Sketch Book of 146 Leaves, Documenting Travels in Austria, Italy and Hungary, 1930
[Original Manuscript: 1930]. Octavo sketchbook (9-1/4" x 6-1/2" / ca 23.5cm x 16cm). Green cloth-covered boards, decorated by the artist on front cover; 146 leaves, fully used but for two preliminary leaves. Minor external wear; binding slightly shaken, but all leaves still firmly attached; contents fine. Glintenkamp's signature to recto of first leaf; one manuscript fragment laid in, possibly in Glintenkamp's hand.
Glintenkamp, along with his friend and contemporary Stuart Davis, was among the foremost disciples of Robert Henri, and inherited some of his mentor's Ashcan mannerisms; but he is perhaps best remembered as one of the original artists of the New York socialist/bohemian magazine The Masses, where his drawings appeared regularly between 1912 and 1917. Glintenkamp worked in a variety of media, including paints (he was an exhibitor at the 1913 New York Armory Show) and woodcuts (he is justly well-regarded for his blockprints, of which he published several volumes late in his career). But it is as an illustrator and social documentarian that Glintenkamp is probably best remembered, and it was as a contributor to many left-wing publications of the period that he found his firmest footing. Glintenkamp remained a political radical for all of his career -- though always as a fellow-traveler, not a revolutionary -- and was among the founding members of both the New York chapter of the John Reed Club and of the CP-affiliated American Artists Congress in 1936.
The current sketchbook contains 146 original drawings by Glintenkamp, most pen and ink with ink wash, but also including some gestural sketches as well as more finished works incorporating color pastels. None are signed, but nearly all are captioned and dated in the artist's hand. All were accomplished during Glintenkamp's tour of Austria, Italy and Hungary in 1930, a trip he would memorialize in his 1932 volume A Traveler in Woodcuts; scenes include not only the expected cityscapes and depictions of local color, but also dozens of sensitive portraits and images documenting the life and labor of the ordinary citizens Glintenkamp encountered in his travels. A cursory inspection makes it clear that many of the finished pictures in Traveler in Woodcuts were derived from the sketches here, making this the manuscript of sorts -- or at least the primary source-book -- for one of Glintenkamp's most popular works.
Two of Glintenkamp's sketchbooks from around the same period are held among his papers at the Archives of American Art, but to our knowledge none have come on the market previously. His drawings, even in small formats, command surprisingly strong prices at auction, and we regard the current collection as significant, not only for its documentation of pre-War life in Europe, but also as a deeply personal document from a still-relevant and still-collected American artist.