Adventures in Paris

American artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens finds inspiration in France to create one of America’s most iconic sculptures, a memorial to Civil War hero Adm. David Farragut

AUGUSTUS SAINT-GAUDENS came to Paris for the first time in 1867, the year it seemed the whole world came to Paris for the Exposition Universelle, the grand, gilded apogee of Second Empire exuberance. He arrived on an evening in February, by train after dark and apparently alone. He was 19 years old, a redheaded New York City boy, a shoemaker's son, who had been working since the age of 13. He was not one of the first ambitious young Americans to come to Paris following the Civil War.Read more »

The Peales

‘The ingenious Captain Peale” sired a dynasty of painters and started America’s first great museum.

The aide-de-camp strode into the painting room and handed a message to General Washington, who was sitting for his portrait, a miniature for Mrs. Washington. “Ah,” he remarked alter a mere glance, “Burgoyne is defeated.” And then, supremely honoring his young friend the artist, that imperturbable man put aside the dispatch for later study and resumed the pose.Read more »

The Cult Of The Primitives

There is one statement about old American art which most educated Americans, whatever their further ignorance of the subject, cherish. Read more »

Through Hirschfeld’s Eyes

FOR SEVENTY YEARS HE HAS DEFINED HOW WE SEE THE WORLD OF THEATER

 

They are not a particularly remarkable pair of eyes: chocolate brown, droopy-lidded, shaded by thick salt-and-pepper brows.

 

They are not a particularly remarkable pair of eyes: chocolate brown, droopy-lidded, shaded by thick salt-and-pepper brows. Read more »

“it Was Nice”

CHARLES SAXON’S fond but clear-eyed cartoons are a definitive record of suburban life in the 1960s and ’70s

When his affluent neighbors in suburban Connecticut accused him of using them as characters in his New Yorker cartoons, Charles Saxon quickly assured them that he was “really satirizing himself. Since he seemed to lead the same sort of life they did, shared the same interests, and belonged to the same country club, they found the explanation acceptable. Even when their exact words appeared in his cartoon gag lines, they tended not to recognize themselves. Read more »

The Heretic

At the height of the American avant-garde movement, Fairfield Porter’s realistic paintings defied the orthodoxy of Abstract Expressionism— and risked rejection by the art world. But today his true stature is becoming apparent: He may just be the best we have.

 
In his lifetime Fairfield Porter (1907–75) appeared on no one’s list of the greatest American painters of the twentieth century. Although he was respected and admired for both his painting and his criticism from the early 1950s on, Porter achieved neither the popular celebrity nor the critical acclaim that attended the ballyhooed careers of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, and Andy Warhol.

It is easy to see why.Read more »

The Inlander

His contemporaries saw the painter Charles Burchfield as another regionalist. Today it seems clear that the region was the human spirit.

Toward the end of his life, Charles Burchfield wrote a description of a place that had haunted him since he was a schoolboy. It was “some fabulous Northland unlike any place on earth—a land of deep water-filled gashes in the earth; old lichen-covered cliffs and mesas, with black spruce forests reflected in the pools, against which swans gleam miraculously.” Read more »

Dubin At Work

A HALF-CENTRY AGO Harry Dubin bought his son a camera, and together they made a remarkable series of photographs of a city full of blue-collar workers—all of them Dubin

WILL ROGERS MAY NEVER HAVE MET A MAN HE DIDN’T like, but Harry Dubin evidently never met one he didn’t like to be. Fifty years ago his protean inclinations inspired an extraordinary series of color photographs that have only recently surfaced. Read more »

The Return Of The Peacemakers

The great emancipator and the liberator of Kuwait get together in the newest White House portrait

 

From the moment he was first inspired to paint it, George Peter Alexander Healy harbored huge ambitions for the canvas he entitled The Peacemakers . The artist longed for it to be universally embraced as “a true historical picture,” cherished as the emblem of sectional reconciliation following the bloody Civil War.

 
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The Artistic Triumph Of New York

World War I made the city the financial capital of the world. Then after World War II a very few audacious painters and passionate critics made it the cultural capital as well. Here is how they seized the torch from Europe.

Mark Tansey is a definitively post-modernist painter. His pictures stand at two removes from nature; not art but art history (or art theory) is his subject. Tansey deals in theories and notions, presenting them with the sort of sharp irony found in editorial-page cartoons. At the major Tansey exhibition at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts last year, the most striking and I think best example of the painter’s work on display allegorizes a world historical event in the annals of modern art.Read more »