Date of this Version
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery University of Nebraska, Lincoln, October 12 through November 7, 1965.
The present exhibition has been assembled to commemorate the centennial of Robert Henri's birth. It is not intended to be a conventional review of his reputation and accomplishment, which has been established for a long time, but perhaps, instead, it will serve as an initial step in a reassessment of his accomplishment and a belated recognition of those aspects of his work which have not hitherto received anything like the attention they deserve.
The selection of works has been difficult in a special way. Henri was prolific and his work is abundantly represented in public and private collections. At the same time his estate still contains many canvases which have been seen but rarely since the memorial exhibition of 1931. The problem was to strike a balance between the work which represents him in his best known role as a portrait and figure painter and the less known and thereby less appreciated landscape paintings.
The reasons for Henri's success as an artist are not difficult to establish. Almost all of the museum owned pictures are of a kind, usually characterized by a mood of cheerful, sometimes even jocular optimism. They are portraits of children, Irish, Indian, Spanish, Chinese, simple people, workmen and peasants seen as colorful characters or eccentrics. The make believe exoticism of dancers, actresses and studio models is also a favorite theme.