PHILADELPHIA ART NEWS
ALL THE NEWS OF PHILADELPHIA ART IMPARTIALLY REPORTED
DECEMBER 20, 1937
Vol. 1 - - - No. 4
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NINETEENTH CENTURY SHIP PAINTINGS
BRENGLE COLLECTION ON VIEW AT MUSEUM
Ship pictures of the nineteenth century, largely from the collection of the late Laurence John Brengle, are on exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art until January 16. This seldom seen phase of art has been selected in accordance with the Museum’s policy of varying its exhibits to interest the greatest number.
The Museum’s exhibition tells the story of the shipping of the later, part of the eighteenth century, the age of the clipper and packets of the mid nineteenth century and the early age of steam. According to Henri Marceau, Curator of Paintings at the Museum “Its material illustrates the work of artists whose sincere approach to their subject frequently overcame lack of great formal training and permitted them to rise to unexpected heights. At their very best . . . these painters must rank with the most distinguished of marine painters.”
Outstanding among the pictures are the water colors by members of the Roux family of Marseilles, Anton Roux 1765–1836, and his three sons, Antoine, Frederic, and Francois. All members of the family except Frederic worked in their native city, representing the life of its ancient and active harbor. Their shop was the favorite resort of sea-captains from the world over, who came to buy paintings of their ships made while these were riding at anchor nearby. Homeward bound, many a Yankee shipper has carried the portrait of his ship for his employer or for himself. The Brengle collection contains sixteen examples by members of the Roux family as well as examples by some of their numerous European imitators, water colors by Honore Pellegrin, Domenico Gavarrone, W. Bygrave, and Edmund Camellati.
The balance of the Brengle Collection includes oils by William Yorke, J. Scott, J. E. Buttersworth, and other nineteenth century painters whose names are unknown. Of especial interest in this latter group are a number of works painted in the harbor of Hong Kong by Chinese artists. These were doubtless made in imitation of European or American originals which probably explains their strange mixture of oriental and occidental painting traditions. Pictures of this kind were brought to America in large quantities by ships engaged in the China Trade, and are familiar heirlooms in many a Philadelphia family.
Philadelphia Art News Extends to Its Readers The Heartiest Season’s Greetings
PHILADELPHIANS EXHIBITING AT NEWARK
The current ceramic show at the Newark Museum, comprising an extensive selection from the sixth exhibition of the American Ceramic Society at the Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts, should be of especial interest to Philadelphians. Six out of the one hundred and twenty-four exhibitors are local artisans.
E. deF. Curtis, dean of Philadelphia potters, heads the list with four pots in transmutation glaze. Mary Belle Barlow shows a bowl of celadon stoneware, Emile Zeckwer Dooner, a stoneware vase with carved design, Prue M. Harris, a porcelain vase with transmutation glaze as well as a group of six miniatures, C. Eleanor Pierce, a blue crackle ash tray, and Emily Swift, a bowl of white scraffito and a vase with brown decorated slip. All five women studied with Mr. Curtis at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art.
Any Philadelphians interested in contemporary ceramics are urged to see the show in Newark, since it leaves there December 27 to travel much farther afield.
ART CLUB PRIZES ANNOUNCED
Prizes for the Forty-Fourth Annual Exhibition at the Art Club were announced by the Jury of Awards December 14. Alice Kent Stoddard received the Gold Medal and a one hundred dollar cash award for her painting “Summer Light;” Honorable Mention was extended to Harold Weston for “Young Collie” and to Bernice Wintersteen for “Still Life.”
ELDON B AILEY
After the laborious and sometimes dull process of growing up, there is, now and again, an idea that forces itself upon us in none too comfortable a fashion. It’s an idea drenched in practicability—and maybe it has also occurred to you.
An artist must live.
This, incidentally, is not quite so platitudinous as it sounds. For there are many idealists among us who think artists are a thing apart—that they are not bound by the stupid material conditions of life—that if they desire to go visiting in another part of town they simply float there rather than resort to the pedestrian methods of the flesh—and that so mundane a thing as eating is unknown no less than unnecessary to them. In a word, the idealistic conception of an artist is that he should be, not a man, but an element of unquestionable divinity whose legacy of beauty is received free of charge and droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven.
If this were true, we’d find it considerably less enchanting than our idealistic friends. Without the soil there is no bloom, thank goodness, so our little idea once more thumbs its nose at the world in general. An artist must live.
Strangely enough, the ages in art history that produced works of the greatest “elegance” likewise nurtured a substantial belief in our little idea. However, in our own day there unfortunately exists an almost total lack of general interest in the material well-being of our artists.
Seemingly, the sole reason for this is, not a natural lack of susceptibility to art on the part of the public, but a pathetic state of mental and emotional inertia. We have demonstrated, as a nation, our magnificent gifts of achievement in industry and science, but remain practically halfwitted in our response to art.
It is unnecessary to say that the layman’s artistic backwardness is due largely to his lack of exposure to art’s seductive influence. He needs to live with it awhile before he takes it to his heart.
And this he’ll never do until he buys it. Furthermore, if he doesn’t begin soon we shed a tear for the future of art in America, because, as you’ve heard before, an artist must live.
This jolly holiday season is probably a very fat one for the stores that dispense tawdry chromos. In all likelihood half the purchasers cherish genuine affection for these horrible things—as do those to whom they are presented. Art might stand a fighting chance with the other half, if it had the opportunity—and the popularity of art, in that case, might spread.
Any reasonable sum of money—for from six to seventy dollars, let us say—will buy an original work of art by an American artist. Cheap chromos cost as much, and constitute complete financial waste.
So, Mr. America, if you’re going to give her a picture, make it an original!
We find the 44th Annual Exhibit of the Oil Paintings at the Art Club an extremely active and colorful show, with many good painters represented. The show is even in character—consequently no particular painting steals it. There are, however, a few that stand mildly above their fellows.
Grace Gemberling, for example, has created a most distinctive phantasy of tree roots, and Yarnall Abbott an equally striking phantasy of houses, not only decorative but rather dramatic. Carl Lindborg has gotten well away from his erstwhile formality in “The Player”—perhaps a bit too obviously posed, but convincing in its analysis of the character of the model.
Sue May Gill, in “Clouds over Bonaventure Island” has achieved the essence of simplicity in the use of broad brush strokes. From Biagio Pinto comes a tremendously stimulating study of “Flowers,” full of swirls that were dear to the heart of Soutine, but, in a sensuous way, very much the property of Biagio. Frederick Nunn comments amply and lustily upon “Tuesday After Labor Day,” Florence Standish Whiting’s “Sudden Storm” is a dream in paint, with pattern but depth, and Carroll Tyson’s spots and lines of color constitute a rich pigmental fabric.
Charles W. Ward’s “The Bowery” offers an interesting example of combination of the vision of painter and social message. The former is superior to the latter. Hari Kidd embraces an “Embrace” with his characteristically sensuous splotches of vivid color, and Antonio Martino reveals “Marie,” a quaint child quaintly handled.
Julius Bloch’s “Tom, the Bootblack,” a young negro, is the best realistic study in the show. Walter Stuempfig looks at “Laurel Hill” and creates a pleasantly Venetian composition and color design ill at ease with its subject. Cheery, too, is Walter Gardner’s “Figure Composition.” Arthur B. Carles’ “Flowers” are not flamboyant as usual—subtle, repressed, harmonious. “Turf at Chalma” comes from S. Walter Norris with his usual technique of color lozenges within static areas, and iridescence reminiscent of ancient pottery.
Never sweet is the brown, green and pink of Franklin Watkins’ seascape, but always expressive. Expressive also, but in a vastly different way, is Emlen Etting’s “Moonlight,” revealing great directness of plastic vision and the ability to compose strikingly. This canvas, incidentally, is reproduced as a supplement of this issue of the Philadelphia Art News.
Morris Blackburn contributes one of his most remarkable recent paintings. It suggests but does not embody Leger—it has succeeded in extracting the essence without slavery to substitute—and creates compact volume, with color extremely vital and stimulating. As one may suspect by now, we liked this canvas.
Among the other exhibitors are Florence V. Cannon, Margaretta S. Hinchman, Henry C. Pitz, Francis Speight, Albert Serwazi, Ralston Crawford, Herman Maril, Virginia Armitage McCall, Catherine Morris Wright, Walter E. Baum, Benton Spruance, Angelo Pinto, Justin A. Pardi, Salvatore Pinto, Abraham Chanin, David Burliuk, Fred Wagner, John Kucera, Mary Butler, Henry McCarter, Hobson Pittman, and the late Hugh H. Breckenridge.
We have rarely seen the work of a neater technician than Ralston Crawford, who is showing currently at the Boyer Galleries. Cleanliness of line and mass interpreting the industrial scene seems the sole concern of this artist, and he has turned it to remarkable graphic account.
It is unusual that a present-day painter has been able to pre-conceive his work so thoroughly—in several canvasses the pre-conception is rather too patent. Nevertheless, they are clever, and all manifest harmoniously grayed color.
“Coal Elevators” and “Whitewashed Barn” are both inordinately static—the latter almost killed by inertia. On the other hand, “Barn with Red Gable, No. 2” is an extremely fine composition of grays, black and greens. The static quality of this work is relieved by an occasional touch of tonal informality.
“Water Tank” is thoroughly exciting and out-Demuths the oils of Demuth, producing something that stimulates without the remotest suggestion of visual vitality.
We are at a loss to know why this artist hasn’t done more painting like “Small Hill.” Here we find more breadth of vision and gusto than in all the other canvasses. Yellow-brown mountains and light blue sky fairly palpitate.
That much used phrase, “social consciousness,” which appears to be cropping up more and more frequently in exhibits, in this instance claims first place in the showing of paintings and drawings by Joe Hirsch, now at the Philadelphia A. C. A. Gallery.
This quality in the painter seems to have developed hand in hand with his technique. The technique reveals much growth, but we wonder whether we can say as much about an occasionally enslaving insistency to load pictures with ideas quite foreign to pure painting. Propaganda pictures are always death-dealing in subject, and more than frequently death-dealing to the pictures themselves.
“Speaker:” the best character painting we have seen for a long while. “Servant of God:” much better than it looks—full of design and simplicity of color. “Two men:” also too Watkins. “Tempest:” the stock market can’t possibly be as important as this. “Landscape with Tear Gas:” would be a good landscape without tear gas.
“View of Toledo:” view of war is more correct. “Street Scene:” not worth the effort. “Idiot:” certainly sufficiently idiotic in subject matter, with fine concentration of color against black, and grand draughtsmanship. “Gabriel:” superb piece of painting, suggests an impressive future for Hirsch. “Rijksmuseum:” almost impressionistic. “Lunch Hour:” so what. “Hercules:” what might commonly be known as “good” painting.
If one likes forceful lithographs, Louis Lozowick’s prints at the Carlen Galleries are worth a look. While confining his graphic activities to the stone, there is much variety of technical interest.
Subjects range from the purely pictorial—landscapes, studies of canyons, and still life—to the industrial scene and portraiture. The industrial prints are most numerous, clean in conception and execution and highly imaginative in handling.
In the scenic realm we find a “Willow Tree” suggestive of the graphic language of a bygone day despite its modernity of treatment. “Grand Canyon” is a dark, well composed print, and in effect reminiscent of molten lava. “Granite Quarry” is a bit confusing with its multiplicity of inconsequential detail, and “Spanning the Hudson” decidedly Japanesque.
“In the Park” is notable for its rather original textural conception and sense of design, “Goat Ripping” is the only dramatic print, and “Still Life with Apples” the one distinctive composition of this sort, accomplished with accuracy that has not killed vitality.
Georgine Shillard, Ann Heebner McDonald, Angeline Christaldi and Marion Jane Turner have created a good show at the Plastic Club.
Angeline Christaldi has obviously, in portraiture, been turning an eye in the direction of the Russian Boris Gregorieff, as witness “New England Spinster.” “Stormy New England Sunday” has probably a little more in common with the artist herself. Contrast, and a happy one, is furnished by such canvases as “Farm, Chester County” and “Willow Tree,” which we consider the most individual expression in the show.
Ann Heebner McDonald offers a series of low-keyed canvases, and rarely have we encountered such subtle, but effective evasion of detail. Marion Jane Turner shows good academic painting, but little more. Here we should like to find more vigor and emotional penetration.
As a pure painter, Georgine Shillard has the lead. This artist has a pigmental vision unhampered by superficial pictorial considerations. Furthermore, we find plastic breadth, a feeling for subdued tonal texture, and happy compositional faculty.
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The PHILADELPHIA ART NEWS is unique among art publications. It covers the whole field of Philadelphia art; the fine arts, commercial art, photography, architecture, and crafts, with many interesting paragraphs about persons in these fields. It is the most informative art paper in Philadelphia. You will find many good selling points which will help you to secure subscriptions for this live paper.
SHALL WE CONTINUE ITS USE?
Following its major policy of promoting the interests of Philadelphia art and Philadelphia artists, this paper has included with each issue an insert bearing a black-and-white reproduction of a work by a Philadelphia artist.
After some experimentation we find that it is virtually impossible to add the insert to the paper in such a way that it will reach you in good condition. It usually comes to your home or studio badly rumpled.
This brings up the question as to whether or not we should continue this feature. We know that some of you like it. Some of you are saving our inserts after pressing out their scars of combat-with-the-mails. Others of you have told us plainly that it’s an impractical idea.
Please give us your advice. The majority shall decide. If you indicate that the insert brings you pleasure, we shall continue its use. If you are indifferent towards it, we’ll omit it in the future and concentrate our efforts on the regular pages of the Philadelphia Art News.
We hope you’ll speak up! A penny post card will be sufficient to bring us your opinion.
PRISMS. AN ARCHITECTURAL COLUMN
LYDE S HULER
Between 1900 and 1930, Urban population in the United States increased about 130%.
Between 1930 and 1935, it increased about 3%.
“The 1,400,000 annual increase of urban population recorded in the 1920–1930 census period was reduced to an estimated 400,000 a year increase in the first half of the current decade.”
The Report continues, “While this indicates a considerable retardation in the pace of urban growth, it is still significant because it exceeds the rate of growth of the population as a whole and contrasts with the relative stabilization of rural America. . . . The United States is approaching a roughly stable rural-urban equilibrium, which has already been reached by the major European industrial countries.”
What does all this mean?
What is to be the future pattern of our life and living?
What is to be the nature of our metropolitan areas, our Cities, if they survive at all?
In the centuries that we know we have seen other fine civilizations segregate in magnificent cities and then dissipate themselves over the face of the earth leaving ruins behind them. Is there a big rhythm that controls this destiny?
Life is change—ever increasing realizations, social, spiritual and economical. We can of a certainty see an economic change with our own eyes even though the spiritual one might be dim as in a mist.
The cinema, the radio, the automobile and trailer, the airplane.
We can see clearly how these things change our entire motivation of life.
The average man’s life is divided principally between work and leisure. Although the city may be necessary for man’s work, it no longer plays an important part in adding much pleasure to his leisure. The automobile permits him to cover much ground in little time, the airplane reduces long-time distance to a minimum, the radio and cinema are changing man’s conception of passive amusement and his active pleasures need space. Due to our industrial scheme the average man works less and has more time for play.
Where is this leading?
Cities for our work—the wide country for our living and our play. Wide underground trafficways lead us in and out of a towering work-city of glass and metal. Wide surface walkways let us pass about this city with calm and safety. Such a city would be clean, quiet and economical. With the ever-increasing number of machines industry is giving us for our ever-increasing comfort, such a city may let us feel the touch of a millennium.
Is this really where we are heading? Is this the “end-all and the be-all here?” Or would this be too much slavery to the “gadget?”
Does happiness lie in release from work through the instrumentation of the machine—the gadget, or through the joy in the planting of a seed that needs must be nurtured, faithfully and tirelessly until its glorious fruition?
Will our cities pass into dust or will we build anew?
- WOMENS’ CITY CLUB
- 1622 Locust Street
- Stained Glass, Mosaics and Oils from D’Ascenzo Studio. Through December.
- PLASTIC CLUB
- 247 S. Camac Street
- Oils by Georgine Shillard, Ann Heebner McDonald, Angeline Christaldi and Marion Jane Turner through December 22.
- ARTIST’S UNION
- 1212 Walnut Street
- Pre-Xmas Exhibition and Sale of original Paintings, Water Colors and Lithographs for the benefit of the Ambulance Fund for Loyalist Spain.
- Y. M. & Y. W. H. A.
- Broad and Pine Streets
- Work by children under auspices of Cultural Olympics. Two weeks from December 19, 1937.
- HARCUM JR. COLLEGE
- Bryn Mawr
- Paintings by Hobson Pittman. January, 1938.
- McCLEES GALLERIES
- 1615 Walnut Street
- 18th Century Portraiture Contemporary American Painting.
- WOMEN’S UNIVERSITY CLUB
- Warwick Hotel, 17th & Locust Sts.
- Paintings by Violet Oakley and Edith Emerson. Through December.
- CARLEN GALLERIES
- 323 South 16th Street
- Lithographs by Louis Lozowick to January 2.
- PHILADELPHIA A. C. A. GALLERY
- 323 South 16th Street
- Paintings and Drawings by Joe Hirsch to December 24.
- PHILADELPHIA ART ALLIANCE
- 251 South 18th Street
- Ceramic Sculpture Crafts by Alliance Members to December 31.
- Water Colors by William S. Schwartz. Cartoons and Caricatures.
- Oils by Maurice Molarsky to January 9, 1938.
- BOYER GALLERIES
- Broad Street Station Building.
- Paintings by Ralston Crawford to December 27.
- PENNSYLVANIA ACADEMY OF THE FINE ARTS
- Broad and Cherry Streets
- 133rd Annual Exhibition of Oils and Sculpture. From January 30 to March 6.
- 1525 LOCUST STREET
- Mellor-Gill. To January 1.
- PHILADELPHIA PRINT CLUB
- 1614 Latimer Street
- Fifth International Exhibition of Prints to December 25.
- WARWICK GALLERIES
- 2022 Walnut Street
- Exhibition of American Painting.
- ART CLUB OF PHILADELPHIA
- 220 S. Broad Street
- 44th Annual Exhibit of Oil Paintings to January 6, 1938.
MODERN HOUSE ERECTED ON LOCUST STREET
PUPANO PLANS HOME AND OFFICE FOR DR. LUONGLO
There’s quite a story behind the home and office under construction for Dr. Romeo Luonglo at 2054 Locust Street. It seems that the Doctor started to renovate an old house, had plans drawn by architect Pupano. Things progressed, ideas were conceived and discarded, the Luonglos visited Cleveland and, presto, a house of brick and glass were born. It has a nicely balanced modern interior. Indirect lighting, glass brick walls and fireplaces, modern mechanical kitchen and laundry, air conditioning, and the most modern methods in plumbing, have all combined to make a practical and beautiful home.
MARGARET M. LUKENS WINS PRAISE IN NEW YORK EXHIBITION
CRITICS HAIL PAINTINGS BY PHILADELPHIA ARTIST AT STUDIO GUILD
Paintings by Margaret M. Lukens of 501 Fayette St., Conshohocken, Pa., received high praise from critics who saw her exhibition at the Studio Guild, 730 Fifth Avenue, New York. Among other commentators impressed with her work is Melville Upton of the New York Sun, who wrote that the pictures were “soundly painted and marked by pleasing color and untroubled banking. ‘August Afternoon’ and ‘Port Antonio’ and ‘Near Mandeville’ of her Jamaica series seem especially pleasing.” The exhibition comprised twenty-two paintings, most of them landscapes of New England and Jamaica.
In February Miss Lukens will sail on an eight-month European painting trip, to begin in Jugoslavia. This trip is largely the result of the unusual encouragement given her by critics who have been impressed with her facility in portraying on canvas places she has visited, as demonstrated in the canvases on exhibition at the Studio Guild.
PINTO BROTHERS DESIGN STAGE SETS
Angelo and Salvatore Pinto, members of the well known Philadelphia atelier, are to be congratulated on their work for the Philadelphia Ballet. Although known first of all as painters, the two brothers will soon be equally famous as stage designers. Salvatore did the sets for “Let the Righteous Be Glad,” a dance based upon a Negro spiritual, and for the very popular “Barn Dance,” while Angelo designed the settings for “Terminal.”
HASTINGS TO SHOW IN NEW YORK
T. Mitchell Hastings, Philadelphia artist who has recently completed a one-man show at the Warwick Galleries, will have an exhibition of water colors at the Studio Guild, New York, January 17 to January 29.
AN AUCTIONEER COMMENTS ON CHANGING TASTES
“In the sales rooms of the auction galleries are reflected the changes of artistic tastes,” says Edmund B. Brickley, for some twenty-five years auctioneer with Samuel T. Freeman and Co. And as an illustration of his point he reflected on the lack of interest in paintings of the American School, embracing such artists as Murphy, Wyant, Lawson, Chase, Crane, Metcalf, and others.
Prior to, and during the World War, European art was at its ebb. Pictures of the American School were in great demand. However, once the dealers had resumed the importation of foreign paintings, American art lost its general appeal. The taste in art now, broadly speaking, is for moderns, particularly the French School, as seen in the recent purchase of Cézanne’s “Bathers” for the Wilstach Collection. Of course the fine examples of the eighteenth century English School will always be in demand.
Reminiscing over past sales, Mr. Brickley recalled one of the most valuable collections ever offered at auction in Philadelphia, the George C. Thomas Collection which realized approximately one hundred and ten thousand dollars. The outstanding picture in this collection was Millet’s “Labourer’s Return” which brought twenty-five thousand dollars. In this same collection appeared the William Penn Charter for the Province of Pennsylvania which realized twenty-two thousand, five hundred dollars, and is now in the Library of Pennsylvania at Harrisburg.
Mr. Brickley also referred to the time of twenty-five years ago when Early American furniture was of little value, and claw and ball chairs, pie crust tables, and other rare pieces could be obtained for about one tenth of the prices today.
Maurice Molarsky’s one-man show at the Art Alliance begins December 20 with a private view and reception to Mr. and Mrs. Molarsky at 8.30 P.M. A special demonstration of portrait painting will be given by Mr. Molarsky on December 29 at 8:30 o’clock.
Gladys M. G. West announces an exhibit of small pictures at her studio, 34 S. 17th Street. Among the paintings on view are scenes of the Devonshire coast and the Cotswolds, done during her visit to England a year ago last summer, sea-scapes, and local scenes, as those of Germantown.
. . “Congratulations on the Philadelphia Art News received this morning.”
“. . . read the Art News . . . looks great . . .”
THE OLD CYNIC
“Please come over at 10:30 for a job,” phoned an art-director’s assistant from an advertising agency, one Saturday morning in November.
“Thank you, I’ll be there,” answered the artist.
The art-director showed the artist a sketch for a complicated piece of commercial display which would require twenty or thirty hours of work to finish for reproduction.
“This job,” ahem, “doesn’t pay very well,” warned the art buyer.
“Twenty-five dollars is the best we can do on it.”
“Perhaps we can make it up on something else sometime.”
“When must you have it?”
“Not much time—but I guess I can do it.”
Week-end plans were cancelled. The artist worked night and day. He did his best in the hope that the agency would give him additional work. He delivered his finished drawing on time. The art director handed him a formal order.
“Order number 711476
WORKING DRAWING FOR COMMERCIAL DISPLAY.
Maximum Price $25.00”
On the back of this order form was a lengthy paragraph of fine type. It said in part, “This agency will not be responsible for payment for work ordered until it has been approved and used by client . . .”
This particular piece of display, demanded so urgently during a week-end in November, was scheduled for use during May of the following year.
The artist was paid $25.00 with a check dated May 15.
“Can you explain to me,” asked a pencil seller, “why artists are such slow pay?”
JOHNSON COLLECTION REINSTALLED
The remarkable importance of the Johnson Collection in the field of European painting is again reaffirmed by the recently opened installation of the galleries. Here quality alone has been the main consideration in the selection of some three hundred pictures from the entire collection of close to thirteen hundred.
For the past several years, since the Collection has been housed at the Philadelphia Museum, the public of the City has had an opportunity of viewing exhibitions comprising complete schools. Thus the Italian painting, the Early Flemish and Dutch, the later Flemish and Dutch painting and the French School have been shown in rotation.
For the first time since the Collection has belonged to the City, the finest works of all schools have been selected and hung to illustrate with important examples the development of painting from the fourteenth century to the close of the last century. Because its value lies chiefly in its completeness, the Collection as now shown presents an orderly display which carries one from the religiously inspired productions of the early Renaissance epochs in Italy and north of the Alps, in Flanders, Holland, France, Germany and Spain through to Impressionist painting of the nineteenth century in France As an asset to students of painting and to scholars in the history of art, the Johnson Collection’s present exhibition assumes first rank.
Most of the masterpieces which have been on temporary display in the galleries and period rooms of the Philadelphia Museum have been withdrawn from these locations and have been included in the present exhibition in the galleries of the Johnson Collection. These include, among the Italian masters, the “Way to Calvary” by Giovanni di Paolo and the brilliant panel by Sassetta of the same subject. The great Pietro Lorenzetti, “Madonna and Child” one of the finest by the master in America—has also been included. Florentine masters are represented by the four predella panels by Botticelli representing scenes in the life of Mary Magdalen, the Portrait of Lorenzo Lorenzano, also by Botticelli and three earlier works—the St. Francis by Fra Angelico and the two panels of saints by Masolino da Panicale.
Venetian painting is strongly represented by the Pietà by Carlo Crivelli, the Madonna and Child by Giovanni Bellini and the Portrait of a Man by Antonello da Messina, one of the finest of his works. Additional names represented in the Italian section include those of Francesco Pesellino, Niccolo di Tommaso, Matteo di Giovanni, Bernardo Pintorrichio, Benozzo Gozzoli, Vincenzo Foppa and Cima da Conegliano. The closing chapters of Italian painting, the productions of eighteenth century Venetian artists are adequately illustrated by pictures of Antonic Ganale, Francesco Guardi, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and Michele Marieschi.
The list of Flemish primitives is long and distinguished. It is headed by the small “wonder picture” by Jan van Eyck—St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata—a work which has been classed among the greatest masterpieces in American collections.
The wealth of the Johnson Collection in works of these masters is a continuing testimony to the taste and knowledge of Mr. Johnson who was in advance of his time in his appreciation of Northern painting and was thus able to secure paintings which in quality have been the admiration of present day students in this field.
Paintings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries include the well known Unfaithful Shepherd of Pieter Bruegel, three pictures by El Greco—the Crucifixion, Pietà and the Portrait of a Lady, several sketches by Peter Paul Rubens among which is the sketch for the picture “Philemon and Baucis” now in the Museum of the History of Art in Vienna. This last work hangs near the Crucifixion by El Greco and serves to show how much Rubens was influenced by the great Spanish painter. In the same gallery are hung the Johnson Rembrandts—the Finding of Moses, the Head of Christ and the Crucifixion—the first two unquestionably by the Master—the last attributed to him with reservations.
Nineteenth century French painting, fills the last of the file of nine galleries. Here the quality of material and its scope is unusual. The gallery illustrates French painting from Poussin to Monet. The masters represented in addition to Poussin include Chardin, Ingres, Delacroix, Géricault, Courbet, Barye, Corot, Millet, Manet, Sisley and Monet. Among the important works here are the Baptism of Christ by Poussin, Fruit and Flowers by Delacroix and the large and impressive Alabama and Kersarge by Manet. Sculpture by Barye and Rodin completes the installation.
The present exhibition will remain on exhibition until further notice.
THE SWEDISH MUSEUM
ANE R ICHTER
This is the first of a series of articles on “Museums You May Have Missed”
Is your knowledge of Sweden limited to Garbo and smorgasbord? If so, you’d better take a “C” bus down Broad Street and visit the American Swedish Historical Museum, Nineteenth Street and Pattison Avenue.
The American Swedish Historical Museum, originally the John Morton Memorial, was founded in 1926 to present in a concrete form Sweden’s “total gifts to the progress of our Nation.” There are sixteen galleries, all of which will be completed in time for the “New Sweden” Tercentenary in 1938, devoted to various phases of Swedish American culture. There is the John Ericsson Room, representing inventions and engineering, the Jenny Lind Room, showing the contributions citizens of Swedish origin have made to American music, etc.
Although the purpose of the museum is primarily social and historical, the plastic arts and the crafts of Sweden have not been neglected. Sculpture and oils commemorate famous men and women; modern and antique textiles are displayed; various periods in Swedish decoration are illustrated in the conceptions and furnishings of different rooms; representations of metal work include several very unusual pairs of candlesticks as well as a collection of copper and silver coffee-pots, tea-pots, and other vessels.
Doubtless the most interesting phase of the museum is its illustration of modern Swedish decoration, of which a good example is the Technical Room. This room, dedicated to Ewald Dahlskog, the famous builder, is dominated by a huge mosaic mural, on the north wall, composed of over two hundred different varieties of Swedish woods. Also of especial interest in the room is the hand-woven rug. The center of this rug is designed to simulate bricks, while the motifs in the border are derived from tools.
This museum, open week-days 9–12 A.M. and 2–5 P.M., Sundays 1–5 P.M., is well worth exploring, if for no other reason than to feel smug when people begin raving about the Swedish art exhibition which will reach Philadelphia next summer.
The Juries for the One Hundred and Thirty-Third Annual Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, open to the public January 30 to March 6, have been announced. The Painting Jury will consist of James Chapin, Chairman, Randall Davey, Edward Hopper, Leon Kroll, Reginald Marsh, Hobson Pittman, and Andrew Winter. The three members of the Sculpture Jury will be Walker Hancock, Chairman, John Gregory, and Lee Lawri.
LORENCE M ARTIN
Did you know that:—
The Art and Crafts Guild is showing quite a varied line of native, hand-wrought jewelry. Jean Fishburne is showing a very original chain bracelet and a beautifully made belt. Lucy Rockwell shows only gold and silver rings set with semi-precious stones, while Harriet Lyn makes all types of jewelry, very modern or very antique, earrings, necklaces, cuff-links (which are very popular now), and rings.
Cross and Burke, the glassblowers, are again at Gimbels. Theirs is an ancient craft and one that is rapidly dying out. There are but eight of them left in the United States, and as far as Mr. Burke knows there are no apprentices. Mr. Cross studied with the Venetian glassblowers on the island of Murano in Italy after serving his apprenticeship at the Alton Glass Works, Illinois. Mr. Burke, whose apprenticeship was served in the old Sandwich Glass Works, Massachusetts, has been over 56 years in this work. While we stood there and talked to him Mr. Cross made us a beautiful little bud vase in blue glass, decorated after the manner of the Venetian blowers, so fragile in appearance that we were almost afraid to take it with us.
The other night we saw in a friend’s home a most interesting iron candlestand. Upon inquiry, we found that it had been made by Paul Medary of Newtown, Pa., an instructor in metal work at Central High School. Paul Medary has been instructing boys for many years in this craft, and no doubt some of the excellent iron work we saw at the Public Ledger High School Art Show of last year had its inception when Mr. Medary taught the instructors of these boys in his classes at the old Central High School Annex.
The painting by Emlen Etting used as an insert in this issue is on exhibition for the first time in the current Art Club show.
Mr. Etting has exhibited in Philadelphia, New York, Paris, Dallas, and Worcester. His work is represented in the collections of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, and in many private collections. Among the Philadelphians who own paintings by Etting are Sturgis Ingersoll, Baron and Baroness Rudolph de Schauensee, Mrs. Newbold Welsh, and Mary Binney Montgomery.
MUSEUM RETURNS TO GOLD STANDARD.
The Plaza of the Pennsylvania Museum has recently been graced with a statue of Anthony Wayne mounted on a horse. Both man and beast are apparently solid gold, and life-size too. This brilliant nick-nack is, we trustingly believe, from the private collection of King Midas, and while the golden touch was held in high esteem by that potentate and his immediate and exclusive circle, it leaves something to be desired by outsiders who prefer the dignity of sculptural form to the blinding glitter of a golden pretense.
“Sam,” the puss whose photographs in book form will delight so many children this Yuletide, surprised photographer Edward Quigley last week by presenting him with kittens. In introducing Sam and family to our reporter, Mr. Quigley used her new name—Samanda.
It is the boast of a certain Philadelphia artist that he has saved $1,800 by cutting his own hair. We tried to work it out on paper—and conclude that the man is a braggart, or a fabricator, or a poor mathematician, or has flagrantly extravagant taste in barbers. He hasn’t lived much more than half of his three score and ten.
An Art Dealer of this city was descending in an elevator the other day, bundled, as usual, in an overcoat several inches thick, a heavy scarf, and big wool gloves. Behind him a very tiny little girl looked woebegone.
“What’s the matter, dear?” Her mother asked, noticing the child’s pout.
The tot looked up at the great shape which completely cut her off from the rest of the world. “Too much people,” she said, her lip quivering.
Talk about hot, up-to-the-minute news—it was said in a column of this paper a few weeks ago that Geoffrey Grier was the only bearded A. D. in town. We investigated, and learned that Geoff was shorn—eight months ago. The courteous thing would be for people to make a public announcement of such drastic personality changes. Therefore we take this opportunity to state that we, of the Art News, can no longer swear “by the beard of the publisher.” B. W. appeared without his chin-spinach about a month ago. Some of us didn’t notice it for a week.
We knew an Irishman once who, with his face properly grease painted for an amateur theatrical performance went around saying to acquaintances, “Do I look very different since I had my mustache shaved off?” Many bit, and really believed the change in his appearance was due to the absence of a mustache he had never had.
We read in the paper that Noguchi, the well known Japanese painter, won a raffle in New York for the benefit of the Chinese victims.
ART IN PHOTOGRAPHY
HARLES O GLE
CASUAL PICTURES ARE PLANNED
The planned casual demands an interesting and important place in pictorial photography.
Snaring the right moment . . . capturing the true atmosphere and feeling of, perhaps, the pastel grays and strong shadow of late afternoon, where sharpness of detail and depth of focus are not always too essential.
Stress rather the delicate relationship of surroundings to the movements and moments of the scene, sacrificing the mere technical to its secondary position, to accentuate the perfection of the personality of the time and place . . . enhancing the mood.
The uninspiring flatness of continued sharpness throughout can often be dunked to advantage in favor of flavor.
Maintenance of the relative values of distance and space are paramount, giving a sense of dimension.
Let the picture roll.
Don’t let conscience be our guide!
LANTERN AND LENS
The Lantern and Lens Club is now holding a memorial exhibition of photographic studies by the late Mrs. Walter Murphy, one of the Club’s oldest members who died December 1936. The exhibition, which covers Mrs. Murphy’s work from 1902 to 1935, includes both landscape and portraiture.
The Lantern and Lens Club also announces that Miss Hedwig Rohn, of Chestnut Hill, was awarded the Laura Reeve Cup, for her entry in the annual competition. This contest, which is open to active and associate members of the Club, this year had as its specified subject a study of a table top.
A private viewing of paintings and water colors by Miss lone Allen, Miss Margaret D. Day, Miss M. Pauline Frederick, Miss Lucretia Lloyd, Miss Elizabeth Marston, and Miss Anne Scull was held Sunday, December 19. The viewing was followed by a tea at the Chestnut Hill Art Centre, where the paintings are on exhibit.
PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION AT PENN
The jury of awards for the photographic exhibition at the studios of the Cultural Olympics, University of Pennsylvania, met on Monday, December 13, and selected the following pictures for the final exhibition:
“Amphitheatre” and “Requiem” by Robert A. Barrows; “In the Sail Loft” by Carroll Frey; “A Bit of A Bridge” by E. Horner; “When the Sun Shines in the Foundry” and “The Pit” by John P. Mudd; “Mlle. La Blanc” by Henry F. Plate; and “Force” by Evelyn L. Swain.
The jury consisted of Richard T. Dooner, George Cavendish, and Yarnall Abbott. The exhibition closed on Sunday, December 19.
Edwin Rosskam, whose candid shots have been a feature of the Record, has resigned from that paper to free lance.
William Irving, of the Evening Ledger camera staff, resigned to join the Inquirer’s photo staff.
THE SAGA OF A CAMERATEER
HARLES O GLE
You get the picture . . . we can’t print alibis.
Mr. Citizen opens the early morning edition of his favorite newspaper and settles down to enjoy the latest doings of the world along with his morning cup of coffee. What attracts his attention first? Headlines or pictures . . . or coffee? It’s pictures. They make him read the headlines and forget the coffee.
“Look, Anne, here’s a swell picture of that liner sinking.” or “Mary, here’s a picture of that king being assassinated. Wonder how they got that?”
And well may he wonder. Few stop to think and fewer still are aware of the romance, hardships, and the adventures both tragic and comic experienced daily by that farflung band of cameramen gathering the pictorial record of world events as they occur, visualized for you with your morning milk or aspirin.
The first duty of a cameraman is to be THERE. On the spot. He must have the jump on reality and not depend as the scribes can and frequently do on ex post facto accounts or observations. He can’t cover his assignment by telephone as reporters can. He’s got to get the picture, regardless of weather conditions, unsympathetic petty officials, and a thousand and one unexpected difficulties that continually crop up and must be promptly met with and disposed of. Then too, he must always be on guard against being outsmarted by rival photographers who are now and then not overscrupulous with their little tricks designed to bring home an exclusive “beat” for their papers. It has been my experience, however, that most of the boys stick pretty well together and cover their assignments in harmony—and may the best man win.
I remember an amusing bit of camera warfare that raged during the filming of the famous Zev-Papyrus race on the Belmont track. At that period I was covering the Philadelphia area for Acme Newspictures. They had made a deal with Pathe Newsreel and tied up the exclusive rights to photograph that important event. The New York office called me on the telephone and instructed me to come to New York to snap just one picture as the ponies galloped past the third quarter. They placed a still-cameraman at each of the quarter posts and at start and finish to get a complete record of the race for the sports editions. Movie cameras were also planted at each quarter-mile post. Fifty Pinkerton detectives guarded the track, taking up all cameras whose owners could not show the special Pathe-Acme pass.
Just as the race was starting rival newsreel and still-cameramen appeared like magic at the high fence surrounding the track, mounted on trucks equipped with scaffolding, platforms, and long-focused lenses that shot over the fence and covered the track quite comfortably. Our outfits had expected something like that, however, and were ready for them Hastily unlimbering a number of long tubes they lit them and set up a rapid and effective smoke-screen a few yards in front of those predatory cameras. I got my picture all right . . . but so did the boys on the other side of the fence. The wind had suddenly shifted and the smoke drifted back in front of some of our own cameramen, leaving the picture-pirates a clear field. Fortunes of war.
On many assignments preliminary passes must be obtained from police or Burgomeisters. Location must be carefully studied and imagination and resourcefulness brought into play in the selection of the most advantageous positions from which to shoot, together with a definite plan of mobile action, anticipating and catching all important sequences as they occur. During the last days of the Hauptman trial at Flemington, Larry Keighley, Philadelphia Evening Ledger photographer, did what he called his death march each time the jury walked to and from the Court House and the Union Hotel across the street. He kept his camera focused on a juror whose collapse from heart failure was momentarily expected. Fortunately the juror’s heart continued to beat, so Larry missed his “beat.” Had the juror collapsed it would have necessitated a new trial.
A nose for news is as essential for a cameraman as for a reporter. It’s especially important for syndicate photographers. The men who work for only one newspaper are generally safe in shooting everything in sight and letting the editors do the selecting. The syndicate men, however, must do their own editing and know just exactly what pictures tell the story. Newspapers subscribing to syndicated picture services for news outside their own territories allot space for only two or three pictures of any one event, and these must tell the story.
Delivering the product of one’s camera is the next vital factor in the game and must be as carefully planned as getting the shots. The first pictures to reach the home office are the ones that grab the gravy. The speed with which they are printed and broadcast throughout the country by airmail, train, messenger, telephone, and radio is incredible. Therefore the necessity of getting the films into the home office as quickly as rival films, if not quicker, is of paramount importance. On big news stories in France and Belgium the films are put aboard planes, weather permitting, and flown to Cherbourg or LeHavre in time to catch the fast liners before they weigh anchor. In New York harbor they are picked up at Quarantine, developed, printed, and headed for publication before the ship has docked.
When Mlle. Lenglen and Helen Wills staged their famous battle of the century at Cannes, some fast work was required to get the tennis pictures from the Riviera to New York via Paris. As a matter of fact the famous tennis match almost went unphotographed. A would-be monopolist spent good money to tie up the exclusive picture rights. His plan for doubling his money was to charge each movie and still cameraman a heavy fee for the privilege of making pictures. This ambitious holdup was defeated because the victims banded together and refused to take a single picture. The Carleton Hotel management, on whose courts the match was to be played, and who saw their publicity plans tumbling about their managerial ears, stepped in at this critical juncture and anon everything was hotsy-totsy and the cameras were soon clicking and grinding all over the place. Without one sou of tribute. I had arranged for a room for the day at a hotel and had just enough time after the match to dash to my room and unload and pack my films in my temporary darkroom—the clothes closet. I wrote my captions while enroute in a taxi from the hotel to the station and put pictures and captions in the hands of a messenger aboard the Paris-bound express without a minute to spare. I had already studied time tables and boat-train schedules and knew that it would be nip and tuck getting the package across Paris from the Gare de Lyons to the Gare St. Lazare in time to catch the Olympic boat-train, so I wired my assistant in Paris to meet the train and get an agent de police to ride on the runningboard of the taxi with him to facilitate transit across Paris. Just one traffic jam and the jig would be up. The package made the boat—and the cop made some money.
—To be continued—
At the December meeting of the Photographic Society there was an election of officers. They are as follows.
President, Robert A. Barrows; First Vice-President, Dr. E. Howell Smith; Second Vice-President, John Allen; Secretary, Richard D. Tifft; Treasurer, J. Jacob Baylson.
Mr. Wagner Schlessinger of Philadelphia, Assistant Director in charge of Astronomy at Franklin Institute and Lecturer at the Fels Planetarium was slated as the guest speaker, but at the last moment was unable to attend. Mr. Lewis P. Tabor, Professor at The Episcopal Academy and a member of the Society who is famous for his astronomical knowledge and photographs of the solar system took up the subject of “Astronomical Photography” in a very interesting manner.
COMMERCIAL ART NOTES
ETE B OYLE
Some time ago Floyd Davis, delineator of the haut monde and Ozark hillbillies, was ambling around New York’s populous East Side. A hubbub of voices caught his interest and he draw near a spirited street fight.
He watched one of the brawlers, a typical street gamin who might have stepped out of the cast of “Dead End,” whale the daylights out of a much larger opponent. Davis struck up an acquaintance with the youngster and talked him into a ring career. Under the illustrator’s kindly aegis, the lad has run up an impressive string of victories. So enthusiastic is Davis that his interest in the squared circle threatens to wean him away from his drawing board.
H. Rudolph Pott is one of a distinguished group of Lincoln-Zephyr owners featured in a folder put out by the Ford people. A photo shows Rudy standing beside a slinky car in pardonable pride. Ask the man who draws one!
Roland V. Shutts has built himself a telescope, thus joining Larry Braymer, another amateur astronomer, in owning a private observatory. Shutts has been a pushover for astral bodies ever since the Planetarium came to town.
Which prompts us to remark that any artist who hasn’t visited the Planetarium at the Franklin Institute should be shot.
Commercial artists aren’t the only ones who get rush jobs. Take Cesare Ricciardi, the portrait painter, for instance. At a party recently, one of the guests, discovering his vocation, grew quite animated on the subject. He had, it seems, always wanted a portrait of his wife. As the party progressed, the idea became an obsession By 2:30, he got to the point where he just couldn’t go on without a portrait of his wife. Ricciardi was finally dragooned into painting at that ungodly hour, and by working feverishly under the prodding of his patron, handed him a finished portrait of his wife at 6:30 A.M. The couple proudly bore off their prize to catch the next train to Baltimore.
“Win” Lambdin addressed members of the Sketch Club at their December meeting, speaking on “Type in Advertising.”
Ralph Seberhagen has joined the art staff of Al Paul Lefton’s New York office.
Some few years ago, while the country was still in its arid state, the local chapter of the Art Director’s Club held a soirée. The speaker of the occasion was Arthur Munn, then A. D. of N. W. Ayer. A great many of his auditors were commercial artists who, in a sense, had an axe to grind. When Munn finished his speech he was accorded generous, nay, fulsome applause. One chap, who shall be nameless here, save for the fact that he’s one of the best artists in town, reached a new high in candor. Having acquired a lovely glow during the evening, he rose to his feet, made a generous circular motion with his arms, and shouted, “Hooray for Art Munn! He buys art work!”
DON’T LOOK NOW DEPARTMENT
We saw that hard working member of the commercial fraternity, William Hirsch, hurrying across South Penn Square with a load of work under his arm. He ducked into the Girard Trust building with one of those “Why-did-I-ever-get-in-this-business” looks on his face.
Speaking of long range assignments, we think the palm goes to a chap who works on a local house organ. Abraham (Abe) L. Cassel has been doing a monthly page of cartoons for the Telephone News the Bell Telephone Company’s publication. For twelve years “Abe” has been turning out his lively pages for a faithful following among his fellow employees. Considering the fact that his drawing must of necessity deal with the amenities of the phone business, it’s a pleasure to say that Cassel hasn’t turned out a dull page. Cassel is a huge fellow, his physique recalling the days when he worked as a cable man for the company. His flair for cartooning brought about his transfer to his present work in the News Offices. “Abe” has contributed cartoons to the Saturday Evening Post, the Country Gentleman, and the old Life magazine, besides his monthly stint which reaches upwards of 20,000 readers in this state and Delaware.
Incidentally, the cover on the Christmas number of the Telephone News is by Harry Goff.
“Lucky” Holtsizer, of the Inquirer photographic staff, is in the hospital as a result of the skid of a chair on which he was standing to shoot pictures of a gathering at the Bellevue Stratford Hotel December 6.
SEACOAST OF BOHEMIA
Shakespeare once let fall the remark that each man in his time plays many parts. One of the brighter spirits in our own particular art circle attempted to enact the role of bartender in a popular rendezvous, while the regular dispenser was busily creating sandwiches for some of the patrons.
He waited on several friends, but our hero’s doubling in brass was a dismal failure. Smarting under the criticism of his efforts he withdrew, silent, aloof, a figure of dignity.
“. . . I want to compliment you on your issue of the Philadelphia Art News.
“It enriches the art life of Philadelphia, so the best of luck to you, and congratulations for your initiative.”
We would like to call attention to the fact that we printed incorrectly in our December 6 issue the phone exchange of the Philadelphia Art Supply Co., Inc. The correct number is: Pennypacker 0340.
A BUSY YOUNG MAN
Henry H. Hathaway, young Philadelphia artist, has been asked to submit sketches for the new window displays of the Hamburg-American - North - German - Lloyd steamship agency.
Hathaway, who graduated from the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Arts in 1928, is probably one of the busiest young men about town. He teaches industrial design at Beaver College, Jenkintown, as well as assists Benton Spruance with the painting classes the older artist conducts there. He designs uniforms for Jacob Reed’s Sons; he has tried his hand at designing wall paper. He is also associated with the technical department of the Chestnut Hill Playhouse, a department which includes stage designing and construction. Because of this experience he will serve on the jury for the Stage Model Contest at the Art Alliance to be held in March 1938.
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
The other day we overheard someone say that Christmas was an extradition he approved of. We feel the same way. We applaud the idea, but we always arrange for our vacation directly it’s over.
However, if anyone has any money left for gifts unbought, here are a few more suggestions.
Studio Easels, those important and very practical objects so hard to acquire at the start of one’s career, range from $2.00 to $75.00. We believe the one priced at $75.00 has running water. There is a very fine, sturdy easel on the market for $5.75 that answers the student’s problem and that can be stacked in a very small space.
Air brushes remain about the same in price, $10.00 to $38.50 at most stores. Air brush work is a field in itself, and unbeatable for rendering and retouching poster displays, etc. We are still using a Flit gun, but we admit that it’s messy and are quite willing to accept a more mechanical method.
Water color and oil outfits are always acceptable and desired. We saw a very complete set of water colors for $8.50 that answers all the questions. While many artists prefer to select their own oil colors our local art supply shops know the artist’s needs and have very representative sets made up from $2.00 to $25.00.
We really aren’t responsible for these last two. They were handed to us in our travels and we give them to you for what they are worth.
“Terrestrial and Celestial globes (Heaven and earth to you) a gift with universal appeal, from $.75 to $29.50.”
“Many new indoor and outdoor thermometers—something different in the way of a gift, $.50 to $2.75.”
The last item worries us. Why does an artist need a thermometer? We know if we had one it would just be another excuse for not working. It would always be either too hot or too cold.
To obtain names and addresses of stores where the items mentioned above may be purchased, phone Rit. 9810, or write “Tricks of the Trade”, enclosing a stamped, addressed envelope.
ENRY W HITE T AYLOR
Linseed oil has been the most commonly accepted and generally used painting medium since the beginning of the eighteenth century.
Some technical books of today recommend RAW COLDPRESSED UNBLEACHED LINSEED OIL above all other media. For an example, Dr. Martin Fischer says: I. Paint with one medium only—preferably raw unbleached linseed oil. 2. When necessary cut this oil with pure gum spirits of turpentine (it bites into your previously laid-on paint coat). 3. Use no varnishes or shellac in painting. Varnishes are alcohol soluble so that if your painting is ever cleaned the alcohol employed endangers your picture. 4. Use no driers. 5. Use no more oil than necessary, but use enough.
Max Doerner disagrees with Dr. Fischer. Doerner’s analysis of the techniques of the old masters indicate that the greatest luminosity, brilliance and variety have been achieved by underpainting with tempera emulsion and glazing and overpainting with resin oil colors.
Doerner has much evidence in favor of his theory in the form of surviving examples of the works of Van Eyck, Rubens, Titian, El Greco, Velasquez, and others. On the whole these have withstood deterioration far better than pure linseed oil painting done at a later date. For instance copies of Durer done in oil have yellowed far more than the much older originals. In glazing and overpainting, these masters used various combinations of Venice turpentine, damar varnish, stand oil, sun-thickened linseed oil, and raw cold pressed linseed oil. One part Venice turpentine, one part damar varnish, one part stand oil or sun-thickened linseed oil makes a medium which permits the glistening sparkle of Rubens or the variety and glowing chiaroscuro of Rembrandt if used over suitable under-painting.
The most durable painting technique known to us is the pure egg tempera of the early Italians. Blending is difficult in tempera, which is by its nature airy, mat, luminous, but dry and hard in finish.
The old masters proved conclusively the practicability of using a combination of tempera and oil painting—lean under-painting in tempera with solidly heightened light areas—overpainted with resin oil colors.
We don’t subscribe to Dr. Fischer’s warning against the use of varnish in painting because it may be damaged by restorers of the future who may use alcohol. That’s a restorer’s problem. Incidentally, restorers should be extremely sparing in the use of so strong a solvent as alcohol on any painting.
It isn’t particularly interesting that we can duplicate the effects achieved by the old masters. It is notable that with our tremendous development of variety in styles through impressionism, cubism, expressionism, surrealism, etc., we have NOT used a comparable variety in techniques. Many new effects have become esthetically acceptable to us, but we have not approached the realization of their full power because we have drowned them in linseed oil or confounded them with careless craftsmanship. This indeed is one of the greatest indictments against many innovators in art—the fact that the painters themselves do not consider their work important enough to demand the fullest technical development—the richest and most complete pigmental vocabulary.
AYNE M ARTIN
THE PROBLEMS OF THE ART TEACHER
The trend in modern education seems to be in the direction of the fully integrated program. A great deal has been done in the lower schools but as usual the secondary field is almost barren of purposeful activity.
Integration is not allowing the Latin pupils the supreme pleasure of making nonsensical notebooks in Art class. It’s the Latin and the Fine Arts departments merging for as long a time as is necessary for the furtherance of a specific group activity. It stands to reason, though it’s hard enough to get teachers and administrators to admit that there are certain fundamental things that should throw the various departments of any secondary school together from time to time.
Student interest—that sadly neglected quality—is the main thing. The soundest curricula can be built upon that interest and desire. As I have said in previous articles, that interest once aroused can be directed by skillful motivation and teaching to any one of countless ends. That interest is usually individual and when you’ve a group of diverse interests to cope with you’ve a job on your hands. Other times it is wholly within a whole group, but there is always this to look forward to—you’re not the only teacher in charge. You’re one of a group who have pooled their interests so that some kid may be able for once in his life to get a real piece of work done.
Here is an illustration where the Latin, Geology, Shop, Library, and Art departments all worked together, motivated by one pupil’s interest in a Roman ring:
A year or so ago, the Latin teacher sent over to my room and asked to borrow a copy of an old Roman ring I sometimes wear. He’d been in the habit of doing that for some time in the past, but this day one of the girls in his class brought the ring back to me, and asked where she could get one like it. Not knowing, I suggested she try to make one. She said she thought that was an idea, and I forgot about it, but a couple of days afterwards the Geology teacher the girl’s home room teacher, dropped in and reopened the incident. I called over the Latin teacher and together we worked out a unit in Roman Jewelry. I showed some slides and drew some pictures. They read about Romar jewelry in their translations and studied the stones the Romans used in Geology class. The upshot was that soon the shop was collaborating with us, with the help of the library and a couple of interested friends, in the construction of a lapidary wheel. Our interests in jewelry that, for the moment, were very modern went suddenly historic, and for a time we ate and slept and lived in a combined aura of abrasives, blowpipes and classical Latin, all working together.
Was it worth it? To our way of thinking immeasurably so. I got in all sorts of good licks on design, pupils building up a deficiency in their graphic vocabularies, a new craft interest was added to the school equipment, and the Latin department had a lot of grand fun gathering material in the original, and were hard pressed by the demands of the pupils, believe it or not, for more material to translate.
That is what I mean by integration—useful activity under enjoyable conditions for all concerned departmental barriers down, pupils and teachers all working together for a common interest. It is a thing possible in any school, no matter how large, or how poor. If you look you can always find opportunities offering themselves to you. It means work, more preparations, but when you consider the worth of the projects you could further, it seems to me that you can ill afford to let them go by, noticed perhaps, but unheeded.
EXPERIMENT IN EXHIBITIONS
In an effort to create a further interest in painting among the twelve hundred students at the West Chester State Teachers’ College, the Art Department has recently conducted an experiment in exhibition methods.
A group of twelve prints, chosen by Living American Art Inc., instead of being hung in the college gallery, was distributed about the campus where the pictures would fit into the general decorative scheme and where they would be seen by all the students as they went about their daily affairs.
Several of the pictures were hung in the main corridor of the girls’ dormitory, several in the men’s dormitory, others in the reception room and in the offices.
Each week during the four weeks of the exhibition the pictures were rotated so that the students became newly aware of them as they appeared in different settings.
It was found that this informal and friendly way of exhibiting the pictures was more successful in many respects than the exhibitions held in the art gallery. Students, while waiting between classes or loitering in the corridors before dinner, studied the pictures, talked about them and formed opinions which they expressed more freely than in the more austere atmosphere of the gallery.
The pictures, reproduced by the collotype process, included Valhalla Bridge by Thomas Donnelly; Outdoor Circus by Lucile Blanch; Hawthorne, New York by George Picken; My Wife by Alexander Brook; Still Life by Niles Spencer; American Interior by Charles Sheeler; Fire Eater by Franklin Watkins; The Village Church by Emil Ganso; The Kid by Isabel Bishop; Autumn Leaves by Georgia O’Keeffe; Deer Island Islets, Maine by John Marin; West Point, New York by Louis M. Eilshemius.
Three other groups of twelve prints, also chosen by Living American Art, Inc., will be exhibited at future times.
BENDINER DRAWINGS SHOWN
The Agnes Irwin School is now exhibiting a group of colored pencil drawings by Alfred Bendiner, the artist member of the University of Pennsylvania expeditior to Iraq. Mr. Bendiner does not confine himself to the handsome pottery finds and designs which they unearthed, but also sketches the native workers and characters of the town—and with a sense of caricature and humor.
Lean, long-necked orientals, swathed in bright colored robes march through his sketches on their fallen arches and curling toes. Occasionally a rotund lord of the household sits smoking his weird pipe—or riding his came followed by his harem.
Mr. Abe Birnbaum, well known for his work in STAGE, THE NEW YORKER, and HARPER’S BAZAAR, has just concluded an exhibit of drawings at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art. Mr. Birnbaum has exhibited with the American Artists’ Congress, Salon of American Humorists, and the Society of Illustrators. He has also held one-man shows at the Delphic Studio Gallery, New York City, and at the Philadelphia Art Alliance.
ART STUDENTS FEDERATION
The Philadelphia Art Students Federation, newest of the local art organizations, held its first regular meeting Friday, December 10, at four o’clock at the Art Alliance. The Federation, formed to further the interests of Philadelphia art students, plans to sponsor a sketch class, hold forums under the leadership of both commercial and fine artists, provide for exhibitions and lectures. It is hoped that all art students with similar tastes will join the group at their weekly meetings, to be held Friday afternoons at four o’clock at the Art Alliance.
WATER COLOR AWARD
Miss Thelma Mellien, a member of the Art faculty of the West Chester State Teachers’ College, received first award for her painting at the Chester County Art Association water color exhibit which opened December 4.
FRIENDS OF ART
The Friends of Art and Education, an organization recently formed “by citizens to develop, protect, and advance the educational and cultural interests of the community,” has just issued a pamphlet containing an analysis of the Cézanne “Bathers” at the Pennsylvania Museum of Art, written by Dr. Albert C. Barnes.
Officers of the association are Frank A. Schrepfer, President Robert Gwathmey, Vice President DeHaven Hinkson, Treasurer Henry Hart, Secretary.
Anyone wishing to obtain information concerning the association may do so by communicating with Leonard J. Schwartz, 1315 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. No membership dues are required.
The Fourth Annual Amateur Fine Arts exhibition by the younger members of the Penn Athletic Club has just been concluded. The exhibition consisted of eighty-five pieces submitted by twelve members of the Club.
The Jury, composed of Miss Arrah Lee Gaul, B. A., Chairman, Mrs. Caroline Gibbons Granger, and Mr. Frank W. Copeland of the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art, selected the work of Virginia Hinkle for the silver award, that of Helga Wohlert for the blue ribbon honorary mention, and that of Irene Thorn Murphy for second honorary mention. Judge Frank Smith presented the prizes at a tea followed by a fashion show.
“Impressionism to Expressionism—from Manet to Matisse” was the subject of Dr. Christian Brinton’s illustrated lecture at the Art Alliance five o’clock, Thursday, December 16. Dr. Brinton’s work in popularizing Russian art in this country has been great, inasmuch as he is an authority on its history and possesses a famous collection of this art. Formerly a Curator of Paintings at the Brooklyn Museum, he is also the holder of many decorations from foreign governments for his services in introducing distinguished art from various countries to the American public.
Lucienne Bloch, internationally known sculptress, lithographer, and fresco painter, and Stephen Dimitroff, assistant to Diego Rivera on his Detroit and Radio City murals lectured with lantern slides on “The Murals of Diego Rivera,” at the Philadelphia New Workers’ School, 329 Pine Street, Sunday, December 12. Miss Bloch, a pupil of Rivera, is well known for her murals in the House of Detention and the George Washington High School in New York City. She and Mr. Dimitroff were co-artists of the Madison Settlement House Murals, also in New York City.
TAKE A WALK
The display field of Philadelphia is looking up. After years of being referred to as “Sleepy Town” or “The Siberia of Display.” Philadelphia has awakened to the fact that she not only has fine display men, but an appreciative audience to play to. This year, the Christmas display—both interior and window—has far surpassed that of New York City. This statement, coming as it did, not from Philadelphians but from New Yorkers, we can make boldly, yet with due modesty.
The event however which we feel is of tremendous importance, and one indicative of the new feeling of progress and unity pervading Philadelphia, is the formation of the Philadelphia chapter of the International Association of Display Men. This organization, open for membership to men having a definite connection with store or utilities window and interior display or designing or manufacture of display or display fixtures, has a purely educational object. The organization plans to build to a membership of about two hundred.
The officers elected December 13, are: Henry Morris, President; (Assistant Display Director of Gimbel Bros.). Lawrence Heiss, Vice-President; (Philadelphia Gas Works). W. Gilbert Brown, Secretary and Treasurer; (Director of Exhibits and Display—Philadelphia Electric Co.). Mark Bieler, Chairman of the Board; (Director of Display—Bonwit Teller). Edward S. Arkow, Chairman of Educational and Program Committee; (Director of Display—Gimbel Brothers).
Among the applicants for the charter of the organization were: Edward S. Arkow, (Director of Display—Gimbel Brothers). J. E. Madden, C. J. Floyd, (Display Department—Bonwit Teller). Thomas Parks, (Display Department—Jacob Reed’s Sons). Craig L. Embree, Walter Faber, (A. H. Geuting). Frank Hoagland, (Display Department—C. S. Schrack Co.). Al Elvanian, William Mayers, (Elvanian and Mayers Co., Inc.). Theodore Taylor, (Display Department Philadelphia Gas Works). Vincent Nass, (Display Department—Philadelphia Electric Co.) and Messers Morris, Heiss, Brown and Bieler.
This column wishes this organization the greatest possible success, and offers its cooperation and services in entirety. We hope we can be its voice, and that its members will use the column as a clearing house for news and ideas.
OUR PHOPHECY FOR THE WEEK:
Watch for geometric design. There has been a definite feeling that Baroque and Rococo have had their day. The arrival of the rhomboid, sphere, and prism is imminent.
ART IN PRINT
EN W OLF
Last issue we gave vent to our sentiments concerning “Art Books,” at some length. Several of our friends have approached us since that time in this wise, “O. K. So you don’t like the average Art Book. So you think they are phoney. Well, what in blazes do you like?” That sort of stopped us for awhile, but after considerable searching, we unearthed (fourth row up, second book, in our library) Sir Joshua Reynolds’ time tested “Discourses,” written in the XVIII century. It is not only a classic of English Literature, but contains a wealth of material which we believe to be of immeasurable value to the artists of today.
The Discourses arose out of Sir Joshua Reynolds’ election in 1768 as President of the then newly created Royal Academy of Art. One of his duties was to “say something” at the annual distribution of prizes. Here arose the idea of giving an annual discourse or lecture on art in general. There are fifteen discourses in all, each representing a year of his Presidency of the Royal Academy. To be sure, there is much to find fault with in Sir Joshua’s theories in the light of modern art education, but on the other hand, we unearthed some tid-bits such as the following, “A facility in composing a lively and what is called a masterly handling of the chalk and pencil are, it must be confessed, captivating qualities to young minds and become of course the objects of their ambition; they endeavour to imitate these dazzling excellencies which they will find no great labor in attaining . . . by this useless industry they are excluded from all power of advancing in all excellence. Whilst boys they are arrived at their utmost perfection; they have taken the shadow for the substance and make the mechanical facility the chief excellence of the art, which is only an ornament, and of the merit of which few painters themselves are judges. This seems to me to be one of the most dangerous sources of corruption and I speak of it from experience. Academy Directors are frequently pleased with this premature dexterity in their pupils and praise their dispatch at the expense of their correctness.”
Take heed, oh ye moderns, and beware the facile painter. That his art may be a sham thing of surface only, is as true today as it was when Sir Joshua Reynolds, in the middle of the XVIII century, warned of the pitfall.
The “Discourses” may be purchased for the modest sum of eighty cents. They are published by the Oxford University Press in the series known as “The World’s Classics.” We urge you to include this book in your art library. You will find its value will exceed its price many times.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Your quotations about the Cézanne “Bathers” did not include the most important one, the official statement of the French Government. The statement reads:
“He worked on it during long years, modifying it constantly, and finally abandoned the work unfinished.”
The statement is printed on page 120 of the first edition of the official catalogue of the Cézanne Exhibition held by the French Government at Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris, in 1936.
ALBERT C. BARNES.
The November 22 issue of the PHILADELPHIA ART NEWS objected to the propaganda of the art dealer, and the poisoning of the public taste with French painting. Admitting that from the point of view of nationalism, it is French, nevertheless, it IS painting. Here in America we have, of course, Americans. Some of them have ideas of an illustrative nature. Some of them have good ideas on illustration. But painters? There’s another tough job for a modern Diogenes.
Shall we glance at the current exhibition of “American Art” at the Art Alliance? For example, there is such a stalwart as John Steuart Curry whose sensational American scene has all the wallop and plastic quality of an 1850 daguerrotype. Cézanne gazes up from where he spends his time fiercely trying to organize his canvas, Matisse glances up from his absorption with color relations—and there high above on wide, bright wings, soars Mr. Curry, high in the blue of advanced illustration. Is his the art for the sample bag of American salesmanship that you mentioned? Or Burchfield? Hand tinted photographs of the American suburb? Or anything else like these two? American salesmanship might well try to peddle these in France. And might succeed, for after all, Daguerre, the inspiration of these paintings, was a Frenchman.
But it might be a better idea to have something good to sell. Hesitantly we advance the names of some of the minor lights who were born before the vice of American art nationalism. Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Renoir, Miro—these inherit and build on a growing idea about painting, overlooking (and are they mistaken?) the representative American idea fixé of colored narrative. We seriously feel that the painting of the American scene is undoubtedly American scene in appearance—but structurally and in essence it ignores both the “thing in itself” of our time and the great evolution and ideas of painting; that the great sources—El Greco, Giotto, Raphael, Goya—have been brushed aside for the brown sauce descriptivism of Bougereau.
As for the venal French art dealer. He doubtless was cunning—but he sold, by and large, what is fairly well recognized as art. The American dealer has adopted his methods and emulated his astuteness, but deals less in valid painting and much more in noise and confusion.
Apropos of your mention of Cézanne’s paintings. One of them is here to be looked at in the museum. It might even be SEEN. The ability to see beyond the appearance of a Raphael Madonna would serve well enough. And there is enough aesthetic dynamite there to warrant the effort. In fact, one may even discover the quintessence of Picasso’s debt to Cézanne. And while we have heard vague rumors of another and better Cézanne in the neighborhood of Philadelphia, we can at least look at this one.
Dear Mr. Wolf:
Art News, as a specialized publication covering all events in and near Philadelphia, is doing well by the art institutions and artists. Certainly here is an opportunity for unlimited cooperation to further the local theme at home and in the national forums. Philadelphia has the elements of art leadership in America, but it needs unity. Many art innovations were begun here to be taken up elsewhere, the latest of which is your publication. May it succeed a long time!
I should like to correct your jolly little note which stated that I am “donating my old car to the Pennsylvania Historical Society.” The truth is the “old car” belongs to my son Edgar Baum. He bought it from a farmer for $5.00. As a pre-medical student at the University of Pennsylvania, he is learning the elements of taking things apart and putting them together again. By diligent application throughout the summer, he and a host of other boys nursed the flivver back to circulation again, and on the campus this autumn it became quite famous until he was chased from a parking lot. No, he is not donating it to anyone.
WALTER E. BAUM.
In thanking you for your courtesy in sending me a complimentary copy of the PHILADELPHIA ART NEWS, and while enclosing my check for one year’s subscription, I wish to express my admiration for your courage in founding such a periodical. Your paper should be of great interest to enough people to support it; such a medium of expression, as well as of news, is needed.
I like the idea of your calling it “your paper,” meaning everyone’s.
May I make a suggestion? A number of art publications, particularly those aimed to report news and to review exhibitions, have, as you know, failed. In my opinion, in each case this failure was due not so much to lack of public support, as to the unguarded literary style (if I may call it “literary”) of the editorials and submitted articles which appeared in them.
There is a tendency among artists when they step out of their particular field and indulge in literary expression, to wax Bohemian, and even editors at times reflect the arguments of Montparnasse or Greenwich Village.
I believe if you insist upon a dignified style of writing, and build up for your paper a reputation for thoughtful and reliable criticism (which you have well begun) you will succeed.
ARTHUR EDWIN BYE.
Ethel deTurk Benners has just completed the decoration of the Paradise Room at the Wellington The predominant features of the room are ivory panels containing brilliantly colored birds, the phoenix, the crested crane, the peacock treated in an oriental, decorative manner. The woodwork and part of the wall space is a soft, cool green, the drapes echoing this green and the bright tones of the bird panels.
The oriental note is characteristic of Mrs. Benner’s work, and is probably derived from the five years she spent as first docent at the University of Pennsylvania Museum
This is not Mrs. Benner’s first venture in decoration. A few years ago she and Lucile Howard did the bar and ball room of the Congress Hotel, Baltimore, while last year she did the A.W.A. bar and supper club in New York City for Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt.
The jury of awards for the current exhibition of sculpture met on Wednesday, December 15 and selected the following pieces for final exhibition:
- Dying Chinaman
- Morris Aranow
- N. Wood
- Madeleine Robertson
- Edith Hecht
- Ruth Lomish
The jury consisted of Dr. R. Tait McKenzie, Mr. Walker Hancock, and Mr. Henri Marceau. The exhibition will continue through the present week including Sunday the 19th.
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