You can see the Renoir influence in Glackens work and yet it is really steeped in the period in which he worked. What I really like is his illustration below of Cuba. It is so alive and better than a camera in capturing the moment, especially the last man in line who is looking straight at us. A brilliant turn on composition.
William James Glackens (March 13, 1870 – May 22, 1938) was an American realist painter.
Glackens studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and later moved to New York City, where he co-founded what came to be called the Ashcan School art movement. This group of artists, dubbed by the press “the Eight Independent Painters” or The Eight, chose to exhibit their works without pre-approval by the juries of the existing art establishment. He became known for his dark-hued paintings of street scenes and daily life in the city’s neighborhoods. His later work was brighter in tone, and showed the influence of Renoir. During much of his career as a painter, Glackens also worked as an illustrator for newspapers and magazines in Philadelphia and New York City.
After school Glackens became an artist-reporter for The Philadelphia Record. In 1892 he left that publication and began illustrating for the Philadelphia Press, where he covered various subjects. He then began taking evening classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, studying under Thomas Anshutz. Glackens was not a steady pupil, as art critic Forbes Watson would observe in 1923: “So much impression did the various instructors make upon him that today he can hardly remember who taught there when he was a pupil.” John Sloan also attended the Academy, and he introduced Glackens to Robert Henri. Henri began to arrange meetings at his studio to have discussions and give artistic criticism.
In 1895, Glackens traveled to Europe with several fellow painters, including Sloan and Henri. He first visited Holland where he studied the Dutch masters. They then moved to Paris where Glackens rented a studio for a year with Henri. Such a trip was common for artists of the time who wished to establish themselves in the artworld. It was Glackens’s first trip to Paris, but for the others it was a return trip. While in Paris, Glackens painted independently, but did not attend any schools. He returned to America in 1896 to work in New York. Later in his life, Glackens returned periodically to paint in Paris and the South of France.
Upon settling in New York in 1896, Glackens attained a job as an artist for the New York World. He got this position through his friend George Luks who was also an illustrator. Glackens soon became a sketch artist for the New York Herald. He also worked for various magazines as an illustrator.
In particular, Glackens illustrated for McClure’s Magazine, which sent him to Cuba to make a series of drawings covering the Spanish-American War. When he returned, Glackens continued to illustrate for magazines, although his real passion was in painting. In 1901, he exhibited at the Allen Gallery with Henri and Sloan, and began to gain notice for his artwork.
Glackens married Edith Dimock in 1904. She was also an artist, and they lived together in New York.