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Biographical Note | A Finding Aid to the Ira and William Glackens papers, circa 1900-1990 | Digitized Collection

Ira and William Glackens papers, circa 1900-1990

Biographical Note

Ira Dimock Glackens (1907-1990), the first child of painter and illustrator William Glackens and Edith Dimock Glackens, was born in New York City. Raised in the art world, he was well acquainted with his father's friends and colleagues. Upon his father's death in 1938, Ira became responsible for managing and administering the art remaining in William Glackens's estate.
Educated at the Choate School, Ira Glackens became a writer. He published two books about his father: William Glackens and the Ashcan Group: The Emergence of Realism in American Art (1957) and William Glackens and the Eight: The Artists who Freed American Art (1984). An opera expert, Ira Glackens was also the author of Yankee Diva: Lillian Nordica and the Golden Days of Opera (1963) and an authority on apples.
William Glackens (1870-1938) was born in Philadelphia and studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with Robert Henri while working as an illustrator for local newspapers, including the Philadelphia Press. In 1895, he departed for a year in Paris and then moved to New York City where he continued to work as an illustrator for various newspapers and periodicals. Before long, Glackens began to focus on scenes of city life and street crowds and, in 1908, he participated in the groundbreaking exhibition of The Eight at the Macbeth Gallery in New York City.
Between 1925 and 1932 William Glackens lived and worked in France and his painting was strongly influenced by Renoir. He spent the remainder of his life in New York City, exhibiting widely from 1894 on. Glackens was named an Associate of the National Academy of Design and was the recipient of several awards including those of the 1901 Pan-American Exposition (gold), the 1904 St. Louis Exposition, the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition, the 1933 Society of Independent Artists Exhibition, and the 1936 Carnegie International Exhibition.