Dutch Girl in White, 1907. Robert Henri. Oil on canvas. Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund, 1950.
The de facto leader of the Ashcan group, Robert Henri studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under Thomas Hovenden and Thomas Anshutz before seeking further training in Europe. Returning to Philadelphia in 1891, he embarked on an influential teaching career. While his crusading "art spirit" championed freedom and experimentation in his students, Henri’s own work, particularly his portraiture, was marked by a more academic formalism. This spirited depiction of a young Dutch girl reveals the influence of one of Henri’s artistic heroes, the seventeenth-century Old Master Frans Hals.