Stark Museum of Art
Robert Henri Portrait Acquired by Stark Museum of Art
On view at the Stark Museum of Art through June 2001 is a recently acquired oil portrait by American artist Robert Henri. Painted in 1917 in Santa Fe, New Mexico and kept in virtual obscurity for many years in a private collection in Oklahoma, it represents a Santa Clara Pueblo woman named Gregorita, who was one of the artist's favorite models during his periodic visits to the American Southwest between the years 1916 and 1922. The current exhibition at the Stark Museum constitutes the first time that this work has ever been placed before the public. (left: Gregorita, oil on canvas, 32 x 36 inches, Stark Museum of Art, 31.239/1)
Henri was a leading figure in New York art circles in the opening decades of the twentieth century. As a teacher and champion of many of the younger, struggling painters of the time, he influenced the careers of a number of those who eventually made names for themselves in the highly competitive world of American art. A rapid and prolific painter, Henri produced more than 245 oil paintings of New Mexico subjects, the majority of them portraits, of which approximately seventy survive, as well as numerous sketches in pencil, watercolor, and pastel.
From Santa Fe, Henri made at least two trips to Taos, where he became acquainted with resident artists such as William Victor Higgins and Bert Geer Phillips, who are also represented in the Stark collection. Henri was invited to join the Taos Society of Artists as an honorary member in 1918 and afterward exhibited in the Society's annual exhibitions.
Although Henri had not visited New Mexico for several years at the time of his death, local painters in Santa Fe showed their respect for him as an artist and educator in founding the Robert Henri Memorial Association in 1929.
Further resources for out readers: see information on the Santa Fe Colony of Artists from the Collector's Guide
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For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 4/27/11
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