Broadway Journal ed. Chas F Briggs
Jan 4, 1845, vol 1 (first issue) (Dec 31 1845 issue has Gothic archictectural illus, lists Edgar A Poe and Henry C Watson as co-editors, 135 Nassau St, pub John Bisco). $3/yr, 6 ¼ cents each.
- 12 The Art Union Pictures (Briggs)
purchases generally evinced a discrim taste and impartiality of feeling, expected fr char of gmen on committee; some were indiff performances, but doubt not richlyworth the prices paid. Hardly expected 92 gd pics purchased for $5000. Young artists, but hope AU will buy fr older more expensive ones too, Durand has put his pics at smaller prices for them.
His large lscape The Passing Shower the fave of the last distrib, and the best of all his pics, better finished tho not half the marks of elab care than his Lake Scene distrib last year. Reminds at first glance of Gainsborough’s market wagon fr composition, but trees marked with a fine individuality of char, cedar in partic a fine portrait. Bank of mist an exceedingly fine effect, glimpse of sunlight has cheerful influ on spec, makes us symp with farmer hastening home. Lover and close observer of rural scenes, his forte, at home here and a genius, but in solemn solitudes Cole loves, out of element, and only a man of fine talent. No genius can play on more than one string. Durand gentle spirit, quiet sunnyplaces, fleecy clouds, rippling brooks, lives on Amity st, should not employ pencil in any other nature. 2 of his lscapes recently purchased in his v happiest manner, alike in feeling, cool shadwos, soft skies, sparkling brooks, satisfy sentiment for country, cattle in water cooling their hoofs make you long to do so. In Passing Shower obscured distant village by black mist, but he loves not these dismal aspects, and has throw across a bow of promise, imparts to us his own cheerfulness, awaken symp in others.
Cole’s studio at foot of Catskills. Only one pic in distrib, small and unpretending, much of his char, ruins of a majestic tree, hoary old rocks, poetry of solitude, nothing living in sight, nothing cld live there as not a particle of atmosph, the earth before God breathed. No need for atmosph, Nature before living beings bustled abt, his rocks live apart in depths of stillness and atmosph would only soften their severe outlines and their peculiar char anc charm wld be lost.
Cole’s tame pics are tame in the extreme, his forte is vast and solitary. One of his first ptgs of howling snow storm with wolf appalled us to that degree we still shudder. Mt Etna his ruling passion, ascent. To be regretted ever paint romantic trifles Past and Present and Departure and Return and scores of other inanities, he is the most imag of our ptrs, or his imag is more epic cast, easy for him to produce effect of grandeur and wildness, harder to be soft and fanciful.
Regret among all but one hist compos, De Soto discov Miss by Rothermel, a small sketch by him for the AU gave hi opinion, embodiment of Man who fought on his own hook, but too meagre for large pic.
2 other pop faves at the drwg were Compositor, by Chas E Weir, and Long Jake, by Lieut Deas. Weir a better ptr than his bro. Long Jake fr outer verge, wild and romantic, traits of former gentleness and refinement, conscious of his pictque,purple hills and brown furze harmonize, not to be forgotten.
View in Orange Cty by Cropsey gained admirers at NAD exhib, exceedingly fine pic, representation of quiet, everyday nature, without a particle of romance or imag. Straggling rail fence not offensive but harmonizes, where such an obj in Cole wld be v disgusting as out of char with his poetic manner. Another lscape by Cropsey scene in early autumn in Col’es manner in color, but a diff sentiment. Great promise. Englishmen can’t appreciate merits of a purely Am lscape, whole tone and aspect of Nature so unlike, critics laugh at extrav hyperbole.
- 12 The Fine Arts ptg for sale at colman’s in Broadway of Bride of Abydos, Thom H Smith, young Artist, deserves attn., not faultless, but youth, remarkable color and drwg, infinitely more merit than some of the ptgs which have rec’d praise of chef d’oeuvres by artists with NA by name.
Jan 11, 1845 p. 21 TheFine Arts: The Art Union Pics second notice.
Jesse Talbot’s river scene v effective if reduced by two thirds, finest lscapes are small, thumbnail is as much grandeur as eye is capable of receiving. Nearly all of Cole’s ptgs too large for any drwg rm, and unless seen fr a proper distance, foregrd of a large lscape alw produces a disagreeable effect, and if sufficient distance, best part is lost. Only in a theatre perhaps can have life-size representation of nature. A v gd copy of one of Claude’s seaports at AU , this as big as they shld be. Tone more preserved, greater freedom of touch, and elab of detail not necessary to prevent a coarse unfin aspect. Talbot improving, if he will forget he ever saw Cole, and look quietly at Nature with clear eye, own interpretations of herlang, no aid of any other commentator than own heart, she’ll reward. River is quite as liquid as Cole’s whose water is either mud or glass, transp wetness and motion never struck him as peculiar properties, either mirrors, stone or slime.
Vernet a gd marine ptr, need to be raised nr water. Bonfield must have led amphibious life, sea pieces full of life and motion, ship strains, water is salt and full of life, but defect fr Delaware, never clear, and skies/clouds yellowish disagreeable hue peculiar to Engl coast. Vessels too all foreign, with Am flags. But trifles don’t weigh agst world of truth and feeling; if we are born under a cloudy sky, a dull atmosph will be pleasantest, Bonfield pts fr Nature but not our Nature. Fine little snow piece had genuine Am aspect, earlymorning fleecy pink clouds pearly light dazzing whiteness charming and harmonious. Consistent.
Wotherspoon’s view of Northeast Lake Mt Wash most promising, new name; Calculating by T Hicks admirable v finely colored but lacking in interest fr head of principal being entirely hidden by hat.
Lazy fisherman by Chapman cld be called Lazy ptr, lscape looked done with a whitewash brush. Surprise for artist of his rep, same remarks for Oddie’s lscapes, which generally admire modest adherence to nature in parts, but in parts unaccountable negligence. Why so little finish given his talents? As sketches full of promise, as ptgs alw defective.
- 22 Monuments to Clay: whig states will present appearance of chessboard in wake of his defeat, so numerous the obelisks and columns. Mtg of his friends at Astor Hse, Wm B Astor presideing, to employ Crawford for a statue $10,000. All v liberal and v proper, Crawford hard work, safely entrusted, but if there is a more public testimonial, hope open competition. NY hasn’t a single monument, not in our Exchange, few towns with less proof of lib outlay for public gd.
Have heard nothing recently abt the Wash monument, and unless some other plan than one exhib, hope never to hear of it again. Mayor Harper deserves a monument for preventing its foundation fr being laid in Union Sq. Disgrace to erect monument after Pollard’s absurd model. Gothic churches in the 19th c sufficiently out of char, but Gothic monument to GW the very sublime of nonsense.
Jan 18, 1845, p. 41 Architecture: interior of Trinity Church, editor’s comment is that any structure of the so-called gothic order must of necessity be an incongruous work, unless an exact copy, and then it must be unfit. Trinity a v showy bldg. satisfies sentiment of promenaders and gd for Brokers to remind them to look up, but as archit expr and as consuming money cld be devoted tor elig, reflects but little credit.
Hates Old Heads and Young Hearts. Only mildly interested in Demo Review, Columbian Mag illus fr Chapman pics are better as engr than ptgs. Am Whig Review ought to drop partisan name, papers fairly written.
Jan. 25 1845 p. 58 The Fine Arts: Horace Kneeland in Granite bldg. 2 remarkably fine busts for integrity of expression equal to any by Powers, of Mapes and Ericcson. Shld go to Rome for countrymen won’t admire him otherwise. It takes a long while for common observers to appreciate any work of Art that is merely natural and simple. (gives Theseus and Antinous as examples of this)
Feb 1, 1845 Wall St Archit, every possible style, Cyclopean favorite to give impression of stability (doubtful); costly Custom Hse and Exchange, mtn of granite and marble, monuments of inefficiency of money to produce anything great in art.
Bits of News, approves of Harper not giving Rotunda to Gall of FA. Notices Cornelius Mathews new book, Prescott, Simms’s Monthly Mag first article Americanism in Lit has nothing in rln to that subj, but papers by Headley and Duyckinck.
WH Crome poem A Ptr’s Sketch. P. 57 illus of Willis and Geo P Morris at the ‘mirror’ (in earlier essay on Willis, praises him for Fancy; in previous issue D analyses Wm A Jones, who wrote for Am Mo Mag when ed by Park Benjamin and maybe the New Yorker, also writes as J for Arcturus, and for Demo Rev; also has account of John Waters, an admirer of Both and Weir, sternly relig, writes for NY American and Knickerbocker, real name is Henry Cary, gman of wealth and leisure. RH Dana close to Allston, Bryant, pub in Bryant’s NY Rev, ed No Am Rev for some time by J.
Feb 8, Wm Page gives expl of color in imitation in ptg. Doesn’t really take sides on Onderdonk. P. 92 A New Wash Monument: incongruous to unite a house and a monument, true size for a hero is life size, no greatness in mere expansion of dimensions. The monster W by Greenough in capitol proves how much human form loses in dignity of expression by exaggeration. Robt Kerr’s choragic monuments are of lowest order, so belittling effect, even large scale.
Feb 15, p.101 Places Worth Visiting, Msr Edouart’s Silhouette rms, 285 Broadway, effect is of demo procession by torchlight, black shadows. Wonderful expression of various passions, wish he did marble. Admirer of Napoleon, officer. Lydia Maria Child
- 102 NY Gall of FA, ought to be free, lower 25 cent admission, rich don’t need refinement, but poor and ignorant a real blessing, pic need not be didactic like Hogarth to do gd, Nature affixes no morals, yet impress the heart, artist shld imitate nature in representing a perfect and beaut obj without any troubles abt the point or moral, all we want is somebody to make us feel its beauty, moral will come out itself. We dislike exceedingly Cole’s alleg lscapes, pics in themselves truly beaut, but plan is agst nature, beauty marred by being seen together, we are imposed upon, sermons in green paint, charm of nature destroyed.
They are lscapes and affect a moral char lscapes can never have. The men in them are not seen at all when viewed at a proper distance, and if seen are subord, not principals, as they shld be in a perf which professes to point a moral. First pic has least artistic merit of the series. No lscape can ever teach a profitable lesson, when nature is caricatured or exaggerated, there can be nothing better than nature as it is designed by god. Turn fr Savage state to little lscape, one of Cole’s earliest works, when he loved nature more than newspaper applause or bank notes, more real merit, morning sky, still lake, cool shadows, feeling of nature unsurpassed by any lscape ptd here. A Sensation of country air lingers for a whole day in our memory, many of the subjects in Willis’ Japonica-dom would be tempted into habits of early rising by seeing this sunrise. Likes Desolation the best.
Another bit of Nature in gall entirely diff fr Nature of Cole, Truant Gamblers by Mount, probabaly his best. Color better, but the expression unapproachable. Farmer with world of ill-nature that mankind dignify with name of prudent industry in his features, compares with finest things in Hogarth, contrast with happy abandonment of boys, a happy stroke of genius.
- 103 missing a scathing review of Cole’s Course of Empire by Briggs (tho Nov 1836 Am Mo Mag editor had praised them as grand moral epic noble), compares Savage state to his 65, (View on the Catskill, 1836-7?) one of his earlier works, when he loved nature more than newspaper applause or bank notes, more real merit than all his alleg pics, pure morning sky, feeling of nature, cool shadows
- 105 On Greeley, he doesn’t use a low tone in composing his writings, relies on adjectives thrilling, burning or splendid, sometimes varied by glorious or brilliant. Coloring so hot, his style can never be elevated, flashiness of expression “address of Cassius M Clay must electrify every generous and manly heart…burning Eloquence…” Has illus of him.
Notices Mechanic’s Institute evening school for Design, T Cummings, Paul Duggan and president as teachers, drwgs would not disgrace exhib of NAD, present spirited organiz of Inst worthy support. Also notes Rotunda has been allowed to NY Gall of FA, happy.
Feb 22 1845
Essay praising Henry T Tuckerman by E. Italian opera is only for the Upper ten. P. 121 The Fine Arts: Penn Acad FA (Briggs): astonishing how many bad pics collected, worst specimens drawn irresistibly to it. Institu of this kind seem to be threads around which all the bad taste hitherto held in solution in genl society hastens to crystallize, supply mediocrity with bread in shape of patronage. Of many atrocities, start with largest, aggregate amount of Sully’s might make him first, but he will yield to West for single largest, Death on Pale Horse, badness by the acre makes it worst pic in world, wanting in imag and mechanical qualities, below crit, striking absurdities. Originality in conception and execution of flash of lightning, electric displays convey extreme swiftness to ordinary mortals, but lighting in West ends in a viscid drop, like melting molasses, plot to give Brit tourists a source of merriment, but exhib with connivances of those who shld have known better as miracle of Art. Editors pay for tickets with flummery, injure true Art.
Allston’s Dead man restored, never been able to admire, coloring hard and niggardly, grouping inefficient, an attempt to paint a large pic not a great one. Haydon’s Christ’s entry more in Allston’s style than this. Chiefly interesting for portraits, tho we think great crowd of people hardly a fit subj unless at a distance to preclude individ partic heads. If all pt with equal care, seem unnatural, or as in this pic, deprive figs of all motion and life.
Among many disgraceful works, one disgusting, Time flogging Cupid by Fr artist, exposure. Opie’s Gil Blas only exceeded in badness by sully’s copy. Directors have learned artifice fr picture dealers of giving to violations of artistic proprieties random selected names of great masters, peculiar spite agst Salvator Rosa, wretched spoiled canvasses. A few gd pics by Flemish artists, but visitor would think only 2 or 3 Am painters in existence. Peale put works in Museum of his own, ten score ports with a dab of light like a sprinkling of flour on apex of their heads. At acad, no mastodon, only Pettrick’s statue of Goethe’s Mephist.
Public taste miseducated. Academies shld collect gd foreign pics or gd copies, or better encourage Am art by purchasing liberally gd pics by native Artists, shld lead public taste, precede pop verdict not follow it, Page and Powers
March 1 1845 p. 134 NY Gall of FA (Briggs?)
Gd and bad pics shld never be exhib together, Gallery trustees have no principles for selections for additions. Ought to have rigid impartiality in excluding second rate, above all exclude copies of every kind. 11 ptgs by GW Flagg, not one by Inman or Page. Only one of Flagg deserves a place. Others shld be hung in dark corner, Richardson’s view fr Roster Hill, Philip’s boy fallen asleep over dinner.
Cole and Ingham presented valuable pics, orig port of Lafayette and view in Sicily, one of finest. Edmonds loaned 2 most pleasing compos, boy stealing milk and bashful cousin, admirable Durand copy fr Titian, and Day Dream by Ingham prob his best female head. Coll of rare engr an antidote to mag plates.
- 137 has by JE Brown a caricature of one of the Upper ten. Edgar Allen Poe reviews Fuller on women, their equality with men as agst nature.
- 156 The fine Arts: new pic by Chapman at AU, Rachel mourning, best of his, private purchaser, gd sign (not part of purview to criticize private ptgs). T Hicks ports of Horse and pony, finest specimen fo animal port, in hi keeping, nothing of unnatural glossiness of hide, stable interior creditable, adheres to integrity of nature, close observer.
Granite bldgs. On Chambers st is huge eccalciobeon for hatching artists, chrysalis of obscurity, best highest up, Elliot most promising of port ptrs, oppos are Cropsey, Gignoux and Cafferty, lscape. Edouart’s Silhouettes are fine art, not mere profiles, but epic compos
March 22, 1845 p. 187 NY Gall of FA, letter fr SJ, noting that pictures of which he complains were part of Reed’s priv coll, family wanted it to remain entire. Most of our eminent artists, Cole, Mount, Durand, Shegogue, Chapman, Ingham, Edmonds have promised a ptg to the Institution. Copies of service. Editor (Briggs) replies gallery of art shld be unique, artists ought to study originals, our country so belittled by imitation and copyism, need self-dependence in this and in other things
- 188 The Fine Arts: notices dick’s engr of Leo’s Last Supper. Morse a v ordinary ptr and v extraord philosph.
March 29, compares what Landseer gets paid to Am artists, Inman and Doughty struggle for employment
April 5, 1845. Excerpt Downing on rural archit.
- 222a Miscellany: Gov’s rm in City Hall getting 2 new ports of Gov Bouck and Mayor Harper, hope will be saved fr disgraceful maneuvering in affair of Gov Seward’s port, who declined selecting an artist, city council refused, so appointed a committee of five of his polit friends, ea had his favorite, took a rm at Astor hse (NY Hotel not being in existence at time) and sent circulars requesting artists to send specimens. Unable to agree, and concluded to employ five, one to be finally chosen, only Inman and Harding agreed to do it, both paid, flipped a coin, got Inman, now have full length of a country attorney looking personage standing in a highly satisfied with himself position, a glove in his hand as tho just starting for a village tea party, as his likeness. Descendants will view indifferently fr examples Seward and Van Buren in City Hall, fortunately humanly looking Gov Marcy comes between, rescue fr imputation of petitism.
Note JT Hart of KY known for bust of Genl Jackson has done one of Clay friends pronounce of great excellence, mechanical skill equal of Clevinger and surpasses him in ideal
April 12, Fine Arts, p. 238, Cole 2 v beaut lscapes at Art Union, Old world and New, new the best as cld not fail to be, river in Autumn, peculiar brilliancy, clouds a little heavy, but atmosph efforts superior to any of his others. Other has ruined tower, persp esp good, pervaded with sentiment of decay
April 19, starting a series fr London Art Union onliving artists of Euro, with Delaroche, then Vernet
- 254 The Fine Arts, The Indian Guide, at Art Union, by Chas Deas formerly of NY now in St Louis, companion to Long Jake, a half breed, air of mystery and wildness to whole compos, purple sky. Not one of ideal school, paints Nature as he finds her, except Mount, most purely Am in his feelings, nothing foreign or copied in his compos, air of genuineness feeling of truth. Pics of pure savage life like Catlin’s can’t excite our symp as do beings who belong to our own race, Indian an impassable remove fr civilize, but symp for Indian guide not for ptd savage, trappings toward refinement.
Anoth pic of genuine Am feeling, Harry of Boston, snow, charming.
Missing a notice of opening of NAD by Briggs p. 254 more good ptgs than any exhib so far
April 26, 1845
Poe story The Oval Portrait, at a chateau, young girl just ripening, vignette manner in style of Sully, admirable art, appalling lifelikeliness of expression; girl wedded the ptr, art was her rival, killed her
- 257 20th Annual Exhib of Acad of Natl Design (Briggs)
sympathizes with painter who places all his hopes in the exhib. Fewer than last yr, so better bcause fewer bad pics, every sincere friend will regret not more rejections, disgrace to exhib pics with no artistic merit. Every visitor will feel committee have done Art and one of their members wrong by admitting Landscape no. 28, (Shegogue, Evening, Landscape Composition, 7 Amity st, a neighbor of Poe’s) will do artist harm, yet given post of honor while 2 of v best ptgs hung so hi real merits can’t be discovered. 4 foreigners of 145 contrib artists, 152 ports, 30 minis, 97 lscapes, 15 hist, etc inclu 5 foreign engravings which we do not see propriety of. Happy best ports by hitherto unknow artists, tho in lscape meed or excel still Cole and Durand and in humor to Mount and Edmonds, others treading on heels.
1 Death of Abel C Mayr, many gd pts tho genl effect unpleasant, subj both hackneyed and impressive, impossible not to repeat somebody’s ideas. Solemn theme, shld leave no trifling impressions, but requires talents Mayr lacks. Melancholy to see ability, time and materials employed to no purpose. Head of Adam too small, Eve too young, Abel as flat on ground as a board, and well ptd pointer detracts fr solemnity. Full sized naked figs don’t show to gd advantage in small rms of Acad.
6 Calvin Gitteay, S Thayer, merit young artist, tho not a v agreeable pic, truthful and modest v gd likeness
7 Lady, AH Wenzler, best port in exhib, leaden tone pervading far fr pleasant, but drwg color and expr not exceeded
8 Red Jacket’s Descendants, WJ Wilgus, well colored, drawn. Can’t judge ability as portraitist fr such subjects
10 Italy in Olden time, T Rossiter, resembles nothing the moderns have ever seen. Caution to young artists to remain at home
11 Port HP Gray, as a colorist at head of contributors, but lack more essential qual, he has taste and fancy in hi degree, but correct drwg wanting, exceedingly ill drawn head or posit a v bad one
Port of Casilear, 12, W Swain. Casilear reluctant exhib, fine abilities, Swain at his best here. 43 Dr Milnor by him not equal in artistic merit.
3 Discovery, LP Clover, cabinet, cavalier looking over lady’s shoulder, letter, antique statues of Cupid and Psyche thru door. Last yr hanging comm rejected ptg by an academician for containing the same figs, infinitely better ptd. Globe in corner only pt we can bestow much commendation. Hearty dislike of these masquerade subjs outside a lady’s mag, even there out of place, impossible they shld embody an idea profitable or pleasing to anybody. Why throw away time in such inanities, while world is full of sober realities, whose shadows appeal forcibly to heart. His earlier sketches indic love of nature he has entirely lost. A bad pic of a v bad school.
13 CH Marshall by Ingham, one of best ptrs of silks and velvets, if ladies had porcelain necks and coral lips, equally gd as ptr of delicate women, but flesh can’t give resemblance. Subj one of bluffest men in NY, but not suspect it fr pict, carefully and elab ptd, but wants finish. Portraits adapted to tastes of a certain large class, passion for fine furn and dresses, student in costumery.
May 3, 1845 p. 275, 20th ann exhib of acad of nat des, Lscapes (Briggs)
5 View of Roman Forum, Chev. Pacetti, little dingy canvass with archit shapes feebly represented. Resides in Rome. Filthy daub by Rossiter hangs near it, both ptd in atmosph of eternal city, shld wean honest mind fr all yearnings, compare works by artists never left native soil with those by Huntington and Freeman sent home. Pacetti will soon become an honorary NA member.
16 Lscape JF Cropsey, v genuine Am pic, great purity of feeling and techknowl, tied down to exact features of a partic scene, Saugerties White Lead Works on Esopus Creek, early spring, tremulous with new life. All elements in pic of a grand lscape, butnot formed by combo, aimed to give details ofa locality rather than a pt of interest. Rocks for a geologist to name, trees char of own, but too much distinctness in foliage. Shadows clear and cool, sky can look into, but water liquefied sandstone, foam is whiting. Water enuf in presente xhib to drown the world, yet Sisyphus might not be reminded of his thirst unless saw waterbucket and tin cup inEdmonds’ Truant School boy. Sea scene by Cole, Durand’s rivers, Inman’s lakes, Niagara by Havell, stagnant pool by Shegogue, not a drop. Havell ambitious, yet no ability. Our artists paint lakes of polished steel and oceans of sheep’s wool borrowed fr engravings, ought to look nature in face not caricature her. Take ferry to Staten island every day and watch ever varying form of water until imbu8ed with living palpable ideas of motion ever changing palpitating and flashing. Bay of NY ideal for artists, yet artists go afar—Cole to Frenchman’s bay for peagreens ea, Huntington to Tuscany for rivulet of soap suds, Inman to Cumberland, black purple pea green lake. Don’t do dioramas and fail of doing anything, but one ray of light, one ship, one cloud, as full of poetry and romantic interest as Europe, to appeal to underst and touch hearts of Acad crowd. Great defect of all our lscape ptrs is ambition to do everything on one canvas, but eye can comprehend but one thing at a time. Ptr shld select pt of interest and invest it with life and truth and avoid giving same finish to any other part, spectator spared perplexity. Pics by Cole and Durand contain within themselves dozens of other pics, and eye seeks in vain after repose. Lscape 39 Durand wearying to eye and mind, old man sitting in cool shadow, but can’t rest, young men playing ball distract, sunshine beyond cricketers etc, heart not touched, pettish, admirable materials condemn it in your heart while pronounce with tongue magnify.
Hardly a lscape in rms where intent of ptr certain,beyond catching eye of gaping crowd. 37 study fr Nature by Cropsey v truthful, rocks best any, shadows clear, light pure, water limpid tho mirror, pic does not stand out fr the canvas as we hear amateurs absurdly say, but takes you into canvas. Artists paint to attract admirers, modest nature trampled upon like violets. 177 October lscape byJR Bleecker charming little bit of tender feeling, scorns flaunting gew gaws of vulgar minds seeking applause, copy nature as finds her true beaut, hung in bad place. But his day will dawn. Most charming little ptg by Casilear in Art Union shld have been to exhib, perfectly ptd oak tree, with horses resting in its shadow, v simple v highly finished, full of genuine love of nature and hi artistic expression. Worth an acre of stumps of trees and mahogany rocks at Nat Acad.
113, 168, 236 3 Lscapes by RA Powers, never heard of, merit.
153, 160, 306, WW Wotherspoon the most promising in exhib, decided manner, must look a little closer into Nature before becomes a decided habit. Drwg best, color monotonous untrue.
117 View on Long Island, JH Cafferty, quiet, unobtrusive, have seen the tree before, but never loth to meet such an acquaintance.
321, 324, Lscapes by FE Church, of Catskill, pupilof Cole. Give evidence of genius, crude but touching little effects works of greater pretensions lack, red clouds in sunset 321 beaut effect.
30 Sunset CP Cranch, many gd, many weak, sky gd and shadows cools, butpic too large for subj. 4 other lscapes all possess some gd touches, but fewer would be better til more practice with nature.
88 View across Frenchman’s Bay, only marine we’ve seen by Cole, water well drawn but not well colored, unidentified rocks, red not black tinged with green as in Maine. Artist shld be a geologist, botanist, anatomist. Pic too large for so meagre a subj must be filled up with comonplaces, don’t need big canvas to give breadth of effect. 97 byCole toolarge for ord rm, and sublime idea lost in its expansion. 178 sunset one of his weakest, a compos, worse for its oval frame. Cole still reigns supreme, but uneven power. Pics in Art Union much finer than these, among the very best.
125, 133, 140, 226 Lscapes by Kensett, Engl scenery pleasing true to nature, too highly elab for studies. Strange light 140 View nr Richmond imitates startling effects of Turner. May be true, but all truths not proper for circulation.
71 Land Storm, T Doughty, most excellent.
May 10, 1845, p. 289 Nat Acad: portraits.
Shallow-thoughted cry too many portraits, want historical works, we prefer it, very highest reach of art, sell at higher prices. Even gross beauties of Rubens. Would prefer ea century paint its own history, no ptr can give a reflection of a past age, will give mockeries rather than realities. Modest sculptures on ruins of Palenque give a more vivid impression of life of the Mexicans than such pics as Rothermel’s in present exhib can do. 2 little pics by Mount, 145 and 242 will convey better idea of ancestors to our descendants than the most learned composition. At least let us paint our own history. We want no masquerades, but living men and women in real characters.
Miss perfect ports of page, puzzling one of our greatest must seek employment in provinces. Have already given post of honor in present exhib to Wenzler, a young Germ artist who has mostly done minis. Defect of ports is color, which is harmonious but cold and leaden, a norther light, his Hugh Maxwell and Furness among v best but hung badly, yet perfect in drwg. Next is 119 Ericsson by Elliott, who did Gov Seward last yr, destined hi, great danger is facility of exec, rarely fails in likeness, port of engineer one of most pleasing in exhib, v perfect in its kind,life like, perhaps lacks solidity and finish. 22o Horace Kneeland a stronger head, but lacks dignified repose. 190 old man with flowing black beard, study with surprising freedom and truty. 128 Spencer the artist, gd sober. 200 sweet face, position graceful and unaffected, most like nature and least like a port, dewy rose compared to artificial flowers near it.
199 T Hicks self portrait. Acad requires associates to present their own ports, no better plan for coll of bad pics, set of caricatures, one of greatest curiosities is head labelled Bryant, nobody wld suspect meant for the poet. Hicks not equal to his other ports.
23 Col Thayer, RW Weir, posit full lenth exceedingly bad, suspended action produces v unpleasant sensation. Head better ptd, legs foreshortened but better if shortened to be left off altogether. NO more uninteresting sight than long legs with white linen trowsers. Accessories finished with great care, but of not the least consequence.
27 Dr. Macready, by JJ Mapes, surprised so gd a port.
36 Child, JH Lazarus, v sweet, badly hung
48 D Bryson, E Mooney, sober truthful. His 55 W Rowell equally gd, lack only a little warmth of color to render them among the best.
54 Mrs H Shelton, F Boyle, admirable, well drawn and well colored except sooty hue he invests all his pics with. Posit graceful, arms well disposed, drapery elab
67 Capt Cropper, Ingham, if he will do himself harm to paint men, hope he will schew sailors, can’t put rough externals on canvas. 169 184 of young ladies in happiest manner, shotted silk a miracle, gauze scarf deceive one of Stewart’s clerks. Ladies of finest clay—porcelain.
69 EH May, has 3 ports, the best is 130, altogeth modest, substantial, fleshly
Roumfort 83 byWE Winn, why here fr Phila at a loss. Looks the reverse of a good cit, swaggering, sword longer than scabbard, woful pic brings to mind woful events.
158 Gman, TH Smith (have puffed before), nothing in modest pic except marked char of subj to attract attn., unfavorable hanging, but ptr one ofmost indust, enthuse, promising, his 221 also head of old gman, v truthful unpretending
165 A Greek, F Fink, attracts a gd dealof attn., universally admired, hands exquis ptd, but not port of a Greek but gman in a greek costume.
172 Jacob Barker, Inman, only port in exhib, one of his best, v pleasing fr only 3 sittings, slight and sketchy but what’s aimed at
Bust of JJ Mapes, H Kneeland, only one in exhib, so true to nature, finely modeled, needs ordinary works to make its superiority apparent. Nearest approach to perfection of Power’s busts.
May 10, 1845, p. 305, The Nat Acad. Has interesting illus, of spectators pointing.
38 David and Fair Shunamite (called in cat Shumanite), W Winner, Phila artist, entirely misconstrued text, has placed David on top of a hi throne and her at feet too far removed to impart any heat tho she were as hot as a furnace. Hardly more nature in this pic than in decorations of a China tea cup, idealized to extremest pt of inanity.
296 Jael and Sisera, PP Duggan, slightly tinted outline, thoro underst of text, fine imag, anat knowl, firm hand, v chaste design. 369 model for an Antediluvian by same is disagreeable subj, but skilful modeler, disgusting to see so much ability thrown away, parades tech knowl instead of hiding it
302 Boaz and Ruth,AG Miller, glaringly bad compos.
108 St. John, Thos Hicks, ptg subj of many ungenerous remarks, possesses merits of v hi order. Disagreeable subj but truthful port, more imag than Murillo for nearer nature in design. Will forgive solecism of fatness in young saint in desert, for leanness unpleasant to look upon vs handsome boy with rosy face and shining locks. Subj can’t be fitly repres, injured by attempt. Since people don’t go naked in this age, they can’t serve as models, their flesh is delicate and soft and looks unpleasant in person exposed to sun and rain. No fine statues in this age for no fine models, body spoiled by its clothes. Artist shld just paint hands and faces, Apollos and Dianas are past.
St John well drawn well colored, posit easy becoming, lscape fine idea of desert with Cactus in foregrd, higher aims than to catch eye of vulgar gazers, absence of trickery, honest and truthloving. Won’t be spoilt in Euro by copying, instead of adopting means.
211 Rachel envied her sister, JH Chapman, no merit as a pic of Rachel but as port of a young woman many gd pts and best pic he has ever ptd.
Too thoroughly acquainted with bible in these Sunday School days to tolerate scripture in art except fr highest genius.
45 Cupid and Psyche, J Freeman, fleshy parts sweetly ptd, drapery wretched; Cupid pretty boyish face, back dreadfully misddrawn and badly colored. A meaningless pic. If an illus of Greek legend, no propriety, P too old and C too young. 64 Ital beggar children by him more admired than any other in gallery, deserving of praise, but only gdin parts. Boy’s face never belonged to any creature who had known exposure or want. Posit in which he stands is constrained and painful and body exposed not to gain symp but as a study for the artist. Drap nothing but paint. Face is sweet per se, body finely ptd, but incongruous and out of char for beggar. Sleeping girl well as subord, but pic v far fr a complete or pleasing one, no sentiment of indigence in it, one might look without putting hand inpocket for money. As a study much merit.
331 Crucifixion. WG Wms. Temerity in a subj none but most sublime genius shld touch, marvel more at admission of such a pic.
73 News-boy’s lament, T Le Clear, v gd head, fullof natural expr, a portrait, title a misnomer, no lamentation nor any cause for it discoverable.
92 Olivia and Sophia consulting fortune Teller, AG Miller. 2 v gd reasons why not do subj: ptd a million times, an Engl subj. If Miller v young may do better.
102 head of a foxhound, WJ Bolton, and 203 greyhound, best animal ports, tho an amateur
107 Sugaring Off, TH Matteson, purchased by Am AU. Young of consid ability, this and The Spirit of 76 118 first by him we’ve seen. Genuine Am scene, vraisemblable, familiar subj selected to him, but all the personages do not seem int heir element. Pleasing compos, will be popular. Spirit of 76 not to our taste, actors in it playing a game of brag. 162 lost glove better in point of color, subj too trifling.
110 Evening Chat, E White, quiet pleasant little, gd tone, quite perf drwg
114 Facing the Enemy, Edmonds, reformed toper, will come off victor, well drawn, story v perfectly told, barbarism of passing age. 227 New Scholar equal to any of his others, head of pedant happily conceived and ptd, beaut boy fine sturdy fellow, everybody sympathizes
126 Parting of Edwy and Elgiva, C Leutze, altogether finest compos, small and unpretending, stamps him a master, characters happily with great force, relieve and heighten ea other.
130 Sketch for statue of GW for city, F Catherwood and T Crawford, ptd by Henry Hillyard. Know parsimony if not gd sense of cit will secure us agst such an abomination. Cast iron, 75 ft tall, iron not for effigy ofGW in theatrical attitude of a French Marshal
176 Cupid Begging for Arrows, HP Gray. Artists believe gods celestial poultry with wings. Color v fine, Venus v passable woman but odd looking goddess. Sentiment poor, feeble and commonplace, neither classic nor familiar, xtian not pagan, don’t touch the heart or inform he mind, would be better to have no Art.
195 Dance of Haymakers WS Mount, delight to pass to this scene of real life jollity, alive with fun and nature, very popular, equal to his former. Unpleasant monotony of salmon-colored tints at first v repulsive, but forms make effects of color forgotten, step into barn, become actor in scene. Monstrous anachronisms such as pink coat of dancer, bad drwg like legs of fiddler who is borrowed fr one of Clonney’s pics, but don’t mar beauty. Tickling pleasure. Perfect naturalness, tho such exhibs extremely rare in any of our barns. 242 Bird Egging as gd in its way, v small butmore truth and feeling than all the canvases in room, makes eyes moist. One touch of Nature makes whole world kin. In next room scene of murder of Abel, look without smallest emotion, but we can’t help crying with little boy. Feeling is the test.
204 Horse and Pony, T Hicks, admirable barn, ports of animals capital
214 Popping the Question, WF Van Zandt, in very equivocal postures, man doing anything but popping the question.
240 Surrender of Guatemozin, PF rothermel, one of most promising artists in mob city, but not one of his best, fr Prescott’s Conquest, purely ideal, unpleasant scarlet tinges every obj. Some v pretty figs, but fash ladies and gmen in tableau vivant, rather than real personages
260, 264 CE Weir, 2 sm ptgs gd deal of merit, exceedingly unpleasant in color, dingy hue, absent in fruit 295, but time and talent wasted in copying apples and peaches.
Immortality teaching love, TG Crawford unworthy of his rep.
271 Sat Afternooon, MED Brown, dreadful affair, French kitchen with English figs, poor thing, shouldn’t be admitted
288 290 very beaut highly finished pen and ink drwgs, style cultivated, amateur, Saml Wallin
213 FOC Darley, unlike his others, Dance of Demons with terrible force, genius compos
No archit drwg, but not clear why Catherwood’s are here. A few gd minis, but none of hi order, Hite, MDougal, Cummings several. Mrs Bogardus and Miss Hall have done better.
Altogether, exhib gives but little hope for cause of Art in US. An incubus weighing upon Art, will destroy her, the Academy. The very worst in exhib are by Academicians, best by outsiders. If interests of art in city are placed in hands of such men, what can be hoped? Ought to form a new Acad, a rival institution wld be of benefit in every respect.
May 10, 1845, p. 316 rightly suspicious of Titian’s Venus being a dupe. Most spectators don’t care if it is work of Titian or not, it is v fine and worthy of him. Only test for art is delight it gives. Proprietor injured char of work by setting apart a day for admission of women only. No pic shld be looked on by a woman alone which she wld hesitate to look at in co of father or brother. V old and v young men do well not to call.
May 17, 1845, p.307, Briggs last review of NAD, worst performances are by academicians, calls for emergence of a rival institution, nothing can be hoped for such men, incubus weightin upon Art is Acad.
Poe on Titian’s Venus, orig or copy, suspects a copy, but delight is all that should matters, get it from this perhaps more than his real ones p. 316
May 24, 1845 p. 321 comments on article fr Foreign Quarterly Review on Pictures and Picture Dealing, exposes risks in buying old masters, next to impossibility for an Am, better to buy fr our own artists than disfigure with worst daubs
- 333 Fine Arts, 4 lscapes by Geo Brown in AU, head of lscape ptrs, marvel of art, river purest water, Dr Dewey calls him a copyist of Claude, but copies nature with rare felicity in a peculiar manner, must not compare them to works of other artists, just nature. Regret going private indivds not AU.
Corrects exhib comments, attrib to Casilear a sm lscape in rms of AU which was by Durand
June 21, 1845: Bit on Thorvaldsen’s Byron, comments on new engravings
June 28, 1845,last issue with Briggs as an editor. p. 403 British Crits on Am Art:
Inman port ofG Putnam in RA, Doughty lscape excerpt pub in bulletin of AU; all badly hung; Grk Slave praised, Titmarsh in Frazer’s says a female bust is best. Gives Athenaeum’s critique of GS which says great mistake to have placed fig in such a predicament, mortal proportions not idealized
July 12, notes editorial conduct is under sole charge of Edgar A Poe, HC Watson as heretofore controlling the Musical Dept.—Ethiopian school of music truly national and truly democratic, rival Fanny Ellsler
July 19, Young America p. 26, phrase redolent of affectation, but earnest symp in YA, its interests as our own. Paper by Cornelius Mathews at Eucleian Soc of U of NY embodies interests (CM wishes for a school of comic design if nothing else)
July 26, 1845 The fine Arts: notes Joseph Bonaparte’s coll at Bordentown up for sale in Sept, Astor shld buy and donate. NY Herald vs NA of FA: while defending the NA agst illjudged remarks, false accus, and grossly ignorant misstatements in Herald a short time since, we are no partizans of Acad or its supporters. Herald writes: little improvement observable in pictures, better to have fewer hi order pics than extensive mediocre ones. Mode of management not liberal, cliques influential, coterie of ptrs practice system of favoritism prominence to wretched daubs. Aim to make money fr exhib. BJ says no, free drwg school is opposite of sordid
Aug 16 1845 p. 90 The Fine Arts: ill feeling exist in every profession, arises fr wretched habit of cliquing. Art is forgotten in their own individuality, partypurposes of small coteries. The two great parties at present are the old and the young, ea divided agst itself, fostered by writers for the press. Ought to socialize more. Also questions Sun’s comments on Sully port of Gen Jackson
Aug 23 p. 104 Fine Arts notes a NY Art Reunion, 3 months old, Ridner a founder, seems to involve a lottery, orig sketch, 4 233k presidency
Sept 13 1845 p. 153 FA (Watson, according to Pollin): Nat Gall at Rotunda: public gallery, further underst of fine works of Art, appreciate liberality of founders.
Ptgs at Am AU: 11 Death Struggle by C Deas, gives imaginative account of what preceded it (trapper was trespassing on Indian hunting grounds), beaver lacerates Indian, another warrior above watches, subj treated with great boldness, actual life in every portion, both drawn with masterly force and distinctive char preserved with fidelity, esp features of two races. Face of Indian only tiger like ferocity, Trapper has indomitable firmness and horror. Great improvement in horses, which previously were wooden, but here anatomy well made and have flesh on bones, which seems to quiver in agony. Right eye of Indian watching badly drawn, looking down cheek in impossible position. In whatever point, color, exec or compos, acknowl hi talents, hand of a master, bold, daring energy in design evid of originality, rare in present day, intensity of purpose proves has true artistic feeling. Carelessness in exec, masses of foliage seem daubed on with finger, rubbed off with coat sleeve. Young, auspicious, lasting rep.
Notices Morris the amateur exhib West’s Christ Healing the Sick. Expect season to bring beaut lscapes, city artists in country rifling nature, can revel in scenes and snuff up in imag the incesnse of the flowers.
Private view of exquis sculpt of king of Belgians, Coming fr the Bath, (De Kuyper) female, delicacy androundness of form, intellectuality, gentleness and modesty, hardly excelled, owned by Am. (Poe)
Sept 20 1845 p. 169 Fine Arts: Nat Gall Rotunda. Invidious task to crit works of living ptrs. In all the so-called crits our painful experience to peruse in diff newspapers, scarcely met any thing deserved the name. Either written for ptr by some kind friend, flat and fulsome praise, or concoted by penny a liner who knew nothing and was equally capable to discourse on Sanscrit if paid. Critics of this stamp beingill fed and peevish, gratify spleen and hide ignorance by dealing indiscrim damnation on all those whose champaigne and oysters they have not tasted. Never attempt to point out partic defects or beauties, that wld require knowl. Critics all ready made, no apprenticeship.
Idle twaddle in various papers fr shallow pretenders to knowl, injures Arts. Modest merit overlooked or slighted, artist of gd standing treated in a flippant manner, while a few unworthy exalted. A false standard of taste is raised, a meretricious school supported, and favored of press flourish in a false halo of glory then sink into obscurity, for another 9 days wonder.
Ptg people think requires no previous study to discrim betw coarse and beaut, poetic and commonplace. Must spend time in galleries and studios, as we have done.
Cole’s Progress of Society: a fine thought, pts to disting trait in his genius, imagination. No parallel but Hogarth. V diff subj.
Savage is animated, all in motion, lightness beauty andtruth of foliage trembles in breeze, everything sprung into life, wild luxuriance, weeds spring up spontaneously, no order or cultivation, chaotic confusion reigns. Poetical in highest degree, truthfulness sublime, every part ptd in masterly manner. But shadows too dark, black and somber tone, leaden mist in ponderous masses, gigantic plants suggest tropical climate diff fr rest of scene. Faults opposed to truth, but doubtless intended for noble design of conveying vastness and solitude. Anachronism to introduce dogs. Deer resembles obj hurled in air not animal leaping, and hunter would bend elbow to run. But a noble conception.
Thom Dunn English writes for them.
Oct 4 1845 p. 194 on Bordentown sale of Bonaparte collection, loves the Canova busts, delicacy softness gems, and David portraits. Short sighted policy of Leg of duty of 20% on foreign ptgs, inimical, prevents intro of pics of known merit. Then gives list of ptgs, prices pd, and judgment on authenticity. Robb bought a lot. Supposed Vernets went for highest prices. A Dana bought.
Oct 11 1845 p.213 “W” (a poet—Watson?) continues comments on Fine Arts, Nat Gall at Rotunda, Cole, pastoral brings us back to boyish dreams of rural felicity, all beauty and joy but for armed man passing thru ravine up to front, illus of Poet’s Golden Age, living victims sacrificed in Druidic temple. Delicate gradations of color
- 214 Poe’s notice of Ivory Christ, all lovers of true and beaut shld go, artist untrained but enthusiasm let him create beauty (resembles the one in the American Review, July 1845), intellectuality not meet and benevolent, mind predominates, face is intellectual, truth of design and truth of how he depends from the cross. Values accurate craftsmanship, coherence, produce desired effect
Oct 18 1845 now edited by Poe and Henry C Watson,
p.228 FA excerpt fr C Edwards Lester on Powers fr Artist, Merchant and Statesman re Eve and Grk Slave, and praising the Ivory Christ (by Poe), and Houdon’s GW
Nov 1 1845 p. 260 Fine Arts, Sortie du Bain, some variety of opinion re DeKuyper in NY and unjustifiable abuse, neither merits nor defects fairly treated. The white marble is slightly impaired by blue veins, young exquis beaut woman reclining on shore in attitude of dying gladiator, with more repose, face surpassing loveliness of girlish innocence and languor, easy and full of truth, toes luxuriate in refreshment and health,c ompos lines well arranged, anat not faultless tho head and bust perfect, breadth of hips insufficient, not broader than the shoulders, and latter have unpleasant roundness. Shoulder blades have no variation, yet fig leans on left arm on accessory of no v definite meaning. Ornate braiding of hair out of keeping and stiff. Work of genius. 25 cents.
Nov 8 1845 p. 276 Fine Arts: Titian’s Venus (Poe) again exhib, authenticity sufficiently well estab, but can’t force any enthusiasm, as a compos full of defects, color alone redeems. (Changes his mind from earlier review?) Recommend Lester’s (Poe) new bkfor many interesting details re Powers. At Art Union 2 v exquis lscapes by Shaw, artist whose merits of the loftiest order will perhaps never be appreciated by his countrymen until Death has mellowed some of thepersonal illwill with which his brother artists regard him. His mannerisms (sufficiently obvious) affect only the aggregate of his pics, individually, nothing can surpass some of his best, The Indian’s First sight of a ship, e.g. (Shaw may have known him in Phila, did Claudean style)
Takes fr Charleston Courier: Clark Mills, a native artist, whose busts in plaster actually moulded on human head have excited such genl admiration by their truth to life, made successful attempt in higher branch, block of native white stone near Columbia, hammer and chisel bust of Calhoun, great Southern Statesman, skill and taste, recommend city buy it.
Nov 15 sonnet by Anne Lynch on Ivory Christ. P. 1 responds to Knick getting rebuked for spirit of article attacking Mathews in last number and in Editor’s Table. An old merchant gman subscriber tells us to buy the books on which most malice is expended, vastly indebted to Knickerbocker, buy everything it condemns in its small type, Simms, John Neal, Hudson on Shakespeare, Big Abel, etc.
Dec 6 1845, says office has moved to 304 Broadway nr Duane. p. 336 Fine Arts: AU will distrib whatever Ptgs Comm have selected. Notorious fact that their choice has been not v creditable to subscribers or dissem of true feeling for FA. Argued they can’tpurchase only afew very fine, when can procure greater number of questionable merit, or in other words, entirely worthless, for true art admits not of mediocrity. Diminish subscribers, limits theiremans. But doesn’t advance Taste to give means to ptrs of no capacity and pics of indiff char to world, only corrupts genl taste, better to destroy abortive attempts to pourtray nature.
Admit Assoc general usefulness, hope friends will support, but hint at its worst characteristic and hope future committees will avoid such works
Jan 3, 1846 vol. 2. Ends.
Notes from American Periodical Series
1-25-1845 1,4 Cafferty has a fine lscape, a young promising artist
3-8-1845 granite buildings on Chambers Street and Broadway, every floor has 6 painters/sculptors, just emerging as artists, including Cafferty, again as a lscape painter, with Gignoux and Cropsey nearby; mentions Chapman’s quick sale of a history painting in theArt Union
BJ doesn’t seem to like Cole that much, Durand just ok
5-3-1845 review of same NAD exhib as in Anglo-American:
likes Cropsey, thinks Edmonds truant school boy is well painted, water looks real
-mocks Cole, Durand, Inman
-urges don’t go to Rome, study water from Staten Island ferry
-don’t do panorama, do just one romantic thing, all the eye can comprehend; notes pictures ina promiscuous collection are seen to very great disadvantage, the eye and mind are distracted by the varietites of style, of object and color. Artists paint to attract admirers but should scorn the flaunting gew-gaws by which vulgar minds seek to gain applause and copy nature instead
praises Cafferty’s view on Long Island, quiet unobtrusive piece of nature, also praises Church
The Broadway Journal and Stranger’s Guide, vol 1 no 2, Berford & Co, no 2Astor House, 3 cents, “Truth” July 10, 1847. Single copies 6 cents. Cover is a street map, not particularly impressed by Brady banning booths in Park on the 4th, can get ices and refreshments elsewhere, illus of Scott’s monument.
July 31, same map on cover, inside notices their woodcut of Genl Taylor