Kenneth Stubbs
(American artist, 1907-1967)

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Kenneth Stubbs Exhibits Lithographs and Water Colors at Corcoran Galleries

The exhibition of water colors and lithographic drawing by Kenneth Stubbs now on view at the Corcoran Art Gallery leaves, I fear, a pretty pallid impression. But it also demonstrates how unkind architecture can be towards art, and how badly we need unpretentious galleries in which the works displayed have a more than sporting chance to be seen to advantage.

For while Mr. Stubbs' work is not exciting, it is serious, sensitive and conscientious. Placed behind glass cases in a groundfloor gallery of the Corcoran where the ceilings are a mile high, the delicate lines of the drawings and the scarcely less delicate tints in the water colors are all but lost to view.

Obviously there was no intent to slight the artist. Quite the contrary. A one-man show in the gallery is a distinction not bestowed on many; Kenneth Stubbs is an instructor at the Corcoran Art School and highly regarded throughout the institution. His is a type of disciplined and informed work that has many admirers, and in it one can detect qualities which should make him an effective teacher.

The exhibition consists of landscape drawings and water colors, many of them are scenes of Provincetown, that long-established haven for artists. Included also are still-lifes, whose uninspired treatment suggests more the triumph over some studio problem than concern for the intrinsic character of the objects portrayed. The drawings, however, have a sensitive line, and the water colors a cool gaiety and a precision that gives them a charming character. In the latter Mr. Stubbs uses a dry brush, leaves much of the paper untouched and applies neat patches of color in geometric patterns that give his work an abstract quality. Technically, the exhibition may have much to offer. But I, for one, wait for future exhibitions by the artist, in the hope that what he has to say will eventually take precedence over his means of saying it.

Kenneth Stubbs was born in Georgia in 1907. He came to Washington in 1919, first studied at the Corcoran School of Art from 1927 to 1930 and later, in 1935, became instructor in drawing and painting, a post which he continues to hold, teaching antique and life classes. In his student days he won two first prizes. During his first year of study at the Corcoran he was employed by the Geological Survey (so was Whistler once); he has also worked at odd times in sign shops and on theater posters, and for two years with an advertising agency. Among his other achievements is the execution of a mural 12 by 304 feet dealing with the history of the United States Army, and another, of more usual dimensions, for the Barber School, Highland Park, Mich.

Jane Watson, Washington Post, February 4, 1940, page F-6