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"Spanish Sojourns: Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain" opens at Telfair Museums
Blind Singers, 1912. Oil on canvas, 33 ¼ x 41 ¼ in. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Foundation, 1966. 66.2434.
SAVANNAH, GA.- Spanish Sojourns is the first museum exhibition dedicated to the Spanish paintings of Robert Henri (1865-1929), one of the most influential American artists of the early 20th century. A leading proponent of the urban realist style that characterized the art of the Ashcan School, Henri was widely celebrated as a painter and a teacher.

Henri traveled to Spain seven times between 1900 and 1926 and produced a substantial body of work inspired by that country’s citizens and culture. His portraits present a dazzling cross-section of Spanish society—famous dancers, dashing bullfighters, spirited gypsies, blind street singers and weathered old peasants—as he masterfully captures the spirit of unique individuals.

Henri’s Spanish canvases were well received during his lifetime; many quickly found homes in prominent museum collections around the country. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City purchased Henri’s Spanish Gypsy in 1914, its first acquisition by an Ashcan School artist, and has loaned it to the Telfair for Spanish Sojourns. Other American museums also have made major loans, culminating in a groundbreaking exhibition that presents more than forty of Henri’s Spanish works. Together, the paintings reveal Henri’s ongoing commitment to portraying the essence of Spanish tradition.

The exhibition has been in development for over five years and was inspired by one of the most beloved paintings in the Telfair’s collection. La Madrileñita, which typically hangs in the Telfair Academy, originally purchased directly from Robert Henri for the Telfair by Gari Melchers in 1919.

Spanish Sojourns will tour nationally, traveling to the San Diego Museum of Art and the Mississippi Museum of Art after its time in Savannah. The exhibition has been awarded major grants from prestigious institutions including the National Endowment for the Arts.





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