The largest and most comprehensive study of William Glackens in nearly 50 years demonstrates the artist’s significant role in American art history.
“William Glackens,” the first large-scale, comprehensive exhibition on the artist since 1966, is on view now at Nova Southeastern University’s Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale, where it will continue through June 1.
William Glackens, “Cape Cod Pier,” 1908, oil on canvas, 26 x 32 in. Nova Southeastern University’s Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale, Ira Glackens Bequest
This significant exhibition spans Glackens’s entire career, with works dating from the mid-1890s to the late 1930s. The exhibition features over 85 important paintings and works on paper and includes loans from prestigious collections such as the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
With its comprehensive scope, the exhibition is able to explore many of the varied motifs that intrigued Glackens throughout his career, from dark, urban street scenes to sun-drenched beaches and contemplative figure studies.
William Glackens, “Hammerstein’s Roof Garden,” ca. 1901, oil on canvas, 30 x 25 in. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Perhaps best known for his roles as a founding member of the Ashcan School and as one of The Eight — alongside notable fellow painters Robert Henri, George Luks, and John Sloan — Glackens remains an important figure in early 20th-century American art. Prominent in discussions of American Impressionism and realism, Glackens brought a painterly, impressionistic style to the quotidian subjects relished by Henri and the others.
Independent art historian and writer Avis Berman has curated the show, which argues for Glackens’s continued relevance in the 21st-century world of art. “Glackens combined an enchanting zest for life with an arsenal of sophisticated techniques,” says Berman. “Yet, with no comprehensive survey of his work in nearly 50 years, a thorough reassessment of this key figure in American art is long overdue. This exhibition takes a much-needed look at the artist’s estimable career and reveals him as a modern artist of ambition and spirit.”
William Glackens, “The Soda Fountain,” 1935, oil on canvas, 48 x 36 in. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Joseph E. Temple and Henry D. Gilpin Funds
The NSU Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale is a fitting first stop for the show since it features the robust Glackens collection of over 500 artworks, bequeathed by the artist’s son, Ira, in 1991. This is the first of three locations for the important retrospective, which will later travel to the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York, and to the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.
To learn more, visit the NSU Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale website.