Spanish Girl of Madrid (Una Chula) (Primary Title)

Robert Henri, American, 1865 - 1929 (Artist)

oil on canvas
United States
Unframed: 60 × 40 in. (152.4 × 101.6 cm)
Framed: 67 1/4 × 48 1/2 in. (170.82 × 123.19 cm)

A dynamic painter, teacher, and art theorist, Henri was one of the pivotal figures in American art at the beginning of the 20th century. Leader of the so-called Ashcan school, he pushed against the prevailing trends of academicism and impressionism in favor of the slice-of-life realism associated with earlier French painters such as Gustave Courbet and Edouard Manet. With direct, quick strokes and a dark palette, he strove to make paintings that “express the undercurrent, the real life” of modern existence, which included gritty urban scenes and images of common, everyday people.

Bold, free brushstrokes energize this striking life-size portrait, painted by Henri during an extended visit to Spain. He positioned his attractive subject in a confrontational stance, hands on hips, and meeting the viewer’s eyes with a direct, playful gaze. An entry in Henri’s journal reveals that this model was a local dressmaker, which may account for a perceptible aura of pride from one whose beautifultraditional costume is likely of her own making.

on verso of canvas, "E186"; on back of stretcher, "Una Chula".
J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art
2013-2015 "Spanish Sojourns: Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain", Telfair Museum of Art, Jepson Center for the Arts, Savannah, October 18, 2013 - March 9, 2014; San Diego Museum of Art, April 1 - September 9, 2014; Mississippi Museum of Art, September 26, 2-14 - January 4, 2015.

1995-1996 "America Around 1900: Impressionism, Realism, and Modern Life", VMFA, June 14 - September 17, 1995; Museum of Art, Ft. lauderdale, October 27, 1995 - January 14, 1996.

1994 "Falling in Love Again", VMFA, July 1 - September 25, 1994.

1984-1985 "Robert Henri: Painter", Delaware Art Museum, May 4 - June 24, 1984; Pennsylvania State University Museum of Art, July 10 - September 9, 1984; Cincinnati Art Museum, October 5 - December 2, 1984; Phoenix Art Museum, January 6 - February 17, 1985; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC April 19 - June 9, 1985

1982 "Long Island Collections: A Century of Art: 1880-1980", Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn, NY, April - July 1982.

1976 Chapellier Galleries, Inc., New York

1965 Chapellier Galleries, Inc., New York
O’Leary, Elizabeth L., Sylvia Yount, Susan Jensen Rawles, and David Park Curry. American Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Charlottesville: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts with the University of Virginia Press, 2010. (No. 111, p. 327-331).

David Park Curry, “What’s in a Frame,” in Eli Wilner, ed., The Gilded Edge in America (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2000) p. 155.
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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