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Degas, "At the Cafe" (1878)
Girl in Peasant Blouse
Sister Irene as Painted by
William Merritt Chase
Edith Dimock Glackens as
Painted by William Glackens
Edith Dimock Glackens as
Painted by Robert Henri
Glackens, "Chez Mouquin (1905)
Glackens ca.1925
Study for Girl in Peasant Blouse
We offer the study for William Glackens' late portrait of a "Girl in Peasant Blouse" --number 458 in Ira
Glackens card catalogue of his father's works and inscribed accordingly on the stretcher (twice) with a
cross reference label (verso) in the hand of Antoinette Kraushaar to number 226, the larger finished work.
The name Natalie was added at random. See below for more details of the catalogue. Source: Smithsonian
Archives of American Art.
CURATOR'S COMMENT: At the turn of the century, three young women came to New York to study
painting. They were known as the Sherwood sisters after their address in the Sherwood Studios on 57th
St. near to the Art Students League. The "sisters" were May Wilson, who had married Thomas Henry
Watkins in 1898, only to become a widow in 1900; a gal named Lou Seyms, friend of the remaining
member of the trio; Edith Dimock a 24-year-old from Hartford, who had studied with William Merritt Chase
on his once-a-week trips to Connecticut. Indeed, Chase painted a well-known portrait of the younger
Dimock daughter, Irene, posed in riding clothes. The three young women hired an Italian cook named
Lena to help with spaghetti suppers on Fridays that were fed to hungry art instructors and students and
magazine illustrators, including the PAFA (Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts) gang that had emigrated
from Philadelphia. Frequent guests were Robert Henri, William Glackens, and his classmate John Sloan,
the nucleus of the group later known as The Eight, also called the Ashcan School owing to their
emphasis on social realism. The women also socialized with this group over dinners at Chez Mouquin,
Pettipas, Shanleys, and Cafe Francis, where they all partied with attorney and art impresario James
Moore. Moore, who owned the last-named bistro often invited them back for fun and games in his
townhouse, whose cellar walls had been converted into murals by Ernest Lawson, soon a close
Glackens friend. They played frog--meaning pitching coins into the mouth of a huge Chinese ceramic
frog--forcing ladies to lean over and show their ankles and petticoats as they threw their money away.

Soon enough the girls married. Wilson became Mrs. James Preston, taking the lesser known ashcan
artist, in 1903. William Glackens (1870-1938) landed the biggest catch, Edith Dimock (1876-1955) in 1904.
Don't miss son Ira Glackens' account of the Hartford wedding in his memoir of his father (see below)--
the Dimocks sent a private railroad car to New York to collect the PAFA gang who arrived in Hartford
very high on free champagne. In 1901, John Sloan had married Anna Maria (Dolly) Wall, despite her
problems with alcohol and a past history of prostitution. Her history and health were a source of
frequent crises, but this did not stop Edith Glackens from accepting her. Edith was on even better terms
with Flossie Shinn, another of the Eight's wives.  In 1905, Robert Henri's first wife, Linda, long in poor
health, died, and three years later, Henri remarried, Marjorie Organ, a twenty-two-year-old cartoonist for
the New York Journal, who soon became a friend of Edith's as well. Henri had met her through
cartoonist Walt Kuhn, and the Kuhns were also friends of the Glackens. (Glackens's brother Lou was
also a recognized cartoonist for "Life.")  And note that Henri was accustomed to taking a small class of
wealthy female students to Europe for the summer, but having married Marjorie and brought her on
board as a student, he waited until the ship sailed to reveal his marriage to the rest of the group--afraid
they might have left the ship on the news and cost him their tuition. Meanwhile, Edith’s sister Irene
would marry art critic Charles FitzGerald, like the Prestons, life-long friends and companions of the
Glackens. Glackens had gone to school with Sloan, where he earned the nickname “Bots” after his
pronunciation of  “Blots”--stains he railed about in his illustrations. Ultimately, among the major
painters, Glackens would be closest to Luks, Prendergast, Lawson, and Alfred Maurer—but his house
on Ninth St. just off Fifth was open to the Krolls, Myers, Bellows and Guy Pène du Bois and his wife,
among other painter families.
William Glackens became a professional illustrator at the Philadelphia Press, where he worked with
Everett Shinn and George Luks. In 1898, he went to Cuba as an illustrator for "McClure's" magazine,
covering the Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War. In New York, Glackens continued his career as
an artist-reporter at the New York Herald, the New York World, and magazines such as Scribner's,
Putnam's, and the Saturday Evening Post. But a number of factors pointed Glackens away from
illustration and into fine art--until around 1914--when he altogether abandoned illustrating in favor of
painting. In 1908, Glackens participated in The Eight's famous exhibition at the Macbeth Galleries. The
group under Henri had decided to hold a separate show after experiencing repeated rejection from the
"official" exhibitions at the powerful, conservative National Academy of Design. Their breakaway
represented a protest against the NAD's and Chase's, in particular, rigid definition of art. The show was
a "succès de scandale," and toured several cities from Newark to Chicago in a traveling exhibition
curated by Sloan, which helped do away with much of The Genteel Tradition in American painting. Most
of the Eight also participated in the "Exhibition of Independent Artists" in 1910, in a further attack on the
exclusivity of the NAD. In literature the movement was paralleled by writers of realist fiction, including
Dreiser, and Frank Norris.

Glackens had seen enough horror in the Spanish American war, and aspects of Ashcan realism are
evident in paintings like Chez Mouquin (1905), in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. One of his
most celebrated paintings, it is set in the well-known Sixth Avenue restaurant regularly visited by
Glackens and friends, and portrays a robust James B. Moore, restaurateur and middle-aged bon vivant,
at a table with one of the many young women he squired about town as "daughters." Though we now
know the model was the restaurant owner's wife, Glackens does capture the escort woman's
recognizable sense of despair seen in Degas’ cafe scenes. He had first visited Europe in the company
of Henri and fellow Philadelphia painter Walter Elmer Schofield in 1895, but he was even more strongly
influenced by his 1912 extensive art-buying trip in Europe for Albert Barnes, a friend from high school
who had amassed a fortune from an antiseptic gargle solution and supposed tonic called Argyrol.
Barnes built a huge home and museum in Merion, a suburb of Philadelphia, and the many works of
Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh and Cezanne that Glackens purchased for Barnes became the center of the
The Barnes holds more Renoirs than any other collection in America because Glackens fell in love with
Renoir's women, and is often called the American Renoir. The early work of Glackens, following Henri's
lead, maintained strong ties to Edouard Manet's darkened palette, but his palette brightened after
exposure to Matisse in his Fauvist mode and to Renoir. And there was also the matter of subject. As art
historian Matthew Baigell writes: "Of all the realists around Henri, Glackens was perhaps least attracted to
the life of the streets, preferring scenes of middle-class activities in parks," particularly Washington
Square. He loved crowds of people having fun. Another favorite crowded with people was the beach, both
in America and Europe. Glackens painted at seaside resorts on Cape Cod and Long Island, particularly
Bellport where he and his family spent summers. The river beach at L'Isle Adam in France was also an
important focus.

But the major force propelling Glackens as painter was his financial independence. Unlike his peers, he
did not have to teach or illustrate. After his death, his wife stood up to Barnes as an equal demanding he
sell her some of the more than seventy works by Glackens he had acquired, and she didn't blanch when
he wanted $85,000 for one of them. She was a social and financial equal owing to her father's success in
the silk industry. It is important to note that Nylon was first publicized at the 1933 World's Fair--and that
prior to that silk was third along with cotton and wool--and women's fashion generated huge demand--as
in the vogue for "silk stockings" and what they meant. While Glackens exhibited and earned major prizes,
he was under no pressure to sell in his lifetime, and didn't develop a strong gallery relationship until after
1930. Indeed after Edith came into her fortune, the Glackens moved to France in 1925 for a seven-year
residence returning finally in 1932.
At this time they lived in Paris and summered in Vence, near Nice, thanks to help from Leon Kroll and
his wife Viette. They also resided in L'Isle-Adam on the Oise, about an hour north of Paris, and in 1930
at La Ciotat, midway between Marseille and Toulon. In 1932, they were in Le Suquet, a quarter of
Cannes, where Glackens painted "Fete du Suquet" now in the Whitney. All the while they maintained
their townhouse in Greenwich Village at Ninth Street just off Fifth--and during this time they returned
as needed to America, often independently. In America their household was managed by "Pepy" and in
Europe by Berthe. These two highly prized women made sure that additional household staff took care
of cooking, cleaning, and nannying for two younger Glackens, Ira and Lenna, and their pets. Ira was
less with them after 1930 owing to college, work in New York and travel in Spain. Glackens and his wife
last returned to Europe in 1936--to visit sister Irene and FitzGerald who had settled in Sidmouth,
England--but the cold drove them to France where they spent two months in Paris
Glackens' "Nude with an Apple" says farewell to Manet's "Olympia." We show it
with two early studies to emphasize his planning and progressive changes.
Glackens, Page 2
Prior Catalogue Page (Gasser)
Next Catalogue Page (Goodwin)