Robert Henri

John says:

Here is Robert Henri’s painting, Dutch Joe, 1910, 24 x 29 in.:

Look at the handling of the paint in this painting, you can just about see every paint bristle mark in the paint. Very intense and dynamic figure piece. Tends to speak to you almost and the lad looks like he is alive and enjoying life. Very interesting painting to say the least.

Here is another painting by Henri, a landscape that has a bit of a Turner feel to it.

Robert Henri, Cumulus Clouds, East River, 1901-02, 25 x 31 in.

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19 Responses to Robert Henri

  1. trueoutsider says:

    Steve says:
    March 6, 2011 at 5:59 am

    John…this Henri portrait of a young boy has got a lot of life to it. Henri really accentuated the planes of the boy’s face, in an early Cezanne-like ‘tactile’ manner ( to borrow a Bernard Bergson expression ). It’s not easy to paint a natural-looking smile on a person’s face; it can get very geeky very quickly if the cheek lines are made too hard. Incidentally, while reading an anatomy for artist’s book recently, the author noted that a smile is “deep, not wide.” That remark was not lost on me. According to the writer, the muscles of the face go “in”, not out, when a person smiles. That’s a telling piece of information I think.
    Also, double-incidentally, I am currently reading two fine Cezanne books so my thoughts are quite influenced these days by that great ‘anxious’ artist, as Picasso described him. Bear with me as I refer to him , probably too often, in the blogging days ahead.

    • johnk823 says:

      Robrt Henri did some paintings about the time of the Ashkan School period, and here is a find from the Antique Road Show that you will find very interesting.

      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/archive/201001A19.html

      The portrait was done in August of 1920, I believe. Wait till you here the story on this one, it shows us just how the museums tend to underate values when buying such awesome pieces of work and turning the real value into big profits.

  2. trueoutsider says:

    John, a couple things:

    Fairbanks says the painting was done in 1908 the year Henri founded the Ashcan group. Where do you come up with the 1920 date?

    I don’t know what this woman is talking about and Fairbanks does nothing to clarify what she’s talking about. She says she sent a photograph “to Boston, to the repository of Henri’s works.” As far as I know there is no repository of Henri’s works in Boston. A google search doesn’t turn one up. Can you check into this? But on top of that nobody in their right mind is going to say an original Henri painting is worth $4500 bucks. Nor is anybody with the vaguest clue going to believe it.

    Did she make the whole story up? It sounds like either she did or that’s how they structured the show, getting some phony story concocted. Does anybody actually believe television isn’t completely concocted from the get go? Television structures reality from the time the cameras are turned on. Completely phony. A friend of mine knew a girl that regularly appeared on different “reality” shows and Jerry Springer type shows. Each time changing her story and appearance so she could fit in with the stupid insanity. That’s about how real television is. I don’t find that PBS has any more credibility than the rest of television nowadays. Corporations have taken them over as well. Just look at Archer Daniels Midland and the Pew Charitable Trust and other corporate sponsors. The Pew Charitable Trust are the villains that swiped the Barnes collection, violating the express terms of his will. Check out The Art of the Steal, as I suggested, if you want to begin to get a notion of howthe corporate art world is really structured.

    From what I can find out, the remains of Henri’s repository are in The Sheldon Museum in Nebraska. I don’t have enough time to do that detective work. You might try to look into it. You could get in touch with The Sheldon Museum.

    The woman’s story about getting that completely absurd appraisal strikes me as completely concocted. Sure, there’s charlatanism in the art world. But if you take work to a legitimate appraiser they’re not going to tell you it’s worth 2 percent of its real value, any more than legitimate jewelers will tell you your diamonds are worth 2 percent of their value. They couldn’t stay in business doing that. If she’s showing the work to Joey the loan shark on the corner, then, yes, it’ll be worth $4500 but any legitimate museum or repository of work isn’t going to try to swindle someone out of an original Henri painting. Their reputation would be ruined overnight.

    Fairbanks lets the story go without questioning it because he wants people to bring the work to legitimate appraisers like himself. And that’s what PBS is promoting. Get Americans to comb through their garages and turn over all the precious heirlooms to the super wealthy who are the only people that can afford to buy expensive art. We can just keep moving downward to third world status. Maybe the pot we’re pissing in will turn out to be George Washington’s original spittoon.

    • johnk823 says:

      Bart, I guess I got the date wrong, off another site I wason and didn’t think about check for an accurate date, plus I did say “I believe”, which means I wasn’t certain.

      As to the remainder, with all the corruption going on in this world, I guess I was assuming that the museums just might not be exempt of any on their part, being such a wide spread in the price the woman got herself verses the Road Shows Appraisal price for how much she should insure the painting for.

      You kind of brought out much more than I was expecting, but I’m glad you did, because you are mostlikely right about the made for TV accounting of the whole affair.

  3. trueoutsider says:

    Henri studied under Thomas Anshutz, as Fairbanks points out, but he also studied at the Academie Julian in Paris under Bougeuereau. We can draw our own conclusions as to why that significant fact is left out, while mentioning the less important fact of his study at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. My conclusion is that it’s the usual xenophobia. We don’t want Americans like Eakins, Henri, Sargent, Hopper, etc to be identified as essential coming from the French tradition, which they in fact were.

    Henri was greatly influenced by European painters like Manet. The portrait above is clearly from Frans Hals influence. Manet translated Hals as well.

    Now here’s a fun test for your guys. Which one of these paintings is by Frans Hals, and who painted the other one? I couldn’t tell myself from just looking at these digital images. And I have no idea if I could if I saw the actual paintings, neither of which I’ve seen.

    Sorry the one on the right is cut off a bit. No idea how to size things down at this point.

    • Steve says:

      I think the one on the left is the Hals painting, but I wouldn’t stake my life on it. Besides , I love them both. That’s great oil painting. Wouldn’t you love to go back and see one of your favorite painters doing one of your favorite paintings? I’d be glued to his / her every move, from palette to canvas. We’re lucky to have a few modern film clips of a few of the greats, but just imagine watching Frans Hals at work. My mind reels at the thought. If I could see Chagall painting, I would marvel at the expression on his face as he painted a goat in the night sky, or a crazy uncle eating carrots on the roof of an old shack. Of course my first choice would be Rembrandt, but envisioning that might take me back so far and deep that I might not return.

      • trueoutsider says:

        Steve, good eye. The other one is by the infamous forger Han van Meegeren. He got away with a number of Vermeer forgeries as well, although I’ll never know how. That he did indicates to me that some of the people who often set themselves up as authorities on Old Master paintings don’t have the eyes of the average shoe salesman.

        That a painting so graceless as this (compared to Vermeer) was once taken as a real Vermeer speaks volumes about the “eyes” of the connoisseur class. Not only was it accepted as a real Vermeer, it was also highly praised:

        Not only that but connoisseurs had no trouble accepting the painting below and an obvious forgery as a real Vermeer. And yet did this serve to expose the near complete incompetence of typical art connoisseurs and experts, given that the works went unchallenged? Not at all. Money and power cover up everything, particularly common sense. After all that’s for common people.

    • johnk823 says:

      Bart, My answer is in this video.

  4. trueoutsider says:

    For me the most interesting fact about Henri and the group he founded, the Aschcan School, or the Eight (John Sloan, William Glackens, George Luks, Everett Shin, Maurice Prendergast, Ernest Lawson, and Arthur B. Davies) split from the American Academy–the National Academy of Design. The American Academy wouldn’t show their work for the same reasons the French Academy barely tolerated an artist like Manet, and wouldn’t show the true radicals like Cezanne or van Gogh.

    The Independents–both the French and American varieties–wanted to paint the real world–life on the streets, in the brothels, in the taverns etc. or nature viewed outside conventional Academic cliches. These painters wanted to paint directly through their own senses, perceptions and emotions rather than through the strictures of their conventional instruction.

  5. trueoutsider says:

    Here’s a William Glackens painting that could just as easily go under the Bathers heading. But I’m going to try to put up some of the Aschcan guys on this thread under their founder, Henri.

    I’ve seen this painting at the Brooklyn Museum, a very lively and lush painting. Bathing at Bellport, Long Island, 1912

    This Glackens has a real Parisian feel to it. It looks like it was done in pastel. I don’t have a date for it, but it could easily have been painted in Paris. In my opinion, the work of the Ashcan painters has been undeservedly neglected, the really unfortunate fallout of the dominance of abstract painting in the 1950s. And of course due to the dominance of Greenberg and the New York. But probably just as much as that is how close to Renoir or early Manet Glackens often comes, so that it risks looking derivative.

    But that bothers me not a bit. I find the work really captivating. The paintings I’ve seen in person are glowing with color.

    • Steve says:

      I’m with you all the way on the Ashcan painters Bart, they are at the very top of American painting for me personally, and I don’t care if the work looks derivative of the Impressionists or not. When it comes right down to brass tacks, I love beautiful painting, period, regardless of who, when, where, or why. These “lush” Glackens paintings go through my head and into my chest, which is always the primary clue for me that I’m seeing true beauty. I am unflaggingly loyal to this feeling, learning to trust it ages ago.

      • trueoutsider says:

        You and me both, Steve. The neglect of these painters verges on the criminal. Particularly since they’re some of the bests artists America produced. We can throw in artists like Hopper, Benton, Isabel Bishop, Reggie Marsh, Alice Neel, Hopper, the Soyer brothers. Hopper and Neel have gotten their due but the rest have been buried as if they never existed. It’s largely because of New York elitism having nothing to do with the quality of painter’s work. The realists were buried intentionally by the art political rhetoric of Greenberg and other New York critics that followed. It was essential to declare that America was now making an avant-garde that triumphed over the outmoded “realism” of European. Abstraction was the one true path. I rebelled against the Abstract Expressionists and wanted nothing to do with them or Greenberg. Later I came to see the value of their work and that what they were doing wasn’t responsible for burying so many great realist painters.

        Now, it seems to me, that realism is coming back with a vengeance. Of course, few artists know how to paint so photography and photographic forms are ubiquitous in contemporary galleries. But there’s a large group of British, German, Northern European, Chinese and artists from many other countries that are now on center stage. This would have inconceivable not that long ago, when New York City was the sole arbiter and American artists reigned unchallenged.

        I think that burying those great American realist artists is proving to be a catastrophic mistake for American art. Just as thirty years of Reaganite neoliberal economic policies have proven to be catastrophic for the American economy.

  6. johnk823 says:

    What is so wonderful about these pieces for me is the fact as to their part of recorded history and the impact on the human condition at the time. The first one shows how people were bathing during this period of time and the clothing worndurning such events. The gathering together as friends and neighbors, cleaning up maybe after a hard days work, clinging to each others need for cleanlyness in hard times.

    The second one is so rich and vibrant in color, as pastel do, but the sincerety of the womans expression and the intense deep thought she seems to be ingroused in, sitting in some cafe or resturant, drinking a soft drink and having a smoke. Maybe she is on a break from work, time is short and she has but a few moments left and then it’s back to work to take on somemore stressful project. Your mind can escape down many avenues just looking at the expression on her face, a look of wonderment!

    And this third one, really reminds me at first glance, of Norman Rockwell, because of the soda fountain background. Yet look at the brilliant colors used, especially the yellows, as they pull you right from the front of the painting to the back of the painting. The yellow dress moves you accross the girl in the light red/orange dress with the yellow hat, pulling you to the lemons, and the lemons take you to the yellow gold of the kettles on the left and then around the male server to the foil tops of the bottles on the back shelves. This is amazing flow and movement, bringing you through the work.

    But again, each piece is a mark of a day in the life of American history represented by the artists hand. They may critic it, condeem it style or technique, but they can never take away the fact that it speaks volumes for itself!

    • trueoutsider says:

      Here’s Isabel Bishop, another marvelous painter, not of the Ashcan group, and even more unfairly neglected. I was a Bishop painting for the first time in a modest museum in Colorado Springs and it was a knockout painting.

      Here’s a quick painting of the same subject as Glackens above:

      You really have to see these paintings, like the one below, to see how remarkable the feeling of fleshy volume is. They’re the closest painting to Rubens that I’ve seen by a 20th Century American painter.



      How a painter of Bishop’s achievement and marvelous paint handling has been completely ignored speaks volumes about the state of the American Art world. Alice Neel, who I also like, did a painting of Bishop. No doubt aware of the irony that while Neel got very late recognition as a painter, Bishop was condemned to complete obscurity.

      • johnk823 says:

        Hot Dogs and Beer!! Lot of stuff floating around in this painting for sure. The colors are really subdue and gentle , but a very busy piece of work, or is it just old paper or something. Kind of talks to you though, I’ll have to go back and study it for a while.

      • johnk823 says:

        The portraits above are pretty awesome and you are right about the flesh work. The big long picture, WOW!! look at those fingers, I hope mine don’t end up like that HA!! The flesh work is pretty awesome though as you stated, even in the leg. Post a smaller picture so we can get the full feeling of the entire painting.

      • Steve says:

        Bart, I was just getting ready to post about Isabel Bishop this evening,…you couldn’t have timed your post any more perfectly. And these are wonderful examples. I gravitate to a book on her and her work every time I go to the main library in a larger town nearby. I’ve checked it out several times, but still feel like picking it up, holding it, and slowly going through the pages. I don’t know of another single artist or non-artist who has ever mentioned her. Her Depression era paintings are so moving to me, and the real people that she depicted in shallow space speaks deeply to the way I feel about painting. It’s like the feeling I get with Rembrandt, only it’s in my century. And, it’s usually working women, like my own mom. I relate on several levels. I mentioned earlier my appreciation of Berthe Morisot, who has also been given short shrift. ( I’d like to add Kathe Kollowitz to this group of great woman artists ). But this double portrait of the two women in your posted image is tremendous.

  7. johnk823 says:

    Steve and Bart,

    Here is a link to a site feathuring Kathe Kollowitz and has several of her drawings/ etchings.

    http://www.mystudios.com/women/klmno/kollwitz.html

    Some really nice works and bioagraphy.

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