The Ashcan School and The Eight: “Creating a National Art”


George Benjamin Luks, Bleecker and Carmine Streets, New York, ca. 1905.

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Donald B. Abert and Mrs. Barbara Abert Tooman, M1976.14. Photo by John R. Glembin


  • September 23, 2022–February 19, 2023

  • Bradley Family Gallery

  • 45–60 min

  • Free for Members

  • Included with admission

Recognized as the first American modern art movement, the Ashcan School and The Eight captured everyday life at the beginning of the 20th century, a moment of increasing industrialization and great cultural change. Rejecting what traditional art institutions considered appropriate, these artists embraced a loose painterly style to portray factories and immigrants, congested urban streets and bawdy entertainments. Some praised the artists as “creating a national art” while others dismissed them as painters of rubbish or “ashcans.”

The Ashcan School and The Eight: “Creating a National Art” re-examines these artists and the social issues they depicted, drawing parallels to those still relevant today. The Milwaukee Art Museum has one of the largest collections of works by the Ashcan School and The Eight in the United States, and the exhibition is drawn from this significant collection. Prints, drawings, paintings, and pastels by artists including Robert Henri, George Bellows, and John Sloan are featured, revealing the full range of the group’s subjects and artistic practices.

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Supporting Sponsors

  • Genie and David Meissner and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Donald and Barbara Abert Fund

  • Milwaukee Art Museum’s American Arts Society in honor of George A. Evans, Jr.

  • Wyeth Foundation for American Art
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Logo

Contributing Sponsors

  • Kay and Ken Hamel in memory of Kevin Fahey

  • Terra Foundation for American Art

The Milwaukee Art Museum extends its sincere thanks to the 2022 Visionaries:

  • Donna and Donald Baumgartner

  • Murph Burke

  • Joel and Caran Quadracci

  • Sue and Bud Selig

  • Jeff and Gail Yabuki and the Yabuki Family Foundation