Category Archives: William Glackens

Robert Henri – American Portrait Artist and Teacher

Tan Gam by Robert Henri

Tan Gam by Robert Henri

American artist Robert Henri had a mind of his own. Loyal to a fault and guided by his convictions, Henri was as great a leader as he was an artist. Throughout the course of his notable career, he defied traditional standards of art, pursing and promoting realism.

Robert Henri was born in Ohio and raised in Cozad, Nebraska. At that time this town bared his birth name: his father, John Cozad, founded the town when Robert was eight. Unfortunately, the entire family fled this area after an altercation resulted in John murdering a local rancher. Eventually they ended up – under the guise of alias names – on the east coast.

When the drama of childhood waned, Robert Henri completed his first painting. He was 18 years old. Enjoying the activity and appeased by his natural skill, Robert planned to attend Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1886. There, he came to appreciate the work of Thomas Eakins and the artist’s approach to realism. Henri continued to pursue his education by traveling to Paris where he attending Ecole des Beaux Arts. After his time there, he traveled Europe briefly before returning to Philadelphia where he began his career in art education.

Early in his career it became apparent that Henri was a born leader and a natural teacher too. It is said he inspired students by saying their art could be “a social force that creates a stir in the world”. Within a few years Henri was inspiring more than his students; he developed a following of aspiring artists as well.

During this time, Robert Henri was moving away from the impressionism that influenced his early work. He began moving towards realism, and encouraging other artists to do the same. This ignited a movement that urged American painters to pursue art with fresh perspective, making it okay for artists to express the world as they see it – not the idealized vision society wants see. The movement came to be known as the Ashcan School.

In 1898, Henri accepted a teaching position at the New York School of Art. Around this time, students, colleagues, and critics observed the passion he had for his craft. He was uninhibited by societal norms and blazed a trail for artists to express the realities of life.

Henri was admired and followed by many. In fact, he was elected to the National Academy of Design (a museum and school established to promote fine arts) for recognition of his artwork. Unfortunately, when the National Academy did not display the work of his colleagues at a show in 1907, Henri became disenchanted with the mainstream art world. He knew a bold move would be required to emphasize the importance of realism.

As a result, he set up an exhibition called “The Eight”. All featured work signified a break from traditional art perspectives of the time. In February 1908, five American artists put paintings on display at the Macbeth Gallery. Only once did they come together for this purpose; regardless, it left a lasting impression. It also propelled Henri to continue leading and promoting independent artists.

Robert Henri organized a number of art shows and exhibitions between 1910 and 1920. They included “Exhibition of Independent Artists”, jury-free exhibitions at the MacDowell Club, and the Armory Show. In addition, he continued his career as a teacher at the Art Students League between 1915 and 1927.

While Henri was a skilled artist, his natural gift as an influential teacher solidified his fame. He was effortlessly able to lead and organize people to pursue their passions. All the while, he prompted them to believe that art was a personal expression of a real world. In the book, The Art Spirit, one of Henri’s students compiled his works of art and detailed accounts of his thoughts on the subject.

When Robert Henri passed away in 1929, his influence lived on. In fact, it served as a bridge to usher in European modernism. More so, it inspired artists to reach levels of self-expression that had never been seen before. As an effect, realism came to life through the power of art.

The San Diego Museum of Art will be the first museum exhibition dedicated to the Spanish paintings of Robert Henri  from March 29, 2014 through September 09, 2014. Spanish Sojourns Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain consists of over 40 major paintings borrowed from important museum and private collections around the country. More information can be found at:  http://www.sdmart.org/.

However, this post is meant to recognize his artist style and some major pieces. For those who want to read more of Robert Henri’s story, visit this link: http://www.segmation.com/products_pc_patternset_contents.asp?set=RHR. Also, Segmation is proud to offer 44 digital Robert Henri patterns. By downloading these paint by numbers masterpieces, you can emulate one of the most fascinating artists who ever lived.

Enjoy the 44 Robert Henri Patterns Segmation has for you and continue to learn and celebrate the life of a great artist.

Sources:

National Gallery of Art

Robert Henri Museum

Read more Segmation blog posts about other great artists:

William Glackens – American Realist Painter

Thomas Moran – American Landscape Painter

William Merritt Chase – American Impressionist Painter

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William Glackens – American Realist Painter

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The timeframe in which William Glackens lived was anything but stable. He was born on the swell of the second industrial revolution, was in his adult years during the First World War and died towards the end of the Great Depression. As a career artist, it only seems natural that Glackens would reflect the stark difference each era brought – and he did, but not in the way everyone would think. Even though his stylistic preferences changed, he had a constant presence in the world of fine art, his family, and his circle of friends and colleagues.

Glackens reaped success with three different art styles: illustration, realism and impressionism. His career began in 1891 as an illustrative reporter for Philadelphia newspapers. Eventually, he went to Cuba with the U.S. Army to capture the events of the Spanish-American war. In this span of 7 years, he would travel to Europe, settle in New York and meet the group of men who would play significant roles in his development as an artist.

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“The Eight” was a popular name for the artist clique that Glackens was part of. Led by Robert Henri, The Eight was an organic collection of artists that grew from a casual art community. At start, these broad gatherings hosted artists who would socialize, showcase, and critique one another’s artwork. The title of “The Eight” wasn’t given until later, in 1908, when eight artists, including Henri and Glackens, joined together to display art that was not yet accepted by mainstream society.

Under Henri’s guidance, this group developed into the Ashcan School of American Art. Glackens is considered one of the founders of this movement. He also earned the title of an “Aschan realist.” Different from popular work of the time, this collection of artists “favored cheerful subjects of leisure activities over the dark manner and social realism of others….”

www.segmation.comIn 1904, Glackens personal life flourished too. He married a woman from Connecticut named Edith Dimock. Together, they raised two children in their home in Greenwich Village. Glackens relationship with his family, like his relationship with art, was considered abnormal for bohemian artists of the day, as he was greatly devoted to them. More so, his commitment to his family mirrors his commitment to art; he always remained true to his passions, even as they changed with time.

Shortly after beginning his family, Glackens began adopting stylistic markings that differed from those of the Aschan movement. He started shifting towards mainstream impressionism and incorporating lively colors into his artwork. After moving from using dark-hues for some time, he opened himself to a world of color. According to an admirer of his work, Forbes Watson, this was exactly where Glackens was meant to be. Watson said of his friend, “the color of the world makes him thoroughly happy and to express that happiness in color has become his first and most natural impulse.”

Some would even refer to Glackens as the “American Renoir.” Even though this title bucked against the realist style he strived for when displaying art alongside “The Eight,” he didn’t mind being given the nickname of the French impressionist painter. He is quoted as saying, “Can you think of a better man to follow than Renoir?”

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As Glackens artistic style matured, so did his career. In 1916, he became the president of the Society of Independent artists. He also received awards from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Even as the next generation of artists began to pursue art forms that were abstract and politically charged, his “old-fashioned” artwork continued to offer him stability in life.

On May 22, 1938, Glackens passed away. His death at the age of 68 was sudden. His memory was honored by friends and fans who gathered at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh.

The legacy William Glackens lives on today. He has a strong presence in the Aschan School. In addition, he will always be remembered as one of “The Eight.” Even when his style transformed and strayed from the style of the group, he remained true to his friends, his family and to his calling to art.

Read more Segmation blog posts about Art:

Joshua Reynolds – English Portrait Painter

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