Glimmers of real life put to striking use
The American painter Robert Henri painted this moody, penumbral image in his New York studio in 1902, the day after a train he was on had stopped beside a coal processing plant at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. It is called “Coal Breaker,’’ and it’s on display at Bowdoin College Museum of Art. There was a major coal strike in Pennsylvania in 1902. It had begun two months before Henri stopped at Wilkes-Barre, and continued on for another three months.