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Art Glossary: Robert Henri

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Famous Art Teacher Robert Henri

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Photo Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Art, Flickr Creative Commons
Definition:

The American painter Robert Henri initially worked in a realistic style, then embraced Impressionism, and ultimately moved away from academic painting and Impressionism towards urban realism subjects (known as the Ashcan School) done in a painterly style. Henri is probably more famed as an art teacher than a painter, especially for the book on his teaching and art theories called The Art Spirit.

Robert Henri born on 25 June 1865 in Cincinnati, and died on 12 July 1929. His original name was Robert Henry Cozad, but he changed it after his father fled to Atlantic City, New Jersey, to avoid an indictment for manslaughter.

Robert Henri enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia in 1886; in 1888 he went to Paris, enrolling first at the Académie Julian and in 1891 at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He began teaching at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women in 1892.

In 1900 Henri moved to New York, teaching at the New York School of Art from 1902 to 1908, and at the Art Students League from 1915 until 1927. Henri eventually started his own art school, the Henri School of Art; his students included Edward Hopper.

A former student, Margery Ryerson, collated Henri's writing and lectures on teaching art into book form, titled The Art Spirit. First published in 1923, it is still in print today (Buy a Copy).

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