William James Glackens 1870 - 1938
- William James Glackens
- Sailing Boats, Paris
- oil on canvas
Estate of the artist
Private Collection, Alabama
Berry-Hill Galleries, New York
American Paintings and Sculpture VIII, Berry-Hill Galleries, New York, 1999, p. 128, illustrated in color p. 129
In June of 1895 William Glackens made his first trip to Paris along with fellow Philadelphia artists Robert Henri, Elmer Schofield, Augustus Koopman, and Charles Grafly. During his trip Glackens did not attend art classes at Paris' renowned Académie Julien or any of the local ateliers that had become de rigueur for many American artists in the late nineteenth century. Instead, the artist painted views of the city, visited exhibitions at local galleries and museums, and made side trips to Belgium, Holland, and the Parisian countryside. Ira Glackens, the artist's son, described his father's love for France: "Paris was always my father's favorite city, and France his spiritual home. Everything suited him there, the food, the wine, the people in the streets and the public gardens, whom he loved to sketch; the look of restaurants, shops and cafés; the color of the houses, the signs, the trees, the rivers, the fishermen, the villages, the flow of life. No other country seemed so to invite his pencil and his brush" (William Glackens and the Eight: The Artists Who Freed American Art, 1983, pp. 69-70).
While on this trip, Glackens painted Sailing Boats – Paris, which depicts a densely packed crowd of people clustered at the river's edge as various boats glide upon the water. The scene is painted with vigorous brushstrokes in dark, dramatic hues of green, black, and brown. William H. Gerdts writes that "While Glackens's technique bespoke seventeenth-century Baroque masters such as Halls and Diego Velázquez, his subject matter was drawn from Manet, Edgar Degas, and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec: scenes of Paris streets, theaters, and cafés ...." (William Glackens, 1996, p. 17).