Robert Henri’s energetic but stark image of New York in the snow deviates from impressionist urban snow scenes of the period in several ways: it represents a common side street rather than a major avenue; there is nothing narrative, anecdotal, or prettified about the image; the straightforward, one-point perspective composition is devoid of trivial details; the exceptionally daring, textured brushwork resembles a preparatory study rather than a finished oil painting; and the somber palette creates a dark, oppressive atmosphere. In his Record Book, Henri described _Snow in New York_ as, “N.Y. down E. on 55th St. from 6 Ave. Brown houses at 5 Ave. storm effect. snow. wagon to right.”

Having returned to New York City in 1900 following an extended stay in Paris, Henri eventually established a studio and living quarters in the Sherwood Building on the corner of West 57th Street and Sixth Avenue. In March 1902 the dealer William Macbeth encouraged him to paint New York cityscapes for inclusion in a solo exhibition scheduled for the following month. Henri hoped to produce a painting for the occasion that would achieve a degree of critical acclaim comparable to that of _La Neige_ (1899, Louvre, Paris), a snowy view of the rue de Sèvres in Paris that had been purchased for the Musée du Luxembourg in 1899. While a buyer was found for _Snow in New York_, only one other work sold, prompting Henri to turn his attention primarily to portraiture.


  • Title: Snow in New York
  • Creator: Robert Henri
  • Date Created: 1902
  • Physical Dimensions: overall: 81.3 x 65.5 cm (32 x 25 13/16 in.) framed: 105.4 x 89.2 x 10.1 cm (41 1/2 x 35 1/8 x 4 in.)
  • Provenance: Sold 1902 to A.J. Crawford.[1] (Sale, James P. Silo, New York, 20-21 February 1925, no. 268); Chester Dale [1883-1962], New York; gift 1954 to NGA. [1] The painting was possibly sold out of the 1902 exibition of Henri's work at Macbeth Gallery in New York. The sale date and reference to Crawford are in the artist's journal, as follows: "Sold to A.J. (?) Crawford (Annex Little Shop) 253 5th Ave.1902. In Mr. Crawford's house in London England 1906." The transcription of the journal entry was provided by Chapellier Galleries, New York, in a letter of 28 June 1968 to NGA curator E. John Bullard III; in NGA curatorial files.
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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