August 27, 2014, Philadelphia PA— From November 8, 2014 to February 2, 2015, the Barnes Foundation presents William Glackens—the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s work since 1966. The exhibition spans Glackens’s career from the 1890s through the 1930s, with more than 80 major paintings and works on paper from some of America's finest private and public collections. At least one important work, Vaudeville Team (c. 1908–1909), London Family Collection, has not been publicly exhibited before and several others have rarely, if ever, been shown. This long-overdue survey introduces Glackens to a new generation of viewers and invites further scholarship on a pivotal figure in the history of American art.
“We are thrilled to welcome this important exhibition to the Barnes Foundation,” said Margaret (Peg) Zminda, acting director of the Barnes Foundation. “It is well known that William Glackens helped ignite Albert Barnes’s passion for post-impressionist and modern art. Dr. Barnes was also an avid supporter of Glackens’s career and the two were friends for many years. We are especially pleased to have loaned rarely-seen Glackens works from Dr. Barnes’s private collection to this exhibition. And of course the Barnes Collection itself includes many seminal works that are a perfect complement to this exhibition.”
Curated by writer and art historian Avis Berman and co-organized by the Barnes Foundation, the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, N.Y., and the Nova Southeastern University Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., William Glackens spans the artist’s career and focuses on his most distinctive and adventurous works in all genres, while exploring his wide range of motifs. The exhibition includes touchstones of American art such as Girl with Apple (1909–1910), Family Group (1910–1911), and The Green Car (1910) alongside other key pieces from each decade of his career, such as La Villette (c.1895), Cape Cod Pier (1908), Artist’s Daughter in Chinese Costume (1918), Still-Life with Three Glasses (mid-1920s), and The Soda Fountain (1935). These important paintings reveal Glackens’s ability to capture people and their surroundings with spontaneity and spirit, as well as his talents as a draftsman, portraitist, and still-life painter. Fascinated by the urban spectacle of New York City, Glackens also loved to travel, painting in France and Spain and along the eastern seaboard of North America, where the beaches of New England and New York were among his favorite subjects.
A Philadelphia native, Glackens (1870–1938) studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. There, and as an artist for the Philadelphia Press, he became friends with Robert Henri, George Luks, Everett Shinn, and John Sloan, the core of the group that later formed “The Eight” in reaction to the National Academy of Design’s hidebound exhibition policies. The group exhibited together only once, in 1908, creating the opening wedge in the struggle to democratize the process by which artists could show and sell their work.
The exhibition at the Barnes Foundation reunites under one roof for the first time since 1908 six of the seven works that Glackens exhibited in The Eight’s show. One of the works, Race Track (1908–1909), is on view in the Barnes’s collection gallery (Room 12); the location of the seventh work is unknown. Furthermore, three works from the 1908 exhibition—At Mouquin’s (1905) from the Art Institute of Chicago, The Shoppers (1907-08) from the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Va., and In the Buen Retiro (1906), from the Ted Slavin Collection—are among a group of seven significant works not shown at the other venues of William Glackens. The remaining works are: Chateau Thierry and its study (1906), from the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, Calif.; Shop Girls (1900), from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and Bathers at Bellport (1912), from the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
“These works are particularly important additions to the exhibition,” said Ms. Berman. “At Mouquin's and The Shoppers show Glackens's commitment to depicting modern society with both psychological as well as visual realism. He excels at both the brilliant picturing of surfaces and expressing the ambiguous roles of women in a fast-changing society. These paintings were ‘contemporary with a vengeance,’ as one critic said in 1908.”
As a member of the selection committee of the 1910 Exhibition of Independent Artists, the first large-scale invitational show of progressive artists, and as chairman of the American section of the epochal Armory Show, which introduced European vanguard art to this country in 1913, Glackens advocated for landmark exhibitions of the American and European avant-garde..
Glackens was a boyhood friend of Albert C. Barnes (1872–1951), the Philadelphia-born pharmaceutical entrepreneur, self-made millionaire, art collector, and creator of the Barnes Foundation. They knew each other from Philadelphia’s prestigious Central High School, and when they renewed their friendship in 1911, Glackens guided Barnes toward an appreciation of modern French painting. In early 1912, Barnes wrote to Glackens: “Dear Butts, I want to buy some good modern paintings. Can I see you on Tuesday next in New York to talk about it?” The following month, with $20,000 from Barnes in his pocket, the artist traveled to Paris on a buying trip and returned with works by Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Maurice Denis, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. These purchases became the cornerstone of Barnes’s fabled collection. The two men remained close, and Barnes became his loyal and most important patron. Barnes found Glackens indispensable, stating in 1915, “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.”
At the Barnes Foundation, the exhibition was coordinated by Judith F. Dolkart, the Mary Stripp & R. Crosby Kemper Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass., and former deputy director of art and archival collections and Gund Family Chief Curator at the Barnes.
William Glackens is sponsored by
with generous funding from the Sansom Foundation and the William Penn Foundation.
The Barnes Foundation thanks a growing list of friends who are supporting the exhibition,
including Leigh and John Middleton, Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund,
James J. and Frances M. Maguire, an Anonymous donor, Mr. and Mrs. William C. Buck,
Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Spain, Regina and Charles Cheever,
Harriet and Bernie Gross, Pheasant Hill Foundation, Adele and Harold Schaeffer,
Constance Smukler, The Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Foundation, and The Friends of Glackens.
William Glackens is organized and presented by Nova Southeastern University’s
Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale; the Parrish Art Museum; and the Barnes Foundation;
with pan-institutional support from the Sansom Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation,
the National Endowment for the Arts, Vontobel Swiss Wealth Advisors and Christie’s.
The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts
and the Humanities.
A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue, published by Skira Rizzoli in association with the Barnes Foundation, was edited by Ms. Berman, who contributed several essays to the publication. The other essays are by Elizabeth Thompson Colleary, Heather Campbell Coyle, Judith F. Dolkart, Alicia G. Longwell, Martha Lucy, Patricia Mears, Carol Troyen, and Emily C. Wood. Issues previously unexamined in the literature about Glackens and The Eight are considered throughout the text, including: the artist’s sophisticated absorption of contemporaneous French painting, his sense of social observation, his depiction of women, his interest in costume and fashion, his portrayals of women and urban life, and his role as a tastemaker. The publication includes the first complete exhibition history for the artist, a critical contribution to Glackens scholarship.
About the Barnes Foundation
The Barnes Foundation was established by Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to "promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture." The Barnes has one of the finest collections of post-impressionist and early modern paintings, with extensive holdings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine, and Giorgio de Chirico; American masters Charles Demuth, William Glackens, Horace Pippin, and Maurice Prendergast; old master paintings; African sculpture; Native American ceramics, jewelry and textiles; American paintings and decorative arts; and antiquities from the Mediterranean and Asia.
The Barnes Foundation's Art and Aesthetics programs engage diverse audiences. These programs, on-site, online, and in Philadelphia communities, advance the mission through progressive interdisciplinary teaching and learning.
In May 2012, the Barnes Foundation opened a new facility on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. The Philadelphia campus is home to the Foundation’s world-famous art collection and changing exhibitions in its 5,000-square-foot Roberts Gallery. Currently on view through September 22, 2014 is The World Is an Apple: The Still Lifes of Paul Cézanne.
The Barnes Arboretum in Merion contains more than 2,000 varieties of trees and woody plants, including 31 state champion trees. Founded in the 1880s by Joseph Lapsley Wilson and expanded under the direction of Laura Barnes, the collection includes a fern-leaf beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Laciniata'), a dove tree (Davidia involucrata), a monkey-puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana), and a redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). Other important living collections include lilacs, peonies, Stewartias, and magnolias. Inaugurated in 1940 by Mrs. Barnes, the Arboretum School offers a comprehensive three-year certificate course in botanical science, horticultural practice, garden aesthetics, and design. The Foundation’s archives are also located at the Merion campus. This Summer the Barnes Arboretum is open to the public Friday-Sunday 10 am to 4 pm. Tickets are $5 at the door. No advance reservations required.
For more information
Jan Rothschild, senior vice president for communications
Online press office: http://press.barnesfoundation.org