The Spanish Gypsy

Artist: Robert Henri (American, Cincinnati, Ohio 1865–1929 New York)

Date: 1912

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 40 3/4 x 33 in. (103.5 x 83.8 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund, 1914

Accession Number: 14.80


Henri’s model for this painting belonged to a band of Gypsies living on the outskirts of Madrid, where Henri worked during the summer of 1912. He convinced the woman to come to his studio, which, he recalled, “she entered with austere defiance. I asked her to sit on the model’s chair. She got up and sat there in the gesture which is that of the picture. She seems as solid and mysterious as the sphinx.” Henri showed the canvas widely, including at the historic Armory Show, held in New York in 1913. The following year, it became the first work of the Ashcan School to be purchased by the Metropolitan Museum.