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Robert Henri
American, 1865 - 1929

Tom Cafferty, 1924
American Painting
Oil on canvas
22 1/4 x 20 1/8 in. (56.5 x 51.1 cm)

Gift of Mrs. Granger A. Hollister,  26.1

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About the Object

Robert Henri, the leader of the Urban Realist movement, sought truth in art above all else.  Henri promoted this revolutionary idea in support of a uniquely American art.

[Gallery label text, 2007]

In addition to providing guidance and inspiration (as well as occasional financial assistance) to many artists, Robert Henri was himself a very fine painter. Wherever he taught, he gathered around him eager and enthusiastic students who benefited from his instruction. He moved to New York in 1900 and taught at William Merritt Chase's school for a few years. In 1909, he established his own school, and also taught painting at the radical Ferrer School established by former Rochesterian Emma Goldman.  

Although a member of the National Academy of Design, Henri actively promoted non-juried exhibitions and the work of younger, less traditional artists.  Dictums such as "Know what the old masters did.They made their language. You make yours. All the past can help you" gave his followers the confidence to paint in their own way.

During the 1920s, Henri lived in Ireland and painted a young boy named Tom Cafferty, who was the subject of this painting and a number of others.  Characteristically, Henri painted him in a very loose and colorful style, with energetic brush strokes.

[Gallery label text, 2003]