Preferred Citation: Todd, Ellen Wiley. The "New Woman" Revised: Painting and Gender Politics on Fourteenth Street. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1993 1993.


Chapter Two The Artists

1. Alison Lurie, The Truth about Lorin Jones (Boston: Little, Brown, 1988), p. 320.

2. Lurie, The Truth about Lorin Jones , pp. 326-327.

3. John I. H. Baur, Revolution and Tradition in Modern American Art (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1951), pp. viii, 87-90, 8.

4. Milton W. Brown, American Painting from the Armory Show to the Depression (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955; reprint, 1972), pp. 182-186.

5. There has been disagreement about the notion of a school since the early 1950s. On the occasion of the Art Students League retrospective for Miller just after his death (September 23-October 11, 1953), Stuart Klonis, director of the league, claimed Miller was "the only teacher working in America who, in the tradition of the Renaissance, produced a school of painters." This assertion was quickly refuted by the critic Margaret Breuning, who argued that there was no "common tradition of technical expression" among painters like Marsden Hartley, Edward Hopper, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Niles Spencer, or William Palmer—and many others who had been Miller's pupils. Kenneth Hayes Miller: A Memorial Exhibition (New York: Art Students League, 1953), no pagination; and Margaret Breuning, ''Little Touched by a Changing World," review of the 1953 memorial exhibition for Kenneth Hayes Miller at the National Academy, Art Digest 28 (October 1, 1953), pp. 19, 31.

6. I compare Soyer's account of the 1930s from his Self-Revealment: A Memoir (New York: Maecenas Press, Random House, 1969), pp. 70-79, and his essay "An Artist's Experiences in the 1930s," in Patricia Hills, Social Concern and Urban Realism: American Painting of the 1930 s (Boston: Boston University Art Gallery, 1983), pp. 27-30. Soyer also wrote Diary of an Artist (Washington, D.C.: New Republic Books, 1977), Homage to Thomas Eakins , ed. Rebecca L. Soyer (South Brunswick, N.J.: T. Yoseloff, 1966), and A Painter's Pilgrimage (New York: Crown, 1962).

7. Interview with Lloyd Goodrich, December 30, 1982. Though he knew Soyer less well than the other artists, Goodrich felt that he shared with them a conviction that the human figure should be used as a design element—something that abstract art lacked. See also Lloyd Goodrich, Kenneth Hayes Miller (New York: Arts Publishing Corporation, 1930), Raphael Soyer (New York: Abrams, 1972), and Reginald Marsh (New York: Abrams, 1972).

8. Griselda Pollock, "Van Gogh and the Poor Slaves: Images of Rural Labour as Modern Art," Art History 11 (September 1988), p. 409.

9. Noyes's sister married John Miller, Kenneth's grandfather. Noyes's mother, Polly Hayes (Miller's middle name), was President Rutherford Hayes's aunt. Lincoln Rothschild, To Keep Art Alive: The Effort of Kenneth Hayes Miller, American Painter (1876-1952 ) (Philadelphia: Art Alliance Press, 1974), p. 19.

10. John D'Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman, Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (New York: Harper and Row, 1988), p. 112.

11. Louis J. Kern, An Ordered Love: Sex Roles and Sexuality in Victorian Utopias the Shakers, the Mormons, and the Oneida Community (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981), pp. 224-225. D'Emilio and Freedman, on p. 113, define the Oneidan conception of free love. The system of coitus reservatus is to be distinguished from the other traditional method of birth control, coitus interruptus , in which the male ejaculates outside the female to prevent conception; to the Oneidans this method would have meant loss of both semen and self-control.

12. These ideas are summarized in D'Emilio and Freedman, Intimate Matters , p. 120; Kern, An Ordered Love , p. 247; and Rothschild, To Keep Art Alive , pp. 19-21.

13. D'Emilio and Freedman, p. 120; Kern, p. 247; and Rothschild, pp. 19-21.

14. Rothschild, pp. 24-25. Miller's letters indicate some work done for the Century and for McClure's . Initially he taught a course on illustration at the Chase school. Rothschild argues that these early experiences gave Miller his lifelong interest in "the linear technique of etching."

15. Rothschild, To Keep Art Alive , pp. 25-26.

16. Kern, An Ordered Love , pp. 230, 259-260.

17. Kern, p. 270.

18. Ellen Kay Trimberger, "Feminism, Men, and Modern Love: Greenwich Village, 1900-1925," in Powers of Desire: The Politics of Sexuality , ed. Ann Snitow, Christine Start-sell, and Sharon Tompson (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1983), p. 133.

19. Trimberger, p. 134.

20. Trimberger, pp. 134, 149.

21. Specific information on Miller's activities comes from Rothschild, To Keep Art Alive , pp. 35-36. In a letter to his cousin Rhoda Dunn, dated September 8, 1918, Miller professed admiration for Max Eastman's "American Ideals in Poetry," an essay in "the current issue of The New Republic, " Kenneth Hayes Miller Papers, Roll 583, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Paul Rosenfeld, Port of New York: Essays on Fourteen American Moderns (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1924; reprint, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1961), pp. 135-144; for general discussions of the Greenwich Village milieu that help to place Miller's activities and attitudes see also Trimberger, "Feminism, Men, and Modern Love," p. 135; and Arthur Frank Wertheim, The New York Little Renaissance: Iconoclasm, Modernism, and Nationalism in American Culture, 1908-1917 (New York: New York University Press, 1976), pp. 172-173.

22. Letter from Miller to Rhoda Dunn, dated October 19, 1915. In a letter to her dated September 8, 1918, Miller relates that Dr. Frink has had remarkable success with Helen in psychoanalysis: "Besides the benefit to her personality ... she has gained ability and insight for the psychoanalytic technique which with practice she might use to practical—perhaps even professional purpose." Roll 583, Archives of American Art.

23. The artist Minna Citron, a former student of Miller's and a close friend of the artist's daughter, Louise, provided the information on marital dynamics in an interview, December 22, 1982. Evidently Helen's friends encouraged her to take a lover as well.

24. Interview with Minna Citron, December 22, 1982.

25. Raphael Soyer, "The Lesson: The Academy, the League, the Classroom," Arts Magazine 42. (September 1967), p. 35.

26. For a selection of some of these characterizations, see artists' remarks in Kenneth Hayes Miller, A Memorial Exhibition ; Alan Burroughs, "Kenneth Hayes Miller," The Arts 14 (December 1928), pp. 301-306; and Harry Salpeter, "Kenneth Hayes Miller, Intellectual," Esquire , October 1937, pp. 89, 197-203.

27. Notes from Miller to Helen, dated July 28, 1921, and June 26 and October 8, 1923. Letters to Helen Pendleton Miller, Kenneth Hayes Miller Papers, Roll 583, Archives of American Art.

28. Letters from Miller to his mother, dated February 4, 1911; March 1, 1912; and December 20, 1915. Roll 583, Archives of American Art.

29. Letter from Miller to his cousin Rhoda Dunn, October 16, 1917.

30. Letters from Miller to Helen, dated December 31, 1912; July 7, 1925; July 13, 1925; and May 27, 1926; and letters from Miller to his cousin Rhoda Dunn, dated September 21, 1909; February 13, 1915; and September 8, 1918. Kenneth Hayes Miller Papers, Roll 583, Archives of American Art.

31. Harry Salpeter, "Kenneth Hayes Miller: Intellectual," p. 197.

32. For the most comprehensive biographical summary see Marilyn Cohen, "Reginald Marsh: An Interpretation of His Art," Ph.D. diss., New York University, Institute of Fine Arts, 1986; early information on Marsh's grandfather and father also appears in Frederick A. Blossom, "Reginald Marsh as a Painter," Creative Art 12 (April 1933), p. 257.

33. Interview with Lloyd Goodrich, December 3o, 1982. Goodrich claimed that Fred Marsh designed and built three family homes as well as motor cars and miniature theaters and made a technologically advanced phonograph recording in 1910.

34. Lloyd Goodrich, Reginald Marsh (New York: Abrams, 1972), p. 295. Unless otherwise noted, Marsh's biography is based on Goodrich.

35. Goodrich, Reginald Marsh , p. 20. According to Goodrich, Marsh once reported that he had barely passed the art courses, instructed by "pedants" who "taught drawing from the antique and painting in still life ... in a way that would make their 'old master' heroes turn in their graves."

36. Trimberger, "Feminism, Men, and Modern Love," pp. 146-147; Wertheim, The New York Little Renaissance , pp. 230-231.

37. Malcolm Cowley, as quoted in Wertheim, p. 230.

38. Enrollment Cards, the Art Students League of New York. Marsh enrolled in John Sloan's painting class from October 1921 through February 1922 and in his illustration class for the month of May 1922. That same year he signed up for Miller's "studio" in March. He spent four months of the 1922 season in Miller's life drawing and painting classes, and the following November in a painting course with George Luks. He concluded his formal studies with Miller in the 1927-28 season when he spent five more months in life drawing and painting, with an additional month of study in January 1929. At the league, students signed up on a month-by-month basis, following an academic (September to May) calendar with individual teachers. Miller's classes in the early 1920s were designated either life drawing and painting or studio. The latter designation may have referred to Miller's Wednesday afternoon teas at his studio on Fourteenth Street.

39. For a discussion of Burroughs's career, see Gwendolyn Owens, "Pioneers in American Museums: Bryson Burroughs," Museum News 57 (May 1979), pp. 46-53, 84.

40. Betty Burroughs, in an interview with Marilyn Cohen, characterized the Marsh family as nouveau riche (with enough wealth to be upper middle-class) and their life as bohemian. See Cohen, "Reginald Marsh: An Interpretation," p. 21.

41. Cohen, "Reginald Marsh: An Interpretation," pp. 19-20.

42. Interview with Lloyd Goodrich, December 30, 1982.

43. Reginald Marsh Papers, Roll D-308, frames 1-172, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

44. Reginald Marsh Papers, Roll D-308, frames 1-172, Archives of American Art.

45. One can follow the events leading to the divorce in Marsh's diaries. He first saw a lawyer on October 5, 1932. During November and December, he paid bi- and triweekly visits to a Dr. Spaulding (a psychiatrist?). On December 21 Marsh left for Reno, Nevada.

Caleb Marsh, whose birth is recorded in Marsh's diary, is never mentioned by Marsh biographers. According to Raphael Soyer, to whom Marsh told the story, Marsh had been thrilled with the birth of Caleb, believing that the child was his. When Betty subsequently informed him that he was not the father, he was devastated (interview with Soyer, March 13, 1987). Edward Laning (interviewed by Marilyn Cohen, October 10, 1979) believed that Marsh might have been sterile as a result of a childhood illness and thus anxious about his masculinity. Cohen, "Reginald Marsh: An Interpretation," p. 220 n. 55.

46. Desk diary entries dated May 24, 1933, and June 30, 1933, Reginald Marsh Papers, Roll NRM-2, Archives of American Art.

47. Marilyn Cohen, Reginald Marsh's New York: Paintings, Drawings, Prints, and Photographs (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art in association with Dover, 1983), p. 34.

48. By February 1937, after occupying four different Fourteenth Street studios, Marsh moved into his two-story studio at 1 Union Square West, in the Lincoln Arcade Building, which he would occupy until his death. Marsh records these moves in his desk diaries—from 21 East Fourteenth Street, his first studio; to 9 West Fourteenth Street on June 1, 1932; to 5 East Fourteenth Street on January 19, 1934; back to 9 West Fourteenth Street on March 2, 1935; to 7 West Fourteenth Street on September 14, 1935; and finally to 1 Union Square West on February 2, 1937. Reginald Marsh Papers, Archives of American Art; see Map 1.

49. On one occasion he wrote: "I've hardly talked with or seen a soul since my last letter [this is confirmed in Marsh's August 1934 diary entries], working, planning, rambling and staring, meditating; I think this is the way a painter should live." Reginald Marsh Papers, Archives of American Art, letter dated September 9, 1934.

50. Cohen, "Reginald Marsh: An Interpretation," p. 170.

51. Though never a natural athlete (perhaps because his childhood illnesses forced long periods of inactivity), Marsh was constantly testing himself, always recording his scores in golf, swimming, and tennis in comparison with those of others. Marsh's diary for April 12, 1912, Reginald Marsh Papers, Archives of American Art.

52. Lloyd Goodrich, Reginald Marsh , p. 18.

53. Edward Laning, East Side, West Side, All Around the Town (Tucson: University of Arizona Museum of Art, 1969), p. 95.

54. Interview with Lloyd Goodrich, December 30, 1982; Interview with Raphael Soyer, December 27, 1982; and Raphael Soyer, "Reginald Marsh," Reality: A Journal of Artists' Opinions 3 (Summer 1955), pp. 5-6.

55. Barbara Ehrenreich, The Hearts of Men. American Dreams and the Flight from Commitment (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Books, 1984), pp. 68-84.

56. Laning, East Side, West Side , p. 95.

57. Interview with Raphael Soyer, March 13, 1987. Even before he entered psychoanalysis, Marsh would have become aware of its processes as a student of Kenneth Hayes Miller's in the 1920s. Several appointments with a Dr. Spaulding are recorded in Marsh's 1932 desk diary prior to his departure for Reno, Nevada, to obtain a divorce. Although the consecutive appointments in a stressful time suggest that Dr. Spaulding may have been a psychiatrist, I have not determined that this is the case. Marsh's calendars of the mid-1930s indicate regular appointments with a psychiatrist, Dr. Belcher; he saw Dr. Brodman, a psychiatrist interested in the psychology of artists, late in the 1930s and into the 1940s. Since Soyer and Marsh had adjoining studios in the Lincoln Arcade Building, at 1 Union Square West, beginning in 1937, Soyer's recollections undoubtedly date from sometime in the late 1930s or early 1940s, long after Marsh's mother's death in 1927. Dr. Brodman's wife kindly sent me photocopies of three letters, one undated and two dated 1945 and 1946, in which Marsh thanks Dr. Brodman for treatment and discusses paintings he is sending to the doctor. See also Cohen, "Reginald Marsh: An Interpretation," p. 211 n. 11.

58. Laning, East Side, West Side , pp. 89-91, and Edward Laning, The Sketchbooks of Reginald Marsh (Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1973), p. 25.

59. Bishop could trace her lineage to both English and Dutch settlers in the eighteenth century. Her mother, Anna Bartram Newbold, was a descendant of the famous eighteenth-century botanist John Bartram. Her father was a member of a New Brunswick, New Jersey, family for whom Bishop House, the offices of the history department at Rutgers University, was named. John Bishop, one of the largest landowners in that area's early town-

ship, subsequently became a member of the governor's council. The family also rose to prominence in the shipping business in the early 1800s, when New Brunswick became New Jersey's first port. James Bishop was a New Jersey Whig representative to the Thirty-fourth Congress of the United States in 1855-57 and a principal founder of St. James Methodist Church of New Brunswick. "Isabel Bishop," Current Biography Yearbook (New York: Wilson, 1977), p. 63; and Sunday Home News (n.p.), June 21, 1970, clipping fragment, Isabel Bishop Papers, Archives of American Art.

60. Cindy Nemser, "A Conversation with Isabel Bishop," Feminist Art Journal 5 (Spring 1976), pp. 15-16. Helen Yglesias, Isabel Bishop (New York: Rizzoli, 1989), p. 10. Yglesias's book provides much new information about Bishop's childhood and her relationships with her parents. Yglesias mentions that one of Bishop's sisters, a gifted artist, was older by fifteen years. Thus the first set of twins would have been born in about 1887, the second in 1889.

61. Yglesias, Isabel Bishop , p. 10. This discussion of her childhood occurred sometime in the 1980s.

62. Yglesias, Isabel Bishop , p. 10. Bishop's parents were especially divided over religion: her father worshiped regularly at the Episcopal church; her mother dismissed Christianity as a "minor sect." The most scandalous display of her mother's nonbelief occurred when Bishop was eight or ten. Her mother, who had to appear in court, refused to swear on the Bible, claiming, "I don't believe in God." Bishop condemned her mother's actions—violations of convention that deeply humiliated her father. "I felt so sorry for my father. I thought it was terrible of her." Over the years, her own semiregular church attendance paid homage to her father's beliefs.

63. Yglesias, Isabel Bishop , p. 11. Information on Bishop's early class is found on the enrollment cards, Art Students League of New York.

64. Enrollment cards, Art Students League of New York. Bishop's observations on Weber and Henri were made during my interview with her, December 16, 1982.

65. Bishop, as quoted in Yglesias, Isabel Bishop , p. 12.

66. Nemser, "A Conversation with Isabel Bishop," pp. 16-17.

67. Sally Moore, "Isabel Bishop: Half a Century of Painting the Flotsam of Union Square," People , May 26, 1975.

68. Edward Laning, "The New Deal Mural Projects," in Francis V. O'Connor, The New Deal Art Projects: An Anthology of Memoirs (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1972), p. 80; Howard E. Wooden, Edward Laning, American Realist, 1906-1981: A Retrospective Exhibition (Wichita, Kans.: Wichita Art Museum, 1982), pp. 6, 19; Yglesias, Isabel Bishop , p. 15; Reginald Marsh, desk diaries, 1931-34, Roll NRM-2, Archives of American Art. A comparison of these sources may correct the confusion about who participated in the 1931 and 1933 European trips. Marsh's desk calendars for the late spring and summer of 1931 show that he never left New York. An entry for May 30, 1931, states, "Miller sails, Brooks sail" (the plural may indicate Alexander Brook and his wife, Peggy Bacon). An entry for July 7, 1931, reads, "Majestic arrives bearing Ken, Isobel" (Marsh often misspelled Bishop's first name).

69. Interview with Isabel Bishop, December 16, 1982; Yglesias, Isabel Bishop , p. 14. Listings of the works exhibited at Midtown Galleries are in the Isabel Bishop Papers, Archives of American Art.

70. Yglesias, Isabel Bishop , pp. 16-17.

71. From the available literature, it is not clear when and how the stipend ended. According to a 1941 article, Bishop admitted "that if it were not for a small sum of money left her in a will and the income of her husband, Dr. Harold G. Wolff ... she would have real trouble following her art career." Donna Ford, "Other Women's Lives," Worcester

Telegram , May 20, 1941, no pagination. The source of this small inheritance is unknown.

72. In a taped interview with me (December 18, 1982) and in interviews with Nemser ("A Conversation with Isabel Bishop," p. 17) and with Yglesias ( Isabel Bishop , p. 12.) Bishop credits the painter Guy Pène du Bois with helping her realize how much she was influenced by Miller, to her detriment. In the early 1930s, du Bois, who had been her teacher one summer, arrived at her studio for one of his irregular visits, looked at her work, and asked, "What are you doing?" As Bishop told me, "Well, I was doing from morning until night and trying hard and struggling with it, but he felt there was nothing in it." Bishop also recalled that critics were quite "hard" on her about Miller's "influence.'' Although some of that criticism was apt, its persistence long after Bishop established her own manner of working suggests a bias in the criticism itself: women are always subject to authority, always "influenced."

73. Yglesias, Isabel Bishop , p. 16.

74. Yglesias, p. 16.

75. Yglesias, p. 17.

76. Yglesias, p. 19. The artist Jack Levine described her as a pluralist who always led from a position of neutrality.

77. Yglesias, Isabel Bishop , p. 17.

78. Reginald Marsh Papers, Roll NRM-3, Archives of American Art. The last sentence in this part of the letter reads, "So—no wonder Miller's been padding his nest." This enigmatic statement places me in the center of "Polly's dilemma." Do I interpret this as evidence of a more intimate relationship between Bishop and Miller, now coming to an end? We have evidence of Miller's reputation for becoming involved with a succession of female art students. Bishop (in her interview with me) said that she was very close to Miller's entire family. In 1928 Miller wrote to his mother: "Louise [his daughter] will have a really brilliant Christmas as Isabel Bishop is giving her a fur coat: she is rather stunned by such good fortune which seemed to have dropped from the skies." Bishop also subsidized a major study on Miller by Lloyd Goodrich, published in 1930. They may have traveled alone together in Europe; as I indicated in n. 68 above, Marsh's diaries for 1931 show that he did not accompany them in their travels that year as Bishop has claimed, though her memory could simply have elided separate events fifty years after the fact. In 1933, when they traveled to Europe together, Marsh left Bishop and Miller after ten days. (They all arrived in Berlin on July 10 and traveled to Munich on July 13; on July 19 Marsh took the train alone from Munich back to Berlin, where he caught a plane for Moscow.) There is not enough evidence to argue with any certainty for a more intimate bond; if there were one, it would have intensified the inequality of power in a relationship from which Bishop felt obliged to extricate herself. At the same time, if there were even an "assumed" perception of involvement on the part of members of Miller's and Bishop's social circle, it may have removed or postponed for Bishop the possibility of too early a marriage, which she also feared.

79. Margaret Breuning, review from the New York Evening Post , quoted in "Women Art Critics Attack Organization of Modernist Women," Art Digest 3 (March 1, 1929), p. 9. She claimed that the older National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors was formed at a time (initially in 1889 as the Woman's Art Club of New York, in 1912 as an association) when a separate exhibition structure was necessary. For an overview of several early women's organizations, see Julie Graham, "American Women Artists' Groups: 1867-1930," Woman's Art Journal 1 (Spring-Summer 1980), pp. 7-12.

80. Helen Appleton Read, as quoted in "Women Art Critics," p. 9.

81. Rayna Rapp and Ellen Ross, "The Twenties' Backlash: Compulsory Heterosexuality, the Consumer Family, and the Waning of Feminism," in Class, Race, and Sex: The

Dynamics of Control , ed. Amy Swerdlow and Hanna Lessinger (New York: Barnard College Women's Center; Boston: G. K. Hall, 1983), pp. 100-101.

82. It is difficult to say how conscious Bishop's choices were; her 1980s insights are those of someone with historical distance and an awareness of feminist issues. One has a sense that she was making careful choices but that she did not deliberately manipulate circumstances she fully understood.

83. Raphael Soyer, Diary of an Artist , p. 181. Parts of Soyer's narrative of his childhood, his education, his early career, and his experiences in the 1930s appear in his earlier books, A Painter's Pilgrimage, Homage to Thomas Eakins , and Self-Revealment: A Memoir .

84. Interview with the artist, March 13, 1987. Soyer learned Hebrew along with Russian because his father took the twins to these private tutorials. In gratitude for their lessons, several of the students also taught the twins some French and German. Borisoglebsk is in the province of Tambov approximately 325 miles southeast of Moscow.

85. For the structure of Eastern European communities and the place of the scholar see Elizabeth Ewen, Immigrant Women in the Land of Dollars (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1985), pp. 38-39.

86. Moses Soyer, "Three Brothers," Magazine of Art 32 (April 1939), p. 201; and Raphael Soyer, Diary of an Artist , p. 207. The twins would copy their father's drawings of cossacks; he would correct these and hang the best pictures on the walls as both encouragement and praise. He also made intricate designs for table linens for their mother, who would select the color schemes and execute the embroidery.

87. Ewen, Immigrant Women , p. 52; Cynthia Jaffee McCabe and Daniel J. Boorstin, The Golden Door: Artist Immigrants of America, 1876-1976 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 1976), p. 158. In his interview with me on March 13, 1987, Soyer characterized his father as a "social democrat," rather than a radical or a Communist, and an ardent Zionist (who longed for a Jewish state).

88. Raphael Soyer, Diary of an Artist , pp. 206-207. In "Three Brothers," p. 201, Moses described his father as a remarkable man who had toiled hard all his life without deviating from his youthful ideals—he was "self-taught and self-made in the real American sense of the phrase" and adored by contemporaries and colleagues as a brilliant teacher and scholar. In my interview with Raphael on April 26, 1984, he suggested that the picture Moses painted of their early days in New York was too "rosy." Life was particularly difficult for their mother. She had wanted to study and to learn English, but a lack of money and time made these pursuits increasingly difficult. Her recognition of lost possibilities in the New World, with its opportunities and its less repressive ideology of male and female roles, may well have contributed to the debilitating depression that eventually necessitated her institutionalization.

89. For a discussion of Old World and immigrant notions of childhood and adolescence, see Ewen, Immigrant Women , pp. 98-100; Soyer quotation from Diary of an Artist , p. 202.

90. Frank Gettings, Raphael Soyer: Sixty-five Years of Printmaking (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 1982), pp. 8-9. Harry Salpeter, "Raphael Soyer: East Side Degas," Esquire , May 1933, p. 156. As early as 1917, the Soyers also discovered printmaking. Their mother gave them twenty-five dollars to buy an etching press, which they set up in the back room. At the academy, Raphael attended Joseph Pennell's lectures on etching, which emphasized the work of Rembrandt and Whistler. Several years later, he found his first "patron," the printer Jacob Friedland, who "seemed to be a prosperous man." In exchange for studio space, models, and lithographic stones, Raphael gave Friedland a painting per month.

91. Soyer, Diary of an Artist , p. 211.

92. Moses Soyer, "Three Brothers," p. 204.

93. Raphael Soyer, Diary of an Artist , p. 212. Soyer is specific about the three-month stipend from his uncle. The Art Students League enrollment cards, however, show that he spent five months with du Bois at two different periods; two months of classes are recorded for December 1920 - January 1921, three for January-March 1923. Perhaps Soyer wanted to return to du Bois after spending a year back at the National Academy (or at least the spring of 1922), and his uncle made the next three months possible.

94. Raphael Soyer, Diary of an Artist , p. 213, compares Luks and Miller. It is difficult to know if Soyer shied away from Miller because he feared Miller's "influence"; critics discussed it in the early thirties, and students may have talked among themselves at the league. Soyer told me (December 27, 1982) he disliked Miller's work. He met Miller only once, when they served on a jury together—where Miller was, as Soyer put it, "very loyal to his students." At the time, Soyer may have felt that Miller and his students, and the weekly teas, were a closed circle he could never enter. And he still needed part-time work. He tutored students in Hebrew and found seasonal work in embroidery shops, activities he alternated with painting.

95. Soyer, Self-Revealment , p. 58. Soyer also discussed his early behavior with me (December 27, 1982). His shyness prevented him from meeting several of the artists he admired in the late twenties. He particularly regretted avoiding the artist Jules Pascin, who had influenced him (as had Louis Bouché, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Alexander Brook, and Peggy Bacon); under Pascin's influence Soyer hired his first nude model. Evidently Pascin made a great effort to know American artists. When he saw Soyer's first one-man show at the Daniel Gallery and expressed a desire to meet him, Soyer failed to make the appointment. Within the year, in 1930, Pascin had taken his own life.

96. Soyer, Diary of an Artist , p. 218. Although Soyer doesn't recall meeting Kuniyoshi, Salpeter ("Raphael Soyer," p. 157) reports that he attended these sketch classes.

97. Elizabeth McCausland, "The Daniel Gallery and Modern American Art," Magazine of Art 44 (November 1951), pp. 280-285. In the early 1920s Charles Daniel showed watercolors by John Marin and Charles Demuth; oils by Niles Spencer, Preston Dickinson, and Charles Sheeler; and works by the artists who most influenced Soyer, among them Jules Pascin, Louis Bouché, Alexander Brook, and Yasuo Kuniyoshi.

98. Interview with the artist, December 27, 1982. A lack of records, beyond the New York telephone directory, makes Soyer's movements hard to trace in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The Soyers lived at 203 and 240 West Fourteenth Street as well as at 229 West Fourth and 96 Charles Street. Soyer had a studio at 3 West Fourteenth Street, perhaps for several years. See Map 1.

99. Lloyd Goodrich, Raphael Soyer , p. 336. For a discussion of teachers in the Depression, see Lois Scharf, To Work and to Wed: Female Employment, Feminism, and the Great Depression , Contributions to Women's Studies no. 15 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1980), pp. 75-77.

100. Soyer, "An Artist's Experiences," pp. 27-29.

101. Soyer, Self-Revealment , p. 16; interview with the artist, March 13, 1987. Fannie was the first of the children to die, in 1963. According to Soyer, she was "steadfast, responsible, dedicated," and she loved school. In dedicating Self-Revealment to her in 1967, Soyer made his "secret and intimate appraisal of her," placing her "on a plane with a Marie Curie or a Käthe Kollwitz."

102. Ewen, Immigrant Women , pp. 193-196.

103. Gettings, Raphael Soyer . Throughout this catalog Soyer discusses his models; he

expanded on this subject in our interview of March 13, 1987, from which the characterizations of his models are quoted.

104. It is unclear from Soyer's account of the event whether the presence of the model with the artist and the model's recognition that "she was not expected" carried sexual innuendos. Soyer sketched the men present at the meeting: Nicolai Cikovsky, William Gropper, Adolph Wolf, Walter Quirt, and Nemo Piccoli. After Soyer became a teacher at the club, it exhibited the work of one of his students, Ruth Gikow, who went on to become a painter; Soyer wrote the catalog introduction for the show. Women, if Soyer's sketches give any indication, were more of a presence at Artist's Union meetings. Soyer, Diary of an Artist , p. 222, and Soyer, "An Artist's Experiences," pp. 28-29. See Soyer's John Reed Club Meeting (Fig. 3.32).

105. In her publication Women and the American Left: A Guide to Sources (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1983), p. 169, Mari Jo Buhle notes a "precipitous decline" in the radical feminist press during this period. The Communist party had little use for feminist journalism except for tactical purposes. Many radical women journalists turned to more middle-of-the-road literary publications, principally the New Masses. Working Woman maintained an ultra-left position, predicting incipient class warfare. In March 1933 the publication adopted a magazine format; in November 1934 Gwen Bard began to write and illustrate the "Fashion Letter." Apart from her work and occasional drawings by Mary Morrow, the magazine's principal, almost monthly, illustrator was William Gropper, with occasional submissions by Ben Shahn, Dan Rico, and John Arrow. For a general discussion of John Reed Club activities, see Helen A. Harrison, "John Reed Club Artists and the New Deal: Radical Responses to Roosevelt's 'Peaceful Revolution,' " Prospects 5 (1980), pp. 241-268.

106. Barbara Melosh, Engendering Culture: Manhood and Womanhood in New Deal Public Art and Theater (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991).

107. Interview with the artist, December 27, 1982. Soyer claimed that when his friends brought him to the John Reed Club, he himself had no idea that he was already well known.

108. "New Instructors at the Art Students League," Art Digest 8 (October 1, 1933), p. 25. Interview with the artist, March 13, 1987.

109. Richard Beers, "As They Are at Thirty-four," Art News 32 (January 13, 1934), p. 13; and "Brook and Soyer Enter the Metropolitan," Art Digest 7 (September 1, 1933), p. 7.

110. Soyer, Diary of an Artist , p. 218. Soyer told me (December 27, 1982) that he also took his work to the Downtown Gallery but that Edith Halpert wanted him to leave the paintings. He was reluctant to do so and went on to the Valentine Gallery, which at the time showed work by Picasso, Soutine, Modigliani, and some of the Impressionists along with a few Americans: Louis Eilshemius, Milton Avery, and John Kane.

111. Interview with the artist, December 27, 1982; and Soyer, Diary of an Artist , pp. 218-219.

112. Carl Zigrosser, The Artist in America: Twenty-four Close-ups of Contemporary Printmakers (New York: Knopf, 1942), pp. 60-61.

113. The discussion of a mainstream here and in the following paragraph comes from Randy Rosen and Catherine C. Brawer, Making Their Mark: Women Artists Move into the Mainstream, 1970-1985 (New York: Abbeville Press, 1989), pp. 7-9.

114. Patricia Hills and Roberta K. Tarbell, The Figurative Tradition and the Whitney Museum of American Art: Paintings and Sculpture from the Permanent Collection (New York and Newark, Del.: Whitney Museum of American Art in association with the University of Delaware Press, 1980), pp. 71-76.

115. Hills and Tarbell, The Figurative Tradition , p. 7.

116. The Art Students League yearly catalogs give a complete roster of league instructors. See Hills and Tarbell, The Figurative Tradition , p. 70.

117. See Hills and Tarbell, The Figurative Tradition , p. 14.

118. Forbes Watson, "Opening Studio," The Arts 10 (October 1927), p. 220; for a discussion of Watson's criticism see Peninah R. Y. Petruck, American Art Criticism, 1910-1939 (New York: Garland, 1981), pp. 134-176.

119. Raphael Soyer, Self-Revealment , p. 68.

120. See Hills and Tarbell, The Figurative Tradition , p. 15.

121. When I interviewed them, both Raphael Soyer and Isabel Bishop spoke highly of the magazine. It satisfied their needs, and both claimed to be faithful readers.

122. Hills and Tarbell, The Figurative Tradition , p. 13.

123. Statement of purpose in the Forbes Watson Papers, Roll D-48, Archives of American Art, as quoted in Petruck, American Art Criticism , p. 37.

124. Forbes Watson, editorial, The Arts 3 (January 1923), p. 1.

125. Alan Burroughs, "Young America—Reginald Marsh," The Arts 3 (February 1923), p. 138.

126. Lloyd Goodrich, " The Arts Magazine: 1920-1931," American Art Journal 5 (May 1973), p. 84.

127. Goodrich told me about the circumstances of the publication of his book on Miller in an interview, December 30, 1982. See Goodrich, Kenneth Hayes Miller ; and Alan Burroughs, Kenneth Hayes Miller , American Artists Series (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1931).

128. See in particular Marsh's desk diaries for 1931-32 for references to bowling and for entries about his almost daily social activities with Laning, Bishop, and Miller. Reginald Marsh Papers, Roll NRM-2, Frames 145-395, Archives of American Art.

129. Cohen, Reginald Marsh's New York , p. 3; Laning, "The New Deal Mural Projects," p. 80; Nemser, "A Conversation with Isabel Bishop," p. 16.

130. Cohen, "Reginald Marsh: An Interpretation," p. 14.

131. Interview with the artist, April 26, 1984.

132. Interview with the artist, December 27, 1982. Soyer in 1937 had a studio with Marsh in the Lincoln Arcade Building at 1 Union Square West, and occasionally they shared models. The two artists probably knew each other fairly well by the early 1940s, for Marsh confided some intimate details of his life to Soyer and Soyer included Marsh's portrait in his group portrait of 1966, Homage to Thomas Eakins .

133. Though Isabel Bishop did not know Soyer until the early 1950s, she became familiar with his work through the Whitney shows. She claimed that she had thought of Soyer as a disciple of both Brook and Kuniyoshi, whose work she defined as the "accepted" style of American art in the 1920s. She called it the Woodstock style, which she described as "the National Academy of Design touched by Cézanne," referring to the American painters' tendency to work from models posed in the studio and to treat their canvases with Cézanne's facture and manipulations of pictorial space.

134. Undated anonymous review for a traveling show featuring works by Miller, Marsh, Soyer, Kuniyoshi, Sloan, Sheeler, du Bois, and Dickinson, from the Minneapolis Daily Star Review . Whitney Museum Papers, Roll N-591, Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C.

135. Matthew Baigell, The American Scene: American Painting of the 1930 s (New York: Praeger, 1974), p. 23.

136. Reginald Marsh, "What I See in Laning's Art," Creative Art 12 (March 1933), p. 187.

137. Miller's ideas were most clearly expressed in a lecture entitled "The Third Dimension in Painting," which he delivered at the league in the early 1920s. His students, moreover, recorded his ideas, which also survive in accounts of the critiques he gave at the league. Finally, in the 1920s and early 1930s perceptive responses to his work were published, focusing on his essentially formalist intentions. Rothschild, To Keep Art Alive , chapters 5 and 6; Goodrich, Kenneth Hayes Miller ; and Burroughs, Kenneth Hayes Miller .

138. Rothschild, To Keep Art Alive , pp. 70-75.

139. Fry introduced the doctrine of significant form in his 1909 piece "An Essay in Aesthetics," published in the New Quarterly and republished in Fry's book of essays Vision and Design (1920). It was after this time that Miller codified his own views. See Sandra S. Phillips, "The Art Criticism of Walter Pach," Art Bulletin 65 (March 1983), p. 109 n. 22. Clive Bell also promulgated the idea of significant form in his 1913 book Art , implying, according to W. Eugene Kleinbauer, Modern Perspectives in Western Art History (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971), p. 7, that forms, lines, and colors are significant in themselves.

140. Rothschild, To Keep Art Alive , p. 74.

141. In November 1982 I interviewed Jack Henderson, N.A., one of Laning's oldest friends and colleagues. He said that Laning had often expressed a desire to be reincarnated as a fifteenth-century Sienese painter.

142. Petruck, American Art Criticism , pp. 35-37; and Meyer Schapiro, Modern Art, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Selected Papers (New York: George Braziller, 1978), pp. 151-154.

143. Paintings by Nineteen Living Americans , exhibition catalog (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1930). The artists in the show (December 13, 1929-January 13, 1930) were chosen by ballot.

144. Petruck, American Art Criticism , pp. 68-85.

145. Baur, Revolution and Tradition , p. 89. Baur observed that Soyer's attention to closely knit design prevented his sympathetic paintings from becoming sentimental.

146. Bennard B. Perlman, The Immortal Eight: American Painting from Eakins to the Armory Show, 1870-1913 (Cincinnati, Ohio: North Light, 1979), p. 46.

147. In his autobiography It's Me O Lord (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1955), Rockwell Kent, a onetime student of Miller's, distinguished among three of the major art teachers, Chase, Miller, and Henri:

As Chase had taught us just to use our eyes, and Henri to enlist our hearts, now Miller called on us to use our heads. Utterly disregardful of the emotional values which Henri was so insistent upon, and contemptuous of both the surface realism and virtuosity of Chase, Miller ... exacted a recognition of the tactile qualities of paint and of the elements of composition—line and mass—not as a means toward the re-creation of life, but as the fulfillment of an end, aesthetic pleasure.... Yet the importance of style as intrinsic to the expression of thought is undeniable; and Miller's emphasis upon some of its elements was of value to me if for no reason but as a corrective of Henri's disregard of it. (p. 83)

148. Petruck, American Art Criticism , pp. 139-143.

149. Marsh claimed that these old masters allowed him to see the energy in groups of moving figures. In 1944 he wrote that he loved going to the beach at Coney Island—another crowded New York scene: "I like to go there because of the sea, the open air and the crowds—crowds of people in all directions, in all positions, without clothing, moving—like

the compositions of Michelangelo and Rubens." Reginald Marsh, "Let's Get Back to Painting," Magazine of Art 37 (December 1944), p. 296.

150. Interview with the artist, December 27, 1982.


Preferred Citation: Todd, Ellen Wiley. The "New Woman" Revised: Painting and Gender Politics on Fourteenth Street. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1993 1993.