100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

November 17, 1957 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

- " , . .. ,Jurluuy, aovemoer I I, ";:)
... items of reality remain without

(Continued from Page 11)
months-a huge Chimera-like
beast, its head wreathed in
flames, its body arched across
the figures of four recumbent
children. These latter were
dressed in very commonplace
clothes, perhaps not entirely
contemporary, but rather as I
could draw them from my own
memory."
A NEW YORK rewspaper critic,
Henry McBride, Shahn says,
"launched into a strange and an-
gry analysis of the work, attribut-
ing to it political motives, suggest-
ing some symbolism of Red Mos-
cow, drawing parallels which I
cannot recall accurately, but only
their tone of violence, completing
his essay by recommending that I,
along with the Red Dean of Can-
terbury, be deported." With re-
markable detachment, Shahn pro-
ceeds to recount the genesis of
the symbolic beast he had painted,
tracing its origin to a commiscion
fox illustrations for an acccunt of
the "Hicknman stoy:"
The immediate source of the
EUROPEAN
HOLIDAY
Sail from Montreal
aboard Empress ship
July 1 and return
September 5
67 days ,,. $1295
Visit Scotland, Holland,
Belgium (World's Fair),
Italy, Germany, Switzerland,
France and England.
Small congenial group
personally directed
throughout.
SPACE AVAILABLE
For reservations and
Itinerary Canl
Boersma Travel Service
14 Nickels Arcade
Normandy 3-8597

painting of the red beast was a Of all the symbols which I signment did not end the matter
Chicago fire in which a colored had begun or sought to develop, for Shahn: "The narrative of the
man had lost his four children. I retained only one in my illus- fire had aroused .n me a chain of
John Barlow Martin had writ- tration - a highly formalized personal memories. There were
ten a concise reportorial ac- wreath of flames with which I two great fires in my own child-
count of the event-one of those crowned the plain shape of the hood, one only colorful, the other
stories which, told in detail, house which had burned. disastrous and unforgettable."
without any emotionalism be- But the completion of the as- Shahn continued to ponder and
ing present in the writing itself,
manages to produce a far great-myx
er emotional impact than would
a highly colored account.
SHARN tells how he began work;
he examined photographs of the
fire, he spoke with the writer, he
drew sketches and discarded them;
he pondered and drew more
sketches.z
"Cello With Chairs" (above), a -
drawing of stark simplicity, was
made in 1951 and is now in a
private collection. The tempera-
painting titled "Hunger" became x
the CIO poster (right) entitled
"We Want Peace - Register -
Vote" by the simple addition of
lettering, The tempera original is
owned by the U. S. Departmentf
of State. The poster was in the
University Museum of Art's
show in the Architecture build-
ing.

to draw, seeking shape for the
"inner figure of primitive terrord
in his mind and on canvas.
After long months of makin
and rejecting, Shahn painted "Al-
legory," reproduced as frontis-
piece to The Shape of Content:
When I at last turned the
lion-like beast into a painting,
I felt able to imbue it with ev-
erything that I had ever felt
about a fire. I incorporated the
highly formalized flames from
the Hickman story as a terrible
wreath about its head, and un-
der its body I placed the foser
child figures which, to me, hold a
the sense of all the helpless and
innocent.
THE LECTURE would be re- -
markable were it only the de-
tached account of what someoiw
decided to find in his painting as
opposed to what was true, but
Shahn does not stop there. The
fundamental artistic issue that
the newspaper critic led Shahn to
raise and attempt to answer is
precisely that of creation and cri-
ticism, not a new issue by any
means, but one that every artist
must face eventually. Shahn says:
An artist at work upon a
painting must be two people,
not one. He must function and
act as two people all the time
and in several ways. On the
one hand, the artist is the imag-
iner and the prducer. But he
is also the critic, and here is a
critic of such inexorable stan-
dards as to have made McBride
seem liberal even in his most 11-
liberal moment . . . the artist
plus the inner critic-you might
just say, the informed creator-
is present in the most fragmen-
tary piece which an artist pro-
duces . . . (Painting) is not
a spoken idea alone, nor a leg-
end, nor a simple use or inten-
tion that forms what I have
called the biography of a paint-
ing. It is rather the wholeness of
thinking and feeling within an
individual; it is partly his time
and place; it is partly his child-
hood or even his adult fears and
pleasures, and it is very greatly
his thinking what he wants to
think.
READING THIS superb essay,
one becomes aware of how
much criticism, whether on litera-
ture or art or music, is published
that contains little or nothing of
personality, and it is just that ele-
ment, with its pride and humility,
as artist in the former and critic
in the latter, that Shahn so mar-
velously demonstrates. It is not
only what he says but the "self"
he gets into the saying that makes
this a distinguished book, where
another, even in the same lecture
series by T. S. Eliot or Sir Her-
bert Read or Aaron Copland, is
but an academic exercise prelimi-
nary to picking up the honorar-
ium.
There is still to mention Shah's
wit and the pith he packs into
epigrammatic sentences w h ilh
shine bright throughout The Shape
of Content:
It may be a point of great
pride to have a Van Gogh on the -
living room wall, but the pros-
pect of having Van Gogh him-
self in the living room would put
a good many devoted art lovers
to rout.
Tomorrow's art, if it is to be
at all stirring, will no doubt be
performed upon toay's forbid-
den territory.
On a sail in a painting of a
regatta a city councilman pro-
fessed to have discovered a
Communist symbol, and he

sought to close the exhibition of
which the painting was a part.
(The symbol turned out - to be
that of a Los Angeles yachting
club.)
'THE SHA'E 'of Content" is not'
only a very goodI book, it is a
book that any thoughtful person
will be thankful for having read
just now. It is not often that a
(continued on Next Page)

ALL-NEW W1W BY
STROM BE RG-CARLSON
Here's the first portable phonograph that automatically shut off after last rec
really deserves the name High Fidelity!
Check these features and you'il know "TWIN LINK"-Simple connection
why: vided for an external speaker. Su
"OUND-.RAMIC"-Exclusively ours in speakers are 8" land 3120 in spe
the 8-watt amplieer. 7 es trae tareat cross-over network.
low lme. Peak "per 10.7 watts; re- 'CHANGE-O-MATIC"-De luxe model
sponse: 4i,0cps' external push button for starting, re
"SLUMBER-GUARD"-Changer and power ing and playing without lfting lid.
COME IN,....OR ASK FOR A , r
FREE HOME DEMONSTRATION ., . only 1L7
"'There is nothing finer than a Stromberg-Carlson"
the Muoc Ceite,'
PHONE NO 2-2500
300 SOUTH THAYER - Just West of Hill Auditorium

cord.
pro-
ilt-in
eclat
has
eject'

.

PRECISION
QUALITY
Olympia
PRECISION TYPEWRITERS
Beautiful Styling
OUR GUARANTEE
ONE YEAR
THE OLYMPIA SM 3 PORTABLE TYPEWRITER OFFERS YOU MORE
6 Tabulator stops - new improved margin stop - Automatic
paper feed - Automatic spring release paper support - Glarefree
spring action keys - New touch adjuster - Standard machine
line space lever -
ELECTRIC TYPEWRITERS FOR RENT
MORRIL L'S
314 South State Since 1908 Ph. NO 3-2481

Back to Top

© 2021 Regents of the University of Michigan