By Alexander Brook  


Living American Art Bulletin, October 1939


About eight years ago I received a letter, postmarked at Pittsburgh and signed by Edward Glannon, a name totally unknown to me.  It was a letter of appreciation concerning some pictures of mine being currently shown there. … I was more taken by the straightforwardness and simplicity of its expression than by what it actually said… I felt that I would like to keep in touch with him, and perhaps see some examples of his pictures, though at the time I did not ask him to send any for fear they would be too disappointing, even allowing for his youth. 

Two years went by with an occasional interchange of letters.  In one Glannon expressed a wish to come to New York to study … I answered and asked him to send me a few paintings.  They, in due time, arrived and I was immediately enthusiastic about them.  At the Art Student’s League the Board of Control awarded him a scholarship and the young man came on and has remained here ever since.

Glannon was no more disappointing than his pictures.  His eagerness and keen observation; his zest and honesty struck me at once.  He has worked hard not only at his painting but at making a living at various jobs, including one in Montana when he joined the C.C.C.  He is a romantic, and the rugged, wild country appealed to him and supplied him with sufficient subject matter for the following years.  These were good sized paintings, robust renderings of mountains and forest fires; of turbulent skies and violent colored earth.  Were they too uncontrolled and disorganized?  Was the textured sometimes rather disagreeable and the color rasping?  Yes, indeed they were all these things, but they also had something heroic and noble about them too; something far beyond the reach of the more cautious and able student …

It is unpretentious painting which carries no social message; the material he uses merely expresses his preferences to the scenes about  him. …  His work reflects the kind of person he is and his intentions are direct and unhampered by ideas other than those becoming his nature.  

At sixteen Glannon was the oldest of ten children and had already been working at odd jobs for a year or more to help out with the family budget.  He lived in a suburb of Pittsburgh, and in this environment and among his friends and acquaintances, art was a subject never mentioned as it had nothing to do with their lives.  It is a not too uncommon  trick of nature to single out the most unlikely places to breed and rear men and women whose destiny it is to draw apart from the usual and go their way contrary to all obvious indications as to what they should do. 


[Glannon apprenticed for Alexander Brook, a well known painter of the 1930’s.     Brook painted a fine portrait of Glannon, Portrait of a Young Painter, which is on loan to the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine.]