50
50
Robert Henri
1865-1929
BERNA
Estimate
300,000500,000
LOT SOLD. 685,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
50
Robert Henri
1865-1929
BERNA
Estimate
300,000500,000
LOT SOLD. 685,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

American Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture

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New York

Robert Henri
1865-1929
BERNA
signed Robert Henri, l.r.; also signed Robert Henri and titled Berna on the reverse prior to lining
oil on canvas
24 by 20 in.
(61.0 by 50.8 cm)
Painted in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1922.
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Provenance

William Macbeth Gallery, New York
Chapellier Galleries, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1971

Exhibited

New York, William Macbeth Gallery, 1922
Rochester, New York, Memorial Art Gallery, Paintings by Robert Henri, 1926
New York, William Macbeth Gallery, 1926
Rochester, New York, Memorial Art Gallery, 1994

Literature

Valerie Ann Leeds, Robert Henri in Santa Fe: His Work and Influence, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1998, p. 27
Valerie Ann Leeds, Robert Henri and the American Southwest: His Work and Influence, New York, 2000, p. 293

Catalogue Note

Valerie Leeds, author of Robert Henri in Santa Fe: His Work and Influence, writes, "Robert Henri was a prolific painter of types.  A dedicated teacher and organizer of alternative exhibitions, extended summer and fall sojourns were his most productive seasons when he was free to devote to himself to painting. He continually sought out new destinations to find interesting models.  Santa Fe became an important location that inspired his art and captivated his imagination.  Berna Escudero, the model for Berna, was among the subjects he found on his last visit there in 1922.

"Henri discovered Santa Fe on an extended visit in 1916 and returned there the following year.  Hoping to repeat the venture, it was June of 1922 before he travelled there again.  With its unique ambiance, multi-cultural population, and wonderful light, Henri produced a significant body of Southwestern portraiture over the course of three extended seasons in Santa Fe.

"On the 1922 visit, it was October before Henri turned his attention to painting local subjects, having been distracted by a commission and social commitments during the first part of the visit.  Mixed-race Hispanic-Native American models, such as the young girl depicted in Berna, dominated his production during the 1922 Santa Fe visit.  Berna Escudero, the model for Berna, was his most frequent subject that fall, posing for eleven portraits, and Berna was the first likeness of her he completed.

"Henri's Southwestern portraits are among his most progressive in terms of design and color.  By 1922, he simplified palettes and streamlined the compositional design in his portraiture. As in Berna, the portraits are most often three-quarter views of the subject and are simply structured with dark backgrounds.  In several of the portraits of Berna Escudero, to set off her dark coloring and soulful beauty, he used the tan coat with red and white clothing and the accent of the gold earring for contrast.  Most often, her ethnicity is downplayed though in several portraits, most notably in this composition, he includes the details of a Native-American rug draped over the arm of the chair to add visual interest and to reinforce the color scheme. The rug was a prop he kept in his studio and used in a number of the Southwestern likenesses.  This painting is closely related to Bernadita (1922; San Diego Museum of Art), which is the second essay he did of her. 

"Henri did not widely exhibit the Southwestern portraits during his lifetime.  This work, however, is a notable exception, as it was shown at three venues. His Southwestern work forms a discrete body of work within his oeuvre; in these portraits, he addresses many of the same objectives that preoccupied him throughout his artistic life."

American Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture

|
New York