PHILADELPHIA ART NEWS
ALL THE NEWS OF PHILADELPHIA ART IMPARTIALLY REPORTED
JANURARY 3, 1938
Vol. 1 - - - No. 5
Ten Cents per Copy
PHILADELPHIA ART NEWS
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- Ben Wolf
- Henry W. Taylor
- Russell P. Fairbanks
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1938 finds the Art News still in its infancy, but it’s a lusty infant!
We have not for a moment relaxed our efforts to report, impartially, all the news of Art in Philadelphia. Our methods for collecting the news are being steadily perfected. The paper grows in vitality.
You who read the Philadelphia Art News have been enormously helpful. Your enthusiasm and cooperation and your constructive criticism have been invaluable.
We have by no means attained the standard of usefulness we have set for ourselves. Part of our approach to that standard has been definitely mapped. Each step along the way means more comprehensive integration in a news picture of the ties connecting all branches of the plastic and graphic arts.
We believe that this broad scope is necessary if we are to present the art activity of Philadelphia in true perspective, that is in direct relation to everyday life.
We thank you for your active interest. We urge you to express your ideas and reactions. We need your guidance.
We hope that this New Year will disclose a more luxuriously flourishing art spirit in Philadelphia.
May you all prosper in health and accomplishment!
DEGAS FOR PHILADELPHIA
“THE BALLET CLASS” ADDED TO WILSTACH COLLECTION
Another example of nineteenth century French painting has been acquired by the Wilstach Collection, “The Ballet Class,” by Edgar Degas, one of the most distinguished draftsmen of the century. In announcing this purchase, the Park Commission said, “This important example of Degas’ painting was among the pictures purchased direct from the artist by Mary Cassatt, painter and friend of Degas, for her brother, Alexander J. Cassatt.”
“The Ballet Class,” which was painted about 1880, is considered by the Museum to be one of Degas’ finest expressions. Its choice by Mary Cassatt, a Philadelphian and a distinguished Impressionist painter in her own right, shows her to have been a sensitive observer and a connoisseur of the art of her own time.
Philadelphians will remember “The Ballet Class” from the exhibition of Impressionist Figure Painters here in 1934, and the Museum’s Degas Exhibition held last year. After the latter showing it was returned to Paris to be included in the Degas Exhibition organized by the French Government.
The painting will be exhibited at the Pennsylvania Museum of Art on the Parkway, where it will hang with other paintings lent from the main body of the Wilstach Collection, housed in Memorial Hall. Included in this collection are several other paintings obtained from the Cassatt family some years ago.
Joseph E. Widener, chairman of the committee in charge of the Wilstach Collection, effected the purchase of this picture.
SHALL WE CONTINUE ITS USE?
The insert question still rages. Shall we or shall we not continue the black and white reproductions of works by Philadelphia artists? We have received many opinions. At present the vote is ten to one in favor of the insert, wrinkled or smooth. But we want to know what YOU think. Drop us a line and give us your candid ideas on the subject.
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.
We hope you’ll speak up! A penny post card will be sufficient to bring us your opinion.
STOKOWSKI COMPARES ART AND MUSIC
PREFERS POST OFFICE TO ART MUSEUM
“To the discriminating, it speaks volumes that the new Post Office is artistically of more value than the Art Museum.” And with this blow to Philadelphia’s artistic complacency, Dr. Leopold Stokowski launched into a stimulating discussion of art and art appreciation in the world today, more particularly in this city.
Following up his initial rhetorical question concerning the artistic merits of the Museum building, Stokowski gave his reasons for preferring the Post Office. The Post Office is light, effective, and American in its conception; the Museum is quasi-Greek with hundreds of tiny windows, whereas “the light should come from above, and then one might be able to see the pictures.”
Mention of the Greek model for the Museum, rather than a design based on function, caused Stokowski to remember with amusement the Greek inscriptions on the outer walls. Why could they not have used English instead, English texts that would have said something to the average man? His feeling toward the whole matter of the Museum’s impracticality and hence lack of artistic value was illustrated when he pointed to the ceiling of the Pullman car where the conversation was taking place and said, “Look at that false ceiling. Metal painted in panels to look like wood. Why?”
“What is good and what is bad taste in art?”
Stokowski made no dogmatic reply to this question, but instead explained his own position, which has been formed through his experience as a musician. “In music we know that every ear is constructed differently. No two people hear music the same way. I feel that Bach was a great musician, but I have no way of proving it. It is all a matter of personal reaction. Is it not the same in painting? Probably no two eyes see color or form in the same way.” He pointed to the Pullman chair. “If I were to say that this pattern is good and beautiful, would you believe me because you feel that I have good taste? Painting and music are intended for the enjoyment of people. Why all this discussion about Cézanne? Who is to say what is a good picture or a bad one?”
“Do you feel that one day art will attain the same widespread popularity that good music now enjoys, in this city, largely through your efforts?”
“I feel that television will increase the public appreciation of the graphic arts. It will be possible to bring visual art in the form of good composition, color, form, to the homes of us all, even as radio has brought good music, and unfortunately, much trash, to the attention of every man, woman, and child in the United States.”
Pursuing our private grievance we asked Stokowski if there existed in music the same condition that prevailed in the art world, namely that our local artists have to gain their reputation in New York before they are accepted here.
“Yes. I have been telling people about a talented young Philadelphia conductor everywhere I go, but unfortunately he has no reputation outside our city, and for that reason it seems hopeless.”
ELDON B AILEY
Let’s talk a bit about print-making.
We know a number of devotees of art—both professionals and laymen—who just simply don’t like prints. Of these two sections of the Society for Suppression of Prints, the artist-members give us the greater variety of reasons for their distaste. Some object to the fact that prints can be duplicated, others because prints are not sufficiently even in the process of duplication. There are those who contend that prints are not originals, and that artists should produce only “original” work.
The technical restrictions of a print bring ominous objections from another portion of our artistry, while again we have encountered gigantic contempt: that the print medium is one for the “illustrator” or “dilettante.” With artists, however, the most popular point of distaste seems to arise from the print’s great dependence upon halftone. (We are not, incidentally, speaking of Japanese prints.)
The laymen who do not like prints say very simply, for the most part, that such things are merely holes burnt in paper.
Despite all this, we like prints.
While some of these objections are to a certain—and extremely mild!—extent true, there is, however, a greater truth that none of the Members seem to have mentioned: that a work of art remains a work of art whether etched on copper, drawn upon stone, painted with coffee or carved in soap. The durability of the last two media is somewhat dubious, but its discussion is beyond the scope of this article.
We believe that many Members of the Society would be inclined to toss their membership cards in the nearest wastebasket were they to undertake a broader vision concerning the print as art.
The resources of the symphony orchestra, or of opera, are infinite, technically. Upon the huge symphonic or operatic canvas the composer has carte blanche. He is fleetingly iridescent, with no tonal terra firma, as was Debussy with “Pelleas and Mellisande”; should he be more hot-blooded, he writhes upon Wagner’s bed of tonal passion with “Tristan and Isolde”; or creates the monumental classic-dramatic temples of a Beethoven or Brahms (if he can); likewise, the delicacy of Mozart or simplemindedness of Haydn have filled many a symphonic canvas amply. For what is orchestral composition but an oil that we see with our ears?
Now we’ll turn to Chopin and Liszt as exemplars of the purely pianistic in piano music. Regardless of how “orchestral” some of their compositions might have been or how actively we had responded to symphonic or operatic music, it would never occur to us to listen to the piano works of either composer expecting to hear sounds similar to strings, woodwinds or brass. We do not expect an orchestra when we attend a piano recital, or, for that matter, a recital of songs or of any solo instrument. Which is as it should be, for is not solo composition a print which we see with our ears?
The more universal this concept becomes, the wider will we find general sympathy for prints.
Also, it may lead the more thoughtful of our number into fruitful critical bypaths. Having established the bond connecting the powerful and technically weighty piano works of Beethoven and Brahms with their respective orchestral compositions, they will have little difficulty sighting the broad highway from Etching to Painting traversed by Rembrandt and Goya. They will find the inventiveness of Picasso’s oils reflected in his prints, the decoratively orchestral Matisse doing solo work in his lithographs, and Whistler freeing himself more through halftone than color.
Also, they’ll learn that many print-makers are not painters in spirit, as Chopin was not an orchestral composer, and this will induce the added delight of discovering the sometimes obscure, sometimes conspicuous technical and spiritual differences that exist in such cases.
In a word, they’ll look upon prints AS prints.
Speaking of solos, the lithographs of Yasuo Kuniyoshi, now being shown at the Carlen Galleries, are little short of gems. Kuniyoshi is one of the few painters who have acquired an almost equal amount of fame in the direction of print-making, and there is a most conspicuous connection, in this case, between the two.
Having devised a highly individual technical idiom, this painter print-maker has turned it to as effective graphic, as well as pigmental, account. Kuniyoshi’s treatment of line and mass is quite as personal as his handwriting, whether it be on canvas or stone, and in these black-and-whites there is evident an exquisite tonal sense and unusual suggestion of “color”. His penchant for sweeping lines plus continual use of the vignette principle create a combination that is unique.
Hand in hand with purely technical problems, the artist has developed a characteristic and conscious figure distortion, notable in such prints as “Girl with Cigarette,” “Three Dancers” and “Wire Walker.” Rarely have we seen light handled so expertly as in “Before the Act,” while “Girl with Feathered Hat” indicates how nearly this artist can come to the primitives and retain his individuality.
Of the landscapes, “The Storm” is the most remarkable, and one of the most expressive black-and-whites we have seen. “Dress Form” gives us a strange graphic experience, achieving surrealistic effect without the slightest suggestion of surrealism in treatment of subject or style.
Only a mind and hand with Oriental decorative sense could accomplish the draughtsmanship of animals such as we find in “Back Yards” or “Bull Fight.” In the latter the horse bears infinitely more resemblance to an Oriental dragon. The still life “Grape and Sculpture Mold” is thoroughly delightful in its inventiveness.
It is refreshing to see Maurice Molarsky turning from portraiture to seascape and still life, as evidenced by his present showing of oils at the Art Alliance. This may or may not be a recent tendency—however, it is a highly commendable one.
Molarsky’s technical mastery is undeniable. He seems always to place upon canvas exactly what he intends, and when concentrating upon trees, mountains and the sea, the result is not only convincing as his portraiture, but infinitely more eloquent.
In “Beach at Highpoint,” “Hull’s Cove” and “Woods on Island,” the blue sings in the water, but it is still fairly the Molarsky of the portrait. A distinctly different artist is visible in “The On-Coming Fog,” in which the painter’s characteristic finish is sacrificed to a more dramatic ruggedness of treatment, and retains, in consequence, more aesthetic impact than any of the other canvases.
We should add a possible exception to this: three small and quite exquisite beach studies—not at all Molarsky the portraitist and very much Molarsky the painter. “Thursday Afternoon” (a negro seated in the park), is labeled “unfinished,” and really should remain so. More paint would ruin it.
Among the portraits, “Master Jackie Geary” is technically the most informal no less than the best. The others seem to add data to our theory that great portraiture died with Thomas Raeburn.
The Art Alliance, energetic organization that it is, does not stop here. Two of the second floor galleries are hung with caricatures—contemporary except for Daumier and Forain.
We freely admit that the inclusion of these two giants almost ruined the show for us. As cartoons we have spiritually much more in common with the works of today, but we can’t say as much for the art in many of them. Some come miraculously near to the goal, but escape by a hair. At any rate, Daumier and Forain were there, and, for the sake of our contemporaries, we ignored them.
Then we found ourselves liking the delicate irony of Shermund and the free, bold brush caricature of Emidio Angelo, that merry soul. Likewise, we culled much amusement from the work of John Held, Jr., Ray Rohn and Rea Irwin, more preoccupied with decoration than caricature. We enjoyed Edward C. Smith’s cruel etchings of Earl Horter, Richard Dooner and Stokowski. A. Alain’s phantasies of light and heavy lines were as witty as usual and the creatures of R. Taylor perfectly grand in their complete lack of a particle of brain matter. Dick Decker’s acute observations in line and wash (probably done at three o’clock in the morning) and H. Devitt Welsh’s curious concoctions on copper complete our list of particularly appealing material.
Continuing our pilgrimage in the Art Alliance, we come to an exhibition of water colors by William S. Schwartz and, to say the least, we are arrested.
“Water colors?” say we; “Rather they are vivid batiks upon paper. Most assuredly they should have been upon silk, but the paper makes them no less emotional—but decorative—batiks.”
Batiks or no, they are certainly products of another world—a world we hope Schwartz lives in, and would rather like to inhabit ourselves, provided we could escape when necessary.
It is by all odds a world of vivid color (color that we can imagine one day tiring of)—and a world of forlorn, unhappy, and sometimes tragic forms continually warring with color—a world that quite unnerves us, sometimes fascinates us, sometimes repulses us. Schwartz sees glory in trees that he cannot find in humanity, and we feel very sorry about that. There are some healthy people in this world, but seemingly, not in the world of this artist.
Schwartz has something, but we wish he had something else, too.
- WOMENS’ CITY CLUB
- 1622 Locust Street
- Paintings by Mrs. Fern I. Coppedge.
- Through January.
- TEMPLE UNIVERSITY
- Sullivan Memorial Library
- Paintings by Allan Freelon, beginning January 17th.
- PHILADELPHIA SKETCH CLUB
- 235 S. Camac Street
- Invitation exhibition of paintings.
- HARCUM JR. COLLEGE
- Bryn Mawr
- Prints by Hobson Pittman. January.
- McCLEES GALLERIES
- 1615 Walnut Street
- 18th Century Portraiture Contemporary American Painting.
- WOMEN’S UNIVERSITY CLUB
- Warwick Hotel, 17th & Locust Sts.
- Oil paintings by Grace Gemberling.
- CARLEN GALLERIES
- 323 South 16th Street
- Lithographs by Yashuo Kuniyoshi. To January 17th.
- PHILADELPHIA A. C. A. GALLERY
- 323 South 16th Street
- Oils and water colors by Joe Jones.
- PHILADELPHIA PRINT CLUB
- 1614 Latimer Street
- 9th annual exhibition of prints by Philadelphia artists.
- N. W. AYER ADVERTISING AGENCY
- Washington Square
- Advertising Illustrations. Through January.
- PENNSYLVANIA ACADEMY OF THE FINE ARTS
- Broad and Cherry Streets
- 133rd Annual Exhibition of Oils and Sculpture. From January 30 to March 6.
- 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.
- PHILADELPHIA ART ALLIANCE
- 251 South 18th Street
- Exhibition of varied arts by “Young America.”
- Oils by Maurice Molarsky to January 9, 1938.
THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
A “MUSEUM YOU MAY HAVE MISSED”
ANE R IGHTER
Among the lesser known museums of Philadelphia is that of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street. Established in 1824 “for the purpose of elucidating the civil, literary, and natural history of Pennsylvania” the Society’s primary intent is to gather objects and documents of historical importance, but as historical and aesthetic values frequently coincide, the collection of American painting, sculpture, and crafts of past centuries has almost equal interest for the antiquarian and the artist.
Two of the Society’s most valued oils, Charles Wilson Peale’s “Benjamin Franklin” and “Mrs. John Dickinson” are now on loan at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, but the collection remains rich in other early American portraiture. Among the paintings now on view are the famous “Portrait in armor” of William Penn, Benjamin West’s “George III” and “Queen Charlotte,” a self-portrait by John Meng, an artist born in Germantown in 1704, and the charming Sully portrait of Mrs. George Roberts Smith. Among the works in other media are a quaint anonymous portrait of Ann Lynch McShane, painted on glass c. 1805, and a great number of porcelain miniatures. One of the most unusual paintings is a rough sketch on a wood panel of Lafayette, visiting Independence Hall in 1825, done by Bars Otis.
Early American sculpture is illustrated fully, from the classical marble busts of the Hiram Powers school to the anecdotal Rogers groups. Of the latter class, the “Council of War” showing a conference of Lincoln, Seward, and Stanton, is typical. The Philadelphia sculptor William Rush is represented by an elaborately carved wood “Figure of Music.”
The crafts of Colonial America are exceptionally well exemplified. Many beautiful pieces of furniture of early periods have been preserved, among them a set of dining-room chairs used by Washington during his residence in Philadelphia, and a graceful low-boy made by a Philadelphia cabinetmaker. Several cases are filled with eighteenth and early nineteenth century silver. Work of the early eighteenth century silversmith John Nys is shown in two silver tankards. Ceramics and glass of this early period are also fully represented.
This museum is open to the public daily, except Sundays, 9–5
DA VINCI ALLIANCE
The DaVinci Alliance, local organization among whose members all the arts are represented, held its annual election on December 10, at the studio of Justin Pardi, 10 South 18th Street. Officers are: President, Justin Pardi
Vice-President, Ripley W. Bugbee Secretary, Jules Scalella.
The Alliance holds monthly meetings at the studios of the members. Prominent speakers are a feature, and anyone interested is cordially invited to attend. Information may be obtained from Emidio Angelo, 27 South 18th Street
PRINT CLUB ANNOUNCES AWARDS
Awards for the Ninth Annual Exhibition of prints by Philadelphia artists at the Philadelphia Print Club were announced December 29.
The John Gribbel Memorial Prize of fifty dollars was awarded to Robert Riggs for his lithograph “Elephants Act.” Honorable Mention was extended to Arthur Bloch, Jr. for his aquatint “Afternoon in Arizona,” to Richard Hood for his dry point “Sunday Shampoo,” and to Cynthia Iliff for her aquatint “Patterns of Time.”
The exhibition will continue until January 22.
ART FOR BUSINESS’ SAKE
The rejuvenation which Philadelphia commercial display has undergone is nowhere better exemplified than in the formation of the Philadelphia Display Guild. Composed of men from the display departments of the city’s leading stores and shops, the group resembles other organizations of a professional nature in that the main purpose is to promote their individual enterprises through association with other men in the field.
Display men of Philadelphia recently decided that, as long as their art is for business, they should make it their business to know more about their art—hence the new Guild. The Guild is rapidly expanding, widening its membership among men of the arts and trades connected with fine merchandise display. The importance of this local movement is seen in the fact that it has already affiliated itself with the International Association of Display Men.
Display as a profession is steadily gaining recognition as an important branch of commercial art. To justify this growing confidence, in what used to be an after-thought of advertising, the members of the Philadelphia Display Guild hope to bring about a closer harmony and cooperation between men in the Field, and thus advance the standards of window and interior decoration and of civic projects.
John Harbeson is the author of a chapter called “Chess in Art and Archaeology” in a magnificent new book “Chessmen” by Donald M. Liddell, with the collaboration of Gustavus A. Pfeiffer and J. Mauntoury, published by Harcourt Brace. The book contains several reproductions of unique chessmen in Harbeson’s personal collection. Mr. Harbeson is on the faculty of the Architectural School of the University of Pennsylvania, and of the Fine Arts.
ART TEACHERS ORGANIZE
For the first time in this state, an organization of Public School Art Teachers has been formed, with a manifold purpose. The Pennsylvania Arts Association came into being December 27 in the State Museum at Harrisburg. Its officers are Aimé Henri Doucette of Edinboro State Teachers’ College, President, Wayne Martin of Radnor High School in Wayne, Vice President, Miss Blanche Lucas of Allentown, Corresponding Secretary. Italo de Francesco of Kutztown Teachers’ College is Chairman of a Committee of five to formulate a tentative policy to be submitted to a regional meeting which will be held in Philadelphia in the spring.
C. Valentine Kirby, Chief of Art Education in Pennsylvania, spoke at the meeting and outlined several of the reasons for forming such an organization. He was followed by Mr. de Francesco who presented material of a like nature.
Some of these reasons follow:
- 1. Formation and distribution of travelling exhibitions in various media. There has long been a need for this, and with the organization behind such a movement, art teachers in the rural districts, away from museum facilities, may avail themselves, at postage costs, of an endless supply of reference and technical material.
- 2. Establishment of a clearing house for exchange of ideas and teaching helps, as well as one where the teachers may submit problems.
- 3. Through the efforts of the organization more can be done in the way of suggesting to the proper authority what could be accomplished for the betterment of the school child, through state syllabus requirements, teacher-training, etc.
There are many more such reasons, all of which will be aired, discussed, and noted upon in the spring meeting, along with a plan on which the committee will work during the winter.
If there are any suggestions from art teacher readers of this article, they may be addressed to any of the officers named above. All comments will be gratefully received and considered. Every art teacher in this commonwealth can profit greatly by this association, and every art teacher should feel free to suggest ways and means for its maintenance. The combined efforts of everyone should make such a movement a great success, and one that can rightfully and proudly take its place beside the other great educational movements going on in the world today.
SPARKS DESIGNS CHRISTMAS PAGEANT
SETTINGS FOR “SAINTS AND SERAPHS” REAL ACHIEVEMENT
Certainly one of the most enjoyable of the Christmas spectacles was the presentation of Herbert J. Tily’s cantata “Saints and Seraphs.” Sung by the Strawbridge and Clothier Chorus under the leadership of Dr. Tily, the musical pageant was heard twice daily by thousands of appreciative shoppers.
William E. Sparks, a graduate of the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art, was responsible for the major portion of the dramatic setting and scenic effects. For a background Mr. Sparks used a very simple set of fourteenth century style. Three Renaissance arches of the type that appear in so many Italian paintings framed the various tableaux, changes in scene being suggested by variation in the properties. A cypress tree appears in the Annunciation; in the shepherd’s scene a simple rock form gives the locale.
The plotting of the light was effective, particularly in the first episode where Isaiah foretells the birth of Christ, and in the Nativity. This latter scene, where the principle light comes up from the manger, had a chiaroscuro effect that recalled the brilliant contrast in light and dark of the seventeenth century Italian painters. The illusion of depth was obtained by varying lights on a white plaster side behind the set.
Mr. Sparks, in addition to his work for “Saints and Seraphs” also conceived the Christmas pageant at the Fels Planetarium.
Richard Blossom Farley is still working on his set of five murals for the South Philadelphia High School for Girls. The murals, all Shakespearian subjects, are being done at the rate of one a year. One, measuring 7'x15', has already been installed. He is now painting the second, “The Tempest.” These murals are being paid for with funds raised by the graduating classes.
PHILADELPHIA PAINTER DIES
Margaret Ferguson Winner, Philadelphia portrait painter, died December 21, at the age of 71. Miss Winner, who was born in this city, attended Friends Central School and Drexel Institute and studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. She was also a pupil of Howard Pyle.
Although best known for her portraiture, Miss Winner illustrated several books, did pastels and water colors, and painted miniatures in oil on ivory. One of her most recent portraits was that of the late Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney, which was commissioned by Dickinson College.
She was a member of the Fellowship of the Academy of Fine Arts, the Art Alliance, and the Plastic Club.
SKETCH CLUB SHOW
A small group of Philadelphia artists, among them Arthur B. Carles, Franklin Watkins, Morris Blackburn, and John Kucera, have been invited to show in the first of a series of exhibitions, sponsored by the Philadelphia Sketch Club, under the auspices of the Exhibition Committee which is headed by Edward Walton. The plans of the Committee are for exhibits more or less devoid of social content and illustration. Other shows of this nature are planned for the future. Due to the small size of the Sketch Club gallery, the number of pictures on view at any one time will necessarily be small but it is hoped that much public interest will be aroused. The first exhibit will extend from January 10 to 22.
FEDERAL ART PROJECT
Miss Mary Curran, state director of Federal Art, announces an exhibition of work done under the Federal Art Project. The exhibition will include painting, sculpture, water colors, and posters and will be shown in the main exhibition galleries of the Pennsylvania Museum of Art on the Parkway for one month, beginning January 22.
Henry C. Pitz, painter, illustrator, and art teacher, has moved from his farm on Militia Hill Road near Ambler to the charming nearby village of Plymouth Meeting.
Have you entered the subscription contest? You earn cash for every single subscription to the Philadelphia Art News. If you get ten or more subscriptions you are eligible to win a prize.
We think we have The Perfect Reporter on the Art News. He seems to be blessed with E. S. P. Last week he went out to stalk a certain artist and was unable to find any more definite information about his address than that he lived on Pine Street, somewhere between seventh and tenth. Was our hero daunted? No! He entered Pine Street—somewhere between seventh and tenth—turned around thrice—repeated an incantation—and rang one doorbell. And who should come to the door but, of course, his quarry in person, Mr. Irving Penn.
Incidentally, we don’t want any talent scouts, or psychologists, or jealous editors coming around here asking the reporter’s name.
Roy Ireland, the internationally known dealer and former Philadelphian, told us about a painting which he sold for one hundred dollars. Later it turned up as “an old master” in a gentleman’s collection. The bill was fifty thousand.
We know a lucky man whose industrious young friend began several months ago to knit him a sweater for Christmas. Every time they met, she pulled out her trusty tape measure and held it along his arm or across his back to insure the perfection of the finished article. On December twenty-fourth he received a small package containing a pair of knitted wristlets. The card said, “Aw nuts!”
And here’s still another post-Christmas item. Guess what art educator had to shop three times for the same elderly lady because he liked the first and second presents he bought her so well that he decided to keep them for himself? We still don’t know whether he succeeded in tearing himself away from the third.
What well-known Philadelphia artist depicted himself on his Christmas card helping his wife tie up packages, while we know that he slunk up and down alleys for weeks prior to the joyous season to avoid being caught in the maelstrom of her fevered shopping?
Joseph Hergesheimer, one-time student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, is moving from West Chester to Baltimore. Mr. Hergesheimer gave up drawing and painting many years ago. His new home in Baltimore will bring him closer to his present playmates, Henry L. Mencken and James Branch Cabell, with whom he hopes to enjoy some worthwhile conversation.
Latest recruit to the ever growing army of news camerawomen is Miss Marion Post who has been added to the photographic staff of the Evening Bulletin.
Miss Post, formerly of New York, began serious picture taking some four years ago, when she learned to operate a small camera. Inasmuch as newspaper assignments involve varying conditions of material and work, she has recently taken up one of the fastest cameras in the field, a speed graphic.
Miss Post is not intending to capitalize on feminine fragility, but is going to rival the men at their own game and cover all types of stories.
“Verve,” the Parisian art quarterly, has just appeared on American newsstands in a new English edition. This magazine, which contains no advertising matter being purely for the artist and the art-lover, has a distinguished list of contributors. Contents of the current issue include articles by Ambroise Vollard and André Gide, and photographs by Man Ray. The cover design is by Henri Matisse. Reproductions in the magazine embrace both full-color works and lithographs. A discussion of “Verve” will be featured in the next issue of the PHILADELPHIA ART NEWS under “Art in Print.”
AN INTERVIEW WITH REUBEN GOLDBERG
“It’s the idea, not the equipment, that counts in good photography,” is the maxim that Reuben Goldberg, photographer for the University of Pennsylvania Museum, both preaches and practices. And Mr. Goldberg’s ideas, especially for his work in the University Museum, are original and creative.
Museum photography, as many of us regretfully have learned, has usually been an apathetic business. The cameraman took his object, set it against a light or dark screen, and snapped an accurate, but dry record of its characteristics. We always knew what it WAS, but much less frequently what it EXPRESSED. Few, if any, staff photographers were interested in recording the artistic quality, the individual spirit that set a particular object apart from others of its type and class. Reuben Goldberg has attempted, indeed succeeded, in changing this listless attitude.
For him, the approach is all important. What did the sculptor want to say and what means shall the photographer use to express that message? Sculpture as contrasted with painting is exceedingly difficult to photograph. The painter more or less fixes his effect. The one obstacle is technical—that of separating the colors. But in the reproduction of sculpture, the photographer must attain a plastic viewpoint. He must first take into account the fact that the work of art is three-dimensional. And then equally important are the subtleties of sculpture—line, mass, texture, and light—qualities which must be brought out according to the end toward which the original artist was working.
The use which is made of light and dark in the photograph reproduced below illustrates Mr. Goldberg’s theory. Not only do we realize the actual object, the feeling of the surface, but also, through the placing of the grotesque shadow, we gain something of the effect of awe and horror it must have had on its original spectators.
Of course there is a danger in this more or less dramatic photography. The photographer’s camera enthusiasm may submerge his sculptural enthusiasm. He may over emphasize planes, unnecessarily deepen shadows or lighten highlights. To avoid this, he must keep faithful to the spirit of the original, must gain a complete understanding of the artist’s purpose and work with that purpose always in mind.
Mr. Goldberg does a great deal of work for the Pennsylvania Museum of Art as well as for the University Museum. The catalogues for both the William Rush Exhibit and for the Daumier Show used his photographs. He also has had many of his pictures in the American Magazine of Art, and has exhibited with the Photographic Guild and in the shows put on by the makers of the Zeiss camera.
Joseph Hirsch, whose oils and ink sketches have been on view at the A. C. A. Gallery, has received an invitation to show at the annual exhibition of the Worcester Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts. This exhibit will contain the works of ninety-two American painters.
THE OLD CYNIC
“Say Howard,” began Howard Shater’s good friend, Professor Bronk, in an ingratiating tone, “look over this manuscript. I’d like you to illustrate it.”
Howard read the manuscript with interest. It was a “reader” for third grade children. “This,” he commented, “would be very nice to illustrate.”
“That’s fine,” said Professor Bronk.
“But,” continued Howard, “it would involve a considerable amount of work. How much had you planned to spend?”
“I thought you could do it for about $30.00.”
“$30.00! My heavens!” protested Howard. “Why do you bother with things like this if they pay so badly? A set of drawings such as you want would be worth at least $150 or $200.”
Professor Bronk’s face gloomed, then brightened. “Oh we just wanted very simple drawings which you could do quickly.”
“Er—oh—Bert Slone is going to print them—you see, I’m doing a progressive series and we expect them to have tremendous distribution. It would be swell advertising for you, Howard. And of course if you had all ten to illustrate it would come to quite a nice sum of money—Ah, here comes Bert now—”
“Hello, Bert—Mr. Slone, Mr. Howard Shater—Howard is going to illustrate our books.”
“How d’y’do Mr. Slone.” Howard shook hands. “This looks like quite an ambitious undertaking. How many copies do you expect to print and what process will you use?”
“We’ll do them 10,000 at a clip and reprint where necessary.”
“Why can’t you pay more for your illustrations if you’re operating on that scale? The cost per copy is very small.”
“My dear boy, the investment is terrific! It’ll cost us $200,000 to publish and distribute all these books . . .”
“All right. I’ll make YOU proposition,” said Howard. “I’ll illustrate your readers for $30.00 apiece, plus five per cent of your net profits.”
A crafty pause settled over the three men. A look was exchanged by Professor Bronk and Bert Slone
“That is a fair proposal,” agreed Mr. Slone, “but we’ll have to discuss it with the other men who are involved. Suppose you phone Mr. Shater tomorrow morning, Professor, and meanwhile we’ll figure out what we can do.”
Three days later, Howard Shate met Professor Bronk by chance.
“Oh hello there!” greeted the Professor cordially.
“Hello,” Howard responded “What did you decide to do?”
“Oh we decided not to bother you with these little things. A Phencil is going to do them for $25.00 a piece. He says he wants to get reproductions of his work.”
PRISMS . AN ARCHITECTURAL COLUMN
HOUSING AND JOHN GRAHAM, JR.
LYDE S HULER
In the last issue we talked of the City: a dream of the future. Today we talk of the City: a problem of the present, the now.
There is much to be done about this present City. We have but to look around us to realize a great need. Obsolete homes crumbling over peoples’ heads; crowded filth of demoralized living; vast unused areas, covered with weeds or dead, sightless houses; a great uncertainty everywhere.
There is much to be done. The problem cannot be solved with pretty plans and classic facades alone. The fundamental solution must be a machine for clean and happy work and living: a machine that functions smoothly and accurately both socially and economically. This is our fundamental problem.
There is much to be done about Our City and we are optimistic enough to believe it is about to be done at least in a measure.
Governor Earle says, “In Pennsylvania the State Board of Housing and my Administration are exerting every effort to make Pennsylvania the model State of the Union in decent housing. We are contacting and urging every community in the State to get rid of their disease-ridden and crime-breeding slums by accepting the Federal housing plans.”
The Governor promises to concentrate on Housing as a vital feature in the Major Programme of his last year in office. This is good news. It is hoped that he will be able to establish this work along business lines of honest endeavor and divorce it from selfish and political intrigue.
One of his first steps in this direction is to be commended. He has appointed John Graham, Jr. to the post of Technical Advisor to the Governor on Housing. By this appointment he seems to demonstrate a desire to surround himself with those who have spent time in the study of the intricate ramifications of this highly specialized field.
John Graham, besides being a practising architect for some 19 years, has, since 1930, been definitely concentrating on housing study and research. He was one of the first in this city to realize the need for government participation in this much neglected field and with this in mind became co-author of the first Housing Bill to be introduced in the Legislature in Harrisburg in 1930. In 1936 he went abroad to study and photograph Housing conditions and accomplishments in England and the Scandinavian countries. He has prepared plans for various Housing projects in the Philadelphia area which have been submitted to Washington.
When I talked with John Graham about his appointment, I could feel within him a burning enthusiasm for this work and a keen desire to serve honestly and well in as much as he may be able.
There is much to be done. To this end let us all work forward to the City that will be clean and vital; the City that will function accurately for human happiness.
Allan Freelon’s “Studio Window”, the canvas reproduced in this issue, was painted in Gloucester, Massachusetts, during one of the artist’s annual visits there. This and other of his paintings have been shown in Gloucester, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Atlanta, Dallas, and Langston, Oklahoma. Mr. Freelon has been invited and has exhibited at the Whitney Museum, the University of Pennsylvania, Lincoln University, and other institutions. Many of his paintings and etchings are publicly and privately owned in the large eastern cities and in Los Angeles.
Mr. Freelon’s next exhibition will be an invited show at the new Sullivan Memorial Library of Temple University, to begin January 17.
ON THE SPOT
THE SAGA OF A CAMERATEER
HARLES O GLE
I remember how thrilled I was about my first assignment to Europe. The Philadelphia Public Ledger and the New York Evening Post sent me to Paris to cover the Olympic Games in 1924. I sailed March the twenty-second aboard the good ship Rochambeau and the first morning out had an opportunity to unlimber my camera when a passenger jumped overboard in a high running sea. It is unusual to effect a rescue in an emergency like that, because by the time “Man overboard” cries have reached the bridge and the engineers are able to stop the boat the suicide is lost to sight. The Rochambeau hove to finally and started circling around in ever increasing arcs and passengers and crew thronged the rails, straining their eyes for a glimpse of humanity somewhere in those rolling waves. Presently they sighted something infinitesimal bobbing momentarily into sight and then disappearing, to reappear and vanish again far a-starboard. A boat was lowered and headed away followed by the cheers of the passengers. I dashed cabinward in quest of my camera. I returned to deck in time to get a shot as they hauled the struggling would-be suicide over the gunwhales of the lifeboat. The man was an excellent swimmer and evidently changed his mind about suicide when he hit the water, because he was striking out quite strongly when snatched from Davy Jones’ locker fully forty-five minutes after his leap. He sat erect and unconcerned as they rowed towards the ship. I went up to the hurricane deck and got some good additional pictures as the freighted lifeboat came up the side to the davits. My choice of the hurricane deck as a point of vantage was good, as rescued and crew disembarked there. A blanket was wrapped about the dripping shoulders and a glass of hot rum thrust into his hand, and I shot that too. I mean the picture. He was, of course, locked in his cabin for the rest of the trip and subsequently turned over to the authorities at Le Havre. The pictures of the event soon appeared in the rotogravures. Even the long-distance shot of the actual rescue enlarged nicely.
Arriving in Paris I lost no time in reporting to our Paris office at twenty Rue de la Paix. Sam Dashiell, then in charge of that bureau, received me cordially and with his expert guidance and splendid cooperation I was soon organized, in possession of my indispensable Paris police card, more or less oriented, and rapidly learning the ropes. John Chapman, who was in charge of the photographic department of the Pacific and Atlantic Photos at the Chicago Tribune offices, kindly extended the courtesies of his laboratory where I enjoyed the privilege of developing my pictures during my stay in the French capital.
During the first few days of my visit there all Paris was in a turmoil over the impending state visit of their Majesties King Ferdinand and Queen Marie of Roumania. The pictorial highlight of their brief sojourn was to be the placing of a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe. It developed that a special pass was necessary to cover this ceremony and must be procured from the police. Not having as yet received my official “laisser-passer” I encountered more red-tape than I had bargained for. The royal couple were scheduled to be at the Arc de Triomphe at eleven-thirty that morning and at eleven o’clock I was at the Prefecture, still waiting for that document. I decided to pass up that pass and take my chances on the spot, so I left Paris Officialdom flat and hurried away for location.
Paris looked as though it was in a state of siege. The beautiful Champs Elysees, flanked the entire length of the avenue by legions of helmeted sky-blue troops, seethed with tanks, artillery, be-plumed officers, curvetting steeds, jingling accoutrements, blaring bands, and everywhere the vivid tri-color. The city was “en fête.” I was stopped at the Champs Elysees entrance to the Arc de Triomphe by a be-sworded officer who demanded my pass. I tried my best French on him but he was adamant. No checkee, no shirtee. In the shadows of the Arc de Triomphe I glimpsed the batteries of cameras lined up and waiting. I pushed through the crowds of spectators seeking one of the other three entrances. Suddenly there was a fanfare of trumpets—the royal cortège arrived with a grand flourish. Troops sprang to attention, presenting arms with rigid precision, and the officers’ blades flashed to salute. I seized the opportunity to slip unnoticed beneath the arches. Climbing the ledges and numerous commemorative plaques I shot over, through, and including the helmets and bayonettes as Queen Marie bent gracefully over the tomb, a magnificent rope of pearls almost sweeping the stone where she laid her offering of blooms near the flickering flame of the eternal torch.
Lady Luck is a damsel neither to be depended upon nor scorned. World events do not arrange themselves solely for pictures. As Queen Marie placed that wreath of flowers she faced my camera and the camera of one other man on my side of the arch, turning her back towards most of the opposite banks of cameras. Hooray for our side! Then I thought with a chuckle of how the late Walter Crail, that diminutive ace of all cameramen, once handled royalty when the King and Queen of Belgium visited Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The King was not standing close enough to the Queen to suit Crail’s sense of composition.
“Hey, King . . . move over, will you?” shouted the irrepressible Nimrod. His Majesty looked up, startled and amused. It was his move, king to pawn. He smilingly obeyed.
—To be continued—
T SQUARE CORNER
The new critic at the T Square Club atelier is J. Roy Carroll. He was appointed by Roy Larson, Chairman of the Committee on Education of the American Institute of Architects. Six men are taking the Beaux Arts Institute Class “B” Problems.
Wedding bells rang for Lloyd Malkus on December 27. The address is 1510 Spruce Street.
Herbert Kienzlen, also recently married, has moved to 317 10th St. N. E. Washington, D. C.
The Paul D’Entremonts, who were married in the fall, have completed and moved into a temporary home on their farm at Feasterville. Grace Birst D’Entremont is a commercial artist.
Thomas Michener, the T Square Club Secretary, will send anyone a sketch of his easily constructed home-made press for printing Christmas cards.
George Schnabel is at Paul Monaghan’s office.
The Board of Education bowling team is well supported by Herbert Lemke and Frank Bird. Lemke recently bowled 257, the league record for a single game this season.
The annual holiday dinner of the T-Square Club was held on Wednesday last in Bookbinder’s Maine Woods Cabin.
Following the dinner there was singing by the entire club and distribution of presents by Harold “Santa Claus” Yetter.
Color photography, showing scenes taken on trips to the Canadian Rockies and Yellowstone National Park as well as seaport scenes and various types of flowers, were shown by Ripley W. Bugbee. A playlet presented by members of the club finished off a very pleasant evening.
Alice Kent Stoddard, Philadelphia painter, recently executed a portrait of U. S. Circuit Court Judge J. Whitaker Thompson. The portrait was presented to Judge Thompson by the Pennsylvania Bar Association in honor of his fifty years as a member of the association. It will eventually hang in the new Federal Building, to be erected at Ninth and Market Streets.
COMMERCIAL ART NOTES
ETE B OYLE
Gay indeed was the annual Christmas dinner at the Philadelphia Sketch Club. Sixty some in numbers, the guests were in an enviable mood of mellowness. The spread was a sight to behold, and the dinner, partaken in the midst of horseplay of a gentlemanly sort, evoked echoes of approval from all save the unfortunate fowl, who had died that others might reach for bicarbonate of soda.
Nicola D’Ascenzo, of course, presided, as a president must. Beakers were filled and filled again. The punch was pronounced excellent. The tree which stood in a corner was trimmed with a brilliance dimmed only by Bugbee’s shirt. John Dull proposed several toasts that turned touchingly down memory lane. Frank Ewing distributed gifts assisted by John Gieszel, as an elf in attendance. Very little china was broken, there was a minimum of gun play. And what commercial artist noted for his retreating profile was hit on the proboscis by a well aimed orange? God rest ye merry—etc.—etc.—etc.
Morris Blackburn greeted his old friend Carl Rose of the New Yorker staff when the latter visited town to speak at the Art Alliance. When his stint was finished, Blackie turned his friend over to a group of young caricaturists who wangled a lot of inside dope on cartooning from the illustrious visitor.
Rose spoke in conjunction with the cartoon exhibit at the Art Alliance, which is one show that should be on your “must” list.
Henry C. Pitz has two of his latest illustrations reproduced in the Book Review section of the New York Times, December 26. They’re from a group of illustrations for Charles J. Finger’s “When Guns Thundered at Tripoli,” published by Henry Holt & Co.
Elsewhere in the Times is a reproduction of Franklin Watkins’ portrait of his friend Raphael Sabatini, which gets prominent display on the art page.
“Picture Players,” a movie magazine, has a head of Joan Crawford for the cover of its January issue. It’s the work of Alexander Redmond, a Conshohocken artist who has been located in New York for years. Academy trained, Redmond has been kept busy doing covers for a number of national publications.
Jerry Doyle and George Fayko, with their wives, are enjoying a West Indies cruise. Fayko is a commercial artist.
Temple University, when it recently founded a chair of cartooning, probably became the only seat of learning where this lively art is taught in a serious manner. Jerry Doyle, whose political cartoons are eagerly followed in the Philadelphia Record, and in other papers of David Stern’s chain in New York and Camden, was appointed to teach a subject he knows well. Doyle’s classes are packed, we understand, with eager eyed hopefuls, all intent on putting their ideas into professional form. Assisting Jerry, is another well-known cartoonist, John Liney.
Ben Collins has done a swell job on the new Beck Engraving Company calendar. It’s smaller than previous calendars that Beck has put out and it features the celluloid spiral binding that is becoming so popular. A cleverly written preface invokes a pleasant mood and helps to key a splendid effect in a field that so often receives slight interest.
We were delighted to see Emi dio (Mike) Angelo’s cartoon in the Sunday Inquirer. He gave a very refreshing slant on the old Santa-Claus-on-the-corner gag. Incidentally, we thought Mike’s Christmas card was a pip. It was one occasion when Time Marched on to Jinglebells.
A group of recent art school graduates who maintain a studio in one of the older buildings in central Philadelphia, have as general handyman an Ethiopian whose entire life has been spent in slow motion. Ostensibly a janitor, he has been very reluctant to assume responsibility for removing any unwanted material from the studio. In spite of his shortcoming, the group, filled with Christmas spirit, chipped together and gave him a cash present. So overcome was he with gratitude, that he waylaid one of the artists in the hallway. “I wanted to do something tangible to show my appreciation,” he said. After a dramatic pause, he resumed, “I removed your rubbish.”
A. D. RETURNS
Arthur Munn, formerly Art Director of N. W. Ayer and Son, has been retained as art counsellor for the Philco Radio Corporation account. This account is handled by an advertising agency in Rochester, New York. Munn has located in offices on the twenty-fifth floor of 12 South 12th, Philadelphia.
Charles Gardner, commercial artist, won Honorable Mention at the exhibition of the Wichita Art Association, Wichita, Kansas, with his wood-cut, “Mixer-Papermill.” This work was done in connection with a W. P. A. Art Project.
Ernest E. Laws had a profitable afternoon with his camera. He snapped the countryside in a casual camera ramble. Entering one of his shots in a contest run by a local newspaper, he won a prize of $2.50. It was then submitted in a nation-wide contest where it copped a $50 prize. Not bad at all for an afternoon’s work—or play. Mr. Laws is assistant advertising manager of the Philadelphia Electric Company.
GUY FRY ART DIRECTOR
ICK C LEARY
One of the best ways to get some understanding of a man is to talk with him about his hobby. For in his spare time a man does the things he likes to do in the exact way he likes to do them. And Guy Fry’s hobby is the restoration of the Pennsylvania farmhouse—more specifically, his own place in Thornton.
In an interview with Mr. Fry in his newly acquired offices in the Jerome B. Gray agency, he told me about the restoration process. “We’ve had the place for about 3 years now, and of course there were a lot of things that had to be done, but it’s beginning to look like something now.”
That’s more than a man talking about a hobby. That’s a man unconsciously talking about his determination, his thoroughness, his willingness to work, and more important, his contentment. And as he continued I realized that here, also, was a man with a creative urge so deep rooted in him that it was as much a part of him as his dark hair or his smile.
But this interview was to be with an art director, not an architect, carpenter or decorator. “What then, Mr. Fry, do you consider necessary in an ideal art director?”
“An ideal art director must be a man who can keep one foot in the production room and one foot in the art room. For to achieve anything concrete in the way of results, the two must work in absolute harmony.”
“What do you consider the most important new phase in advertising art?”
“There are two fairly recent developments. First, there is the matter of color photography. It has, in my opinion, brought photography into the realm of real art and it is only in its infancy.”
“You think, then, that it will increase?”
“Not only that, but I think that anyone who expects to make a living out of commercial art should become interested in it during its early stages.”
“And the second new development?”
“I’m glad to see men of the type of Floyd Davis, Robert Riggs and John La Gatta turn somewhat from illustration and devote some of their time to advertising art. It gives the public a greater opportunity to see their well liked work.”
Having met a few art directors before, your reporter put this next question cautiously. “What do you think is wrong with advertising art? What, quite frankly, is your pet peeve?”
The eruption, luckily, did not occur. In Mr. Fry’s opinion, however, there is a tendency to overlook the small assignments, many of them being too tritely handled. So little effort is necessary to give a piece that “smart” touch, that no assignment is too small to be done other than well.
A product of Industrial Art School, where he met his wife, Mr. Fry has exhibited water colors at the Academy and at the Chester County Art Association in West Chester. Besides home building, his other avocations are a “monotype method of painting . . . and a daughter, Patricia, age six.”
SPRUANCE IN SCRIBNERS
Four lithographs by Benton Spruance are reproduced in the current issue of Scribner’s Magazine. These comprise a series entitled “The People Work.” Two of the prints were given the Pennell Award in the 1937 Annual Exhibition of the Philadelphia Water-color Society at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
A new type of coquille board with an assortment of four stipple-surfaces, ranging from fine to very coarse. Two degrees of coarseness will be used on opposite sides of each sheet so that two sheets may supply the whole range of textures.
When this is placed on sale you’ll be able to work two or three times size on a coarse surface if you prefer, or actual size on the fine surface.
It’s remarkable how the photoengraver’s camera picks up drawings on these surfaces.
TINTED CHARCOAL PAPER, MOUNTED
Five tints in two sizes, 20"x30" and 30"x40", mounted on board rigid enough to stand on the easel. Suitable for both charcoal and pastel drawings. Reads there a budding Degas?
A lead-free white made locally. It has remarkable hiding power and is permanent. The manufacturer says it has chemical and physical properties not possessed by any other opaque white pigment; it is derived from titanium by a special process; it does not contain lead and is acid and alkali resistant—which recommends it for use in industrially polluted atmosphere; it will not discolor with age.
Permalba is made up as oil-color, water-color, tempera, and drawing ink. As an oil-color it comes in all sizes from “single” tubes to three pound tins.
45 MAT COLORS
Packed in ¾ oz. jars or in ¾"x4" tubes, at twenty-five cents each. These colors are free-flowing, opaque, and very brilliant. Used extensively for advertising sketches and drawings, posters, greeting cards, textile designs, and other forms of commercial art. They are so finely ground that they work well in the air-brush or with sable or camel-hair brushes.
Plastilena is a synthetic modeling clay for amateurs and professionals. It requires no water and remains plastic for an indefinite time. It’s antiseptic, doesn’t soil the hands, and can be used over and over. Just the thing for quick sketches by the professional sculptor or for class use by the student or for that talented child.
Plastilena is made in seven colors selling at $.45 per pound package, and cream and white at $.60 per pound.
A cheaper Plastilena in gray green only is priced at $.30 per pound package.
A fine quality standard modeling clay is quoted at $.50 per five pound can. It comes dry, or moist and ready to use.
Box-wood, steel and wire-end modeling tools are made in every needful shape. Pick the ones you like best.
THE PROBLEMS OF THE ART TEACHER INTEGRATION
AYNE M ARTIN
In the experience of every art teacher there are several crosses that have to be borne, whether or no. All teachers have them and while ours seem to be especially galling at times we have a practical way out. One of these crosses is the typically dull group who is farmed out to the art department after trying every other course in the school and are needing three hours credit to graduate.
These past few years I’ve been given such a group, and you know as well as I that the usual art history or theory course offered to college course students would be for them and yourself so much time wasted. For them because of lack of interest in historic form or painting—for you because careful preparation for such a group only to see them fall down on quiz or notebook work because of that lack of interest or being mentally incapable of grasping those things you have to offer.
Let us look at this group of pupils in a humane and sensible light. Being what they are, what are they going to do with their lives on their exodus from the high school? What will they do? What kinds of homes will they have? What will their pleasures be? Then let us formulate a new course in art theory and history or appreciation. We realize that the schools of higher learning they will go to will consist of, at best, mechanics institutes, dressmaking schools and the like, therefore, we are faced with giving them in one short year the most important things they will receive in their secondary training: namely, the elements of beauty to be applied to their own particular job of living.
This entails dress, home and garden—and our text book will have to be magazines and papers they will read in the future. We simply cannot delude ourselves that the one or two classics they laboriously peruse in English classes will instill in them a desire for Dickens, Scott, and Thackeray so fervid that their reading in the future will be influenced by them to the extent that they will frown on all that hasn’t the elements of sound structure, fine writing and subtly turned phrase of, let us say, “Burke’s Speech on Conciliation.” We can thank our everlasting luck that the American magazine is well gotten up and if properly used can be a good text book, and with that admission that I think you will make, let us proceed to this important course for the, until lately, “unimportant general course pupil.”
He has a notebook, yes, but the writing he will do will be to explain a clipping he has cut from “BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS” or “THE LADIES’ HOME JOURNAL”—about the inside or outside of his future home. I’ve found them very amenable to suggestion about this future home—very interested. You might start them off with a general talk and class discussion of “If you could, what kind of a room would you make for yourself?” We go backwards or forward, colonial or functional as the individual desires and expresses a preference. Once again interest lies with the student—you—the teacher, the guide. Your job is to show him as many types of good things as possible of his preference and then to open out new fields.
Now for the integration—Home Economics, the shops tie up with the art department in this case and the boys as well as the girls get an insight into home mechanics, learn to respect the girls’ view point and vice versa. This same thing follows in dress and gardening, always taking into consideration the future earning power of the pupil and the location in which he probably will find himself. Integration in this case is indispensable. The course taught in the art department alone would be of value but with the combined efforts of all three departments the worthwhileness is of inestimable value. And I hope to see a time when such a course is set down in the state syllabus as required.
So the cross that was unwelcome at first can become, you see, one of joy, and one that you can see bringing in dividends from the moment of its inception. All of us who teach in the secondary schools have this opportunity, and we should avail ourselves of it.
ANE R ICHTER
Posters and illustrations by children of junior high school age form the present exhibit at the Cultural Olympics Galleries, 3425 Woodland Avenue. Here are gathered together pictorial commentaries by young boys and girls on their own world of fact and fancy.
One of the largest groups in the show are the posters designed for the Youth Concerts. These posters, the majority of which are based on some favorite music of the young artist, reveal not only the child’s musical tastes but even more strongly the various ways in which his imagination can work. For instance, the several posters inspired by Debussy’s “Afternoon of a Faun” range from concrete illustration showing a very solid faun in a very green meadow to abstract suggestion through great swirls of color.
Children follow the foibles of their elders. When they recreate experience which they know deeply either mentally or physically, their work has strength and vitality. Peter Miccolis’ “Shoe Shine Boy,” the foot-ball and base-ball scenes by Francisco Galicia, Charles Brown’s “Steel Workers” are all vivid figure pieces. But Silvio Romano’s “Pals,” a country scene, lacks this vitality, probably because the boy is not familiar with his subject. It is wishful painting, but instead of taking the trend of fancy, it has followed a calendar-top.
Eleanor Grubb’s water color illustrations for a child’s story about toys are bright and amusing, particularly No. 2514 which shows purple, green, and orange horses gamboling across a stylized landscape.
From the annual circular of the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art:
“The purpose of Design Laboratory is to prepare students not only as professional free-lance artists, but also as Stylists and Art Directors.”
Few art courses in the world can boast the phenomenal success of Design Laboratory. A comparatively new course—none of its alumn past their twenties—it has become the “prep school” for many important advertising agencies and magazines. One world prominent advertising agency picks art men almost exclusively from its ranks.
Present students are already receiving recognition, both artistic and financial.
Conceived and supervised by Alexey Brodovitch, assisted by Mary Fullerton and Nelson Gruppo Design Laboratory numbers among its alumni Joe Jones, art director of House Beautiful, Frederick Chance, now free lancing, and Roy Faulconer, Stewart Graves, Elizabeth Lovett, Edward Schwartzer, all with N. W. Ayer and Son.
Joseph Gering recently left school to assist Lester Beall as layout man for “Brides’ Magazine,” while Carl Albrecht is with Leslie Gill, free lance photographer in addition to being production man for “You,” new magazine for women.
Among present students are James Phillips, already considered one of the country’s outstanding exponents of cut out figure work and Irving Penn, who has sold to Harper’s Bazaar, Bergdorf Goodman, and Russel Wright.
J. Harold MacNamee left the class at the end of his third year to accept a position on the faculty. He is now teaching second year students.
The annual Christmas Party of the Graphic Sketch Club, held the afternoon of December 24, featured Leigh Mitchell Hodges’ reading of his own abridgment of Dickens’ “Christmas Carol.” In addition to this famous Christmas story, there were also hymns carols, and Christmas music.
Members of the Sketch Club opened an informal Christmas show of prints at the Club, December 18. The exhibitors are Charles Gardner, Nicola D’Ascenzo, Richard Hood, Leslie Henderson, John Geiszel, James Fincken, Charles Landis, Ed Smith and Frank Copeland.
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.
EGG TEMPERA EMULSION
ENRY W HITE T AYLOR
A swift and satisfactory painting technique occurs with the use of dry powdered pigments and egg tempera emulsion. This emulsion is essentially a lean water-color medium which does not permit heavy pastose effects. It dries sufficiently for overpainting within a few minutes. Corrections are easy on its hard surface. It makes possible more precise detail of edges and lines than can be managed with oils.
A finished painting in egg tempera emulsion presents a dull mat surface which is extraordinarily luminous, and can be seen in a far dimmer light than can an oil painting of similar values.
Such a painting does not need to be varnished. It dries so fast that it can be handled for exhibition the day after it is finished. It hardens slowly over a period of a year or two until its egg content is insoluble in water. It is perhaps the most permanent of techniques.
Being lean and luminous and quickly applied, tempera is ideal for underpainting of pictures finished in oil or glazes. Compositional problems can be solved in the underpainting, allowing great sureness and freedom in the overpainting.
Contrary to common belief, the technique of tempera emulsion painting is neither difficult nor complicated. The medium makes certain demands quickly learned in experience. Most of the difficulties arise out of the mistaken effort to make tempera behave like water color, which it will not do.
Tempera has its idiosyncrasies, as do oil and water color, and if these are respected the technique responds well to the expression of the individual artist.
The method is exceptionally economical. Dry pigments range in price from fifteen cents to ten dollars a pound—and a pound will go a long, long way. One may buy the costlier pigments a few ounces at a time.
An excellent tempera emulsion may be purchased from a local manufacturer. This product is, we believe, free from adulterants or preservatives. It keeps indefinitely because in the making it is so thoroughly agitated mechanically that it assumes an almost colloidal state.
However, the artist can make his own emulsion in a few minutes. The homemade emulsion will spoil in a few days in hot weather, but is perfectly satisfactory if promptly used. Here are two practical formulae:—
1 egg, 1 damar (or mastic), 2 water.
This emulsion permits very thin painting on CHALK GROUND, or TEMPERA GROUND (as described in our November 22nd, 1937, article on GROUNDS FOR PAINTING). With it one can make change after change in the composition without loading the ground with an oily mass of paint.
MEDIUM FAT TEMPERA—
1 egg, 1 linseed oil, 2 water.
To be used on TEMPERA GROUND. May be thinned with water for transparent effects. It is best to leave dark tones to the last, avoiding a heaviness that results when darks are laid over darks. Delicate nuances of tone tend to disappear.
To make an emulsion, take a fresh egg and crack its end sufficiently to pour out its contents into a clean, dry container (such as a mayonnaise jar). Save the shell to use as a measuring cup.
Beat the egg thoroughly with a fork. A few minutes’ beating is sufficient.
Fill egg shell with the oil or damar NOT QUITE TO THE TOP. Add this to the egg and beat again.
Fill egg shell with water and add slowly to the egg-and-oil, beating as you go. Repeat with another egg-shell of water.
This makes nearly a half-pint of painting medium in about five minutes.
Many variations are possible in emulsions. Each combination has qualities of its own. To mention a few:—
Yolk of egg and water. (Colors ground in water. Brush dipped in yolk before taking color. For very thin transparent effects)
1 egg, 2 water
1 egg, ½ damar, ½ oil, 2 water
1 egg, ⅓ sun thickened oil, ⅓ damar ⅓ Venice turpentine, 2 water.
Never add soap, glycerin, honey or syrup to an emulsion. These substances remain soluble in water and produce harmful and unpleasant after-effects.
One should use the same pigments in powder form as were recommended for the permanent palette in our December 6, 1937, issue. These can be obtained in such quality that the “grinding” of colors consists merely of mixing the powders with emulsion by means of a spatula or palette knife to the useable consistency of thick cream. This scarcely takes longer than mixing tones on the usual oil palette. Mix on plate glass, a dinner plate, a slab of porcelain or of marble. Stand a jar of water beside your emulsion for washing brushes and thinning paint for special effects. Large preliminary effects can be done easily by pulling color together with a sponge. This and many other expedients will be suggested in practice.
PHILADELPHIANS CAPTURE NEW YORK PRIZES
In the recent exhibition of advertising designs sponsored by the Art Directors’ Club in New York, three prizes were captured by artists working through N. W. Ayer Advertising Agency of Philadelphia.
Pierre Brissaud was awarded a prize for the best color painting for a class magazine, executed for the French Line. An Award for the best display poster went to Stuart Graves for a Stetson ad, while Lester Beall took the prize for the most meritorious newspaper illustration.
A group of advertising illustrations commissioned by the N. W. Ayer Agency are now on exhibition at their galleries, West Washington Square, through January.
Among the 22 artists represented, a number are Philadelphians: Kenneth Stuart, Rudolph Pott, Fred Chance, and Harrison Miller. Out-of-towners include Vladimir Bobritsky, Patterson and Sullivan. James Doolittle, Buk Ulreich, James Williamson and Leslie Saalburg. Among the photographers are Ruzzie Green and Anton Breuhl.
SCHOOL FOR TEACHERS
Plans are underway for a summer school program for elementary school teachers, principals, and superintendents at the Oak Lane Country Day School in 1938. All who attend these courses will be invited to work in the studios and work-shops in the plastic and graphic arts. Boris Blai and Furman Fink will lecture on the teaching of art in the Elementary School Program.
The program will be sponsored by Temple University and the Progressive Education Association. The enrollment will be limited to two hundred.
ART IN PRINT
EN W OLF
Those of my readers (and I have no doubt there are a great many) who are familiar with Robert Henri’s classic, “The Art Spirit,” published by Lippincott, will bear with me, I trust, while I tell those of my friends who may have come in late about it.
George Bellows’ eulogy of the book expresses fully, I believe, the opinion of all who have read Henri’s Notes. He says, “I would give anything to have come by this book years ago. It is in my opinion comparable only to the notes of Leonardo and Sir Joshua” (there is that man again), “but infinitely more suggestive than either of these to the artists of today . . . When I listen to Henri talk, or read his book, I say to myself his is one of the finest voices which express the philosophy of modern man in painting.” A fine tribute to a great book.
“The Art Spirit” can pretty definitely stand on its own record as a best seller. It has had lord knows how many printings, and the copies I have seen in Artist’s Studio look much the worse for wear.
I do not feel that I will be offending any of my readers when I say that Henri is generally accepted as the father of modern American painting. It was he who was responsible for the inauguration of the first American Independent Exhibition, the forerunner of the present day Independent Society “The Art Spirit” shows clearly the inspirational system of this great teacher, representing a compilation of his notes and correspondence during a quarter of a century.
At this point permit me to step out of the way and allow Henri’s book to speak for itself.
“Don’t make your picture like a picture; make it like nature. The result will be a picture just the same, but it will be a NEW PICTURE!”
“I can think of no greater happiness than to be clear sighted and know the miracle when it happens. And I can think of no more real life than the adventurous one of living and liking and exclaiming the things of one’s own mind.”
“Some people study hard for a time, then they ‘graduate’ and sink back into the little they have learned.”
“When you have made a sketch close your box—walk away—then open your box. Maybe you will see that you have deflected from your original idea. What you have painted is not what seized you in the beginning—a vital impulse has been lost—go back and go after the first seizing idea—and refuse to be mastered by material things.”
“To have ideas one must have imagination. To express ideas one must have science.”
“No nation as yet is the home of art. Art is an outsider, a gypsy over the face of the earth.”
“The only sensible way to regard the Art Life is that it is a privilege you are willing to pay for.”
LORENCE M ARTIN
DID YOU KNOW THAT:
Ann Gill, wife of one of our Philadelphia painters, Frederick Gill, and a school teacher herself, has thrown her hat into the craftsmen’s ring by exhibiting her lovely silver jewelry at the Art Alliance, some very plain and some semiprecious stones set in silver.
Pottery seems to be flourishing in Philadelphia, with our native potters exhibiting in all the big exhibitions in the country and some out of the country.
Miss Lillian Foster is showing some unusually nice silver jewelry at The Peasant Shop, although most of her work is in gold. These are pins made up of leaves of different designs.
Miss Trasel’s curiosity shop has many interesting things to show, among them a complete creche, beautifully modelled in plaster by an instructor of fine arts at Baldwin School for Girls in Bryn Mawr.
During the Christmas Season, when nicnacs are needed, as is small cash, our shops were flooded with simple foreign wares that even our lowliest craftsmen could have made, but didn’t think to make, for the market, although most of them presented their friends and families with charming presents of their own design.
RUGS AT ART ALLIANCE
Nelson Fink is now showing a group of hand-tufted and sculptured Australian wool rugs at the Art Alliance. Mr. Fink, who is associated in this project with Stanislaus V’Soske of New York, a former student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, plans his rugs to order. Size and color are considered in relation to the room in which the rugs are to be used.
Rugs from the V’Soske atelier, of which Gilbert Rahde is also a member, have been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum in 1935, at the International Rug Show in 1937, at the Paris Exposition in 1937, at the Architectural League, New York, and are owned by many private collectors, including Mr. John F. Macklin of Merion, and Mrs. Edgar Munson.
This exhibit will continue until January 19.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
“As I take the New York Times and see only the local evening’s paper, I frequently learn about Philadelphia art exhibitions when they have just closed. I expect your publication to be invaluable to me.
“Might you not as well as commenting on lectures that have already been given, print notices of those of interest to art-lovers that are to take place in the future?
“With best wishes for your success.”
EDITH A. STANDEN,
Member of the Art Museum and the University Museum
Your paper amazes me with its great breadth of news. I never realized before that so much was going on in Philadelphia. All of you must be very happy for so promising a start.
Please continue the inserts in your publication. Good black and white reproductions of contemporary painters (rumpled or not) are deeply appreciated by me.
I like the PHILADELPHIA ART NEWS so well myself that I’m sending in three subscriptions for other artists.
I’ve wracked my brain for some way to solves the problem of sending the print each week in better condition but am without solution unless you didn’t fold the paper so much. However, I like the print each week and would like it continued. Thanks for starting a paper so much needed.
EDITH L. B. KLINE.
Dear “Fresh Paint”:
Yesterday’s post brought your quite acute comments on our little “show” at the Plastic Club. Did you happen to notice the dates on most of my canvasses, 1897–98–99? Lest you should be overcome by the recollection of those appealing though elegant lines:
“The gray hairs in the butter
Made my heart go in a flutter,”
I must add that most of those canvasses were painted when I was between the ages of seventeen and nineteen years old. I know that much of the color has faded out of them. My excuse for showing them is that they have a luscious quality of pigment which has its own beauty. One well known painter who came to the private view said, “All the things that were influenced by the School of Paris at that time had a certain interest.” “At that time” I had certainly never heard of the School of Paris, let alone seen it. Someone told me that a man named Monet was using broken color. That possibly set me off, with the added inspiration of Whistler’s rather beautiful Victorian chastity!
All good New Year’s wishes to the PHILADELPHIA ART NEWS with one extra for “Fresh Paint”.
ANN HEEBNER McDONALD.
My Dear Mr. Wolf:
Those of the University charged with the responsibility of caring for its paintings have asked me to write and tell you that we have read with much interest the article concerning the University’s paintings which you published on November 22nd in the “Philadelphia Art news”. The University has been operating on a reduced budget because of the depression, and we have not been able to keep the portraits and paintings at the University in the kind of condition that we would like to. The vast majority of the pictures, however, are in fair condition, and, when more funds are available, we will endeavor to keep them in as first-class condition as possible.
I am sorry that the writer of the article was unable to find the two Eakins portraits. They both are hanging in the Medical School.
There is quite a little interest in our paintings as evidenced by the visits that we get very frequently from those interested in either historical matters or in early American portraits. Some of these portraits have been at the University for over a hundred years and have an historical interest, as well as a University interest.
If there is any information that you or Miss Richter would like to have concerning our paintings, or any facts that we can give you, we will be very glad to help you at any time. With best wishes, I am
WM. H. DuBARRY,
Director of Scholarships and Student Finances, University of Pennsylvania.
Dear Mr. Editor:
You have asked for an expression of opinion concerning the black-and-white reproductions of work by Philadelphia artists, enclosed with the Philadelphia Art News. My advice would be that they may be easily omitted without harming the paper, if the examples we have had are typical of those which might be published in the future.
GEORGE SIMPSON KOYL,
Dean The School of Fine Arts,
University of Pennsylvania.
“A few days ago I received my first copy of your publication, having subscribed to same in the hope that it would be a good addition to my professional reading.
If this copy is what I may expect in future issues I am more than pleased, in addition to fulfilling its specific duty, a more refreshing hours reading would be difficult to find. The presentation of different divisions is cleverly done in a way that, rank amateur that I am, sufficient understanding is possible.
Naturally in my work, contacts are mostly in the field of Art Education, which is capably handled in your magazine, and also it seems to me that Art Directors and Teachers everywhere could profit much by the technical information to be found elsewhere in its pages.
Congratulations therefore on your successful presentations and with best wishes for continued success in the New Year, I am,
PAUL F. HEILE,
American Crayon Company.”
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