American Realist Painter
Co-Founder of the Ashcan School art movement. Also a member of " The Eight," a group of artists, dubbed by the press "the Eight Independent Painters" or The Eight, who 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.
William James Glackens was born in Philadelphia. He began his career as an illustrator for the Philadelphia Press and other newspapers, while studying under Robert Henri at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Glackens went to Paris for a year in 1895 and upon his return first painted muted landscapes in a Whistlerian manner, a style that soon changed to a stronger one reminiscent of Daumier, early Manet, and the romantic canvases of Cezanne. After moving to New York he continued to work as an illustrator for several magazines and newspapers. In 1898, he visited Cuba with George Luks and upon his return he began to take his subjects from the streets and crowds of the city becoming best known for his colorful scenes of holiday crowds and fashionable life painted in a lively manner.
He returned to France in 1906, and visited Spain at the same time. He participated in the 1908 exhibition of The Eight (the Ashcan School, in which he stood out as both the colorist of the group and, in his range of interests, one of the most worldly members). Glackens continued to work in New York until 1925 when he returned to France to remain until 1932. His painting during and after these years in France is strongly influenced by Renoir, although Glacken's palette is more muted, his backgrounds darker, and his nudes less sensuous than those of the French master. Winner of many prizes in his later years, Glackens was elected to the National Academy in 1933, five years before his death.