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Robert Henri (June 25, 1865 – July 12, 1929) was a painter, portraitist, and American professor, and one of the eight founding artists of the Ashcan School, an artistic movement that Its purpose was to capture realistically the scenes of daily life in the poorest neighborhoods of New York.
Robert Henry Cozad, better known by his pseudonym Robert Henri, was born in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio on June 25, 1865. Son of Theresa Gatewood Cozad, originally from Malden, Virginia, and John Jackson Cozad, a player and developer. Henri had a brother named Johnny, and was a distant cousin of the famous impressionist painter Mary Cassatt.In 1871, his father founded the city of Cozaddale in Ohio, and in 1873 the family moved to western Nebraska where they founded the city of Cozad. .
In October 1882, his father was involved in a dispute with a landowner named Alfred Pearson, who claimed the right of his cattle to graze in territories belonging to Henri’s family. When the dispute turned physical, Jackson Cozad fired his pistol at Pearson causing a fatal wound. After several investigations his father was acquitted of all the accusations and declared innocent; however, the people of the city began to reject them. His father fled to Denver, Colorado, to avoid any kind of revenge and soon after the rest of the family was reunited in the new location. In order to disassociate themselves from the scandal, the members of the family changed their names. The father was renamed Richard Henry Lee, and his sons pretended to be adopted and took the names of Frank Southern and Robert Earl Henri respectively. In 1883, the family moved to New York City, then to Atlantic City, where Henri made his first paintings.
In 1886, he entered the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, being a student of the famous painter Thomas Pollock Anshutz. In 1888, he traveled to Paris to enroll at the Académie Julian art school, where he was a student of William-Adolphe Bouguereau, and also during his stay in Paris he would be influenced by the Impressionist movement. Subsequently, he was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts, and during the period he was in Europe, he visited Britain and Italy. At the end of 1891, he returned to Philadelphia, and resumed his studies under the direction of the impressionist painter Robert Vonnoh, and a year later, Henri would be a professor at the Moore College of Art and Design for women’s art school.
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