Robert Henri was an American painter and leader of the Ashcan School of art. He was born Robert Henry Cozad on June 24, 1865 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was the second of five children of John Jackson Cozad, a businessman, and Maria Theresa Cozad.
Henri began his art studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia and later studied at the Académie Julian in Paris. He returned to the United States in 1894 and settled in New York City, where he became a prominent figure in the American art scene.
In 1896, Henri founded the New York School of Art, where he taught many prominent artists, including George Bellows, Edward Hopper, and Rockwell Kent. He was known for his bold, expressive brushwork and his commitment to realism in his paintings, which often depicted everyday scenes from the streets of New York.
Henri was also an advocate for social justice and used his art to address issues of poverty and injustice. In 1907, he organized an exhibit of works by artists who were critical of the social conditions in New York, which came to be known as the "The Eight" and later the Ashcan School.
Henri died on July 12, 1929 in New Orleans, Louisiana at the age of 64. His work continues to be exhibited and celebrated as an important part of American art history.