A group of American painters who exhibited together in 1908, united by opposition to the conservative National Academy of Design and a determination to bring painting into direct touch with modern life. The eight members were: Arthur B. Davies, William J. Glackens, Robert Henri, Ernest Lawson, George Luks, Maurice Prendergast, Everett Shinn, and John Sloan. They banded together when the Academy rejected work by Glackens, Luks, and Sloan for its 1907 exhibition. Henri, who was the dominant personality of the group and a member of the Academy's jury, withdrew his own work in protest, and Davies was then asked to organize an independent exhibition at the Macbeth Gallery, New York. This took place in February 1908; it was the only exhibition in which The Eight showed together as a group, but it was subsequently circulated to nine other venues over a period of a year and gained a good deal of publicity for their work and ideals. The members of the group were not unified stylistically, but their predominant theme was contemporary urban life (several of them were part of the broader trend known as the Ashcan School). Their exhibition is regarded as an important landmark in American art, helping to lead the way to the Armory Show of 1913.
The Eight was also the name of a group of progressive Czech artists formed in Prague in 1907, and of a group of Hungarian painters, inspired by Post-Impressionism, founded in Budapest in 1909.