The Ashcan School, sometimes known as the Ashcan School of American Realism, was an unstructured movement originating in the United States during the early 20th century. Ashcan School painters are best known for their paintings of life in the poorest neighborhoods of New York. Ashcan School members were artists with a social conscience and their Ashcan School paintings brought into the mainstream those aspects of everyday life, as experienced by the poor.
Ashcan School artworks are reminiscent of earlier French artists, Jean Francois Millet and Gustav Courbet, who also sought to draw public attention to the hardship of the poor communities.
The Ashcan School art movement was in direct contrast to the dominant American Impressionist Movement and the sophisticated paintings of major American artists of the day such as John Singer Sargent, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Wilmer Dewing and Abbott Thayer.
The Ashcan School lasted for about a ten years from 1910 to the early 1920’s. Initially, the subject matter was regarded as too gritty for American audiences and galleries; art critics and museum curators were reluctant to show art they thought too unsettling for mainstream audiences. However, by the 1920’s with the emergence of Cubism, Fauvist and Expressionist paintings, the Ashcan School was considered outdated and fell from favor.
The founder of the Ashcan School is generally recognized as being Robert Henri, a disenchanted American Impressionist who wanted to adopt a more realist, and even brutal approach, to show the suffering of the poor. Two of Henri’s Ashcan school paintings, Snow in New York 1902 and The Laundress 1916 are available from our extensive art reproductions on canvas online shopping catalogue of famous artists.
Robert Henri taught for some years at the Art Students League in New York City and one of his most notable students was Edward Hopper. Hopper himself always maintained that his oil paintings of cityscapes were unlike those of the members of the Ashcan School. However Edward Hopper has become associated with the Ashcan artists by virtue of his oil paintings, Sunday Morning 1926 and Office in a Small City 1953, both of which portray the loneliness and isolation of city life. Replica paintings are for sale in many size options from our catalogue of Edward Hopper oil reproductions.
Other Ashcan School artists include William Glackens, John Sloan, Arthur B. Davies, Everett Shin, Ernest Lawson and Maurice Prendergast. Our George Bellows art reproductions on canvas of Stag at Sharkey’s 1909 is one of our most popular paintings.
Discover our stunning oil painting reproductions by artists from the Ashcan School of Art.