You’ve Got a Friend (of Barnes)

Presenting George Anderson’s collection of local colleagues and students of Albert Barnes for one night only at St. James. 

Who are the Friends of Barnes? Students and colleagues of art visionary and educator Albert Barnes. Spotlighting some of the area’s best American Expressionists in breathtaking Gothic surroundings.

Abraham Hankins (1904-1963)

Hankins was born in Gomel, Russia in 1904. The son of a poor rabbi and brother to many siblings, he began to draw at a young age. Hankins’ affinity for art was noted at an early age, and he was sent to the United States in 1914 to live with his cousins. It was here that he studied under Henry McCarter at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art.

Fibbing about his age and lineage, he enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War I. After being gassed in France and suffering a wounded left hand, he was sent home to Philadelphia. Mr. Hankins then began some singing, partly to rehabilitate his lungs. His singing was soon discovered and a patron sent him to Paris to develop a career as a tenor. Hankins studied music seriously and painting became a hobby.

His hobby soon proved to be his passion, and he turned his studies to art. From 1925 to 1936 he took up study at the Academy Julien and worked privately with M. de Montholon.

Hankins again returned to Philadelphia and attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Art, the Barnes Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

His work was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York World’s Fair, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Print Club, the Allentown Museum of Art, the Grand Salon in Paris, and many others.

His work is in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Public Library and the private collection of Dr. Albert C. Barnes, Dr. Barnes of the prestigious Barnes Foundation personally selected Hankins work for exhibition in the Foundation.

Mr. Hankins died in 1963 at the age of 59 in Miami Beach.

Charles Ronald Bechtle (1924-2014)

Bechtle was born in Philadelphia where he attended Temple University, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the School of Industrial Art, and the Fleisher Memorial Art Foundation. From 1952 to 1955, he studied privately with artist Benton Spruance (1904-1967).

Bechtle works exclusively in watercolor, crayon, pastel and pencil. Heavily influenced by the works of Piero Della Francesca, Rembrandt, Goya, Matisse, and Gorky, Bechtle’s work is primarily abstract or semi-abstract in nature. He has exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and has been president of Group 55, Philadelphia Abstract Artists. The D’Amour Museum holds 80 paintings by Bechtle in the collection.

His work is in Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, the Carnegie Institute and Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

Exhibited at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Regional and one-man shows at Panoras Gallery and Miami Museum of Modern Art.

He was president of Group 55, Philadelphia Abstract Artists.

Edward Warwick (1881-1973)

Warwick was born in Philadelphia in 1881.  He was the husband of Ethel Herrick Warwick and son of Charles F. Warwick, Mayor of Philadelphia from 1895 to 1899.  He was a painter, printmaker, craftsman, writer, lecturer, and teacher.

He studied at The Delancey School (now The Episcopal Academy), the University of Pennsylvania, and the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art. He received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1905.

Edward Warwick was an instructor at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art from 1915 to 1933 and then became Dean from 1933 to 1953.

In 1947, the Mayor of Philadelphia appointed him to the Art Jury of Philadelphia.

Warwick was a member of the Philadelphia Watercolor Club where he was Vice President.  He was also a member of the Philadelphia Art Alliance, The Philadelphia Sketch Club, The Print Club, the Arms and Armour Club in New York City, and the Philadelphia Art Club.  He was also on the Board of the Franklin Institute.

He exhibited regularly at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Watercolor Club, the Philadelphia Sketch Club, and The Print Club.

Edward Warwick was also an authority on Period Costume and Chippendale furniture.  He co-authored Early American Costume with Henry Pitz, which was published in 1929.  He wrote many articles on the subject of Chippendale furniture.

Warwick died in 1973.

Jane Piper (1916-1991)

One of Philadelphia’s most prominent modernist painters, Piper was born in Philadelphia in 1916, she studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under Arthur B. Carles (a student of Henri Matisse), whose colorist painting style was greatly influential to Piper. She was also inspired by the stunning art collections of Dr. Albert Barnes, and wrote that after viewing his collection of paintings by Matisse at the Barnes Foundation she “was thrown into a whole new world of color and feeling.”

Piper is known for her abstract and colorful still-life paintings that, as one critic wrote, “have the intricacy of a complex musical score.” The fact that her favorite shade was white is easily evident in her paintings, in which white paint is used to create a sense of gleaming sunlight, or to contrast with the otherwise vibrant hues of her work. In addition to painting, Piper also taught at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Philadelphia College of Art (now known as University of the Arts) from the mid-1950s until 1985.

Her paintings hang in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Brooklyn Museum, the Carnegie Institute of Art in Pittsburgh, the National Academy of Design in New York City, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

At her death in on August 8, 1991, Jane Piper was buried at The Woodlands historic cemetery.

Samuel Freid (1908-1983)

 Freid studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, under Henry McCarter (1865-1943) and later taught at the Art Institute and Fleisher Museum, at 17th & 18th Cherry St. Philadelphia.

Sam Freid work begins to take root in the early 1930s. Coming from a Pennsylvania coal mining town, Sam produced a body of work in drawings and black and white oil on canvas painting depicting the reality of coal miners and their families.  Before the 1950s, he produced a series of drawing of political satire cartoons in conjunction with the WPA. He then entered a modern period where he created oils on board and canvas of brightly colored paintings depicting American culture such as the dinner, pinball players, baseball, circuses and clowns.

He collaborated with his wife Hilda-Berger Freid on a number of projects. They collaborated on building projects and sculpture, creating installations, in the style of Picasso and similar to but also pre-Red Grooms. One important collaboration with Hilda was a body of work titled The Barbarianism of Nazis.  It consist of about 160 18″ x 24″ pastels, depicting Nazi soldiers, Hitler, civilians, and individuals in intense scenes of brutality.

Some of these stills have just statements on them as if being said by some of these caricatures depicted. Some of these caricatures were cut out and had movable arms, head and legs, which Hilda would hold and move around for her husband Sam to produce 16mm films.  Sam edited in footage of the war which he was able to acquire from the war department. From the late 1950s until his passing, Sam produced a number of works on paper and large oil on canvas of brightly colored abstract paintings breaking from the traditions, as artist of urban centers did at that time.

Sam Freid exhibited with many artists who have acquired some recognition to this time. Similar to New York in which artist formed groups and collaboration among fellow artist, Sam belonged to a group called “Group 55”, in 1955. Leader of this group was Charles Ronald Bechtle. Other members were Abraham P. Hankins, Norman Carton, Quita Brodhead, Michael Ciliberti, Sanford Greenberg, Francis A. Jennings, Fran Lachman, Jane Piper, Doris Staffel and Mitchel Wagman. All of these artist exhibited together at Carlen Galleries in 1957. This was the 1st exhibition titled Philadelphia Abstract Artist.

William James Glackens (1870-1938)

Born in Philadelphia, William Glackens became an Impressionist painter who modified the style by retaining delineation of figures. Glackens avoided subjects of the seamier side of society and adopted more refined depictions such as upper class persons strolling in parks, sitting in cafes, and studio posed still lifes and figures.

Of Glackens’ inclination to distance himself from less-than-pleasant subjects, art historian Matthew Baigell wrote: “Of all the realists around Henri, Glackens was perhaps least attracted to the life of the streets, preferring scenes of middle-class activities in parks, in the theater, at shopping, or on vacation.”

He also did many paintings of seaside resorts on Cape Cod and Long Island, particularly Bellport where he and his family spent summers. Surprising to many of his associates was the fact that even though he had much exposure in Europe to avant-garde thinking, he expressed little interest in the modernist art movements that followed Impressionism and that took such hold among his peers.

Glackens graduated from Philadelphia’s Central High School with John Sloan, and in 1891 became an artist-reporter for the “Philadelphia Record.” He did the same kind of work from 1892 to 1895 for the “Philadelphia Press”. He studied briefly at the Pennsylvania Academy with Thomas Anshutz, and there formed a strong bond of friendship with John Sloan, George Luks, Everett Shinn and Robert Henri and then shared a studio and traveled in Europe with Henri. He spent a year in Paris where he painted many scenes of life in the parks and cafes.

Glackens settled in New York, worked as an illustrator, and in 1898, went to Cuba as an artist-reporter for “McClure’s” magazine of the Spanish-American War. He became part of “The Eight,” a landmark exhibition of urban realists, led by Henri, at the Macbeth Galleries.

In 1912, he went on an extensive art-buying trip in Europe for Albert Barnes, a friend from high school who had amassed a fortune from an antiseptic gargle solution. Barnes built a huge home and museum in Merion, a suburb of Philadelphia, and established the Barnes Museum. The many works of Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh and Cezanne that Glackens purchased for Barnes became the center of the Museum collection. This project also firmed Glackens’ interest in the Impressionists, especially Renoir from whom he adopted “soft, feathery brush-work and rich, variegated colorism, with emphasis on sift pinks, yellows and greens”…(Gerdts 281).

Tours of the church & famous Wanamaker Tower

Norman Carton (1908-1980)

An abstract expressionist artist, Carton was born in Pennsylvania but worked in New York and studied and exhibited in Paris. He exhibited at the Stable Gallery, New York City and founded an artists’ cooperative gallery in lower Manhattan, the emphasis being on the color, texture and materiality of paint.

Carton was a painter’s painter who, while devoting his life to Education and lecturing in the Arts, produced a large body of work. During a long artistic career he showed in more than 70 group exhibitions and had more than 20 one-man exhibitions.

He was awarded numerous awards, prizes and fellowships. In the 1930s he was part of the WPA (Works Progress Administration, a government program that employed millions for public works projects) creating murals, in the 1940s, he founded a fabric design firm and Production Co. which was featured in Interiors magazine, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Women’s Wear Daily.  These were hand-printed fabrics and his clients were Nina Ricci, Hattie Carnegie, Lord & Taylor, and others. In 1962 Norman Carton opened his own Gallery, the Dewey Gallery, NY City.

Carton’s work is represented in over 200 private collections throughout the world and some of the following museums: The Whitney Museum of American Art, Albright-Knox Gallery, Norfolk Museum of Art, Chrysler Art Museum, Jewish Museum, Paris, Museum of Modern Art, Paris, Museum of Art, St. Denis, France.

Join us at St. James the Less Church tonight 6pm – 8pm. Spectacular art & architecture, plus artisanal wine tasting with sommelier Greg Moore of Moore Brothers Wine Company, the only wine importer on the East Coast we know of who uses climate-controlled shipping containers to ensure their wines taste as good as they do at the vineyard.

Tickets $12 online ($15 at the door). Proceeds benefit St. James School, providing free quality education to our area’s under-resourced kids.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Carolyn,
    Thank you for this wonderful article. I am a son of Norman Carton who you so wonderfully included in this great article. I’ve been recently assembling more research on him from the archives I inherited when he passed many years ago. We also have a number of artworks from some of the others in your article (Hankins, his dear friend Sam Fried, etc as well as others in his Philadelphia and PAFA and WPA cohort). There were some details in your article that were new to me (Stable Gallery, Nina Ricci, Hattie Carnegie) and I’d love to track down that info. Would you be willing to share your sources and discuss more off-line? Are you able to see my email in this reply format?
    Jacob Carton

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