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Woman in Manteau

Robert Henri

American Art

Painted in Paris at a time when Robert Henri was determined to make his professional mark as a young artist, this work—in a dark, smoky palette deliberately recalling European Old Masters—features his favorite model, Berthe Terrier. Although he intentionally allied his art with revered tradition, Henri also added a contemporary mood by portraying Terrier with a bold, almost defiant expression.

X-radiographs reveal that Henri repainted this work extensively as he struggled to capture his model’s anatomy. At an earlier stage (see illustration), the placement of the shawl exposed much more of her shoulders and bust. Such focus on the nude reflects the artist’s early academic training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where Thomas Eakins’s Realist tradition was still strongly felt.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES 1898
DIMENSIONS 58 1/16 × 38 11/16 in. (147.5 × 98.3 cm) frame: 64 3/4 × 45 3/4 × 5 1/4 in. (164.5 × 116.2 × 13.3 cm)
SIGNATURE Signed lower left: "Robert Henri"
INSCRIPTIONS Inscribed verso, before relining, top right quadrant, in black paint: ning: "A/31/1"; top left quadrant: "No. 2"
CREDIT LINE Gift of the National Academy of Design
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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