The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Edward Sozanski offers this fascinating account of a new book that catalogues the substantial collection of American paintings held by the Barnes in Philadelphia. William Glackens was a friend of Barnes and helped him begin collecting what became 343 works of American art, including 71 by Glackens himself:
The others are brothers Charles and Maurice Prendergast, Ernest Lawson, Jules Pascin, Alfred H. Maurer, Marsden Hartley, Charles Demuth, and Horace Pippin. Their works account for about two-thirds of the American collection.
This is an eclectic bunch, to say the least. Lawson is usually classified as an impressionist and Maurice Prendergast as a postimpressionist. Maurer, though American, lived in Paris, where he helped Barnes contact dealers. Pascin, a native of Bulgaria, was a European modernist who came to the United States during World War I, became a citizen in 1920, and promptly moved back to Europe.
And then there’s Pippin, the untutored African American from West Chester who became a celebrated naive painter, although the foundation owns only four of his works.
What they had in common, Wattenmaker explains, was friendship with Barnes and influence on his aesthetic thinking. The fact that he found common ground with all nine offers a key insight into the way he went about forming his collection.
Art: Barnes’ often-overlooked American art (Philadelphia Inquirer)