William Glackens (American, 1870-1938)
A Cape Cod Shore, 1908
Signed "W. Glackens" l.l., identified and dated on an unattributed label,
on a label from Kraushaar Galleries, New York, and on exhibition labels from the City Art Museum of Saint Louis and the National Collection of Fine Arts/Smithsonian Institution (see below), all affixed to mat board stapled to the frame backing.
Oil on canvas, 25 1/4 x 30 1/4 in. (64.0 x 76.5 cm), framed.
Condition: Lined, retouch, signature possibly reinforced, craquelure.
Provenance: Descended within a Massachusetts collecting family.
Exhibitions: William Glackens in Retrospect, City Art Museum of Saint Louis, November 18-December 31, 1966; National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, February 1-April 2, 1967; Whitney Museum of American Art, April 25-June 11, 1967, Cat. no. 29 (b&w illus.)
N.B. William Glackens studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and later moved to New York City, where, with his friend and colleague Robert Henri, he co-founded what came to be called the Ashcan School. This group of artists, also known as The Eight, defied the art establishment's practice of juried exhibitions and organized their own showings of works that explored the nitty-gritty of city life. Like Robert Henri and John Sloan, Glackens also worked as an illustrator for newspapers and magazines in Philadelphia and New York City, an experience that served to sharpen his eye for the details of daily life. Glackens participated in the first exhibition of The Eight at Macbeth Gallery in 1908.
Glackens drew his favorite subject matter from daily life, but he tended to avoid the grittier city subjects of his Ashcan School colleagues. He preferred more middle class subject matter featuring people enjoying parks, beaches, theater, and shopping. He also painted seaside resorts of Cape Cod and Long Island, particularly Bellport where he spent summers with his family. While his earlier works of the 1890s had displayed a somber palette, his colors brightened under the influence of Impressionism, earning him the nickname "The American Renoir."
Glackens had an impact on the art scene in the United States that went beyond his own paintings. He was a childhood friend of Albert C. Barnes, and in 1912 the philanthropist sent Glackens on a buying trip to Europe where he purchased many of the Impressionist and post-Impressionist works that became the nucleus of the Barnes Collection. Glackens was also a founder of the American Association of Painters and Sculptors, organizers of the Armory Show in 1913, and served on the American art selection committee for that landmark exhibition. Glackens was married to Edith Dimock, a student of William Merritt Chase and an exhibitor in the Armory Show.
Wax lined, new stretcher. Retouch primarily to the sky and water, the major areas being a 1/2 area surrounding the bending figure in center, a T-shaped area in the center measuring about 2 inches high and 1-1/2 inch across, and a v-shaped line in the c.l. measuring about 1-1/2 inches. Retouch also to the floor of the porch of the house on the left. Many small dots to the sky. Craquelure is noticeable but stable.
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