American, 1870-1938

Flowers on a Pink Table

oil on board
initialed lower left "W.G.", signed lower right "W. Glackens"
16 x 13 inches

  • Provenance: Zabriskie Galleries, New York, New York, 1958; Sotheby's, New York, New York, December 1, 1988, lot 219; Private Collection, New Jersey

    William Glackens was born in Philadelphia in 1870. He was a distinctly American artist who painted still-lifes, street scenes and middle-class urban life. He rejected the dictates of the 19th century art academy and was an early proponent of Realism in the United States. Although he traveled extensively in Europe later in his career, he achieved commercial success as an artist before any European training.

    Early in his career, Glackens worked as an illustrator for the Philadelphia Record, the Public Ledger and The Philadelphia Press. During this time he studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In 1895, he spent a year in Paris and upon his return to America settled in New York City where he worked as an illustrator for The New York Herald and The New York World. In 1898, he traveled to Cuba where he covered the Spanish-American War for McClure's Magazine. Despite his growing prominence as an illustrator, Glackens began to paint in oils and regularly participated in the annual exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy.

    Glackens' experimentation combined with his attention to color and expressive brush strokes marked a turn towards modernism. He helped plan and participated in the 1908 Macbeth show and the landmark 1913 Armory Show.

    Glackens joined a group of like-minded artists including Robert Henri, with whom he had traveled to Paris in 1895, and John Sloan, George Luks, Everett Shinn, Maurice Prendergast and Arthur B. Davies. Collectively known as "The Eight", and later the "Ashcan School", the group was focused on depicting scenes from everyday American life. They exhibited together in 1908 but quickly disbanded based on their differing viewpoints.

    Glackens became known as the "American Renoir" and championed the French Impressionist style and themes. In the last twenty years of his life, he traveled to Europe regularly spending time in Paris and the south of France. In his final years, he focused on floral still-lifes, as in the present lot. Of Glackens' still-lifes, critic Margaret Bruening wrote in 1937, ""There is something disarming in the simplicity of the arrangements, just little handfuls of flowers casually placed in vases. But the casualness is, of course, camouflage, for there is the utmost subtlety in the patterns of color, in the relations of form and contour... And what joy in pure painting these flower pieces afford! What lusciousness of pigment, what purity of color and astounding candor of statement...."

    Tags: oil painting, listed artist, American Impressionist, Impressionism, still-life, 20th century
  • Condition: in overall excellent condition; no restoration apparent under UV

    We are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Shannon’s is merely a subjective qualified opinion. Frames on all paintings are sold "As Is". Frames may need some conservation. 

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April 27, 2023 6:00 PM EDT
Milford, CT, US


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