WILLIAM GLACKENS AND THE ASHCAN GROUP: The Emergence of Realism in American Art by Ira Glackens

WILLIAM GLACKENS AND THE ASHCAN GROUP: The Emergence of Realism in American Art

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This chiaroscuro portrait of William Glackens, the distinguished American painter, written by his son, highlights the artist en famille in Philadelphia, New York and Paris, but leaves in shadow much that needs to be interpreted and clarified. Glackens' association with the ""Ashcan Group,"" -Luks, Davies, Henri, Prendergast, Lawson and Sloan, is traced from its origin early in his career as staff artist on Philadelphia newspapers. Although the association of these rebels against academicism culminated in the New York Armory Show, which marked the continental divide between ""studio art"" and subjective expression, the book fails to transmit the white heat of artistic controversy; it also neglects to explore fully the relationship between Henri's group and the earlier American rebels, ""the Ten."" Albert C. Barnes, a childhood acquaintance of Glackens, who reaped a fortune in Argyrol profits, relied heavily on the artist for advice in the selection of canvasses for his major collection. Their relationship is well rendered. Edith, the artist's wife, emerges with vinegary sparkle. Illustrations include 100 plates, six in full color, of major and minor works by the man who said ""Pretty good art is like a pretty good egg."" Paradoxically this account of Glackens' role in the emergence of realism in American art gives no clue to the motives or influences which impelled him to the artistic course he chose. On the whole this volume is more like Life With Father than Lust for Life.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1957
Publisher: Crown