Robert Henri’s Salome (No. 2), created in 1909, is a significant artwork from the American Realism movement. The painting was inspired by Richard Strauss’s Salome, which caused scandal with its provocative performance. Henri’s portrayal of the seductress standing confidently, holding John the Baptist’s head on a silver platter, exudes sexual arrogance and strong tonal contrasts.
Henri was known for his portraits and landscapes with impasto brushstrokes that became progressively more colorful after 1909. He was a crusader, charismatic teacher, and leader of the Ash Can School with a reputation solidified through his art advocacy.
Salome (No. 2) is displayed at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, FL where visitors can appreciate its boldness and significance to American Realism genre paintings today. Critic Hughes praised this work as carrying far more “oomph” than hundreds of virginal, genteel muses painted by American academics.
In summary, Robert Henri’s Salome (No. 2) created in 1909 belongs to American Realism genre paintings inspired by Richard Strauss’s Salome performance that stirred controversy due to its sexually provocative nature during that era. The seductive portrayal exhibits confident sexuality alongside strong tonal contrasts distinct from contemporaries during that time period like academic painters. Its significance cements Henri as one of Ash Can School leaders who strongly believed in advocating art movements from various artists’ perspectives; furthermore is an important artwork showcased at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art for visitors to enjoy today.