Tour: American Realists of the Early 1900s« back to gallery
With forty percent of the United States' population living in urban environments by 1900, the city began to replace the countryside as an intriguing subject for American writers and painters. Also, these city dwellers' demands for illustrated newspapers and magazines meant that many artists in the early twentieth century trained as sketch reporters who could quickly capture the action at fires or strikes, sports events or theater premieres.
A leading realist, Robert Henri was an influential teacher to many young graphic artists and painters. In 1908, Henri joined seven of his students and friends to form The Eight and to stage a group exhibition in New York City. Several of The Eight—by painting scenes of daily life in back alleys and barrooms, on dockyards and tenement rooftops—soon became known popularly as the Ashcan School.« back to gallery