Eight, the, group of American artists in New York City, formed in 1908 to exhibit paintings. They were men of widely different tendencies, held together mainly by their common opposition to academism. They were stigmatized as the "ashcan" school because they abandoned decorous subject matter and portrayed the more common aspects of American life. The group comprised Arthur B. Davies, a romanticist; Maurice Prendergast, Ernest Lawson, and William Glackens, impressionists; Everett Shinn, an illustrator; Robert Henri, a singularly honest virtuoso; and John Sloan and George Luks, at that time followers of Henri. These men, and above all Davies, were responsible for the Armory Show of 1913, which introduced modern European art to a shocked, recalcitrant, but curious America. In 1917, together with George Bellows and other adherents, they organized the Society of Independent Artists. Modern American painting owes much to their efforts and their example.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.