Robert Henri (1865-1929)
Robert Henri (1865-1929)
Robert Henri (1865-1929)
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ROBERT HENRI (1865-1929)

Irish Girl

ROBERT HENRI (1865-1929)
Irish Girl
signed 'Robert Henri' (lower right)—signed again and inscribed with artist's record number (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
28 x 20 in. (71.1 x 50.8 cm.)
Painted in 1928.
The artist.
(Probably) Violet Organ, sister-in-law of the above.
Alfredo Valente Gallery, New York.
Acquired by the late owner from the above, by 1969.
New York, New York Cultural Center, Robert Henri: Painter, Teacher, Prophet, October 14-December 14, 1969, p. 101, no. 109 (as Girl).

Brought to you by

Tylee Abbott
Tylee Abbott Vice President, Head of American Art

Lot Essay

Henri sailed for Ireland for the first time in June 1913 with his wife, Marjorie Organ, staying until the end of September near the fishing villages of Keel and Dooagh on the island of Achill. After painting the magnificent landscape of the island, the artist reverted back to portraiture. Between 1913 and 1928, Henri returned to the island spending every spring or summer concentrating on capturing the children of Dooagh.

The present work is a masterful example of his later works in Ireland. Disparate from his earlier portraits in which the artist portrayed the playful personality of his subjects, these were works focusing primarily on color and form. Valerie Leeds explains, "Henri explored formal and abstract ideas of color and compositional harmonies in a virtual shorthand vocabulary. In these paintings, he used a more limited tonal range, with one or two foundation colors to build the composition." ("The Portraits of Robert Henri" in My People: The Portraits of Robert Henri, p. 40) Indeed, in the present work, Henri builds his portrait primarily in shades of red and umber, creating the perfect complement for the sitter's amazingly vibrant blue eyes and matching blue-green undershirt and hair ribbon. Contrasting a gestural, almost abstract background with the girl's beautifully rendered, rosy face, Irish Girl features all the hallmarks of Henri's most prized portraits.

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