The first comprehensive survey of William Glackens in nearly half a century, this exhibition at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia has nearly 90 major paintings and works on paper from some of America's finest private and public collections. Glackens’s influential career spanned five decades and this exhibition will show a new generation the breadth of his oeuvre, displaying key works from each decade of his career and revealing his enchanting zest for life, as well as his arsenal of sophisticated techniques. Several important canvases and works on paper will be on public view for the first time.
The exhibition—open Nov. 8 through Feb. 2—is highly selective, concentrating on the most pivotal, adventurous, accomplished, and distinctive works, including the magisterial At Mouquin’s (1905) and The 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).
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.”