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length on the subject of contemporary American art. On March 11 he charged that an art exhibition held at St. Albans Naval Hospital in Queens, N. Y., was used for spreading left-wing propaganda among the disabled veterans. On March 25, Mr. DONDERO accused Artists Equity Association, an organization of professional painters, sculptors, and graphic artists, of being a radical organization.
I wish to take this opportunity of bringing to your attention some findings of fact, because I believe that such attacks are dangerous to cultural development in this country. In these times of stress we should nurture and protect, rather than attack and disrupt, creative workers in cultural fields.
Artists Equity Association is a national, nonpolitical, esthetically nonpartisan or organization representing the professional artists of America. It was formed in March, 1947, to further the economic interests of American artists and to give strength and effectiveness to their united voice. Any resident of the United States of America who is a painter, sculptor, or graphic artist whose work has been accepted in a major exhibition, or who has a recognized dealer in the fine-arts field, or who has a one-man show at a recognized gallery, is eligible for membership.
The organization of persons in the professions, united by a common interest for the advancement of their own and the general welfare, is an established part of our national life. The most cursory study of history discloses that the organization of professional persons - lawyers, doctors, teachers, and almost all of the other professions - is almost coincident with the founding of the Republic. The activity of such groups, as well as the activity of such organized groups as labor, farmers, and businessmen, has had profound and beneficial effects essential to the functioning of our democratic society. Experience has taught the artists of this country that they cannot discharge their obligations to their calling and improve their general welfare as individuals. They have found it necessary to band together, much in the same way as have writers, musicians, and actors. That the association has a great appeal for artists is evident by its growth. On April 30, 1947, membership was 300; on April 30, 1948, 875; and on April 30, 1949, the membership exceeded 1,400, representing 38 States of the Union.
The importance of artists in our day is best expressed by the words of Dr. Raymond Fosdick, former president of the Rockefeller Foundation, in the Foundation report for 1941:
"And particularly must we rely on the humanists - the historians, the philosophers, the artists, the poets, the novelists, the dramatists - all those who fashion ideas, concepts, and forms that give meaning to life and furnish the patterns of conduct. It is they who really construct the world we live in, and it is they who, with sensitive awareness to human perplexity and aspirations and with the power of imaginative presentation, can speak effectively to a distracted world." Consideration of the artist's role in such a light makes his survival individually and collectively in our society of paramount importance.
Looking a little more closely into the economic environment of our artists, I wish to quote some of the figures compiled by Miss Elizabeth McCausland in 1945 and published in her article, Why can't America afford art? in the Magazine of Art for January 1946. Five hundred leading artists were sent questionnaires, and about 40 percent replied. Of these, 44 percent of those reporting "depend largely or entirely on incomes from other sources than art." She further stated "that for these 200 painters and sculptors, with an average of 4 years devoted to an art education, and an average of 20 years devoted to the practice of their professions, such a costly long-term social investment of time, study, skill, and creative energy brought back just this much in worldly goods: An average total income for 1944 of $4,144 and an average art income of $548. Such was the economic picture in a year of high incomes."
In answering the question, "How does the artist live?" Miss McCausland reported that 42 percent of the painters and 53 percent of the sculptors teach, 32 percent of the painters and only 6 percent of the sculptors do commercial art, and only 2 percent of the painters and 3 percent of the sculptors have an independent income. Other jobs to which artists turn include framing, apartment management, beauty shop management, museum curatorships, production, and printing. I quote these to indicate the economic pressure under which our artists work, all of which means that they must devote creative time and energies to noncreative jobs. This involves a great cultural loss to the Nation, both now and in the future. 
Against this background of economic insecurity, Artists Equity Association was formed solely to help artists economically, and you may be interested to know specifically just how it is accomplishing its ends. Several years ago the fellows of Saybrook College at Yale University commissioned a portrait by an artist who subsequently became a member of Equity. Through misunderstandings, changes in personnel, and an incomplete contract, the artist had received no payment of any kind from the college when he brought the matter to the attention of Equity. Equity was able to effect a satisfactory settlement by the payment of $1,000 to the artist and the return of the portrait. Inasmuch as Equity charges no commissions to its members for such collections, the settlement was net.
Similarly, Equity was able to recover over 50 works of art recently for nearly as many artists, not all of them Equity members, from a dealer who had held them in storage for more than a year. The individual artists had been put off endlessly, but Equity was able to recover their work at no cost to them. 
Artists Equity was influential in having Pepsi Cola pay a rental fee to artists for their work, which the company borrowed and circulated throughout the country. Equity was also consulted by the Wildenstein Gallery in New York in connection with the Hallmark Franco-American competition which is being run by The Hall Bros. Co. of Kansas City. The Hall Bros. Co. agreed to the $100 fee, an increase in some of the prizes, and a royalty arrangement on any reproduction of these paintings for Christmas cards. Likewise Equity was instrumental in getting Life magazine to agree to pay for reproduction rights when an artist's work is used in feature articles. Please not that all of these last-mentioned activities with commercial sponsors have helped all artists, not merely Equity members.
Last year Equity Fund, a separate charitable corporation, was established to increase the use of art in America and eventually to have funds to help needy artists. It has received the sponsorship of many museum directors, collectors, etc., and it, too, will benefit all artist of every esthetic category through stimulating the formation of local art centers throughout the country.
Free legal advice has been given members by Artists Equity's exceedingly competent attorney. One artist, for instance had a dispute with a large Canadian shipping magnate over a commissioned work. He refused any payment, but Equity's lawyer was able to make a settlement at no cost to the member. In the case of Alfred Crimi, in which a church covered up his murals with whitewash, Equity's lawyer acted as amicus curiae in the case to help establish a precedent for the rights of artists under such circumstances. Equity now is active in a move to have certain murals installed in the Salina, Kans., post office. These murals were painted on the Government program, and installation was delayed due to the war. It has been further delayed by antagonistic elements who have kept them from being put up, although the artist's contract called for their placement.
Equity is concerned with relationships with art galleries and has drawn up a list of terms and conditions to be embodied in any agreement with a gallery. It is also committed to help artists without galleries to get a hearing.
Equity has cooperated with the museums of the country in working out mutual problems. This was emphasized on May 19, 1949, when Hudson Walker, executive director of Artists Equity Association; Robert Beverly Hale, of the Metropolitan Museum, adn William M. Milliken, director of the Cleveland Museum, spoke on the joint problems of artists and museums at the annual meeting of the American Association of Museums at the Art Institute of Chicago. A panel discussion followed, and it was the consensus that artists and museums can work together to their mutual advantage.
Returning to the subject of Mr. Dondero's March 11 attack on modern art. He intimated that the showing of contemporary art in the Naval Hospital at St. Albans, Queens, New York, was in some way identified with left-wing activity. Interestingly enough, the great national magazine, Look, sent their reporter and photographer to the exhibition and published on March 29 a very favorable article, based on this exhibition, on the good that could come to our injured veterans through the showing of contemporary art. I suggest that anyone who is interested look at this article, which shows the condition of the patients and the type of work shown. Look Magazine can be taken as a very impartial witness to the good such exhibitions might do for disabled veterans throughout the country.
May I reiterate my initial premise that only in a democracy can art remain free and creative, and in preserving our democracy we must preserve freedom of expression for our artists. Any other course leads us to the brink of totalitarianism.


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