Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Drawing Marathon: Memorial Day 2007

Don Yang

The best drawing in the room

George Clark

Brian Kotwica

Monday, May 28, 2007

Richard Lyon

Sue Lyon has just posted pages from one of her dad's sketchbooks,
which is a real delight,
since I had never seen them.

Richard Lyon (1935-2007) was a real advocate
for the best traditions of the Palette,
and though we had our differences,
it magically felt like it was all in good fun.

Other pages from that book can be found here

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Exhibit: Brush & Clay 2007

Lois Raub

Keith Raub

Leslie Dinelli

Leslie Dinelli

Leslie Dinelli

Lois Raub

Clare Tate

Clare Tate

Keith Raub

Keith Raub

Keith Raub

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Greenwich Village Of The West

In May of 1922, the Club's official organ, the "Cow Bell" re-surfaced after a six year hiatus -- and it had some very exciting news to tell: the recent purchase of the building at 1012 N. Dearborn.

The "organist" (as he called himself) was A.E. Hayden -- previously mentioned here for his lecture on "The Art of India".

Hayden was an illustrator (as shown above). He is given credit for the following book "The New Orient: a Series of Monographs on Oriental Culture; Volume 2: the Far East" published in Chicago in 1933.

He wrote his front page article as follows:



Mulligan called Gandy and Boehm and diverse others to gather one night in 1895 at the Art Institute.

“And they took council together among themselves saying: “Why Not?” and a meeting was called for the Next Sabbath at the ninth hour. Place, the studio of Arnold Bunch, and at that time and place there were present Larsen, Boehm, Gandy, Mulligan, Hutt, Hunter, Irvine, Conkley, Wagner, and Bunch.

Before they broke away, the Palette and Chisel was born and was booming”

Such was the Genesis of the Club as recorded on the fist page in that famous historical record known as the “Log Book” and this natal narrative quaintly presents the circumstances surrounding the planting of an acorn that grew and grew and grew.

The persistent growth of the Palette and Chisel may be very well compared to the growth and also to the stubborn resistance shown by a sturdy old scrub oak maintaining a precarious existence against many odds, but continually strengthened by its very efforts to hold its own.

Such have been the conditions surrounding the existence of this remarkable organization of artists occupying such a peculiarly unique position among the art clubs of this country. There have been times when the club was apparently on its last legs, but something always happened at an opportune moment to prevent disaster and it would also seem as though it had led a charmed existence and that its perpetual continuance was merely an exemplification of “a survival of the fittest” This may sound like egotism, but it is a relation of facts, and its survival over all difficulties really owes itself to nothing but the determination of a heroic band of enthusiasts who simply would not be subdued by circumstances. Speaking retrospectively, the Palette and Chisel Club has, for a quarter of a century, provided quarters for study purposes and for the promotion of a genial companionship of the younger set of artists in Chicago. The Club has produced from these many painters, illustrators, and sculptors who have achieved national distinction, and these distinguished men are just as proud of the Club in which they formed their early associations as the Club is of them and their achievements. The Club has modestly exerted its influence on matters pertaining to civic improvement and in these factors tending to create an interest in culture and the arts, which if not kept alive by those best fitted to nurture them would be sadly neglected by those of more commercial instincts. Chicago must not be stamped as a city famous for nothing but its commercialism and its ability to produce fortunes, but must be taught to develop its art appreciation and give some thought to matters more cultural and less material and to fully occupy its rightful place as one of the leading art centers of the New World. The Palette and Chisel Club realizes this to the fullest extent and wherever possible is using its best efforts for the consummation of such results.

This theme of "civic improvement" i.e. "more cultural and less material" also accompanied the founding generation of the Art Institute, whose leaders were also "Life Members" of the Palette and Chisel.

This Club is the pioneer art club of Chicago, not to mention the entire West, and today its members are imbued with the same indomitable spirit as that of the founders, some of whom are still with us, and are making of the Club an institution that Chicago has always needed and which it should be proud to possess. The aim of the Club is and always has been, to create and provide a center for genial fellowship and camaraderie among artists and lovers of art; to provide quarters suitable for study, and a place where a man of artistic instincts could meet others similarly inclined and exchange thoughts on matters of mutual interest. Here would gather artists who had “arrived”, the younger set struggling for recognition, and men who are proud to be interested in artists and their ideals although they themselves were merely Friends of Art. Such were the early dreams of the Club’s originators, were the modest efforts of those who aimed at their realization, and is the work that today is being carried on with increased vigor and enthusiasm.

Note the emphasis here on "camaraderie" -- as the number one stated purpose -- and the absence of a word like "education"

This is the anniversary of the Club in its new home, and it may be interesting to look backward for one year and see what has been accomplished in that period, to place the Club in the desirable position so desired and hoped for since its organization in 1895. What may be defined as the “Exodus” occurred one evening in May just a year since, and the public were treated to the spectacle of an odd procession of the the Club membership wending its way in double file from the old quarters at 59 Van Buren St. where it had always existed to its new and handsome clubhouse at 1012 N.Dearborn St. where it expects to stay “forever and ever, Amen”

Note that no specific credit is given here -- and yet Fred Larson's magnanimity was the cornerstone of this event

Our new Club house, formerly a spacious private residence, is admirably suited to our needs. It is spacious, having 21 rooms, has an open space around it giving plenty of air and light, and is placed on a lot 60 X 150 feet deep with a two story brick garage in the rear. This building provides us with a large, general studio for members, exhibition galleries, etching room, billiard room, grill, library, lounge and reception rooms, also with private individual studios. There is no limit to improvement possibilities, and many improvements are contemplated for the near future. With such remarkable facilities, and with such an amount of room for either work or play , the Palette and Chisel Club has found a fitting and ideal setting for its unique organization, and Chicago may be congratulated on having at last a real and fully equipped artists club that will compare very favorably with any club of its kind either here or in Europe.

The locality in which the Club’s new home is situated is destined to be the art center of Chicago. We are surrounded by studios, and new buildings to accommodate artists are not only contemplated but are ready for erection.

The Tree Studios were built 1912-1913

Indeed, our neighborhood is fast becoming “The Greenwich Village of the West”.
Our ideal is to make our Club house form an ideal meeting place for the artist fraternity and their friends, in which may be found all the conveniences and freedom of a modern city club, the surroundings and environment having a flavor and charm entirely in keeping with the personal inclination of its members. The membership is divided into the following classes: artist members, fellowship members, non-resident, honorary, and also life members, and the membership fee is $100.00 for which arrangements may be made to pay the sum in installments if desired.

Note the inclusion of the "Life Members" -- i.e. art patrons from Chicago's social elite. I wonder when that category disappeared -- and note also the substantial initiation fee -- just like they now have at country clubs. I wonder when that disappeared as well.

The annual dues of Resident Members are $36.00, and of Non-Resident Members $15.00. The fee for Life Membership is $750.00. The Club has always been famous for its social functions, and in addition, and in addition to these there is a regular program of lectures and interesting talks on appropriate subjects pertaining to our interests and ideals.

Annual exhibitions are given of such subjects as Painting and Sculpture, Graphic Arts, and Applied Arts; there is also an annual sketch exhibition and auction and special exhibitions for individual members. At the Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture a gold medal is awarded to the best exhibit; this is decided by a ballot among the entire membership and is a feature that is very interesting to it. Another popular feature of the Club and one that is extensively patronized is the Summer Camp at Fox Lake. This is the property of the club, occupying a site adjacent to the lake, and has a commodious clubhouse accommodating 75 persons.

While this is primarily a place for outdoor painting being placed in the midst of a perfect paradise of beauty, it is also an ideal place for the recreationist and many of our members take advantage of its availability for that purpose during the season.

The Palette and Chisel considers that its many and varied advantages form inducements that very few art clubs can offer prospective members. It therefore invites you to visit them, feeling sure that facts will be sufficiently convincing to induce you to ask for an application for membership and the you will become a member of this famous organization. If interested, please send a postal card to the club, and we will be pleased to give it prompt response. A.E.H.

Now, the newsletter proceeds with some humor -- presumably to show the character of fellowship to found here

Scrambled eggs in the grill room. Put one egg on the table, and watch the artist boarders scramble to see who gets it.

Where does the honeymoon end ? Oh, just like any other moon, after it reaches the last quarter (two bits)

It takes nerve and bravery for a girl to wear silk hose when she knows she’s bow legged.

“Search Me”

Where are the models of yesteryear ?
I’m sure we don’t know and we really don’t “keer”
Some have left the great city, some may be on the blink,
Or possibly pickled with beer or red ink
Some may be single and some may be wed,
While some who were live ones may really be dead.
Bertha is probably washing her kids,
While Mabel’s a milliner making swell lids.
Katie has lost all her trimness of old,
And is fat as a porpoise, at least so we’re told.
Dot and her sister are both getting gray,
And a good many others are far from O.K.
You see they got older and lost all their grace
And a young crowd of models have taken their place,
The taste is for “chicken” : It’s bound to occur,
Don’t ask where the models are who passed yesteryear.

Boys will be boys - and note there's no mention of the various performing arts with which so many of our current models are associated.

Calendar of events for May

A continuous performance

Sunday: Weborg has engaged a new model for the Sunday class which is again gaining in popularity. You can put in a day of real work along with a lot of great fellowship by being on hand. The class starts at 10:30 and runs until 3:30 with the grill service at noon.

Monday: The sketch class is trying out some new ideas in the hopes of inducing life into what might easily be a regular, old uninteresting thing. Sketching from a moving model and short duration poses have done wonders in adding action and spirit to the members’ drawing.

Tuesday: The regular work nights will continue, save the last Tuesday when we celebrate Memorial Day. The grill is open as usual, and the chess players will be as busy as ever getting in trim for the tournament next year.

Wednesday: We are planning a free-for-all, catch-as-catch-can Checker Tournment. You will receive notice of this later.

Thursday: See the Tuesday night schedule for this evening. Regular monthly meetings on the first Thursday of the month.

Friday: The Educational Committee under Hake and Keane have planned two evenings for the members. May 5th will be the lecture and discussion, May 19th will be the monthly smoker. News later.

Saturday: Plans are being made for a card party for the ladies and members on Saturday the 13th: bulletin later.
On May 25th will come the Spring Festival with plenty of good music for dancing. Loads of refreshments for the starving artists and entertainment. Special bulletin later.

The speedy program of events being one thing after another gives the club the appearance as of a three ring circus. This is well, and in line with the principle of “Something doing all the time”. The “April Fool” dance was a huge success, principally patronized by flappers, or rather, the younger set who danced their heads off to the accompaniment of an excellent orchestra. Brother Flannery is a hard worker and deserves great credit for the entertainment efforts.

Note again: no classes or special workshops -- the principal topic of a 2007 P&C newsletter -- are mentioned

Chicago Society Prizes

At the recent exhibition of the Chicago Society of Artists, four of the prizes went to men with Palette and Chisel Club affiliations. E. Martin Henning captured the
Fine Arts Building Prize of $500 as well as the Clyde M Carr prize of $100 for his “Beneath the Clouded Skies” while the Austin Women’s Club prize went to J.Jeffrey Grant for his “Sea Gulls’ Rock”, one of the most striking marines in the show. Albin Polasek received the Logan Prize of $500 for his “Man Chiseling his Own Destiny”

Polasek followed Club founder, Charles Mulligan, as chairman of the sculpture department at the Art Institute. His "Sower" having spent almost a century in the basement of the Art Institute, is now on display at the Chicago Botanical Garden - while his monument to Frederick Stock is right across Michigan Avenue from Orchestra Hall.

And whatever happened to all these cash prizes for the visual arts ? We still have them for classical music -- but at some point in the dreary 20th C., cultural organizations ceased to sponsor them for painting and sculpture.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

George Fischer

Former P&C President, Joe Vangsness
has alerted us to one more artist at
Artopia's 'Art Chicago'
who used to be a member of the Palette and Chisel:

George Fischer

who was being shown by J. Cacciola Gallery

(both of the above paintings were included in the exhibit,
and the one at the top was on the cover of
the Fall 2006 edition of
American Art Collector Magazine