pastel on paper
18 ½" wide x 11 ½" high
signed W. Glackens on the upper left hand corner of the front.
This exquisite Williams Glackens pastel of a reclining nude has been in a private collection for almost 25 years. It was obtained from a Boston area estate and is in excellent condition. Its exact date of production is not known. William Glackens may have drawn nudes as early as 1893, when he was a member of the Charcoal Club in Philadelphia, PA, which sponsored drawing from the nude model. Glackens painted his first watercolor in 1909, and began doing nudes as early as 1910. The study for "Nude with Apple", 1910, was done in pastel. William Gerdts notes that Nude with Apple, page 119, plate 71, is considered one of Glackens signature pieces and "announces the artist's affiliation with Renoir more than any other work." Gerdts continues "This was one of his earliest and finest explorations of the nude, a theme that would subsequently occupy much of his attention."
Gerdts has this to say about Glackens and the pastel medium (pg. 101): "Like Degas and others of the French Impressionists as well as several of his close colleagues among the Eight, Glackens was attracted to the pastel medium. He utilized pastels in many of his early illustrative works, and with his new colorism of around 1910 pastel took on a fresh role in his oeuvre, used both for independent city and beach scenes and for preliminary studies; he continued to produce pastel studies for his works as late as his 1935 oil The Soda Fountain plate 131. Glackens increased involvement with the pastel coincided with his participation in the first two shows of a new exhibiting society the Pastellists who began showing at the new Folson Gallery in New York in January 1911; the group held four shows, through 1914."
About Glackens style in general, Gerdts notes it encompasses "the frankness of Monet, the firm draftsmanship of Degas and the sensuality of Renoir." page 92. Gerdts also notes that at this time (especially after the birth of his son in 1908) he had an "increasing involvement with the figure in the interior. but also his concentration on his own private environment, the studio and the home." page 92.
Glackens continued to paint nudes well into the 1930s. This "Reclining Nude" exhibits Glackens characteristic "dazzling range of color" (Gerdts) as well as his chromatic freedom, and may have been painted in approximately the same period of time as "Nude in a Green Chair" (after 1924, plate 105, Gerdts). Also see "Back of Nude" (plate 105, Gerdts), "Home in NH", 1919, (similar colorism.)
In Williams Glackens in Retrospect by Buckley also see "Seated Woman", 1902 and "Graft", 1903, for Glackens early use of pastels as well as "Nude on a Sofa", plate 112, "Study of a Nude", plate 113.