Eight Classic Portraits by Robert Henri

9 Jan

Robert Henri, O in Black With Scarf (1910)

Note: click on any image to enlarge

Like most people, I think of Robert Henri as perhaps the key founder of the Ashcan School — a movement dedicated to urban realist landscape painting and frank portraiture of working men and women in turn-of-the-century America.  While that is Henri’s main claim to fame, he also did some remarkable classic portraits that are far from the gritty realism for which he is most famous.

Robert Henri, Marjorie in a Yellow Shawl (1909)

Henri studied with the academic painter William Adolphe Bouguereau while preparing to enter the Ecole des Beaux Arts, prior to rebelling against the allegorical figure painting that that academic track entailed.  These portraits show that Henri benefited greatly from his classical training — training which he then aimed at the ordinary people and places of his daily life in America.

Robert Henri, Jessica Penn in Black With White Plumes (1908)

These lovely  portraits, painted in the first decade of the 20th Century and reminiscent of John Singer Sargent, clearly show Henri’s classic side.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Robert Henri, Miss Kaji Waki (1909)

Robert Henri, Spanish Dancing Girl (1904)

Robert Henri, La Reina Mora (1906)

Robert Henri, El Tango (1908)

Robert Henri, Salome (1909)

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