Ad Code: 3
from Auction House Records.
The Avenue (Fifth Avenue, New York)
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
|Biography from The Columbus Museum of Art, Georgia:|
|In many cases, American artists visited the Armory Show in New York in
1913, and returned to their studios to react to or against what they
saw. However, for Henry Ernest Schnakenberg it was much more life
altering. Prior to visiting this important exhibition of American and
European modernist art, he had been working as an insurance sales
representative for his father’s firm. After seeing the Armory Show, he
was inspired to go to art school. |
He enrolled at the Art Students League where he had the good fortune to
have both John Sloan and Kenneth Hayes Miller as teachers. His fellow
students at that time were Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Peggy Bacon, Alexander
Brook and Niles Spencer. (1) After serving in the army, he returned to
New York and began to paint independently, and in 1921, he had his
first show at the Whitney Studio Club along with Joseph Stella.
He taught at the Art Students League from 1923 to 1925. Schnakenberg’s
esteem and standing at the School were fully affirmed when he was
elected president in 1932, and he was to remain a life long member. He
was later awarded an honorary degree from the University of Vermont.
Throughout his career, Schamberg wrote critical essays and reviews for
art magazines, primarily The Arts. (2)
Not surprising, as a young painter, Schnakenberg tried many directions
with his art: landscapes, still lifes, portraits and genre paintings
all with superb attention to detail and depth of feeling for his
subject. His teachers at the Art Students League probably played the
most influential role in shaping his career with their emphasis on the
urban scene and realism with more or less gritty details related to
Everyday City life.
Early on, he caught the attention of Lloyd Goodrich, then director of
the Whitney Museum of American Art. Goodrich observed of
Schnakenberg's art, "Schnakenberg is a patient, steady builder rather
than a brilliant improviser. His pictures are the
result of careful thought and planning. Nothing is slurred over or left
vague; every detail is precise." (3)
During the 1920s, Schnakenberg traveled widely but spent some of most
summers in Manchester, Vermont, and usually winters in New York. He
was a founder of the Southern Vermont Artists Association, and later he
founded an art gallery in the local library for local artists to have
exhibition space when he moved to Newtown, Connecticut. He was an avid
collector of pre-Columbian and Oriental sculpture, and he acquired the
work of his contemporaries, such as Winslow Homer, Sloan, George Luks,
William Glackens and Theodore Stamos. (4)
Lloyd Goodrich, in his important text, American Art of Our Century
(1961), summed up Schnakenberg's career and devoted an entire paragraph
to him. He declared him to be an individualist from the first with a
goal to build images of reality that are "satisfying for both their
associations and forms," rather than attempt to express subjective
Schnakenberg won numerous awards and exhibited nationally. His work
may also be found at the Whitney Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan
Museum of Art, Wadsworth Atheneum, Brooklyn Museum, Pennsylvania
Academy of Fine Arts, Yale University Art Museum and the Art Institute
1. Much of this information is gleaned from gallery notes developed by
Kraushaar Gallery. We are indebted to Carole M. Pesner and Katherine
Degn for their assistance.
2. Lloyd Goodrich, “H.E. Schnakenberg,” The American Artists Series,
(New York: The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Macmillan Co.),
4, Kraushaar. Many of these artworks were donated later to museums.
5. Lloyd Goodrich and John I.H. Baur, American Art of Our Century (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1961), 79.
In addition, a contemporary observation by Charles C. Cunningham, then
director of the Wadsworth Atheneum, called Schnakenberg's greatest
strengths to be his detached vision and quiet individualism (Bulletin,
Wadsworth Atheneum, 1955).
|Biography from Blake Benton Fine Art, Artists S - Z:|
|Henry Ernest Schnakenberg, painter was born in New Brighton, New York,
on September 14th, 1892. He began his career as an insurance
salesman. In 1913, he viewed the Armory Show in New York and had
his first exposure to modernist art, a life-changing experience for
him. Inspired, he enrolled at the Art Students League where his
teachers were Kenneth Hayes Miller and John Sloan. During a time
when the prevailing trends were away from naturalism, Henry
Schnakenberg became one of the most accomplished "naturalistic
painters." He was described as an "artist of unusual cultivation,
familiar with the great art of the world." |
Although he was not
one to follow the winds of fashion in art he was equally "far removed
from academic conservatism." This independence as an artist and a
person helped preserve the integrity of his sincere personal vision.
One critic wrote that "His art is not the expression of subjective
emotions or a social philosophy, but the work of a man who looks upon
the external world primarily for its aesthetic content, its offering of
pleasurable places and objects and figures to contemplate and
paint. His aim is less to express his own emotions than to create
satisfying images of reality as he sees it."
Never one to
"settle in a grove" of a specific subject matter, Schnakenberg sought
out many aspects of the world that attracted him. His landscapes
revealed his genuine love of nature and as far as naturalistic painters
were concerned few came close to imparting the depth of feeling
displayed in his works. His paintings usually contained a great
amount of detail and "a concern with her [nature's] solid realities
rather than her evanescent appearances-qualities that link him with the
tradition before impressionism."
He was equally concerned with texture and detail that he created by
building up layers of paint to "build a completely satisfying
composition out of something no more grandiose than a weatherbeaten
fencepost covered with scarlet ivy." He also did satirical and social
realist views of urban life, often showing caricatures of urban
dwellers whose facelessness showed their alienation from society.
John Sloan, one of Schnakenberg's teachers, was a master at depicting
such scenes and no doubt helped to impart this interest in everyday
life subjects to his gifted student as well as to many others working
in this genre at the time.
He was a life member of the Art
Students' League and served as president of the league in 1932.
He was an instructor from 1923 to 1925. He was also a member of
the Society of American Painters, Sculptors and Gravers; Society of
Independent Artists; National Institute of Arts and Letters.
Schnakenberg won numerous awards during his life including an honorable
degree, D.F.A., University of Vermont. He also exhibited
nationally. He was a contributor of articles and criticisms to The Arts Magazines, and his work can be found in many important public collections.
Henry Ernest Schnakenberg passed away in 1970.
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