ARTMKT RECAP – JANET LEHR
"Glackens combines greatness as an artist with a big man’s mind"
Alfred C. Barnes
WILLIAM GLACKENS: PARRISH ART MUSEUM July 20 – October 13, 2014. The Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York was chosen in part because Glackens painted in nearby Bellport, Long Island.
For the first decade of his artistic life, Glackens was engaged by the art of James McNeill Whis¬tler, the expatriate American painter and printmaker whose aesthetic credo and flamboyant example shaped the thinking of several generations of artists and crit¬ics on both sides of the Atlantic.
William Glackens’ five decade career, is a neglected aspect of early American modernism. More closely identified with American Modernism’s early years are John Marin, Arthur B Carles, Arthur Dove, Morgan Russell, Stanton McDonald Wright and Thomas Hart Benton. What viewers see in this exhibition, is that Glackens was an artist who continually experimented with color, form, technique, and subject matter; looking back to Manet and Whistler at first, then looking around him at Robert Henri and the other members of his circle, and inspiring in turn the admiration of an abstract expressionist like Hans Hoffman.
The exhibition began in the Nova Southeastern University’s Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, February 23-June 1, 2014, home of the largest repository of works by William Glackens. The nearly eighty works, including paintings and drawings on display establish the artist as far more experimental, subtle, and yes, modern, than he has heretofore been credited with being before. The show is drawn from a great many institutions and private collections across the country; several of the works will be on view for the first time in many decades. The exhibition is highly selective, concentrating on the most pivotal, adventurous, accomplished, and distinctive works, including the magisterial At Mouquin’s(1905)andThe Soda Fountain (1935). Several works in the collection of the Barnes Foundation are included in the exhibition. A joyous and pure painter, Glackens also served as an advocate for the development of avant-garde art in America through his participation in the landmark exhibitions of The Eight (1908), the Armory Show (1913), and the Society of Independent Artists (1917).
It will aptly move from the Parrish Museum to the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia for exhibition November 8, 2014 – February 2, 2015. Albert C. Barnes and William Glackens attended Philadelphia’s prestigious Central High School together. When they renewed their friendship in 1911, Glackens encouraged Barnes’s appreciation of modern French painting. Glackens went to Paris in 1912 on a buying trip, sending back works by Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and others. The men remained close, and Barnes became his most important patron and acknowledged his friend’s importance to his collecting endeavors: "The most valuable single educational factor to me has been my frequent association with a life-long friend who combines greatness as an artist with a big man’s mind."
The exhibition is impeccably curated by Avis Berman, independent writer and art historian.