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.”
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. Images courtesy: Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia.
William James Glackens (American, 1870–1938). Sledding in Central Park, 1912. Oil on canvas, 23 x 31 1/2 inches (58.4 x 31.5 cm). Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Nova Southeastern University; Bequest of Ira Glackens, 91.40.150
William James Glackens (American, 1870–1938). Vaudeville Team, c. 1908–1909. Oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches (121.9 x 91.4 cm). London Family Collection
William James Glackens (American, 1870–1938). Christmas Shoppers, Madison Square, 1912. Crayon and watercolor on paper, 17 1/2 x 31 inches (44.5 x 78.7 cm). Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Nova Southeastern University; Bequest of Ira Glackens, 91.40.106
William James Glackens (American,1870–1938). The Shoppers, 1907–1908. Oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches (152.4 x 152.4 cm). Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA, Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., 71.651
William Glackens, The Green Car, 1910, Oil on canvas, 24 x 32 in. (61 x 81.3 cm.), Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund, 1937 (37.73)
William James Glackens (American, 1870–1938). Far from the Fresh Air Farm: The crowded city street, with its dangers and temptations, is a pitiful makeshift playground for the children, 1911. Crayon heightened with watercolor on paper, 24 1/2 x 16 1/2 inches (62.2 x 41.9 cm). Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Nova Southeastern University; Bequest of Ira Glackens, 91.40.152
William Glackens, Central Park, Winter, c. 1905, Oil on canvas, 25 x 30 in. (63.5 x 76.2 cm.), Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, George A. Hearn Fund, 1921 (21.164)
William James Glackens (American, 1870–1938). Street Cleaners, Washington Square, circa 1910. 25 1⁄4 x 30 inches (64.1 x 76.2 cm). Oil on canvas. The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia and Merion, PA, BF2035
William Glackens, Rock in the Bay, Wickford, 1909, Oil on canvas, 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm.), Collection of the New Jersey State
Museum, Trenton; Museum Purchase, FA1985.34
William James Glackens (American, 1870–1938). Mahone Bay, 1910. Oil on canvas, 26 1/8 x 31 7/8 inches (66.4 x 81 cm). Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, UNL-Anna R. and Frank M. Hall Charitable Trust, H-193
William Glackens. Cape Cod Pier, 1908. Oil on canvas, 26 x 32 in. (66 x 81.3 cm). Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Nova Southeastern University; Gift of an Anonymous Donor, 85.74
William Glackens. Armenian Girl, 1916. Oil on canvas, 32 x 26 in. (81.3 x 66 cm). The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia and Merion, PA, BF176
William James Glackens (American, 1870–1938). At Mouquin’s, 1905. Oil on canvas, 48 1/8 x 36 1/4 inches (122.4 x 92.1 cm). Art Institute of Chicago, Friends of American Art Collection, 1925.295
William James Glackens (American, 1870–1938). Still Life with Three Glasses, mid-1920s. Oil on canvas, 20 x 29 inches (50.8 x 73.7 cm). Collection of The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH, Museum Purchase 1957, 957-O-111
Albert C. Barnes and William James Glackens, circa 1920. Unidentified photographer. The Barnes Foundation Archives and Special Collections, Merion, Pennsylvania.
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