Spanish Sojourns: Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain

This October, the Telfair will be presenting a major exhibition over five years in the making: Spanish Sojourns. This ground breaking 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. Henri traveled to Spain seven times between 1900 and 1926, more than any other foreign destination, and produced a substantial body of work inspired by these trips. However, until now his Spanish paintings have never received the scholarly attention they deserve.

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 consists of over 40 major paintings borrowed from important museum and private collections around the country. Many of Henri’s Spanish works were acquired by museums during his lifetime, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Spanish Gypsy (1912), the first painting by an Ashcan School artist to join the collection of that venerable institution. The paintings in the show, nearly all portraits, present a dazzling cross-section of Spanish society as experienced by Henri: famous dancers and dashing bullfighters intermingled with spirited gypsies, blind street singers, and weathered peasant men. Gathered together for the first time, these paintings reveal Henri’s ongoing commitment to capturing the essence of Spanish tradition and culture through insightful portrayals of unique individuals.

This nationally-touring exhibition will travel to the San Diego Museum of Art and the Mississippi Museum of Art after its time at the Telfair, and has been awarded major grants from the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Horowitz Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Spanish Sojourns will be accompanied by a fully illustrated hardcover catalogue, funded in part by the Telfair Academy Guild, which presents new scholarship on Henri and places his work in the context of the other American artists, architects, and writers who were inspired by Spain in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The exhibition will also be accompanied by a wide variety of engaging programming, from scholarly lectures and docent-led tours to a family day and flamenco workshops.

Spanish Sojourns is organized by Telfair Museums.

Sponsored by the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foun- dation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.