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Ashcan School - A Stan Klos Website

Ashcan School
By: Neal McLaughlin


In the opening months of 1907, a group of New York painters set out to capture the true essence of twentieth-century New York. Instead of the glamorous portrayal of their subject matter practiced by the Old School artists, the " Eight", as they would eventually be called decided to paint the alleyways, tenements and "slum dwellers" of modern New York City.

Forgoing the old philosophy of "art for art's sake" Robert Henri (1868-1929) and his band of artistic buddies adopted a new philosophy: "Art for life's sake", believing that what was true and real in life was beautiful and therefore constituted art.

Their new style of art had infuriated some and shocked many others who felt that it was in bad taste to depict their city in such a negative concept. So disgusted were some critics that they had labeled the group the "revolutionary black gang".

The artists defended their position by alleging that they were not attempting to muddy social commentary but were instead portraying the urban vitality. Regardless of their explanation, their movement was eventually to be dubbed the Ashcan school, deriving from the omnipresent urban image of the garbage can.

Their work was considered so controversial that to arrange for an exhibition seemed almost fruitless. Outraged by the National Academy's rejection of their art for the 1907 spring exhibition, Henri and his gang united; determined to have their own exhibition.

Joined by artists John Sloan (1871-1951), Everett Shinn (1876-1938), William Glackens (1870-1938) and George Luks (1867-1933), Robert Henri was determined to prove that the "Apostles of Ugliness" were indeed legitimate artists.

These five men continued to depict the darker sides of humanity as they pressed forth in hopes of securing an exhibition. Their perseverance soon attracted the attention of three more men who would soon enlist among the rank of the Ashcan school.

Landscape painters Ernest Lawson (1873-1939), Maurice Prendergast (1858-1924) and Symbolist painter Arthur B. Davies (1862-1922) set aside their current projects and joined Henri and his other partners.

The mutual hostility that each of these men shared towards the rigid jury system of the Academicians was enough fuel to thrust this group into the light of fame. By late 1907 early 1908 these New York Realists held what had been considered to be a controversial independent exhibition at the McBeth Galleries of New York.

Their showing was met with mixed reviews. The main theme in the criticism seemed to be that critics considered their art as an "inappropriate" recording of the "uglier" aspects of New York.

Regardless of the intensely negative reviews, this exhibition was actually a milestone in the history of modern American painting. Thanks to the perseverance and devotion of these and future Ashcan painters their rebellion against the Academicians led to the organization and development of the 1913 Armory exhibition and the founding of the Society of Independent Artists in 1918.

Despite the fact that so many people objected to renderings offered by the Ashcan painters this style never totally collapsed from the intense pressures. Late into the 1930's there were still a select group of artists who accepted the precedent established by the "Eight" and continued to paint in this style.

Research Links

ArtLex on the Ashcan School
Click Here. Ashcan School - A group of early twentieth-century American
artists who often painted pictures of New York city life. ...

The Ashcan School: Artists and their Works
Artcyclopedia Artists by Movement: The Ashcan School. ... The spirit of the Ashcan School
was carried on by the American Scene Painting of the 1920's and 1930's. ...

Reader's Companion to American History - -ASHCAN SCHOOL
The Reader's Companion to American History. ASHCAN SCHOOL. The Ashcan school of
art evolved during the early years of the twentieth century in New York City. ...

ASHCAN SCHOOL. KEY DATES: 1891-1918. A group of urban realist painters in
America creating work around the early part of 20th century. ...

Ashcan School - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ashcan School. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. ... Members of the Ashcan School
were connected with the Macbeth Gallery throughout much of their careers. ...

Images - Ashcan School
Images - Ashcan School. Everett Shinn View of the East River ca. 1900 Watercolor
on paper 10.5 x 15.5 inches Adelson Galleries, New York. [6k image]. ...

Ashcan School
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Yahoo! Directory: Art History > Ashcan School
Yahoo! reviewed these sites and found them related to Art History >
Ashcan School. ... Art History > Ashcan School. ...

Ashcan School
... Ashcan School. Group of US realist painters active about 1908–14. So-called
because of their chosen subject matter, the School’s ...

The Ashcan School
The Ashcan School. ... William Glackens, "The Eight" / "Ashcan School" / "Apostles
of Ugliness". In response to the National Academy's .

Ash Can School. Art terms at Biddingtons.
... Ash Can School. What is it? Ash Can School is a ... How can I recognize a painting
from the Ash Can School? Ash Can School paintings have ...

The Ashcan School
... Site last updated 13 October, 2004. The Ashcan School. ... This transition began
around 1900 and has since come to be called the Ashcan School. ...

Ashcan School -- Encyclopædia Britannica
Ashcan School group of American realist painters based in New York City in the early
20th century. ... Expand all, Ashcan School, Print this Table of Contents, ...





















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