Kenneth Stubbs
(American artist, 1907-1967)

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Art Group Has Display At Corcoran
D. C. Society's Annual Exhibition Is Exclusively Local in Character

The Society of Washington Artists, founded in 1890, is living proof that the habit of joining is not new, although it has perhaps never before or since reached the pitch of a decade ago, when artists used to turn to each other with the query, "Which meeting is it tonight?"

The annual exhibit of the society, which is on view once again at the Corcoran, is now restricted to artists of the region. This year, with the war and transportation difficulties, it is almost exclusively local in character. It was, however, in the early days a local show, being the precursor in Washington of the Corcoran biennials.

Since that time artists' organizations have increased in strength and numbers throughout the country, spreading particularly to smaller communities where groups of this nature have more chance of cohesion and a more united public support. Despite the growing tendency toward amalgamation, accelerated in the arts, as elsewhere, by the war situation, there is still a place for these smaller societies, even in metropolitan centers. For here individuality can emerge without benefit of a full tide of publicity. And in contradiction to the proverbial lack of community feeling in the Capital, this exhibit has a following which continues regardless of changes within or without.

The display is not by any means representative of Washington artists as a whole, but in an assemblage such as this, representing, at least in part, work done for the sheer pleasure of it, one finds painting and, in lesser degree, sculpture that is equally as characteristic of the United States as its more obvious counterparts which spring overnight to national attention because they are more knowing in their exploitation of local character.

Pride in Progress

Perhaps because the society has been going for a long time and has a reputation for conservatism, it takes particular pride in the more progressive aspects of the current exhibition. However, we believe that one new to the group would be more impressed by the good average of the majority of landscapes, still-lifes, and figure paintings, which make no bid for attention outside of their intrinsic qualities of taste, sincerity and craftsmanship. The word modern is one of the most abused in any language, and true conservatism or progressivism is, after all, primarily a matter of temperament rather than of style or training.

The show this year contains 62 oils and 22 sculptures. It includes the work of members, resident and non-resident. Represented also are a few artists from nearby Maryland and Virginia, some newcomers to Washington, and two who are in military service. From the entries submitted the show was picked by the society's officers and executive committee, the awards made by a jury composed of Everett Warner, chairman; Mme. Carlos Martins and Macgill James.

Among the newcomers is the prize-winner in sculpture--Heinz Warneke, an artist of national reputation, who this season has been commuting to Washington for his classes at the Corcoran Art School. Mr. Warneke has been particularly successful with his animal figures, and the shining "New-Born Deer" exhibited here in brass is no exception. Honorable mention in the sculpture group went to "Rebecca" a straight-forward portrait head by Russell A. Houston of Bethesda.

Less obvious, and doubtless much less easy were the painting choices. A new prize of $100 for portraiture, offered in memory of a former member, Alice Barney, by her daughter, went to Jack Barkman for his informal study, "Solitary Breakfast." The Evening Star prize of $100 was awarded to a still life saved from monotone by a green backdrop, "Autumn," by Esther Lyne, a member now living in Kentucky. Medals were given in the landscape class to Ethel Robertson Gath for "Monday in Main Street," a tersely painted view of backyards filled with immaculate laundry and skyscrapers in the distance; to Pvt. William Whitney of Camp Wheeler, Ga., for a roughly executed "Mandolin--Still Life"; and in figure painting to Mary Jane S. Corr, for "Daryl," a somewhat stilled treatment of a blue-eyed child in a rockingchair. Honorable mentions went to Gladys Milligan for a three-quarter length canvas, "Portrait of Jane"; to Jacob Kainen for "Lonely Corner," a street-corner symphony in blue; to Blanche Stanley for her pleasant but indeterminate "Flowers with Meadow Rue," and to Mimi Du Bois Bolton for an amusing street scene, "Spring comes to Mount Pleasant."

For Comparison

Like a cocktail party, a group show serves mainly as an invitation to closer acquaintance. Often works which at first glance are apt to be overlooked stand up well under subsequent scrutiny. Then, too, an artist, represented as he is here by one entry, may appear in a quite different light in his own studio surrounded by his work. In this collection, paintings noted especially for execution or for the feeling or atmosphere they conveyed, were the following: "Breezy Point," by Frances Foote; "P Street in January," by W. T. Carnelli; "Midsummer Landscape," by Dean Stanbaugh; "Philippine Tienda," by Clare Ferriter; "Chinatown, New York," by Henry Olson; "Chrysanthemums," by Lucile Haynes; "Juke-Scotland, Maryland," by Florence Everhart; "Baltimore Landscape," by Alfred H. McAdams, and "Summer Landscape," by Gustv Trois, the last a particularly sensitive rendering of a familiar rural scene. Portraits noted for their seriousness and integrity were Kenneth Stubbs' "Catherine" and "Marshal Lakey," by Carl Nyquist, the latter marred by an unfortunate background. Very feminine, but almost too pretty, is the beautiful painted "Girl With Yellow Gloves," by Alida Conover, in a color scheme of rose and gold. Among others of interest is a small vertical painting on rough wood in stained glass colors, "Rehearsal," by Mary Power. Exhibited, but not in competition this year, were able works by two former prize winners, Andrea Pietro and Zerega and Helena Hall. With a few exceptions, entries on exhibition are all for sale.

The show continues at the Corcoran until February 14.

[... paragraphs on other exhibitions omitted ...]

Jane Watson, Washington Post, January 31, 1943, page L4