The Ashcan School

In the months leading up to my workshop, I spent time re-reading The Art Spirit by Robert Henri. I have long wondered the correct pronunciation of his last name – being one familiar with others mispronouncing my name, I always try to say names correctly. So – I went to the web and discovered this fine post by Tom Reeder, which gives a nice mini-history of the Ashcan School and the surprising correct pronunciation of “Henri”. Enjoy!

Tom Reeder's Blog

Michelangelo hated Raphael’s guts.  Van Gogh severed his relationship with Paul Gauguin, along with part of his own ear.  I mention these examples to illustrate the point that not all artists who are categorized together actually got along.  Even though we are encouraged to think of them collectively, the High Renaissance artists didn’t necessarily meet after work for wine spritzers.  The Post-Impressionists weren’t into group hugs.

There were some who were friendly to each other, of course, and some even selected the fraternal name for themselves, as if they were a service club or a motorcycle gang.  The self-named Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of 19th century painters and poets, were pretty good pals and shared common artistic goals.  Their work, by the way, was as affected as the title they bestowed on themselves; as far as I’m concerned, the PRB seemed to think that “art” was short for “artificial”.


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