New York (Daily) Times
NYPL misc reel New-York Daily Times, 110 Nassau st, Sept 18 1851, one cent, vol 1 no 1
New York Daily Times
Sept 23, 1851, covers the mtg of the Art-Union Association, with Secy of War, Conrad, various toasts, to Leutze, to Raymond, to Morgan pres of Senate, Judge Campbell, Rev Osgood, Thompson of So Lit Messenger, RW Griswold who brought in late Mr Cooper, Parke Godwin.
-0n the 30th, gives Osgood’s remarks on art as ally of relig fully
Oct 17 1851 Pencillings of ptrs, Martin, Etty, Landseers, Turner
Nov 4 1851 notice Wm Hunt of Massachusetts
December: puffs AU, gives works to be distrib, announces postponement, on the 22nd notes sundry journals are denouncing it, last year they complained the AU bought too many from one person, this year he denounces them for not buying his pics. One artist wages war unless AU will buy. Dec 30 p. 2 card from artists indicating that they support the Art Union, Leutze, Hicks, Kensett, L Lang, Gifford, CP Cranch, Cummings, Durand, Baker, Gray, Cafferty, Gignoux, Blauvelt, VPNA, Huntington, Rossiter, Cropsey, Collyer, Hubbard, G Fuller, HK Brown
Dec 16 1851 p. 3 list of artworks to be distrib include Lilly M Spencer Hamlet and Ophelia and a Present fr the Country, hesitation, jolly wash; also W Libby, New Fife
Jan 3 1852 p.2 The AU and its Libelers: Herald says it’s in hands of an abolition clique, support a daily abolition journal in this city. Times says that Herald mad because has lost subscribers. AU is suing Herald for slander.
Jan 6 (they like Mayor Kingsland’s agenda for the city); re Herald’s slanders, use AU money to aid silly journals and useless publications—abolitionism dropped out, the Pres of AU has been a member of the Union Safety Committee fr its first formation
Jan 9 1852 p.2 mocks Thomas W Whitley, Coryphaeus of the attacks on AU, has his counter-scheme in the Herald, temple will be of republican character, fraternal. Jan 12 p. 2 TW Whitley writes back, he loves Kossuth too, he is an artist, AU has refused pics, Times acts to defend its clients and associates who control AU’s affairs
March 5 1852 Public Meeting p.2 Subscribers who desire election of Danl Webster: F Boyle, JM Cafferty, CB Dana, A Kneeland, JN Falconer, J Wenzler, WR Page, WJ Hoppin, PH Stevens and SG Williams, Chas C Elliott, WT Shirley GM Fuller, G Curtis(I think)
March 11, 1852, The Art-Union p. 2
Herald asserted AU supported a daily abolition journal, Grand Jury indicted Herald for libel, now the Recorder has quashed the indictment by saying AU an illegal lottery
Aug 5 1852 corresp fr South, notes Hiram Powers letter to Gayarre, Secy of State, re statue of GW for Louisiana, Capitol, as meditating on farewell address, plough is clumsy emblem in sculp so puts in sickle and pruning hook. Powers also doing a statue of Franklin for an assoc in city, a square.
Sept 28 1852, excerpts Eve Post on Vanderlyn’s Death, last work was full length of Pres Taylor at NAD
Oct 1 1852 p.1 Townalities, Picture Shops, we are in favor of promoting a taste for the fine arts among the great masses, but exposure of v bad copies of v indecent French lithos in Nassau st not the best way and inconveniences all but boys and loafers. What with meaningless political caricatures and broad French prints, shop windows a nuisance
Oct 26 1852 letter fr CW, liberal institution (AU?) forced to suspend bcause of malice
Nov 2, 1852 on Webster and Marshfield, his study has Healy portraits of him and Ashburton, other busts
Nov 18, 182, corresp fr Washington XY says Clark Mills’ statue of Jackson is a magnificent creation, triumph of genius
Nov 22 1852 notices Brooklyn art association
Nov 27, 1852, Art and Art Critics, p. 3 by F.J. O’B. certain class of Art critics who see nothing beyond forms, and their conceptions lie within the limits of a picture-frame. They are technical and exoteric, and see all that is on the outside of a pic or statue very distinctly. But of the long persp of sentiment and feeling that stretches away behind…they are entirely oblivious…They are essentially wordy and commonplace, and Art being tot hem only a practical result of certain processes, practically do they judge it. Have set up certain gods, but the world recognizes other and profounder principles than the authority of antiquity, yet difficult to combat against a name. Raphael, Titian, Salvator oppress our independence, obscure our vision, deafen thought—Art, like Relig manacled with superstitions. Progress frozen up. But some stood before Claude’s eternal sunpieces and saw faults and errors, others who preferred Landseer’s dogs and deer to Snyder, who placed Turner’s and Gudin’s sea pieces above Vandevelde, many who thought but dared not say it. John Ruskin gave the unquiet voice vent.
All cry excelsior, but art sits too dignified, prejudiced or decrepit to share in the universal ascent, stagnate and brooding over old principles of color and exploded rules of composition. Strictly mathematical principles, who ever saw men and women in nature stand in pyramid? A circus, with acrobats. Premeditated postures and arrangements, careful calculation of space, nice adaptation of legs and arms to picture’s limits.
The universal mind does not want technicalities, it needs something more real. He is best who grasps at a glance the soul of a picture. No need to talk of chiaroscuro etc.
Great advance of moderns is poetic fidelity to Nature, Raphael’s trees are melancholy objects, stiff, formal, wooden, pasteboard foliage, unnatural abodes. But Constable, Calame, Creswick put it in motion. Even in Salvator, Ruysdael, and Poussin, the grandeur is theatrical, the wildness is premeditated, artificially rugged, painted in cities—conventionalism was even then rampant. Landseer superior because painted not just accessories but instinct, reason, passion, habits and custom, as in The Challenge; you are a dog or a boar in feeling, not just a spectator.
It is amusing to hear how an Art Critic of the Conventional School criticizes a Gallery of Old Masters. He will give you biography, then be cautious and meagre re the picture itself. The treatment is forcible, and the handling easy, perhaps a slight want of atmosphere, or the details are too carefully made out, or has used a ppeculiar vehicle for his sky tings. But of the painting he does not give you a single idea. Any one wishing for some specimens of this had better refer to the Herald of some weeks back, where will find all this enumerated in an article on a Gallery of the Old Masters, lately estab in this City.
Praises PreRaph, stung into Naturalism, ptd objects just as the Sun displayed them; Millais the great hope of the natural school, in his early career carried principles of Truth to the very edge of error.They defied the Art-Critics, of whom the Art-Journal is a printed type. Among our own artists there is much of this indep feeling. Nature is no conventional mistress.
Dec 9 1852 p. 4 notices public sale of AU collection, best ever of Am art, Leutze, Huntington, Durand, Edmonds, Church, Kensett. Dec 16, some great sacrifices, Wengler beaut watercolors not appreciated, fine lscape views by Oddie, Hess and Ary had some competition, also mentions Autumnal Lake Cranch, Fishing Bingham, Osgood, Grandfather’s visit, Clonney, Cavalier by Elliot, Newsboy Spencer, Hugenots Rossiter, Lscape McConkey, flower piece by Mrs Spencer, Children by Peele, Nahl Moses, Gray King Death, Persecuted by Oertel, Isabel by Moore, puffs continuing sale; Dec 17 highest cost pic The Ideals by Rossiter purchased for $1000
Dec 11, 1852, notices death of promising young artist Walter Sibley at 26, trained at Brooklyn Institute
Dec 17 and 24, 1852 notices lectures by Eugenio Latilla at Hope Chapel on Fine Arts, on art and social progress
Jan 18 1853 p. 4 House debate on Fine Arts, proposed statue to Washington, discussion of Clark Mills’ merits, bill passed to hire him, Polk tried to appropriate $15,000 to pay him for his Jackson statue, didn’t succeed
Jan 20 1853, if Congress is going to patronize Mills, ought to buy Catlin’s gallery too; Jan 21 1853 p. 4Congress finally got something done, approp $50,000 for Mills statue; hope a rrd to Pacific and a Mint will follow new business habits; all our pet projects given up suddenly resurrected.
March 17, 1853 p.2 The Washington Exhib at the Art Union Rms, praiseworthy, efficient committee, selection does them credit, chief ostensible attraction is Leutze’s GW crossing Delaware, surrounded by too deep of crimson drapery, make it look colder. Praises Stuart (full length port, an orig, don’t admire head, heavy and wanting in dignity and spirit, 90), Reynolds, Elliot’s Halleck slightly unfinished, CR Leslie’s Expectation is one of the worst specimens of his manner, color crude and blotchy, woman’s face red and vulgar, hands and arms wooden as a Nuremburg’s Saint’s.
E Leutze’s Hester Prynne, charms indep of Hawthorne, coloring fine, and Pearl’s head forcibly ptd if not the Pearl of the book, a stout well fed gipsey child not in any way unearthly, while the scarlet letter is so far cast into shade and color subdued so much, difficult to see it. Hester v fine, pale rigid countenance records of her sufferings.
The Microscope, RW Weir, char admirable, effect of lamplight v fine, flesh not v natural; his Old Merchant an immense improvement, face excellently ptd.
12 Port Child, W Page, clever sketch of a plain infant. His 20 Cupid sleeping is a slate colored boy huddled on the ground in attitude usu called higgledy-piggledy, quite devoid of proper coloring and pleas drwg.
13 Song of the Shirt, JT Peele, not v successful of Hood, girl in tolerably comf rm, looks altogether too well fed, entire lack of poetic sentiment.
16 Convalescent, Car Hubner, one of those unmeaning pics that might be named anything, attitudes all bad, hands of standing woman hard and wooden. 17 Young Gourmand, Phillips, young butcher more approp title, coloring not gd, treatment v gross and heavy.
19 Leutze John Knox, greatest triumph in a hist pic is a perfect illus, to spec as if he caught people in the pic in the act. There is little such reality in this ptg, Mary’s attitude that of a model, color v fine draperies rich, maid spiritedly drawn defying Knox. 24 His Washington at Dorchesteris his least pleasing ofGW, face heavy and wanting in dignity, nor does he stand firmly, cannon excellent. 28 Breaking up of Cardinal’s Ball, his Henry 8 interviewing Anne Boleyn, story well told, sensual but gallant air, exulting Cardinal, injured Queen, color fine, great richness of tone, jester mocking new passion is excellent. News fr Lexington, new fr Leutze, simple and well treated, rider thru village, different emotions, charming group, great motion, warm and brilliant color.
21 Twilight FE Church, remarkable pic, effect v striking, wonderful skill that warm, gloomy haze, foregrd not so well ptd as rest, which is excellent.
22 Sylvan Lake, Cole, a gd sketch, water v well; his Course of Empire, sublime idea and grand series, consummation and destruction the best, resemblance to some of Turner’s, wonderful effect of white airy walls and same prodigality of bright coloring, figs not well drawn. 30 Moonlight, v unpleasant, too blue and slaty to be natural. 89 Italian Scenery, ambitious pic of an uninteresting school, eye attracted by too many principal objects, conventional ruins, nor is exec remarkable.
23 Rouget de Lisle, Fr officer singing, Gruffens, ptg illus anecdote sufficiently well, pic theatrical compatible with Fr incident, ambitious in compos but not pleasing. Drwg gd faces expressive, but in trying to be forcible, ceased to be natural, exaggeration rather than strength.
25 The Old Oak, Durand, Lscape compos, not equal to his others, a v pleasing pic were itnot for some v badly ptd sheep in the foregrd, a cold white and cast a corresp chilly tone over the whole. 42 Lscape compos, charming specimen in his best mood, simple materials, exquis feeling, warm Summer haze, relieved by birch in foregrd, poetry of sunshine
57 Indian Rendezvous, Kensett, v beaut lake scene, still and dream, as he paints so well. 69 Lscape compos, sylvan beaut and truthfully ptd, warmer than usual, no one who paints Nature asleep more exquisitely.
60 Serenade in Venice, D Maclise, splendid fr Hamlet in Vernon, but this whole compos is unnatural and stagy, persp impossible, coloring prismatic, position of lover miraculous, figs well drwn, but rest is violent and unpleasing
26 On the Point, TH Hinckley, 2 setters stiff on quail, dogs excellently ptd, full of spirit and nature.
38 Judith and Holofernes, like most Judith and Holofernes, chocolate colored gman asleep in most uncomfortable attitude, ridiculously small, coloring bad, C Jacob.
39 Port of Ld Cottenham, Inman, one of best ports in Exhib, head v spirited, expr vivid, coloring rich and natural. His 115 Rydal Falls is highly finished but weak
40 The Elves, E Steinbruck, v charming tho drwg very faulty and color glaring, but great poetic sentiment. 76 May and December, L Brodie, an English artist, have looked for the May in the pic in vain. With its cold greens and icy flesh tints, seems December alone. Introducing a New Scholar, 67, P Hasencleon, admirable, beaut effect of sunshine, old master intro him to birch, while school looks on or plays tricks, flood of sun thru window dazzles.
93 Female, T Hicks, remarkable piece of expression, marked effect and lasting impression, face has haunted us. 96 Long Jakes, C Deas, v spirited, drwg and exec gd. 97 Bower of Love, Risdel, exceedingly attractive cupid, coloring brilliant, lilacs admirably ptd
104 Cavalier’s Return, RC Woodville, drwg not v gd, but details wonderfully worked up, decanter of wine and cherries worthy of Lance.
Gignoux’s Four Seasons, autumn splendid color, Winter ice excellently rendered.
Best coll of Am ptgs ever brought together in this country.
April 2, 1853 p. 2 Wanted. A Natl Gallery. If diff raising funds, put thumbscrews on Aldermen, esp Henry Arcularius, disgorge booties pillaged in course of office.
May 4 1853 p.2 The South, corresp, town of Gaston, hotel has free admission to a portrait gallery, writes a mocking description of its chef d’euvres, don’t see resemblance of Byronic face in No 1 Portrait of a Gman, No 2 and No 3 Portraits of a Lady, faded, probably an antique, etc
p.3 The Am Art-Union Proceedings of the Committee of Investigation, Monk describes payments to Hoppin, ed of the Bulletin, Evert A Duyckinck for publications in Lit World, overpayment for ads to Raymond of the Times, he defends himself (notes attack by Day Book and Herald)
May 7, 1853, p. 5 Am Art-union, 5th day of proceedings
Monk’s testifying re his bill for extra services, for keeping order in the gallery ($939), a period when the Institution was much annoyed by the presence of parties of loose character at the exhibition. I was deputed by the Sheriff to remove those persons. Says Austin and other purchase imported works of art on speculation fr Wms & Stevens, sent them to Boston to dispose of, institution met with a loss, or sold his own purchases of works to AU at price above their value. A member of committee substituted a pic for one drawn, Col Andrew Warner.
A great deal of partiality shown in purchases in latter years, JW Glass not an American but sold many pics, Am artists with most pop pics in gallery opposed in efforts to sell their pics, partiality shown to members of the Century Club of which Cozzens was a member, AU bought many NAD pics that lacked merit to forestall them fr a distrib of pics. Partiality in prices too, courtiers got more.
11 May 1853 p. 2 7th Day, Art Union proceedings of committee of investing
Monk continues, foreign pics he meant Glass. Name artists oppressed? He says DWC Boutelle and Thom Doughty and others, M Harting, WR Miller, J Volmering, T Burfort, Bruskener, Rosen, JM Culverhouse, Walter Libby, F Heinrich, A Wicks, HJ Brent (member of Century club).
Boutelle’s Trout Stream purchased fr NA $350, Coe thought it too much, artist asked for more. Volmering also offered less than asked, ruinously low, needed money; Heinrich complained inadeq, could not live. FA Coe would shave $5 off the price. Nilis’ Study of a Head, $30, 1850
May 14, 1853 p.3 Am A-U: Proceedings…
JM Culverhouse, artist, he was fine with AU. DWC Boutelle, obliged to take AU price bcause couldn’t sell them anywhere else, felt they were hard on prices, complained to Cozzens that some of the Comm was prejudiced agst me, had gd reason for believing so. Statement re Trout Stream made to him by Monk that $350 was too much for me to have at one time, Geo Gale also said so. JB Stearns, artist, have heard complaints of favoritism, e.g. JW Glass, not an Am artist.
Wetmore is testifying in the defense, re Canandaigua painting, drawing of 1848 subscribers dissatisfied as had not obtained a gd pic, NY Secretary wrote to secretary for that town, Isaac Schermerhorn,AU that I regret to learn that Mr. Libby’s pic, “Teasing” is so universally condemned. We were aware, when it was purchased, that it possessed none of those qualities which would commend it to the casual observer. This painter has used none of those adventitious effects which dazzle and deceive, by false coloring orpleasing effects of light and shade; but has confined himself to the more impt principles of the art—form and expression—preferring that his works shld be judged for their truthfulness, in compos and correctness of drwg, rather than to receive flattery for pleasing tho unreal effects. His pics have, therefore, a hard and stiff appearance—a difficulty which he will soon overcome.” AU feels encourage and aid youth, only a few such ea yr, members shld not regret possessing dawnings of genius. Those ranking hi as artists and connoisseurs, who view Libby as qualified to make himself prominent, 2 pics recently improve in color and compos, due to encouragement. Day will arrive when gman who has this at present condemned production will turn to it with pride, not regret to own a work by one of our prominent artists.
(doesn’t give Schermerhorn’s letter, though it was part of the testimony); a Hinckley picture also mentioned.
17 May 1853 p. 1 10th day: Cozzens says $100 charge of Oct 1849 not for champagne but for articles written by RG White for city journals. He did bail out NAD but they were gd pics, as auction proved.
May 31, 1853, p. 2 France by Dick Tinto: best salon since 1848, lots of Louis Napoleons, Horace Vernet absent after dispute with emperor on historical accuracy; Ehninger and Wm Hunt and Clagne of NOrleans, pics of Webster and Polk too.
May 27 1853 p. 4 The Fine Arts” Brown’s Statue of DeWitt Clinton: constantly surrounded by crowd of observers, a novelty, no colossal statue in any of our public squares, a discreditable fact. Appropriate ornaments. No other form of art so popular or so proper for a republican people. Only awkward and absurdly-praised creation of Clark Mills, the equestrian J at W. Next to Nature, Clinton our city’s benefactor, no nobler subject.
Sorry that Brown’s work is by no means satisfactory in itself. Has gd pts. Head animated, expressive and well wrought, drapery covering left arm carefully and gracefully arranged. But as a whole v commonplace, no inspiration, no electricity about it. Entire treatment betrays uncertainty and inadequacy, work too much for him, his atelier prob too small to observe it at sufficient distance. Thus it has all the air of having been executed, as it were, under embarassments. Not the slightest trace of genius, of a large imag, or of mastery of the subj, imposing only fr magnitutde. Multitudes cannot tell whether it has merit or not, though they cld look at copy of statue of Jefferson in City Hall by David d’Angers, orig at W, best statue in country except perhaps Houdon. Nothing commonplace in it, all simplicity, life and power, nothing which indicates the work oppressed the artist.
Gravest faults are not comprised in poverty of its conception. Stand in front and observe the legs, rests in a sort of dubious and impossible straddle, v awkward; feet—ever such extensive splays on mortal man? What more ungraceful than exposed right arm, hangs awkwardly and unnaturally, hand belongs not to it nor it to the body. Neither does head. Very badly managed is drapery across right thigh and abdomen in sort of wadded diagonal folds. Object doubtless to hide and relieve inelegant squarecut modern costume, but not gained by taut hauled crosswise ribs of cloth, unlike folds hanging downward. Back better where cloak hangs unconstrainedly, lines of folds not altogether agreeable to eye there either.
Brown not a tyro, at work on Washington for Union place, requires highest genius and most thorough culture, but Clinton so utterly inferior to best Euro statues by modern artists can’t be classed with them, inferior in conception, details, unity, proportion, false to nature and treatment.
Bas-reliefs on pedestal Brown is at home, so simple pleasing and correct tho not v original or poetic. For Greenwood, should have sky for its backgrd and full sunlight.
June 15, 1853, p. 2 Cole the Artist, by B, review of Noble’s bio. Book too late to circulate extensively, only a few remember him and love beautiful in a gain-seeing world. Lives near and has common friends with Noble, but book not in all respects satisfactory, exaggerates rank as a ptr, compared with Claude, C of E sd one of finest series in world. Nor much on private life. Extract fr his journals. Was Cole’s friend, found jarring his uncharitableness to those who didn’t share his sense of beaut
p. 4 notes Appleton’s is republishing Art Union engravings, thinks home picture Sparking possesses little merit, it was an early attempt of the AU and not a successful one; Leutze’s is best
July 30 1853 p. 4 Fine Arts, Rhenish-Belgian Gallery, ptgs by living Germ and Belgian artists in rms of NAD, but a poor show, advert says largest coll of mod ptgs ever exhib, a pretentious mistake thruout catalog. Ptgs no unus brilliancy, v young artists, display but little ambition, no looseness of imag, no clumsy evolition of poetic fancy, real life with v little admixture of ideal, supplies material, modest size of cabinet ptgs. Itemizes several mostly crit.
Aug 13 1853 Dick Tinto writes fr France p. 2 on closing of Salon, immense notoriety attained by Cunbet (Courbet)’s horrible pic of Les Baigneuses, led Achille Fould to complain young ptrs don’t pursue beau ideal with same ardor they study reality
Aug 19 1853 p. 4 Progress of the exhib, Hiram Powers’ group attracts eager crowds, G Stezza of Rome, Beggar Girl, most piteous and horrible expression of cunning and greed, repulsiveness of subj, chilling and unpleasant impression. WC Marshall First Whisper of Love, delicacy, finish, quiet poetical tone, Brit.
Aug 24 1853 p. 4 Prog of Exhib Crystal Palace, loves Gobelin tapestries, like pictures; charming English sculp group by Marshall, cupid and young girl, expressive. Mendicant by Strazza, Roman, painfully true, express of hopeless misery and degradation, melancholy supplication, artistically beaut but too painful to swell upon. Bienaime, Psyche, overfed and almost bald young woman not spiritual and lovely enough for soul
-has lots on Crystal Palace at various times, notes a Webster statue by a Brit sculptor, Italian old master originals, etc.
Aug 26, 1853 p. 1 Crystal Palace Progr of Exhib, picture Gallery still being hung under Piatti. Many pictures shld be placed in gloomiest corner, how such trash indiscriminately admitted seems marvelous, more crude abominations in design and color than ever, shouldn’t admit every daub, keep clear of commonplace absurdities. But many excellent, Gurlett lscape, likes a German studio pic, GS Rice startling Venus and cupid, brick dust hue, female fig hard and ill proportioned as old figure head, only comparable pic is transparency of Beautiful Women over exhib of Model Artists oppos Crystal Palace. Marochetti not successful.
Oct 20 1853 seems approving of Am Inst fair.
Nov 3 1853 p. 2 Fine Arts: nat’l pic by WH Powell still on exhib at Acad Des, much deserving g of praise, ambitious subj and treatment, not a masterpiece, left to own imag without local or hist assoc, will achieve greater success. Commonplace dramatic groupings necessary to “act” of discovery, if it were possible to adhere to nature, likely it would not be pleasing. Wretched, disappointed, careworn, jaded.
Powell’s pic eminently dramatic, too much so in every sense. Groupings not orig nor approp, De Soto at head of gorgeous cavalcade for a joust, from centre gazes on noble river, horse still moving forward, idea realized is of a moving mass not yet consc of necessity for a halt. Accessories have antagonistic action, wounded, peace offering, priests there before him. Able colorist, flesh tints all gd, also atmosphere and persp, figs well ptd, so much labored that doubles correct costumes, less elab better, horses well ptd but entirely conventional in attitudes.
Principal faults are want of unity in idea and simultaneousness in action. Notes Leutze’s GW crossing Delaware now in a print at Goupil’s.
2 December 1853 p. 4 Our National Paintings: a gd deal of complaint that the subjects for the His Ptgs at the Cap have no natl char. Chapman’s Baptism, Weir’s Embark, Vanderlyn’s Columb and Powell’s DeSoto have been condemned as destitute of the primary elements of Amhist ptgs; Trumbull’s are of course, excepted. Summary condemnation.
Better if subj had possessed more of direct natl interest, but much in favor of those chosen. Ideas of our history, Providence, Relig, Humanity, Commerce, Enterprise, Discovery, embodied in these, sufficiently allied to our career to bear on Am sentiments. Hist of northern half of continent intimately id’d withour natl history, so appropriate to choose events that opened the way for our civiliz. Have certainly a peculiar rln to Angl-Saxon memories—to Am progress—to the taste and feelings of our natl mind and being, origin and growth of republican fortunes in this hemisphere.Where our nationality’s elements existed, how they were developed and organized, what circumstances were id’d with their advance to power, are all within range of natl art. All of them are really links in the same great chain.
March 23, 1854 p. 4 NAD: just under 400, fewer “portraits of gmen” who remain nameless, let him give his name and the public, his friends—or enemies—will have an excellent opp to stamp the character of the artist. Among the best are Rev HW Beecher, Rev Dr Adams, exMayor Kingsland, WC Bryant and C Lyon, Elliott has several, Bryant’s and Kingsland. Hicks some gd. Stearns match-pics of GW, at death and farmer, latter coloring and posturing v effective, shadow of venerable tree, children and negroes. Cropsey’s sea view some gd pts, Frankensteins have noticeable pics, but Durand has the honors, beaut finished attractive rich coloring excellent persp complete and full of harmony, sure of admirers, his Study of Trees a genl favorite.
March 31, 1854 NAD no. 1, p. 5
Creditable despite early opening which excluded works by some leading artists, some respects superior to last year. A hasty stroll provoked animadversion. Obtrusive historical personages, gman and ldy, everywhere, 33 of 50, 31 of 48, and so on. But homely and genial. All the poetry is the poetry of real life.
TA Richards 10 The Indian Paradise, ambitious, asleep on rock, neither barren mtns nor ltd valley convey idea of happy hunting grds, nor improve on spot where ungracefully slumbers, idea demanded a strong contrast not received.
15 Gman, JB Stearns, excellent, brilliant, free fr harsh lines, gd expr.
19 Gipsey Girl, T Hicks, a little witch with bright eyes, treasures to our artist
21 ½ Girl and Kitten, JT Peale, port with more compos of a better kind than any other of its class, drwg gd expressive
39 Strawberrying, Durand, tranquil beaut gem, great knowl of nature, fresh and young, spirit of hopeful life. Distrib of persp peculiar but effective, tho creates three distinct subjects, pleasing river view, plowman more artistic, trees in his delicate style and faultless in that. Recalls days of youth.
36 Coast of Genoa, Cropsey, forcible, fetter attn., water is real water, liquid, curling, foaming, motive, sun spring-like glow, takes view fr distance unlike Dickens, free fr all objectionable exagg of color.
28 Gd Samaritan, D Huntingdon, ambitious, about the fifteen hundredth illus of the incident, is of towering dimensions, but no other respect takes precedence. Conventional figs unnecessarily crowded, Sam no benevolent repose or symp tenderness but imperious attitude like a parish beadle. Absence of celeb Phrisee drives conclusion that he is on the other side of the pic. Nothing to admire, much to ridicule, leave to those who can appreciate it better.
42 Adirondack Scenery, Kensett, ranks with Durand as best tree ptr, but striking dissimilitude, Kensett prefers Autumnal dress to spring light greens, suffused in golden sunshine and fantastic gloom, but both faithful to nature, whether a merry rustling stripling or a mossy, beard-like respectability.
Profound solitude, yawning abysm splendid, free fr studious spotliness.
51 AW Warren, Cascade in Sherburne, v acceptable little study, repays exam. 52 Gorge in Rockies, DW Brewerton, atmospheric effect of storm clearing, consid power.
April 1, 1854, p. 8 Young America: Its Doctrines and Its Men, by M Edmond Farrenc at NYU. Notes the instability of opinions of today, wants to prove the need of new parties. YA more than a party, a thought of the age, what the Hussites were to the 15th, the English Rev to the 17th century, it is the eternal principle of liberty seeking to incarnate itself in the world by the Republic.GW and his generation did the preparatory labor; second generation civilized liberty, growth of its empire (Clay, Jackson, Webster, Calhoun) tho ignored its neighbors. Title YA scarcely known in 1852, not just political but in all fields, Auguste comte allying philos to religion; the fine arts and lit abandoning all imitation of English andpushing forward into local, republican activity (HB Stowe, Mrs Wetherell, Mrs Oakes Smith, Cornelius Matthews announced it in an address here ten years ago). Demo Review its organ, now that Geo Sanders is editor, with Wm Corry and Devin Reilly, ardent, impetuous, audacious, rash
Apr 4, 1854, NAD Second notice, p. 2:
Elliott in foremost place, but no attempt at more than face, hands, book and table, glossy coat. Has 7, Caleb Lyon and Kingsland, 336 and 392 best. Flesh tint, lifelike expression and roundness, bright crimson neckerchief; Kingsland in more conventional style. 63 The Mantilla by Stone, face with mischievous dimples; 83 Blondell delicate toned; 116 Kaufman, not flattering but effective 343 JH Cafferty, rivals Elliott’s best 376 JB Stearns, cld gaze on her for an hour, most successful female port in exhib; 322 Mrs Spencer, child on ermine robe counting its toes, without any exception the most artistic work in exhib, attitude of child is one of most diff but is realized perfectly, foreshortening faultless, Puck-like expression exceedingly ludicrous. Sly laugh an artistic triumph seldom achieved, details equally admirable, minute hairs. Only fault is want of contrast, intense white of robe absorbs flesh coloring and gives it a flabby elfish look not altogether agreeable. Most unconventional and artistic portrait, 293 does not strike us in same light.
70 Stag at Bay, Richard Ansdell, English artist, natural vigor, sentiment of pathos wanting compared to Landseer, doesn’t excite our feeling/symp
71 Cardinal Mazarin taking leave, EH May, effective composition, attitude of figs dramatic in highest degree, coloring rich but subdued
150 Coming to the Point, Wm S Mount, variation on Bargaining for a Horse, whether superior or no, hard to determine. Like all his, peculiarly National and characteristic, honest hardworking farmer in gd contrast to scheming visitor, roguish trickster, old woman at barn window will or has interfered inadvisedly, older and shrewder than the earlier pic. Other whittling figs all strengthen the “situation,” all coming to a point with rapidity, pleasant rural scene, local accessories are in his usual style and abound in straight lines. Fault is its flatness and peculiar method of treatment, which his admirers appreciate. Will be engraved.
April 5, 1854 p. 4 Fine Arts: private view of high relief model by TD Jones for Natl Wash monument for Welsh citizens, alleg group with Newfoundland dog, novelty but none the less effective, more conventional Industry, but much force and simplicity. Liberty is a voluptuous female, perfectly nude, exquis modeled, artistic and expressive without being in the slightest hackneyed. Thomas D Jones already favorably known to the artistic community, orig and vigor, delicacy and sentiment. Also has some unique and effective busts, including Archbishop Hughes and T Addison Richards.
April 13, 1854, NY Sketch Club, met at Blondell & Cafferty rms, Thom, son of the eminent sculptor, was host, subj chosen by him was Seven Ages of Man, notices Miss kyle v pleasing sketch.
July 3, 1854 From Italy, p. 2, Signed Atticus. Long stuff on Crawford, mentions of Rogers, Mozier, Ives, Macdonald, Wilson, Story, Miss Hosmer;lots on Page, GL Brown, Chapman, Thompson, Tilton, Wright.
Aug 24, 1854, Italy: Am Artists Abroad, our Painters, special corresp of NY Daily Times, Ogchiali
Page is properly first, genius akin to Titian’s, port of Charlotte Cushman, wife of Crawford, Browning, prices large, beaut consistency in his char, free fr jealousy groveling selfishness, mission to delineate most refining conceptions. Freeman Three Marys tells story well, fine feeling, Ital Beggar Children of 1846 still his chef douevre, doing Columbus now. Chapman, Thompson, Brown, Tilton of Boston, Wotherspoon lots of praise, but he lacks smartness
Oct 30 1854 p.1 notes sale by Leeds of art at the suggestion of first artists themselves, Huntington, Cropsey, WJ Hays, Doughty, Ranney, Oddie, Carter, Post, Weir, Hicks, Louis Lang, Mrs Spencer, Gifford, Wright, Richards, Ehninger, Paige, Boutelle, Blauvelt, Carpenter and others of like standing
Nov 3 1854 p. 3 Paintings—The Independent notices series of historic ptgs Sons of Noah by Jesse Talbot, dominion of three races in Asia, Africa and Europe, Independent speaks in highest terms
March 13, 1855, p. 4, Amusements, NAD: opened yesterday in old Duss rms, usual elements of an exhibition to be found, but 278 pics, one-third portraits. Cropsey 5, Church 4, Casilear 3, Durand 2, Kensett 4, and other well known artists are similarly represented.
Apr 12 1855, NAD p. 4 exhib in every respect inferior to last year’s, 278 pics of v unequal merit, depressing sameness pervades the walls, requires the most omnivorous appreciation to be even tolerable. Great number are commonplace portraits and lscapes, unworthy the frames, tho products of honest industry if not talent. Catalog has pictque apology for being inactive and retrograding. Academy’s men of genius prostituting powers on extrinsic labor, Indian Summers and green lscapes, woods with painful minuteness, not way to vitality, need history, poetry, fable. Lack of imagination, and of a life and antique school.
Cropsey has 4 pics, most ambitious 35, view of Mt W, with artist, so large and open feel the breeze. 21 View on Mediterranean exceedingly peculiar, ruins on margin of sea, solar and lunar beams strangely intermingled, unconventional, not easily appreciated, the only strikingly orig ptg. For tranquil radient nature, Casilear has smooth, meditative charm in compos that contrasts agreeably with vigorous and daring brush of Cropsey. Has 3 pics, 13 Early Autumn delightful, highly finished, glorious trees, cattle of course; 22 Showery day bolder treatment but characteristic, wheeling clouds hurry away, sun will break out gloriously. Church profited by tour, 4 pics, 49 Cordilleras Sunrise is least elab and most masterly (or where the elab is least apparent); atmospheric effects superb, foliage luxuriant well defined. Kensett 123 October Day White mtns, well preserved persp and atmosphere seriously thinking about Winter, magnify splendors of foliage, less spotty than usual and more careful in treatment and adherence ot nature. Antechamber has 3 Newport marines, bold aqueous, promising. Pres Durand 2 pics 104 Summer Afternoon and 113 In the Woods, latter large upright might be a study, faithful transcript, no other merit. Wm Hart most promising this yr, 3 pics, 83 Little Spring most carefully exec, subj pleasing of children drinking, gd persp etc. Best seen by gas, by day develops flatness and imperfect colors, but much vigorous and truthful in his handling, will do better and more ambitious. 135 Mtn Stream TA Richards more freshness and vigor than usual in his compositions, none of that enervating drowsiness for which he is remarkable, Mtn stream is wide awake and furious. 85 Way Across river exceedingly clever fr English HJ Boddington, in some respects the best lscape in coll, but subj unwieldly and eye has to be accustomed to the details before compos can be appreciated. Huge mtn in center with torrent, no foregrd to counteract its supremacy, so subj becomes broken and fragmentary, admirably managed fresh water.
April 28, 1855, p. 4 Harper’s Mag for May, Editor’s Easy Chair a v fair review of Exhib of NAD (this would be Curtis, I think)
May 30 1855 p. 4 The Difference Between Art in Am and Art in Euro
Europe has national sponsorship, versus private Assoc of ptrs, whose annual shows attract but little attn., it is only now and then that some v young, fresh, and enthusiastic disciple of the editorial profession thinks it worth his while to write a critical notice.
June 22, 1855 p. 4 Anti-Monumental, can’t build a monument to commemorate a public event or honor memory of a departed hero, repugnant to common sense of practical and intelligent people; invention of the printing press put an end to them. Among all the effigies, arches, columns and colossi since, not one which is not a failure as a work of art. Useless objects, even for GW effort is abortive, public sentiment is opposed to such follies. Lists statues of GW, says they are all palpable absurdities, what is most apparent is the absence of any great idea or motive, no morality or sentiment, while as mere decoration they are hideous. What we want are marble statues or busts of our great men, as like as can be, so we know how they appeared to their cotemporaries, what manner of persons they were in the flesh. All other monuments are essentially barbarous and unmeaning. A colossal statues is a caricature
20 Oct 1855 p. 4 Our Art Products: Crayon mad, but Anglo-Saxons not good at external decorations, plain, sober, plodding, new gew-gaws, not spontaneous lovers of art. Must be content at excelling in useful arts, not “high art.” Later there is more of this.
Nov 24 1855 love Paul Delaroche pic of geniuses at Acad FA in Paris, at Goupils
Jan 19 1856 p. 2 NYC: Lecture on Fine Arts, Dr Dewey, praised Greenough
March 15, 1856 p. 4 NYC: NA—great throng, some choice pics and some of the tea-tray order. Durand’s magnif Symbol, Kensett’s Franconia mtns attracted all; large port of Washington Hunt, with hat and cane, starting to go out of politics, by Elliott, char portraits by Huntington, Bogle, Baker, Mount and others. Brilliant pic of Bayard Taylor on an Eastern housetop excites wonder re how he travels so largely with such a wooden leg. Edmonds two pics much admired, and Mrs Spencer two in her usual humorous style. Sitters in the crowd, heard themselves boldly criticized.
March 24, 1856 p. 2 NAD, 1st article, by CC. (Clarence Cook)
Artists and cultivated men complain abt no love of fine arts, point to Rotunda’s daubs, monument to GW is a petrified lampoon but still gets subscriptions, Mills’ statue of Jackson duplicated in New Orleans, no one can prevent baby-houses such as the Smithsonian being put up in most expensive manner, and people live in midst of platitudes and make-shifts.
Take NAD, a misnomer, its weakness, insufficiency, want of breadth, want of Am feeling, languishing internal state, indiff of press and people. (also slams Crawford’s work in the pediment of the Capitol, I think?). In time the new men will advance, old is cast aside without mercy or regret.
Am people can appreciate gd things, Allston, Cole, Crawford, Brown, cherished, but not toys or trifles,or on gallery walls the shifts, dodges and potboilers, and here and there a man emasculated, or disguised, or in chains. But the Exhibition promises. Lscape ptrs are in the field. But men who waste time and us with millinery and dolls and varnish, who give us Shakespeare, Byron, Europe and the Sandwich Islands, till we are sick and sick, let them be silent.
April 4, 1856, p. 2 NAD, 2nd article
Opens with Raphael’s St Cath, simplicity, dandelion symbol admirable. A cotemporary journal has caricatured Durand’s large pic in Acad Exhib as a specimen of the “shirk-the-details” School of Ptg, but very unjust—the apostles and teachers of that school are all over the walls. Durand has been noticeable for his care with detail, we wish we cld say has also made his detail minister to complete rendering of the idea. In most of them it stands unconnected with everything else.
Why do ptrs fill up foregrd with such confused messes of mullens, little sticks, old stumps, and impossible bits of rocks? Why not as Nature construct? He describes this as a variety of glorious features, clear gay blossoms various lush, then clear outline and defined beauty begin to grow dim, then ethereal distance dream of loveliness, light palpitating and sparkling still leading the eye away and back again. Every lscape has its own sentiment, pic ought to give what is in nature. Need dandelion and celestial face, mind passes with pleasure fr one to the other.
Coleman, Shattuck, Suydam, Paestum of Cropsey with its grand sense of solitude and mournfulness, give us hope. Kensett’s 126 in spite of masterly rock ptg, Durand’s large pic which violates truth and even probability, while sentiment of one portion thoroughly felt; Cropsey’s Chenango River Scenery with its distoritions, crudity, straining after effect, speak only of low aims. But Young America will find brighter day.
April 9, 1856 p.8, Thomas Francis Meagher lecture on St Patrick’s Day at Acad of Music, concludes with quote fr Humboldt, In the Andes, above Quito, mankind, he says, has the privilege of beholding all the varieties of veg life, and all the stars of the firmament at once—earth and heavens display all the stores of their phenomena, with all their endless variety of form and feature, all the climates of the globe, and all the zones of vegetable life they severally determine. What the Andes above Quito are to the material world, this Republic is to the political. Here are all the varieties of social life. Here are all the varieties of race, temperament, adaptability and intellect, which parceled off into diff portions of the old world, remain so, but here congregate, and in an illimitable space adapted for them all, multiply and harmonize…fr their infinite diversities a magnify aggregate emerges, expands and towers”
Apr 12 1856 p.4 NAD-31st annual exhib, 3rd article
Glad so few “Compositions”—Durand’s large pic The Symbol, Kensett’s Franconia Mtns, Church’s Tropical Morning, Cropsey’s Chenango River scenery are most prominent examples, only D’s avowedly composition, but theothers are a little less objectionable, they profess to be transcripts of actual, but Nature merely a hint, and artist covers canvas with the old conventions and smothers truth and beauty under the dreary formulas of a dead past.
Brown’s Striking Indian and Ward’s Danl Boone, tho Greek in spirit, could be no other country or century. Compare the “Law” of today with the law of yesterday, think of Tennyson and Emerson, the greatest poets, how peculiar to this age, while ptr entombed in past, same conventionalities, same tricks, same jargon about “breadth” and “tone” and “handling”—scarcely anything on walls that say here are new men in a new land.
These compositions have abundant merit, ptd by clever men, prominent pics, yet are specious works on false principles, bad wholes full of gd bits, made on an old, bad pattern and pass by old standard. Don’t help us, don’t belong to us, but to the past. Who wants Compositions? It is an imaginary demand, an attempt to prettify nature, to reduce to rule and balance, an impertinence, won’t touch the popular heart. Can’t fitly paint a lscape in the studio. Must be a great poet, with simple trust in Nature.
April 21, 1856, p. 4 NAD, concluding article
Oertel, 186, 155, 170, remarks on absurdities of studio ptg apply with great force to 170 Wild Horses chased by Indians. Impossible to underst how this pic gained admirers or purchaser, a pudding of horses, legs, necks, bodies, heads and tails, no whole, a wreck of matter. Its pretension, its speciousness, the hi praise it has received in certain quarters, make us speak plainly of it. All this bad drwg, heavy clouds an inch above the horses’ heads, minced and dismembered animals, all wld be rightly forgotten if a genuine power and reality of treatment carried us away with crash and fury of the scene, if these horses were indeed pursued, terrified, maddened, if we felt the weltering rain, could forget technical faults in overmastering expressive power. May be there to the passing glance. Indian in distance so anatomically constructed as can’t catch a horse, throw the lasso—the large black horse is not moving.
Why paint this picture, had never witnessed and can’t conceive? Poet et al can only make out of what he himself has strongly felt. Last year did v large pic The Captive soul, a young lady who studied the classics told another that it was Areopagus (she meant Andromeda) about to be devoured by a sea-monster. She was right, a passably gd Andromeda, no Captive Soul at all. Near it a v clever little pic by same artist of interior ofa studio with country farmers looking at a pic, well within his powers, everyday, unideal line.
Taits’ exquis Happy Family, Quail and Young, charming, drwg firm clear mobile, with sentiment. Put them into Sam Coleman’s orShattuck’s grasses and flowers, and no money would pay for the pic.
32 Lake Pleasant, E Terry, a wonderful two pair of horses, and nothing else.
Oertel ptd 3 deer in 155, full of life and wide awake
Portraits poorer than usual. Elliott grows more and more slashing, Hicks gone to seed in blaze of scarlet tunics, white petticoats and impossible Arcadian shepherds. Idea of large pic is that Morning in Damascus must be v painful, opthalmia. Gray carefully ptd mannered pics and one exquis little port 180 nobly ptd, easily overlooked. Huntington a v poor Chirst with Mary and Martha, Christ weaker than usual and Mary and Martha might easilychange places. Degrades himself and his art by these yearly platitudes. Genius once used to purpose in Mercy’s Dream—a subj fr Bible does not make a relig pic. A subj fr Wallst or the Five pts may be just as reli in its influ, if Christ were here today, would he say to Judge Kane, “Thou hast betrayed me!” If paint a great lesson, move heart, soul aspire, conscience tremble, must find subj in streets and houses and shops of today, what men know, what artist has known and suffered, must leave to formalists, dead churches, and a false society, the past and the dead. Experiences every day around us that outdo all the martyrdoms and saints histories ever written, no man to paint them or what they see.
April 29 1856 Death of Robert Kelly, active Democratic politician, Huntington port is in NAD, v excellent, hearty and vigorous
July 5, 1856 p. 1 Gives Inauguration of Wash Statue speech by Bethune in full, praise the statue, Senator Fish owns bust of Houdon taken from, horse at brisk trot, handsome ornament
July 9 1856 p. ? The Statue of W, letter to editor fr XYZ. Crowds of curious surround Statue of Washington daily and gaze with wonder-stricken eyes at its proportions for the last nine days. Don’t desire to appear ungrateful to gmen who donated it, artistic faults in work itself must have made themselves apparent to every critical observer.
Horse rep as proceeding at a walking gait, with desire to break into a trot restrained by hand of rider, which holds reins very taut. Idea of the artist is v gd, but its exec is bad; hand instead of being tightly closed, as naturally would be to check the powerful charger, is half open, with only forefingers clasping bridle. Horse’s ears are put back as if frightened or skittish, would have been more pleasing if erect and on the alert, as if owner beheld exciting scenes before him and felt anxious to rush into the midst of them. Hind part of body of horse fr 14th st appears too fat for perfect symmetry, side view is v gd. But statue at a little distance is v fine.
XYZ in other letters argues against putting street through Trinity churchyard, is also a Washington correspondent
July 10, 1856, p. 6, Letter to editor KA, saying corresp XYZ is in error that the errors he finds are regarded as such by “every critical observer” on the contrary indicate great care of the Artist. If in accord with XYZ’s idea, GW had been represented with hand tightly closed over rein, would have done away with idea of graceful repose, rider has steed under control so complete a slight pull is sufficient. Nor does attitude of horse evince desire to trot, but proud curve of neck is restlessness natural to one accustomed to Govt of the curb.
Novel idea that horse’s ears thrown back give appearance of being frightened, in ordinary cases would denote anything else. Ill tempered vicious animal might evince fright this way, but not generally. Horse frightened would quickly erect ears, so XYZ recommends an objectionable appearance. Strong war horse entering battle would think of him with ears erect and on the alert, but appearance not the same when surrounded by a peaceful scene. Why should anxiety of rider to rush into exciting scenes before him affect attitude of horse? Moreover rider is looking not on such scenes but on progress of arts of prosperity and peace.
Great size makes it diff to judge of proportion.
Nov 3, 1856, Ptgs p. 3 The Independent this week notices series of historic ptgs by Jesse Talbot, sons of Noah, Asia, Africa and Europe, under dominion of 3 races.
Jan 9 1857, p. 8, NYC: $500 for a Port of Mayor Wood. CL Elliott doing half length, subject stands with left hand resting on the hip, an attitude supposed best to express his predominant traits of character, for the Governor’s rm City Hall, the full lengths of Govs Bouck and Hunt and half length of exMayor Kingsland by same artist. Painter has broad field to select from in getting up a likeness, between the Tribune’s Mayor and the J of Commerce’s, the Mayor that used to be shown up in Herrick’s Atlas and the favorite of the New-York boys at the last election, it will be diff to portray a face that somebody won’t say is like.
May 21, 1857 p. 4 Church’s Niagara
Did what they said couldn’t be done, makes it look simple. Back room of Wms & Stevens, triumph.
May 27, 1857, Nat Acad Exhib, p. 2. [Dearinger says this is Cook too
NAD rms are not ideal rms, as Rossiter’s Wise and Foolish Virgins have no doubt shown, but much better than before, allow Hanging Committee to make themselves personally odious to many painters. Agreeable saloon, lovers of the beaut. Darley absent, except for banknote vignettes, which no bad thing but wilfully incognito; lscapists Kensett, Church, Cropsey, Durand, Hubbard, plus white robed past their candidacy, Shattuck, Coleman, Hart. No syst in hanging, may wander anywhere.
23 arrests everybody, hardly need be told these are the Andes, with such wonderful depths and breadth, completely masters so grand and vast a lscape, Church’s pics like Turner’s are triumphs of intellig audacity, not inferior in truth, eye and boldness, handles grandest effects as lightly as the least, sublime cataract and neatest church-porch, provided ptr will in both paint precisely what he sees, not what he thinks he ought to see or fancies somebody else will expect, the latter being the snare into which all fall.
Church’s qual is tact with which he seizes pov, as in Niagara, and in this Andes of Ecuador conveys scope to mind rather than ideas of gigantic height, which no painter can do more than suggest. Atmosphere conveys expanse, then altitude. Nothing raw and unredeemed, intense brilliancy of sunlight endurable by luxuriant verdure and ravines of softest vapor. Not the truth which has been made a lie by the PreRaphaelites, not the truth of a photo, but pure, pictorial truth, truth to perceptions of a human being, which redeems all the falsehoods of Claude and wilfulnesses of Turner. In this 23, in Niagara, in exquis 522 View on the Maddalena (seducing) has mastery of this truth, 143 Autumn with its splendor of color not so true in atmospheric sentiment or drwg. Truer and happier image of Primitive Life than Rossiter’s melodrama notion of that subj in 5, a skilful ptr, but where such a moon in such a sky? Combined with effect of flaming torches, and mingling of their tones is cleverly handled, but color of savages suggest a dawning day. Compos awkward and crowded, does not please, also true in 163 Wise and Foolish Virgins, won prize in Paris we infer for handling, as a more utterly unimag pic we have rarely seen. Wise Virgin unconsc of Foolish, in neglige costume, degage air, with negro page, might be a view in the streets of Naples, or mtg of Rebecca and Cleopatra.
Rossiter missed his domain in venturing into realm of imaginative art, not quite so far wrong tho as Hall in his assault on Shakespeare. Can’t forgive him for showing him in boozy slumber, with dowdy divinities, give it a less pretentious title.
Quiet, unobtrusive promising 76 Lambdin, girl at piano singing pathetic song, moves her friend. A girl as we all know or should like to know, simple room, a place worth seeing. 121 two lovers in twilight, simplicity, sentiment without sentimentality, fidelity in material details.
James Hart 65 Summer afternoon, quiet power sincere feeling, nothing conventional in a conventionality prone subj, thoughtful distance, simple coloring, unaffected effectiveness in lights. Wm Hart 56 Scotland newarby charming, brothers in delicacy and force, wld remind of Kensett but more freshness and vivacity than in his. 72 Kensett’s most agreeable cabinet pics, at home in reaches of quiet upland or still seabeach, the less clouds the better. Compare astonishing exactness of Church’s handling with Kensett’s and can see his strength is in atmospheric effects, tranquil nature, needs no evangelical Ruskin. His 482 is one of gems, his best vein.
June 20, 1857, p. 4 Exhib of NAD, 3rd notice
Peele’s Sound of the Shell, his Music of the Reeds 529 fewer faults and merits, but a v pleasant duet, thickness and murkiness of tone, characterization of tustic maiden leaves little to be desired.
Gignoux’s otherwise fine lscapses singularly defective in regard to this special qual of typical truth; paints what he sees v well, but does not see what he shld paint. 427 View on Saguenay, souvenir for Ld Ellesmere of Canada, won’t remind anyone who has seen the forest primeval, not in the least a satisfactorily characteristic pic, where a bit of the shore is made the prominent subj. Same crit on 476 Seven Falls of Canada, cataract of cream.
Kensett’s leading merit is his scenes are alw recognizable, reality, 453 waves of sea a little dramatic, but excellently composed, complete a unity. Hart has something of this power, oct Afternoon in Tropics 185 is one of most individ lscapes, tender autumnal sentiment, harmonized, thoroughly agreeable, very much as Durand wld paint were he to lose a little knowl and gain a little inspiration. Vitality too in Stillman’s 172 Nightfall in the Wilderness, something of affected mannerism unites a singular sincerity of feeling and fidelity to natural effects; like Wordsworth on scenery. Dana’s Waiting for the Fishing boat 179, true feeling for sea shore effects, treatment conventional.
Shattuck, Colman, Hotchkiss, all clever but this year evident cliqueism, that way destruction lies. Gifford’s pictures of former years interesting, ends lovely cabinet pic of Stratford 477, worthy of abused epithet, a gem.
Dreary portraits, foolish portraits so simpering, conscious, imbecile that you blush and feel as when a speaker stammers for half an hour; insolent portraits that provoke you to put up your lorgnette; insignif ports of people who lose their seats in the theatre; ridic ports of people who bought new suits of clothes, who affect a nonchalant ease. But of quiet, true char, a lack. Best pic of this class tho not pleasing is Page’s Roman mom and child 543, tone vexatious enough, but wonderfully colored and drawn with infinite feeling and force, no mistaking this type, the Trasteverine face, wonderful, too bad his Browning wasn’t seen in London last year. Hicks’ single pic 459, an apotheosis of HW Beecher, aureole of silver-gray glory, redolent of soap and water, brushes and the toilet, v clever tho whimsical pic, modeled with v great power. Elliott’s are singularly feeble and uneven unworthy in tone treatment of his great ability, nor delight in Healy’s most ambitious Lady 480, details gd, likeness unsatisf, coloring crude and cold. Huntington’s ports ofGC Verplanck 86 and Mortimer Livingston 110 are capital resemblances and agreeable and lifelike, Earl of Carlisle 19 commonplace and conventional tho clever. Baker pts like a successful limner and EDE Greene real prog, 55 274 show genuine feeling, wants knowl and a larger aesthetic phhilos. Faguani’s eye singularly faithful, gives us notable physiogs of Dr Kane 269, Gov King 124, large group badly hung. Lawrence indiff ports and one capital 344, Rowse and Stugg several, mini of Mignot. Geo Freeman, some others.
Best exhib ever.
19 Oct 1857 Exhib of Works of British and French schools, living artists, inaug of one of most impt movements (British) made in the cause of art, Turner plus finest specimens of Pre Raph, tho none fr Millais, but Holman Hunt and Madox Brown
November 24 1857 p. 4 Obit for Wm Ranney, celeb artist, works prominent features at NAD, resolute pursuit of art, no school or teacher in No Carolina, sketched scenery, to NY, assistant inarchitect, Texas volunteer for Houston in war with Mexico, supplied him with material for subseq works, illus of nomadic pictque life of frontiersman, unique unrivaled, wild romance, enchanting barbarism, glowing scenery, freshness and vigor, engraved, popular in Euro. No competitor in his specialties. Consumption. But one fellow artist, Chas Elliott, at his funeral. Family with little support.
Nov 25 1857, p. 2 The French Exhibition. Fr school the leading one in cotemporary art, and exhib v respectably represents it. What is a school of art? Share certain conceptions of truth, perceptions of beauty, as in lit, and share methods for conveying them to the public. Artworks may be varied in char by the varying personal qual of the indiv artists, partake of a common spirit, so an exhib must show its leading methods and tendencies—don’t need masterpieces to do this.
Kaulbach and Cornelius respected, but Ingres alone the heir of Raphael and the ideal. Realism in art, useful up to the point at which it corrects the extravagances of fancy and chastises the self-confidence of executive skill, when raised to the rank of an artistic religion, tends to put man below nature, and to subordinate feeling to fact, just as materialism in philosophy results in the elevation of comfort over duty. (Fornarina vs. Madonna) Against this tendency of the present age, imag genius and scholastic idealism of Ingres splendidly protest. The two other leaders are Delacroix and Decamps, the South American lscapes ofour own artist Church convey a better notion than anything which has been seen on this side the Atlantic of the peculiar vividness and glow of light as treated by Decamps.
Delaroche in historical art achieves what Haydon strained after, invests mortals with a dignity the Englishman failed to confer, Ary Scheffer, Vernet, Rousseau, Huet, Francais, Troyon, Gudin, interiors of Millet and Meissonier, Hamon and Frere. Very few positiviely bad pics in the gallery.
Rosa Bonheur, cattle alive with health, a sermon of herds; Meissonier amazing little chef d’oeuvre the Chess Players, fairy pencil, minutest strokes give breadth of handling, magical microscopic patience, merit of composition is not remarkable though; if big would just rnak with a capital Copley. Intrinsic excellence of Edouard Frere, Laundress, poet in feeling and fidelity, childhood, simple domestic incident, sympathetic earnestness free fr niaiserie and cant. Scheffer’s Christ with thorns, sentiment feeble, disposition commonplace. But his student Lanfant de Metz Church Porch little child is charming, no strong tint but nothing cold or hard, simple thought, true feeling. Gudin sea view lustrous life, shimmer in mists. Isabey tho more commonplace in compos and color have great tech merit.
Couture Minstrel might better never have been ptd at all, coarse in sentiment, hard in execution, power in fig of child., Vernet Combat, absurd trifle. Beaulieu absurd conceptions, but force and reality with which substances are handled, vigor, warmth.
Rousseau the first of living lscapists, but Troyon and Lambinet instead, whole atmosphere seductive inTroyon’s esp charming; English scenes by Lambinet with much feeling and force. Brion strength and simplicy of composition, Burial in the Vosges, humblest of peasantry, veracity ranks with Penley’s Convict Returned in the English gallery.
December 19 1857 p. 4 Mr Belmont’s Pics, private view at NAD, artists and amateurs unanimous in respect to collection’s excellence, superb, 110, all modern, many chef d’oeuvres, fr French, Belgium, Dutch, Germ and Am. Belmont rare taste, wisely preferred finest of modern to mediocre of old masters. There are some ptgs of reputative merit will be of great benefit to our artists. Exquis finish of Fr and Belgium examples, few gd examples before, carried up to region of marvelous. Charet, Meissonier, Delaroche, Vernet, De Camp, Bonheur, Noyen, Calame, C Merle, Gallait, Leys, Achenbach. Our artists are Johnson, Tilden, Freeman, Wild and Gignoux’s Trenton Falls. Small. Hope liberality will be example.
Feb 24 1858 Belmont buys Meissonier’s Chess Players fr French Gallery $4000, size of a pocket handkerchief, two figs. John D Wolfe, finest coll of mod ptgs in city, purchased Holman Hunt’s small copy of Light of the World fr the Brit coll at NAD $1500. Value enhanced by Ruskin’s glowing crits without whose aid few persons have the penetration to discover its meaning.
March 11, 1858, p. 2 Our Artists, where they Live and what they are Doing. Artists in this country sensible but meditative class of citizens, married and bachelors, etc; patrons too, Belmont and Aspinwall. Go to Appleton’s on Broadway, Jerome Thompson, describes extensively; Oddie with Wms & Stevens; Jenkins, art students plunged in the intricate labyrinth of artistic philosophy, Huntington on a commission for Wright, purchaser of Horse Fair. Pass by Kyle and others on way to Elliott’s in Art-Union bldg., masterly, James T Brady a sitter (gave talk for Ranney benefit), his John Falstaff of a two years ago much admired. Go visit studios.
April 1 1858 p. 5 Enoch Easel is their corresp fr DC, Healey here working on portraits of presidents ordered by govt, I am of opinion would be better to employ more artists like Elliott and Healey, but his friends obtained the commission and committee no doubt actuated by knowing he would promptly execute it
13 April 1858 p. 4 The Opening of the Academy of Design—The Fine Arts in the City, year will be marked “with a white stone” on the records of Art and Religion if not commerce and politics, advent of the Brit and French galleries awakened fresh interest in fine arts, hope will be commemorated as in the Manchester Exhib by the rise of new and orig artists, dating their impulses to first time ‘great average public’ brought face to face with fitting standards of excellence. Belmont’s coll also a radiant circle of light and pleasure, wholesome influence, also the Murillos of Aspinwalland theBrevoort with its long estab reputation among connoisseurs, homely and pathetic grace of compos, exquis design and manipulation visible even after furious ‘restorations’ it has undergone. Acad opens with most interesting coll yet.
May 8, 1858 p. 2 The Fine Arts: Exhib of The Nat Acad of Design [Dearinger says still Cook]
636 works, single stroll satisfies that 2/3 nothing pleasant or profitable can possibly be said, a positively hopeless daub, not the least technical proficiency in skill, but lack of art, many artists so-called rich in rep of fatal manual dexterity but in all essentials of power and prog are lamentably poor, whose sophistries of the palette more discour and dreary than clumsiest scrawling of least accomp tyro. One is fairly discomfited by the multitude of mediocrities, with single exception of Mignot’s large Cordilleras 215 no single work rises out of the routine of past years, with new and notable handling and orig of treatment. Not PreRaphaelitish, but diligently studied effects reproduced, resembles Church but thoroughly individualized, softer and less splendid, less vigorous in control of distance, but more pleasing and truthful in foregrd, and prevalent tone more sunset than daylight. Brilliant success. Miss Church. Kensett exchanges mtn for sea, to our satisfaction, Newport 506 marvelous, gleaming dusk, clear light on a living horizon, old feeling of natural truth and a more new firmness and boldness, exquis atmosphere, also in Sunset at Newport 128. Lake Scene 207 more weakly ptd, trees weakly drawn, middle distance vague; Bash Bish 172 close and telling study, Lakes Killarney 526 pleasant, pensive, Sunset on Coast 613 vapor and lights exquis true and distant sun-smitten cliffs, but lifted waves near eye are deplorable, not a drop of water in his billows, traded fluency for translucency.
In fidelity of outline/substance our marine ptrs could learn fr neophyte whose soul is in his work, CT Dix, Shoal Water 17 Signal for a Pilot 138 full of truth, tone is rather conventional, diffidence of inexperience, life of sea in them. Dredging Boat 142 a capital study
Casilear graceful fancy, 549 inevitable slender tree on left foregrd, softly composing lights of middle distance, tell us of the artist himself as much of Lake George. Eminently agreeable and a fave specimen of his partic merit, as much pains to be pleasant as Gignoux to be effective. The Dismal Swamp 558 would make one invent this latter adjective, his pics abound in qual of truth that depend on accuracy of drwg and harmony of compos, alw flooded with strange reflected shimmer. N Hampshire Winter 441 puzzled by vague glare plays over and confuses natural light, otherwise admirable. No such objection to Boughton’s Winter Twilight 57exquis luminous fidelity, his Green Riv Bridge 426 less striking but sincere. Virtue of sincerity cultiv last two years by Shattuck, Evening on Mtns 559 masterly, foregrd precision and fullness worthy of Salomon, prolific.
Colman adventurous successful Great Gulf in White Mtns 581, astonishing command of atmosph effect, sentiment of space exquis rare truthfulness. Gifford’s name assoc with them and North Conway, unhappy village, trust stopped this, sends Euro: Lake Nemi 460 Turneresque to point of plagiarism, but decidedly vigorous and noble, Scene on Roman Campagna 196 v delicate and more purely orig treatment.
Hicks double claim on lscape and port, ports this yr more subdued in tone and more real and human than last year’s apotheosis of HW Beecher. 80 author Marco Bozzaris, respectably immortalized. 125 capital, easy and natural relief. His cabinet lscapes of Sunny Hrs and Portfolio, 411 577 exquis studied and happily contrasted moments, spiritualizing effect of intense sunlight on all substances subtly boldly rendered, quite as fine in another way West Canada Creek 13, study of running water, highest praise
Wenzler also a Janus-faced ptr, minutely elab Dennerish and painfully faithful ports by which his name is well known, one of the oddest lscapes in the world, exactly what it pretends: A New England Dwelling House, 510, rarely seen a more startling piece of truth of effect. You have driven by hundreds of just such houses, elms, dusty roads, June afternoons forgets the Puritans, more idle lovely than Italy. Treatment incredibly weak, almost puerile, yet if you stand back you begin to doubt whether you ever saw shadows so exquis as those that flicker on the roof, light more sweet and soft. Ptg is a puzzle, clever critic of the Albion suggests key is a Camera.
Port ptrs led by Healy, 3 ports of ladies in best manner, clever or effective, characteristic, always, other and higher merits don’t pretend to. 377 more than commonly successful, pictque without being affected, natural without being negligent, treatment vigorous and animated, tone more harmonious than common, best Am breeding as truly ptd as epochs in Reynolds or lely. Subject a NY lady same hi qual which made her father a model of mercantile honor, true society of metropolis. Healy fatal facility, but can still paint well.
Should be another notice
July 14 1858 p. 2 Personal, Fagnani in Paris, Geo H Boughton’s Winter’s Day at Acad so much admired. James Hart, Kensett, Church, Hubbard and Gifford up the Erie rrd, Quebec on commission for Wms & Stevens
Sept 27 1858 reprints fr Washington Union Rossiter’s plan for a national school of Art, appropriations to paint extensions of Capitol, competition, committee deciding fr 3 congressmen, 3 authors, 3 artists fr diff academies, no favoritism, neglect, clique, ficitious rep, attractive to artists of the highest grade
Oct 7 1858 notices statuary lost at Crystal Palace fire included Kiss’ Amazon on horseback, full of grace and life, beaut pose, instant attn., Lovers going to the Well, sentiment brought out peculiarly attractive, colossal Washington by Marochetti, no one is sorry that one is gone, an impossible horse, best ridden by an impassive clod, was not an agreeable object. Thorwaldsen’s copies of Christ and Apostles striking, Columbus mainly a success, others smaller and less valuable
Oct 22 1858 notices a sale ofAm ptgs at Leeds, Kensett, Leutze, Geo Baker, Hart, Boutelle and Jenkins brought v gd prices, but beaut little Diaz did not bring what it shld.
Dec 2 1858 notes Powers will do Wash and Franklin for Capitol, resolves his quarrel with the govt
Dec 10 1858 p.1 The Ranney Fund: Lecture by James T Brady on Am Art, part of benefit for exhibition at Cooper Institute of late Ranney’s ptgs and donations by other artists to benefit his family. Critical of govt patronage, display of art in Rotunda in DC, many of them needed one good coat of paint, new House and Senate Chambers resemble an oyster saloon, specimen of Govt appreciation of art on a smaller scale cld visit statue intended to represent GW in front of our own city hall.
Dec 20 1858 A Gd Deed Gracefully Done, reviews Ranney exhib, Casilear, Church, Kensett, Gignoux, Cropsey, Hicks, Durand, Cafferty’s Applewoman in the Park, Boughton, Mignot, Gifford, Colman’s idyl, Rossiter, Baker, Lazarus, Elliott’s Anthony Van Corlear, Saintin Bag-picker, Stagg mom and child
Dec 22 1858 notices Ranney sale in City Intelligence, Durand, Casilear, Hay, Gray, Hart, Rossiter sold best first night, second night, E Benson, JM Falconer, E Lotichius, Greatorex, mcLenan, E Saintain, J Wotherspoon, A Jones, FB Carpenter, Gignoux, Wm M Brown, DM Carrer, Kyle, Blondell, EDE Greene, Cuswick, S Colman Jr, Church, Ranney, Kensett, Elliott, Hennessey, GH Boughton, W Hart, CT Dix, Dertal, Tait, Edmonds, J Williamson, Cafferty. Notices Kensett, Church, Elliott, Hennessey, Boughton, Jones, Gignoux esp.
Jan 19 1859 Artists’ Reception in the Tenth st Studio, Brilliant Assemblage, sprung up past 3-4 yrs, benefit Society and Art, Assoc of Fifty Artists in Dodworth’s, other is 10th st studio. Can’t see any of the lovely art by Hubbard, Gifford, Quincy Thorndike, Gignoux, Suydam, Hays, Osgood, Frere, goes on with lots of praise for Gignoux’s Niagara for Belmont.
Jan 20 1859 City Intelligence notes profits of sale for Ranney fund, chaired by TB Stearns. Discussed forming a permanent Artists Benev Society, Cummings, Elliott, Tait, Stearns, Cafferty and Collins will report.
16 March 1859 p. 4 A Sale of Pics, extraord success recent sale of Am art for benefit of W Ranney fam. NAd if not produced any single artist of highest merit, done wonders in raising standard of artistic respectability, propose idea of constantly open gallery with changing exhibition. Sample of this at Goupil coll sold by Leeds. Not many foreign pics, but always striking gradations of light and color of Cropsey, singles out Genevieve esp for praise, but also Temple of Sybil and charming White mtns. Just one Church, and a few Cole sketches, Kensett, Durand, Mignot, Gignoux repetition of hisDismal Swamp now in London, Rossiter given Longfellow’s Priscilla a life we hardly think she’d know what to do with, Lambdin, Casilear, Hart, Doughty, Gifford, Coleman, Dana, Tait, Dalby, Ehninger, Hinckley, Hubbard, Guy.
18 March 1859, p. 5 City Intelligence, close of auction sale, Leeds of Goupil’s at NAD, men weak in the back and shaky in their knees, physically or financially, found that the auction rm was no place for them. No seats, amateurs showed no mercy to those who had tastes to indulge but little money. WH Webb shipbuilder bought Ehninger’s drwgs of Longfellow’s Miles Standish; AM Cozzens bought Cropsey’s Temple of the Sybil $80, Cole’s Prometheus to Armstrong $370, Manhood fr Voyage of Life by Henderson for $100. Hays bought Cropsey’s Genevieve $100 (and two by Hillmacher), Lambdin’s Lady Artist for $145. Rossiter’s Priscilla by Hicks, $190. McGuire the Fishing Party by Stearns, containing a speaking likeness of artist Elliott and indifferent ones of LG Clark and Frederick Cozzens, $160. Winterhalter’s Florinde the big name, WH Webb $3100. Dismal Swamp by Gignoux $530. Casilear’s Lake George $510 and Church’s Trib to Cole for same price.
April 12, 1859 p. 4 3000 private friends, brilliant crowd, exceeds in excellence, a much greater number of small genre pics and fewer large canvases, among striking gd ports are elliott’s Elias Howe and Dr Cheeseman
20 April 1859 p. 10 The Academy of Design, 34th exhib [Dearinger thinks likely still Cook]: happy evidence of growing interest our people take in the arts that they shld be so eager to crowd the shabby, ill-conditioned, inconvenient rms for the mere chance of seeing something new and true and beaut. Connois and amateurs of NY press into a shrine to goddess of Beauty in a sty. Desolate shanty. Artists instead of amusing themselves with receptions at Dodworth’s which likely degenerate into vulgar mtgs for mutual admiration and aesthetic flirtation would find worthy bldg, show its essential element in our civ, give it new dignity in genl eye, and do away with bitter complaints over ea year’s Hanging Comm; phys impossible that more than half a doz pics shld be honestly seen in the pink and plaster dens of the Tenth st bldg..
Moreover fecundity increasing out of proportion to intellectual devt of artists, 800 works. Academicians don’t possess or never dream of exercising any morepower of selection than belongs to a picture broker or an auctioneer. Any work which in lang of ads is suitable for a gman’s country residence is sure of its place.
All our artist of every grade here, except WmHunt and Gignoux. Church v striking and peculiar color-sketch of a rare and brilliant atmospheric effect. Darley thanks to Stringer & Townsend genius illus Cooper, exquis cachet of refined individuality distinguishes excellence fr mediocrity. Cropsey.
Church’s Twilight, a sketch, 381, rather a study than a pic, shld be crit as indic ptr’s marvelous aptitude at truths of color than as composition. Like Turner has mastered secret of ptg space, leads eye into distance less by lineal or aerial persp than receding gradations of color. Duskly lscape most felicitous instance, distant river alive withrelative intensity of light, projected into scene with xquis accuracy, without falsifying intervening space. Hues of sky singular vigor, tho we greatly q the flamboyant design of the lower clouds. Effect they produce rather a mass of vapors whirled abt into a kind of eccentric chaos upon the backgrd of a blank space than of a floating atmospheric pano. But the upper cloud-strata admirably studied, nothing in exhib so masterly as the handling of this. Darley’s drwgs excellence still more thoroughly singular in their class, some vigorous pencil work and more artistic feeling in E Johnson’s Roman Girl 133 and Pestol 151 but Darley alone in complete finish and force. Rest of draftsmen don’t dislocate the human fig or absolutely caricature the thoughts they try to embody, only Darley holds its own in Europe, scenes fr Pioneers 118 Mohicans 124 and Headsman 78 charming little poems. Sense of wintry wastes with few strokes of pencil 78, Scott never fared so well as Cooper in Darley’s leather stocking.
In way of fresh character-pics, palm to E Johnson, who ought to explain what and whom he means by Pestel, and why we visit him in his prison. German organist? Reduced to scrawling scores on a stone wall? Dutch jurist Pestel in wrong costume. Shld ticket his victim and give our sympathies light. His large pic Negro Life in the South happily tickets itself, a surprise and a satisfaction.
A compos essentially naturalistic, studied in all its details with a curious fidelity worthy of Pre Raph and finished with rather Germanesque elab, but other higher merits, char ptg of which Wilkie wld not have been ashamed, versatility and wealth of resources set him apart fr exhibitors of this year. Mulatto Antinous makes love to girl of his own class, venerable negro woman dandles mulatto baby, pretty young lady of Caucasian race just sepping thru, glimpse of her laughing sister behind. Soul of scene in center, banjo player heedless of small darkey and negro children, warm golden light shimmers thru green leaves, fresh with Spring, brightens slovenly cryd, tatterdemalion walls, humanity of thepic. Re compos, object to intrusive grp in immed foregrd, spoiled by a boy, least natural fig of scene, and little frowzy cur who ought to be kicked incontinently out of the pic. But drwg admirable, general truth demands highest praise, lights agreeably disposed, minor accessories worked in with extreme felicity. Characteristic touches of Hogarth—cock, cat, swinging cupboards dislodged bricks. Modelling too capital, gracefully vigorous posit of mulatto lover, made to feel tho don’t see face that he is smiling, voluptuous frivolous irresolute-looking girl, so perfect a type of her strange, hybrid race. Premature gravity of mulatto baby, Topsy like gd nature of little negro girl on right, watching missus. True Southern idyl, v promising for art. Two much less startling pics Pots 621 and Sketchbook 713 also merit attn.. Perhaps most noteworthy of this class next is Lambdin of Phila, career followed by us for last 3years, gains as draftman and colorist, but disappoints inthought and sentiment. His most conspicuous pic (ill hung) 296 a Subj fr Tennyson, Deserted House, is a Subject rather in the medical than poetical sense, has missed poet’s thought without a sub of his won. Sweet still face fr which decay has not yet swept one line of beauty, suggests deceitfulness of earthly not heavenly tabernacle. The pic is almost purely painful. Might fault drwg of husb in despair at side of wife, and with something not unlike trickery in management of lights, simply call Lambdin off fr wrong track and beware of mistaking piteous for the pathetic, and the agonizing for the affecting. More successful in all respects White Camellia 229 pic of no v special or profound signif but pleasing daintily conceived and cleverly ptd glimpse of artistic results of toilette.
Lang a char ptr, tho not easy to classify his Beatrice Cenci 646 or Blind Nydia 251, one shld be engr, other invaluable when next Last Days of Pompeii shall crowd the glittering stage. Schlegel and Behold 630? Pure Pre Raph and water, Hunt’s Light of the World, with all the color washed out, sparkling jewels cast away, gleams of splendor supernal faded into a blankness of bleached etiolated daylight, all the sad solemnity of sentiment filtered to a kind of puerile lachrymose pomposity. It is precisely the sort of thing for the young ladies of the Rev Charles Honeyman’s church to copy in Berlin wool. It has every qual a pic ought to have, and hardly one that a pic shld have. Schlegel elsewhere proves can paint portraits, let him do that until he recognizes that thistle blossoms and burdock leaves don’t make up the sum of Relig Art. New name Augero, Roman Peasant girl 769, a ripe round sunny grape, and 788 girl bathing more delicately treated and less conventional tone, modesty of design, cool and fresh in shadows and atmosphere.
14 May 1859 Art inFrance p. 9 by Malakoff. American artists at Salon include May, Rothermel, Saintin, Welsh of NY, Richard Greenough, Alexander Ritchie of NY, James Whisler of Boston. Fagnani’s portraits unaccountably rejected, has been made subject of furious attack in several journals. No Courbet or Bonheur
June 13 1859 p. 2 Literary and Art Items. Rev Theo Cuyler says in article abt Heart of the Andes, as we looked at the little group gathered before Church’s pic we thought, What an age is this for young men! Huntington, still in his youth, tho his “Mercy’s Dream” given to world 15 years ago, Beside him the handsome face of Geo W Curtis of Potiphar Papers.” Times says Huntington is 44, Curtis 36.
Solid men of Boston in grave discussion of what to do with Powers’ bronze of Webster, Everett spoke for more than an hour answering objections to it, saying why it shld be put in State House grds, Prof. Felton spoke in agreement.
Jul 13 1859, Works of Art for Italian cause fr Eugenia Latilla and Francesco Hugero
Oct 19 1859 p. 4 City Intelligence, Sale of Robb of New Orleans pics, bidding not spirited, Huntingdon lscape only Am artist mentioned, costly ptgs fr collof Joseph Bonaparte
Nov 24 1859 p. 4 Pics and Statuary on Exhib in NY: Palmer’s White Captive, P has a position peculiar to himself, native born and never been abroad, no instruction ut nature and genius, at Schaus gallery, of higher aim than any other, no martyr, no heroine, shrinking, defiant, not resigned to her fate, much superior to his Indian Girl, position and action shows freer and more masterlyhand, forms finer, proportion better, nearer to ideal beauty and perfecting power of generaliz, lower limbs and extremities esp, thighs are partic beaut, but at knee and swell of calf some rigidity and so lack of grace, ankle and feet exquis. Shoulders and bust not idea of beauty, face not straight featured classic type but almost faultless in form and expression, more emotion than the classic.
Church’s Heart of Andes, after tour of Europe, hi compliments, no lscape known to us is such a union of vastness of scope and finish of detail, amplitude of Nature in her grandest forms uniting them, minuteness is not that of dead-alive PR, petals and stamens for the sake of showing them. Minute beauties of foregrd don’t demand attn. at cost of rest of compos, thrust itself on the eye, yet will reward examination with the magnifying glass.
Rosa Bonheur’s pics: at Goupil’sgenius makes pic of striking power out of odd unpleasing subjects, ea animal indiv char and type, truthfulness. Portrait of her by Dubufe the younger.
Duss gallery has Page’s Venus,e xquis flesh color, replaced by German ptr Sonntag’s Modern Italy, v large and ambitious, can’t praise it, commonplace compos, forms not clear, color crude and muddy.
Home of GW After the War, popular in its subj, ptd to be engraved, merits above usual class, ptd by Rossiter and Mignot, dignity of port, Lafayette ease self possession and deference, child and negro mamma on lawn. Sweetness of Mignot
April 4 1860 p. 11 Personal, Miss Caroline Ransom port of Hon Joshua R Giddings will be in NAD exhib
April 12, 1860 p. 4 The Acad Exhib of 1860. This morning opens, fr this time forth, all the world, Gentiles, publicans and sinners, may freely tho not gratuitously, enter and enjoy the fruits of the palette in their season. Last night for scribes and Pharisees, fashion and critics, private view, reminds author of what he hears leaving the coliseum in Rome after display provided by Prince Demidoff in honor of return of Pope Pius fr Gaeta. Barry’s crayon heads caught eye; fashion and critics both distracted fr gallery by Opera.
Jun 14 1860 p. 2 Amer Art Abroad, by AP. Church and Palmer at head of respective depts. most illustrious. Powers in Flo for long term, perhaps should have returned for a visit or travelled in Euro, greater variety, affluence of invention, energy. Excellent port busts, his strong point. Several ideal heads uncommon delicacy, purity and sweetness, Proserpine and Psyche. Of his ideal statues, Fisher Boy undoubtedly the best, all Greek, near perfection. Not v successful inport or ornamental statues, not yet shown capable of a great subject, a group. Considerable injustice done to his Webster, excess of condemnation, it’s neither v gd nor positively bad. Is doing Jefferson and Franklin, only sketched in plaster,$10,000 ea.Gets paid more than others. His America has recently been uncovered, he hoped it would be bought by Gov for Capitol, or new dome crown, cast in bronze in larger size, a fine effect. But even more noble and suitable one fr late Crawford, Liberty or the Republic, broad masses, air of calm and grand, majestic sweetness, less stern but same dignity of Powers.
Nov 8 1860 p. 4 Old Pics and Mod Buyers, praise James J Jarves gallery of ptgs, nucleus ofa gallery, will educate taste and talent, just other day commented on flagrant instance at a house in Fifth ave under cover of the reputed taste in its possessor, auctioneer of highest respectability offered for sale and purchasers bought “originals” of artists whose genuine ptgs wld cause a sensation in Europe
20 Nov 1860 p. 4 Opening of the Institute of Fine Arts, HW Derby, proprietor of Dusseldorf Gall, has opened his own oppos to Laura Keene’s theater, marble palace, put Duss plus Jarves, an Art Exchange and literary lounging-place, Othello and John Huss
Dec 19, 1860, Derby donated Orsini’s splendid ptg of Garibaldi fr Institute of Fine Arts to mass mtg for Italian Freedom. C Edwards Lester there, John A Dix.
Jan 21 1861 Art Gossip p. 2 mentions Cosmo Assoc (Moran doing Robbers Cave for them), Rothermel, WT Richards the PR,Wm Hart, Cropsey a decided success, Kensett, Tait, Lemmens, Wms Stevens & Wms port by Vanderlyn of Burr, Eastman Johnson’s Pink, bought by members of Plymouth church, Leutze, Dubuffe’s sorry Adam and Eve, denuded and deluded, Emma Stebbins’ Lotus-Eater, Cinderella at Schaus
Feb 4 1861 p. 3 Art Gossip, praises Stebbins, Crayon Art Gall under Geo Ward Nichols showing Brown’s White Mtn View, best work, Goupil’s exhib, Eastman Johnson’s jolly and cheerful Husking, finest char ptrs, Cropsey’s careless and unlabored Niagara, ought not to do it. WH Powell lectures on Fine arts
March 16, 1861, Art Gossip p. 2: Leutze, Venice a masterpiece, Byron, phantasmagoric effects. Palmer’s marbles photographed, rear of White Captive. Sonntag Alleghanies, will attract great attn. as it deserves at Wms & Stevens. Hazeltine in diff style, Willow Swamp, worthy of position at exhib. Gifford Mtn Scene, crimson sky, fine, peculiar sky, proud. Stone’s statue of Hancock at Capitol great excellence, determination of purpose, energy of will. Church Icebergs, great power. Kensett. Lang Mary Queen of Scots promises successful. Leutze Lafayette in sorrow, will be successful, sincere.
March 22 1861 Art Gossip p.2 NAD: opened, private views always a humbug, ought to be changed. This year females were excluded, potables and Havanas admitted in their stead. A relig cotemporary suggests just do artists and journalists and wives. Troughs for spitting should also be less prominent.
Nearly 600, all sorts and kinds, many prominent artists not there at all, new names promise future service. Struck with variety and beauty of female ports, W Oliver Stone has the gems, gd subjects, 536 beaut child, if we dressed Nina, less feathers and more forehead.
131 Mrs Hunt by Wm M Hunt, admirable profile, industrious.
252 sweet sixteen by Greene, 122 Kittel well drawn, remarkably handsome woman, round white plump neck artistically tapering arm possessor of her fortunate. 121 Apostle ptd by Bull, don’t think too well, tho beard well devd, head too round, chin too weak, moustache too highly regarded, conception bad. Rondel 239 Snipe shooting, has few superiors as a lscapeist but not as a gunner, tho it will be a favorite with majority of visitors and as a pic deserves pop.
AF Tait never done a poor thing 230, faithful Dog-eratype and accessories. 235 Mt Savage is blunt, bleak, bold, dreary, wonderful fidelity to nature, limpid water. Sonntag faithful scene ptr here. 234 Star in the East FE Church is singular, vast expanse of blue blue aky, reflects keen clear glimmer in water below. 308 city female cousin in kitchen, county lubber stares, both bored, well ptd, expressions well done.
Baker, Johnson, Leutze, Huntington, Gray, Durand, Gifford, others represented creditably. Bierstadt 218 435 capital specimens of his appreciated style. 177 Parker true artistic fire, pure nature. As a whole, good.
At Goupil’s is Louis Lang’s Mary Queen of Scots, one of his best.
April 21, 1861 p. 3 NA Exhib: The lscapes
Numbers of people wailing because the present exhib is not as the others have been, yet will still get 25 cents worth. The real trouble is not so much the want of merit as the amiable admission of a heavy proportion of crude trash not worth the canvas which it covers. 300 rather than 600 would have been better. Hanging Committee must hold quackery and impudence in check, not the responsibility of popular pen criticism or fluctuating and unreliable standard of market rates.
Lscapes share genl char, hi claim to interest,as illustrating that art progresses collectively. Out of door artist of present day hardly ever has a poetic figure or idea symbolized in it, as did earlier artists, sometimes a Cole directly allegorises with the aid of genre, but real lscape ptr puts himself directly in communication with nature. Composition even is losing ground rapidly in favor of direct copies, which a false and preposterous popular taste used to condemn as lacking “originality.” Healthy tendency toward a sound naturalism, a thoroughly natural school of vigor and orig.
39 in first gallery, Study fr Nature, Hiram Ferguson, first work of any approach to merit among its more than mediocre neighbors of this genre. Conscientious effort to reproduce a difficult fact (rocks).Its defect is the one v common to such studies, of being almost a monochrome, or “gray in gray” Vasari. A single material is apt to make the eye forget such diff of color and tone, and even of shade as do exist. Even a sand waste has its coloring. The front rocks seem too naively “mannered,” as if studied, boy-like, bit by bit, and as if forgetful in ea detail of the whole. The dim broken vista of foliage in the backgrd gives, however a v pleasant impression; like the work as being in the right direction rather than decry it for negative defects.
107 Study fr Stile at Sunny Side, GQ Thorndike, literal transcript fr Nature on a more ambitious scale, with diff defects. Far better appreciation in mind of artist of effects of light and air than skill in setting them on canvas, a drawback heightened by want of care. The aerial persp exhibits a gd intention badly carried out; light well harmonized with distances, sky, clouds and sun reflection on central water, strongly contrasting with the general crudity or coarseness of other portions. Good conception, indiff finish, like a carelessly copied photo.
This combo of gd and bad qual strikingly marked in 167 173, Shawagunk MTn and Saco River by Huntington, artist whose fame is hardly upheld by them. That they are of the elder school, which prefers genl effect to detailed study, is a misfortune, but that they have so much of the expression of what French critics call manufacture, is a decided fault. While both are gd illus of happy selection of subject and incident, they also convey the impression of indoor compos; abundant indications of depth and spirit, badly expressed. In rock, tree, water a want of variety in application—there is something woolly or pasty in the material, as tho it were a waxwork scene, impression of a want of care and contrast. More to be regretted since are specially avoided by latest lscape ptrs, and consequently will conceal fr many the real merits and happy conceptions in the mind of the artist, and expressed, tho in a written language not generally intelligible, in these pics.
The lscape attraction of the present exhib is, beyond q, Twilight in the Catskills 225 Gifford, time has been when nobody, least of all critics, would have believed there was one flush of nature in such a pic as this. Time when Sir Wm Temple complacently assert that “there are skies which no artist would dare to put into his ptgs.” Now, however, the artist, quite as complacently informs the world he wld like to see the sky he wouldn’t put into a pic, even the famed one that rained cats and dogs. And yet not fr deep plum color foncee of the mtn ridge, to the richest orange and crimson of the late Summer-glory, a single effect aerial or atmospheric not seen in mtn lands, seen exactly this sunset light into a premature Aurora Borealis, until the “extravagancies” as some may possibly regard them, of Gifford’s pic seemed commonplace and tame. Pleasant when artist as here seizes a subj fully in his own peculiar and highly developed style, and moreover blessed by happy ideas. Treatment of waterfall, peculiarly striking management of stream, regarded as heightening to an extraord degree the merit of the other portions, tho but little direct share in predominant color-characteristics of whole. In a pic of real merit, as in every real lscape, effects of light and shade so subtle as to defy the most careful analy, even defy direct observation, tho the greater part of the impression of the whole is due to them. The artist puts them down sometimes as a “happy accident” or chique, but more frequently owing to creative instinct of all artisans, of making results they know not how. It is in this Debatable Land, betw ability with self-consciousness and ability without it, that the sphere of sentiment in Art lies, and it is in this land that Gifford is peculiarly at home. Golden haze, aerial sheen, rich mists and dreams of “cloud-land, gorgeous-land,” fall like dim curtains over his forests and fields, the whole abounding far more inpoetic feeling than in developed thought. Anticipate other works grapple with more difficult problems of color, be less indebted to startling or peculiar phenomena, however congenial, to aid him.
Of congenial mysticism and remarkable in many respects, 334 Star in the West, FE Church, deficient in neither depth nor expression, inspired by v earnest sentiment of Oriental poetry refined by Xtian feeling. Ptg emphatically one appealing to sentiment, and one of the few of this kind which challenge study.
Ferguson’s temptation to yield to monochrome, communicate it in excess to the whole pic, a peculiar instance of this may be observed in two otherwise v beaut and highly attractive pics, 184 Genesee Oaks 475 Lscape, Durand. Former fine pleasant pic in all freshest time of green leaves, grass and herbage. Oak openings suggest long cool rambles, winning distance of level wooded country broad wide calm, quiet brook life artery, passages in good old moral poets recalled by this natural park, where all is unaffected and agreeable and kindly. But one drawback, an overpowering excess of green which overcomes depth and chiaroscuro and many other happy effects. Nature never allows color to conquer shade to this extent, Ruskin often rushes into monochromatic mysticism, dwelling with wild joy on its effects, but it is only a power so far as it is checked by shadow. The verdure in these does not go to this excess, but there is just so much of it to weaken many fine points and esp some which but for it would have been vigorous and strongly impressive.
Peculiar mix of gd and bad effects in 148 White Mtns EW Nicholas, like Christian’s ascent, the view rises fr a detestable valley of the cheap fireboard ptg school to v pleas mtn heights, v excellent conceptions of distance, color and persp gradation contrast strangely with some utter daubing, what is popularly regarded as being the easier portion, being inconceiveably the worst.
NYTimes Nov 18 1851, describes an artist’s reception for Kossuth:
Leutze, Kensett, Lang, Richards, Walcutt, Blauvelt, Kyle, Hicks, Rossiter, Cranch, Gifford, Hubbard, Cafferty, Rayner and many Sketch club types
NYTimes Petition to oppose the Maine Law as ruinous to Commercial and Manufacturing Interests of our City: Feb 25, 1852
signed by Geo Childs, C Belknap, Chas Saroni, James H Cafferty, S. Brevoort, James S. Francis
“Proceedings of the Unemployed” Nov 7 1857
describes rally and parade of 5,000 to march via Avenue A, First Street, Bowery, Broome, Centre, Chambers and William Streetsto Merchants Exchange in Wall street where they would show themselves that the wealthy men might see their condition and have their sympathies excited, must preserve strict order and decorum. Carried banner “we want work.”
-speech on steps of the exchange mentions there’s “twenty millions of dollars here in your street id e, doing nothing, not circulating among the people”; a clip from the Herald was read advocating that the marchers be shot if there was any riot. A policeman tried to take their banner.
-then plan was to march to City Hall, where speaker noted that they had as much right to carry it (their banner) as merchants on Broadway had to hang out their signs. They cheered for Mayor Wood.
-speaker continued how could it be that in so glorious a City like this so many poor, unfortunate creatures would go begging thru the streets; they must be seen and proclaim their situation to the moneyed men to get rtelief
NY Times Sep 28 1853 “Walks Among the New-York Poor: The Street-boys” C.L.B.
Brace is author. describes plan to open a lodging house for homeless boys, have been trying to find their haunts
NY at 10 oclock in the back streets: corner groceries crowded with drunken parties, men drinking in dim lights visible thru half open doors, quarreling or pledging to women, dance cellars wild with music and dance and liquor, dark streets grow full of life and motion of vice and sin
-we go up near the theatrers to see the boys as they come out, scroes, ragged, scarce in their teens, find them sleeping in doorways, under a cart or a flight of steps
-after 11 pm, the apple women take their stands apart, but hot corn childrren still at corners
-Water Street esp vicious, a cellar that entices little girls; little girls sell candies and run away when you try to speak to them
-emphasizes progress from homeless to crime is inevitable; describes a poor newsboy starved in the streets, honest, intelligent, who a few months later was sentenced for manslaughter
Oct 14 1857 “What will they do with it?”
Wall-street, yesterday, presented a remarkable appearance. The entire street, from Broadway to the Merchants’ Exchange, was so densely packed with men that it was almost impossible to worm through the excited mass of humanity…Every man had something to say about the state of affairs, and everybody was willing to listen to everybody else. Bank Presidents were jostled by policemen…the public that had anything in bank seemed to have suddenly come to a simultaneous determination to draw it out in gold.”
“The Bill Poster—His Labor and His Home” Aug 26 1853
“Reader—when strolling leisurely along Broadway, or any other of our much-frequented streets, and…you cast your eye upon the heterogeneous announcements which, in varied and attractive coloring, adorn every available space” do you ask yourself what manner of men “cover with intelligence otherwise uninteresting walls, unpleasant and dangerous piles of bricks, unconscious lamp-posts, and illiterate fences?”
-they make our highways speak so “that he who runs may read”
“You unshapely piles of miserable bricks, while uncovered by emblazoned bills, your naked and threatening aspect averts, with secret terror, the vulgar regard! Clothed by the bill-poster, you excite in my mind the charms of delicious sentiments, and furnish abundant food for sublime contemplations.”
He sneers at those great masses who only see the frailty of the bills, and “are careless of the great truths you maintain without partiality. They discern not that the genus of our institutions presides over the arrangement of the bills. They know not that the sacred dogma of equality is by you proclaimed and religiously observed.”
-gives as example that ‘Uncle Tom, at the National’ occupies as high position and has as large letters as ‘the arrival of President Pierce, to inaugurate the Crystal Palace.’ also placing a Schnapps ad side by side with a temperance convention, ‘the great Broadway Railroad Injunction’ peers out behind a money wanted ad. These people do not see the presence of a great principle in the announcement that the road to ruin will be played on the same fence with laying the corner stone of another Roman Catholic Church.
So he is rendered wise as the gods, but who is responsible for giving him this stock of knowledge?
-bill poster apppeared with discovery of art of printing, at dead of night, when all but rogues and printers are asleep, he goes forth and shrewdly displays “Lives Ensured” against a crumbling wall
-his home is in Anthony-street, and on the “Points.” Farlow’s Court in huge letters along the front of a large brick building is the name of his house, where about 400 persons shelter, and fifty billposters (employed by one man) eat and sleep among a population of laborers, thieves and prosititutes, with whom they have much in common, motley yet miserable
-but missionary and temperance worker are working on reforming them