Friday, December 15, 2006

1938: Painting And Sculpture

1938: Painting And Sculpture
Art in the United States.

In 1938 the United States Government continued to act as chief patron of the arts in America. The art projects of the Works Progress Administration and of the Treasury Department continued their programs, employing several thousand artists and bringing art before an increasingly large public all over the country.

Artist groups were very active during the year, organizing many exhibitions in New York and elsewhere. The American Artists' Congress, which held its second annual congress in December 1937, has scheduled its third congress for the spring of 1939. Its second annual membership exhibition, dedicated to "Peace, Democracy and Cultural Progress," was held in May 1938. The Congress now has approximately 900 members. Interest in abstract art continued to be strong, particularly among the younger artists. The 48 members of the American Abstract Artists, an organization which was formed late in 1936, exhibited together again in 1938. As part of a campaign for better housing, the artist members of An American Group organized an art exhibition called "Roofs for 40 Million." The formation of the Sculptors' Guild and the exhibitions which it organized will be discussed here under the heading of Sculpture.

A number of artist groups were interested during the year in presenting bills to the Congress of the United States for the establishment of a permanent bureau of fine arts. The so-called Coffee-Pepper Bill calling for a Federal Art Bureau within the Department of the Interior was voted down, but permanent Government sponsorship of the arts is still strongly advocated by many artist groups. Although the Section of Painting and Sculpture of the Procurement Division of the United States Treasury was made a permanent department of the Treasury to be known as the Section of Fine Arts, artists still feel that this does not adequately meet the problems which were raised during the discussion of the bill for a bureau of fine arts.

The Artists' Union, active in the United States for several years past, became affiliated in 1938 with the United Office and Professional Workers of America, a C.I.O. union. Mural painters organized under the United Scenic Artists of America, an affiliate of the American Federation of Labor.

The Collectors of American Art is a non-profit organization, founded along the lines of the old American Art Union of the mid-19th century,to encourage the distribution of art in America and to bring into a more adequate ratio the supply and demand in contemporary art. During 1938, its first season, it distributed more than 200 works of art among its members.

New York's Municipal Art Committee sponsored the third annual National Exhibition of American Art, for which works of art were selected by committees appointed by the Governor of each State.

The two great expositions to be held in 1939, the New York World's Fair and the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco, have given commissions for mural paintings and sculpture to many artists. The New York World's Fair invited 33 artists to execute a series of mural commissions, some consisting of a number of panels so that in all 105 mural paintings were involved. Similarly, 39 sculptors were given commissions involving 102 figures or groups. In addition, many murals and sculptures have been commissioned by private exhibitors at the Fair. The Golden Gate Exposition announced contracts for $40,000 worth of mural decorations. The Exposition has planned an old-master exhibition with many important loans from European museums, especially in Italy.

Both fairs organized exhibitions of contemporary American art. San Francisco's will consist of approximately 350 paintings selected by Roland J. McKinney. The contemporary art exhibition at the New York World's Fair, directed by Holger Cahill, set up a democratic method of selection in which every American artist community was invited to participate, an innovation in the selection of world's fair exhibits. Local committees all over the country composed of artists or other professionally concerned with art will select the paintings, sculpture and graphic art to be sent to the exhibition at the Fair, where a committee of nine artists and a governing committee of five persons will have final charge of the exhibition.

Museum Exhibitions.

A review of the activity of the art museums during the past year reveals an increase in the number of important exhibitions of American art, both of the past and present. Other trends which may be noted were an unusual and marked increase of activity in the field of sculpture; growing interest in the work of "primitive" or popular artists; and in the field of the art of the past, much interest in the Baroque period and in Chinese art.

America's early tradition in painting enjoyed an unusually brilliant season, the outstanding event of which was the exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of John Singleton Copley. This exhibition illustrated the entire career of the great Colonial painter, from his early primitive beginnings in America to the late historical and allegorical subjects which he painted in England, with special emphasis, however, on the American paintings as revealing his true personality. Harvard University portraits by predecessors and contemporaries of Copley, the earliest example dating from around 1700, were shown at the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University. The Philadelphia Museum of Art held the first comprehensive exhibition ever assembled either in America or Europe of the work of Benjamin West, the Pennsylvania Quaker who went to England and who at the age of 45 succeeded Sir Joshua Reynolds as president of the Royal Academy in London, a position which he held until his death in 1820. Like Copley, West was born in 1738, and this exhibition celebrated the bicentenary of his birth. In honor of the Swedish-American tercentenary celebrations held in the summer of 1938, the Philadelphia Museum arranged the first showing of the paintings of Gustavus Hesselius (1682-1755). Hesselius was one of the founders of American painting, the first formally-trained painter to arrive in America. He came from Sweden in 1712 and worked mainly in Philadelphia and Maryland. The first exhibition surveying the work of another early American painter, Rembrandt Peale, was held at the Municipal Museum of Baltimore, an institution which Peale founded in 1814. At Kingston, N. Y., in the historical Senate House, about fifty works by the painter John Vanderlyn, a native of Kingston, were brought together. This exhibition included a number of locally owned canvases which had never before been publicly shown. A general exhibition surveying 200 years of American painting was held at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York arranged an extremely interesting exhibition, "A Century of American Landscape Painting" (1800 to 1900), which was shown later at the Springfield (Mass.) Museum of Fine Arts. Paintings by Frank Duveneck, one of the most popular American painters of the late 19th century, were lent by the museum of his native city, Cincinnati, for exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York. Carnegie Institute recognized Pittsburgh's local tradition in art with an exhibition of the work of 19th century artists who worked around Pittsburgh, including such well known names as Audubon, Chester Harding and David Blythe.

In the field of contemporary American painting several notable one-man shows were held in museums. Inclusive retrospective exhibitions of the work of William Glackens (who died in the summer of 1938) and of John Sloan were assembled respectively at the Whitney Museum in New York and the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Andover Academy, Andover, Mass. The Addison Gallery also arranged a showing of paintings and decorative carvings by the brothers Maurice and Charles Prendergast. Glackens, Sloan and Maurice Prendergast were all members of the group known as "The Eight" or the "Ashcan School," which thirty years ago aroused such a storm of protest with their realistic paintings of everyday American life. The work of "The Eight" was shown again as a group this year at the New York gallery where in 1908 they had their first and only other exhibition. The memory of Walter Gay, expatriate American who died in Paris in 1937, was honored by an exhibition of his paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Other contemporary Americans who were given one-man exhibitions in museums were Charles Burchfield, at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh; Franklin C. Watkins, at the Smith College Museum of Art; George Grosz, at the Art Institute of Chicago; Peppino Mangravite at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and the Denver Art Museum; and B. J. O. Nordfeldt at the Denver Art Museum.

Many annual exhibitions of contemporary American art were held as usual in 1938. Of these may be mentioned the annual events at the Whitney Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the City Art Museum of St. Louis, the Worcester Art Museum, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Colorado Springs' fourth annual, "Artists West of the Mississippi," was this year sent on to New York where it was shown at the Whitney Museum. The South came into national prominence this year with the inauguration, at Richmond's Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, of the First Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting. For this exhibition 1,550 paintings were submitted from 42 states to a jury of five artists; 183 works were selected and shown, and two were purchased. Another exhibition of great significance for the South, also held at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, was the "preview" show for the New York World's Fair, 1939. Several of these previews will be held throughout the country, and from them works will be selected for the contemporary art exhibition at the Fair. The Albright Art Gallery of Buffalo, N. Y., plans to make a biennial event of its exhibition, "Artists of the Great Lakes Region," held this year for the first time. The Art Institute of Chicago and Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh held their annual international exhibitions, which of course include the work of Americans.

Aside from the annuals, many group exhibitions of contemporary American art were held, of which the following may be mentioned: at the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art in Kansas City, five painters, each represented by at least ten paintings, the exhibition thus constituting a series of one-man shows; the artists included were Jon Corbino, Sidney Laufman, Reginald Marsh, Waldo Peirce and Frederic Taubes; American watercolor shows at the Toledo Museum of Art and the Denver Art Museum; at the Art Institute of Chicago, a large exhibition of the work of Chicago artists on the WPA Federal Art Project; an exhibition of painting and sculpture entitled "Labor in Art" at the Baltimore Museum; and at the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, the Artists' Union's National Exhibition in which eleven unions collaborated — the first time a major museum has given organized artists an opportunity to present their work on a comprehensive scale.

An important museum event of the past year was the opening of The Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, in the new building in Fort Tryon Park which was presented by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. The Cloisters is the name given to one of the finest collections of medieval art, chiefly sculpture and architecture, in the world. It was assembled by the late George Grey Barnard and was purchased for the Metropolitan Museum in 1925 by Mr. Rockefeller, who in 1938 made many other additions to the collection including the finest known series of 15th century tapestries, the Hunt of the Unicorn. During the first three weeks after the opening over 75,000 people visited the Cloisters.

In the field of the art of the European masters, various museums showed an unusual interest in Venetian art. One of the outstanding events of the year was the great loan exhibition of Venetian paintings, from the fifteenth through the eighteenth century, at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. A small but choice group of Venetian paintings, including a Titian and a Carpaccio never before seen in America, was exhibited at the Columbus (Ohio) Gallery of Fine Arts. Two important exhibitions of paintings by the great 18th century Venetian, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, took place: in New York the Metropolitan Museum's "Tiepolo and His Contemporaries," an exhibition occasioned by the acquisition in 1937 of the Marquis de Biron collection of Tiepolo drawings; and at the Art Institute of Chicago, an exhibition of the paintings of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and of his son Giovanni Demenico Tiepolo. The Springfield Museum of Fine Arts held the first exhibition of the great 18th century Baroque master, Alessandro Magnasco, with loans from eleven major museums and five private collections.

A survey of British painting from 13th century manuscript illuminations to the contemporary period was arranged at Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh. The Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford had an exhibition of still life painting over four centuries, and Dutch paintings of the 17th century were shown at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. The art and culture of France during ten centuries from Carolingian to Napoleonic times were illustrated at the Morgan Library in New York by manuscript illuminations, drawings and objects of art, as well as historical letters and manuscripts.

Among exhibitions of French painting of the 19th and 20th centuries, several were outstanding. At the San Francisco Museum of Art "The Impressionists" stressed Monet, Pissarro and Sisley, admirably illustrating the whole movement. The work of Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard, the so-called "intimists" who have won increasing recognition in this country in recent years, was gathered from American collections for a showing at the Art Institute of Chicago. The later phases of the work of Renoir from 1900 to 1919 were shown at the Philadelphia Museum in 50 small canvases from a private European collection. An unusual exhibition, "Courbet and the Naturalistic Movement," was arranged at the Baltimore Museum on the occasion of a three-day symposium dealing with the subject of Naturalism in literature, painting, drama, music and politics. As a contrast to the Courbet exhibition, the Walters Art Gallery of Baltimore arranged a show of French academic art of the Second Empire — the art which gave Naturalism its impetus. Another unusual exhibition, illustrating the relationship between French literature and painting in the 19th century, was held at the Columbus (Ohio) Gallery of Fine Arts.

Interest throughout the country in modern European painting was evidenced by several important shows and many minor ones. The Toledo Museum of Art arranged a survey of 20th century European painting. German 20th century paintings were shown at Columbus, Ohio, and contemporary painting and sculpture of Italy at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The international shows at the Art Institute of Chicago and Carnegie Institute have already been mentioned. The Detroit Institute had an international watercolor exhibition.

A type of painting never shown comprehensively in America before was brought before the public at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This exhibition, "Masters of Popular Painting," consisted of the work of naive or "primitive" painters of whom the Douanier Rousseau is the most widely recognized master. The European section of the show was selected from an exhibition called "Maitres Popularies de la Réalit‚" held in Paris in 1937; centering around the work of Rousseau, it contained paintings by eight contemporary Europeans, most of them French. The American section included such well known painters as Kane, Canadé, Branchard and Lebduska: several "discoveries" from New Mexico, West Virginia, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Canada, and examples by Edward Hicks and Joseph Pickett, whose paintings have become familiar in exhibitions of the earlier American folk art. Popular art has had a strong influence in European countries and in Mexico, and is beginning to enter the consciousness of artists and public in America, where the rich native tradition has not yet been deeply probed.

In the field of Oriental art two great exhibitions of Chinese painting and of Chinese bronzes at the Metropolitan Museum in New York were of paramount importance. The Chinese painting exhibition was the first event in America in any way comparable to the great Chinese exhibition at Burlington House in London several years ago. The 400 ancient Chinese bronzes assembled from American collections were a revelation of the wealth of American-owned examples in this field. Remarkable exhibitions of Chinese art were also held at galleries of several New York dealers.

Exhibitions in Dealers' Galleries.

During the past season art dealers' galleries in New York offered the usual rich opportunity to see works of French masters of the 19th century, particularly Cézanne, von Gogh, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec; and of the 20th century, Picasso, Matisse, Rouault, Derain and other leading contemporaries. The French Impressionists of the 1870's received an unusual amount of notice. Although French art continued to predominate over other fields, American art was very extensively displayed, and there were also a number of old master exhibitions of great interest in the dealers' galleries. The bringing together of seven paintings by the Florentine, Piero di Cosimo (1462-1521), was of surpassing interest to the New York art public. The work of this rare and comparatively little known master of Renaissance Italy has been increasingly valued in recent years by artists and connoisseurs, who welcomed this exhibition as the first opportunity to see so many of his works together. This was made possible by the loan of two important paintings by Piero which last year entered American collections: The Discovery of Honey, from the Worcester Art Museum, and Vulcan and Æolus as Teachers of Mankind, from the National Gallery of Canada in Ottowa; to these were added The Finding of Vulcan lent by the Wadsworth Athenuem, Hartford, three pictures from private collections in New York, and one from London. Another impressive show was a loan exhibition of some 20 Venetian paintings, dominated by Titian and Tintoretto, and including Jacopo and Giovanni Bellini, Antonello da Messina, Mantegna, Crivelli, Palma Vecchio, Andrea Solario, Veronese, and the earlier Vivarini. Other noteworthy exhibitions in the galleries were: 17th century Dutch paintings; Colonial American portraits; the French Romantic painters, Grosé Géricault and Delacroix; paintings and drawings of Claude Lorrain (1600-1682); Trompe l'Oeil in early and modern art; "Great Portraits from Impressionism to Modernism"; watercolors and pastels by James A. McNeill Whistler.

The number of one-man exhibitions given contemporary American artists increases enormously each year, and during 1938 the number was little short of amazing. The names which follow represent only a part, possibly about two-thirds, of the number of contemporary American painters who enjoyed the privilege, some for the first time, of one-man showings in New York in 1938: Charles Aitken, Josef Albers, M. Azzi Aldrich, Vera Andrus, Rifka Angel, Revington Arthur, Milton Avery, Gifford Beal, Ben Benn, Virginia Berresford, Henry Billings, Richard Blow, Henry Botkin, Louis Bouché, Emile Branchard, Judson Briggs, Ann Brockman, Florence Cane, John Carroll, Jean Charlot, Nicolai Cikovsky, Paul Lewis Clemens, Mary D. Coles, John Steuart Curry, Nassos Daphnis, A. Mark Datz, Randall Davey, Adolf Dehn, Charles Demuth, Edwin Dickinson, Phil Dike, Thomas Donnelly, Arthur G. Dove, Elsie Driggs, Guy Pène du Bois, Arthur Emptage, Stephen Etnier, Philip Evergood, Lyonel Feininger, Lauren Ford, Joseph Foshko, Robert Francis, David Fredenthal, A. E. Gallatin, Emil Ganso, Frank di Gioia, Anne Goldthwaite, Adelaide de Groot, William Gropper, Louis Guglielmi, Pop Hart, Leon Hartl, Marsden Hartley, Eugene Higgins, Carl Holty, Walter Houmère, Iskantor, Morris Kantor, Richard Lahey, Ernest Lawson, Jonas Lie, Loren Maclver, Gus Mager, Reginald Marsh, Paul Meltsner, Kenneth Hayes Miller, Maud Morgan, Thomas Nagai, Fred Nagler, B. J. O. Nordfeldt, Eliot O'Hara, Georgia O'Keeffe, Cathal O'Toole, Honoré Palmer, William C. Palmer, John Pellew, Marc Perper, John Pike, Hobson Pittman, Henry Varnum Poor, O. A. Renne, Umberto Romano, Doris Rosenthal, Gordon Samstag, George Schreiber, Zoltan Sepeshy, Millard Sheets, Anatol Shulkin, André Smith, Jacob Getlar Smith, Issac Soyer, Raphael Soyer, Everett Spruce, William Starkweather, Gail Symon, Frederic Taubes, Manuel Tolegian, Tromka, Tschacbasov, Stuyvesant Van Veen, Coulton Waugh, John Whorf, Robert Jay Wolff, Henrietta Wyeth, John Xcéron.

Paintings by the following contemporary Europeans were seen in one-man exhibitions in New York: Mariano Andreu, Balthus, Max Beckmann, Georges Braque, Carlo Carrà, Marc Chagall, Raoul Dufy, Russell Flint, Othon Friesz, Xaver Fuhr, Juan Gris, Jean Hélion, Karl Hofer, Wassily Kandinsky, Moïse Kisling, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Fernand Léger, Léonid, Renè Magritte, Henri-Matisse, Joan Miro, Jules Pascin, Max Pechstein, Pablo Picasso, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Gino Severini, Maurice de Vlaminck.

Sculpture.

In America the year 1938 brought a tremendous increase in activity in the field of sculpture. A great many young artists are turning to sculptural expression, contemporary sculpture has been extensively exhibited, and several sculptors' organizations have been formed. The growing public awareness of the possibilities of sculpture as a contemporary art form may well be owing to the activities of the art projects of the United States Government, which for several years past have given unprecedented support to the art of sculpture, as well as to mural painting.

The functionalist trend in modern architecture has turned again to the use of sculpture in relation to building — another factor in the new interest in monumental sculpture.

The Government took the lead in employing sculptors, but during 1938 private organizations sponsored several important sculpture competitions, open to all professional sculptors. The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company offered a commission of $8,000 for a sculpture representing the American family, to be shown in the Company's exhibit at the New York World's Fair of 1939. This competition was won by Thomas LoMedico. Another important competition was sponsored by Rockefeller Center, Inc., which offered a $7,500 commission for a 20 by 18 foot bronze panel over the entrance of the Associated Press Building in Rockefeller Center. This was the first open competition sponsored by Rockefeller Center, and the winning model was that of Isamu Noguchi, with second and third prizes going to John Tatschl and Joseph Fleri. A competition was held for a $2,500 monument to the young farmers of America for the Art Building of the Los Angeles County Fair. In Oakland, Cal., the Brotherhood of Longshoremen and Auto Truck Drivers commissioned two sculptors, Warren Cheney and Elliott Sandow, to decorate its new meeting hall with sculptures expressive of the purpose of the Brotherhood. In Philadelphia the program of the Samuel Memorial in Fairmount Park is going forward. When completed the Memorial will comprise 18 figures or groups by nationally known sculptors illustrating American history. Figures of a Miner by John B. Flannagan and of a Ploughman by J. Wallace Kelly and a group, Spanning The Continent, by Robert Laurent were set up in the past year. Other figures, by Hélène Sardeau, Maurice Sterne and Heinz Warneke, are in various stages of completion.

The Sculptors' Guild, an organization of some 50 sculptors, formed in July 1937, held two exhibitions in 1938, a program which it intends to continue each year. The first of these was held out-of-doors in a vacant lot on Park Avenue at 39th Street, New York. This was a new idea in showmanship and it proved extremely popular, attracting an attendance of 40,000 in three weeks. The second exhibition was held in the Brooklyn Museum and contained some 110 sculptures. The formation of the Sculptors' Guild and the success of its exhibitions are indicative of the increasing interest in sculpture in this country.

Several other museums throughout the country held exhibitions of sculpture. The Whitney Museum in New York put on its annual show. Carnegie Institute asked 36 living sculptors to send three works each to the first general exhibition of sculpture held in Pittsburgh in ten years. The Rochester (N. Y.) Memorial Art Gallery showed modern German sculpture. The most brilliant early sculpture exhibition of the year was that of the Detroit Institute of Arts. This was a survey of Italian sculpture from the late Romanesque period through the Gothic period to the end of the early Renaissance. All loans for this exhibition were drawn from American collections, showing the wealth of important examples now in this country.

The number of contemporary American sculptors who had one-man exhibitions in or around New York during 1938 nearly trebled the number in 1937; a considerable proportion of these sculptors had not had one-man shows before. A partial list follows: Russell Barnett Aitken (ceramics), Margo Allen, Saul Baizerman, Stuart Benson, Cornelia Van A. Chapin, Nathaniel Choate, José de Creeft, Jo Davidson, William Edmondson (a "primitive" shown at the Museum of Modern Art), John Ferren, John B. Flannagan, Genevieve Karr Hamlin, Malvina Hoffman, Isabella Howland (caricatures in sculpture), Mario Korbel, Boris Lovet-Lorski, Liza Monk, John Rood, Charles G. Shaw (abstract panels), David Smith, Justin Sturm, Lillian Swann, Allen Townsend Terrell, Lawrence Tompkins, Polygnotos Vagis, Bessie Potter Vonnoh, Carl Walters (ceramics), Nat Werner, Anita Wechsler, Wheeler Williams, Arline Wingate, Mahonri Young. Foreign sculptors whose work was given one-man showings were: Alexander Archipenko, Ernst Barlach (memorial exhibition, Barlach died in 1938), George Kolbe, Henri Laurens, Maryla Lednicka, Aristide Maillol, Mirco, Chana Orloff, Renée Sintenis.

Among contemporary sculptors whose work was acquired by American museums in 1938 are: Constantin Brancusi, Ernst Barlach, Jacob Epstein, Gerhard Marcks, Gaston Lachaise, Reuben Nakian, John B. Flannagan, Minna Harkavy, Heinz Warneke, José de Creeft. A number of important examples of European and Oriental sculpture also entered American museums.

The will of the distinguished American sculptor, George Grey Barnard, who died in 1938, asked that his memorial arch, depicting the futility of war and dedicated to the Gold Star Mothers of America, be executed in marble and erected. Barnard left a 100-foot model of the arch and 50 full-sized plaster models for figures for it, on which he had worked the last 18 years of his life.

United States Government Art Projects.

The Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Treasury Department's Section of Painting and Sculpture continued to function during 1938. The WPA Federal Art Project, which was set up three and one half years ago to employ jobless professional mural and easel painters, sculptors, art teachers, and other art workers, has operated in 41 States, the District of Columbia, and New York City. At its peak it employed 5,212 artists; at the end of December 1938 it was employing 4,079. Effective Jan, 15, 1939, this figure will be reduced to 4,700 persons. The WPA Federal Art Project has done great service in bringing art to the people, particularly people who have had the desire but not the opportunity to enjoy art. It has been the opinion of those responsible for the WPA art projects that in the American people as a whole the desire to enjoy art, to take part in some form of art activity, lies close to the surface and that the desire has not heretofore been satisfied. The Federal Art Project has done much to open the way for the great popular consumption of art of which America is undoubtedly capable.

The drift of talent away from home communities all over the country toward the great cities has been counteracted for the first time in the history of American art. The community art center program has enabled the WPA art project to carry art into parts of the country, especially in the South and West, where opportunities in the arts have been completely lacking. Sixty-two Federal-sponsored community art centers have been established in 19 states, the District of Columbia and New York City. Plans are now being completed for art centers in five other states. The interest of the communities in which these centers have been established is shown by the fact that over $300,000 has been contributed toward the program by the communities themselves. In two years more than 11,000,000 persons have participated in WPA art center activities, which include free instruction in the creative arts and the crafts, lectures, demonstrations, and exhibitions.

In the past three years more than 100,000 works of art have been produced by artists employed by the WPA Federal Art Project. These works of art are actually being put to public use: in other words, these murals, paintings, sculptures and prints have been allocated to schools, libraries, hospitals, airports, court-houses, and other tax-supported public institutions. Works of art for which they have contributed the material and other non-labor costs — a fact which testifies to their desire to receive them — have been given to 13,458 such institutions. Besides works of creative art, project workers have produced 450,000 posters, 35,000 maps and diagrams, 350,000 photographs, 45,000 craft objects, 550 dioramas and models, and 10,000 lantern slides and other types of visual aids, all of which are being put to public use. For every worker now employed on the program the public has received 200 works of creative and applied arts.

Over 10,000 plates for the Index of American Design have been completed. This is the great pictorial record of indigenous American decorative arts from the earliest Colonial period to the end of the 19th century, which is being compiled by the WPA Federal Art Project. A number of educational institutions and other organizations are interesting themselves in plans for the publication of the Index of American Design in a series of color portfolios.

The Section of Painting and Sculpture of the Treasury Department continued its basic program of decorating Federal buildings with murals and sculpture. By June 30, 1938, 243 painting and sculpture projects had been completed since the Section was organized in 1934. The Section of Painting and Sculpture conducted national competitions for sculpture and mural paintings for the United States Government Building at the New York World's Fair of 1939. The WPA Federal Art Project is executing a series of murals for both the New York World's Fair and the Golden Gate Exposition.

Museum Acquisitions.

A large number of paintings by European masters entered the collections of American museums during the past year but only a few can be noted here. Probably the outstanding acquisition was the gift to the Metropolitan Museum in New York of the great painting Venus and Adonis by Rubens, a magnificent late example of c. 1635 which had been on loan in the museum since 1920. The Metropolitan Museum also acquired its first example by Fragonard, the Lady with a Dog, c. 1767-70. The Frick Collection in New York acquired a great portrait by Tintoretto, a Venetian Senator, and the Cleveland Museum of Art a famous Watteau, the Minuet in a Pavilion, c. 1717-18. A painting by Hieronymous Bosch, Christ Taken in Captivity, c. 1500, entered the San Diego Fine Arts Gallery. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts acquired a recently discovered Rubens portrait of Isabella Brant of c. 1618. Two paintings by Karel and Barent Fabritius were the first examples by these pupils and associates of Rembrandt to come to America: St. Peter's Escape from Prison, c. 1650, to the Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design, and Eli and Samuel to the Art Institute of Chicago. The Tiepolo Madonna and Child with Adoring Figure, c. 1721, went to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Two eighteenth century works, The Wash Women by Fragonard and The Dovecote by Boucher, entered the City Art Museum of St. Louis. Paintings by three eighteenth century Italian Baroque masters, Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, Sebastiano Ricci and Guiseppe Maria Crespi, were acquired by the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts. The Detroit Institute of Arts acquired examples by several early painters of the Netherlands: Hercules Seghers (1590-1640), Joos van Cleve (active 1530-1550), Pieter Huys (active 1545-77), Frans van Mieris (1635-1681), Roelandt Savery (1576-1639), and others. Two Monks in a Landscape, c. 1645, by Murillo, and several early Italian paintings from the Martin Ryerson Collection were added to the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. The Baltimore Museum of Art received a bequest of paintings from the Mary Frick Jacobs collection, chiefly by eighteenth century French and English masters, but also including examples by Perugino, Luini, Rubens, Hals, Rembrandt, Ruysdale, Murillo, and others.

The Samuel H. Kress Foundation continued its generous policy of giving works of art to small museums throughout the country. Museums or colleges in New Orleans, San Antonio, Memphis, Savannah, Montgomery, Macon, Charlotte, Wichita, Phoenix, Seattle, received paintings by old masters from the Kress Foundation.

In the field of modern art some important nineteenth century works acquired were as follows: an early painting by Corot, Hagar in the Wilderness, 1835, by the Metropolitan Museum of Art; a Cézanne of 1883-85, Chestnut Trees at Jas de Bouffan, by the Frick Collection; a Cézanne of 1904-06, Mont Sainte Victoire, and Reverie by Gauguin, by the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery in Kansas City; by the Art Institute of Chicago, an important Winslow Homer, The Herring Net, and several French pictures: Corot, View of Genoa; Manet, Young Woman in Round Hat; Degas, La Toilette and Dancer in the Wings; Redon, Woman among Flowers; Renoir, Lady at Piano and Artist's Son Jean As a Child.

Among twentieth century works acquired were: Picasso's The Mirror of 1932, La Coiffure, 1906, Seated Woman and Guitar and Fruit of 1927, and examples by Derain, Bonnard and Utrillo, given to the Museum of Modern Art, New York; abstract works by Hans Arp, Georges Vantongerloo, Theo Van Doesburg, and others, by the Gallery of Living Art of New York University. The following acquired works by contemporary American painters: Boston Museum; San Francisco Museum; Addison Gallery; Denver Art Museum; San Diego Fine Arts Academy; Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum, New York; Carnegie Institute; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; City Art Museum of St. Louis; University of Nebraska; Sweet Briar College; Los Angeles Museum; William Rockhill Nelson Gallery; Brooklyn Museum; and many others.

The New York Historical Society purchased the contents of Mr. and Mrs. Elie Nadelman's Museum of Folk Arts at Riverdale-on-Hudson. This unique collection, containing almost 15,000 objects of European and American origin, will be installed in the new building of the New York Historical Society.

Art in Europe.

The tenseness of the political situation in Europe during 1938 was reflected in the art world in the decrease in major art expositions; a few were noteworthy, however. In Paris the most comprehensive survey of British art ever shown in France was exhibited at the Louvre. An exhibition of the paintings of Edouard Vuillard at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris aroused great interest. A large and comprehensive exhibition of American art, which had never before been adequately presented in any city of Europe, was sent to Paris at the invitation of the French Government. This was selected with the collaboration of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and was shown at the Musée du Jeu de Paume. Entitled "Three Centuries of Art in the United States," the exhibition included paintings, sculpture, graphic art, folk art, architecture, photography and motion pictures. At the Orangerie in Paris thirty paintings of first quality by Goya were shown. These were selected from museums and private collections of France only, since it was impossible to draw upon the collection of the Prado in Madrid as was originally planned. Also shown in Paris during the year were a large Surrealist exhibition and a comprehensive collection of the work of Juan Gris, the Spanish Cubist painter who died in 1927.

In London at Burlington House "Seventeenth Century Art in Europe," a loan exhibition drawn with but one exception from collections in the British Isles, was one of the most significant exhibitions yet held of the work of the great Baroque masters. The Tate Gallery showed "A Century of Canadian Art." Picasso's great mural painting Guernica was exhibited in London, together with 60 preparatory paintings and drawings, to aid the National Joint Committee for Spanish Relief. This work had been exhibited in the Spanish Pavilion at the International Exposition, Paris, 1937. Works by 53 of the internationally known artists who were included in Nazi Germany's exhibition of "degenerate art" in Munich in 1937 were brought to London for exhibition. At London art dealers' galleries an important exhibition of 74 paintings of the School of Paris, and an American exhibition consisting of 51 canvases by 42 contemporary painters were held.

In Rotterdam at the Boymans Museum the "Masterpieces of Four Centuries," an important loan exhibition of 300 paintings and drawings from private collections in the Netherlands, showed the art of the Low Countries from 1400 to 1800. Naples had an exhibition of the work of painters of Naples from 1600 to 1900.

Sales.

The most important event in art markets since J. P. Morgan sold part of his collection at auction in 1935 was an announcement that William Randolph Hearst would dispose of his famous collection by sale and gift. The Hearst collection is one of the largest and most varied in history and is valued at some $15,000,000. The bulk of the collection of the late Mortimer L. Schiff was sold in London, bringing a total of £101,949, (over $500,000), the biggest event in a London salesroom for several years. The most important item in this sale was the painting by Roger van der Weyden, Scenes from the Life of Pope Sergias I, which brought 14,000 guineas ($70,000).

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2 Comments:

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