Realist Painter Robert Henri and The Ashcan School

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Robert Henri

“Art for life’s sake” – that was the motto of urban Realist painter Robert Henri (1865 – 1929), who was a founding member of the artistic movement known as the Ashcan School. Operating in counter distinction to American Impressionists, the Ashcan painters conceived of art as a medium to depict life in New York City around the turn of the century – without excessive idealization. The Aschcan School painters, in order words, were committed to drawing attention to the sometimes harsh realities of urban existence. In spite of their realism, they were not regarded as social commentators or reformists, as their work did not seek to create tensions between socio-economic classes or political unease.

With the most comprehensive and formal artistic training, Robert Henri is regarded as one of the key contributors to the Ashcan School movement. Painting in the style that the group would become known for, Robert Henri was known for his calligraphic shapes. Mimicking the journalistic quality of newspaper illustrators, Henri and the Ashcan artists created their pieces either from memory or in a hurried, on-the-go manner. In this way, Henri and the others in the movement sought to paint what they regarded as the truth, documenting their era in a way that other popular artists of the day were not at the time.

To learn more about New York Art Gallery Ackerman’s Fine Art, and Ashcan School painter Robert Henri, please see our video below:

Ackerman’s Fine Art is actively purchasing works by Robert Henri. Please get in touch to sell your art or contact us to purchase artwork by Aschcan School painter Robert Henri.

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The Ashcan School


Kenny Ackerman is an Art Dealer in New York, specializing in Fine Art Paintings from 19th-21st century Europe and America. To buy or sell original paintings by artists we represent, contact Ackerman’s Fine Art here.

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