I was recently introduced to Robert Henri by way of his collected notes, articles, letters and talks to students, all brought together in one volume titled The Art Spirit. What a stunning mind this man had.
Robert Henri was a painter and teacher who felt it was his job to uncover the raw talent of each student—not to teach them his own ways, or those of other artists, but to guide them on a journey of self-discovery, to uncover their own artist within. He taught during a time when the arts were still constrained by rigid convention, and he worked tirelessly to unclench its hold.
He also believed that art was integral to everyone, not just to the professional or the student. He believed that it existed in, and was available to, every one of us maintaining that, “Art when really understood is the province of every human being.”
Not only did he fully understand art’s importance to a culture, he also understood, well, the sacrifices one faced in order to make it. “The work of the art student is no light matter,” he said. “Few have the courage and stamina to see it through. You have to make up your mind to be alone in many ways… But alone one gets acquainted with himself, grows up and on, not stopping with the crowd. It costs to do this. If you succeed somewhat you may have to pay for it as well as enjoy it all your life.”
Having died in 1929, his beliefs and philosophies about art and life, intricately connected as he believed them to be, live on in this stunning work, which I highly recommend to you all: The Art Spirit by Robert Henri, compiled by Margery A. Ryerson, published by J.B. Lippincott Company and available through Amazon.
Love to you all,