Telfair Museums, one of the South’s premier art museums, is pleased to present the landmark exhibition “Spanish Sojourns: Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain” October 18, 2013 through March 9, 2014 at the Jepson Center, located at 207 W. York St. on Telfair Square in Savannah, Ga.
Organized by Telfair Museums, this groundbreaking show will be the first museum exhibition dedicated to the Spanish paintings of Robert Henri (1865-1929), one of the most influential American artists of the early 20th century. Widely celebrated as a leading figure in the Ashcan School, Henri played a pivotal role in the history of American art as one of the key organizers of the progressive 1908 exhibition of The Eight, a group of artists who protested the ultra-conservative National Academy of Design. Throughout his career, Henri championed the realistic portrayal of contemporary life.
Ramón Gil-Casares, the ambassador of Spain, has expressed his support for this landmark exhibit. He contributed a welcome letter to the “Spanish Sojourns” catalogue and will attend the Telfair Ball in Savannah in February.
“Gathering these fine paintings together for the first time is a significant undertaking, and I applaud Telfair museums for organizing this important traveling exhibition,” the ambassador said. “It is my hope that the conversations sparked by the vibrant paintings in ‘Spanish Sojourns’ will add even greater depth to the longstanding cultural ties between Spain and the United States.”
Spain and its people held a particular fascination for Henri, who was attracted to the nation’s sunny climate, ancient culture and spirited citizens. He first visited Spain in 1900 and returned six times between 1906 and 1926, often for extended stays. Henri’s portraits reflect his admiration for the great Spanish masters Diego Velázquez and Francisco Goya, whose works he studied closely.
The exhibition will tour nationally, travelling to the San Diego Museum of Art and the Mississippi Museum of Art after its debut at the Telfair.
“‘Spanish Sojourns’ will offer the rare opportunity to see Robert Henri’s work in a rich cultural context, providing insight into this gifted American artist’s perspective on Spanish culture,” said Lisa Grove, director and CEO of Telfair Museums. “Henri brought the people and places he encountered to life on his canvases, using a sensory approach to document the details of his experiences in Spain.”
“Spanish Sojourns” was inspired by one of the most beloved paintings in the Telfair’s collection, “La Madrileñita” (1910), originally purchased directly from the artist by Gari Melchers in 1919. The exhibition will showcase more than 40 major paintings borrowed from significant museums and private collections around the country. The exhibit will be accompanied by a wide variety of programming, from scholarly lectures and flamenco workshops to docent-led tours and a Spanish-themed Free Family Day.
“Spanish Sojourns: Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain” is organized by Telfair Museums, Savannah, Georgia. This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, Alice and Bob Jepson, the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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