In 1872, railroad workers in Nebraska noticed a man in a swallowtail suit with a gold-topped cane standing along a section of Union Pacific track.
It was odd to see a well dressed man so far from a station, a man who looked like a gambler or a salesman.
|John J. Cozad (Richard H. Lee) by Robert Henri|
His name was John J. Cozad. He declared that he was going to establish a town on the 100th meridian. At great expense and effort, he did so, and there he raised his family.
But a dispute with a rancher named Alfred Pearson led to a gunfight. Cozad shot Pearson fatally. Although Cozad was cleared of the charges, Pearson's friends were likely to exact revenge.
So John Cozad was forced to leave the very town he founded. He and his sons changed their names.
One son, Robert Henry Cozad, made up the name Robert Henri. So began an artistic journey that took him to Denver, New York, and Philadelphia, studying under Thomas Anshutz, and then in Paris under William-Adolphe Bouguereau.
|Robert Henri, Portrait of Frank L. Southern |
(label says "Southrn"), 1904
|Robert Henri, Self-Portraits with Beards|
His life of adventure translated to his teachings on art. He said in his inspirational book The Art Spirit "Do whatever you do intensely. The artist is the man who leaves the crowd and goes pioneering.”
The Robert Henri Museum