The Eight and American Modernisms
Distributed for Terra Foundation for American Art
Frustrated by the art world’s elitism and the snobbish exclusivity of the academy’s juries, eight American painters united in 1908 to upend the establish norms and stage their own exhibition of modernist art. Led by the charismatic Robert Henri, they came to be known as "The Eight," and their two-week show at New York’s Macbeth Galleries drew a multitude of visitors, who crowded into the galleries to critique the much-publicized work of these "revolutionary" artists. Their paintings of urban scenes marked a significant departure from the prevailing style—which emphasized physical and natural beauty—and met with critical success.
The established chronicle maintains that the Eight were rendered dysfunctional and artistically irrelevant after European modernism arrived in the United States at the 1913 Armory Show. The Eight and American Modernisms revises this account and reevaluates these respected artists’ careers, including their late works. Accompanying a traveling exhibition, this lushly illustrated volume challenges the accepted wisdom about the evolution of the modernist style.
In addition to Henri, "The Eight" included William Glackens, George Luks, Everett Shinn, John French Sloan, Arthur B. Davies, Ernest Lawson, and Maurice Prendergast.