Gray Day, Maine


Size: 8 x 10 inches (20.3 x 25.4 cm)
Medium: Oil on panel
Signed lower left: Robert Henri
Why We Love It

Henri painted this landscape during his first trip to Monhegan with Edward Redfield in July of 1903.  He was so excited by the beauty of the sea that he worked feverishly and completed numerous sketches. This work perfectly demonstrates Henri’s rapid painting style, in which he attempts to capture the spirit of a place. He would go onto to refine this method of painting and make it the cornerstone of his artistic practice. That we see it taking shape here in 1903 makes this seascape as important as it is beautiful.

The Value

Even though Henri is best known today for his compelling portraits, in 1903, when this painting was executed, landscape was his preferred subject matter. His paintings of Maine, particularly these early examples, represent an important moment in Henri’s artistic development, as we can see how capturing the “spirit” of a place is increasing in importance to him. He would go on to develop this idea into a whole artistic method, and these early seascapes are fascinating exercises in an idea taking form.