'Spanish Sojourns: Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain'
The exhibition highlights the influence of Spanish culture on famed American artist Robert Henri through over 40 of his paintings.
The San Diego Museum of Art presents Spanish Sojourns, the first exhibition dedicated to the Spanish paintings of Robert Henri (1865-1929), one of the most influential American artists of the early 20th century. Widely celebrated as both an artist and a teacher, Henri also played a pivotal role in the history of American art as one of the key organizers of the progressive 1908 exhibition of the Eight, and throughout his career championed the realistic portrayal of contemporary life.
Spain and its people held a particular fascination for Henri, who was attracted to the nation’s sunny climate, ancient culture, and spirited citizens. He first visited Spain in 1900, and returned six times between 1906 and 1926, often for extended stays. An avid traveler, Henri returned to Spain more than any other destination. He produced some of his boldest and most compelling likenesses there, drawing from a wide range of bohemian cultural figures including singers, dancers, musicians, bullfighters, gypsies, and peasants.
He was attracted by the emotionalism and wild undercurrent he perceived in the Spanish temperament, and by Spanish traditions of music, dance, and bullfighting. Henri’s Spanish portraits also reflect his admiration for the great Spanish masters Diego Velasquez and Francisco Goya, whose works he studied closely.