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From New York to Corrymore: Robert Henri and Ireland

From New York to Corrymore: Robert Henri and Ireland

7 May - 7 August 2011

Mint Museum Uptown


The view of the Minaun Cliffs has changed little since Henri painted it in 1913.


Long celebrated as an iconic American artist due to his important early work as a teacher and as the leader of The Eight, Robert Henri's own art has received less attention on its own than one might imagine. From New York to Corrymore: Robert Henri and Ireland is the first exhibition to examine his engagement with the Irish landscape and Irish subjects during the second half of his career. The exhibition includes between forty and fifty of Henri's paintings of the Irish people, particularly children,and landscape created between his first trip to Ireland in 1913 and his last trip in 1928.


 The time that Henri spent in Ireland was extremely valuable to him, for only there was he able to focus on his painting without the distractions of life in New York. It is not surprising, then, that the periods he spent in Ireland were among his most prolific, and the paintings he produced during his Irish sojourns among his most accomplished. -Jonathan Stuhlman, Curator of American Art



Map of Ireland from achillcamping.com



Map of Achill Island courtesy of Achill Tourism


By the summer of 1913, Robert Henri had established himself in the art world as leader of the "Ashcan School" and had just exhibited in the Armory Show. Searching for inspiration and new subjects, he traveled to Ireland. Although Henri claimed to have chosen Achill Island at random, he had heard friend and fellow artist John Butler Yeats praise Ireland by quoting the poetry of William Butler Yeats, his son. Henri's wife Marjorie had been born in Dublin, which could also have influenced his decision. Although his first visit was fruitful, Henri did not return to Achill Island until 1924. He purchased the house called "Corrymore," which he had rented on his first visit in 1913, and spent his remaining summers there.


Achill Island 24/7 has a page dedicated to Robert Henri and his time on the island. The picture gallery provides images of some of the paintings - mostly portraits - that he created in Ireland. Henri was especially captivated by the rural innocence of the Irish children. In fact, these portraits constitute what may be Henri's largest focused body of work.


More About Henri and his Work

Before the 1900's, Henri focused on landscape painting more than portraiture. 1902 was a notable turning point; Henri joined the faculty of the New York School of Art, where artist William Merritt Chase, who excelled at portraiture, also taught. It was then that portraits and figures became Henri's main subject matter. He sought to depict people as they were. 


Resources in the Library  




Created by Lee Ann Radwan, intern for The Mint Museum Library