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American Modernism
At the dawn of the twentieth century, American artists were still struggling to define their own artistic movement, unrelated to European standards. Led by Robert Henri, a student of the realist Thomas Eakins, a group of artists known as The Eight emerged in Philadelphia before moving to New York where they excelled as the aptly-named Ashcan School. This group—which also included George Bellows, George Luks, Everett Shinn, and John Sloan—focused on the crowded city they inhabited and the newly emerging issues of mass immigration and class struggles. The true arrival of American Modernism, however, is marked quite clearly by the 1913 Armory Show. Held in New York, this important exhibition introduced American artists and the public alike to the groundbreaking movements taking place in Europe, such as Cubism, Dada, and Fauvism. The event inspired American art galleries to follow the lead of gallerist, photographer, and artist Alfred Stieglitz and promote modern art. The Armory Show allowed artists to experiment with more radical techniques and theories throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Some of the most influential of this period were Milton Avery, Oscar Bluemner, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Edward Hopper, John Marin, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Andrew Wyeth.