Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Urban Views: Realist Prints and Drawings by Robert Henri and His Circle

Urban Views: Realist Prints and Drawings by Robert Henri and His Circle, an exhibition of nineteen works on paper, will opened on January 13, 2006 at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Sometimes popularly known as the Ashcan School, Henri and the the artists of the circle were leaders of a new movement in early twentieth-century American art. Departing from an aesthetic that focused on the wealthy and beautiful as subjects, these artists instead document some of the more mundane activities of everyday city life. The exhibition focuses on the graphic work of Henri and his followers, most of whom were successful commercial illustrators, cartoonists, and newspaper sketch artists. Three of the works included are illustrations for books or magazines. Despite their beginnings as commercial artists, they were persuaded, under Henri’s influence, to pursue art more seriously as a calling.

George W. Bellows (American, 1882–1925). Business Men's Class, 1916. Lithograph on wove

paper. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the estate of Chester Dale, 63.155.10
Among the prints and drawings on view was a George Bellows lithograph that takes a comic look at a group of ungainly businessmen trying to improve their physiques at a YMCA; an unusual, unfinished watercolor by Maurice Prendergast of a seaside scene; a John Sloan etching from memory of a quiet evening spent together with Robert Henri and their wives; and an ink sketch by Henri of a party scene.

Urban Views was organized by Margaret Stenz, Ph.D., Andrew W. Mellon Research Associate in the Department of American Art at the Brooklyn Museum.

William J. Glackens (American, 1870–1938). Merry Christmas (Yuletide Revels), 1910. Illustration for Collier's, The National Weekly, December 10, 1910. Black conté crayon, ink, watercolor, graphite, and paper attachment on pulp board. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Ira Glackens, 63.

John Sloan (American, 1871–1951). Swinging in the Square, 1912. Etching on laid paper. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Louis E. Stern Foundation, Inc., 64.101.322

George Benjamin Luks (American, 1867–1933). Pony Ride, undated. Black conté crayon on wove paper. Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 58.43.5