Oakland Tribune, Oakland, CA, “Artists and their work : Exhibitions—where, when and by whom” by Laura Bride Powers, Sunday, August 13, 1922, page 47, not illustrated
ECA Record Control Number: 20813
Record Level: Reference
Record Type: Newspaper
Article Type: Name Mention
Key Title: Artists and their work
Sub Title: Exhibitions—where, when and by whom
Author: Laura Bride Powers
Publisher: Oakland Tribune
Publish Location: Oakland, CA
Date of Publication: Sunday, August 13, 1922
Page: 47, not illustrated
Source: Newspapers.com paid subscription
Description: 1 newspaper clipping
Carlsen, Emil, 1848-1932.
Number of copies: 1
…”Said a Russian gentleman traveling in America, by way of explaining the national indifference in America to her own arts, even among the wealthy classes, “In Europe the governments foster their arts as a national obligation. The older nations know that the poor need the arts to soften and glorify their lowly existence; and that the rich need them just as much to sweeten their overfull lives. And the development of young artists is looked upon as a national obligation.”
In Russia the late czar caused to be maintained three theaters in Petrograd and in Moscow, representative of the drama, opera and ballet. And every young aspirant to music, for instance, was permitted to appear before an examining board of artists of high repute and contest for a right to appear.
Then the current artists, to make way for the younger group coming on, were pensioned off, after six years’ service, at half pay, with the privilege of appearing elsewhere in their native land—or out of it, if they chose. And it is of record that many chose America.
And those six national theaters, among the finest in Europe, in point of acoustics and esthetic qualities, have sent out thousands of contributors to the esthetic wealth of the world.
Moreover, if a student in any of the arts showed talent, he could, if he would, secure from the government not only his tuition in a school of repute, but his maintemance as well.
And this is true of “benighted” Russia!
There is little to say in extenuason of the American attitude toward her own arts, except to admit that she has not yet discovered that she has arts of her own that are worth owning.
Hundreds of good Americans return from Europe every season laden down with a lot of “art” manufactured in France or Italy solely for American consumption. To be sure, trained buyers return with some good things, but as Italy, France and England have shut down upon the denuding of their countries of their treasures, most of the things brought over are little more than junk.
An auction recently held in San Francisco brought to light this fact, where a collection was offered for sale that had earned a high reputation. The owner had bought these “beautiful things in Europe” during her various trips abroad, and per se they must be fine—”Don’t they bear the hallmarks of Europe?”
Apropos of the auction, a lot of pictures, neither good nor bad, but just paint and canvas, plus elbow-grease and patience, brought good prices. O, yes. The frames. I forgot the frames. They were “elegant.” In fact, the buyer at my right whispered that the frame was really what she wanted for a dark corner. “So bright and heavy, you know.”
But by the same token, a really fine canvas—a still life by Emil Carlsen, the San Franciscan who went to New York fifteen years ago and made good, as they all do—sold for $125. In New York it would have brought $1000. But Carlsen was once a local man. We know him, and that is enough to damn him.
But why wail?
There is a growing feeling among a large group of men and women of culture in New York, Boston and San Francisco who believe that they can discern an awakening of interest in the arts in the vicinity of their burgs, particularly in the purely creative, or the fine arts.
And the suspected awakening is reflected in the higher/aims of applied arts, that since the war have made marvelous progress.
But here arises a singular circumstance.
A few days ago the writer had occasion to investigate some chintzes. “Here are some English handblocked ones,” said the salesman. “They are genuine imported chintzes.”
“How about the American made product? Don’t you carry the high grade American thing?”
“Yes, indeed, madam; but you know most women wanting something nice, won’t even look at the American goods. And they’re just as nice, madam, and just as well designed.”
“Then out with them.”
And by all the standards by which such things are judged, the American designs, as well as the textures, were as good as and in some instances, more attractive than the English product. Because, forsooth, the American best expresses the American spirit.
When will women come to a place where theur patriotism will take the form of demanding the American product that will enable American artists to live, and to live in America?”
WORKS BY EMIL CARLSEN
Digital-born Document Number:
Digital Document Provenance:
Original compiled and researched document by the Emil Carlsen Archives, 266 West 21st Street, Suite 4E, New York, NY 10011.
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The author of this artwork died more than 70 years ago. According to U.S. Copyright Law, copyright expires 70 years after the author’s death. In other countries, legislation may differ.
Record Birth Date:
April 17, 2017
April 17, 2017