Monday, July 14, 2008

My Friend Ingerle

I just came across this image
from the
Art Institute's
25th Annual Artists of Chicago Show
(of February, 1921)

The artist depicted is Rudolph Ingerle,
and the artist depicting him is Karl Krafft.

(both of them were P&C members)

Wasn't this
a rather modern style of portraiture
for that time?

an outspoken (though anonymous)
critic of Chicago painting
published an exhaustive critique
of all the paintings in the 1921 exhibit.

And here's what he had to say
about this one:

"An anemic inanity.
No drawing -

color chosen without a thought or reason,
no more than accidental composition
(which here happened to be entirely damaging)
and a technique which could not be less effective.

He calls it "my friend",
but his failure to display
any trace of sympathy or feeling
would lead one to suspect
the depth of his friendship.

Complete lack of art,
added to its total technical ineptitude,
characterize this as the choicest example
of misdirected effort
in the exhibition"


I wonder how he really felt.

I can only report --
that the first feeling I got from this painting
was a deep love for the subject
(perhaps from the great arc of the palette
that seems to emerge from the subject's heart -
and from the direct, open way
the subject is staring back at the viewer)

And the second feeling I got --
was how geometric - how triangular
this design was.
An accidental composition?
No way.

All of the P&C painters in that show
got trashed pretty bad.
(while, ironically, the archives of the P&C
may be the only place in the world
where this mimeographed critique
still exists)

((note: his entire critique will be published at a later date.))

Archibald Motley Jr.
seems to have been the only painter
who pleased him without reservations,
and Motley may also be the only painter from that 1921 exhibit
to be given a museum retrospective in my lifetime.
(at the Chicago Historical Museum about 10 years ago)


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