6. Thanks Yvonne, yes I've been saving Henri's work for post for awhile now. I was smitten with his portraits, though he did some fine landscapes and nudes as well.

    I love the Ashcan school...well, most of them, anyway. :)

  7. Me too, Patti. I love the depth of the paint and the movement. The whites especialy.

  8. Thanks, mjoy. I'm so glad you're still reading the blog and commenting. :)

    Yes, 'versatile' is my middle name. :)

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  10. 24 corners: Yes, I agree, the eyes have it. Just gorgeous work.

    I, too, enjoyed reading about Henri's life when I began to research him.

  11. Henri's portraits are remarkable --so bright and colorful..Lucie's eyes really "pop."

  12. Yes, I love his use of color, too, Pat. Such a vivid sort of painter.


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