Spanish Sojourns: Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain will be the first museum exhibition dedicated to the Spanish paintings of Robert Henri (1865-1929), one of the most influential American artists of the early twentieth century. Henri traveled to Spain seven times between 1900 and 1926, more than any other foreign destination, and produced a substantial body of work inspired by these trips. However, until now his Spanish paintings have never received the scholarly attention they deserve.
Spanish Sojourns consists of over 40 major paintings borrowed from important museum and private collections around the country. Many of Henri’s Spanish works were acquired by museums during his lifetime, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Spanish Gypsy (1912), the first painting by an Ashcan School artist to join the collection of that venerable institution. The paintings in the exhibition, nearly all portraits, present a dazzling cross-section of Spanish society as experienced by Henri: famous dancers and dashing bullfighters, intermingled with spirited gypsies, blind street singers, and weathered peasant men. Gathered together for the first time, these paintings reveal Henri’s ongoing commitment to capturing the essence of Spanish tradition and culture through insightful portrayals of unique individuals.
This nationally-touring exhibition has been organized by Telfair Museums, Savannah, Georgia. The project has been awarded major grants from the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Horowitz Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Spanish Sojourns will be accompanied by a fully illustrated hardcover catalogue, funded in part by the Telfair Academy Guild, which presents new scholarship on Henri and places his work in the context of the other American artists, architects, and writers who were inspired by Spain in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.