Robert Henri 1865-1929
- Robert Henri
- Young Sport (Francisco)
- signed Robert Henri, l.c.
- oil on canvas
William Macbeth Galleries, New York
Mrs. Francis P. Garvan, Roslyn, New York (sold: Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, December 1970, lot 50)
Joseph Hirshhorn, New York (acquired at the above sale)
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph E. Levine, Greenwich, Connecticut (acquired from the above)
Acquired by the present owner, 1997
New York, E & A Milch, Inc., 1923
Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland Art Museum, Third Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting, June 1923
Chicago, Illinois, Art Institute of Chicago, Thirty-Sixth Annual Exhibition of the Art Institute of Chicago, November-December 1923
New York, Macbeth Galleries, Paintings by Robert Henri, January 1924
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Art Club, 1926
Santa Fe, New Mexico, Gerald Peters Gallery, Robert Henri in Santa Fe: His Work and Influence, October 1998, pp. 27, 28, 152, illustrated in color p. 153
El Palacio, vol. 15, Santa Fe, New Mexico, December 1923, p. 193
Bernard Perlman, Robert Henri: His Life and Art, New York, 1991, pp. 122-132
Valerie Ann Leeds, "Robert Henri and the American Southwest: His Work and Influence," (Ph.D. dissertation., City University of New York, 2000), pp. 293-94, 299, 489, illustrated
Valerie Leeds, author of Robert Henri in Santa Fe: His Work and Influence, writes: "Robert Henri had a long and active career. Busy teaching during the academic year, summer breaks allowed him time away from New York and the occasion to seek out interesting locales where he would find portrait subjects. Santa Fe, where he painted Young Sport (Francisco), was one of his preferred destinations.
"Henri was fifty-one years old when he first visited Santa Fe 1916, which marked the first of three extended seasons of painting he spent there. The visits, which occurred in 1916, 1917, and 1922, resulted in his production of a sizable body of portraiture of the local inhabitants. Santa Fe proved to be such a compelling place to him because of its unique environment and multicultural populations that offered varied and unusual types to paint. Young Sport, Francisco, one of his most spirited likenesses, dates to his last visit in 1922.
"In 1922, Henri arrived in Santa Fe on June 20th and stayed until early December, though he traveled to California for a portrait commission from August 31 to early October. He painted Young Sport sometime in the later fall after his return to Santa Fe from California. During the 1922 stay, he drew from a more limited pool of models, principally painting Mexican-Americans, as in the likeness of Francisco.
"Children became a subject of increasing importance to Henri and their allure for him was their openness, optimism, and lack of artifice. He remarked that "whoever approaches a child without humility, without wonderment, and without infinite response, misses the judgment of what is before him. Children are greater than the grown man ... In the faces of children I have seen a look of wisdom and of kindness expressed with...certainty" (The Art Spirit, 1923, p. 237-38). He was consistently seeking subjects whom he considered to be "genuine" and representative of a type.
"Henri's style of portraiture lets the sitter's character and spirit shine through his interpretation while sublimating his technical skill. Though intuitive, he was also analytical in terms of his approach and would often rework subjects until he was completely satisfied with the likeness ... Henri worked rapidly and directly on the canvas, painting a la prima, in an effort to capture the moment. In many cases he would undertake several versions of the same model, as he did with Francisco.
"Francisco's expressive eyes and impish nature are captured in each of the four likenesses he painted of him that fall, though none more so than in this painting—the third of four portraits. The young boy turns to glance over his shoulder in a spontaneous gesture that reveals a gleam in his dark soulful eyes.
"Typified by Young Sport, Henri's 1922 portraits tend toward darker palettes, three-quarter views, and were more simply structured than earlier portraits. The focus is centered on the face, which is highlighted against dark backgrounds and a triad of colors that are mixed and applied throughout the painting. Henri would break up the compositions with a few colorful accents around the face and head, as in this portrait with the neck scarf of gray and red tied at the subject's neck. The light is carried through the composition in the tones of the chair back and in his hand resting on his leg.
"Henri publicly exhibited few of the 1922 Santa Fe paintings, though he sent Young Sport to a number of significant venues, including the exhibition of the New Society of Artists in New York the following year. In 1925, he stopped in Santa Fe for a brief stay though produced no work on that occasion, so the paintings from 1922 represent the final coda of his Southwestern subjects before he went on to concentrate on portraits of Irish children in his last years."