Robert Henri and His Students
In the beginning of the 20th century, a group of young artists based in New York City distinguished themselves from other American artists of the time. Led by Robert Henri, the group included William Glackens, John Sloan, George Luks and George Bellows. They portrayed everyday life on the streets. Their works seemed gritty when compared to academic painters in America and Europe. A disapproving critic gave the group the name the “Ashcan School.” However, these contemporary artists firmly believed that everyday life was a worthy subject. Fine art did not have to rely on nostalgia and sentimentality. This new concept was very influential for later generations of American artists.
The work of Henri, Sloan and Glackens changed in the 1910s under the influence of a system developed by Hardesty Maratta. This paint manufacturer marketed a set of 12 colors and assigned each a musical note to suggest combinations based on harmonious chord structures. As a result, they began to use brighter tones and more vibrant hues.