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Jan 19 –



[[caption]] A VILLA IN PRAGUE By A BENS ART MUSEUM [[/caption]]


ART MUSEUM [[/caption]]

ART MUSEUM  [[/caption]]

GETZ-BROWN GALLERY [[/caption]] 


NOW that the Czechoslovakian exhibition is on view at the Art Museum in all its manifold forms and their live art of today is all about us, we ask: Where does it stand in relation to other art aspects of these exciting times? What have the Czechs and Slovakians done today that is outstanding, distinctive or racial? One would be tempted to answer: Nothing particular or racial, as the continental or international style lays a heavy hand on most all the phases of their art expression, with the exception of the decorative peasant art section and the marionettes. And again, if one compares the merits of the new and the old decorative arts he would say that the old is by far the most interesting and exciting.

Painting, despite its fine gallery setting, is in truth the stepchild of the show, for it is a medley of foreign influences, and if it had not been for a few paintings we would say it was not of much importance. Most of the work is derivative and rather feeble: there are exceptions, of course. These artists do not possess that power of color design which we associate with Slavonic art and which was strongly influenced by Slavonic household art; nor do we find a definite racial spirit such as was observed in the Polish exhibition of several years ago, yet the decorative arts section does show sensibility to color as a compositional quality which is so characteristic of the Slavonic people. It is needless to say that the Czechoslovakian schools of painting and the graphic arts have been more profoundly influenced by the art movements of Paris, and particularly Picasso than the German School of Expression.

Slavonic humor comes forth in Capek's whimsical and quite delightful paintings of children; he is a daring and brilliant stylist and is especially gifted as an illustrator of children's stories, some of which are shown in this exhibit. Another artist — Sedlacek, a water colorist — exhibits quality of color and constructive spacial design in his landscapes. We found as we went through the gallery that we were checking nearly all of his work; this was also true in the graphic arts section, which is by far the most interesting and exciting. As an example of Czechoslovakian art, the graphic section is the strongest and most vital expression. Here one finds a fine variety of technique, and they also obtain a better idea of the character of the country and the people. Generally speaking, a high quality of craftsmanship characterizes this section, yet it lacks the novelty one might expect from races of people who have so rich a folk tradition. 

Lace Making An Art.

Novelty comes forth most forcibly in one of the smaller galleries where modern glass, lace, and rugs are shown, and this, indeed, is a beautiful installation. Lace making is one of the art industries that receive state support, and the bobbin and needle-point lace in contemporary design are extremely beautiful, particularly in the clouded or shaded effects that are produced. The modern glass is often very brilliant and beautiful, only a few glass objects made in the old form — that is, in two layers of color — are found. Perhaps these are a revival of that ancient art practiced long ago. The rugs shown in this gallery are imposing pieces of Czechoslovakian design, especially the one that hangs on the west wall, with a motive probably evolved from a thumb print. 

As the visitor passes through the galleries he will be impressed by the debt that industry owes to art and to modern art. The modern motive is not only in evidence in glass and rugs, but in steel and concrete, and the germs of the international style have been hard at work in Czechoslovakian architecture. By means of photographs modern architecture and interior decoration force themselves upon us, and it is a live art, but it is even more alive in the photographs and models of puppets and marionettes. These are particularly novel, and in them I think we find the strongest racial expression for Slavic humor, and Slavic grotesqueries are potent forces in the creative efforts of the puppet makers. This is one of the most exciting sections of the show.

One could provide an entire section of the review to the stories the photographs tell, and I think that the climax would be photographs of the puppets. However interesting the photographs of the modern architecture are, the large railroad terminal photographs, showing the character of the country itself and its old castles and rock formations, are equally so.

Decorative Arts Instructive.

Without doubt, though, of all the exhibits in this show of active art of Czechs and the Slovakians, that of the decorative arts in the main gallery will be found to be the most thrilling and exciting, as here you feel the definite influence of bringing up under the national influence of peasant art.

Handsome specimens of cross-stitch embroidery on linen in the form of bed spreads, table cloths, etc., running from pale pink to shades of red are observed along with peasant costumes and other objects of household decoration. For instance, a whole case is devoted to bonnets; other cases are given over to pottery from Modra (a Slovakian pottery center) and Zadruska, and another to modern toys, peasant carvings, woven fabrics, and printed textiles that are similar in art content to the German and French. Then if you look sharp your attention is directed to the cheese, butter, and cake molds, showing delightful Slavonic imagery. All this is eloquent, colorful, and as expressive of Czechoslovakia as the Mexican show was of Mexico. Thus together it would impress more firmly than ever that art is part and parcel of the life of a nation.

As an exhibit the Czechoslovakian show is enormous; it is like a great fair, and if one could have been behind the scenes on Thursday and Friday before the show opened and had seen, as we did, the quantities of material stacked on benches, tables, chairs, and spread about on the floor, and had seem the  Museum staff sorting, placing, hanging, and arranging the exhibits and the men rolling carts filled with heavy objects from one gallery to another and the girls typing labels and other staff workers hurrying hither and yon, he would wonder how order could ever come out of this chaos unless he understood the system by which a great museum like our is conducted. It was positively marvelous to watch from day to day the exhibit take shape, order, and sequence; it now fills five galleries.

Percy Crosby, creator of the "Skippy" cartoons, opens an exhibition of his lithographs at the Getz-Brown gallery, showing with vivid and flashing line movement incidents of polo, football, and other popular sports, the coming Monday.

"Intercepting the Pass," which we reproduce with the text, will give some idea of the snap and sparkle which Mr. Crosby puts into his line movement.

Again snap-bang goes the line in prints like "The Punt," "The Kick," and other bright and amusing prints of interesting American sports.

The Getz-Brown gallery starts its 1936 season with a selective exhibition of etchings by Cameron and Zorn. Among the Zorns we find such popular and fine prints as "Vicke," "Dalaro," "Against the Current," and "Alder." Among the Camerons is his celebrated "Dinner Moor," "The Rialto," "Storm at Sundown," "Rue St. Julien," "Haddington," "The Valley of the Fay," and "Ferry."

Latest announcement from Stuart Davis, Secretary of the American Artists' Congress, states:

"'Repression of Art in America' will be a major topic to be discussed from the platform of Town Hall in New York City on February 14, when artists from all parts of the United States assemble for the opening of the first American Artists' Congress. The Town Hall meeting will also be open to the general public."

"Reenforcing the position against war and Fascism taken by members of the congress in signing the call, cases of suppression and destruction of art works in the United States during the last two years will be cited and shown to be the direct outcome of the general rise of reactionary and Fascistic trends that threaten democratic rights of artists and the American people as a whole, according to Stuart Davis, Secretary of the congress Organizational Committee."

"Where possible, artists themselves will describe the attacks upon their work. The Rikers Island affair, which stirred New York last spring, will be reviewed by Lou Block, associated with Ben Shahn on this mural project. Block claims Jonas Lie, at the time painter member of the Municipal Art Commission, acted outside his authority in rejecting the work for its alleged "anti-social' nature."

"Joe Jones will tell of the vigilante action taken against his St. Louis murals; Murray Hantman will describe the smashing of his murals with sledge hammers by the Los Angeles police, and other cases, like that of Gilbert Wilson, whose anti-war mural was attacked by the American Legion in Terre Haute, Ind., will be brought up before artists and public."

The Week In Art Circles

CNCINNATI ART MUSEUM - Art Museum Loan Exhibition of the Arts of Czechoslovakia, January 12-February 19. Drawings from the collection of Dr. Allyn C. Poole, October 13 to February 2. Exhibition of Carnegie course in the appreciation of the arts, November 24 to January 30. Exhibition of oils, water colors, and pastels from the collection of Miss Mary Hanna, November 24 to January 30. Exhibition of landscapes of five centuries, loan from the collection of Herbert Greer French, December 14 to February 19. Exhibition of Prints

CLOSSON'S GALLERY - Exhibition of recent etchings by E. T. Hurley and Paul Ashbrook. Exhibition of preliminary paintings for murals by Emil Jacques.

Annual exhibit of Central Academy of Commercial Art, 1647 Clayton Street, open from 1 to 5 o'clock today.

GETZ-BROWN GALLERY - Exhibition of lithograph by Percy Crosby, creator of Skippy cartoon, January 20 to 26. Exhibition of etchings by Cameron and Zorn, January 20 to 26.


London, January 18 - (AP) - London gas company inspectors, accustomed to finding tin discs, medals, buttons and foreign coins in gas meters, award the prize for originality to a business man who has been using discs made of ice.

"Large amounts of gas had been used by this consumer," an official of the company told newspaperman, "but whenever the collector called to empty the meter few coins were found. It was noticed too that the meter was exceptionally damp.

"Investigation convinced us that the consumer had been dropping ice discs in the slot instead of coins."

Future gas will cost him more.

Stuttgart, Germany, January 18 - (AP) - The avalanche of decorations showered upon Germans since Hitler came to power has been extended to animals now. Seven horses of the Cannstatt Cavalry detachment were decorated with the new "Cross of Honor for Animal War Veterans."

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