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Museum Showcases Works of William Glackens, Albert Barnes' Friend and Art Mentor

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A lifelong friend of Dr. Albert Barnes is having his own moment in the limelight at the Barnes Foundation, on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

A retrospective look at the works of William Glackens begins this weekend.

As Barnes began to ponder what his collection would become, he dispatched his friend and former Central High School classmate William Glackens to Paris in 1912 on an open-ended buying trip for "some good modern paintings."


glackens nude detail
William Glackens, "Nude with Draperies" (detail), ca. 1916.


Not only did Glackens influence Barnes' passion for post-Impressionist art, says exhibition curator Avis Berman (at left in top photo), but Barnes also bought for himself some of Glackens' paintings and sketches, which are now part of the permanent collection.

"Glackens was very influential on Barnes," says Berman, "although both men made light of it later on -- because Glackens was modest and Barnes wanted to stand alone."

As an artist, she says, Glackens absorbed what Renoir, Matisse, and Bonnard were doing.


glackens hillside detail
William Glackens, "Hillside Near La Ciotat, 1930.

"The colors, the movement, you really see that Glackens looked at Impressionism and really gave it his own American take," Berman tells KYW Newsradio.

The exhibit, which runs through February, spans Glackens' career from the 1890s through the 1930s, with 90 canvases and works on paper.

Berman says it's a long-overdue survey of a pivotal figure in the history of American art.

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