Kenneth Stubbs
(American artist, 1907-1967)

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Little Gallery to Be Home for Modern Art
Five Washington Painters Display Works Which Compel Attention

All artists hunger for sympathy.

Of course, some do not paint primarily for public applause; but the lack of applause, of appreciation, or even of attention, has embittered the lives of many sincere painters.

To bring their work to the attention of the public, a group of young Washington artists have organized an exhibit which they modestly call "The Little Gallery."

The Little Gallery, located at 1731 Connecticut Ave, has no commercial purpose. Its sponsors are five young Washington painters, Ita Romagna, Charles Darby, Kenneth Stubbs, Hugh Collins and Fritz Fuglister.

Modern Show

These young artists present us with an aggressively modern exhibit that compels attention. Some of the pictures herein should delight a modern collector: because the less intelligible a painting is, it seems, the more loudly it is acclaimed by modernist exponents. There are collectors who have spent fortunes in gathering together hopelessly unintelligible canvases -- that is, of course, unintelligible to those of us who cling to the belief that a picture should be somewhat related to optical or objective truth.

However that may be, the two large nudes by Fritz Fuglister will dizzy the eyes of those unaccustomed to side-show contortionists. A giant fist occupies the foreground with a man behind it whose face is convulsed beyond recognition. The other canvas is of a woman whose proportions would strike terror into the heart of a Hercules.


Much more restful, if not entirely harmless, are the paintings of Kenneth Stubbs, who is undoubtedly the most conservative and technically proficient of the group. His two canvases, "Silver Day" and "Still Waters" evidence thoughtful planning, subtle color harmony and a strong feeling for rhythm.

From across the room, one might think that the "Painting in Ochre" by Ita Romagna, is a Japanese print. A closer view, however, reveals a woman with head piously posed like a primitive madonna, but nude and with legs drawn in the academically approved manner.

Charles Darby, who is more consistent, exhibits two excellently painted canvases. One is a nude, which is conservative insofar that it is neither ugly nor obviously naked. The other canvas is a vigorous, colorful representative of what he calls "Wheat Fields."

On the whole, this exhibit, resulting from the combined effort of a group of talented young Washington artists, is an influential step in the development of local art.

Felix Schwarz, Washington Daily News, March 7, 1931, page 9


Work of D.C. Painter

One of the most talented contributors to the "Little Gallery," exhibition room for some of Washington's younger modern painters, is Kenneth Stubbs, whose picture, "Silver Day," reproduced above, has brought admiration from visitors to the gallery. Stubbs has another fine picture in the exhibition at 1731 Connecticut Ave.

Washington Daily News, March 28, 1931, page 11


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Little Gallery Opens Notable New Exhibit
Seven Young D.C. Artists Show Paintings of Vital Importance

That a vital art is being produced here in Washington is made apparent by the new exhibit opened by the Little Gallery, now located at 1725 19th St., N.W.

Every age has its brotherhood of young artists who are determined to leave an indelible impression. The Washington group consists of Ita Romagna, Katherine Monroe, Kenneth Stubbs, Charles Darby, Hugh Collins, Fritz Fuglister and Aurelius Battaglia. Throughout history a vivid record of human experience and fancy has been preserved in pictorial form. The distinguished attribute of this Washington group of exhibitors is the spirit of rebellion; which, aside from all the fads and impossible painters benefiting therefrom, has brought about great progress in art.

Far more impressive than its first venture are the new paintings displayed by the Little Gallery.

An Artist Sits

The first painting that confronts one is an unmistakable likeness of Betty Lane. In painting this picture, Fritz Fuglister gave this young lady a pair of hands that would be of service to a professional wrestler. It seems that all people painted by Fuglister end up by acquiring huge, cumbersome, gnarled extremeties. Probably to save the faces of his sitters, he does not mention their names in the catalog.

Ita Romagna exhibits a tempera design executed in two or three spots of startling red and green. Without recognizable form and without a title, everything is left to the imagination of the beholder.

A visitor suggested that Hugh Collins had crawled under a bed in order to have gotten the unusual view presented in his still life painting. His answer to this suggestion was an enigmatic smile. However, Collins does present us with something familiar in a water color titled "7th Street," which gives us a composite view of that well known Washington thorofare. Collins' versatility is further illustrated by his pen drawings and wood carvings, which are commendable for their originality.

Aurelius Battaglia, who recently was accorded local prominence thru having an exhibit of his ejected from the Corcoran Gallery, is represented by some new caricatures.

Two Stand Out

From a technical point of view, the two most conscientious painters of the group are Katherine Monroe and Kenneth Stubbs. The former, a new member of this group, exhibits a still life, brilliant both in composition and in its powerful rendering of form.

Stubbs has here one of the best portraits ever exhibited in Washington. The title given is "Elva." He does betray, however, a weak moment of ultra-modern leaning in the canvas which he lamely calls "Decoration." There are several nude figures depicted swaying toward a source of golden illumination; they might be sun-worshipers or adagio dancers. But Stubbs says he does not know what they are. Modernism does not take cognizance of specific ideas.

This new exhibit at the Little Gallery will be formally opened tomorrow, and will close May 31.

Felix Schwarz, Washington Daily News, May 16, 1931, page 11