New Milwaukee Art Museum Highlights Work of Eight Artists Who Met in Philadelphia

Image via The Wall Street Journal.
Installation view of ‘The Ashcan School and The Eight: “Creating a National Art”’ at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

A new show at the Milwaukee Art Museum highlights the works of the early 20th-century artists known as “The Eight”, writes Lance Esplund for The Wall Street Journal.

The eight artists who met while studying at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts or working as illustrators and cartoonists at Philadelphia newspapers and magazines portrayed the gritty reality of urban America and are considered to be the country’s first modern artists.

They organized their first major exhibition in 1908 at a New York gallery. “Eight American Painters” was mounted in defiance of the conservative jury system and aesthetic outlook of American art academies. Maurice Prendergast, Arthur Bowen Davies, George Luks, William Glackens, John Sloan, Ernest Lawson, Everett Shinn, and Robert Henri portrayed bleak and unvarnished depictions of everyday urban subjects that exposed the nation’s socioeconomic disparities.

The exhibition turned out to be an unexpected sensation. It traveled across the United States and was seen by thousands of art aficionados.

The new “The Ashcan School and The Eight: ‘Creating a National Art’” exhibition is made up from around 40 paintings and close to 80 prints, drawings, and pastels created by The Eight and associated artists.

Read more about The Eight in The Wall Street Journal.

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