The Immortal Eight; American Painting from Eakins to the Armory Show (1870-1913)

The Immortal Eight; American Painting from Eakins to the Armory Show (1870-1913)

The Immortal Eight; American Painting from Eakins to the Armory Show (1870-1913)

The Immortal Eight; American Painting from Eakins to the Armory Show (1870-1913)

Excerpt

I shall never forget the day I met Robert Henri. It was at the opening of a small gallery started by my cousin Leonora Morton, who had been one of his old students. She led me through the crowded room to a corner where a group of older people were seated. I was introduced as a pupil of his friend John Sloan. What Henri talked about in the next few minutes has always escaped my memory--I was so impressed by the graciousness of this great teacher who stood up to shake hands with a sixteen- year-old art student. A few months later I saw Henri for the second and last time, at the Art Students' League when Sloan was giving a lecture on composition. Henri saw me across the room and took the trouble to come over and say a few kind words, I noticed that he was limping, and a few minutes later Mrs. Henri came over to start him on the way home. He was suffering from the rheumatism which was later diagnosed as bone cancer. It was characteristic of Robert Henri to be thoughtful of other people and their work.

He was tall and slender, moving with the natural elegance of a man who had been accustomed to horseback riding. In later years I might have compared his manner to that of Gary Cooper or Jimmy Stewart. There were romantic rumors floating around the art school that he had some family mystery, accounting for the French name. The truth of this story, about which he preserved a gentleman's reticence even on his deathbed, is a dignified chapter in American history which is now known and told in this book.

Henri and his friends grew up in the post-Civil-War period, steeped in the traditions of Christian humanism. They were interested in America; they had affection for this great new country and its people. In their desire to be artists, this interest . . .

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