The Ashcan School of Art was formed by a revolutionary group of young American artists who opposed academic art with their individualism and defiant modern art. The Ashcan movement almost shocked the audience with its motto “art for life’s sake”. Robert Henri began the Ashcan movement which gradually became popular and gained immense support.
The supporters of Ashcan School of Art were also known as New York Realists and critics termed them as “revolutionary black gang” and the “apostles of ugliness”.
Interesting Facts about the Ashcan School of Art
The Ashcan School of Art started in the year 1908 in New York City. The Ashcan School of Art was revolutionary not in terms of style but because the painters made realistic paintings. The beauty was found in the truth but the presentation included unpleasant scenes including those from the streets, alleys, bars and working classes. The primary members of the movement were Robert Henri, Arthur B. Davies, Maurice Prendergast, Ernest Lawson, William Glackens, Everett Shinn, John Sloan and George Luks. Another prominent figure, George Bellows, joined the movement later. Though all these painters had their own individual style and were opposed to each other yet the common motive was that all of them disliked academic art. These artists held the Armory Show in 1913, which shocked the American audience as it exposed modern European Art.
Style of the Painters
The basic style of these painters was generally quick brushstrokes which often revealed thick layers of dark muted colors. Most of their paintings captured spontaneous moments of everyday life and dealings. As a result their paintings were titled as The Wrestlers, The Shoppers, Sixth Avenue and Hairdresser’s Widow. Some critics even labeled their art as pejorative which became a common term. The members of The Ashcan School of Art remained attached with the Macbeth Gallery throughout their lives and most of their works were displayed here.