'Midnight in Paris & New York: Scenes from the 1890s - 1930s,' Exhibition Covers William Glackens and His Contemporaries

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  • January 23, 2018

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William Glackens, Study for Music Hall Turn, c.1918, oil on canvas, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale; Bequest of Ira D. Glackens

NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is set to present Midnight in Paris & New York: Scenes from the 1890s – 1930s, William Glackens and His Contemporaries from February 4 through October 18, 2018.  Featuring drawings, paintings and photographs by American and European artists along with distinctive architectural designs, furniture, glass, metalwork and silver, this new exhibition offers a fascinating glimpse into the rapidly changing society of the turn of the century and life in the new modern city. The Museum’s Sunny Kaufman Senior Curator Barbara Buhler Lynes, Ph.D. curated the exhibition.

Hector Guimard, Theater Chairs from the Humbert de Romans Concert Hall, Paris, 1900,cast iron, mahogany, leatherette, Lent by The Wolfsonian–Florida International University, Miami Beach, Florida, The Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection

An opening reception will be held at NSU Art Museum (One East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) on Saturday, February 3 from 6 – 8 pm. Admission is free for museum members, NSU students, faculty and staff; $25 for non-members.  RSVP at nsuartmuseum.org/events or call 954-262-0258.

William J. Glackens (1870-1938) came of age as an artist in the 1890s, when he distinguished himself as one of America’s most celebrated illustrators. He subsequently became known as an important and leading modernist artist for his lively, realistic depictions of modern life and an important advocate of modern art in America. The years of his creativity from the1890s to the 1930s were marked by dramatic social, political and technological changes that revolutionized the character of cities around the world, such as New York, where the Philadelphia-born Glackens moved in 1896, and Paris, where he lived from 1895-96 and to which he returned many times.

During these decades, the completion of the Eiffel Tower (1889) and the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur (1914), among other architectural achievements redefined the Parisian skyline, as did skyscrapers in New York, such as the Flatiron (1902) and Woolworth (1912) buildings. The population of both cities surged with the influx of immigrants and people from rural areas, which increased diversity, and led to building booms, the establishment of businesses, and the opening of department stores that acquainted people with the latest fashions, household products and furnishing. Newspapers and illustrated popular magazines flourished and their wide distribution disseminated new ideas and trends. Inventions like the airplane, automobile, escalator, elevator, light bulb, neon, movies, telephone, and radio revolutionized how people communicated, lived, worked and spent leisure time. 

William J. Glackens, Patriots in the Making, 1907.
Gift of Patricia O’Donnell. NSU Art Museum For...

Glackens and a group of his American contemporaries first distinguished themselves in the 1900s for their dynamic, realistic depictions of life in the modern city. Like their French contemporaries, they brought the diversity of city dwellers in New York and Paris to life in depictions of actors, dancers, circus performers, celebrations, crowds, immigrants, city streets, and tenements. Their scenes of bars, cabarets, cafes, circuses, dance halls, and theaters reveal how the magic of the electric light bulb transformed nightlife into glittering and colorful spectacles.

Highlighted in the exhibition is NSU Art Museum's distinctive William J. Glackens art and archival collection, the largest holding of the artist's work in the world. Works on loan and from the museum’s collection by Berenice Abbot, Eugène Atget, William Bradley , Brassaï, Daum, Edith Dimock, Emile Gallé, William J. Glackens, Jabez Gorham, Hector Guimard, René Jacques, André Kertesz, Marie Laurencin, George Luks, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Alphonse Mucha, Pablo Picasso, Maurice Prendergast, John Sloan, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Edouard Vuillard add to the exhibition’s recreation of the ambiance, environment, and historical context of the dynamic period in which Glackens lived and worked.  

The exhibition features four recent gifts to NSU Art Museum, including three renowned art nouveau posters by Alphonse Mucha dating from the 1890s to 1908, from Drs. Walter and Mildred Padow, and William J. Glackens’s Patriots in the Making,1907, from Patricia O’Donnell.  

Midnight in Paris & New York: Scenes from the 1890s -1930s, William Glackens and His Contemporaries is generously sponsored by Bonnie E. Eletz, Kolter Hospitality/ Hyatt Centric and 100 Las Olas, Sansom Foundation, David and Francie Horvitz Family Foundation and Northern Trust.

NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is located at One East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL.  For more information, please visit nsuartmuseum.org or call 954-525-5500. Follow the Museum @nsuartmuseum

About NSU Art Museum’s William J. Glackens Research Collection and Study Center
The William J. Glackens Research Collection and Study Center is the central hub for Glackens scholarship. Along with the Museum’s vast holdings of artworks, the William Glackens Research Collection and Study Center houses a wealth of archival materials relating to Glackens, including 75 of his sketchbooks; more than 1,000 photographs spanning his life, institutional records, correspondence, exhibition reviews and unpublished research. The Study Center includes an online component easily and broadly accessible to scholars, educators, students, and the public that includes a digital collection of artworks, comprehensive information, links to other institutional websites, and downloadable teacher curriculum packets and family guides.  http://bit.ly/1L6JUwG

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