The Hunter’s summer exhibition, William J. Glackens and Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Affinities and Distinctions, opens June 22 and will present more than 20 works by each artist as it explores the influence of Renoir on Glackens’ artistic development, showcasing an array of gorgeous, color-soaked landscapes, figurative works, still lifes and more. The Hunter is the second and final venue for this unique show, so you’ll want to make plans to come - and invite your friends! This beautiful exhibition is not to be missed!
Most people are familiar with French Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, but many might know less about William Glackens. Born in Philadelphia in 1870, Glackens was exposed to art at an early age and began his career as a newspaper illustrator. He quickly transitioned to painting and became a founding member of “The Eight,” a group of artists who presented several groundbreaking exhibitions in New York between 1908 and 1917 after their paintings were rejected by the art establishment. These artists, who became known as the “Ashcan School,” often chose more gritty, urban scenes and painted in a style that was more abstract than conventions of the time allowed. Glackens’ early work often exhibited these qualities. However, viewing the modern works of French Impressionists - in particular Renoir - during trips to Europe and from the collection of longtime friend and influential art collector Albert Barnes helped reshape his artistic vision.
Visitors to the exhibition will be able to examine how Renoir’s vibrant color palette and brushstroke technique, among other things, influenced Glackens’ artistic style. In fact, this influence caused some to dub him “the American Renoir.” His response? “Can you think of a better man to follow than Renoir?”
According to Natalie Mault Mead, associate curator at the Hunter, artists finding inspiration in the artwork of their peers and predecessors is a long-standing tradition. In fact, Renoir is also cited as influencing Matisse, Picasso, and other artists whose styles differed vastly from his own. Like those artists, Glackens took inspiration from Renoir and used it to forge his own artistic identity.
“I think Glackens was inspired by Renoir, but wasn’t trying to copy him,” Mead said. “He saw what Renoir was doing and why, and that’s what spoke to Glackens. He was trying to create a modernist style that was uniquely American.” The Soda Fountain (1935), the last major work Glackens ever completed, embodies this idea. The style and subject matter perfectly capture the American vibrancy and culture of the time, moving away from the very formal quality of traditional art prior to this time.
William J. Glackens and Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Affinities and Distinctions will be on view at the Hunter June 22 through September 22. General admission to the exhibition is $20, and is free to members and youth 17 and under. For more information about membership, please call (423) 752-2045.
William J. Glackens and Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Affinities and Distinctions, organized by NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale and curated by Barbara Buhler Lynes, Ph.D., Sunny Kaufman Senior Curator, is generously sponsored by The Sansom Foundation, Kolter Hospitality/Hyatt Centric and 100 Las Olas, and David and Francie Horvitz Family Foundation, and presented in Chattanooga by Sanofi with support from Elliott Davis and the SunTrust Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau.