Robert Henri

(1865-1929)

Robert Henri was born in 1865. He was the leader of "The Eight", which was later changed to the Ashcan School, the artist group largely responsible for the Armory Show of 1913. Henri attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts as well as Academie Julian. Henri later became an influential teacher at the Art Students League and four other NYC schools. His collection of lectures, "The Art Spirit", was published in 1923 and encouraged independence and personal expression in art, paying close attention to feelings and relations to subject matter. In his own paintings, Henri used a quick, slashing approach to the canvas to record sensation. Henri broke the mold of traditionalists by painting ordinary or exotic subjects rather than the socially elite. Henri used single, dramatic strokes to suggest rather than define form. In 1908, he organized an exhibition of "The Eight", which shocked art critics. Hundreds of people came to see the revolutionary work. Henri truly believed that human dignity and joy could be found everywhere.