Putnam’s: Willam Henry Hurlbert, doing editorial for NY Times, wrote for it, as did Maverick on the Times (Scientific Notes); Kimball on law, Clarence Cook was art crit for Trib too, as was Geo Ripley Trib lit crit and WH Fry its music crit, all for Trib and Putnam’s, also Bayard Taylor, Stedman not yet connected with Trib. Fitz James o Brien is critic of Our Young Authors, liked Donald Mitchell and Melville, wrote for John Brougham’s Lantern, Am Whig Review, and short stories for Harper’s, had a brief service with times, but did get a salary for Putnam’s. Cook did NY Daguerreotyped. Richard Grant White, still on Courier And Enquirer, did criticism and other work. Cozzens published his sparrowgrass papers under title of Living in the Country, also Dr Hawks of Calvary (Putnam’s pastor), Vinton of Trinity, Bethune and Saml Osgood. Dana helped too
-it was Whig/Republican. Briggs previously doing sketches in NY Times among poor neighborhood. anti-slavery and cultural nationalism, intl copyright
Jan-June 1853, vol 1, no 1, p. 120,The Fine Arts: extinction of Am AU by courts depressing effect, we were never satisfied that Art Unionism was a healthy and sound principle, interfered with laissez vaire essential in everything. Artists will now find more discriminating customers. Pics of AU sold, hope galleries will still be used for artist’s exchange or market or school of design, need practical artists, don’t send to France, need govt support for it.
Extinction of AU has had a temporarily depressing effect on cause of Art. We were never well satisfied that A-Unionism was a healthy and sound principle; it was too direct an interference with the principle of laissez faire. Don’t approve of means by which its ruin was accomplished. Artists will now find more discriminating customers. Hope the former rooms might become an exhib sales room for public to purchase, or a school of design for manufacturing, need aid of govt to do it on liberal scale.
Putnam’s Jan 1853 “Fine Arts” NAD review
Says they’re anti Progressive, despite radical changes all around them, and mentions the Italian opera, penny papers, telegraph, the NAD is still doing toys for private houses, nothing to do with the nation
Modern Raphaels compose operas or edit newspapers, do things that pay
Same Ingham portraits of ladies, same Durand lscapes; art is nothing unless it conforms with public taste, need to clear away Old Fogyism
Can’t paint water
Mentions Hicks, Elliott, Huntington, Kensett, Church, Durand, Cropsey, Gignoux, Inness
Among rising artists are Cafferty, for a portrait Putnam’s Current Events Nov 1869 notes Cafferty’s death
Mar 1853 Fine Arts: artists need a place to exhibit, NAD should stay open year round, need to create a public for art, or artists become upholsterers of private apartments not teachers of the people like authors, and we’ll never get a Raphael. Only public gallery is Governor’s room in City Hall, which has portraits. Art Union was doing a good work, but now only hope is hotel owners. Astor hse have some v fine ptgs cost more than $25,000. Pop sentiment may demand scripture ptgs, but not adapted to hotel dining rooms and parlors. Rossiter’s large Jeremiah lamentation, great boldness, atmosphere of wamrth and beauty harmonizes with ideal scene. Too large for private home.
have bio of Greenough (also has Thorwaldsen)
April 1853 p. 471 Fine Arts: public spirited directors of late Am AU, opened exhib of Washington, Leutze, Powers, Stuart, Pine, Copley and engl artists, finest exhib , proceeds to go to purchase Leutze’s Wash at Dorchester Heights for NY Gallery. Fashionable crowd, but art will flourish better when found in homes of laborer.
Notices Page, Crawford, Story, and Glass (positive in London), Huntington (negative in London)
Apr 1853 Fine Arts: public spirited directors of Am AU lately opened historic and artistic value exhib of Wash, for benefit of NY Gallery, also to purchase Leutze’s at Dorchester Heights. Stuart and Pine, Leutze, Powers, Copley, Reynolds, Maclise Leslie and Mulready, originals. Leslie’s Anne Page for Philip Hone. Maclise little merit. Cole’s Course of Empire. Opening had fashionable assembly, but art will flourish better when in homes of the laborer, so all might enjoy. Also notes Page in Rome ptg the Crawfords, Story doing his father, and cites praise of Glass in a London paper. Another London paper has unflattering comment on Huntington’s Sacred Lesson.
June 1853? Fine Arts: all fine art tends towards Crystal Palace, but one great work that should have been there, has been stared at in front of City hall by small knots of puzzled idlers.
Jun 1853 NAD: always seems to be abt 450 “works” but many fewer ought to be exhib, fine art is anti progressive, or at least stands still, no more promising than 28 years ago, lists all the developments in other parts of life, Croton Ital opera penny papers etc. Has clever ptrs, but works are mere toys in private houses, family ports and pleasing little lscapes, nothing to do with the nation; Acad is an injury to art, deludes young men with false theories of hi art, vain attempt to do things the age does not require. Days of the preRaphaelites may return, but not Raphael, Raphael would devote himself to building ships and houses if he lived now. But offer a good supper. Exhib has same names, subj, style, only miss portrait of a lady—Ingham. Why is this missing after 27 years? There is still the same Landscape—Durand, same birch tree, yellow sky, amiable cattle, mild trees and quiet water, mild quiet and amiable world. List of honorary members changes, ornamental part of institution.
Mostly (145 plus) portraits, practical department, best rewarded, we excel, Palmer’s bust by any antique sculp. Landscapes are like reflections in a mirror, Church Kensett Durand, ornamentalist, don’t paint for public instruction, yet persist in painting Madonna when neither they nor their patrons have any faith in her. They go into woods and hills and reproduce pleasant effects, good thing to do, good decorations. Give up folderol re hi art, think of themselves as artisans, shouldn’t be proud that no one will buy their pictures, stop throwing away genius, take up wood engraving. Art needs to conform to popular taste.
wealthy men tried to estab NY Gall of art, oysters and champagne, but didn’t succeed, lacked coop of public. Since then built Erie rrd; we prefer rrds. We send millions to Euro for art that we should spend at home, some institution needs to clear away fr atmosphere of Art here the mists of old fogyism.
In exhib are a few great excellence, by artists well known, don’t need to discuss. V sweet nd delicious English in char and treatment by Peele, of three children and dead game, purest feeling, Englishman ptd in London. Lscape ptrs afraid of water, only one tolerable marine, by London artist. Thomas Hicks three fine heads, sober dignity and characteristic. Elliott’s 11 felicitious touch. Huntington port of Eastlake highly creditable, less of his mannerisms than usual. Kensett andChurch in full strength, Durand Cropsey and Gignoux live up to rep. Innes show marked improvement. Rising artists are Baker, Cafferty, Pratt and Louis Lang.
June 1853, p. 700, Fine Arts:
28th NAD exhib with oddly customary number of 450 artworks. But number that ought to be exhib is smaller, but art is anti progressive, stands still if not goes backwards, no better than at first exhib, hasn’t influenced the age, just toys for private houses, with which the nation has nothing to do. Acad an injury to art, deludes amiable young men with false theories of high art, and leads them away from profitable employments in vain attempt to do things the age does not require and they don’t have the ability to accomplish. Raphael would edit a newspaper, build a ship, compose operas.But supper on opening night much better than Leo X!
Catalog has same names, same subjects, same sameness of style, only miss the “portrait of a lady—Ingham.” Why has he not one, think it time to quit after 27 years? Still the ‘Lscpae-Durand,” same birch tree, yellow sky, amiable cattle, mild trees and quiet water. List of honorary members change, they add to this ornamental part, four full pages. Enumerates dull portrait titles, but acknowl this dept is our strength, singles out Palmer of Albany for a bust. Lscapes like reflections in a mirror, Church Kensett and Durand—though considers them too as ornamentalists, vs Michaelangelo who ptd for the masses, embodied great ideas to instruct the people. But we have no legends, and fifty religions, and quarrel with Acad that persist in hankering after broiling Saints when no longer needed. Madonna de trop, yet artists persist in ptg her, when can go into country and reproduce its pleasant effects, as ornaments for our parlors, artist a decorator not a teacher. So Acad shld abandon folderol abt hi art and be content to fulfill true commission like upholsterers. An excellent artist, intelligent, industrious, amiable, tells us that if it weren’t for a friend he would starve, they won’t buy my pics, so sd why not paint what they will buy? He shrugged, yet were admiring one of his large hi art style pics fr Italy. Barnum andBeach advertise for artists for woodcuts for illus paper, shld turn talents into a channel that will pay. Sad to see so much genius and effort thrown away as in annual exhib, need calico designing instead to conform to pop taste.
Six yrs ago strenuous effort by assoc of men of wealth for NY Gall of Art, but has not succeeded, lie in dusty chamber without coop of public, efforts come to nothing. Built rrd instead, so are forgiven. Might have attempted a pyramid—picture galleries and rrds not intended for same people and century, we give preference for rrds. Acad or other institu shld clear away fr atmosphere of Art the mists of old fogyism, public bldgs. Shouldn’t be dec by foreigners.
Among ptgs in exhib a few of great excellence by artists already well known, one of most attractive a v sweet and delicious thoroughly English in char and treatment ptg by Peele, of young children and dead game, exquisitely tender, purest feeling. English.
Lscape ptrs afraid of water, but one tolerably well exec marine, by Robbins of London.
Thom Hicks 3 remarkably fine heads, diff manner, but sober dignity and char expressions. Elliott’s 11 ports lost nothing of his adroitness. Port of Chas Eastlake by Huntington, best of his we’ve seen, less of his mannerisms than usual. Kensett, Church in full strength, Durand Cropsey Gignoux will not lose rep. Innes show marked improvement, ripening powers in ports by Baker, Cafferty, Pratt and L Lang.
July 1853 Fine Arts: great work in front of City Hall, stared at by idlers, puzzled, won’t gain pop rep by his colossal statue, taste for olive colored statuary must be acquired. Neither striking merits nor glaring defects, but sharply criticized. We think he’s been successful, likeness, modern cloak drapes figure, great difficult tho in thing itself, colossal statue is a monstrosity, except as decoration to a greater structure. Prefer life size statue, faithful representation, statue as he walked among us, devoting himself to public good, but impossible for pop heart to throb gratefully at ten foot hi fig on pedestal. Have better methods to honor great, name after them, histories and poems, no need for effigies in highways. Associations of wealthy gmen to do this unsuccessful.
see also NY Herald, p4 City intellig, May 25 1853, NY Times, p4 Sept 21 1853. Clinton statue was cast in April 1852, in front of City Hall fr May to Sept 1853, then to Greenwood Cemetery later in 1853. Browne won’t gain much pop reputation, a taste for olive colored statuary must be acquired, like taste for olives, and public not accustomed to ten foot bronzes on pedestals. Private assoc of gmen paid for it for his grave, so not really a public monument. As a work of art, neither striking merits nor defects, but has been sharply criticized. But we think he’s been successful, good likeness, modern cloak opps for draping, has improved the figure. But great difficulty that could not be overcome was that a colossal statue is a monstrosity, not as bad as Napoleon or Nelson, but still bad. To excite gratitude need a statue that should present him as he walked among us, heart doesn’t throb gratefully at colossal calves. We have better ways to honor great men then statues anyways. 30 years ago assoc for Wash monument remains unbilt, Wm Astor and others 8 years ago set out to do Henry Clay. Monument is public service
at Crystal Palace praises Thorwaldsen and lists a bunch of others, Dusseldorf’s Hasenclever Working Men’s Petition, figs all of life size, and his Watchman. Also a Winterhalter queen vic.
Sept 1853 doesn’t think much of Pierce so far
Nov 1853: Powell’s DeSoto: Cryst Pal has excellence and extent, 750 ptgs, more statuary, genius, plus display of Roman ptgs by Ital exile as specimens of worst pics of worst masters, Duss has best works of best masters of modern school. Bryan’s coll of Xtian art, honest. Powell frames in gold his De Soto, wouldn’t have noticed it if had been ptd as private speculation, but its pretensions require notice as property of the nation. But national in no other sense, subj is Spain, manner is Paris, nothing American abt it. Artist unwisely allowed to choose his subj, baleful effect of sectionalism, chose a Western man and a supposedly western but inapprop subj. A Job, as most of our nat works of art have been, except Trumbull. Agree it’s as national as Baptism of Pocahontas, but regret capitol defaced with bad ptgs with no connection to nat history.
Can either be historically accurate or allegorical, or disregard fact altogether and represent what you think event should have been if he had ordering of affairs. Party were famished, lost arms clothing horses etc, built huts on stream. Could have been a good subj, bold chivalrous faithful brightened by vision, but look like just from circus, all clean fat jolly, holiday air. couldn’t guess subj without title. Has neither correctness, elevated sentiment, hi finish, nor truthfulness. Protest sanctioning falsification of history. What if Headley or others wrote of landing of Pilgrims and made Plymouth Rock a sapphire? absurd. Need another subj if want to do a costume ptg.
Leutze blunder in putting Am flag into Wash crossing Delaware; only hi class ptrs like Delaroche don’t make blunders.
Pics in Capitol a false representation of state of art in era. Praises Huntington.
November 1853, Editorial Notes—Fine Arts, p. 568, notice arrival of Leutze’s GW at Monmouth, owner David Leavitt exhib, largest, best production, hearty vigorous nature, natural groupings, details with fidelity satisfy admirers of literal. GW natural but not noble, countenance not dignity of energy and passion but anger. Lacking higher qual of imag, merits so palpable can’t fail to be pop with masses.
p. 574, Fine Arts: Powell’s Pic of De Soto
In addition to 750 ptgs at Crystal Palace and as many more statuary, numerous collections, in Stuyvesant Inst an exiled Ital gallery of v choice works of Roman ptgs, no one can doubt they are all that is claimed for them, specimens of the worst pics of the worst masters. Duss Gall instructive and pleasing, entirely modern. Bryan’s Xtian Art, perfectly honest, nothing of doubtful originality.
Powell in gorgeous framework of gold, great nat ptg, if a private spec shld not have felt called on to notice it, but great pretensions, property of the nation and so national, but in no other sense. Subj to Spain, manner to Paris, nothing Am abt it, no right to be in capitol. Artist allowed to choose his subj, baleful effects of sectionalism deplored in political affairs, and notable instance ofit here in Art. Selected for this bcause Powell is a Western man, tried to compliment those who gave him the ‘job.’ Shld have ptd it in Cinti.
As national as Pocahontas, perhaps, but still regret defaced with bad ptgs. 2 ways to do a hist subj, as correct as possible, or allegorically, or disregard history and fact altogether and represent your own ideas of what the event should have been if he had ordering of affairs. Accounts survive of expedition. Subj has its gd pts, bold and chivalrous Spaniard, gaunt faithful follwers, vision of river. But DeSoto looks as tho just come from tournament at Franconi’s Hippodrome, tho no animal could be put in such an attitude, followers have holiday and picnicish look. Lacks all essentials of a gd ptg, no correctness, elev sentiment, finish or truth. No wish to quarrel with public taste, but protest sanctioning falsification of history. What if Headley or pop writers describe landing of Pilgrims, and for sake of making an agreeable thing of it, make Plymouth rock a sapphire. Absurd, a libel—same here.
Powell could have done costume ptg at other moments,picque and romantic materials, and want of mind would not be so palpably felt.
As to artillery—a liberty or blunder. Prefer to do without pics if can’t have gd ones. Pics of Capitol except Trumbull are a reproach to our taste. Chapman and Weir also did not choose subjects of national history. In favor of paying Powell as much as the other artists. Huntington.
Dec 1853 singles out sculp at Crystal palace for praise
Jan 1854 p. 117 Fine Arts, Powell’s Ptg of De Soto
Powell’s response: subj selected by a committee of Congress, a new Yorker as much as a westerner, studied with Inman, his Columbus before the council got him the commission. Quote Bancroft, Irving and other sources on historical accuracy. Putnam’s counters that proposal for an open competition was preferable, and terms of resolution gave him choice of subj. and was passed before he did Columbus. Still says the pic is in every respect bad.
May 1854 p. 566 Editorial Notes: National Academy of Design, written by Stillman? portraits will be worth more than any of our historical ptgs, Elliott's Mayor Kingsland and Hicks are among the best. EH May. best landscape is Church's Country Home, skies. WJ Stillman's Forest Spring marvellous long praise of it, Hubbard, too higgledy piggledy a collection, can't go from Spencer laughing infant to Hicks bishop, Shegogue to Huntington, Church to Cropsey
May 1854, p. 566, Fine Arts: NAD
Defends port ptg, art dignifies the subj, not vice-versa, likeness and costume have intrinsic value where historical compos may have none. Port only legitimate kind of hist ptg. Finest of our socalled hist pics are historical absurdities and falsehoods, first requisite is truth, and they have none. Beaming faces ofMayor Kingsland and friend Trimble will survive them—Kingsland going in Governor’s rm, one of Elliott’s best, Trimble for schools by Hicks, a merchant who holds a book may be misleading but artist no doubt gave it to him at a loss for what else, hands dangling are awkward, one wants absolute repose for a likeness. When man sits for his port, shld not pretend to do anything else. Instance of impropriety of departing fr this rule in Elliott’s port of Bryant, grim smile, not the way poets receive Muse, eye in a fine frenzy rolling is not a literal fact, but mind’s operation.
No new comers in port this yr, old exhib doing abt as well as a year ago, pics are twice told tales. Hoped to see something fr Page, but not much fr abroad but Cardinal Mazarin by EH May, great improvement, no Am feeling, color superficial and chalky, subj or meaning needs help of a legend for explanation, but face expressive once explained and well drawn. Ptgs he is gazing at indistinct, but artist wants Mazarin sole object.
Not port heads are 129 and 153 by Greene which promise better than other young, don’t know what is imitation and what originality.
Nothing new in lscape, but one will alw be new fresh an enchanting while there are eyes, 64 Church, Country Home, splendid, great work of the yr, true artist, doesn’t’ give bits of nature, or blasted trees with indefinite persp of affairs in general, but expanses in glowing light and sky more real the longer you look. Not carelessly dashed off. Forest Spring 301 WJ Stillman marvellouspeice of greenery, degree of accuracy but also breadth of effect and freedom of touch, called a pre Raph pic, not an Acad member. Dr Ruggles sea piece of wreck of S Francisco, much merit for amateur, motion and details accuracy. RW Hubbard sober N Eng Hill Scenery with no brilliant pretensions, v excellent, intelligent.
Hope when Acad move will also change constitution and adapt institu to existing state of art; need a perpetual exhib, annuals only for profit, create a temp excitement, higgledy piggledy coll of all sorts conceiveable, impossible to form just idea of their merits, unconnected. How is it possible to pass fr a Shegogueian group of infants in pink frocks to a Huntingtonian scripture piece full of dark purple tints, or after light fr one of Church’s sunsets to pass on to Cropsey’s cold and rigid Bay of Genoa, or fr Mrs. Spencer’s laughing infant to Hicks’s solemn Bishop? Violent contrasts form rash and unjust opinions.
Jun 1854 Samuel Lawrence English portrait ptr promoted; have a bio of sorts of Vanderlyn (a memoir)
Aug 1854, likes Ruskin’s writings
Feb 1855: our printsellers shop windows have been our public galleries, show best works of best artists, old and new, in engravings or copies, those who sneer only follows dictates of fashionand convention. Now showing originals, Wms and Stevens Herring, now Landseer free playful unaffected gladening heart, dogs more pop than lambs, but fine lesson in sentiment, artists worship too much Dusseldorf. Ary Scheffer at Goupil’s, truly great, Christ clothed and Satan naked, earnest, not a pop pic. As a ptg almost worthless, but deep moral utterance. Lockwood’s Last Judg still exhib, not a great ptg, surprised by universal approbation, it is beyond his powers, not orig in conception or arrangement, weak in color and anatomy. Believe the engraving will be a financial success. Fee of 25 cents to see art is too great, should be 5. Geo H Hall also at Wms and Stevens, April Shower taken three ladies under one umbrella, expresssion of char and execution admirable, not deep and simple story little moral, but beaut effect to take pleasure in. Sincere. Rogers, Hosmer, HK Brown, Leutze’s Monmouth tho far fr great work is vigorous and natural, minor groups admirable. Crayon—in good hands, wish success. Wandesford Niagara.
Feb 1855, p. 222, The FA:
Landseer’s Twins, our only public galleries the printsellers windows, never wanted visitors, Colman, willliams& Stevens, Goupil, see the best works of best artists in engravings, old and new. He who looked to sneer has not true love for beaut, only follows dictates of fashion and convention. But shops now have exhibs of living artists, Wms & Stevens opened with herring pic excited attn. but far finer one is Twins by Landseer, free playful unaffected, gladdening heart with truth, simplicity, lambs poetical, exec a lesson to painters who worship Dusseldorf. Scheffer’s Temptation, earnest, direct, but not a pop pic, as a ptg almost worthless, but sincere.
Lockwood’s Last Judg at Racket Club bldg., not a great ptg by any means and a little surprised at the univ newspaper approbation of his bold choice of subj for first large pic, ought to wait for matured powers. Not orig in conception or arrang, weak in color, no anatom knowl. Enzing Muller who is engraving it will correct all its faults, pecuniary success.
Fee for seeing works of Art is too great, charge should be five cents, or attendance will be ltd. With Landseer gone, now have Geo H Hall’s April Shower, 3 young ladies under one umbrella, expr of char remarkably successful, exec careful, not deep or very moral, simple story, but to be taken pleasure in, beaut effect of color. Able and conscientious. Rogers, young Am fr Rome, returns with Ruth, busts, Skater, and love in a Pet, in studio in former NAD. Miss Hosmer sent home busts attracting attn.. HK Brown on his GW in DC. Leutze’s GW at Monmouth, far fr great work of Leutze’s best, vigorous and natural, in detail and minor groups admirable, ought to see it.
Wish Crayon success.
March 1855, p. 334 The Fine Arts: HK Brown’s Equestrian Statue of GW, too bad it’s not a public work of art. Not yet finished, notable for repose of treatment, prudence of GW, not soldier but father discerning dangers, throws his weight on side of Prudence, restraining, curbing, not to excite enthusiasm but reverence. Doesn’t excite injudicious with charger rearing, but Gw lifts arm and stretches out hand with air of command and entreaty, horse in unwilling submission, paws, tosses, action of GW is involuntarily to restrain, impresses motive on mind. No specific moment, not a mere portrait, conservatism of GW, his self-restraint,
May 1855 NAD, Mount Durand, Cropsey Gray an old school man, Hicks and Baker Church others
May 1855 p. 505 NAD
Acad a misnomer, doesn’t educate, but like RA is a society for mutual benefit, not for public benefit. But the annual exhib only means for comparing work of artists, see Cole’s prog, Durand working out his prob of originality, Cropsey , Kensett and Church growing up, more tech ability. Cole and Vanderlyn pendants of the old system, triumphs were in rivaling their masters, not developing new features, faces turned backward to Claude and titian, not forward to unexplored fields, not new men. Followed by Durand, Inman, Mount, Edmonds and Huntington painting things real, that they knew. Cole a sentimentalist, Durand the modern spirit based on reality; Cole regarded forms of Nature as characters for his story, poetical but not pictque. Durand’s objects except his clouds are actual; Cole’s things were types fr his imagination, Durand’s are individualities, with rights of the individual, and influence in the general result.
We will ignore imitators of Europe in favor of Art that arises fr a genuine feeling for the things with which the people have sympathy—doesn’t matter if materialism of the times is an error; if it is the spirit of the age, Art must carry it out to be successful. Durand and Mount do this, but Mount only pic is Webster among the People, unworthy of him in every respect. Durand appears to great advantage, In the Woods, large pic, appeals to love of wild and free, glade shut in by forest, no sound of humanity, softened sunlight warms, the poetry of the pic. Artists shld be encouraged to follow him, so easy to be superficial and striking, hard to be entirely faithful to nature. Sometimes qual far fr agreeable result fr determined effort to be true, as in AW Warren, View in Country, cold andlightness, but manly sincerity makes it hard and chilly.
Kensett’s Oct Day in White Mtns, perplexing white stone showing thru herbage, injurious to repose, but honest attempt to render actual phenom. Pict still one of his finest, autumnal haze, dreamy, literalness designate him a man of new school. Grays and quiet colors gd, light and shade artistic, treatment pictque.
Church the reverse of Kensett, tho more decidedly realist. Perceptions uncommonly minute, even microscopic, fluent vigorous execution, even excessive color as in Cordilleras gaily colored flowers birds sunsets. Exuberance of detail rarely found. Amazing skies turn Cole’s into paint, but minuteness carries him away fr repose,so instead of Stanfield, have sky filled with individ forms, lacking unity. Simpler skies are v perfect. Church’s great want is breadth, details too often start out of their place, lack unity, shld study English.
Cropsey the near approach of old to new school, sentiment of former to literalness of latter, Cropsey wld be more impressive if he were entirely a realist. Studio sentiment of allegory a poor sub for Nature. View of Mt Wash his finest, haziness and clearness, transp shadows, artistic and fresh. InMediterranean Sea coast truthful gathering of evening in moist atmosph, enjoyment of such rich passages of truth greater than any story’s enjoyment, fresher.
Great mistake to class Mount’s pics as humorous, as serious as any, no intent of witticism except for one or two among his least successful, drawn fr life, in most earnest feeling. Incident may be laughable as in Boys Raffling, but still a passage of genuine life, regarded with utmost seriousness. In Webster has attempted a heroic vein, ideal in some way, failure is because Art to be successful must deal with things the artist actually knows or sees, to attain something only felt will fall. If Mount had learned the old school, might have succeeded in composition as they succeed, but would be worth no more, since subj alone depends essential value of work.
Darley tho not so natural, greatest triumph in power subtility of treatment, hi refined drwg, perception of indiv char. Mount not same degree of tech excellence. Makes hopeful that artists don’t need to expatriate. Rejects great ideal school and grand method, rear guard of school of the past, throw grand style over a manikin.
Gray’s Child is an old school man in port, but method too apparent, Hicks and Baker more successful in giving signif to surroundings of his portrait.
Jul 1855: have long analysis of Trinity Chapel, like the Gothic, sincere and truthful, dislike stucco imitations of stone, and lavish ornaments in cheap pine ptd to look like expensive woods, tho plaster cdeceptions in interior a deception. Point to some faults, like the canopies, addition of color. Like Richard Greenough, WW Story Crawford. have xerox, didn’t scan.
July 1855 likes Gothic Trinity Chapel. Notices Boston sculptors, Story et al
Sep 1855, p. 318 Am Lit and Reprints: Reviews Musquito shore, Bard the artist, went to Jamaica to escape death by the Art Union, adventures, silly abt slavery. Crayon agreeable, critic of deeper principles of artistic philos, can overlook their reliance on Ruskin. Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, curious and lawless. Jarves Art Hints interesting, but style not strong nor simple enuf for his ideas, crits vague and inconsistent
Oct 1855: long discussion (have xerox, didn’t scan) of original portraits of Washington, gives a pretty good notice to Rembrandt Peale, says his mature portrait is a fave of many amateurs. Recent Wertmuller port has attracted diverse opinions. Our first knowl of Wertmuller fr his super Danae in a curtained nook of Henry Inman’s studio. Eve Post 17 Mar 1855 gives some history of the Wash portrait, casts doubts on it. Not Wash, self conscious, supercilious or surprised, staring, has animation but lacks modesty and strength, elongated, common place, engraving lacks superior aspect that divides Wash by infinite distance from the mob of vulgar heroes.
April 1856, loves Palmer of Albany
Oct 1856, p. 444 World of NY: long time on wonders of Tiffany’s for country visitors, then to cheap enjoyment of picture-shops, at Williams & Stevens, Mrs. Spencer’s dogs, a new pair,Favorite and the Forsaken, describes contrast, country cousins understand it well enough to be sorry they have seen it, tho the element we who are sophist and sensitive call coarseness, they say is nature. Then to Goupil’s and Bonheur et al, then dags at Fredricks
March 1857: Harper’s. universal reading is daily newspaper and flash lit like Sylvanus Cobb for Ledger, exuberant romance, comedy crime and sentiment, craving for immed effect. Harper’s Mag aimed to be better than Phila mag love stories, poems and fashion plates. Compiled with tact fr English periodicals, handsome and bright, hits average taste of public, has no opinions, no politics, no relig, no strong expression but pathos or humor, nobody’s prejudices hurt, and added capital illustrations to its papers, best wood engravings. Public had always taken anti-British view of Napoleon, Harper’s illustrates an apotheosis of Napoleon by Abbott, coincided with prevailing partiality. Fab circulation.
Other side of success, has no intellectual power, and a decided sub-conservatism, toast and water morality, not an Am mag as mostly taken fr British. Putnam tried to meet this expression, and effect of success was to nationalize Harper, make it more Am in subj but treatment not—still timid and hesitating, wants to be unoffending. Couldn’t make a lit reputation, though it paid well.
Will Harper’s weekly have similar effect of reducing other weeklies to insignif? It is a Saturday illus paper, digest of news, editorial, stories, lit crit, personal scandal and gossip and facetiae. But not to have an opinion is to be on one side; to dodge slavery or straddle the fence, is not to be neutral, and excites derision. Walker is an ignoble pirate, but Harper’s doesn’t want to offend certain political class, so calls him a hero of sorts
March 1857 sees Harper’s as timid, hidden conservatism vs Putnam’s more American opinionatedness (July 1855 had profile ofGreeley)
May 1857 NY Pres, esp Morse’s NY Observer attacking Putnam’s for Progressive Atheism (also the Watchman), because Putnam’s gave negative review to Observer chief editor’s travel book, Saml Ireneaus
Jul 1857 House building in America, Cleaveland’s American Village Homes has designs that all have ugly feature predominating, bad proportions, meagre and inconvenient, minor miseries in cheap and costly buildings, though accompanying narrative has many excellencies. Vaux similar inconsistencies, worthy designs, but displeasing comments. Contrast to old partner Downings, who had charming simplicity of style and singleness of purpose. Vaux full of egotism. Downings volumes still best. Ruskin not good either. All waiting for public to surrender individ feeling and sentiment to the superior taste and knowl of these artistic gmen. Ruskin et al misapprehend thought of his century, speaks fr overweening conceit. Age of revolution, freedom wrestling for life, no time for ornament. Taste ought to be fruit of individual, not adopting Ruskin’s. Art of bldg began to decay when men sought to bind her with rules, architecture is child of rapture.
Fanaticism, bigotry absurdities of of dress writing or bldg, the result of strong indiv influence swaying masses, while heroisms revolutions progress are flowering of popular virtue. Books seek to set patterns, induce a fashion without roots in our relations, remarkable for ugly unmeaning and useless gingerbread. In a country where we change houses as we change our clothes, why embellish, except for show or to make them salable. Farmhouses are best.
Continued by Emerson's and Putnam's