Sign Posts

"There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom. If one could but recall his vision by some sort of sign. It was in this hope that the arts were invented. Sign-posts on the way to what may be. Sign-posts toward greater knowledge." – Robert Henri, 1865-1929

Artists in the Woods by Robert Henri.
Artists in the Woods by Robert Henri.

As we drove across Nebraska on Interstate 80, we were surprised to see a sign at exit 222 announcing the Robert Henri Museum. The famous artist and teacher that we knew as having studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the École des Beaux Arts in France spent a large part of his childhood in Cozad, Nebraska. The town itself was founded by Henri's father, John Jackson Cozad.

Generations have found inspiration in Henri's teachings. We refer to his book, The Art Spirit, often. Henri taught oil painting to Edward Hopper, Rockwell Kent and Joseph Stella at the New York School of Art and the Art Students League and was named one of the top three living American artists by the Art Council of New York. He was a leading figure in the AshCan school.

But we had never known the back story of Henri –  his unlikely childhood. Robert Henri was born Robert Henry Cozad, near Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of a riverboat gambler. In 1873, when Robert was eight years old, the family moved to Nebraska. Nine year later, Robert's father fatally shot a rancher in a dispute over pasturing cattle on his land. As the townspeople began to turn against him, he gathered up his family and fled to Denver, Colorado. Other members of the family changed their names to avoid identification and Robert Henry Cozad became Robert Henri, (pronounced Hen-rye). The family later moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey and Henri began his formal education in painting. His father was eventually cleared of wrongdoing.

We know him best for his strong words emphasizing originality and depicting life truthfully in art. Ironically, the small town of his childhood (population just under 4,000) now embraces the Cozad family with a museum dedicated to Henri's work and a visiting artist program.

Join us on The Artist's Road for more interesting and informative articles.

 –John and Ann


Related Posts:


The Artist's Life Blog
John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

About John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

John Hulsey and his wife, Ann Trusty created the website, The Artist's Road - Painting the World's Beautiful Places.  The Artist's Road inspires with practical art tips and painting techniques for the traveling artist, video painting tutorials and demonstrations, workshop resources, artist profiles and interviews and remarkable painting locations.  The Artist's Road is an artist community for oil, watercolor and pastel artists.  Articles cover intriguing art travel experiences artists have had while painting the world's beautiful places. "I believe I must speak through my art, for the preservation of Nature and the natural landscape from which I take my inspiration and living." John Hulsey is an accomplished artist, author and teacher who has been working professionally for over thirty years. In addition to producing new work for exhibition and teaching workshops, Mr. Hulsey continues to write educational articles about painting for national art magazines, including Watercolor magazine and American Artist Magazine. He has been selected as a "Master Painter of the United States" by International Artist Magazine where his work was previously chosen to be included in the top ten of their international landscape painting competition. He was awarded residencies at Yosemite, Glacier and Rocky Mountain National Parks. "I strive in my art to celebrate the mysteries of Nature - the fleeting light on the landscape, the unimaginable diversity of creatures, the beauty of each leaf and flower." Ann Trusty  is an accomplished third generation artist whose work embodies the natural world and is created through direct observation and translation of her subjects into her paintings. She has found inspiration in the dancing light across the water of the Hudson River (where she had a studio for ten years), as well as the big sky and waving tall grasses of the open plains of the Midwest (her current home). Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States, France and Turkey in both museum and gallery exhibitions, and has been reviewed favorably by the New York Times.