This pen and ink drawing by William James Glackens (1870 – 1938) suffered from acid stains, due to the mount it was on, and a covering of dirt particulates. Once removed from the mount, baths of select chemistry were able to lift the stains, returning a clearer complexion to the drawing. Blotters were used to dry the artwork, as well as square the dimensionality of the paper and lay it flat.
Its new frame is a custom American Whistler with white gold, over yellow, red and black clay, which we think looks rather stunning with the drawing, and should keep the Sherwood Sisters happy and dancing for quite some time.
William James Glackens graduated from Philadelphia’s Central High School with John Sloan, and in 1891 became an artist-reporter for the “Philadelphia Record.” From 1892 to 1895 he held the same position for the “Philadelphia Press”. He studied with Thomas Anshutz at the Pennsylvania Academy where he formed a strong friendship with John Sloan, George Luks, Everett Shinn and Robert Henri; later he shared a studio and traveled in Europe with Henri. He spent a year in Paris where he painted many scenes of life in the parks and cafes.
Glackens settled in New York, worked as an illustrator, and in 1898, went to Cuba as an artist-reporter for “McClure’s” magazine of the Spanish-American War. He became part of “The Eight,” a landmark exhibition of urban realists, led by Henri, at the Macbeth Galleries.
The early work of Glackens followed Henri’s lead and maintained “strong ties to Edouard Manet’s darkened palette and brushy style of realism.” After 1910, Glacken began to brighten in response to his strong admiration of the work of French artist, Pierre August Renoir.
In 1912, he went on an extensive art-buying trip in Europe for Albert Barnes, a friend from high school who had amassed a fortune from an antiseptic gargle solution. Barnes built a huge home and museum in Merion, a suburb of Philadelphia, and established the Barnes Museum. The many works of Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh and Cezanne that Glackens purchased for Barnes became the center of the Museum collection. This project also firmed Glackens’ interest in the Impressionists, especially Renoir.
He died suddenly in 1938 while visiting Charles Prendergast in Westport, Connecticut.