"Kansas Landscape with Windmill" canvas print
Fort Smith Regional Art Museum

"Kansas Landscape with Windmill" canvas print

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Edward Glannon (1911-1992)

  • Thin Gallery Wrap (0.75”)
  • Border Color: Black
  • Size: 8 x 10"

For more than sixty years, Edward Glannon painted the American land. “I grew up in a deep and narrow Pennsylvania valley,” Glannon wrote in the journal he maintained from the time he was a young man, “and I learned to love the poetry of the earth and the music of landscapes. It has motivated me all my life.” 

Born in a factory town north of Pittsburgh in 1911, the oldest of ten children, Glannon often roamed the hills. “My vision was marked for life by the image of those solid, dark, unchanging forms, and behind them, the lights that flowed and changed forever. I had a feeling even as a boy that nature could give me a symbol to say anything that I would ever have to say. The trees, the leaves, the lights, the texture of the grass, the fields, were a complete language that could express any feeling that any human being could have." 

Glannon attended a monastery school when he was thirteen years old. There he studied art for two years with an elderly Franciscan monk who loved to paint. From that time on Glannon knew he wanted to be a painter. “I picked up the feeling that painting was the very center of the world, and I never got away from that.” 

At fifteen, he began working in a framing shop and factory to help his family. He frequented the Carnegie Museum and Carnegie University library, where he “discovered the whole world. It opened the door to all the greatness of man’s past.” When he was twenty-one, Glannon was awarded the Schnakenberg Fellowship at the Art Students League in New York City where he studied under Kenneth Hayes Miller, Alexander Brook and Thomas Hart Benton. Other well-known artists such as Boardman Robinson and Alfred Stieglitz spent time there talking to the young art students. They had a powerful influence on Glannon and made him believe too in the importance of being a teacher. 

Glannon taught for forty-two years while he continued to paint. He began teaching at the Gramercy Boys Club on the Lower East Side under a Public Works of Art Project. He taught art and ethics for thirty years at the Fieldston Ethical Culture Schools in Riverdale, NY. The last twelve years of his career Glannon taught at Roslyn High School on Long Island. 

In 1933, Glannon traveled west while serving in the Civilian Conservation Corps. That first trip west had a “profound effect on me and anything I would ever do, because of the expanse, the grandeur, the largeness of what I saw. It put me in touch with the nation.” Edward and his wife Helen, a librarian, whom he met in West Yellowstone, MT, moved to Roslyn, Long Island, in 1946 where they raised their three children and where Glannon lived the rest of his life. 

Throughout his life, Glannon continued to travel extensively in the United States “absorbing the spirit of each place and trying to pick up its rhythms and trying to organize those rhythms to make a kind of visual music, a kind of poetry, that will bring pleasure and satisfaction.” Glannon painted from memory “because in time all the irrelevant things are gone and only the essentials are left.” 

The artist wrote, “America politically is one country, but it’s about eight different countries to a landscape painter.” He painted the Long Island shore, the New England coast, the wheat fields of Kansas, the mountains of Montana, the southwestern desert, and the Florida Everglades. “The land has a different accent in different places, but it can be very beautiful in almost any place.” But “the American land is not sweet. It can be a heartbreaking land.” Thus, Glannon’s paintings and prints also show huge trees uprooted by hurricanes, devastating floods and forest fires. “The destitute areas turn the spirit inward. When you face those lands, you are also facing your own spirit because there is no place for the spirit to go but home.” 

Greatly concerned with the permanence of works of art, Glannon loved the chemistry and technology of painting. He ground his oil paints and made solid wood panels and intricately carved frames. In 1972 Glannon taught himself lithography. He did every step of the lithography process himself, drawing on antique printing stones, and using a nineteenth century type of scraper-bar press. Glannon also restored many paintings, including murals from the WPA art project. 

Glannon’s works have been shown in the New School for Social Research in New York City, the Philadelphia Academy of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Glannon was affiliated with the Mark of the Phoenix, Mortimer Leavitt and Forley and Wren galleries in New York City. His paintings and lithographs are in many private collections, including those of Benjamin Van Raalte and John Jacob Astor. A Glannon watercolor, “Illinois Landscape,” is in the National Collection of the Smithsonian in Washington, D. C. “The Mother,” an oil painting, is in the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. 

Edward Glannon often lectured on art and education and was the author of a number of articles, including, “Art In a Human Dimension” (Teaching and Learning, a journal published by the Ethical Culture Schools of New York City) and “The WPA Experience” (Roots of Open Education, published by the City College Workshop Center for Open Education). Glannon illustrated two children’s books, Everybody Eats (by Mary McBurney Green) and Guess What’s In the Grass (by Lucy Sprague Mitchell, published by William R. Scott).