PHILADELPHIA ART NEWS
ALL THE NEWS OF PHILADELPHIA ART IMPARTIALLY REPORTED
NOVEMBER 8, 1937
Vol. 1 - - - No. 1
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PHILADELPHIA ART NEWS will:
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. . . disregard the social position of the artist and judge his works solely
according to their merits.
. . . remain unattached and show no partiality to individuals or groups.
. . . point out to the citizenry of Philadelphia the merit and importance of the
work of local artists
We are grateful for the virtually unanimous and confidence you have placed in PHILADELPHIA ART
NEWS. You have expressed this in definite and material ways. From the day of its inception, you have
steadily strengthened our determination to produce a paper doing full justice to Philadelphia Art,
and have aided us in the task with your contributions of news items and articles, and with your
REASON FOR DELAY
The Philadelphia Art News will appear every other Monday during the season, instead of every
other Friday as originally planned. This move has been necessitated by the general policy of
exhibitions to open toward the end of the week.
DAUMIER AT MUSEUM
EN W OLF
It is through the efforts of Henry P. McIlhenny of the Curatorial Staff of the Pennsylvania
Museum, that Philadelphia is privileged to present the first great one-man show of the French
Realist, Honoré Daumier, ever to be viewed in the United States.
While much of the work has come from abroad, many of our own collectors have added generously to
the exhibit. Mr. Lessing J. Rosenwald, of our own city, is a notable example, as his collection of
the artist’s lithographs has been drawn upon extensively.
The Exhibition is a fine tribute to a great man and does full justice to his ability, for there
have been no hasty scribblings included merely because of the artist’s signature, as is
unfortunately so often the case with important exhibits.
The show contains many fine examples of the artist’s sculpture, a medium that lends itself
well to his caricatures.
There is a sketch of Don Quixote, composed of a few lines applied with a brush brimming with ink.
The result is as alive and full of action as any example of Daumier’s work to be seen in the
exhibit. There is also an illustration in oil of Don Quixote—as sombre and brooding as a
Beethoven symphony. Those of us who were reared on Doré illustrations will recall that prolific
craftsman’s interpretation of Don Quixote and will be struck, no doubt, by the great
similarity between his and Daumier’s conceptions of the famous character.
For achievement in pure expression, we nominate the wash-drawing, “Connoisseurs.”
By the posturing of the three central figures in this drawing, the artist has told his
story—an interesting problem masterfully met and overcome.
We were interested to see a wash drawing of “Corot Sketching.” We like to think of
these two great contemporaries meeting and discussing their respective ideals and aspirations.
In “The Sideshow,” a water color of circus life, Daumier has captured much the same
feeling that haunts the eyes of Goya’s dwarfs.
“Le Plaidoyer” shows Daumier’s skill in suggesting details with a few
strokes of his able brush. The tiny heads in the background of the picture, although small and much
in shadow, each has an entirely different and quite independent character.
Daumier’s people are as vital today as they were when they were set down by him for us.
That vitality exists only because of his deep understanding of his subject . . . Man.
His sympathetic comprehension existed as a result of his own sorrows that made him one with those he
drew. Compassionate, universal in his feeling, Daumier could, in an instant, turn like a tiger and
utterly destroy with scathing satire . . . biting as acid.
Art, to Daumier, was essentially a means to an end. It offered a medium through which he could
air the problems and injustices of the day . . . to his greatest satisfaction and
with the most skill. His was a work with a purpose. Truly, it is purpose that makes great work, as
well as great men. It is purpose that creates ageless works of art.
Because Daumier had that purpose, and because men’s foibles and passions remain much the
same despite “Twentieth Century Civilization,” Daumier lives. When men like him are
born (which is none too frequently) their medium is relatively unimportant, for no matter what their
means of expression may be, they always make themselves felt.
The Philadelphia Art News extends its deepest sympathy to Mr. Weldon Bailey for the loss he has
sustained in the passing of his mother.
BRECKENRIDGE SUCCUMBS AT 67
Noted Artist and Teacher Passes Suddenly
Hugh H. Breckenridge, one of Philadelphia’s leading painters, succumbed as the result of a
heart attack November 4 at the offices of his physician, Dr. Alfred E.
Brunswick, at 1530 Locust Street.
Philadelphia has sustained a great loss in his death.
The artist, son of Alexander P. and Susan W. Breckenridge, was born October 6, 1870, in Leesburg, Virginia. Born of an American-Scotch line, he was named after
Judge Hugh Henry Breckenridge.
His talents showed themselves early in life. At the age of 22 he had already won an Academy of
the Fine Arts scholarship which made it possible for him to study in Paris with Bouguereau, Ferrier,
and Doucet. Upon his return he was made an instructor at the Academy, which position he had held
continuously since 1894. In 1905 he founded his nationally known Summer school of painting at Rocky
Neck, Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Were we to recount the prizes and honors which have been heaped upon this man during his long and
brilliant career we would more than fill this paper. His contribution to American art is, we
believe, of great importance.
The Philadelphia Art News extends its deepest sympathy to his family for the great loss.
ELDON B AILEY
One of our old pet theories, namely that a work of art executed in color should have preeminently
the quality of color, seems to have fallen into mild disrepute at the 35th Annual Water Color
Exhibition current at the PENNA. ACADEMY OF THE FINE ARTS. It’s an old dictum, possibly even
a bit rusty, but still it answers our own emotional needs rather well.
We do not necessarily imply that the brilliance (and occasional rawness) residing in the canvases
of LEGER, for instance, need be dubbed our only gift of color from the purse of genius. Color has an
infinite number of ways—some bizarre, some harsh, others quite subtle—of leaping from
the brush of a painter to the surface of a canvas, thence into our own receptive eyes. Nevertheless,
color must be welded into an enduring pictorial composition if it is to retain its prestige even as
Many of the contributions to the present exhibition, while ostensibly polychromatic, are
suspiciously suggestive of halftone. Gone, for the most part, is the vivid glory of the
impressionists, apparently without having permitted another quality to fill the vacancy. What we
have here might possibly offer greater appeal to the homely Eakins than to the nervous and
hysterically color-sensitive Seurat. The water colors of ELEANOR R. COPELAND, F. W. BENSON, FLORENCE
V. CANNON, HANS BUSCH, MONTAGUE CHARMAN and a multitude of others are good, and we shall make no
attempt to deny it. We are completely at a loss, however, to cull another comment concerning them.
Were they a little worse they might be a little better.
There are a number of other contributors who offer more pabulum to the critical
tooth—namely: VERA WHITE (who manifests an improved sense of color relationships), B. CARTER
(amusingly rhythmic), ELEANOR PARKE CUSTIS, WILMER RICHTER, CHARLES H. WOODBURY, ROCCO DI MARCO
(still life with drama), GERTRUDE CAPOLINO (light, iridescent landscapes) and W. C. WATTS
(decorative discourses in dots and dashes of color). ALFRED BENDINER’S large and intensely
active bull-fight episode combines an inordinate decorative charm with definite, flat-patterned
humor—both characteristic of this artist. WILLIAM SCHWARTZ finds a small town vibrant with
the gray-green of leaves, while JAMES CHAPIN’S “SLEEPING WOMAN” expresses
herself with warm, plastic simplicity.
Walter Du Bois Richards achieves distinct individuality of brush stroke with the green, brown and
blue of his “Hillside”. Edward Hopper regards the American scene with his usual
convincing fidelity. Janet W. Ball proves an inspiring technician in pastel, and in pencil drawings
of the nude by G. P. Hunt we find simplicity and extraordinary directness, qualities shared to great
extent by J. C. Edwards, no less than Alexander Portnoff, who shows a symbolic figure in sanguine,
sculpturesque against a black background.
Many of the most striking works are to be found in the traditional “honor gallery”
(F). Charles Ward’s farm hands, busy negroes and lazy pigs have sought haven here. Salvatore
Pinto tells us, via the water color, that he loves southern bathing beaches and what goes with them.
Emerton Heitland exhibits as much verve as ever, and Emil Bisttram his well known formality and
restraint of color. Bendiner pops up again with a popy sort of Oriental color-crayon decoration and
Mildred Burrage’s still lifes of southern fruits say “pouff” to us and our
theories because they have plenty of color.
The “pouff” might well come from Henry Pitz also, for his pigment, at the moment,
is nothing short of extravagant. It is grotesque and joyous in the same breath. Andrew Wyeth,
talented offspring of N. C., Gertrude Kay, Walt Louderbach, M. Gaudin, A. P. Martino, Paul Gill,
Angelo Pinto, E. A. Walton, Eliot O’Hara and H. Giles contribute works of considerably more
than casual interest.
Outstanding portraiture comes from Justin Pardi, whose “Patricia, Emilia, Eugene and
Dorothy” is a most effective pastel, and Ruth Light, apostle of clean, stylized
characterization, black and gray figures rearing themselves effectively against a symbolic sanguine
The printmakers are not too well represented. The few that are scattered about fail to offer a
comprehensive anthology of contemporary print activity. Benton Spruance, Florence C. Cannon
(decidedly more than in her water colors), Gene Kloss, Hortense Ferne, Martin Lewis and E.
Sophonisba Hergesheimer furnishes the spice. The miniatures are to be found in their traditional
The work of Josef Presser has improved tremendously in the last few years. When first he entered
the broad highway of public exhibition he was a gifted young man with a penchant for the
Renaissance, which expressed itself in the general construction of his figures and his antiquity of
sanguine, plus a wistful eye cast occasionally in the direction of the more recent Renoir. Those who
care to observe the rehabilitation of time may do well to see Presser’s latest gouaches and
drawings, 17 in number, at the PHILADELPHIA A. C. A. GALLERY. Here the wistful eye is turning slowly
from Renoir to Rouault, and the effect is rather startling.
More than ever a deciple of the bold, expressive line, Presser shows “Kybele”, of
great volume, an interesting comparison to the staunch character studies such as
“Uriel”, “River Men”, “Tippler” and
“Riveter”. Rouault enters the scene with “Eclogue” and “Diomedes
Stallions”, rich in the suggestion of old stained glass. There are also several studies
reminiscent of Presser’s erstwhile “Renaissance” phase.
J. Duncan MacGregor, Jr. likes horses and dogs and, according to his exhibit of paintings at
McCLEES GALLERIES, likes them well enough to peer into their personalities. They are shown mostly
with landscape backgrounds, and are what one may call “straightforward”. There is no
particular desire to create a picture or even a work of art, but the artist’s well controlled
craftsmanship has achieved a quantity of detail and data valuable to those who love the animals he
“Manhattan Andy”, an Irish terrier, posed for what we consider the best of the
group—and comes nearest to pictorial realization, by means of a green chair sliced cleanly
out of the picture. “Gun Dogs” is a fine study of white bodies against misty gray
hills and water, and, aesthetically, a small sketch for a hunter-and-hound picture is notable.
Incidentally, there is a solitary cat in the show—a Siamese, to be sure—and a startled
one. We wonder not all at the alertness of this particular feline, when one considers her wealth of
canine and equine companionship.
Speaking of animals, Catherine Stewart Williams furnishes us with the very hue of whimsey at the
WOMEN’S UNIVERSITY CLUB, WARWICK HOTEL. As water colors they are vivacious and manifest a
refreshing sense of motion. It is nice to see gay things, and here they are. Giraffes leer at us
suspiciously, polar bears seek the comfort of a tranquil iceberg in a turbulent sea and sprightly
elephants take their iridescent carcasses to town, while monkeys sit philosophizing in light green
trees and multicolored kangaroos hop merrily about. This is not just one picture—it is the
Pen and ink, wash, and pencil are the media of Ruth Robinson, exhibiting a series of drawings at
SESSLER’S. Spiritually a miniaturist; all subjects are approached with extraordinary
delicacy, and many of the drawings are quite minute. “A Journey into Rabelais’s
France”, by Albert Jay Nock, furnished the artist with ample material for her talent, and a
number of pen and ink drawings made for the book are included in the show.
One wonders why Miss Robinson has not turned to printmaking—certainly an etching needle is
all that is necessary. Many small drawings of fragments of architecture and sections of facades cry
aloud for a plate instead of a cut.
The landscapes and architectural subjects are, on the whole, more successful than the figure
pieces, although in such drawings as the Capital in the Musee Lapidaire at Tours a distinct archaic
charm is evident. Our favorite is one of the smallest of the drawings, the “Kitchen at
Fontevrault”, with its architectural suggestion of a beehive.
Elizabeth F. Washington is exhibiting oils and pastels at the QUAKER LADY. They are evanescent
landscapes, in a quiet, eloquent mood. The trees are there, but there is a veil drawn across them,
poetic and unobtrusive. Nymphs would probably be delighted with them.
Forty-three recent plates issued by the Associated American Artists are concurrently on view at
the CARLEN GALLERIES. The most striking are those of John Costigan, both “The Bathers”
and “Figures with Cow”. Thomas Benton manifests his usual graphic buoyancy, John S. de
Martelly contributes acrid social comment, Luigi Lucioni’s trees are as staunch as ever, and
Paul F. Berdanier turns to the airplane in an arresting print.
The exhibition of W. P. A. posters and prints now to be seen at the ART CENTRE, WEST CHESTER, is
by no means dull. Sponsored by the Chester County Art Association and the School Board of West
Chester, there is much young blood to make a good show.
The prints offer much variety. Michael J. Gallagher and James Reid have accomplished the
ambitious task of “Mural” woodcuts, executed in sections. The term
“mural” seems slightly hyperbolic in this instance but, for woodcuts, they are quite
large. Reid’s “The Seasons”, printed in two tones, is by far the better of the
two, and has all of the sprightly design inherent in this artist’s small cuts.
Gallagher’s companion piece, “Spring Plowing”, printed only in black, is
somewhat lacking in verve.
Sam J. Brown, a negro whose work has claimed the sympathetic attention of Mrs. Roosevelt, shows a
lithographic “Writing Lesson” and proves that a little pick-a-ninny can be quite as
quaint as a little Mexican from the hand of Rivera. “Wash Girl” is cut in wood with
like quaintness but lacks finesse.
Charles Gardner makes excellent use of the tint tool in his wood cuts, as has Salvatore Pinto,
whose “Mills” is suggestive of Sheeler’s quantity and cleanliness of detail.
Julius Sommer’s lithographs “Gravel Pit” and “Overhead Conveyor”,
printed in six colors, are admirable in their dynamic design and among the best in the show. Daniel
C. Rasmusson creates a lithographic “Pieta” in deeply expressive manner, and Hubert B.
Mesibov views “Wrestlers” with a great deal of strength and a design more than
remotely similar to Orozco.
The posters are of a high standard and reveal not only variety but the general ability of these
craftsmen to achieve unity of technical problem, style of work and the poster’s message.
Robert Muchley’s “Port of Philadelphia (II)” and Isadore Possoff’s
“In the Shaft” are outstanding. The exhibition includes designs for pottery, books,
cabinets and fabrics, the last both ingenious and practicable, qualities of which many designs
Winners of awards in the thirty-fifth annual Philadelphia Water Color Exhibition at the
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts are:
Philadelphia Water Color Prize, Eliot O’Hara for his group.
Dana Water Color Medal, George Walter Dawson for his group.
Eyre Medal, Lewis C. Daniel for “Ecclesiastes.”
Pennell Memorial Medal, Bentson Spruance for “The People Work; Noon” and
“The People Work; Evening.”
Prize winners in the thirty-sixth annual exhibition of the Pennsylvania Society of Miniature
Medal of Honor, Elizabeth White McCarthy for “Dr. Judson Daland.”
McCarthy Prize, Betsy Flagg Melcher for “My Father.”
- The ART CENTRE
- Federal Art Project
- Exhibition of WPA Posters and Prints
- To November 14
- BOYER GALLERIES
- Broad Street Station Building
- Exhibition of Lithographs by Daumier
- To November 21
- CARLEN GALLERIES
- 323 South 16th St.
- Prints by Associated American Artists
- To November 18
- McCLEES GALLERIES
- 1615 Walnut Street
- Paintings of Dogs and Horses by J. Duncan MacGregor, Jr.
- To November 13
- PHILADELPHIA ART ALLIANCE
- 251 South 18th Street
- Mexican Graphic Arts-Prints
- Water Colors by Burchfield
- Annual Circulating Picture Club
- To November 28
- PENNSYLVANIA ACADEMY OF THE FINE ARTS
- Broad and Cherry Streets
- Thirty-fifth Annual Water Color Exhibition and Thirty-sixth Miniature Exhibition
- PENNSYLVANIA MUSEUM
- The Parkway
- Exhibition of the works of Honoré Daumier
- To December 12
- Problems of Portraiture
- To November 28
- PENNSYLVANIA MUSEUM SCHOOL OF INDUSTRIAL ART
- Broad and Pine Streets
- Exhibition of Lithographs by Daumier
- To December 12
- PHILADELPHIA A.C.A. GALLERY
- 323 South 16th Street
- Gouaches and Drawings by Josef Presser
- To November 13
- QUAKER LADY
- 1525 Locust Street
- Exhibition of oils and pastels by Elizabeth F. Washington
- To November 28
- CHARLES SESSLER’S
- 1310 Walnut Street
- Penn and Ink Drawings of Ruth Robinson
- To November 20
- UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
- Fine Arts Building
- Modern German Art
- Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation
- To November 13
- WOMEN’S UNIVERSITY CLUB
- Warwick Hotel, 17th and Locust Streets
- Animal Paintings by Catherine Stewart Williams
- To November 28
- FUTURE SHOWS
- ART CLUB
- 220 South Broad Street
- Annual Exhibition of Water Colors, Pastels and Black and Whites by Members of the Fellowship
of the P.A.F.A.
November 18 to December 1
- FRIENDS’ CENTRAL SCHOOL
- 68th Street and City Line
- Contemporary German Prints
- Beginning November 15
- PHILADELPHIA ART ALLIANCE
- 251 South 18th St.
- Fifteenth Annual Print Exhibition
- Contemporary American Painters Oils
November 30 to December 19
- PHILADELPHIA A.C.A. GALLERY
- 323 South 16th St.
- Contemporary Chinese and Japanese Paintings
- WARWICK GALLERIES
- 2022 Walnut Street
- Water Colors by T. Mitchell Hastings
- Private view November 19
- This exhibition will be removed to New York from January
Mr. Andrew Wyeth, twenty-year old artist of Chadds Ford has just concluded an exhibit of water
colors at the Macbeth galleries in New York. This was Mr. Wyeth’s debut as a New York
exhibitor, a debut which can be considered unusually successful. There were some twenty sales, one
of the pictures being bought by Frederic March the movie star.
The Professional Artists in the Old York Road Section announce an exhibition of their work in the
Exhibition Salon of The Old York Store of Strawbridge and Clothier, November
8 to 13, inclusive. Among the artists represented will be the sculptors Albert Laessle and
Beatrice Fenton, and the stained-glass workers, Lawrence Saint and Oliver Smith, noted for their
windows in Bryn Athyn Cathedral. The exhibition will be open to the public 9:30 to 5:30 daily.
Walter King, of King studios, is threatening to build a new farmhouse on his Birch Run estate.
Walter is a neighbor of Justice Owen Roberts of the much talked about Supreme Court.
LUSTY BROTHER OF THE BRUSH
HARLES O GLE
The steady climb of photography to its place among the arts is now an established fact.
Photography is definitely here to stay as a modern medium of expression.
Artists have been quick to seize the possibilities of this lusty brother of the brush so in
keeping with these modern times.
Let us consider, however, that photography should first of all be concerned with photography, and
not ape other mediums.
Technical photography can be acquired by a study of the legion of text books, first hand
experience and a liberal use of horse-sense. Virtually any equipment will do.
Taste is what distinguishes the artist from the snapshooter. Taste and a feeling for design.
Therefore let us stress taste and design.
Simplicity is always the result of real taste. Why try to include in a picture everything but the
kitchen sink? Grasp the important essentials and discard the superfluous. Let unimportant detail be
subservient to mass.
Let it go.
The composition of a picture is so vital; continuity of line, a repeated motif, sensitive
rendering of color values, tones and rich luminous blacks . . . dare them.
Dramatic arrangement, or arrangements of reserved quietude . . . repose, are
attained chiefly through simplicity.
Meanwhile avoid posing that is obvious or forced.
Lighting is important, too. When making outdoor pictures, of course, lighting is not entirely
within our control. This being the case it is necessary to meet this limitation with the lore and
cunning of experience. Beautiful and startling effects are often realized by shooting into the
light, thus back-lighting the image.
Indoors the light is absolutely under control, handling as easily and fluidly as water. The usual
flat front lighting is thereby avoided and sculptured solidity attained.
Quality is arrived at as the sum total of thought, taste and good craftsmanship and good
craftsmanship is to be expected anyway these days with the improved tools now available.
The pictures of the first masters of photography are unsurpassed today for quality.
So let’s make quality our goal, handing future generations a fine permanent record of the
scene and tempo of our day.
Let’s make good pictures.
And don’t forget that sense of humor. We might forget to pull that slide.
PHILADELPHIA ENGRAVER WINS WASHINGTON POST
Former E. A. Wright Employee to Engrave Stamps for Government
Charles Brooks, former engraver for the E. A. Wright Bank Note Company of Philadelphia, has been
selected by the Federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing at Washington as a result of the first
examination to be given by the Bureau in over twenty years. Mr. Brooks is a specialist of the
highest order as it is estimated there are only about one hundred and twenty-five artists qualified
to engrave banknotes in the entire country.
The Bureau has also drawn upon Philadelphia for printers. They are:
Harvey Colpe, Edward McCloskey, Henry De Orio, Charles McHenry, George Gurmper, Joseph Rooney,
James Rooney, Hugh Carriday.
The Second Philadelphia National Photographic Salon which was at the Art Alliance October 19 to November 8, inclusive, was
distinguished not only by the excellence of the entries but also by a series of lectures concerning
the theory and the practice of modern photography.
On October 29, Emlen Pope Etting and Richard T. Dooner, both members
of the jury which selected the exhibit, discussed the Salon from a painter’s and from a
photographer’s point of view. Mr. Etting spoke first, admitting photography as a legitimate
member of the graphic arts. Comparing photography and painting, he stated that painting was
“circumspect”, “requiring color and time”, while photography was
“simultaneous”, being a momentary picture of arrested action. Referring to the
exhibit, he stated that most of the best prints were made by Philadelphians, adding that it was time
“we felt that Philadelphia will in time take a position in America comparable to that of
Florence in Italy.”
Richard T. Dooner, after giving a brief history of photography in Philadelphia, emphasized the
fact that photography is an art, and a great art. He discussed the qualifications for a good
photograph, as precision, composition, rhythm, line, but also counseled the would-be photographer to
learn his technique so thoroughly that he could forget it.
The second lecture, November 2, was given by Joseph Janney Steinmetz
on “Candid Photography for Publication.” Mr. Steinmetz, who has done photographic work
for “Life” and “Town and Country,” described some of his experiences in
taking stories for “Life,” such as the recent sequence showing the Amish school
Of interest in connection with the Daumier show at the Parkway Museum, are the Daumier
lithographs to be seen at the school of Industrial Art and at the Boyer Galleries.
The fifty prints at the School of Industrial Art are excellent examples of the sort of work by
which Daumier earned his living. They depict Parisian types, political caricatures, war, and ancient
FRANCIS SPEIGHT AT ART ALLIANCE
On November 7 Francis Speight concluded the showing of about two
dozen canvasses at the Philadelphia Art Alliance.
Speight has identified himself with Philadelphia ever since he entered the Academy of the Fine
Arts as a student seventeen years ago. He began making studies of Manayunk at that time and has
continued to use this theme in such a distinguished way that he has won important prizes in National
Exhibitions. He is an associate member of the National Academy of Design. He is represented in the
permanent collections of the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, the Metropolitan Museum in New York,
and in other galleries and private collections. The Pennsylvania Academy has made him a member of
Speight’s paintings are not inclined to prettiness but are always poignant. They possess a
haunting poetic quality even when their subject matter is as dreary as can be imagined. They reflect
clearly the spirit of the painter and are done in an idiom of his own creation.
Lewis Mumford, art critic of “The New Yorker” and author of “Technics and
Civilization”, “Sticks and Stones” and “The Brown Decade”
delivered the first of five free lectures in the Cramp-Vaux, Hinchman, Prime and Rebman series,
“Vital Issues in Art”, at the Pennsylvania Museum of Art, Saturday afternoon, October 30.
The subject of this lecture was “Art and Society”. As prerequisites for a healthy
art, Mr. Mumford advocates a stable environment, a certain margin of excess, and above all
sufficient leisure both to create and to appreciate.
He also commented on the present Administration’s attitude toward art, stating that for
the first time “art as accepted . . . as of importance as a public
function.” This utilization of the artist for public tasks will probably remain as one of the
greatest triumphs of the last few years.
We hear rumours that Mr. Walter Baum, the well known Philadelphia Art Critic, is donating his
auto to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania . . . All we can say is we hope the
story is unfounded . . . It’s the best cure for a sluggish liver we have yet
Plague on the reporter who recently wrote a lengthy article for one of our local sheets about the
unveiling of a new statue and failed to mention the artist’s name!
With so many new art groups springing into being, we fervently hope “every little movement
has a meaning all its own. . .”
There’s much to be said for egg tempera painting. . . . If the artist
can’t sell his work he can always fry it . . .
Bravo for the tot who commented, upon viewing a Rembrandt nude, “Look, Mama, she
hasn’t any shoes on!”
Many of our finest engravers spend most of their lives in federal
“pens” . . . for forgery.
A well known local portrait painter recently asked an equally well known artist, about five
minutes after meeting him, what art school he attended . . .
A Philadelphia model posed for a local photographer. Soon after, she recognized her body
beautiful in a prominent magazine above this caption,—“Model of Paris, by
Plague on the woman who exclaimed at a current etching exhibition, “Oh, what lovely
One of our spies has brought the following tale concerning the instability of our Parkway Museum.
We hasten to make it public in order that the good directors of that august institution may quickly
fortify themselves against similar attacks. The story follows:
Several small boys, emerging unimpressed from the aforenamed “Greek Garage”, paused
momentarily between two of its seemingly unbudgable columns. “Say,” whistled one,
“How’s about pushing it over.”
We forbear to say more.
ENRY W HITE T AYLOR
The opinion that fine craftsmanship leads to loss of spontaneity and expression has cost the
world much fine painting. Brilliantly executed but chemically faulty works have darkened, cracked,
and blistered and are now worthless. Their color and charm is forever lost. Had good craftsmanship
been employed in their production those works would be still making their contribution to
It is shocking to find a painting by a contemporary artist, hanging in an important collection,
already webbed with cracks or marred with blisters. It’s downright disgusting to see a fresh
painting in an exhibition of works “never before shown in Philadelphia” showing signs
of decay, yet rarely is a major exhibition free from such swindle-daubs.
We frequently hear an artist say, with exquisite modesty, “I don’t expect my
pictures to last. Probably better if they don’t. After I’ve become famous I’ll
begin to paint for posterity.”
This kind of artist, working over defective grounds with inferior paints and media in bad
chemical combinations, produces picture after picture which he sends to exhibitions priced for
Fortunately this temperamental but dishonest and lazy attitude is going into a decline. Painters
are taking advantage of the advances in knowledge of the chemistry of pigments and media to produce
pictures from which art buyers will get their money’s worth in durability.
In harmony with this trend towards better craftsmanship, this column will be a forum for
discussion of technical problems. We will report our own experiments and will welcome contributions
of the experiences of others. Our statements will be in accordance with our convictions or will be
based on authoritative sources, all liable to correction in the light of what YOU know.
We hope that we shall show clearly that sound craftsmanship is not difficult or stultifying; that
doing his work well need not impair the esthetic quality of the painter’s output.
The painter of today can secure better materials in greater variety, at less cost and trouble,
than could the Old Masters. With intelligent selection and simple discipline in methods, everything
he paints can be dependable in its effects. Our modest friends who don’t want their pictures
to last because they “aren’t good enough yet” can prove their professional
integrity by scraping out their unsuccessful efforts themselves, instead of leaving it to Time to
obliterate their failures, perhaps at the expense of some unwitting patron.
This discussion will be of no interest to those who attach themselves to transient vogues, or to
those who are trying to compete in the market with department store and “art shoppe”
chromos. But we invite everyone who believes that art has some dignity and worth, who regards
painting as a means of honest expression, to offer any suggestions which will aid his fellow
painters in their craft, or to ask any questions arising out of his work.
We’ll start at the foundation of fine painting—the grounds on which the colors must
lie, with our next issue.
TAKE A WALK
SALZBURG COMES TO TOWN in a very attractive window display on the Rue de la
Chestnut near 15th. The staid old derby, with a shape for every head, goes
modern . . . looks at life and laughs . . . but not so the passerby.
People are enjoying the quaint alpine scene. It’s fresh-modern and manages to miss the
XMAS IN CUBA
It’s a gift, and the American Express states it in an inviting manner with modern
lettering on glass and West Indies scenes à la third dimension.
AND HERE IT IS AGAIN
A bistro on 19th St. entices one with window displays done in cutouts. Simple, effective and
amusing, they stop the stroller, and, as you know, “he who hesitates is lost.”
ONE OF OUR LARGER AND SMARTER SHOPS always has crowds admiring its craftex
displays in the Biler manner. Orchids to you, John!
From November 6 to 20 there will be an exhibition of the drawings of
Ruth Robinson at Charles Sessler’s, 1310 Walnut Street.
Ruth Robinson is an artist of considerable note who has illustrated books. We in Philadelphia are
particularly interested in her illustrations to Albert J. Nock’s A JOURNEY INTO
Miss Robinson will be present at the exhibition and will meet her many Philadelphia friends.
HAS ANYBODY SEEN A MURAL?
We present without comment the reactions of a few Gimbel Employees concerning the recently
unveiled murals in the Gimbel Store by John Kucera. Our candid reporter spent several hours
questioning unsuspecting clerks in order to preserve their opinion for posterity.
Scene—Cashier’s Cage at Soda Fountain.
Candid Reporter: “Say, where are the murals?”
Cashier: “Come again?”
Candid Reporter: “Murals . . . MURALS.”
Cashier: (after considerable thought) “Murals?”
Candid Reporter: “Yes, you know . . . pictures on the wall.”
Cashier: (after still more thought) “Oh, pictures . . . You better try the
Art Department on the seventh floor.”
Candid Reporter: “Seen the murals?”
Operator: “Yes Sir.”
Candid Reporter: “Wondered if you liked them?”
Operator: “Yes Sir.”
Salesgirl: “Can I help you?”
Candid Reporter: “Thanks no, just looking at the murals.” (We forgot to tell you
they are directly over the lingerie counter, appropriately enough).
Salesgirl: “Good idea putting them there. That space was awful empty.”
Candid Reporter: (cunningly) “Wonder who painted them?”
Salesgirl: “I dunno. Maybe an employee of the store.”
Gimbel Brothers instituted a contest last December for three murals on the theme, Woman. The jury
consisted of George Harding, Chairman, Julius Bloch, Ellis A. Gimbel, Dorothy Grafly, Earle Horter,
George Howe, Anna Ingersoll, and Carroll S. Tyson. There were eighty contestants.
John Kucera, the winner, is twenty-six, studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and
at the Carles-Watkins Studio. He received $1800 for the work.
Four other painters, Charles Ward, Emily C. Campion, Katherine Milhous and Richard Rogers were
given honorable mentions with cash awards.
The murals, each twelve by eight feet, hang over the elevator doors on the Eighth Street side of
Gimbel’s Market Street store. Their subjects are: “Pioneer Woman”,
“Woman in Industry”, and “Woman in the Market-Place”.
OLD PRESS AT ESQUIRELL’S
A press which turned out “fractional currency”, a term applied to Civil War quarter
and half-dollar notes, for the Union government, is still used in the shop of George H. Esquirell,
printer of engravings, at 715 Sansom Street. The press is commonly called a “spider”
press, because it is manipulated by handles at the side which resemble a web—or a
ship’s wheel. Technically it is a “side” press, as the printer stands at the
side instead of at the front of the machine.
Esquirell bought three presses of this type, selling two, one of them to the Pennsylvania
Academy, where it was used for printing a small number of etchings until a short time ago. His own
press he uses for both proving and making editions of etchings as well as for college diplomas.
PRINT INTERNATIONAL TO OPEN
Monday, November 15th, will mark the opening of the Fifth
International Exhibition of Prints at the Print Club, 1614 Latimer Street.
The exhibit will contain the works of contemporary print makers only, with each artist limited to
The media to be displayed include etchings, drypoints, mezzotines, aquatints, blockprints,
woodcuts, engravings and lithographs.
MURALS AT THE ACADEMY
The impetus which the Federal Government has given mural painting is reflected in the increased
facilities which the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts offers this year for the study and designing
The number of individual booths, each equipped with desk, table, stool and individual light, has
been doubled. New sums have been appropriated for books on mural decoration and sculpture. A screen
for full-sized cartoons, that may be raised twenty feet above the floor, has been added to the mural
Mural problems are assigned either by the instructor, George Harding, or they are chosen by the
students from books of plans or actual rooms. These problems are not put to use, but they must be
The Collaborative Problems, to be submitted in the annual competition sponsored by the alumni of
the American Academy in Rome, are now being prepared. The Academy will enter six to eight teams in
the competition. Each team will have two members from the Academy, a mural decorator and a sculptor,
and two members from the University of Pennsylvania School of Fine Arts, an architect and a
EXHIBIT OF ACADEMY SUMMER SCHOOL
The work done in the summer school of the Pennsylvania Academy is now on exhibit in the West
Central Corridor and in Gallery G of the Academy building. There are about one hundred and fifty
pieces in oil, black and white, water color, and sculpture, the work of about fifty students.
The Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art this year offers two new courses in the Evening
School. Fashion Illustration (Monday and Friday evenings) and Window Display (Wednesday evenings)
will be taught by W. Merrill Barton, of the staff of Wanamaker’s Men’s Store.
Industrial Design will be given by Alexander Wyckoff, who will teach principles, fundamentals, and
theory of color on Monday evenings and by Clyde Shuler who will give practical applications on
Wednesday and Friday evenings.
These courses have been instituted to meet the demands of people now at work, who wish to learn
more theory and to keep up with trends.
INDUSTRIAL ART FOLIO CLUB PUBLISHES BOOK
The Folio Club, formed early last spring as a classroom project of Henry C. Pitz’s class
in Pictorial Expression—now called Illustration and Decoration—at the School of
Industrial Art, announces the publication of its first book, “R.L.S.”,
ART CLUB DECORATIONS
The Art Club of Philadelphia, 220 S. Broad Street, this summer installed on the roof garden two
oil-on-gesso-ground panels by John Quinn and Willard Borow. Both paintings are decorative, one a
picnic scene, the other an Oriental subject. Quinn has now graduated, but Borow is still attending
the School of Industrial Art.
About twelve more items by students will be added this year, among them decorations for the
pilasters. Nicola D’Ascenzo, noted for his work in stained glass, is the head of the house
committee. . . .
Horace Sheble will exhibit at the Plastic Club Galleries, November 24
to December 1 inclusive. There will be three classes of etching,
mezzotint, drypoint, and stipple.
The private view will be held Tuesday afternoon, November 23. On
Wednesday afternoon, November 24, Mr. Sheble will address the club on
various phases of etching. The exhibition will be open nine to five daily except Sunday.
After a year spent in Battle Harbor, Labrador, Rudolph Freund has at last returned to his native
Philadelphia. Mr. Freund was first official artist with the Grenfell Missions during his stay, and
painted a mural for the Mission hospital. The artist is a recent graduate of the School of
Edith Emerson has returned from India, where she was visiting her sister, Gertrude Emerson Sen.
Mrs. Sen, an editor of Asia Magazine, lives in Calcutta in the winter, and at Almora, in the
Himilayas, during the summer. Miss Emerson is making illustrations for Mrs. Sen’s latest
Katherine Farrel has flown back from Taos, where she attended the Bistram School of Dynamic
The Yardley Company of England, manufacturer of soaps, has published an advertising poster which
is illustrated by a large full-color reproduction of an old print. This will probably be found
adorning the wall of your corner pharmacy, as it is ours. Certain unscrupulous persons have acquired
copies of this advertisement, cut out the reproductions, mounted them in simple mats and frames, and
placed them on sale at auction. These fakes have sold for as much as ten dollars.
Edmund de Forrest Curtis, instructor in Ceramics at the Philadelphia Museum and School of
Industrial Art, is represented in the Ceramic Show at the Whitney Museum in New York City. We
understand he was one of the few American potters invited to participate.
Mr. Curtis has long been a member of the Art Division of the American Ceramic Society, and is a
fellow of the organization. He has been instrumental in starting a Renaissance in Commercial Pottery
and China which has enabled American potteries to compete successfully with the European houses in
design and quality of ware.
In an early issue we will publish an article by Mr. Curtis.
Edith Wood has driven to Mexico City via the new international highway. We look forward to seeing
the paintings she will bring back from Old Mexico.
Pete Boyle has moved his studio from 1214 Walnut Street to his home at 4841 Walton Avenue, West
Helen M. Berry, an Academy alumna, has returned from a summer in Lunenberg, N. S. She has brought
back a lively group of paintings full of the salty, colorful locale of that very paintable fisher
Mrs. Henrietta Hammond Boyd, formerly associated with Bonwit Teller, has joined the faculty of
the Charles Morris Price School of Advertising and Journalism at the Poor Richard Club. She succeeds
Miss Marguerite Jacoby as instructor in fashion advertising and merchandising.
MODERN GERMAN ART REPRESENTED
Modern German art has invaded Philadelphia in the form of two exhibitions of German graphic arts.
The Martin Lowitz collection of etchings, woodcuts, drawings, lithographs, water colors, and
engravings by German exiles has just left the exhibition room of the Y. M. H. A. after a ten day
The University of Pennsylvania is now sponsoring an exhibit of contemporary German art under the
auspices of the Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation, Inc. Included in the group are works by some of the
foremost German artists of today. The prints are hung in the gallery of the Fine Arts Building. The
exhibition will continue until November 13 and is open nine to five
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
Wars, revolutions, and the depression have brought America to the front as a producer of fine art
materials. Prices are lower, variety greater, quality sustained.
The American Artists’ Professional League began experiments in the chemistry of pigments
several years ago. The League instituted a program for the standardization of paints, advocating
that contents of tubes be stated on their labels.
Since then several firms have offered good pigments at very low prices. Permanent Pigments, Orpi,
Schmincke and others are low in price, yet permanent. The more expensive pigments in these brands,
such as the cadmiums, have been cut or extended with harmless, inert substances, perhaps slightly
reducing their brilliancy, but bringing their cost within reach of all.
In the field of colored illustrations, many problems have been solved for the artist by the
introduction of large size leads in many colors, by Kohinoor and others. Not only is it possible to
use varied colored leads in a single holder, but you can obtain wide or narrow lines by changing the
length of the lead and the inclination of the pencil. These leads are proving more practical and
agreeable to use than the ordinary Polycolor pencil with its wooden covering. Their size and density
prevent their breaking easily.
Two convenient types of lead holder are available. These are comfortable to handle and easy to
adjust. If you have trouble with dirt getting into your holders, use rubber eye dropper caps on
their tips. This keeps out tobacco crumbs and prevents your holder from sliding out of your pocket
when you stoop over to pick up pins and pennies.
Speaking of pencils, the new Intense Black Pencil for layout work gives a new medium with which
you can make vivid black lines without the undue smearing often found when ordinary soft lead
pencils are used.
Many Philadelphia artists and illustrators have found in the new Illustrator’s Lamp Black
by Fredrix, a very suitable black for water color black and white illustrations.
THE OLD CYNIC
My hostess at dinner the other night received me with great respect and enthusiasm.
“I’m so embarrassed at having an artist in our apartment!” she exclaimed,
“I must get some new furniture. I saw a beautiful wing chair at Wanables today for only $215.
And remember that purple Chinese rug in that window on Chestnut St., Harbrook?” (She
graciously included her husband in the conversation.)
“You know,” she turned again to me, “Harbrook simply won’t take any
interest in this place because he wants to live in the country. I’ve told him I’d move
out of town on one consideration—that he’d get me a horse, and have a car at my
disposal at all times, and an apartment in town for the winter. I hate the country. Do you really
like it? Then why don’t you live there? Because you have to have a studio in town to sell
pictures? You mean people really buy things from you? I don’t see why anyone should buy
pictures when he can get lovely prints for from twenty cents to two or three dollars. Why you can
buy an oriental rug for the price of a good painting! I don’t EVER expect to be able to
afford art, no matter HOW MUCH money I have!”
Pyrography, which was so popular during that era of poor taste, the first decade of this century,
is having a boom. It is being used cleverly for commercial displays and signs, and in other ways.
Perhaps intelligent use of this method will help it to live down a bad name. Sets are available.
Supply dealers sell painting books for children. Now and then we see a good one which is
Cellocraft is a new material which can be tooled like leather.
Have you learned any new tricks you would pass on to your colleagues? Send them to this column,
Philadelphia Art News.
ETE B OYLE
Guy Fry has been named as art director of the Jerome B. Gray Agency in the P.S.F.S. Building. A
highly capable artist, Fry relinquishes a lucrative free lance practice to assume his important
His predecessor, Frank Howley, remains in the same building and has joined Bill Schoonmaker and
Tony Meely as studio mates.
Bill Pollock of South Washington Square has just completed two drawings of highly provocative
ladies, destined to evoke interest in the sale of silk stockings. Done in charcoal, they were a
commission of Strawbridge and Clothier.
Ralph Affleck was host to some sixty guests at his country place “The Steps”, at
Feasterville, Pa. The occasion was a Halloween party that clicked beautifully in such bucolic
One of the most interesting art partnerships in the town was recently terminated when Blake and
Shaw dissolved their association about a month ago. These two artistic emigrés from New York,
who have been turning out layouts for Ayers, Lefton, and others, had only been in town for about a
year. Dapper youngsters, they dressed in a manner that would rate a mention in Esquire. It was
probably the only instance in this staid city when a couple of commercial artists maintained a
studio in a swank penthouse.
The distinction of being the biggest art director in town probably goes to Wade Lane of
Aitkin-Kynett. Wade stands well over six feet and weighs 230 pounds, and that’s a lot of art
director to get in one agency. Incidentally Lane’s new beach house in the modern manner is an
impressive addition to the art colony at Harvey Cedars, N. J.
George Pay recently executed a very effective page ad for department store advertising. The
entire space was devoted to expensive silverware, depicted in line and wash. Combined with an
effective layout, the illustrations were eye-compelling.
As puzzling as it was sudden, the recent slump in business has hit nearly all the commercial
artists with disgusting impartiality. Coming after what was an unusually busy summer, it can only be
regarded as one of the many vagaries of a calling which is so often affected by mysterious impulses.
Regarded as local rather than national, it nevertheless irks most of the knights of the tracing
paper who hope that its cause will take a gentle hint and scram.
Not to drop into a state of Winchellian nosiness, but—what rather lengthy artist recently
had a tete-a-tete with a flat-foot in his studio? It seems rather unfair that a peaceful and
law-abiding cat can’t sit in a window without being plinked at with an air gun, by an artist
with a streak of the buffoon in his makeup. After all, this isn’t Russia, or is it?
Vincent Carapello has joined the art department of John Wanamaker’s.
After a long and successful art editorship on the Evening Ledger, Leon Holtsizer was lured away
by The Inquirer. Intent on creating an up-to-the-minute art department. The Inquirer has made a wise
choice. In addition to heading the art department, Mr. Holtsizer has charge of the production and
photographic departments. It is possible that Holtsizer’s art department will function along
the same lines as the Ledger Art Service of some years back. If so he will set a high standard of
efficiency for a newspaper art room. Mr. Holtsizer’s new portfolio must give him very little
time for his hobby of gentleman farmer at Bluebell, Pa.
Ed Smith delivered a series of four etchings to Aitkin-Kynett. They are part of a magazine
campaign for Hyvis Oil Co.
Frank Miller recently left a layout desk at N. W. Ayer, after an association of 13 years. He has
taken over the studio formerly occupied by the late Craig Johns, on South Washington Square. A
steady flow of work from his alma mater keeps him pleasantly occupied.
The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Institute of Decorators, an organization composed of
leading interior decorators, will hold its annual meeting at the Art Alliance November 11. Dinner is at seven o’clock, followed by a business meeting at which
three new members of a board of nine will be elected. Later Edward Warwick, principal of the
Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art, will address the group.
The American Institute of Decorators was founded five or six years ago in an attempt to obtain
better ethics in the profession and a general raising of decorating standards. There are annual
conventions of the approximately forty chapters located in the various states. The one convening in
Philadelphia this week will have about thirty members present.
To become a member of this organization, which is analogous to the American Institute of
Architects, a decorator must qualify as to education, experience, and must have a recognized place
of business. Through the efforts of the Institute of Decorators better trade relations have been
accomplished and the interest of the public in interior decoration has been considerably
Generally, though, in the last few years, people have been made more and more aware of interior
decorating as an art, possibly through the publicity given to the profession by the women’s
and the art magazines. Also, the public is beginning to realize the thorough training involved in
becoming an accredited decorator. Such a person must be skilled in many different crafts—in
wood carving, in color theory, in metals, in textiles, etc.
The Philadelphia Art Alliance announces another Stage Model Contest which will be held from March 13 to April 3, 1938. Eligible for this
contest are all persons, professional or amateur, and all schools, colleges, and dramatic
organizations. The models will be juried by an admission committee of well-known theatrical experts
and cash prizes will be awarded.
Copies of the rules and regulations may be secured by writing to the Art Alliance, 251 South 18th
A CONVERSATION PIECE
LYDE S HULER, R.
My friend has just sauntered into my office as I was putting the finishing touches to a small
model of a seashore home. People have the habit of asking whether you like the thing you have
created with years of experience and your very life blood. They ask you,—very casually,
“Do you like it?”
So I gulped down what I really wanted to say and replied, softly, “Don’t say
modern. That is no more modern than were the homes of the Lake Dwellers. It fulfills the human needs
and those of its environment just as did those homes built in the center of a lake. It
“Don’t say function,” my friend breaks in, “I am sick of the word.
Furthermore, who wants to live like the Lake Dwellers?”
“All right,” I said “Firstly, as to the word function. You say
modern—I say function—let’s call the whole thing off. It is a very apt word,
however, but I am sure we could all come to a quicker and better mutual understanding of ideas if we
could share them through other means than the cumbersome ambiguity of words. We waste too many years
of our life ferreting out definitions rather than principles. But to get back to the house and Lake
Dwellers. I do not want you to live like them. But I insist, as I said before, that this home meets
the restriction of its environment and present human needs, just as did those homes on stilts, of
our ancestors. For that matter this applies to the homes of any period which developed naturally
from contemporary living and materials before the decadences when precedent became the vogue
regardless of changing needs, equipment, materials and construction.”
“Well, if this so called Modern is not Modern, but something that has been done through
all time, why do the Modernists assume that they have discovered a panacea, an original, supreme,
divinely inspired idea. Why are they so cocky?
“If you feel that some assume too much, it might be from natural human weakness. It
flatters one’s self-esteem to believe you have discovered a brand new idea. Besides it is
good publicity. Once you become news, you do the thing news expects of you or you cease to be news.
And as for being cocky, I don’t think they are any cockier than the stylist who hides behind
period forms merely because years and a multitude of opinions have made them acceptable. This matter
of style or period has been our greatest bugbear. We, as architects, claim it is thrust on us,
demanded by our clients. That is true to a degree but I can’t help but feel it is a kind of
slothfulness on our part: an easy way out. Clients, after all, are practical human beings and come
to an architect as to a physician to be administered to. If we feel strongly enough about an
idea—if that idea be sane and logical and fulfill this human need premise, there are few
clients who will not give it a hearing.
Why should a bank, for instance, be confined within an empty husk of Roman days when it might
serve it’s usefulness in a language, materials, construction and form of the present. A
living, vital art museum cannot function adequately when encumbered by the limiting form of a past
age. Why copy a dead era, no matter how appropriate and perfect it was for those living in it?
“Well,” my friend said with a smile, “that all sounds very well even though
the words seem a little roundabout. I have heard all that before and have yet to see many examples
that prove the point. Are those gleaming white boxes you apparently defend as beautiful as a Greek
“Please,—I am defending nothing but a principle—a logical approach. We like
order. We like the logical order that is nature’s,—the order that has decreed the form
of the aeroplane, the safety razor, the telephone. There has been no precedent for these forms. They
are developing naturally and are beautiful. Our building, in which we live and have our being, can
and will be so ordered. There has been much done that is immature,—much developed form that
seems barren and uninviting. There might be more reasons than I can discuss at the moment for this.
There are spacial relationships, color harmonies, economy, prejudice, lack of understanding, bravado
and many other forces at work to bring such a result. This may mean little to you but in the
confusion I shall be able to get back to this little model and with it I may be able to explain what
I mean in this instance at least.”
“That looks more like a pretty dumn boat, and still it doesn’t look that good
either,” my friend puts in.
“Locating by the sea,” I went on, ignoring his disparaging remark, “my
client wanted a home that literally smelt of the sea. In it he wanted to be able to partake of all
the pleasures of the sea, sun and air. ‘I must breathe fully at all times’ he told me,
‘I want to live well and play well. I want bathing facilities for myself and friends within
easy access to the sea. I want the openness of a sea-going boat. I want a salon with much light and
air, staterooms opening onto a wide deck, and a large area for sun bathing. And;’ he added
‘knowing the ravages of salt air and water on materials, I want the maintenance low.’
And so, you see, that is what he will have—a concrete house with wide unobstructed window
openings and spacious areas for freedom and comfortable living. You say it looks like a dumn boat.
Yes it does, but maybe as a home it might function adequately for human needs and fit its
“Well, since you explain it that way, I admit that it would be a swell place in which to
live, and that it does develop a rather pleasing form. But how awful that would look in the
“Of course. There it would in no way fulfill human needs or that of its environment. One
must always design a home, literally, from the ground up. There have been many immature, glaring
white boxes built on a softly rolling, mellow green countryside. I call them immature because they
have mostly made living harmonious in its perfect adjustment to human needs but have ignored this
same harmony with relation to the environment. With our ever-increasing wealth of materials, natural
and synthetic, we should build homes that perfectly fulfill all laws of spacial relationship and
environmatic color harmony and form.”
“Well, if I get what those big words mean, why don’t we?”
“My Friend, we have and we inevitably will.”
ART AND LEISURE
REDERICK C. G RUBER,
Director, Cultural Olympics, University of Pennsylvania
America is fast approaching an age of leisure. The age of faith is past, the age of technocracy
has been carefully catalogued and shelved for future reference, and whether we like it or not we
shall wake up some fine day to find ourselves in a highly specialized and mechanized age with plenty
of time on our hands. The machine has taken possession of our factories and locked labor on the
outside. One man and a machine can now do in an hour what many men could only accomplish by days of
arduous toil only a few years ago.
A time must come when men can be assured of economic security in return for the work of a few
hours a day or of a few months a year. During the long intervals between the periods of gainful
employment there will be plenty of free time at the disposal of the individual. This time will be
used either for rest or for recreation. Art is concerned with both since it can be the handmaiden of
repose as well as of activity. Let us consider the former.
One of the most fallacious ideas which have been foisted on the modern world is that activity
always means progress. We have only to think of the poor captive in the squirrel cage to become
aware of the falsity of this statement.
In the age of leisure which is now upon us much thought will have to be given to providing the
setting most advantageous and conducive to rest and reflection. And who is better able and,
therefore, more responsible for setting the stage than the artist? It is perfectly true that a lily
may grow on a dung heap but thousands upon thousands of far more perfect blooms are nurtured in hot
houses or in well cultivated fields. The artist, then, is the true horticulturalist who must not
only prepare the soil, but determine the growth of the plant.
Let us carry our example one step farther. The florist transplants the lily to the environment
which he has prepared for it, and in which it will grow best. He does not leave anything to chance,
neither does he go into the highways and the hedges to cultivate the plant in its natural setting.
In like manner the artist must bring the public to the art which has already been prepared for it.
We cannot bring art to the public. The idea of beginning with the public where it is and hanging our
art galleries with the picture postcard variety of art in the hope that step by step we may lead the
public to appreciate a higher form is just as preposterous as taking our lily bulb and transplanting
it every ten days into soil of an increasing degree of richness. Beauty feeds on beauty, and the
human soul must be surrounded by loveliness if it is to become lovely itself. The soul which lifts
itself by the boot straps from the quagmire to Parnassus is the exception. I repeat, therefore, that
it is the artist’s first duty to replace ugliness and confusion with tranquillity so that out
of the calm of reflection and retreat may come the foresight and strength for the next advance.
Let us now consider the part of leisure which will be spent in activity, in recreation.
“Satan finds mischief for idle hands to do.” It is as easy to create beauty as to
create ugliness. It is as easy to build as to destroy. Often the proper contact with art has remade
not only the character of the individual but also of his whole family. The Graphic Sketch Club of
Philadelphia is a living testimony to this fact, for here time after time the youth who knows
nothing but the unutterably drab and sordid, whose leisure is spent in gangs, in destroying
property, and other even more harmful pasttimes suddenly realizes that the same hands which did
mischief have in them the power to create beauty.
It is the business of the artist to gather together such as have found in themselves the germ of
creative art and to form them into groups where each individual talent may be given a chance under
direction to develop, to flower, and to fructify.
Finally there is need of an organization such as the Cultural Olympics to afford an opportunity
and a place where the results of creative efforts can be shared with others, not in a spirit of
rivalry or competition but in a spirit of cooperation and sharing; not for prizes but for the joy of
the working and the inspiration which comes when the creator shares beautiful experiences with his
peers, and when he hears the words “well done” from his superiors. And what a joy is
here, when he takes his place among the master craftsmen, even though only an humble disciple and
holds forth to the world the thing which his own hands have made—a thing of beauty, a joy
Wayne Martin, art teacher, will explain the experiments he and his wife have been carrying on in
reference to methods of teaching pottery as a craft, and also the methods used by Pennsylvania Dutch
potters in their slipware and sgraffito at the Five O’Clock to be held at the Art Alliance on
Thursday, November 11th, at five o’clock. Members and guests are
invited to attend.
ETTING OPENS SCHOOL
Decius Miller to Manage
The Etting Art School, under the direction of Emlen Pope Etting, has opened for the fall term
with Decius Miller, former director of the Boyer Galleries, as manager. Classes will be held daily
with several criticisms weekly. Special emphasis is to be placed upon drawing and painting from
Mr. Etting was for a year assistant instructor in the painting classes of Franklin C. Watkins at
the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art. He has studied with Carles and Watkins in this
city, under Andre Lhote and at the Academie Colarossi in Paris, and at Harvard University.
The ninety-third year of the Moore Institute opened in October with a large enrollment. Additions
to the faculty were: Jacob Riegel in Mechanical Drawing and Construction, and Gilbert Simonski in
Advertising Layouts and Photography, as well as the use of the Photograph in up-to-date design. In
addition to important improvements in the library, the fashion arts department has opened new
studios for the more convenient accommodation of classes. Miss Ida Fenimore’s classes in
advanced pottery will be featured in connection with the teacher-training courses.
The Wallpaper pattern in eight colors, made by Becker, Smith and Page, Inc., entitled “The
Wissahickon”, now on the market, is from a design by Kathryn Sobey of the Moore Institute. It
is a composite of her picturesque series of water colors of vistas along the Wissahickon, which were
awarded the prize offered by the “Friends of the Wissahickon” in 1936 for the best
interpretation of the scenes along the valley in any medium.
Studios and Galleries of Moore Institute will be open to visitors and Founder’s Day
Exercises will be held on Thursday, November 11th, at 4:00 P.M. Nancy
Vinton McClelland will be speaker of the day.
AYNE M ARTIN
As an instructor in the Fine Arts at Radnor Township High School, I have been permitted to share
in a national experiment conducted by the Progressive Education Association. This is an eight year
study, and is being conducted in thirty secondary schools throughout the United States, both public
Its trials and successes have many phases and I hope to introduce some of both to you. Things do
happen in some of these schools around the Philadelphia area and I invite correspondence through the
column as to opinion and suggestion.
The main issue with us at present is the developing of a fully integrated program throughout the
Junior and Senior School, one that will work, one that can be adequately tested, and one that we
hope will send our graduates on to college or technical schools, or out into the world, far better
equipped than they were under the old regime.
A High School class of art students has taken over the decoration of a chapel.
The congregation is supplying the materials, the pupils the work, and their instructor is acting
as liaison officer. These embryo ecclesiastical designers are to be given free rein within the
church building, being controlled only by the liturgical laws of this particular sect and by the
amount of money allotted for supplies.
I wonder if the reader realizes what this means to these boys and girls as an educative problem,
and that the redesigning and refurbishing of a church consists of a great many more things than
painting its walls and varnishing its woodwork.
The problem starts with the chapel sign on the street and ends when the last fold of the dossal
curtain is arranged back of the altar. It means work to be done in metal and textiles, and on the
walls. It requires a sizable background in the knowledge of things churchly, and demands an
understanding of diverse technical skills and processes.
How many of our secondary schools offer such a flexibility of curricula, and how many
administrators, yes and instructors would countenance such a program to be carried out within the
walls of their schools, sacred to academic tradition and endeavor?
The following are the problems that have been or are about to be coped with: a church sign, a
processional cross and two processional torches, a lectern, a credence table, seven sanctuary
lights, the polychroming of a reredos, the making of an adequate dossal curtain to hang back of the
altar, a metal tabernacle, and finally the painting of symbolic panels on the walls. All this
demands the following skills and techniques: Design and execution in metal of repoussé and
enamel, wood carving and polychroming, illumination and engrossing of letters, numerals, and
symbols, embroidery on textiles, and execution of wall panels in egg-tempera.
Are you aware too that, while this work is in charge of the art department, it embraces also the
wood and metal shops, the history and Latin departments, and maintains its own research staff in the
town and school libraries?
Isn’t it stimulating that, in this area, there is a school so concerned with the training
of its pupils that it subscribes to a plan that will necessitate a dozen or more childrens’
absence from “formal” schooling for considerable periods?
This indicates a realization that creative faculties are better developed through actual
participation in practical problems, that conceiving and doing for a purpose are definite and
important items to be considered in a pupil’s education.
ART IN PRINT
EN W OLF
For many reasons, we are particularly intrigued by Hendrik Van Loon’s new book,
“The Arts” (published by Simon and Shuster). The text is not alone highly informative,
but literally sparkles with Van Loon’s typically droll humor. For example, his cynical
caption for a picture depicting a prehistoric battle especially amused us. We quote, “The
Oldest Picture of Man. The creature is engaged in his customary pastime of killing his
We must admit openly our considerable annoyance occasioned by the author’s swaggering
conceit, for his otherwise inclusive history of art is illustrated solely by his own sketches! We
are reminded of Whistler’s oft quoted retort to the critic who unbraided him for using a
variety of colors in his “Symphony in White”. Whistler fumed in this
wise . . . “Is F the only note played in a Symphony in F?
F . . . F . . . F . . . Fooll” And so we
ask . . . are Van Loon’s pictures alone to be included in a history of art?
L . . . L . . . L . . . Loon!
We cannot urge our readers too strongly to put Thomas Benton’s biography, “An
Artist in America,” published by Robert M. McBride & Co., New York, on their
“must” list. It is an important document of equal interest to artist and
Mr. Benton’s picture of growing America pushing Westward has, in this humble
reader’s opinion, seldom been rivaled. His experiences and problems, graphically described,
present his life, we suspect, with exceeding fidelity.
The sketchy illustrations, of which there are many, are as valuable to the book as Mr. Van
Loon’s illustrations are not valuable to his.
To paint well a man must have great power of analyzation. In “Artist in America”
the artist-author has, through his complete understanding and thorough delineation of his
characters, proven the reason for the importance of his art expression.
Don’t miss this exciting and important book. It’s well worth the price of
The oriental who originally stated that a picture is worth ten thousand words would heartily
approve “The Art of Ancient Egypt,” published by the Phaidon Press of Vienna. With the
exception of a short introduction, the volume is composed entirely of reproductions of the best
remaining examples of Egypt’s fabulously ancient Art. There are three hundred and forty
plates in all, and all are worth serious study.
ANNUAL INDEPENDENT SKETCHES OF SCHOOL ART LEAGUE
The annual exhibit of independent sketches of the School Art League, comprising more than three
hundred pieces in a variety of media including oil, water color, crayon, chalk, pastel, pencil,
block print, is now on view in the exhibition room of the Board of Education Building on the
During the season of 1937–38, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is supplementing
its regular courses in painting, sculpture, illustration and mural decoration with a series of
lectures on allied subjects.
Mr. Fred Weber is giving four talks on the Chemistry of Color, the same series which he is
presenting at the National Academy and the Art Students’ League in New York, and at the
Corcoran School in Washington.
Benton Spruance will speak on Lithography; Herbert Johnson on cartooning. Through the courtesy of
the Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation, Mrs. G. Johnsen will discuss the progress of the Graphic Arts
in Germany, illustrating her lecture with an exhibition of contemporary prints. Charles M. Beck, Jr.
will describe the modern process of color reproduction.
Walker Hancock will show slow motion pictures on casting sculpture in bronze, and on the cutting
of stone. Daniel Garber will analyze the exhibition problem for painters. Bernard Badura will show
how good frames are made and tell how to frame pictures properly. John Harbeson will give two talks
on the chronological development of architecture.
The students of the Academy are invited, but not required, to attend this comprehensive series of
WPA ARTISTS’ EXHIBIT
There will be an exhibition of water colors by artists on the Federal Art Project, Works Progress
Administration of Pennsylvania, at Kensington High School for Girls, Amber and Cumberland Streets,
November 5 to November 19, in the Art
Exhibition Room. The exhibitors include Glenn Pearce, Hubert Mesibov, Sam Brown, Stewart Wheeler,
Thomas Flavell and Max Koffman.
ANNUAL EXHIBITION AT ART CLUB
The Forty-Fourth Annual Exhibition of the Art Club of Philadelphia, 220 South Broad Street, will
be held from December 10 to January 6.
AS WE GO TO PRESS
“Best wishes for your success.”
President of the Art Alliance
“I agree with your theory that Philadelphia needs something like this; so let’s
‘go to town’, and better still, let’s stay to town. Best regards.”
“Good luck in your venture.”
President ex-officio of the Fellowship of the P.A.F.A.
“I am happy to subscribe to the new Philadelphia Art News. Here’s wishing the staff
of this new publication every good wish and a permanent success in our city. It is a much needed and
Instructor of Art, Friends’ Central
“With best wishes for the success of the enterprise.”
S. Walter Norris,
“I am very much interested in the announcement of the birth of your new magazine. It
should prove of great artistic and cultural value to Philadelphia, which has long needed such a
medium of expression . . .
“As one editor to another, may I extend to you my best wishes and sincere hopes for the
growth and success of your magazine. Good luck!”
Peyton Boswell, Jr.,
Editor of The Art Digest
“Congratulations on a swell idea!”
Assistant Director and Curator of Painting, Pennsylvania Museum of Art
“It is bound to be a success.”
State Director of Federal Art in Pennsylvania
“I am enclosing my subscription to your magazine because I am in sympathy with your
undertaking and I am interested in seeing it succeed.”
Head of Art Dep’t. State Teachers’ College
“Is your paper going to devote any space to Commercial Art? Many interesting things are
going on in the field which are never reported. Commercial Art seems to be wrapped in secrecy. I
think it would be interesting to read about new window displays, gas stations, advertising
campaigns, store fronts, or broadsides which have merit. These things are part of our daily lives
and are too often overlooked.”
S. J. McCunney,
We refer Mr. McCunney to Mr. Peter Boyle’s column.
Advertising Agencies, Lithographers, Publishers, Printers, etc. are asked to tell us about
distinctive work they have done.
“I have no doubt that your paper will give me more facts about art in Philadelphia. It is
true that this art world is ignored by a large proportion of the city’s population. Perhaps
this is because the Philadelphia temperament naturally expresses itself in philanthropy and charity.
Lovers of art and producers of it should stand on an equal footing.”
“It gives me pleasure to enclose my subscription to your new publication. I am thoroughly
in accord with your objects.”
B. I. de Young,
“Please enter my subscription for the November 5th and all
subsequent issues of the new PHILADELPHIA ART NEWS.”