Sunday, November 18, 2007

Jurying the Annual Exhibition of American Painting and Sculpture

Eugene Savage

Concerning the Palette and Chisel,
Art historian, Wendy Greenhouse,
has noted that

"beginning in 1917 it counted members on the jury of the prestigious
American annual exhibition at the Art Institute"

The catalogs for those exhibits are now online ,
and the following P&C members served on those juries
for the following years:

1917: Harry Engle
1918: Albin Polasek, Emory Seidel, Adam Albright, J. Jeffrey Grant
1919: Arvid Nyholm, Rudolph Ingerle
1920: Grant,Alfred Juergens, Carl Krafft, Lawrence Mazzanovich
1921: Polasek , Seidel
1922: Krafft, Polasek
1923: J. Jeffrey Grant
1924: Wilson Irvine, Oskar Gross, Polasek
1925: Eugene Savage, Arthur Rider
1926: Krafft
1927: Ingerle, Seidel

And that was it for the Palette and Chisel.

In 1930, the museum began to assemble separate juries in Chicago and New York.
The Chicago juries comprising one or two Chicago artists, plus distinguished artists from around the country, as well as museum trustees.

In 1933, the jury began to include directors of other, Midwestern museums.

In 1939, the museum held a 50-year retrospective called "A Half-Century of American art" -- with museum staff selecting items that had previously been in the Annual exhibits. The catalog included a long essay by Director, Daniel Catton Rich, which concluded with the prophetic words:
"When Chicago stages its "Century of American Art" in 1988, what a different story it will tell".

In 1940- Chicago and New York juries for painting were combined -- and it was two east coast painters.

After 1942: There were no more juries -- and museum professional staff did all the selecting.

In the 1960's, the show became biennial -- and moving into the 1980's, it began to skip 4 years at a time.

In 1986, James wood, the recently retired director of the A.I.C., wrote the introduction to the catalog.

He made mention of poor Ms. Logan, who had donated an award in her name, only to live to see it given to art she couldn't stand. (she wrote the famous diatribe: "Sanity in Art")

Wood concluded his introduction with these words:

"As the century ends, the American exhibition
remains as vital and contributive as ever"

And the American exhibit was never held again.

Highlights of the Fall Clearance Sale

The tradition continues.....

"In the market-oriented climate of the prosperous 1920's, efforts were renewed to harness the growing and increasingly middle-class art public for the benefit of Chicago artists. The Palette and Chisel, for example, inaugurated its small picture exhibitions and bidding sales to stimulate purchases by less wealthy patrons"

... Wendy Greenhouse, Chicago Painting 1895-1945

Val Yachik

Nancy Albrecht

C. M. Kilgore

John Nasco

Diane Rath

Stephen Giannini

(note: the 11/17/2007
Fall Clearance Sale
items selling for
under $300.
The above were seen
at about 3:00 pm,
but other paintings
may have been hanging in their place
before and after that time)

Brimstone Drawing Club

The Brimstone Drawing Club

in the third floor studio
of the Palette & Chisel
Nov 17th, 2007

and a good time

was had by all.

(above drawings by Lenin Del Sol and Chris Miller)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Harry Leon Engle

Harry L. Engle (1870-1968)

Thisoldpalette would like to thank Alice E. Seaborne, the artist's daughter, for providing us with so much information about her father.

His career really exemplified the civic mindedness of artists -- and the art mindedness of civic leaders -- in the early decades of the 20th Century in Chicago.

*Born in Richmond, Indiana in 1870, he came to Chicago in 1889, and stayed there until joining his daughter in Appleton, Wisconsin, at the end of his life.

*Became an engrosser of the official "Certifications of Visitation" at the Columbian Exposition in 1893.

*attended the Art Institute of Chicago for 4 years

* Appointed by Mayor Carter H. Harrison as Secretary for the Commission for the Encouragement of Local Art. which selected and bought work by prominent Chicago artists for the public schools. (note: this commission consisted of 7 members: 3 chosen by the Art Institute, one by the Municipal Art League, one by the Friends of American Art, one by the Palette and Chisel, and one by the mayor himself)

* served on the Chicago Park Commission for establishing Art Institute Branches in park buildings.

*President of the Palette and Chisel in 1908 and 1909.

* won the gold medal in an Art Institute exhibition

* Became the director of the Chicago Galleries Ass'n when it was founded by the Municipal Art League in 1928. He ran it until his retirement in 1957 at the age of 87. (at which time it folded)

The Chicago Galleries Ass'n, founded by the Municipal Art League of Chicago, opened in 1928 and closed upon the retirement of Harry L. Engle, its director. It was a non-profit, semi-civic institution with 150 governing members (lay) and 150 artist associates.The galleries distributed $22,000 annually among the artists in awards and prizes up until 1932.

Two member artists' show were held each year, where prizes and awards were granted. They were located on N. Michigan Ave. and moved to three different addresses: 220 N. Michigan, 215 N Michigan, and the finally 30 N. Michigan.

Art historian, Wendy Greenhouse, records that the CGA functioned as a dealer, taking a 25% commission on works that were sold - and was the adopted home of the conservative Association of Chicago Painters and Sculptors, which included Laredo Taft, as well as P&C members Albright, Ingerle, J. Jeffrey Grant -- i.e. the CGA offered a venue for the more conservative artists who were now being ignored by the Art Institute shows.

*He did not teach anywhere, nor is he known to have had any private students.

*Regarding permanent collections:a letter from William Preston Harrison, son of Mayor Carter Harrison III and brother of Mayor Carter Harrison IV, Chicago. dated April, 1920, states that he had given an oil painting by Engle, titled "Laurel Blossoms", to the Long Beach Library in Long beach, Ca.

He was also commissioned to do murals behind the judge's desk at Cook County Juvenile Court -- depicting boys fishing with cane poles in a pond.

(BTW -- Engle was also an active contributor to the CowBell -- and his remarks concerning the 1915 "Abstract Show" at the Palette and Chisel can be found here

The Dam (on Fox River ?)

Wood Nymph

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Exhibit: Nancie King Mertz

Mexican Fiesta

Autumn In The Sculpture Studio

Pascal Cruq
on display
at S.O.F.A. Chicago 2007

Pascal Cruq at S.O.F.A.

Misha Livshulz
with the Summer's work
fresh from the kiln

A quick-study
work in progress

Tor Muehl working a new medium

The model and her portrait

The final installation

Sculpture is difficult,
it's not brain surgery.
(Phyllis Brodny at work)

Jerry Warshaw 1928-2007

One of the P&C's most colorful recent members died last week, and local columnist, Mark Brown, has written a wonderful reminiscence in the Chicago SunTimes that can be found here

In the late nineties, Jerry spent several years with us doing sculpture back in the coach house -- which gave him a perfect platform for him to carry on about his various enthusiasms in life.

He was a great comedian -- and I'm afraid that one time we pulled a joke on him.

When he stepped out of the studio for a few minutes, we changed the model's pose -- from lying on her right side to lying on her left. He soon came back to the studio -- and took a long, puzzled look at his sculpture -- finally interrupted by our laughter.

He was mostly a graphic artist -- but he also did a cartoon-sculpture project once upon a time -- and he gave us a full rundown of the early days of Playboy Magazine (why was Hef such a genius? Because "he knew to get the right people and then left them alone to do what they did best"

We got the stories of Jerry in the army (he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War) and the stories of Jerry with his first sports car rallies back in the fifties. His more recent stories concerned the barrage of cartoons he drew for the Evanston weekly in its relentless crusade against Northwestern University -- and, of course, we were always entertained by his encyclopedic knowledge of Civil War History - especially Abraham Lincoln.

Jerry worked as a cartoonist his entire life -- but that didn't leave him with any kind of a pension -- or any kind of property -- so his final years took a lot hustle to scrape by.

But Jerry seemed unfazed by it all -- and he refused to consider himself a senior citizen.

"A man is as young as he feels" , he always said -- and he always felt like a kid -- and he was still taking his regular swims in Lake Michigan.

But still -- it was getting more and more difficult for him to make it down to the Academy from Evanston -- or even to afford to keep up with the dues. A few years back, he won a year's scholarship for members who qualify. After that, we just didn't see so much of him any more.

For those who have a further interest in his legacy -- like many other P&C members -- he has added an item to the P&C bibiliography: "The Funny Drawing Book" -- a kind of how-to book for fledging cartoonists.

Demonstration portrait
of Jerry Warshaw
painted by visiting artist,
Greg Kreutz.