ROBERT HENRI (1865-1929)
ROBERT HENRI (1865-1929)
ROBERT HENRI (1865-1929)
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Property from an Estate, Flint, Michigan
ROBERT HENRI (1865-1929)


ROBERT HENRI (1865-1929)
signed 'Robert Henri' (lower left)—signed again, inscribed with title and with artist's record number (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
24 x 20 in. (60.9 x 50.8 cm.)
Painted in 1926.
The artist.
Loretta Hines Howard, New York, acquired from the above, 1927.
Estate of the above.
Campanile Galleries, Chicago, Illinois.
Acquired by the late owners from the above, 1989.
Frank K.M. Rehn Galleries, New York, 1927.
Boston, Massachusetts, Museum of Fine Arts, 1927.
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Memorial Exhibition of the Work of Robert Henri , March 9-April 19, 1931.
Baltimore, Maryland, Baltimore Museum of Art, Memorial Exhibition of the Work of Robert Henri, May 1931.
Chicago, Illinois, Campanile Galleries, 1988-89.
Charlotte, North Carolina, Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts; Santa Fe, New Mexico, Georgia O'Keeffe Museum; Glen Falls, New York, The Hyde Collection, From New York to Corrymore: Robert Henri and Ireland, May 7, 2011-May 1, 2012.
Flint, Michigan, Flint Institute of Arts, 2007-2022, on loan.

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Tylee Abbott
Tylee Abbott Vice President, Head of American Art

Lot Essay

In addition to his role as a leader of the Ashcan school and an influential teacher, Robert Henri is perhaps best remembered as an artist for his spirited portraits of children. In the present work, Henri depicts a young boy named Sonny MacNamara, or Sonny Mac, in the artist's classic style, a portrait of a single figure gazing confidently at the viewer. Painted in 1926, Sandy belongs to a striking series focusing on children from the Irish villages on Achill Island.

Valerie Ann Leeds writes that Henri found a few new models that year in Ireland, including "Sonny Mac, whom he painted on at least eight occasions in 1926, wearing varied hats and colored attire...A child with distinctive and awkward features...This youngster was, however, brimming with personality...The artistic motivation was tied to what Henri saw beneath the surface. In his notes on painting Sonny Mac, he outlined his ideas about physical beauty: 'It is interesting to try to find the forms that will express the mysterious beauty of life that lies back of what otherwise might be a very awkward or homely often turns out that in such cases the outer crust is transformed in our eyes.'" (From New York to Corrymore: Robert Henri and Ireland, exhibition catalogue, Charlotte, North Carolina, 2011, pp. 78-79)

Another Henri portrait of Sonny MacNamara is in the collection of the Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach, Florida.

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