Modern Art USA: Men, Rebellion, Conquest, 1900-1956

By Rudi Blesh | Go to book overview

6. Independents' Day

Within a year after the Armory Show a number of galleries in New York, some of them new, were handling modern art and, despite the war in Europe, were getting pictures in. Attendance and sales at the Show had encouraged private enterprise; removal of the art tariff had made it practicable. Soon the list was long: Knoedler, Macbeth, and Montross, the Modern Gallery, de Zayas, Bourgeois, and Daniel, as well as others, were supplying the new collectors, large and small.

By 1915, Matisse was being given a one-man show at the Montross Gallery; cubist, futurist, and expressionist work was coming in, as were the new collage paintings of Picasso and Braque, with their trade labels and scraps of newspaper pasted on the canvas in serious experimental design, intellectual art that disclaimed the ivory tower, claimed kinship with the man on the street and his real yet changing world.

In all of this the American modernist had little part. Nearly all of the expatriates were now back home, forced by war to leave Paris, but eager, anyway, to carry on here. The emphasis unfortunately, but perhaps inevitably, imposed by the Armory Show persisted. Dealers made slight effort to propagandize and, if necessary, subsidize the domestic product when the imported sold more easily and at higher prices. Stieglitz, commendably, concentrated more and more on Americans of talent, supporting several by drawing accounts with no due date. But his resources were limited and, while an admirable propagandist, he was not the most effective of salesmen. Even in propaganda he thought in terms of the small intellectual circle that is often long on enthusiasm and short on buying-power. It was a time for idealism sharpened by realism. It is the fashion today to malign the dealers--

-68-

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Modern Art USA: Men, Rebellion, Conquest, 1900-1956
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • 1. the World Stirs in Its Sleep 3
  • 2. Home Life on the Other Side of the Moon 9
  • 3. Plot in an Attic 23
  • 4. Rebellion in an Amory 41
  • 5. Aftermath 57
  • 6. Independents' Day 68
  • 7. Dada and Despair 85
  • 8. Modern Art's First Museum 103
  • 9. Art in a Skyscraper 114
  • 10. the Artist is the Man Next Door 131
  • Ii. Passage to Permanence 145
  • 12. Termite, Time Capsule, and Pedestal 162
  • 13. Isms and Wasms 185
  • 15. Go West, Young Art, Go West 222
  • 16. Arriving 241
  • 17. Presences 262
  • 18. the Present 282
  • Index i
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