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Myron C. Nutting 

Interviev/ed by Donald J. Schippers 


Completed under the ausolces 

of the 

Oral History Program 

University of California 

Los Angeles 

Copyright © 1972 
The Regents of the University of California 

This nanuscriot is hereby made available for research 
Durposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, 
includine; the right to publication, are reserved to the 
University Library of the University of California at 
Los Angeles. •Jo part of the manuscriot may be quoted 
for Dublication v;ithout the vrritten permission of the 
University Librarian of the University of California 
at Los Angeles . 


Introduction vlii 

Interview History xi 

TAPE NUIVTBER: I, Side One (October 12, 19^5) 1 

Family genealogy — Nuttings and Caroenters — 
Father described — Brother Arlie — Butte — 
Religious background and education — P-'ove 
to Mexico — Death of Arlie — Early education 



Side Two (October 15, 1965) 2^1 

First schooling, Penn Yan, Nev; York — ^lolin 
lessons and Homer — Reading Ruskin — Visiting 
New York City — The ^'letropolitan Museum of 
Art — Fascination with art — The Northv/est — 
Idaho — Spokane — Drawing lessons — Puget Sound — 
Seacoast and wilderness — St_. Nicholas '-agazine 

TAPE NUr4BER: II, Side One (October 19, 1965) 53 

Minnesota — Education continued — Nature in 
North Dakota — Map drawing and orizes — Half- 
brother Merritt Carpenter — Music interest — 
Art school in St. Paul — Murals in St. Paul: 
La Farge, Cox, Blashfield — Howard Pyle — First 
Impressionist paintings — Oonortunities for 
artists in Am.erica — Comm.ercial art and por- 
trait painting 

TAPE NUr-IBER: II, Side Two (October 22, 1965). • . • 

First drawings as a child — Influence of Dore — 
Studying reproductions — Fascination for art 
history--Accerted by Boston Museum School — 
Taught^ by Tarbell — Father to Mexico — Study at 
Art Students' League in New York — V/illiam Chase, 
painterly style — Mother's death in Mexico — Trip 
to Eurone — Dresden — Munich — ^ension Nordland — 
Marriage and travel 


TAPE NUr.TBER: III, Side One (October 25, 1965). ... 110 

Helen (Hays) Nuttinp; — Visiting Vienna — Rubens 
and Breughel — Life and art in ''Aunich — Venice 
and marriage — Helen's early life and writings — 
Honeymoon in Florence — Border incident return- 
ing to f/^unlch — Traveling in Italy — Amalfi — Earl 
Henry Brewster 

TAPE NUMBER: TIT, Side Tv;o (October 29, 19^5). ... 135 

Earl and Achsa Brev/ster — Capri — Recalling 
Blashfield — ''leeting Elihu Vedder — Rome — Stu- 
dio in the Via r.'argutta — Besnard and the 
Villa Medici — Encouraged by Besnard — Travels 
In Italy — Evolution of a style — Art life on 
the Via Margutta — Anticoli Corrada, tovm of 
models--Attltudes towards teachers and painters 

TAPE NUMBER: IV, Side One (November 1, 1965) 159 

Social life in Rome — Theodora Synge — Gillian 
Pothergill — Gordon Craig — Craijr in Paris — 
Artists of the Via Margutta — Diaghilev Ballet — 
Picasso and Stravinsky — Poet Edv;ard Storer — 
Starting magazine Atys 

TAPE IIU'-TBER: IV, Side Two (November 5, 1965) l88 

Life in Rome: Friends and conversation — 
Italian Futurists — "arinettl — Boccioni — 
Balla--Prampolini — Depero — Chirico and the 
Scuola ?-^etafisica — Painters and friends — 
Stanharding-Krayl , adventuress — Student life 
In Rome — Period of maturation — Art and education 


V, Side One (November 8, I965) 215 

Richard 'Wallace — Wartime vifork in the Red 
Cross--Visiting hospitals — Working under Dr. 
Joseph Collins — Beginning of a friendshio — 
Discussions on Dsychoanalysis — Headquartered 
In Padua — The Veneto plains — Flu epidemic — 
Peasant life--Red Cross oackages 


TAPE NUr^.ER: V, Side Two (November 12, I965) 2^1 

Vignettes — Seeing Duse and Rodin — Rodin's 
methods and ranid drav;lng — Seeing Clenenceau — 
Meeting Chagall — To Paris at war's end — Child- 
hood dreams of Paris — Youthful influences — 
Arriving in Paris — Garconniere in ^assy — Studio 
in Montoarnasse — Study at the Julian Academy — 
Student life — Academy Hanson — Cubist Andre Lhote — 

TAPE NUMBER: VI, Side One (November 15, I965). ... 270 

Meeting Hemingway — A Moveable Feast Ford 

Madox Ford defended — Parties at the Fords' — 
Jules Pascin — Party at Pascln's — Atmosphere 
of Dostwar Paris — Vitality and soontaneity — 
Bal des Quatz Arts— The theater: classics and 
experiments—Jouvet — Theatre des Chamos — 
^lysees— Pitoeffs—Dlaghilev— Stanislavski 

TAPE NUr-EER: VI, Side Two (November I8, I965). ... 296 

Academie Ranson — Denis and Serusier — Lhcte — 
Emphasis on the abstract — Jacovlev and drafts- 
manship — V/orks accepted by salons — Salon de 
Tullerles — Portraits and figures — French art: 
rationalism — Attention to cultural activities — 
Portrait painting — Scholarship at the Sorbonne 

TAPE NUMBER: VII, Side One (November 25, I965). . . .318 

Cultural life In Paris — "Mecca of the artists" — 
Arts and European geography — Tem.oerament of north 
and south — Influences of heredity — Recollections 
of Arlie — Influences of environment — Definitions 
of time and soace — Relativity of greatness — Art 
as personal exoerlence 

TAPE NUMBER: VII, Side Two (December 3, I965). ... 3^3 

Influence of Otto Rank — Psychoanalysis and 
art — Function of the subconscious — Analysis 
sessions with Rank — Ramon Guthrie — Friend of 
Sinclair Lewis— Guthrie and Rank — Ludwlg Lewisohn — 
Thoughts on ^reud and Jung — Reminiscences of 
Lewisohn — Meeting Theodore Dreiser 



VIII, Side One (December 3, I965). 


Personalities of Paris — Ambassador 'Tyron 
Herrick — Paris-American Society of Painters 
and Sculptors — Herrick opens shov/ — Natalie 
Barney and her salons — The HanbourRs — Baroness 
Freytag von Loringhoven — George Blddle — Elmer 
Rice at the Lewisohns' — e. e. cummings 

TAPE NUMBER: VIII, Side Two (December l'^, I965) . . 

Vacation in St. Tropez — Gillian Pothergill — 
Roger Fry — in Brittany — '.vith Kvaoil 
in Corsica — Painting in Rogliano — Helen trans- 
lates Corsican ooetry — Winning the Paillard 
mural nrize — Trio to Belgium and Holland — Paul 
Burlin — Visit to Berlin 


Errata: o. 303a exists to correct the pagination 


Myron Chester Nutting v;as born In Panaca, Nevada, 
on October l8, I890, the son of Myron E. and Ida (Car- 
penter) Nutting. His boyhood vras spent traversing the 
length and breadth of North America as his father, an 
engineer, v;as establishing new territories for railroads 
and oil companies. The bitter stormy winters of upstate 
Nev; York and Minnesota, the m.ajestlc craggy coast of 
Washington, the strikingly different way of life of Mexico — 
all helped to create the curiosity and vision that was 
to mark the grown artist. 

Formal art training began for Nutting at the Boston 
Museum School of Fine Arts v;hen he was eighteen. It con- 
tinued under the tutelage of V^illlam Chase at the Art Stu- 
dents League in Nev; York. Following the death of his 
mother, he departed for Europe, where he studied and 
painted, first in Munich and then in Rome. He was married 
in 191^ to Helen Hays, a writer and a fellow American. 

After serving in the Am.erican Red Cross in Italy 
during World War I, Nutting embarked for Paris, where he 
became a part of the commun:!ty of v;riters and artists of 
Paris in the twenties. Among his close friends were 
James Joyce and Ludv;lg Lewlsohn, and his associates in- 
cluded many of the artists and intellectuals of Mcntparnasse 


He continued his studies in Paris, first at the 
Julian Academy, then at the Academie Ranson, and ulti- 
mately at the noted cubist Andre Lhote's own academy. 
During his years in Paris, ^Jutting's canvases were exhi- 
bited at the Societe des Artistes Francais, the Salon 
d'Automne, and the Salon des Tulleries. He won first 
prize in the Paillard mural competition. 

Nutting returned to the United States in 1930 to be- 
come an instructor at the Layton School of Art in Mil'.'/au- 
kee. He remained at the school for five years, then es- 
tablished his own school, the Atelier. V/hile in V/isconsin, 
he showed at the Laytcn Art Gallery and became president 
of the Society of V7isconsin Painters and Sculptors. 

In 1939 J Nutting moved to Los Angeles, where he 
becarrie an instructor at the Chouinard Art School. He 
taught at the Los Angeles Art Center from IQiJ^I to 19^18. 

Helen Nutting died in 19^7. In March 19^8, Nutting 
married '"'uriel Tyler, a local artist of note, and together 
they Joined in the opening of the Twentieth Century Gallery, 
dedicated to the most modern v/orks of art. From 19^7 to 
19'^9, he served as art revie'ver for Script , a Los Angeles- 
based magazine. 

After spending two years in Texas, v;here he was af- 
filiated with the McNay Art Institute, Nutting returned 

to Los Angeles, where he continued to paint until his 
death, which occurred April 3, 1972, while this manuscript 
v/as in its final stages of preparation. 

Nutting was a member of the Severance Club, the 
California V/atercolor Society, and the American Watercolor 
Society. He was a past president of the Council of Allied 
Artists. He has been cited in V/ho's Who in the VJest , the 
International Who 's Who, and V/ho ' s Vfho in American Art . 
Locally, his works have been exhibited at the Los Angeles 
County Museum of Art, the Beverly Hills Museum of Modern 
Arts, the Pasadena Art Museum, the Esther Robles Gallery, 
and the Royce Galleries. 

In the follovring pages, which consist of tape-recorded 
interviews made with the UCLA Oral History Program, Myron 
C. Nutting recalls in his ovm words his childhood experien- 
ces, his early art school training, his life on the Con- 
tinent, his return and subsequent career in the United 
States as artist and teacher. These recollections are 
part of the Program.'s Fine Arts series. Records relating 
to this interviev; are located in the office of the UCLA 
Oral History Program. 

Intervlev; History 

IMTERVIEVrRR : Donald J. Schippers, Intervlev;er-Editor , 
Oral History Program, UCLA. B.A., UCLA; w.a., Ameri- 
can History, Occidental College; w.l.S., Library Ser- 
vice, UCLA. 


Place : At Mr. Nutting's residence, 395 Huntley Drive, 
Los Angeles, California. 

Dates : October 12, 1965-December 8, I966. 

Time of dav and length of sessions , and total number of 
recording: hours : Each session lasted aooroxlm.ately tvjo 
hours and nroduced one hour of recorded tace. The ses- 
sions were mostly conducted in the morning. This manu- 
script represents a total of fifty hours of recording 

Persons present at the interview: The Nuttings and Mr. 
Schippers . 


The interviewer encouraged a total biographical apnroach 
within a chronological framework. At the conclusion of 
the biographical section of the intervievr the respondent 
was asked to com.ment on the paintings in his studio and 
apartment, as well as photographs of his art v;ork. The 
photograohs have been denosited in the Deoartment of 
Special Collections, UCLA Research Library and are ar- 
ranged in the order in which they were discussed on tape. 


A verbatim transcript of the tan 
interviev/er and by Bernard Galm, 
History Program. The editing v;a 
tuation was introduced, spelling 
slight Iv emended. There vras ext 
personal names. The chronology 
retained, with no rearrangement 
respondent reviev;ed the edited t 
sistance of his wife, Muriel, wh 
piling the table of contents in 

es was edited by the 
Senior Editor, Oral 
s m.inor in nature; ounc- 

corrected, syntax 
ensive verification of 
of the intervievj was 
of the material. The 
ranscript with the as- 
o also helped in com- 
this manuscript. Nuttincr 


deleted repetitive material and In certain sections 
some changes v;ere made. The use of brackets by the 
editor indicates words and phrases that viere not spo- 
ken on the tape. 

The index and introduction v;ere nrepared by Joel 
Gardner, Assistant Editor, Oral History Program. 


The tane recordings and edited transcrint of the in- 
tervlevf are in the University Archives and are avail- 
able under the regulations p-overning the use of non- 
current University records. The photographs of paint- 
ings by Myron Nutting (Collection' 2005) and notes on 
James Joyce by Helen Nutting are denosited in the 
Deoartment of Sneclal Collections. 

October 12, 1965 

SCHIPPERS: I v;ant to ask you first the question about your 

NUTTING: V/ell, the family is very much an American family on 
both sides and a mixture of the North and South. My paternal 
ancestors. New England, and my maternal Ancestors] from the 
South. My maternal grandfather was from Virginia, so I grew 
up with a mixture, psychologically, of the Puritan and the 
Roundhead, which may account for some of my difficulties, 
[laughter] The Nuttings came over in the seventeenth century, 
the time of Governor Winthrop: [For the record I will say 
that there are two genealogies of the Nuttings published 
that I know of, copies which I saw in the genealogy department 
of the Los Angeles Public Library. I have copies that I am 
concerned about as they are annotated by my Aunt Anna Nutting 
and they ought to be in the hands of someone really interested 
in our fam.ily, or at least to be placed where they would be 
easily accessible to such a one. Briefly I am of the ninth 
generation of the Nuttings in this country. They came from 
England. Our progenitor, John Nutting (born in England), owned 
property and lived in Groton, Massachusetts. He was killed 
there by the Indians during an attack on the town in 1676. 
My branch descends from John Nutting, born 1762, of South 
Amherst, Massachusetts.] 

But, the earliest Nuttings I know anything about were 

farmers. There were two brothers. They left their plows in the 
field in the manner of Cincinnatus and went to the wars. One 
of thera settled at South Amherst and became what I imagine 
they called a master builder in those days. He was a carpenter, 
architect, builder, contractor and everything. There's a church 
at South Amherst, still standing, a good example of a New 
England church, which is his handiwork, very tasteful. The 
other brother v;ent to some place up in Maine, and he was the 
ancestor of Wallace Nutting who distinguished himself first 
as a very dynamic preacher. I think he had a church at 
Providence, Rhode Island. Then he became interested in photog- 
raphy, and I remember, as a youngster, his photographs were 
all over the place. They were very popular New England scenes 
of orchards and doof^ways and girls in bonnets and the like. 
He afterwards became quite an authority on Americana, especially 
furniture. I think he was one of the editors of the Britannic a 
on that subject. Incidentally I recently met Mr. Kinsey at 
UCLA. He was a neighbor of his and the first person I've met 
who really knew hLm and gave me any impression of him. I never 
met hLm myself and apparently he knew hLm quite well. So those 
are the two Nuttings, [that I Icnow much about]. 

My grandfather was one of a large family and had seven 
sisters. And like many people, not well-to-do in New England, 
the first thing you did, apparently, was to learn a craft [so 
as to have] some way of making a living. Thoreau, for example, 
was a pencil maker and [another man was] a cooper. So they 

combined an education with something for money-making. My 
grandfather, Eli Nutting, was trained as a toolmaker. I wish 
I had known him. I described him once to my father as I 
imagined he might have been, and he said I was surprisingly 
correct. He left a very interesting library which, I'm sorry 
to say, my aunt dispersed. It had old volames of things like 
Addison and Steele and biography and science. I remember taking 
down a book called Natural Philosophy , and then I realized 
that was vjhat we now call physics. In his days it v*as called 
natural philosophy, but it was a book on physics. So evidently 
he was a very much of a reader and, in his way, quite an 
unusual man. But he left Massachusetts and spent some time 
traveling around the country. He went up into V/lsconsin-- 
he came V/e£^t--and one story was that on a lake in VJisconsln. 
he shot a loon with a rifle, vjhich was supposed to be quite a 
feat. If he repeated it, it would've been a feat, but I 
rather imagine it was more an accident than anything else. 
Apparently, that made quite an impression on his family. He 
finally decided to settle near Cleveland, Ohio, in what is now 
Kent (in those days, it was Portage Mills), and he built a 
sawmill there. He too was a builder as well as being a crafts- 
man's toolmaker. 

He had tv;o children: my aunt, Anna Nutting, and my father, 
Myron Eli Nutting. My father went to Ohio State. Anna didn't 
go to college. A girl didn't go into higher education in 
those days so much, but she taught school and became principal 

of a high school in Kent, and taught Latin and math. They 
were both very grand people. One of the last times I saw 
ray Aunt Anna she was, by that time, nearly blind and could 
hardly do any reading, but during a conversation [she heard 
what] I told my father about a friend of mine who was a musi- 
cian. He had an idea that if he did a little algebra every- 
day at breakfast, it kept his wits alive and that was his 
"daily dozen," so far as brain work was concerned. [One day] 
this friend said, "Myron, I can't do this. I don't know 
what's the matter." He had what was a very simple little 
algebraic problem, and so I tried it, but I didn't get it 
either. Well I wasn't too much interested, and my algebra 
had become very weak. So I gave it up . I told Father about 
this and he said, "What was it?" I told him what the problem] 
was, and then went on talking about other things. Then I 
looked through the doorway, and there v;as my aunt. She had 
a little stub of a pencil and her eyes close up to a piece of 
paper and, darn it, here she was, in her nineties [doing this 
problem]. She worked it out beautifully. [laughter] She made 
me quite ashamed of myself. 

My father, too, was the same sort of a good old-fashioned 
man vjith his wits about him. [He had] a wonderful memory for 
verse and quotations. In his nineties, he was physically and 
mentally in wonderful shape fend remained so] up till the last 
year or so before he died. He would get out and dig up his 
lawn or cut down trees, read, think about things, and he 

liked to discuss things. It was stamina and character, some- 
how. I don't know. I may be wrong, but that seems to be 
somewhat rarer now. Maybe it was the harder life, but the 
pioneer spirit was in them--dogged determination and will, 
strength, uncomplaining meeting of life. It was quite 

wonderful , 

On the maternal side, my grandfather was a Virginian. 
I don't know where he was born, and unfortunately I haven't 
been in contact with relatives. I have no near relatives or 
people who'd know very much about the family, and due to 
a couple of fires, which destroyed property, records, family 
portraits, heirlooms, and such, I have hardly anything except 
my memories of the Carpenters. His name was Chester Carpenter 
Mv first name Myron is from my father's name and [my second], 
Chester, is from my grandfather's name. He came out from 
Virginia through the Cumberland Gap sometime before the Civil 
War, and he was a student of law. But the first way he had 
of making a living was getting a job for the surveying of 
land, which was paid for in land. So when he surveyed a 
section, he got maybe a quarter section, although I don't 
suppose it was that much. So while still quite a young man, 
he owned little parcels of land all over southern Illinois. 
This gave him a very good start . 

He was a brilliant man, apparently; at least he has the 
reputation of being one. I remember when I was a youngster, 
I was taken down to McLeansboro to visit their family 

(my aunt was still living) and I met an old boy who looked 
at me and said, "So you're Ches Carpenter's grandson. Well, 
well," he says, "the smartest man I ever see and the beatenest 
one to fight." [laughter] Apparently Chester Carpenter had 
a very quick temper. But he and his brothers were very 
intelligent boys. One of them took the position they had 
then of auditor and treasurer of the State of Illinois. 

My grandfather, Chester Carpenter, died when he was only 
thirty-two or thirty-three, but he was already quite a 
vjell-known man and rather well-to-do. He owned all the 
buildings along one side of the square. You know the 
southern towns were built around the square, with the court- 
house in the middle. And after my grandfather's death, the 
property was in the hands of a lawyer who was rather careless. 
He let the insurance expire just about the day before that 
whole side of the square burned, [laughter] Also, my father's 
house burned — another fire — so, as I say, our records and 
heirlooms and family portraits and all the things that 
people treasure and are of value to us have been lost. 

My grandmother died rather young, of consumption . What 
her ancestry was I don't know, except that there were rela- 
tives in various parts of the South. Where she came from 
originally I don't know. My mother, when she was quite young, 
was left as an orphan. She was a ward of this lawyer who let 
the insurance expire, and when she became of ago, she married. 
She was still in her teens, and it was a very unfortunate 

marriage which was dissolved before long. She, too, I 
alvjays felt, was a very amazing person, because she v;as 
raised in southern comfort. Her people were not rich, but 
had a certain degree of affluence for those days in that part 
of the country. So she was sent North to a boarding school, 
I think some school in Ohio. I don't remember where and I 
have no record of it. But she always had a little southern 
accent, although not much. She had horses. She was a 
beautiful rider, and as a child, I remember seeing her ride. 
There was one short time in Mexico when she had a beautiful 
Arabian horse. VJomen still wore habits and rode sidesaddle, 
and it was like an old engraving--her flowing skirt, you 
knov'/, and this wonderful little black Arabian horse, galloping 
across the country hnis. It's som.ething I remember quite 
vividly. But, as I say, in spite of that kind of a life, 
when suddenly faced with reality, she took the bit in her 
teeth and [got a job] through som.e friend who was a congress- 
man. I've forgetten who he was. I ought to remember his 
name because she spoke of him, and he may have been a 
relative^ [but I think he was probablj^ a family friend. So 
she got this job of teaching on the Rosebud Indian Reservation 
in South Dakota, and she picks up and goes out there with 
a youngster (I think he was about ten years old). And for a 
year^ she taught Indians on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, 
and she lived a pretty difficult life--so far from civilization, 
Then, from there, she went to Denver, Colorado, to some friend 

of hers. She was kind of a companion-secretary for this 
person. There my father met her. 

My father, as I said, went to Ohio State. In those 
days, the college vjas sort of semi-military, and my father 
commanded the company from his college at the funeral of 
President Garfield. When I was a child, I used to be very 
fond of his sword. He had a sword (it was lost in the fire) 
and I used to get the sword down and swing it around. 
Father's interests as a young man were essentially scien- 
tific. He, I think, wanted to be an engineer. He was not 
a great reader of literature, but he had a wonderful 
memory for poetry. I think that was partly due to his up- 
bringing. His parents used to have hLm recite a verse every 
Saturday evening. He had to memorize, during the week, 
a piece of poetry and then recite it. That was part of his 
education, and he got in the habit of reading poetry and 
memorizing it. So, even as an old man, as I say, in his 
nineties, he amazed the nurses in the hospital by bursting 
out in long quotations from Tennyson [laughter] or other 
poems that had been his favorites, which he could remember 
beautifully. It was quite astonishing. But in a general 
way, his interest was in scientific things. 

He was Interested in political life; he never took part 
in it, but he kept up and was very keen on it. His ideas 
were v/hat in those days were considered quite to the left-- 
socialistic. One of the books that influenced him was 

Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward . He thought that was a 
very fine allegory of political economy and a basis for 
real thinking on our problems. 

Of course, the period as I remember, was a very diffi- 
cult one in this country. It was the depression; it was the 
days of things like Coxey's army, the Homestead strike 
and labor troubles. And life was not easy for my parents 
when I was young. As an engineer, there were times when 
he was out of work, and tLmes were extremely hard. 

Father and Mother were married in Denver, and then he 
got a position as a reconnaissance engineer and surveyor 
for the Union Pacific, which took him to southern Nevada. 
I was born in a little town in southern Nevada called 
Panaca, which is not very far from Ploche. In those days, 
I think it was about 1^5 miles from the railroad, [you] 
hitched up a rig and drove across the desert to Panaca. 
When I was on the way, my father, of course, was very much 
concerned (I don't know what they had in the way of doctors 
out in that neck of the woods — only there were no woods )^ so 
he sent to Denver [for a woman]. How he got her name and 
connection, I don't know. I always heard her spoken of as 
Auntie Reem. Auntie Reem came down to take care of my 
mother during her pregnancy and my arrival. She was one 
of these old-fashioned New England characters and must have 
really been one. She made the trip, as I say, 1^5 miles 
with a couple of mustangs and buckboard. [laughter] She 


stopped someplace to ask about lodging, and the girl, 
apparently a bit snooty for some reason, explained to 
Auntie Reem, "This is a ho-tel." So Auntie Reem looked 
around and said, "V/ell, I never would have mistrusted it." 
[laughter] She arrived and I came into the world success- 
fully. Auntie Reem stayed with us, I think, for a year or 
so as my nurse. There were Indians there (I don't know what 
Indians were down in southern Nevada at that time), and 
Auntie Reem apparently was quite startled one day to look 
up and see an Indian looking in the vtodow. She said, "What 
do you want?" 

And he said, "Huh, papoose." 

Auntie Reem said, "Yes, a white papoose." 

"Hold hLm up." 

So Auntie Reem lifted me out of the crib and held me 
up for him to look at . 

So he was looking at me and said, "Huh. How many?" 

Auntie Reem say, "One, you fool, do you think babies 
like this come in droves?" [laughter] That was one of ray 
mother's favorite stories about Auntie Reem. 

Well, then Father left the Union Pacific, and went to 
work with the Butte and Anaconda Mines to do reconnaissance 
[workj. Here again is something I think is quite amazing 
about my mother: the way that she would have courage, 
you know, in meeting all situations. She went with Father. 
She had an almost religious belief that the wife's place 


was with her husband. No matter where he went^ she was 
going to be right there by his side. So she went up there to 
Montana to the Bitter Root Range in midwinter, riding 
horseback, making camp at night and carrying me, a little 
baby, on the pommel of her saddle and warming my toes by 
the campfire. And she took it all in her stride. 

Then, at Hamilton, Montana, my brother was born, 
Arthur Nutting. I was fourteen m.onths old then, so I 
suppose I was about a year old when Father was doing 
this reconnaissance. And from there, he went to Butte to 
work as mining engineer for the Butte Mines. Those were 
the days of Marcus Daly. V/ell, my earliest memories are of 
Butte, and I think my earliest memory is probably from about 
the age of three. It is very definitely a memory of 
childhood, because I'm not in a bed, but in a kind of a 
crib and there's a windov; just above my crib. Under that 
is a calendar, and I still have a piece of that calendar 
[laughter], for some strange reasonj at my desk there. It 
made quite an impression on me. It was of birds sitting on 
a branch; it was a chromolithograph sort of thing and had 
an interesting v;ay of reflecting a rosy light up onto 
these birds from some sort of metallic paper back of them. 

Then I remember my mother must have been ill. This v;as, 
of course, later and I think I would have been then between 
three and four. I remember going out vjlth my father to a 
restaurant, and I can still remember the disposition of the 


table and the white tablecloth and where the door was and 
that we had a baked potato. I remember that quite clearly-- 
the atmosphere of that room. The reason that I remember 
my age then is because my mother said one day, "You're four 
years old." VJell, I didn't know what that meant. It was 
something about me; but she didn't explain what it meant 
that I was four years old. And how little I understood, 
I remember, because some boy came to the place, delivering 
something, and he talked to me and said, "What's your name?" 
I said, "Four years old." [laughter] I suddenly had 
become something different. I wasn't "Myron" anymore; 
I was four years old! [laughter] 

And those years [when I wa^ three, four, five and six 
vears old. T can tTlace hv dates because we moved about 
once a year. That house I can remember very distinctly, 
and I thought I would like to describe it and everything 
that happened there (this is kind of a psychological ex- 
periment, you know), because so much of it comes up to mind. 
It was on a hillside, and it was a very small house. 
I remember very distinctly that when we first went there 
we only occupied three rooms. Then the woman who lived 
next to us (apparently the top floor was divided) moved 
away, so then we had the whole top floor of this little 
house. I remember her name was Black. I remember that on 
the right side — we faced the street — [there] was a German 
family by the name of Mushrush. How in the world that name 


is spelled, I don't know. She was a very talkative woman, 
and she had a baby. [She had] a colored boy who took care 
of the place. For some reason, she must have been more 
prosperous than the rest of us. This colored boy, I remember, 
was devoted to my mother. He sensed some home atmosphere 
about my mother in the way she treated hLm, and he didn't 
like the people in Butte very much and didn't like his 
life there very much. 

On the other side, down below us, was a family by the 
name of Cook, and they were a very strange family. My 
older brother, Merritt (he took his mother's family name-- 
Merritt Carpenter), was living with us, and he was also 
working. He was a member of the Montana militia, and he 
used to be called out once in a while for troubles such 
as APA riots. I remember riots used to be one of the 
events in those days. The fact is that Butte was a decidedly 
tough mining camp for labor troubles, APA troubles. When 
we left, I can still remember my mother crying for joy about 
getting away from there. From there, we went down to Mexico, 
and we were there for a little over a year. 
SCHIPPERS: VJhat was the community life like in Butte? 
NUTTING: V/e were rather isolated. We vjere up on the hill, 
the time I am thinking of just now, not far from the 
Bell mine. Father and Mother had very few friends in 
Butte; there were very few people that were at all congenial. 
I remember one person they were quite fond of (I don't know 


why she was living in Butte) was a great granddaughter of 
Nathaniel Greene. She had a beautiful, big St. Bernard 
dog. And they used to see her quite often, but I don't 
remember anything that we would call social life — I mean, 
many people for dinner, going out much, anything of that sort 
Mother used to take rather too much care of us^ I think. 
[Every day] she used to make us put on a clean, white shirt- 
waist. [I think that's what they called them] in those 
days. They had wide collars and were funny kinds of things 
for boys to wear. She had an idea, I'm afraid, of making 
a kind of a Little Lord Fauntleroy out of me if she could, 
to tell the truth. And both myself and Arlie had long 
hair and wide collars. (Little Lord Fa untleroy made its 
Impact on childhood life at about that time.) So that, 
what with her housework and all, she had long hours, doing 
all her own laundry and everything. She used to wash and 
iron these shirtwaists (there 'd be fourteen of them a week), 
so you can Imagine she didn't have very much time or very 
much strength left over. She wasn't a strong woman, and 
she wasn't well very much of the tLme--really well. 

Both Father and Mother took a great interest in the 
life around them, in a way, that is to say. I remember 
that while we were there, there was the campaign on for 
the choice of the capital for the state of Montana, whether 
it should be Helena or Butte. My mother used to write 
articles for the local paper. First, she'd pull for 


Helena [laughter]. Just because she itked to write. She 
had talent as a writer, too, which, unfortunately, never 
had a chance of being really developed. The fact is, 
there were two influences on my childhood and my youth-- 
my father and mother. On one side, there was the sort 
of the scientific^ rational approach from my father who 
wanted to discuss things and argue exactly, to the point 
and so forth, which is very good. He stimulated that 
in me. He wanted me to develop the concept of clear, 
rational thinking. My mother, who was a great reader and 
a great lover of Dickens, would have loved to have been 
a writer. She left some little scraps of manuscript that 
showed some talent, but she never had the chance to do 
anything with it. V/hat with a very early marriage and 
divorce, bringing up Merritt^ making a living, and our 
coming along, she couldn't develop her talents in those 
ways, but she did cultivate in me a love of literature and 
the other side of mental activity. 
SCHIPPERS: Was there any church-going? 
NUTTING: No. Father, of course, was brought up in the 
stern New England idea of religion--Congregationalist , 
of course, rather Calvinistic in some ways--but he rebelled 
early in life. So, for a long time, I think, he was what 
you'd probably call agnostic, but I don't know if you could 
pin anything on hLm especially. Mother was very religious 
in feeling. As a girl she was brought up as an Episcopalian 


A Jesuit priest of quite an old, fine family of Cincinnati 
(l think it was, Garachet) befriended her and had quite a 
lot of influence, I think, on her life. For awhile she 
tended to turn toward Catholicism. But aside from 
fchat, although] I think, in a true sense, both of them were 
very religious, they weren't church people in the least. 
They read, they thought, they felt deeply, but without 
joining anything. Neither of them were very good joiners. 
SCHIPPERS: And how did you get along with your brothers 
at this young age? What was your relationship with them? 
NUTTING: My relationship with the family was always mar- 
velous, really. I don't know how old Merrltt would have 
been, [but fron^ v;hen I first remember him, he'd be about 
nineteen or so . I think he was sixteen when I was born. 
My little brother, Arthur, \ias fourteen months younger than 
myself. He was a very strange child, very intelligent, 
very quiet. I was more extroverted. I liked to go out and 
dig around the dirt and make mud pies and build things. 
He liked to sit around and meditate about things, and he 
didn't like to get his hands dirty. If he got his hands 
dirty, he went right off and washed them, [laughter] i never 
bothered. He had a very strangely mature mind for a child. 
Just before he died, before his last Illness, Mother came 
in one day (it was down in Jalapa in Mexico), and [he was] 
sitting on one of these little chairs you see around Olvera 
Street, little small chairs. They had a couple of these 


chairs for us youngsters, and he was sitting on it when 
Mother came in and said, "Arlie, why so solemn? V/hat are 
you thinking about? YOu Just had your sixth birthday. 
Tell me about it." And he said, "Well, Momma, I know I'm 
six years old, and you know, I'm thinking about what good 
times I used to have when I was a small boy." [laughter] 
And he always felt himself as an adult for some strange 
reason. He always went around very dignified, very sweet, 
very nice. Childish foolishness was something that wasn't 
for him. [laughter] Why I don't know, because I liked to 
romp around and be foolish. No, he wanted to think about 
things--meditate . 

Butte in those days was not only a big, very rough, 
raining camp, but also they had smelters. It was open-air 
smelting, and the dire result of that v.-as that the fumes, 
the smoke of the smelters, killed all vegetation around 
town. You couldn't have any gardens. You couldn't grow 
flowers. You couldn't have any lawns. So that was one 
reason it made Mother extremely unhappy: to have us 
children growing up on what was practically an ash-heap, 
so far as nature was concerned. 

Nature was in the distance, because we were up on the 
hill, and we could look across to forests on the mountains 
in front of the house. To the south, there was the mountain 
range and the horizon. And to the north there were hills. 
They had no trees, but you could just barely make out little 


tiny dark spots moving around. We were told those were 
cows. Father used to set up his transit once in awhile 
and let us look through the telescope. And we looked and, 
sure enough, these little tiny black spots were cows. 
They were eating grass, but there was no grass around us. 
The fact is, Arlie and I used to wander around the hill [on 
which we lived], and once in awhile, there would be a little 
green something coming out of this parched earth. It was 
a wild onion of some sort — the only thing that would grov/ 
on that hillside--and we found that very exciting, this 
little green thing coming up. 

Father suddenly was given a position by Marcus Daly. 
Marcus Daly then had interests in a railroad in the state 
of Veracruz. Marcus Daly thought a great deal of my father. 
If my father had been a more practical, business-like sort 
of a person, and with a good Rotarlan sort of mind he could 
have made a fortune easily. But he v;as somewhat Introverted 
and not the sort of a man to push himself in the least. So 
he never did make a fortune, but other people did. Oppor- 
tunities were tremendous. Well, Marcus Daly sent Father 
down to Jalapa as chief engineer of a railroad, not a very 
long railroad but with a very long name. I don't know 
whether I have that name someplace or not. We were down 
there for about a year and a half. And then Marcus Daly sold 
out his interests. Father didn't get along too well with 
the other people on the road, so he returned and v;ent back 


to railway surveying and reconnaissance out in the Northwest, 
Life in Jalapa was delightful. I think it was probably 
the happiest year of my mother's married life, because we 
had a house, we had lots of servants, we had horses (the 
whole company 'lj stables), and Mother had this beautiful 
little Arabian horse that sort of danced. It couldn't walk; 
it was so full of life and feeling that it waltzed down the 
street Instead of trotting or walking. And, as I said, when 
she had on an old-fashioned riding habit, and riding side- 
saddle, and galloping across the country, she was quite a 
lovely sight. 

I had a little horse called Fred. Fred got burrs in 
his tail, and Father told the stableboy to get the burrs 
out. He got the burrs out, all right, in a very simple 
way. He simply clipped the hair around the root of the 
tail — burrs, hair and everything — which made the horse look 
rather like a mule, rather grotesque. It embarrassed me 
terribly because people would make fun of my horse and its 
funny tail. So when we went out riding I was very glad to 
get out in the country where nobody would see me. I still 
remember my embarrassment with poor Fred and his funny tail. 
Arlie had a little black pony, and he was rather afraid 
of the little animal. It was frisky. Arlie longed for a 
donkey. He thought it would be lovely to have a donkey and 
ride the donkey around. But he looked so fetching with 
his yellow curls and this little black horse, just out of 


a picture book, that Mother couldn't bear to give up the 
little horse and hoped he'd get used to it and learn to ride. 
But she always regretted that the last year in his life he 
didn't have more fun with his riding, which he could have 
had with some other animal. 

Jalapa had a very delightful climate and there were 
very delightful people there. There was a French consul 
at Tampicoj he ted his family there, and I think he owned 
an estate or some property. There was an English colony 
of people who were buying land, planting coffee and doing 
things — a superior group. It was the first time in many 
years Mother had a chance for association with people of 
that sort. So we had wonderful dinner parties and Christmas 
parties and went horseback riding and, in many ways, had a 
very delightful time until my little brother got scarlet 
fever. He pulled through the scarlet fever all right, 
but then because of some aftereffects I think it affected 
his kldneys--he was terribly ill and didn't pull through. 
We did everything in the world. Father even chartered a 
special train to bring a doctor down from Mexico City to see 
if he could do anything for him. This cost quite a lot of 
money. He came down and said that nothing could be done, 
that everything was being done that possibly could be done, 
that the care was excellent, that the doctor we had there was 
very good; so he went back. At least Father and Mother had 
the comfort of knowing they didn't leave a stone unturned. 


Then [with] Arlie ' s death and this change of hands with 
the railroad, we came back for awhile and stayed v;lth my 
aunt in Ohio. Then I had to be ill, which scared my parents, 
I suppose, half to death. I was ill for quite awhile. I 
remember I went straight to bed after we got to my aunt's, 
and I wasn't up for quite a long time. And the result was 
that [I never went to grammar school, although I did go] to 
high school. It seemed to vjork out quite well in some ways, 
although not altogether because I missed being with other 
children and the experiences of school v^hich you have besides 
the studies. But in some sort of strange way, when I went 
to high school, I was rather better prepared than most of 
the other kids were. Without any pressure being put on my 
work, [my parents] seemed to lead me into quite good paths of 
thinking, learning and reading. 

SCHIPPERS: What was the nature of your Illness? 
NUTTING: Scarlet fever. It didn't leave any permanent 
damage. I was frail for awhile after that, and they were 
rather afraid to have me do anything except look after my- 
self and having me taken care of. My father then was doing 
some reconnaissance for Northern Pacific up along the coast 
of Washington, from Grays Harbor up to Strait of Juan de 
Fuca. Mother had the idea that outdoor life would be won- 
derful for me, so we went out in camp. We were in camp 
for a year up there. And it did [help]. It was great. 
SCHIPPERS: During this time that you were not attending 


school, how did you receive your Instruction? 
NUTTING: In a very hit-or-miss sort of way, but not alto- 
gether too unsuccessfully. Mother was a great reader; she 
loved to read to me, and she tai ght me to read and culti- 
vated a sense of literature and a love of reading. Father 
loved to discuss things with me; he loved to give me the 
elensnts — even as a little child — of geometry, for example, 
telling me the various mathematical terms. Then they had 
the idea I needed more real schooling. I was more or less 
convalescing for some months from severe scarlet fever, 
and so they used to buy me books. 

Among other things, there was the problem of arithmetic. 
Father got me a small arithmetic and introduced me to the 
study of arithmetic, of hovj to add and subtract and so forth. 
I started the book on page one with the definition of arith- 
metic; I learned the definition by heart and then did the 
problems. I then came to another definition and would learn 
that one by heart. Everyday I would do a little work in 
my arithmetic book. Sometimes it wasn't very much; other 
times I would be more ambitious, and I might do quite a bit. 

And, finally, I took that book to my father, and I said, 
"I finished this book." And he said, "So, you finished it? 
Let's see what you've done." So he gave me a little examina- 
tion, a few problems to work, a few definitions to answer, 
and he said, "Well, that's not bad." And we went downtown 
and bought another arithmetic book, but this time about 


three times as thick. The strange thing Is that I took 
this book and treated it the same as I did the first book. 
Starting with page one, I learned the definition or any 
difference in the definition there might have been. I did 
all the problems. Page by page I v/ent through the book. 
Every day I'd do something in my arithmetic book. 

Other studies vjere [handled] more or less the same way. 
They got me schoolbooks, and I remember there was a set of 
books called "Carpenter's Geographical Readers," vjhich was 
supposed to teach children geography by an imaginary trip 
of youngsters around the world,. I enjoyed them and I 
followed these kids all around South America and Europe, 
everyplace, and I got quite a little idea [of what it was 
like]. I was very fond of map-drawing, I used to win prizes 
at county fairs by drawing maps. So with a combination of 
map-drawing and that sort of reading, my geographical know- 
ledge was somewhat above most kids of mj'' age. 

Both through this strange method and my fondness for 
reading, it turned out, when I did go to high school that 
I was rather better prepared than most of the other students, 
In some spots I might be much weaker, but in general infor- 
mation, I was way ahead of most of them. It might have 
been better for me to have had a little more companionship, 
spend more time with children my own age and have human 
relationships, but there were compensations, and I have no 


Iliad , and you read the Iliad along with your practice of 
the violin, and that will help you a great deal." 

So my Introduction to Homer was Pope's translation 
of the Iliad . I went down and got a copy that they used 
in school and read the Iliad . But there was a note there-- 
I think maybe more German than anything else — of a certain 
idea of the relationship of the cultures. You know, music 
and art and literature all went together, and there must 
be some way of integrating them, not simply [tc^ be a clever 
fiddler [laughter] but you must be a cultivated man if you 
are going to be a musician. 

Many, many years later, I told that story to James 
Joyce, and he was quite startled. And he said, "V/hat was 
his name?" [laughter] Joyce was very interesting that way. 
When he had some idea or met a person who had some peculia- 
rity, he became intensely interested, and he wanted to know 
all about them. He wanted to know their name, where they 
came from and all that sort of thing. I had been out with 
him one evening and we met a Greek. Something about the 
evening being finished off by meeting a Greek seemed to him 
quite important, and he sat beside this Greek sailor and 
talked to him. [laughter] 

Of course, that year in Penn Yan was important to me — 
at that age when the world is opeining up before you--my 
introduction to music, my introduction to Homer and my 
going to high school, which was a brand-new experience. 


Another quite influential aspect of my life was a young 
fellow I knew there — also a high school student but older 
than I. It seems to me all my life I have associated with 
people who are older than I. That time is long past now, 
of course, but as a young man I seemed to go around with 
older boys and with older people. He was studying piano. 
He belonged to a well-to-do family in Penn Yan, and his fa- 
ther had a very nice library. I used to go to his house in 
the evening, and he sat at the piano in the next room. 
I remember he was working on Bach preludes. He could play 
rather well. He was not going to be a good musician, but 
he was a good student and a hard worker. And these Bach 
preludes made quite an impression on me, and ever since 
then I've been extremely fond of Bach and the preludes. 
I went on to other Bach compositions and music and even- 
tually played some little things myself on the violin-- 
solo and a little group playing. 

But while he was doing that, I would sit in the li- 
brary and browse among the books, and I found John Ruskin. 
Well, I was interested in drawing, art, and so I became 
interested in Ruskin. My aunt happened to run across a 
little copy of Ruskin 's Elements of Drawing , and I took 
that little book and studied it very seriously. Then my 
father got me a set of Ruskin, and I still have it. [It's 
a] cheap set, you know- -reprinted complete works of John 
Ruskin. Some of it I found rather disturbing, and some 
of it extremely interesting. And, as a teenager, I was 


rather a disciple of Ruskin. I read with great interest 
his ideas on art and his ideas on sociology and politics and 
all the rest of it. 

Father came back from his work up in northern Canada. 
It was a sort of a semi-exploration, survey-reconnaissance 
for the Grand Trunk Pacific that was afterwards built, but 
in those days, the country was not even well mapped. So 
it was a rugged experience, especially in the winter. 
He traveled by dogsled, and he had adventures, such as 
getting lost. Not having it well mapped, he didn't make 
his destination at the time he was expected. He and his 
party were three days late and out of food, so they all went 
hungry for three days. But the curious thing is that he 
didn't think that was abnormal at all. He thought it was 
rather a wholesome thing to do, to fast once in awhile, 
[laughter] He didn't think that he had undergone any special 
hardship; it was just unfortunate, that was all. [It wa^ 
especially unfortunate when finally, at the end of three 
days, they came to a lake, where they managed to catch 
some fish, and they cooked the fish and everything was 
hunky-dory; but after he had finished his meal, he choked 
on a fish bone and threw up his meal. [laughter] It was 


But, as I say, he was gone and there was about three 
months that we didn't even have word from him; he didn't 
even get any word out to civilization. But when he 


finished the work, he came back and wanted to give my mother 
and myself a treat, so it was a trip to New York City. 
We went to New York City and, of course, what I wanted to 
see most of all was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So, 
we went there. At that time, the Metropolitan Museum of 
Art had its collection of master drawings on view — something 
that you'll very seldom see. I don't know that any museam 
really does that now. They'll have a few things out. 
They have a few things out down here [Los Angeles], ani they 
have quite a good collection of drawings and prints. But 
they had a very large portion of their collection on screens, 
on one of those balconies around one of the courts in the 
Metropolitan Museum. The screens were set at right angles 
to the wall, and as you walked down on each side, they had 
the master drawings. Well those fascinated me beyond 
measure. I was thrilled with those things. Although I 
was interested in the painting, I think probably that 
collection of drawings influenced me more than anything 
else — that stimulated more love of that sort of thing. 

So we spent about a week in New York and, of course, 
did all the things — going to Grant's Tomb, up the Statue 
of Liberty (we had to walk up in those days and I remember 
my legs ached for days afterward). Every morning Father 
would say, "Well, son, what do you want to see this 
morning?" So I'd say, "I'd like to go to the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art," Well, poor Father was bored stiff with 


the Metropolitan by that time. He'd seen all he'd wanted 
to see of all those old things. But we'd spend part of 
the day at the Metropolitan and I would go up and study 
those master drawings. So those were not the beginnings 
but one of the most powerful influences in my interest in 
visual art. 

I made good use of my little copy of Ruskin's Elements 
of Drawing , and I think I still have someplace a sort of a 
facsimile copy I made of a bit he has in that book of a 
woodcut of Albrecht Ddrer's. He advised you to copy that 
very meticulously, so I did. I must have worked hours with 
a fine point, getting each line exactly the right shape, 
with this little piece of a woodcut, [laughter] Years later, 
Ruskin wrote another book called Laws of Fiesol e (he al- 
ways had rather fancy titles for his books), and to my 
distress, his advice on how to study didn't seem to jibe 
at all with his earlier book. Elements of Drawing . [It was] 
a little bit confusing. Among other things in his career, 
Ruskin was the first Slade professor of fine arts at Oxford. 

Then I used to spend my pennies, in those days, on a 
publication of prints, called the Perry Pictures, that you 
could get for one penny apiece. You got a catalogue and got 
all the masterpieces of art in little halftone reproductions, 
oh, about six-by-eight, I suppose. They were used in schools, 
etc., [in the] study of art history, before the days of the 
beautiful, wonderful color reproductions of things we have 


now — things, of course, which are much more valuable, much 
more interesting to an art student. Magazines that are now 
thrown away would have been quite expensive, thrilling 
things in those days. So I had my little Perry Pictures. 

I also used to browse around secondhand bookstores in 
stacks of old magazines and find things from which I'd 
make clippings. I had quite a large stack of clippings. 
I knew all the American illustrators very well; I could 
spot them a mile off. [And that was] one thing that always 
Impressed me. I didn't understand why people couldn't tell 
an oil painting from a watercolor or an etching from a 
drawing, because I learned quite early. I remember on the 
wall of my grandmother's house, there was a picture which 
was obviously a photographic reproduction, but I could 
see, [even from] the photographic reproduction, that it was a 
drawing and on toned paper, probably in charcoal and worked 
over with white. It may have had some color in it, but you 
couldn't tell because of the monochromatic reproduction. 

I happened to mention that reproduction of a drawing, 
and my grandmother said, "That's a painting." 

I said, "No, Grandmother, that's not from a painting, 
that's from a drawing." 

"That's from a painting I" 

Well [laughter], I didn't contradict her, but I was 
amazed that a grown person, after years of experience, 
couldn't tell a drawing from a painting. 


From my many clippings and my little penny pictures 
and other material, I rather early got quite a little feel- 
Irg for art and its period and its schools--what was American, 
what was French, what was German, what was the Eighteenth 
Century, what was Renaissance, what was Gothic. And maybe 
it would have been a more practical life for me to have 
carried it on and maybe become an art historian or some- 
thing of that sort, but I like to make things. I like to 
make things besides paintings, drawings. I used to be 
always interested in constructing something. I remember 
reading about early American life and [that they] had spin- 
ning wheels. V/ell, I hadn't seen a spinning wheel, but I 
got the principle of the spinning wheel, and I thought it 
would be interesting to make a spinning wheel. So I worked 
like a Turk trying to build a spinning wheel. 

That was before the days of Santos-Dumont, and I thought 
that a flying machine oughtn't to be too difficult to make. 
And I argued with Father, "Now, why can't you make an 
airship? All you have to do is have a balloon that you 
can get up in the air, and then you put sails on it like 
you v;ould on a ship, and why can't you sail around just like 
you do on the water?" So Father went to great pains to ex- 
plain to me the difficulties. I got as far as understanding, 
theoretically, but I don't think it was too obtuse [to think] 
that, if the wind was going quite fast, you could maybe 
have some way, instead of pushing it ahead faster than the 


wind, of slowing it up and then you could steer it. That, 
of course, is rather feasible. But what do you want to 
slov; up the thing for? — you want to travel. [laughter] 

So Father was very patient In his discussion of all 
subjects, and we used to discuss all sorts of things. He 
introduced me, very early, to the elements of geometry and 
elements of science or physics and chemical knowledge, 
which was very helpful to a kid. It was very nice indeed. 
SCHIPPERS: You just discovered that we got a little out of 
sequence and that before you went to Penn Yan, New York, 
you v;ent to Cleveland and stayed at your aunt's, during 
that period you were ill, and you stayed there for about 
nine months. Then you went from there to Idaho, and from 
Idaho to Washington. Then, after Washington, you went to 
Penn Yan, New York, where you first went to high school. 
So we are going to fill in on that period you didn't discuss 
before . 

NUTTING: Well Father went back to railway reconnaissance 
and surveys, and he had a piece of work on the Northern 
Pacific, in Idaho, up above Lewiston, up the Cleanvater 
River, I think it was. It was the branch of the Snake and 
the Clearwater. I think their confluence is at Lewiston, 
if I remember rightly. So we went to Lewiston, Idaho, and 
then Mother wanted to be nearer my father, so we went over 
to Camus Prairie. But that I remember very distinct ly-- 
and that v;as rather unusual in a way — because we went 


seventy-five miles across the mountains in an old-fashioned 
Concord stage — the sort of a thing you see in the movies. 
(I may have been nine years old, between eight and nine 
years old), so, of course, my memory of that stage is of 
something enormous, great big, high wheels, and I had 
to be lifted up in the contraption. The trip started at 
four o'clock in the morning, I remember. We made the 
seventy-five miles in the one day to a little settlement 
on the prairie. (For a moment I can't think of the name 
of the town.) There were three little settlements in those 
days on the prairie, and they raised wheat. It was beau- 
tiful country. After you crossed the mountains, you came 
down on this prairie, and in the distance on the horizon, 
it was circled by the mountains. There vjere wheat farms 
there. We stayed at a little hotel. Father's camp was 
up in the mountains some miles away. He used to come down 
and spend weekends with us. 

One day, I went out a few miles out from this little 
settlement to where they were heading wheat and rode around 
on a header all morning. Then it came lunchtime, and they 
asked me if I wanted to ride one of the horses down for a 
drink. V/ell, that pleased me very much, so I got on board 
this animal and rode him down a few hundred yards to a creek 
so the horse could get a drink. Well, I was still not 
strong. I was well but still frail from my bout with 
scarlet fever, and what with the hot sun, I suppose, and 


a certain amount of fatigue from riding around on this header, 
I fainted — fell off the horse. I had a feeling the horse 
was running av/ay, but it v^asn't because when I came to, the 
horse was grazing right beside me. So it hadn't been 
running, but I suppose the landscape ccmmenced to heave 
up and down and then disappeared completely, and the next 
thing I knew I was lying flat on my back staring at the sky. 
I got up and found that my left arm felt very queer, and 
I couldn't move it. I picked it up, and it hurt like fury. 
So I took my hand about my v;rist, and carried my arm, and 
started to the house, which was in sight. It wasn't too 
far away — a few hundred yards, I suppose. I started walking, 
but I had to lie down every little while. I'd get faint, 
and I'd lie down; then I'd come to. 

Finally, I got up to the farmhouse, and they were 
preparing their midday meal. The people were very sjrmpa- 
thetic and said, "Oh, what happened?" 

I said, "Well, I fell off ray horse and hurt my arm." 

"Oh, you did. Well, let's feel it." So they grabbed 
it and commenced to work it to see what was the matter 
with it. I protested of course. And they said, "V/ell, I 
guess you must have sprained it or something." 

So I said, "May 03 so." 

They made me a sling from a tov;el and put my arm in 
it and said, "Doesn't that feel more comfortable?" 

And I said, "Yes, that feels a little better." 


"Well, nov; we'll have dinner." 

"Well," I said, "I'm awfully sorry, I'd like to get 
home . " 

And they said, "What? You won't stay? Aren't you 
hungry? Don't you want to have something to eat before you 


I said, "No, I don't feel hungry." 
So somebody hitched up a little two-wheel ... (what 
do you call those little vehicles they used to have in those 
days?) and we went off across the prairie. Here I v;as 
hanging onto this thing and jolting up and down in this 
little buggy. They got me home and got a young doctor 
who was there. I remember his name was Stockton, an 
awfully nice young fellow. He examined my arm. By that tLme 
it was swollen quite a lot. And he said, "It's broken, 
undoubtedly broken. But," he said, "the swelling has started 
so that I can't tell too much about it." 

Well, they put me to bed. One thing that was rather 
peculiar, and I think very unusual (usually you can fall 
under a horse, you know, and you never get stepped on) was 
that there was a print of a horse's hoof, black and blue, 
around my elbow here. Dr. Stockton said that he didn't 
really feel qualified to do very much with that arm and 
advised sending up to the mountains to a surgeon who was 
stationed up there in the mines. He thought that he would 
know a lot more about that sort of a problem than he would. 


so Father sent up for him and he came down. 

He was a very Jolly fellow and I remember he liked 
to use big Latin words and wanted me to read Robert Louis 
Stevenson's Treasure Island . So they got me a copy of that, 
and he put my arm in a cast. As a matter of fact, it was 
very lucky that that accident happened when I was so young, 
because my arm was stiff as a board for a long time. Mother 
used to massage it every morning. And then [I'd] do little 
exercises. It's still crooked, but I can get it almost up 
as far as the other arm. But for a year it was just a 
stiff arm. 

Then Dr. Stockton used to take me out on his trips,' 
he was very nice to me . I'd ride around over the prairies 
and visit his patients. One day the team ran away coming 
home at night, and that was quite an exciting experience 
because I only had one arm to hang on with while the horses 
were galloping around over rocks and all sorts of things. 
I thought the horses were going in a straight line, so I 
didn't know how many miles I had gone. V/hat happened was 
that the doctor had gotten out to find the road, because 
there wasn't any real road, and while he was out, the horses 
were startled and they ran away. But the lucky thing was 
that Dr. Stockton could station himself in the direction 
the horses wanted to run, and everytLme they'd come towards 
him, he'd scare them around and they went around in a circle 
I didn't know that. So when they finally did stop and I 


called Dr. Stockton, I was amazed to find he wasn't very- 
far away, I thought I was miles and miles away. [laughter] 

Then we decided to go into camp with my father, and 
he got the tent, and we went up into the mountains where 
his work was, and we lived under canvas for the rest of 
the summer until the fall. I caught my first trout, very 
much to my surprise. I was looking at the stream one day, 
and I thought it would be rather interesting if I could 
catch a fish. So I got some thread from my mother and 
a pin, and I bent the pin and put it on the thread and 
tied it to a light branch that I cut from a bush. Then 
I stuck a grasshopper on the pin and tossed it over. I 
was simply going through the m.otions of fishing; I didn't 
know I was going to really fish. I had never seen anybody 
fish. I'd just seen pictures of people fishing, and that's 
the way it seemed to be done — you had bait on a hook, and 
you dropped it in the water, and they were supposed to bite. 
So I was playing at fishing, and no sooner did this grass- 
hopper strike the water, then whaml the trout grabbed it. 
[laughter] And I yanked it, and the trout flew over my 
head, and I remember it landed, flopping on the ground some 
distance behind me. I was so startled, so wildly excited, 
I jumped up and down and yelled for my father, and he 
came rushing out of the tent to see what in the world 
happened, [laughter] And that was what happened--! caught 
a fish! 


There were some pheasants up there, too. You saw 
them around in the woods. It was beautiful up there. 
There was the pine wood. It was the sort of memories one 
has as a child, you know — lying all alone up on the hill- 
side, the sunshine, and everything so very, very still 
and being impressed with a little murmur in the distance, 
getting louder and louder, and then a gust of wind would 
blow across the pine tops, then die down--the sort of 
memory that t^ould] come back later in life and relate 
itself to the ride of the Valkyries or something of that 
sort. Spirits going across [the sky], [laughter] The sense 
of light and space. I was a very imaginative sort of kid. 

Of course, I lived not too wholesome a life in the 
sense that I had so little companionship, especially of 
my own age, which led me to read a great deal. I had a 
book my aunt had given me, which I still have, and which is 
quite an unusual library for a youngster because, it being 
one book, I could have it with me on trains and in hotels 
and all the places that we were, and out in the woods. 
My great treasure. It ' s a cheap sort of a book (it was 
illustrated with woodcuts), but it had Robinson Crusoe , 
Sw is 3 Family Robinson , Anderson' s Fairy Tales , Paul and 
Virginia , Arabian Nights , and Aesop' s Fables . It gave me 
a little variety of reading. Early in the nineteenth cen- 
tury there's a publisher in France v;ho, not Just for mone- 
tary purposes but to get out as beautiful a book as he 


possibly could, spent a lot of money on an edition of 
Paul and Virginia , with some drawings engraved on wood. 
I can't think of [the illustrator ' s] name for the moment, 
but they were really very good in their way. And they 
were reproduced in this book, not very satisfactorily, 
of course, because it was a cheap edition (I have seen 
a copy of the original edition, and it's really quite 
beautiful) but well enough so that you could appreciate 
their illustrative value. They were very good drawings, 
and I used to copy and study those things a lot. As a 
child, they were one of my strong influences in art. 

From Idaho we went to Spokane, Washington, where 
Father was a division engineer for the l«(orthern] pacific] 
for awhile. And, there, my mother tried very hard to 
give me advantages. I didn't go to school yet, but she 
rented a piano and taught me my notes on the piano. That's 
why, when I took up the violin, at least I had the elements 
of music. I could read simple music fairly well, and 
because I was interested in drawing, she wanted to find 
me a drawing teacher. 

I can remember going out with her, and she'd hear 
of somebody who taught, and we'd find some girl who had 
a little class of youngsters and had them doing pastels 
of still life. I remember [one who] had an ear of corn hung 
up and something hanging beside it, and here was a girl 
working away copying this ear of corn in pastel. Mother 


had an Idea that none of these people seemed to be very- 
good. Then she discovered there vjas a little society in 
Spokane, a woman's club or something, that sponsored a 
small art school. A young fellow who had been a student 
at least, at the Art Institute in Chicago, was teaching. 
[It v;as]not quite real training. V7e drew still life and 
sketches from the model, but in a serious way. It wasn't 
an amateur teaching other amateurs [laughter], so it is 
a very good beginning. And, for awhile, I used to go 
Saturdays and do charcoal drawings from still life. And, 
also, I learned a little bit of the piano, not very much 
because our stay in Spokane was not very long. 

I was also Introduced to baseball, because the kids 
around used to get out in the evening [and play it]. As 
I say, I don't know why my companions \vere alv;ays some- 
what older than I was. These boys vjere older. They v/ere 
the only others about that I could play with, so I used 
to go out and play vjith them. But they made baseball 
a little bit unpleasant. I used to v;ork pretty hard 
trying to learn to catch, pitch, the rest of it. The ball 
seemed abnormally big for my hands at that age, which 
wasn't at all pleasant, and they weren't too careful in 
[teaching me]. They wanted to toughen me, I suppose. 
I can remember my hands stinging from the ball, and it 
was quite a long time before I learned to catch that big 
thing with ease. Of course, as I grew older, the ball 


shrank, but by that time my taste for baseball was rather 
marred, [laughter] Afterwards, living In Europe, I never 
did recover too much enthusiasm for baseball. I 
thize with people who are enthusiastic. I'll stop by the 
roadside and watch kids play baseball, but I never have 
any wish to see a professional game. I get quite excited 
when I see youngsters rushing around. I'm sympathetic 
v/ith [enthusiasts], but somehow I never [developed it]. 
Maybe, I had a little bit of a complex, I don't know. 

I got my big St. Bernard dog in Spokane, who was 
afterwards lost on the Mississippi in a shipwreck. That's 
about all, I think, that that period contributed. 

From Penn Yan, we went to the Pacific Coast — the 
coast of V/ashington. Father was then starting a recon- 
naissance from Grays Harbor up to Puget Sound for the 
Northern Pacific Railroad. From Hoqulam, we first went 
Inland to a camp for a few months. Incidentally, this 
idea of my mother and I going into camp was very much 
against my father's will. I can remember very distinctly, 
when we got to Hoqulam, Father had made arrangements there 
for us [to stay] at the hotel while he was doing this work. 
He said it was absolutely impossible for my mother and 
I to go on this work. It was going to take us miles from 
civilization, and there were no roads into that country 
at all--it was Just wilderness--and it was no place for 
a wife and child. 


So, we were established in a hotel, and I can remem- 
ber my mother going down to the engineer in charge of the 
entire project, who was then staying at the hotel, a man 
by the name of Van Arsdale, whom my father had known for 
many years. Mother went to Mr. Van Arsdale and said she 
wanted to go into camp. Mr. Van Arsdale expostualted that 
it was too rough a life and that it wasn't right for her 
to go off on a trip of that sort, but she finally convinced 
him that's what she wanted to do and that she was going 
to do it. So he had the company provide our tent. The 
tents we used for that work were, I think, twelve-by- 
fourteen canvas tents with a fly and a Sibley stove, 
A Sibley stove is a conical sort of a stove that sits on 
the ground and the stovepipe goes up through the tent. 
Any furniture you had was built on the spot, except maybe 
some boards for tabletops would be taken along. The first 
part [of that camp] was moved along a road that had been 
built up into that region--a puncheon road. The puncheon 
[was made of] split cedar slabs laid across especially 
bad parts. If the ground would hold up the wagon wheel, 
why they you had no puncheon, but there 'd be miles though 
of puncheon road. 

Then we came out from that part of the work and 
started up the coast. The first camp, I think, was the 
Hoh River. The party [consisted] of about fourteen men. 
There were the instrument men; there was my father, who 


had the office tent, and the office tent had the instrument 
men and the draftsmen. And then [there were] chain men and 
four or five axe men. 

Supplies were gotten in by a pack train. We had a 
pack train that v;as twenty-one horses. And the only way 
they could get supplies to us was along the beach; the camp 
was alv;ays near the beach. The work might be some miles 
inland, but they walked to and from camp, onto the line 
and back again. But as we got farther and farther from 
Hoquiam, of course, the longer it took to get supplies 
and the mall in, so that it wasn't too long before there «d 
be about a week during which we v^ould be without mail or 
supplies or nev;s of the outside world. It wasn't too 
easy a job. The coastal land is extremely precipitous, 
very high cliffs, and very dense forests in those days. 
I don't know if it's been slashed now or not, but then 
it was just a virgin territory. At the mouths of the 
rivers are the Indian reservations. There were the 
Quinaults, the Hohs, the Queets and other reservations. 
The Indians on the reservations were the only ones who 
could catch saLmon; they would net salmon. So there were 
no commercial fisheries, and the Indian villages [vjere] at 
the mouths of the rivers. 

And we used dugout canoes a great deal. I had a 
little dugout canoe of my own; it was only about eight 
feet long. Mobody else v/ould dare get into it. As a 


matter of fact, the dugout canoe isn't too stable; it 
rolls over rather easily. It's strange (l used to build 
rafts and fall off continually), but I never fell out of 
my little canoe, [laughter] I'd even stand up in it and 
pole it over shoals and little rapids in the creeks and 
streams. [E vjas] quite successful and quite expert with 
that little object. 

The surf, of course, was extremely heavy, all up and 
down that Oregon-V/ashington coast, much more so than it 
is down here. I don't know why that is; the sv;ells, the 
rollers, are bigger for some reason. One difficulty that 
the pack train had in going back and forth was waiting for 
tides; [that would] hold up travel quite a bit. They could 
travel so far; then they'd have to wait for extreme low 
tide before they could get by a certain point or a cer- 
tain part of the beach. It was a rather dangerous per- 
formance. As a matter of fact, two horses were lost that 
year by being caught. They tried to make a passage when 
the tide wasn't low enough. I remember getting caught 
myself. I was on horseback and I tried to pass a point and 
a wave came in. It would have been all right except the 
horse got frightened, and it bolted and got onto slippery 
rock. So I went down into the surf and vjater, with a 
thrashing horse and everything else. I can remember that 
very vividly. It scared my father half to death, and he 
came and rescued me. 


Of course, those years, as in everybody's life — 
eight, nine, ten and as a teenager--are tremendously 
impressive, and my memories and impressions of that life 
are strong. I think they color, as with all of us, other 
thoughts and feelings that we have. As I just mentioned, 
I never hear the "Ride of the Valkyries" that it doesn't 
take me back to nine years old and the lonely mountain- 
side where the wind was going across the pine tops. It's 
part of a complex of sensations and visions and fantasies. 

And the same way v&h that year along the V/ashington 
coast. It was a virgin territory in those days. The only 
white people were people who came in to hold down timber 
claims and had carried their belongings on their backs 
most of the time. I can remember a little family — a man 
his wife and two little kids— and they had everything 
they owned in bundles, and he would put down the bundle, 
and then he'd go back and pick up the bundle he left be- 
hind and carry that ahead of the bundle number one. 
And he kept backing up and carrying them, mile after mile 
along the beach, to where they built a little shack in 
the woods to hold down a timber claim. He spent so much 
of the year on that timber claim in order to file upon 
it eventually. 

So there were these people, and there was a Captain 
Hanks who had a little store at the reservation on the 
Hoh River. He was a very strange character. He was 


living there with his wife and children. I remember 
there were two girls. The boy I've rather forgotten. 
Captain Hanks had had his license taken away from him 
as a captain because of maltreatment of sailors in his 
employ. He had this little store and a small sailboat. 
I have a photograph of it here someplace. I think it 
was a two-mast schooner. But he had to sail it alone; 
he couldn't hire help. So he'd go out alone and sail up 
to Port Townsend and around down to Seattle and get supplies 
On the way back, when he'd be out at sea, he'd tie his 
rudder down, go below and get drunk, which wasn't a very 
safe thing to do. They said that several times he'd been 
picked up on the beach. He'd been washed ashore but had 
come through without being drowned. I do believe that 
he did lose his life from that foolhardlness. 

Another very strange thing about Captain Hanks was that 
people used to come and stay overnight with him. And 
then next morning, they'd set out going on further north, 
and he'd say, "Well, I'll show you the way across the 
point. We have got a trail. It's pretty rough, but 
I'll go along with you." 

So he'd go off with this fellow and come back, and 
strangely nobody ever heard of the fellow again. That 
happened several times. So he may have profited by a 
night's lodging more than the law would allow ordinarily. 

He had another fellow with him who was building a 


bigger boat, all by himself. If it were a house, we'd 
say he had it framed in--he had the ribs cut, the keel 
laid and quite a lot of the boat built the last time I 
saw it. But I believe he never did finish it. After- 
v/ards, I asked somebody who had been up there, and they 
said it was still in the same condition it was years 
before. I also have a photo of that. Father got a 
four-by-five Kodak. V/e didn't get many good pictures, 
but a few rather interesting pictures of that trip. 
But, as you know, the Northwest, especially in the wild, 
has a very solemn grandeur. My St. Bernard dog was my 
only companionship besides the grown-ups. I enjoyed it; 
I was very happy. I used to work away drav;ing maps and 
making sketches and reading my book, [laughter] They 
used to get magazines sent in; the fellows would take up 
a collection and tell the fellow to buy a bunch of maga- 
zines next time he came back. So we had quite a lot of 
current reading matter. 

I learned to handle a canoe quite well, but I didn't 
learn to swLm, unfortunately. The water comes right 
down out of the mountains there; it's very cold. The 
Indian kids used to splash around very happily and I 
tried it a few times, but I couldn't stay in long enough 
to profit very much by it. It was quite icy. 

I think that probably one of the most impressive 
things to me about the v;ilderness was its silence, because 


I used to go out and walk around the woods, and there 
v/ouldn't be a sound, [not even] a bird. Once In awhile, 
some little animal like a chipmunk would startle you, but 
if a cone fell down, it made you jump. Still, still, 
still. An overpowering stillness. Then in contrast to 
that, of course, was the roar of the surf and the tumult 
of the ocean. In stormy times, it v/as very much of an 
uproar. And I remember having a nightmare one night, and 
I woke up and there was, along with the roar of the water, 
the boom of a cannon. I discovered the next morning that 
many big logs had broken loose from the logging indus- 
tries and were cast ashore. This one was about four or 
five feet in diameter--a big cedar log — and it was at a 
right angle to the surf. So every time a big wave would 
come in, it would pick up this battering ram and hurl it 
against another pile of logs, and it would boom like 
thunder. You could v;alk for miles from one log to another 
and never put your foot to the ground. [It was mostly] 
stuff that was washed down from the rivers at floodtime. 
Large trees would come dovm in floodtime in the winter- 
time. The water would be very high. 

Strange sort of things used to happen. Once we were 
camped in what was called a big burn. There had been a 
forest fire many years before and, apparently, this was 
rather larger than the other fires before. The trees 
were all standing, but dead, which in a way is good 


because it let in light and gave us a camping ground 
which was pleasant. Father went to choose the camping 
ground. When he came back, he said he had found what 
he thought was a very nice camping ground, but there was 
only one difficulty — there was no water. So he sent a 
party up to dig a vjell . That worked out very nicely 
because they didn't have to go very far and found plenty 
of water. So we moved camp. Well, we hadn't been in camp 
very long before it started to rain. It hadn't rained 
very long before we had to build bridges from one tent 
to another, [laughter] We had about six inches of water 
in all of our tents, and we had to put platforms from the 
bed to the stove to the table. There was more water than 
we wanted. Added to that a storm came, a terrific storm.. 
I rather Imagine at the mouth of the Hoh River to this 
day--they wouldn't have moved it--there's the hulk of 
the Ernest Reyer , a French sailing ship, a steel bark, 
on its maiden voyage. They still built sailing ships in 
those days, except they were steel. It was wrecked at 
the mouth of the Hoh in this storm. 

Well, the way that storm affected us was that it 
blew over these standing dead trees. I remember one 
fellow was so frightened that he went and slept in a stamp 
all night. He had rather good reason to be, because the 
wind was so heavy and in the course of the years there 
apparently had not been such a heavy storm, and the trees 


were somewhat rotted and they'd snap off. I'd be afraid 
to say how many trees I could see falling at one time. 
I can still remember watching the standing deadwood^ and 
then all of a sudden, several of these trees would snap 
off and fall with a thunderous noise. Of course, we were 
lucky none I think struck us. That fellow had a rather 
good reason for sleeping in a stump for he had protection. 
The fact is that one tree did fall very near our tent. 
SCHIPPERS: Did this powerful experience with nature in 
the raw have an influence on your painting later--this 
also in conjunction with your exposure to Ruskin? 
NUTTH^G: It had a very powerful experience. In the first 
place, the material and forms, colors and shapes. I still 
find it rather difficult to do anything Ijnaginatively 
without having the sea in it. The sea to me is, in 
essence, not anything that is very friendly or placid. 
It always has a sense of power, of drama. The other forms 
of nature — the dense forests, the animal life, the moun- 
tains, the power of the rivers, the devastating floods and 
things of that sort — were things to make an Impression. 
The only thing I can think to contrast it [with is if] 
I had grown up in a city--as, of course, many of our 
finest writers and artists have. There you have much 
more association with people, much more with objectivity, 
and much more with Immediate problems and activities. 
I think that this sort of a life for a boy is inclined 


to develop more of a sense of mythology, of nature spirits, 
which would be perfectly meaningless to a youngster who 
played on the pavements of the poor part of a city, for 
example . 

SCHIPPERS: Did you view nature as a friendly thing or 
more or less as an Implacable force? 

NUTTDJG: I was awestruck by nature, but I don't remem- 
ber ever being frightened. There was a slight sense of 
it when, as a child, I used to go out on a clear night and 
look at the stars, and after awhile, I'd get a little 
sense of the awesomeness [which] would change into a 
sort of fear at the immensity of the universe. I was 
very sensitive to the more cheerful aspects of nature — 
the sun and the play of water and sounds and cheerful 
things. I was not at all morbid in my reactions. I think 
on the whole I had a quite wholesome relationship to 
natural phenomena. The psychic stability of my parents 
may have had a great deal to do with that. 
SCHIPPERS: Just [a moment ago, we] stambled across the 
St. Nicholas Magazine that your parents subscribed to 
for you. 

NUTTING: That was a magazine that I enjoyed very much. 
It was an excellent magazine in those days. It was when 
Mary Mapes Dodge was editor of it. She was the founder 
and editor of it. And I imagine [it was] through her 
friendship with writers of her day that she got contributions. 


She got some very excellent writers and some excellent 
illustrators, including Howard Pyle . It was a department 
called the St. Nicholas League, edited by Albert Bigelow 
Paine, who was afterwards Mark Tv/ain's biographer. I used 
to write and draw for it. I used to have my writing 
published, but not my drawing. I eventually won a gold 
badge for writing, but my efforts in drawing weren't 
appreciated at that time as much as I'd have liked. 
One of the earliest things I read of Jack London, which 
must have been one of his earliest writings too, was for 
St. Nicholas . It was a story about the San Francisco Bay 
that was published I think first in St_. Nicholas . It's 
a boy's story, an adventure story. 

October 19, 1965 

NUTTING: The summer when I was about sixteen, I worked 
in an engineering party of my father's in northern 
Minnesota. He did this work from Minnesota into Dakota. 
Father gave me a Job in his party as back-flag. In the 
survey, the transit man has the two sights — his back- 
flag and the head chain man--in running a line. Being 
a back-flag is a very monotonous Job. You spend most of 
your time just standing still until you get a signal 
from the transit man, and then you put up this red and 
white pole for him to get a sight. 

As long as it was in Minnesota, the work was through 
the dense woods, and I was never very far from the transit 
man. But when he got through the woods and out onto 
open prairies, then sometimes the sights were very long. 
It was a lonesome Job. You held your post until you got 
a signal to advance, and then you moved up and, meantime, 
the party may have moved far ahead. So, only when you 
met for lunch, were you near anybody. In open country, 
with a telescope of the transit, the rest of the party 
could go quite a long way ahead. Then you're supposed 
to keep your eye on this little figure in the distance, 
and when he signalled, you picked up and moved ahead to 
where the instrument was and gave the sight from that 
point to where the instrument had gone. 


It, of course, doesn't require any special intelli- 
gence or any ability except that you have to keep your 
mind on your work, which isn't too easy to do, I dis- 
covered. It takes practice, because you watch this 
little figure in the distance. The fact is, my father 
gave me a pair of field glasses; they were so far away 
that I'd keep watching through my field glasses for the 
signal. Well, maybe, they'd be there for an hour or so, 
and little by little you'd forget about them, and first 
thing you'd know, you'd look in your field glasses and 
here was the instrument man having the St. Vitus dance 
up there trying to attract your attention [laughter], and 
get a sight. Once or twice, they had to send somebody 
back to put me back on the Job; I missed my signal. 
But it's one of those things: after awhile you get in the 
habit of keeping your mind on what you're supposed to do 
and look often enough so that they don't have to wait 
too long to attract your attention and get the sight. 

The country sometimes offered a little bit of diffi- 
culty. One day the whole party had to cross a little 
river. I think it was twenty-one times that day I was 
up to my neck in water [laughter], so I, and everybody 
else, was sopping wet all day long. Which wasn't too 
good because I got a sort of chill and wasn't too well 
after that for a day or so. 

Another time, v;hich is very vivid, we went through 


some fenced country. The party got through all right 
and I came up to my hub, and everything was very quiet 
and nice. I looked around, and there was a bunch of 
cattle moving toward me. In the middle of the bunch 
was a young bull who seemed to be curious about me, which 
I didn't like in the least. So I measured with my eye 
the distance to the fence, and I crept towards it very 
slowly and prayed I wouldn't be sent back to my point, 
but I was several times, [laughter] The animals were 
curious and kept me quite worried; however, they didn't 
start anything. It was rather a test of courage, though, 
because I was scared to death with this animal pawing the 
ground. He was really concerned about having this kind 
of an activity in his field. Little things like that 
varied the monotony of a day's work. 

I've forgotten where we were when cold weather came. 
At that time, I think Father went back to do something 
in northern Minnesota. The lakes froze over. Minnesota, 
of course, is a state of many lakes--I believe that's 
the meaning of the name of the state. I got some skates 
and learned to skate. The woods were lonelyj one seldom 
saw a soul. I had whole lakes to myself to practice on. 
I didn't learn to skate very well, but I enjoyed sliding 
around on the ice. 

It's the only place I've ever experienced the dense 
forests and the cold. It is the only place I ever knew 


where, when the temperature drops very much, the ice 
will crack and make a weird sound at night. V/eird in the 
sense that when you have a perfectly clear and perfectly 
still, starlit night, you suddenly hear a roll of thunder. 
It's very much like thunder. Rhumbumbumbummmml The next 
morning you can see the line across the ice of the crack. 
Also we'd hear the wolves howling in the night, which 
gave us a nice, eerie kind of a feeling. Thunder on a 
starlit night and howling wolves is my principal memory 
of that period. 

Some of my educational activities were carried on 
in the sense that I did quite a lot of reading, and also, 
some map-drawing. As a boy, I always more or less emu- 
lated my father and would learn what I could about sur- 
veying. When I was about twelve I got myself a little 
compass and set it on a somewhat crude Jacob's staff I 
made and borrowed a hand level from my father and went 
out and ran a line on my own and plotted it and took the 
elevations and made a contour map, and I did the whole 
thing as a kind of a project. And I remember — when I 
was younger than that — when I was curled up on my father's 
stationery chest in his office and somebody asked me 
what I was reading, and it was V/ellington' s Handbook of 
Civil Engineering . They thought that was a rather ridic- 
ulous thing for a youngster to be doing. But I studied 
quite seriously and learned quite a bit--surveying, taking 


topography, elevation, mapping, et cetera, et cetera. 
So my reading and my map-drawing and my wandering around 
with my big dog in the woods and skating by starlight and 
things of that sort was my occupation. 

I don't remember exactly what time of year it was, 
but then we moved to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, which was 
then quite a small town. But it had a good school, and 
that was my second year in high school. I did all right. 
As I said, our courses were simple and old-fashioned. 
V/e had Latin, literature, history and some science, alge- 
bra, geometry, etc. We debated and did other som.ewhat 
extracurricular things — not too ambitious. I can still 
rem.ember the name of my principal; his name was Bolander. 
I liked my teachers. 

I never was a very good student in some v;ays. But 
from a point of view of education, it may be of some 
interest that if a child is brought up with systematic 
schooling he accepts it m-ore easily and he doesn't get 
let astray into other interests. I always found it very 
boring to have a special assignment--to read to page so- 
and-so, to do this, to do that--because in my reading I 
had been used to getting excited about something; then 
I'd branch off and pick up something else. It wouldn't 
come in these definite chunks, and I found that somewhat 
constraining. With quizzes and examinations, I had a 
feeling down deep that, after all, it was my own business 


how much I wanted to know, that it wasn't somehow something 
to be measured and graded, [laughter] So, it kept me from 
being a really systematic hard worker after good grades. 
I made fair ones, so I didn't have too much to worry 
about . 

The community was a very nice one. Our friends 
there were interesting people, and we enjoyed them. 

Part of my daily work was practicing my violin, and 
when they found that I could play the violin, I used to 
be asked to play in the little church there. Whenever 
we were in a town, I always attended some church. In 
Spokane, it was an Episcopal church. In Mandan, I think 
it was a Methodist church. It all depended on where my 
friends went, the people I went with. In Spokane when 
I was nine I went to the Episcopal church because, princi- 
pally, my maternal ancestry were Episcopalians and Mother 
had been born an Episcopalian. I was being trained for 
the choir. I have always regretted that I didn't have 
a chance to be a choirboy. It would 've been a very good 
experience, musically, and also from the point of view 
of voice training because the teacher was very good. 
But Just about the time I was supposed to put on that 
little costume and join the choir in the cathedral in 
Spokane, we moved someplace else, so that it never came 
to anything. 

In Detroit, my friends in the school went to the 


Baptist church, and so I vjent too. They used to ask me 
to play solos once in awhile, and I played a solo at a 
baptism. That was the first time I'd ever seen a Baptist 
baptism. They had a little tank, whatever they call it 
in the church, back of a low curtain, back of the pulpit, 
and people stepped dovm and v;ere submerged. Trying to 
play appropriate soft music, and watch this--to me--strange 
sight was quite difficult. However, I got through all 
right, [laughter] 

SCHIPPERS: Did you miss the vitality of the Pacific West 
Coast setting when you were in Dakota and Minnesota, or 
did you find another kind of nature there that you loved? 
NUTTING: I found another kind of nature. It hadn't the 
grandeur, of course, of the Pacific Coast. But in those 
days, there were the dense forests of northern Minnesota 
which were fascinating, with innumerable little lakes and 
the charm of wild life. Even in Dakota, though it was 
much more monotonous with the prairies, you have the 
wonderfully dramatic quality of the Badlands. I find 
that my feeling was formed more by my reading and by 
being in wild and primitive country than by my life in 

One of the earliest things that I remember as a boy 
was a certain resentment towards a smallness of feeling. 
It seemed to me that the interests of so many of the 
people that I knew were stupid. Maybe I got a sort of an 


ideal of culture somehow. Everything that I read stimulated 

the idea of some sort of great expanse of the mind, of 

something rather grand. Even though, in actual fact, it 

might have had those same qualities of smallness. When 

presented by a writer such as a Dickens, for example, 

or one of my favorite writers, it became sublimated. 

It's something that was greater than that rather picayune, 

money-grubbing, worrying of small things that seemed to 

me to characterize so much of the life when we got into 

tovms (most of them were rather small communities). 

This isn't quite fair, of course, because as I grew older 

and had a little deeper understanding of human nature, 

[I could see that a] small town had grandeur as much as a 

big city. But I always aspired to seeing the great cities 

of the world, to travel. One of my dreams was to be in 

places where great things were being done. 

SCHIPPERS: And you just told me that you resented the 

violation of the wilds or of nature. 

NUTTING: Oh, yes, I always resented intensely. One of 

the reasons I never really wanted to go back to the West 

Coast was the way in which beauty, even in those days, 

was being slaughtered. I imagine it was more spectacular 

than it is now, because now it's done at least with more 

neatness and with more conservation and replanting and 

care. But in those days, when those wonderful forests 

were cut down, leaving very high stumps which were then 


burned and the rest was slashed, it left, for me, a de- 
pressing Dante's Inferno effect. And that beauty of 
Puget Sound. As a boy I could feel [that it was being] 
marred by the amount of rubbish and refuse from lumber 
mills, etc. that was floating around. You felt that it 
was a desecration of what was very beautiful and very 
wonderful. Maybe it colored my feeling about the people 
around me, that they always felt, "Well, that tree repre- 
sents so much lumber, so much money," and that they never 
seemed to be interested in anything but money. It's Just 
that they were ordinary people . They were people out 
there trying to make a living, trying to hold down a 
claim, to make a go of things, struggling for their live- 
lihood. It was natural, but at the same time, aspects of 
it made me very unhappy. 

SCHIPPERS: Where did you go after you left Minnesota? 
NUTTING: Father's work in that region was finished and 
he went to Mandan, North Dakota, where he had charge of 
surveys and grade revision for the Northern Pacific Rail- 
road as far as the Pacific Coast, as well as quite a lot 
of reconnaissance in that region. I spent my third year 
in high school there. It was also a good little high 
school, of which I have quite happy memories. My Latin 
teacher was the principal, and the other teachers were 
sympathetic. I still worked with my violin, but I never 
got very far. I'm sorry to say it ' s a good many years 


since I've even touched it, but I used to enjoy It very 

I remember my first automobile ride v;as in Mandan, 
North Dakota. The man, who was a neighbor of ours and who 
kept a livery stable, bought a Buick car. Father made 
one of his trips across the country in this Buick, and 
Mother and I went along. It was very exciting. In those 
days, cars were exciting. They v;ere uncommon, not many 
people had them. 

They had a county fair at Mandan, and as a boy, I 
always entered maps in county fairs. I was always winning 
prizes drawing maps. Not that I drew them very well, but 
at least they were much more ambitious than those of the 
other kids, [laughter] so I used to clean up on maps. 
There's all sorts of map-drawing, and I used to practice 
surveying using the hand level, taking elevations and 
making contour maps. Then I'd plot them up and do a con- 
tour map of two or three miles of line. Then I became 
interested in knowing the whole world, and I started a 
very elaborate copy of a map on the Mercator projection. 
I pencilled it in, and then I started inking it in, but 
then the project seemed so colossal that I got discouraged. 

At county fairs, they always had things for the 
schoolchildren. Among other things they had prizes for 
maps. Well, they'd usually specify what they wanted — 
a map of the county, so much for that; a prize for the 


map of the state; and a prize for the map of the United 
States. So I drew them all and I used to clean up pretty- 
well on map-drawing. It started in Penn Yan^ and I 
worked awfully hard on a set of several maps. I think 
one v/as the county in which Penn Yan is situated, and one 
was the map of the United States. But they, apparently, 
had been used to having the maps that the children did 
in school, only maybe a little neater, which were put on 
cardboard mount; whereas, I inked my maps in and tinted 
them and lettered them. I think I even put one of them 
under glass and framed it. Well, of course, that was 
attempting far more than what the other youngsters v;ere 
doing. I lost out on one because they found I'd misspelled 
the name of a town. That inaccuracy of the map made me 
[lose]; they gave the prize to some other kid. But the 
next year, there v;ere quite a number of quite ambitious 
maps. They were done in ink and watercolors and it changed 
the whole idea of map-drawing for entering those compe- 

My half-brother, Merritt Carpenter, stayed in Mexico 
when we left and was there for a good many years. Ke 
was doing mining engineering. His great interest was in 
mines and in all probability would have done very well 
except that it was a very troubled time, or eventually 
became so because of the growing unrest and eventual 
revolution. He'd be on the verge of success in some 


mining venture when his hopes would be wrecked by an 
uprising, or revolutionary movement of sorts, that would 
spoil his chances. He stayed in Mexico until after 
World War I. He married a Spanish girl, a daughter of a 
Spanish officer. Her father had been, I think, a captain 
in the Spanish Army in Cuba and was killed, and the mother 
and daughter went to Mexico City where Merritt met her. 
She was a very charming woman. They adopted a baby 
(they had no children), and the adopted daughter now is 
married and lives in Galveston. 

Working as Father did for many years with the Northern 
Pacific, by reason of promotions, our life became much 
easier. My memory of Father as a young man starting out 
[was that] he had quite severe difficulties, especially 
in those days when depressions were really very serious. 
Nowadays there are chances for some sort of relief and 
help which in those days were not available to people out 
of a job. It was really a desperate situation. Sometimes 
the worry can darken the atmosphere of a household quite 
a lot, which I can remember when I was very young. Father 
eventually finished his work with the Northern Pacific 
as engineer in charge of all surveys and grade revisions 
from St. Paul out to the coast. Then life was quite 
civilized and reasonably comfortable, which was something 
that meant a great deal to my mother. Mother was not 
strong. She had a terrific will and drive and was very 


uncomplaining, but It was very welcome when our life 
became easier. \Je had a nicely furnished home, more 
leisure and more things to enjoy. 

I finished high school In Mandan. It wasn't a very 
good Idea, but for some reason, I piled the work on and 
did the work In three years, which worked well enough 
except for Latin. My Latin grades were nothing to brag 
about; however I squeezed through, [laughter] But trying 
to read Cicero and Vergil the same year was a little too 
tough for any really satisfactory accomplishment. 
SCHIPPERS: What sort of graduation ceremony was It? 
NUTTH^G: Oh, I didn't stay for their ceremony. As a 
matter of fact, my father got transferred to St. Paul at 
the end of the school year, and we didn't stay over the 
extra week or so for the graduation. 

SCHIPPERS: While you were nearlng the end of your high 
school work, had you begun to lay any plans for further 

NUTTIl'JG: All my boyhood. Father and Mother had anticipa- 
ted my going to college, and once in awhile, the question 
would come up as to what college I would go to. I think 
they both were ambitious that I go to Stanford; they 
used to mention Stanford more than other places. But 
things didn't work out that way. 

While we lived in Mandan one or two things happened 
[worth mentioning]. I kept up my violin practice, although 


I had no teachers. I even gave violin lessons, as I 
remember. There was a little boy v/ho wanted to study the 
violin and his mother, a very hard-working woman, used to 
pay a rather small sum, and I'd give this kid a violin 
lesson once a week. 

My interest In music then was quite strong. There 
wasn't very much to satisfy it. John Philip Sousa's 
band came to Bismarck while we were there, and I went 
over to hear the concert. The railroad company put a lot 
of chairs in a boxcar (Mandan and Bismarck are not too 
far apart; they're on opposite sides of the river), and 
provided our transportation. I thought the concert v;as 
marvelous. Of course, it was a very good band, a very 
fine one. 

Then Father and Mother wanted to give me a treat, 
and they let me go to St. Paul alone for a few days to 
hear the violinist Mlscha Elman play. So I went to 
St. Paul and was tremendously thrilled by hearing a great 
virtuoso violinist. Of course, it meant much more in those 
days before radio and TV. We had phonograph records then, 
but they were rather squawky and not satisfactory, at 
least ours weren't. And to hear a really great musician 
play was very, very thrilling. While I spent that two 
days in St. Paul, I went around and managed to find a 
little art school that I had heard of some way and met 
the teacher. Afterwards, v;e became very good friends. 


So I went back wildly excited. I'd not only heard a 
great musician; I'd seen, what seemed to me, a real art 
school, because here they v;ere actually painting and 
drawing and [doing] serious study. 

They only had two teachers, but one floor had a life 
class and painting class and composition class, also clay 
modeling. Downstairs they had an office and library and 
a nice lady taught v;atercolor painting. Watercolor paint- 
ing was rather mediocre in the art department, but the rest 
of it was quite good. The teacher, Dell Randall, was a 
graduate of the Chicago Art Institute and was quite capable. 
So I went home much excited. Then, not too long afterwards. 
Father vjas transferred to St. Paul and he consented to 
my going to art school, if I also kept up my violin. 
We'd put off college for a year or so. 
SCHIPPERS: What did they hope that you would prepare 
for if you went to college? Do you have any idea? 
NUTTING: No. I know that both of them would have liked 
me to become a writer. I think that their real ideal of 
attainment was somebody who could write well. If I had 
turned out to be a writer, they would have been very happy. 
Mother did have talent as a writer, although she never 
had a chance to develop it. I have a little bit of manu- 
script someplace where she started a story which Is rather 
promising. Father, though he was not a literary man-- 
he was more of a mathematician, a scientist, a thinker 


along very rational lines, not so much the poetic side 
of literature — would have been very happy Indeed If I had 
developed Into a writer. 

So I took up the violin study again in St. Paul under 
a man by the name of Claude Madden, who was afterwards the 
concert master of the Seattle Symphony and who died in 
Seattle, a very fine musician. 

I started in at the St. Paul School of Fine Arts, 
I think it was called. I sat down before a huge plaster 
cast of a slave by Michelangelo and nearly went crazy 
trying to draw the thing because, in those days, they had 
the old academic way of teaching drawing. Usually, you 
started drawing from plaster casts and you worked hours 
and hours on making a charcoal drawing of the cast. When 
you can't draw very well, it can be a dreary performance. 
Nowadays, our ideas of art teaching have changed drasti- 
cally, and they're much more efficient. We teach one to 
draw more rapidly than they did then. This rather stupid 
copying of a cast in charcoal when you haven't experience 
is not too profitable to the beginner. It's not too good 
a way to learn to draw. 

Naturally, St. Paul seemed to me a large and wonder- 
ful city compared to what I had been used to up to that 
time. And it did have so much that I enjoyed. The 
Minnesota State Capitol hadn't been built very long. 
Amongother things, the painting in the Minnesota State 


Capitol was to me impressive, and some of it, of course, 
is quite v/orthwhlle . The supreme court room with its 
murals by John La Farge, as I remember it, is really very 
fine. The other mural painting of the capitol was very 
proficient. [it was done by] people whio had a great 
reputation in those days, like Kenyon Cox and [Edwin H.] 
Blashfield. But one picture that Impressed me, because 
I had a great admiration for the artist, was a painting 
of the Battle of Gettysburg by Howard Pyle. It hung in 
the governor's reception room. 

Howard Pyle had a great influence on me as a boy 
when my parents subscribed to St . Nicholas Magazine for 
me. He wrote and drew for St . Nicholas . Then I was 
familiar, of course, with his illustrations for Harper' s 
Magazine . In those days Harper' s Magazine was an illus- 
trated magazine, and Howard Pyle had been the most im- 
portant illustrator for many years. So I used to read 
his stories and admire his paintings. I even sent some 
of my drawings to Howard Pyle. He wrote back a very nice 
little letter and gave me some good advice about art study. 
This painting in the governor's reception room of the 
Battle of Gettysburg was the first original painting of 
his I had seen and it gave me quite a bang. And, in its 
way, I'm sure it is very good. 

There were also art exhibitions of the Minnesota 
Art Society. Important painters from the East were shown 


in St. Paul. I had my first introduction to the original 
painting of the Impressionists. I've forgotten what 
dealer it was in New York that sent out an exhibition of 
Impressionist painting which included some very fine 
things — Monet and Pissarro, Sisley and Mary Cassatt. 
A very fine thing of Mary Cassatt was in this show and 
was looked upon by people in those days as being extreme- 
ly modern art. They couldn't understand why the pictures 
were so fuzzy and so vague. There were all sorts of 
things that seemed, to them, very strange about them. 
But I was excited because I was asked to come down and 
help hang the show in the gallery. And I was thrilled 
being allowed to handle paintings by great painters. 
It seemed a great privilege. 

So what with the exhibitions, with the art school, 
with concerts, [I was happy]. We had a symiphony orches- 
tra in those days, which was a new and rich experience, 
I used to get seats, the cheapest ones way up in the top 
balcony, and commenced to know something of orchestral 
music . 

Also another thing that was heavenly was access to 
a really good library. They had a very good art depart- 
ment in the library. The library burned after we left 
St. Paul and the art books were lost, but I think they 
had a rather surprisingly good [collection]. And one of 
my greatest joys after dinner was to take the little 


streetcar downtown and spend the rest of the evening in 
this art library. They had some art books I could take 
out, and I had them out continually. I went through 
Muther's History of Modern Art In four volames several 
times. I'd start Volume I and then go on to II, III, 
IV, and then go back to Volume I again, [laughter] So 
from Muther's point of view, I had a pretty good idea 
of modern art, which, of course, didn't come down very 
far so far as modernity is concerned, and many of the 
people he talked about are now completely forgotten. 
But to me, it was all fascinating. I enjoyed it — enjoyed 
my work in the art school, and my violin playing. Alto- 
gether, it was about two years that we were in St. Paul, 
and I had much to make me happy. 

SCHIPPERS: Were you still living at home during this 

SCHIPPERS: And were your parents subsidizing you? 
NUTTI1^IG: Yes. 

SCHIPPERS: It seems as if, when you got your first oppor- 
tunity to go to St. Paul, you made a beeline to the art 
school. You must have decided to do this a long tLme 

NUTTDJG: Yes, it had been my dream for years. Ever since 
that trip to New York when I was thirteen and we went 
to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and after those 


evenings spent with my friend when I used to read Ruskin 
while he played Bach, it seemed to me that the career of 
the artist was the grandest thing Imaginable. The only 
other thing that could equal it would be to be a conduc- 
tor of an orchestra. As a matter of fact, I was much 
more musical as a teenager than later in life. I seem 
to have had a better musical memory, and maybe music 
really meant more to me. But visual arts really took 
over. So that after that visit to New York, I had that 
one dream: that someday I would go to art school and 
that I would paint . 

So the first thing I did when I got this trip to 
St. Paul [was to look for this art school]. I don't 
know how I heard about it. I may have read about it in 
the International Studio , for example. You could find 
that in even small libraries, and that would have art 
news. It probably mentioned the activities in St. Paul 
and Minneapolis. But in some way, I knew about it and 
I hunted it up and made my first contact with really 
serious art activity, because it was a serious little 
school. The young fellow was a very good teacher and 
a good draftsman, a good painter and an interesting man 
to talk to. 

After we moved to St. Paul, I met other artists. 
We had quite a little group of them in St. Paul, some of 
them quite able. There was one fellow by the name of 


[Nicholas] Brewer, a very prolific landscape and portrait 
painter, who was very nice to me. He was a friend of my 
teacher, and he used to be with them quite a lot. We 
used to go out sketching together. Here was something 
that I had really dreamt of — people who were deeply 
interested in the same sort of things that interested 
me, especially the artists and the musicians. [There 
was] not so much [interest in] the literary way, as 
afterwards, when I had many friends in the field of writing. 

Some of my fellow students at the school were very 
superior. One very delightful family of quite an impor- 
tant lawyer there, a German name, the boys and girls were 
very talented, bright people. One of the girls studied 
at the art school and was also an able pianist. We used 
to play the violin and piano together, and the boys also 
were intelligent and interesting fellows. A fine family. 

There were a number of quite proficient artists in 
St. Paul, too, in those days. Of course, most of them 
were commercial artists. The business, such as Brovm 
and Bigelow, was already flourishing. 

SCHIPPERS: Did they overawe you, or did you take this 
in stride? 

NUTTDIG: No, I don't remember being overawed. I was 
simply delighted, delighted to have people to talk about 
the things that were interesting to me and who were also 
excited about them. 


In one way, I was not a very ambitious person. 
I never looked forward to the Idea of being famous or 
important. I would like very much to have money for 
what it could give, but I never seemed to have the desire 
to be rich, to have money for its own sake. If I could 
have money and make it yield what I wanted in life, why 
then I thought it desirable. I don't know exactly how 
to express it. Many people consider it a weakness, but 
I've never felt a really competitive spirit. The idea 
of getting out there just to win never appealed to me. 
It seemed to me that the people who accomplished things 
and who meant the most to me in my reading were people 
who were moved by a great love of the thing in itself, 
and that to get ahead of somebody wouldn't be the charac- 
teristic of that thinker or that writer or that artist. 

My attitude towards all of my activities was trying 
to find out the essential meaning of them, and some of 
them would excite a great sense of wonder--that that 
could be done, that that could be accomplished. If this 
writer wrote something that I felt deeply moved by, I 
didn't try to put him in a category or find out how he 
rated. If I debated the merit of an artist or a work 
that I thought worthwhile, it was always in terms of 
what it meant to me. It always seemed to me rather silly 
to give prizes for artistic achievement, and that feeling 
has grown on me. When one looks back and sees the prizes 


that were given to people who are now completely for- 
gotten, either they were wrong or else human nature is 
terribly fickle. In other words, if a thing is worth- 
while, it has a life, a vitality of its own, and what 
other people say for or against it is not too important. 

Also, it led to another idea, something that has 
meant a great deal to me, and that is that the artist 
(and I mean by that the artist in the broad sense of 
the word) is doing something that is not the making of 
something to be measured. It is, in a sense, a by-product 
of a greater phenomenon — the evolution of a mind and a 
spirit. And, in that sense, even the great things--the 
Beethoven, the Rembrandt, the Michelangelo, the actual 
works--to a certain degree are failures because they fail 
to give the complete expression of what that man has 
grown to, or the depth of his insight, because of the 
limitations of media, maybe, or limitations imposed, 
social or otherwise. But to the degree to which he has 
done that, the importance lies. And to the degree in 
which you can respond to that, do you profit by it. 
And the gold medals and the rest of them are all absolute 
nonsense, except as a stimulus to activity. It's perfectly 
commendable that the Medici, Louis Quatorze, and the 
governments onto the present day would be interested in 
the arts and do things to foster the arts. But it's not 
so much that they foster the arts as that they can foster 


a condition or an atmosphere, or at least a tolerance 
towards certain activities which give things a chance to 
grow. But the attitiude--"Now that's a very fine product; 
that thing of Rembrandt is one of the best products we 
have in the art market today', "--is wrong. It's not 
measured that way. 

SCHIPPERS: At the beginning of your art career in St. 
Paul, did you have any Idea that you were going to have 
to fight for a living with this? 

NUTTING: Oh, of course, that was a very serious matter, 
especially for people who don't grow up in affluence. 
That's one thing that you think of continually, and I did. 
And Father was very much worried about it. He thought 
the career of an artist was probably something that would 
be very impractical. So I had to find out Just why I 
should embark upon that sort of a study and what liveli- 
hood was in the offing. 

Well there were only two fields in those days in 
which one could make a living. One was magazine illus- 
tration. And sometimes this period is spoken of as a 
golden age of magazine Illustration. It wasn't in the 
sense that a great deal of money was made, but much of 
our best magazine illustration was done then. This was 
before the magazine got jazzed up from the point of view 
of layouts and color. Artists did very serious work, 
and some of our very best painters did magazine work. 


especially In the beginning of their careers. So it 
looked as though that field was one that I could follow 
and make a living. 

What we call commercial art, now, wasn't as highly 
developed. The fact is that a boy doing advertising work 
usually worked in an engraving house. An engraving house 
had an art department. Somebody would come in and want 
an ad, and after they had the idea of the ad, the next 
thing vjould be some sort of art work. The engraving house 
would also have a department which would dope out the 
layout for fashion drawings, furniture drawings or what- 
ever. So the advertising agency and its art department 
was something that we didn't hear as much about in those 
days. Afterwards it became, and still is, a field in 
which a boy Interested in drawing and design can do a 
great deal, especially with good training. The other 
field was portrait painting. 

So I studied pictorial composition,' with the idea 
of illustrative drawing, and I worked quite hard, drawing 
and painting the model, with the idea of becoming a 
portrait painter. Neither field did I ever develop very 
far. I loved to paint portraits. I loved to paint people; 
I always have painted people. But I am not temperamentally 
built to follow portrait painting professionally. Although 
I haven't followed either the career of an illustrator 
or a portrait painter, I've done both. I've not done 


too much actual commercial work, although at one time 
I used to do weekly fashion drawings, believe it or not. 
They weren't very good fashion drawings, but still I 
got paid for them, [laughter] I did some illustration 
and I painted quite a number of portraits. Some were 
semi-official portraits, you know, things for schools 
or businesses. Others were Just run-of-the-mill portrait 

October 22, 1965 

SCHIPPERS : Just as I was leaving last week you made a 
comment about your love of drawing. I would like to know 
when you first started to draw and what attracted you 
to it. 

NUTTING: Well, it's rather hard to remember. Every 
child draws more or less. One of the ways to keep a 
child quiet is to give him something to scribble on and 
some colored crayons. And I had that propensity along 
with other kids. I loved drawing; I loved to play with 
the colors and pencils that my parents provided me with. 
I can remember very distinctly the very first picture 
that Influenced me. It got me interested in expressing 
myself in drawing. Curiously enough, it was an illus- 
tration by Gustave Dore in one of my books. The Deluge . 
It ' s a Bible picture, and I remember it very distinctly. 
It's one of those distinct memories of childhood that 
stay when so much fades. Why? One wonders. Maybe 
they're what Freud would call a facade , v;hich has some 
meaning back of it. Usually I think children have ideas 
[for drawing that relate to] their ambitions. They want 
to be a soldier; they want to be a policeman, or cowboy; 
they want to draw trains. Nowadays, they want to do air- 
planes. I noticed that trains are very passe with the 
youngsters, but they'll do planes. I didn't have that 


sort of feeling apparently. I think it was linked up 
more or less with the things I saw in the world around 
me--a certain amount of landscape feeling, of forms, 
of nature, clouds, trees, mountains, moons and forests-- 
more of moods, of states of mind. What I actually did, 
of course, was nothing ambitious in expressing those 
things. I simply tried to draw, and not especially well. 
The fact is, as I look back, I did rather badly for a 
youngster. SometLmes parents save their children's v;ork, 
but my parents didn't save mine. So, my earliest drawing 
was rather weak when compared vjlth [vjhat I did later] in 

As I said, my Interest in art began really to become 
quite strong on that trip to New York that Father gave 
us, when I v;as so Impressed by the Metropolitan Museum 
and the exhibition of the drawings of the masters that 
was on show at that time. From then on, I became really 
interested [in drawing]. Not exclusively. I was interes- 
ed in other things; it wasn't that I was very much of a 
one-track mind. I was interested in studying surveying 
and map-making and the theory of contour maps and such 
things. I was also very fond of reading, largely because 
during so much of the time I had no companionship. Books, 
I think, became companions, more so than they would for 
a child who led a more gregarious life. 

At the age of about twelve or thirteen, I really 


became, what you might say, almost excessively Interested 
[In drav;lng]. It went a little further than simply doing 
funny pictures or cartoons or trying to draw my parents. 
I became Interested In pictures. In graphic art, in the 
visual arts. I vjas Interested in other things as well 
as painting--in building and architecture, sculpture and 
art history. [There was] a bit of the engineer and archi- 
tectural feeling In the family blood, [laughter] But my 
interest began, quite naturally, with the pictures in 
magazines and books that vjere available to me . A certain 
sensitivity was cultivated in [me, that was of] more use 
than I put it to. It wasn't very long before my Interest 
in looking at reproductions in magazines and in books made 
me wonder how they were made [and caused me] to investigate 
the processes. So I knew what a woodcut was, what a v;ood 
engraving was, what a metal engraving was, and how they 
were made. In the library, I'd look them up and read 
about the techniques and processes. 

Then came the problem that I did not have very much 
access to paintings or to original drawings. The sight 
of an original painting or original drawing v/as always 
very exciting. There were no exhibitions, very few at 
least, in the places where I went and very few people 
drew or painted; so I seldom got the feel of the actual 
material. One of the fascinations in looking at repro- 
ductions and photographs and engravings was wondering 


how the original thing was made, and it would be exciting 
when I could translate, say, a wood engraving and see how 
the engraver had translated a watercolor technique or an 
oil technique or a crayon technique into a wood engraving. 
That developed a sensibility to prints or drawings or 
graphic art to the extent that quite early in life, I 
could recognize across the room all of the important 
American illustrators and painters. I was very surprised 
that other people couldn't see the difference. They 
didn't know the difference between an etching and a v;ood 
engraving; they didn't know the difference between a 
watercolor and an oil. 

In Paris, I had a course at the Sorbonne in Renais- 
sance and Romanesque and Gothic art, and on the wall, 
there was a collection of reproductions of sanguine 
drawings (drawings in red chalk), old master drawings; 
but they weren't drawings that I knew. By that tLme, 
I was very familiar vjith the history of drawing, and I 
was rather surprised that here were some excellent draw- 
ings that I didn't recognize. So v;hen the professor 
came by, I asked him some questions about these drawings 
and whose they v;ere (there was no name on the frame). 
And he said very casually, "Oh, they're sanguine drawings. 
One sees they're eighteenth century Italian," and he walked 
on. And they were so obviously seventeenth century Dutch 
[laughter], it gave me quite a jolt. That same professor 


gave me my oral examination afterwards, and so I didn't 
have very much faith in him. 

SCHIPPERS: So you were well primed by the time you en- 
tered art school at St. Paul. You had made yourself 
familiar with drawing. 

NUTTING: Oh, yes, very familiar. I used to spend most 
of my allowance, while browsing around secondhand book- 
stores, trying to find magazines that had articles on 
art and artists, and I made quite a little collection. 
Also another of my amusements was to take down the 
Encyclopaedia Britannica when we were staying at my aunt's. 
I would turn through them and look at the biographies, 
and if one was about an artist, I always read it. It 
was not so much that I was interested in art history, 
but I v;as very curious to know how they got that vjay-- 
what an artist did to become an artist, what sort of 
experience did he have, what sort of schooling did he 
have? It would fascinate me. So the first part of the 
biography interested me more than the story of his suc- 
cess and subsequent fame. It was always a bit disturbing 
because it usually started out by saying that So-and-so 
at a very early age showed remarkable talent, and I 
couldn't by the widest stretch of Imagination think that 
I had any remarkable talents [laughter], so it wasn't 
especially encouraging. Sometimes [the artist would 
have gone] through long training; then there would be 


those men who accomplished a great deal who vjere entirely 
self-taught. Of course, that was very encouraging as 
I hadn't any access at that time to an art school. 

So, in that way, I entered the little art school 
in St. Paul. I went there happy and in a state of eager 
anticipation. The teacher was a young man from the 
Chicago Art Institute, who drew and painted very well. 
Afterwards we became warm friends. But the school, which 
afterwards grew into quite an Important school, was then 
a very small affair. There were a few plaster casts, 
and they had regular art school training--models and 
drawing and painting and study of composltlon--and the 
teacher used to get visiting artists to come in and give 
lectures and to criticize compositions and so forth. 

Incidentally, a couple of my predecessors among 
the students of this school aftervjards became very well 
known. There was quite a number of charcoal dravjings 
and other studies by Paul Manship that he [had left behind]. 
Paul Manship afterwards became an extremely successful 
sculptor. At the same time Manship was studying there, 
Nathaniel Pousette was there. He was a very talented 
student, and he had left behind some oil studies and 
sketches and some Interesting things. His son, Nathaniel 
Pousette Dart, is now quite a well-known figure, both in 
painting and in photography. He does very beautiful 
photographs and also is one of the well-known abstract 


painters in this country. So the little school had quite 
a real art atmosphere. 

There vjasn't too much to see In the way of painting 
exhibitions, but they did have exhibitions. There was 
an annual exhibition which showed very good things, and 
in the St. Paul Capitol Building, there was the work of 
some of the well-known mural painters. The murals that 
made the greatest impression on me v;ere those of John 
La Farge. I still feel John La Farge is one of our really 
more important artists, and it seems to me he is not 
recognized quite as much as he ought to be. I think it 
is quite right to think of a trio of our really great 
American artists as: Ryder and Eakins and Wlnslow Homer. 
But we had others, and I would rank John La Farge quite 
high, maybe because he had an influence on me. But he 
also was a very good writer and critic and a man of high 

SCHIPPERS: Did they push any particular convention at 
the school? Did they have any style preferences? 
NUTTING: I can't say that they did. It was the typical 
art feeling of those days. Of course, we were very much 
influenced by the school of Paris, partly the academic, 
and the really very modern painting to them was that of 
the Impressionists. But the discipline in the school 
was practically derived from the old Ecole des Beaux-Arts. 
That is to say, they set the youngster to work, m.aking 


very finished drav/ings from the plaster cast. The one 
big cast we had in the school v;as one of Michelangelo's 
slaves, the one holding his arm up behind his head. 
It was a life-size figure or larger. I imagine it was 
the size of the original. They bought that while I was 
there. I was just beginning to draw, so I worked for 
vjeeks trying to draw that thing, which v;as far too diffi- 
cult for me. Finally, little by little, I got used to 
the problems. I did fairly well in my drawing, and then 
I took up painting. We were allowed to take up painting 
before too long. They were rather liberal that way; 
they didn't have a course which tied you down. 

My teacher had a girl friend who had been one of 
his fellow students at the Art Institute in Chicago. 
She went to Boston and worked with Edm.und C. Tarbell at 
the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, and she wrote hLm 
letters of great enthusiasm. (My teacher's name was 
Dell Randall. He later came out to Los Angeles and died 
out here many years ago. He became consumptive.) So 
Dell became enthusiastic about the teaching at the Boston 
Museum School of Fine Arts, and he thought it must be the 
finest teaching in the country. He got me all worked up 
and excited about that, and I wanted to go to Boston. 
I sent some drawings to Tarbell to see if I could get 
in his class because Tarbell didn't have a beginners' 
class. They had a course there which was life-drawing 


under [William M.] Paxton, quite a well-known painter in 
his day, and anatomy with Philip Hale, and then painting 
for a year under Frank Benson, an excellent painter of 
his school. The advanced students worked with Tarbell . 

Well, for some silly reason Tarbell accepted me, and 
it was another one of these cases where I was working 
with students who were way ahead of me. That, of course, 
psychologically, is a pretty tough thing to buck. You 
get a sense of inferiority, and you begin to wonder if 
you'll ever make the grade. I worked too hard in Boston 
and almost had a nervous breakdown. But then I came to 
my senses — or rather my parents did and saw that I got 
more recreation and more exercise and that I didn't take 
my work quite so seriously. 

Father had resigned from his job at the N.P. He 
wanted to take some time off, and he and my mother were 
with me in Boston for that year. Then Father went to 
Mexico to put in a road down in southern Tamaulipus for 
El Aguila Oil Company. It was an English concern. 
Lord Cowdray was the head of it . I remember he came out 
to Tampico when we were down there to visit some of his 
holdings. That was before the nationalization of so much 
in Mexico, before the Revolution. Mother wanted to go 
down to Mexico to be with Father, and I went down with her. 
SCHIPPERS: Did your parents go to Boston as a concession 
to you in particular or were there other reasons? 


NUTTING: You know, I really don't know. I was wondering 
about that myself. There is a kind of a blank in my 
memory of the sequence of events leading up to that. 
It'll come to me I suppose. 

Well, the course at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts 
was a very serious one. Ordinarily, you started in at 
the beginning with the drawing classes and went on to 
the second and third year--I think it was a four-year 
course, if I remember rightly. Tarbell taught the ad- 
vanced students. By a fluke, as I've said, I was in 
Tarbell 's class with all the other students v;ho were very 
much ahead of me, which was very difficult. Not only 
that, but there was another unfortunate thing about that 
school. A lot of my tastes had already been formed, and 
my feeling for painting, for art, had been shaped up quite 
a bit, naturally, by the amount of attention I had given 
to it for quite a number of years. So anything that was 
specifically in a very definite groove was not too whole- 
some. The training there was very definitely, especially 
under Tarbell, Ecole des Beaux-Arts teaching. You had 
to work from a model in the painting class, with tremendous 
attention to copying very precisely v;hat you had before 
you, in drawing and in color and in values, piece by 
piece. Tarbell would always say, "Make the pieces." 
He'd even take out his penknife and use the point of the 
knife to demonstrate how a shape around the corner of an 


eye would be--why it went this way and was soft there 
and fuzzy there and sharp there and got fuzzy a little 
further down. You were supposed to study that out and 
then do the next piece and the next piece, and when you 
stood back and saw the number of dreadful little pieces 
to be made you felt it was sickening, especially when 
you already had them all wrong. Of course, it was in 
a way good discipline, technically, in picture making. 

But next door to the school was the Boston Museum 
of Fine Arts, with magnificent things to study. I used 
to spend my sparetime over there, studying the paintings, 
and getting great stLmulus from than. Then I would go 
back and look at the things we were doing in the school, 
and I couldn't see too much relation between what I was 
taught to do in the school and what a man like Rembrandt 
or Rubens or even the modern painters like Whistler or 
Duveneck would do. There seemed to be nothing that vje 
were doing that led to that sort of accomplishment. That, 
of course, gave me a sense of frustration. It was, simply, 
a kind of slave labor without too clear of an objective. 
However, I think, in many ways, I profited a great deal 
both from my study and from my being in a place like 
Boston, with its exhibitions and very fine museum and art 
galleries and other artists. 

Also it happens to be in Massachusetts, the home of 
my ancestors. The Nuttings came from Massachusetts and 


some cousins of my father are still living in Boston and 
near Boston--the Bridgmans, who v/ere very hospitable to 
me. I was happy to know them and to see them often. 
Two of them who were writers for many years wrote on 
political subjects for the Boston Transcript . And one 
sister had a private school at Newton, outside of Boston. 
They were a very brilliant family. Raymond Bridgman 
was a writer for the Boston Transcript and his son, Percy 
Bridgman, later became a professor at Harvard and Nobel 
Prize winner in physics. At that time, he was a young 
man, not much older than myself. The fact is, he was out 
of college then. I'm sure he didn't have his doctorate, 
but I may have forgotten. 

To go back to art study, something you remember [is 
that you really sweat] away doing these studies. Some- 
times it would take about two weeks, four hours each 
day. You'd get awfully sick of them. But you kept 
trying to Improve them. Somebody had lettered very 
neatly around the wall up near the celling: "Little 
drops of turpentine. Little daubs of paint. Make the 
model look like. What the model ain't." [laughter] That 
was Just about the sensation I left Boston with. 

Mother and I went down to Mexico to Join Father 
because, as I have said, she always felt that her place 
was with her husband. That was one of her deep-seated 
feelings about a wife's duties, and she wanted to go. 


So I went with her; we stopped off in New York where 
I met another member of the Bridgman family. [Herbert 
Bridgman] he was then part-owner and business manager 
of the Brooklyn Standard Union . He also was In the news- 
paper business. He was secretary of the Peary Arctic 
Club and was a very charming, a very interesting man. 
He was very kind to us. He used to have us out to dinner. 

We stayed In New York for a short time and then took 
the boat down to Tampico, and from Tampico it was about 
135 miles south by launch to a little village which was 
the headquarters for Father's work. He was to put in this 
narrow-gauge railroad Into the oil fields for the El Aguila 
Oil Company. So we were down there for a few months, and 
vjhen it came time for me to return. Mother was torn 
between staying with Father and coming back with me. 
She finally decided to come back with me and take care 
of me, which she did. 

We went to New York. One of the principal reasons 
that I went to New York and gave up the idea of Boston 
was that I felt I vjas in the wrong place and because 
years before I'd seen two or three very large canvases of 
Robert Henri, and they excited me very much. It seemed 
to me they v;ere real paintings. They weren't these care- 
fully worked out drav;ings in oil paint. They were really 
painted; they had all the gusto of a real painting. And, 
in the meantime, I had learned quite a bit about Robert 


Henrlj he was a very popular teacher and a very influential 
one. But instead of going to Henri, I went to the Art 
Students League and worked with William M. Chase. Chase 
and Henri, at one tisne, had an art school together. 
Henri was then teaching in his own place, and Chase had 
his class at the Art Students League. I was in the last 
class that Chase had. 

That was a great contrast to my experience in Boston 
because Chase was one of the American painters who went 
to Munich in the early days, like Duveneck and Walter 
Shirlaw and other young men who learned to paint well and 
in a painterly way. Chase carried on that tradition. 
He had us paint still life, especially still life and 
heads. We were supposed to paint as though we enjoyed 
it and not leave any trace of tears and lamentations over 
our canvases. If the canvas looked tired and worried, 
you scraped it off and started again--kept it looking 
fresh and as though it was fun to paint. And it was 
fun to paint. I really got a little circulation in my 
blood system again [laughter] and commenced to really 
enjoy studying. I was there for one season with Chase, 
and it did me a great deal of good. I got back the life 
and enthusiasm for my work which was commencing to dwin- 
dle a bit in Boston, 

At the end of the year. Mother again wanted to go 
down and be with Father, so I went with her. That was 


rather tragic, because the year before when we'd been 
down there, although we didn't know it, she had gotten 
malaria. I had rather wondered why she didn't feel well 
after getting back to New York, but she insisted on going 
back again to be with Father for at least av;hile . We no 
sooner got down to Tierra Amarilla, which is this little 
place 135 miles south of Tampico, than she became ill. 
It was very difficult. We had a young doctor, and I think 
a very good one. I liked him personally very much, and 
he seemed to be very dedicated and very able. He seemed 
to understand the situation quite thoroughly, but, of 
course, the principal difficulty was that there v/ere no 
hospitals or adequate nursing. Father and I had to do 
all of the nursing and care of my mother. 

To complicate matters, the Revolution was going on. 
It wasn't President Diaz--it was the one who followed 
Madero as a revolutionist, Victoriano Hucrta . His troops 
were rampaging around the country. They were taking our 
horses and motorboats and one thing and another, and it 
kept us in rather a com.motion. In the midst of all this, 
my mother died. We couldn't bring her out, so she was 
buried down there. 

I stayed on with Father for three or four months, 
because I didn't v;ant to leave him. He was rather broken 
up and so I persuaded hLm to let me stay v/ith him for 
awhile. So, I drew and painted. I'd get natives to 


pose for me and I would do heads. I even got a little 
portrait commission j somebody liked my painting and paid 
me fifty dollars to paint his wife. 

SCHIPPERS: You had spent so much time close to your 
parents. Can you remember what effect the death of your 
mother had on you? 

NUTTING: Well, it was terribly hard, but I don't think 
that it was anything abnormal, in spite of the fact that 
we had always been together and were a very close-knit 
trio. No, it wasn't a traumatic experience. I'd already 
known what it was to have people die and to lose friends. 
And it seems that I took it as a part of life. Curiously 
enough, I felt self-sufficient, as though I could carry 
on. I felt terribly sorry for my father, having hLm 
down there in a part of the world that wasn't too healthy 
and among people whose language he didn't know because, 
curiously enough, he had no facility in learning a foreign 
language. Some subjects he'd be a whiz at, but a foreign 
language was a complete mystery to him. For him. to have 
his wife and his son both gone and for him to be down 
there alone is what I remember most about him, and it was 
one reason I was very anxious to stay with hLm, at least 
for awhile. 

As a matter of fact, he made a trip to New York. 
It may have been in connection with the El Aguila Company. 
I can't remember for the moment. He was only in New York 


for a very short time, and then he took the boat back to 
Tampico, vjhere he stayed for quite a number of years. 
He didn't come back until 1922 when he retired. He did 
a variety of engineering work for the El Aguila Company 
and then retired and came out here and settled in San 
Gabriel. He bought a little place south of there. He 
also brought his sister out, my Aunt Anna from Ohio, and 
he and Aunt Anna lived there and in Alhambra until their 

SCHIPPERS: So you left Mexico and you went to New York? 
NUTTING: Yes, then I read an article by some painter who 
had been a student in Munich and vjho described student 
life in Munich, One thing that impressed me very much 
was that, according to this article, student life in 
Munich vjas much cheaper than in New York. I thought 
that was a pretty swell idea — why not got to Munich! 
[laughter] I was crazy to go to Europe anyhov;, and I 
wrote to Father, who was supporting me, and explained 
this to him. He wrote back, "Go ahead!" So I took the 
boat to Hamburg and went from Hamburg to Berlin and Berlin 
to Dresden. Unlike Father, I like languages. They 
intrigue me. I rather enjoy foreign languages. I met 
a young musician on shipboard. He was apparently a very 
talented pianist and was going to Paris to work with 
Vincent D'Indyand study composition. We played around 
Hamburg and went to the opera, and we also spent two or 


three days in Berlin together and had quite a good time. 

Then I went on down to Dresden, and for the first 
time, I felt being absolutely alone. There was nobody 
within hundreds of miles whom I had ever seen and I didn't 
know a word of the language. But, as a matter of fact, 
I found it very exhilirating and wonderful. I found the 
galleries there. They have some very important things. 
I enjoyed that enormously. I spent the day there, and 
the next morning I decided I wanted to spend another day 
in Dresden, so I went out to see the city. I got lost 
and walked and walked and walked and just had a wonderful 
time. I got across the river, and it was a beautiful 
early autumn day. I looked across the river and saw the 
spires and the Baroque architecture of Dresden, and it 
was fascinating. I lay on the river bank and admired and 
enjoyed it and watched the people out promenading. Then 
I got up and walked some more, and the first thing I knew, 
I found my hotel, [laughter] I've forgotten exactly how. 
I think I had some landmark to follow. I don't remember 
asking my way; I think I figured it out somehow. 

Then from Dresden, I went on down to Munich. There 
I had been given an address of a pension from some rela- 
tives in Boston v;ho were much given to European travel 
and who were fond of this pension in Munich, So I went 
there and it turned out to be a very nice place indeed. 
That's where I met my first wife. She was spending 


some time there. 

I wanted to enter the Academy [of Fine Arts] in 
Munich, but I didn't know anything about national aca- 
demies in those days. There was an American painter 
by the name of Carl Marr who was a professor at the 
academy, and I thought it would be quite interesting to 
work with him. He was a very accomplished painter in 
certain Munich traditions. I went to see him, and he 
was very kind. He explained that you had to pass an 
examination, but it was too late for that. So I entered 
a private art school in Munich to prepare myself for the 
academy. Then I discovered that you could get your own 
studio very cheaply. I've forgotten how much, but it 
was an amazingly small sum for v;hich you could get a 
studio of your own, I thought it would be wonderful, 
so I rented a studio and would v;ork part of the day in 
the school and then part of the day in this little studio 
that I rented. 

I tried to learn German, but I didn't do too well. 
Later, I got a little more used to learning foreign lan- 
guages and I think I'd have done much better later. 
Some of the sounds of German seemed to be very difficult 
for me, and I thought if you didn't pronounce the "r" 
exactly the German way or if you didn't get the "ch" 
exactly according to the German pronunciation, they wouldn't 
understand you, which, of course, is absurd. You don't 


have to be a perfectionist to get along quite well in a 
foreign language, as we know from talking with people 
vjho speak our own language sometimes very funnily but who 
get along very nicely. That I didn't realize. 
SCHIPPERS: Were there mostly Just German students there 
or were there students from other countries? Americans? 
NUTTING: It was very cosmopolitan. There were quite a 
number of French at one art school that I went to, lots 
of English, and a good many Americans were studying at 
the academy. There was a little club of American art 
students, as a matter of fact, and I found that and joined 
it. Then the pension where I stayed had people from 
various parts of Europe. There were English and American, 
Polish, Russian and of course quite a few German people. 

Life in Munich in those days was very delightful. 
It was a student town. The student was made very much 
of. If you held a student card In the art school, or 
I suppose most any kind of a student card, it got you 
into concerts and all sorts of places at half-rates. 
So we heard lots of wonderful music, and people were very 
gay, very sociable, very kind. I didn't notice right away 
that there Is quite a difference between the people of 
northern Germ.any, the Prussian, and the people of south, 
the Saxons, and especially the Bavarians. Bavarians are 
a warm-hearted and generous and hospitable sort of people. 

I found living there to be delightful, as well as 


the fact that there was so much to see. They have very- 
fine collections. The Pinakothek and the Glyptothek were 
two very fine museums, with any amount of exhibitions of 
all sorts of contemporary art. That was quite an aston- 
ishing thing to me. 

My introduction in modern art, if I may go back to 
tell about Boston again, was very curious. About that 
time, the famous Armory show hit this country with a 
bang, and people who never thought about painting were 
arguing and coming to blows, alm.ost, on this question of 
modern art . And one day at the art school in Boston, 
someone said, "There's an exhibition of Matisse at the 
museum." V/ell, I thought that strange. I was there this 
morning and I didn't see an exhibition of Matisse. "Oh 
yes, there is one." 

He was so insistent that as soon as school was over, 
I v;ent over and went up to the girl at the desk. I said, 
"I hear there's an exhibition of Matisse here." 

I didn't expect her to say yes, but she said, "Yes, 
there is one. Do you want to see it?" 

"Why," I said, "yes, I'd like very much to see it." 

"And she said, "Very well, would you mind waiting 
Just a moment?" She was busy with papers or something 
on her desk and she finished them up and put them away. 
Then she reached under her counter, pulled out a drawer 
and took out a big bunch of keys. V/e went down the 


hallways and turned this way and turned that way and 
came to a big door of something like a board room. It 
wasn't one of the galleries or exhibition rooms at all; 
it was some special kind of a room. She unlocked the 
door and I slipped in. Sure enough [laughter], here was 
quite an exhibition of the painting and sculpture of 
Matisse. And I was being led in a little bit like the 
Gabinetto Segreto in the Museum of Naples, as something 
that wasn't fit for public consumption somehow, [laughter] 

So you can see that those were the beginnings of 
things in a way. And when I got to Munich, I found that 
everybody was talking about Cezanne and Matisse and 
[Andre] Derain and Odilon Redon, and these people were 
being shown all over the place. I'd seen nothing of 
that sort in the original work in this country up to 
that time. You see, it was quite startling, and it was 
also sometimes very puzzling because that was the beginning 
of a period of some of the strongest of the German Expres- 
sionist movements--Die Brucke_and De_r Blaue Relter, groups 
of that sort . 

So, it was a combination of rather austere school- 
work, because the school I went to just taught you to draw, 
good solid drawing and painting, and then experimenting 
on my own in my little studio and going around to the 
exhibitions, and then going out at night. I didn't sleep 
very much for quite awhile. There was too much to be 


done, too much to enjoy, too much excitement. 
SCHIPPERS: Did you have lengthy discussions with people 
over these exhibits? 

NUTTING: Oh yes. A young Frenchman v/ho spoke very good 
English (he v;as a sculptor) and I went around together 
quite a lot. He used to come up and do some modeling in 
my little studio. We shared this studio more or less, 
as a matter of fact, though I paid the rent. Then I met 
other people. Of course, we had tremendous arguments. 
The American students in the club that I belonged to 
weren't so interesting. I found more interesting people 
other places. 

NUTTING: The people in the pension, curiously enough, 
were interesting. There was a musician and a writer but 
no other painters. But they were very Interesting people 
to talk to. And there were quite fascinating girls. 
There was one Polish girl especially; she was a beauty. 
She wanted a date for the Polish students' ball, so I 
was very glad to invite her. It wound up with my taking, 
I think, three or four girls to the Polish ball, which 
turned out to be quite an interesting affair. I didn't 
know what a student ball was like, and the way they 
described it and tried to make it very attractive, it 
sounded like something extremely elegant, something really 
to be remembered. That rather frightened me a bit, so 


I went out and got evening clothes. I found a tailor 
who made evening clothes quite inexpensively. I got 
a silk scarf. And, by Jove, I had him make me tails. 
Then I got an opera hat. So I was dolled up and it 
turned out, of course, it was much more than necessary 
because students don't have too much money to spend. 
A lot of them had rented evening clothes, had rented tuxes 
and one thing and another, but nobody was especially 
elegant. So with mine being tailor-made, I really felt 
like something. I guess the girls thought so too. They 
liked it. 

SCHIPPERS: Besides the income you had from your father, 
did you do anything to subsidize it or augment it? 
NUTTING: Mother had a little property she left, a house 
in Dakota she had acquired. I sold it and used that 

When I was trying to learn German, as I say, I thought 
if I didn't pronounce correctly sorre of the sounds we do 
not have in English that they wouldn't understand me at 
all. So I used to vjalk about practicing some of them, 
and especially the guttural "r." For some reason, I thought 
that was quite necessary. Well I was out in Schwabing 
one evening and I was walking home alone. It was about 
a mile or so back to my pension. I'd been out there 
quite late at a brauerei and was walking home in the 
moonlight. There was nobody around. The streets were 


deserted, and I felt It was a good tLme to practice the 
German "r," So I started sounding, "Rghhhhhhhl Rghhhhhhl" 
and made all sorts of v;eird sounds. And then I turned 
the corner suddenly and almost ran Into this poor guy 
and said, "Rghhhhhhhhhhhhhl " right in his face and 
frightened him dreadfully. He jumped back and crouched 
a little bit and then crept over to the edge of the 
sidewalk and off into the street and then legged it 
away as fast as he could go. [laughter] 

Another thing that amused me very much and impressed 
me quite a lot was the goose step. Up to that time, 
I don't think I'd even heard of the German goose step. 
In front of the palace in Munich, when they changed the 
guard, they'd go down the street one behind the other, 
and all of a sudden, one of them would bark a command 
because they sighted an officer, and then bang', bang', 
bang! they'd do this stiff-legged goose step. Well I 
thought it was very fascinating. So on one of my walks 
around Munich, I came to a passageway or a tunnel, and 
I look.ed ahead and behind and nobody was around, so I 
thought I'd try this out. I lit out and went bang! bang! 
bang! [laughter] in imitation of a German soldier goose- 
stepping. And while I was concentrating on getting it 
just the right stylish sort of a way, I raised my eyes 
and here was a very impressive German officer walking 
toward me. At first I was afraid he thought I might be 


trying to make fun of him, but he went by and tried to 
keep a straight face. He had a little sense of humor. 
SCHIPPERS: Speaking of the goose step, how aware were 
you of political developments and world events at that 

NUTTING: I was strangely unconscious of them. We've 
jumped ahead a little bit, but I might as well tell this 
because it's quickly told. V/hat happened was that at 
the pension there in Munich, I met my first wife, also 
a Callfornian. She was traveling in Europe and she stayed 
there for some time. V/e had awfully good times together. 
Then she and her companion (she came over with a friend) 
went on to England to finish their trip. In the miean- 
time, we corresponded. The upshot of it was that she 
left her companion, who continued home alone, and she 
came back to the Continent and joined me in Venice. 
We were married in Venice. 

Well, from Venice, we went to Florence, and while 
in Florence, I got a letter from a cousin who was in 
Munich. She wanted very much to see me before she left 
to go back home to Boston. I didn't see much sense in 
it, so I wrote her that I didn't feel very much like 
spending the money. But she Insisted that she must see 
me before she went back. So we threw some things into 
a suitcase and took the train up to Munich. We read the 
papers, but we didn't take anything very seriously. But 


there was an Italian in the pension where we were staying 
in Florence who urged us not to go. He said, "It's not 
the time to go to Germany. You don't v/ant to do that." 
He tried to explain to us, but his English wasn't very 
good and our Italian hadn't gotten very far^ so we didn't 
pay much attention to it. We took the train and went to 
Munich and saw my cousin. 

But v;hat happened was that when vje crossed the border, 
war was declared. So v;e found ourselves in Munich, really 
cut off from the rest of the world and v;ith only money 
enough to spend for, at the most, a week. V/e didn't 
take any m.oney with us. We had money in the bank in 
Florence, but thought that if vje needed money, all we 
had to do was to write a check and we could get some 
money. But, no I Here we were, and I think it was some- 
thing like three weeks before we could get out of Munich. 
But we managed to make our money last pretty well. The 
fact is that we never did know when vje'd get any money, 
so \}e economized tremendously. 

In the meantime, my cousin and her party had gone 
on. They had some kind of lucky break, so they got passage 
But we couldn't get a train out of Germany and we couldn't 
get money to pay our way out of Germany. So we spent 
our time running from the police station to the consulate, 
to the bank and back to the consulate. There v;ere about 
four or five different places that we kept going to all 


day long, from one to the other, and then to the bank 
to see If by chance they had gotten any money, "No, there 
was no way of getting any money yet. But you be patient, 
you'll get it." 

So finally one evening, all tired out, we went out 
to get some dinner. We had dinner on the terrace of a. 
restaurant, some nice little restaurant. V/hen I sat 
down, I took everything I had out of my pocket, so many 
marks, so many pfennigs, copper and silver, and put them 
out on the table. Then vje looked at the bill of fare. 
This item was so much, and so I'd put some money aside 
for that, and then money for something else and so on, 
and finally ten pfennigs or something as a tip. So when 
that was decided upon, vje sat back and a boy came and 
took our order and vje had a very pleasant little dinner. 
We didn't worry about anything; it was our last pfennig, 
but, so what? 

We had a leisurely meal and then came the time to 
pay for it. I called the young vjaiter over and offered 
hLm the money to pay for the bill and he said, "No, I 
won't take it." 

I said, "Why?" 

"Well," he said, " I see that that's all you have, 
and it's not right that you should go vjithout any money 
at all. You keep that. If you get some money, you can 
pay me, but you keep that." 


Well I was quite taken aback and, of course, very- 
appreciative. I told him I certainly v;ould pay hLm as 
soon as I possibly could and that I appreciated having 
at least a fev; pfennigs in my pocket. We v;ent home, and 
the next morning I went to the consulate to see if there 
was anyway of managing something, and then I had my 
rendezvous with my wife at the bank. I went in, and to 
my amazement, she v;alked towards me and she was smiling. 
She opened her purse and here was a great vjad of money. 
I said, "How in the world did you get that?" 

So she told me what happened. She said she came to 
the bank, stood in line and finally got to the wicket and 
asked if anything had been done. They said they were 
sorry, they had nothing so far. And she said, "I was 
so tired, I just couldn't help it. Tears commenced to 
roll down my face. And a man behind me said, 'Oh, here, 
here, don't feel so badly about it. I think something 
can be done. Come over here and sit down.'" And he was 
a German who spoke very good English. So he and she went 
over and sat down and he said, "Where are you from?" 
And my wife said, "From Hagerstown, Maryland." 
"Hagerstovm, Maryland! Do you Icnow the Updegraffs?" 
And Helen said, "Oh, the Updegraffs have been family 
friends for years and years." 

He said, "I've done business with the Updegraffs for 
years and years. I'm in the glove business and the 


Updegraffs buy my gloves. How much money do you want?" 
[laughter] Well, Helen explained that all she needed was 
enough to get back to Florence, and so he said, "Just 
name however much you want." So he wrote a check and 
cashed It and gave her a bunch of m.oney, and vje were all 
set then to get bacVc to Florence. 

It took us three days to get back. The mobilization 
was on then and the trains were crovjded and full of 
soldiers. It was frightening. There v;as a very tense 
feeling--a strange, electric sort of feeling that I never 
felt again, although I was in Europe for the rest of the 
v;ar. I never again felt that sort of tenseness. For 
example, there would hardly be anybody in the street and 
somebody would come and put up a little notice (it might 
be a very simple thing, like a room for rent or something 
of that sort), and all of a sudden there 'd be a lot of 
people reading it. They rushed up to see what it was. 

There was also the sense of being enclosed in Ger- 
many that you didn't have in France or Italy, for example, 
or England, where you knew, at least, that there was 
nobody at your back. But there in Germany you had a 
sense of being encircled. It gave you a slightly claus- 
trophobic kind of feeling. And, of course, the Germans 
weren't very pleasant after that if you spoke English. 
If they were convinced you were an American at that time, 
well, that made a difference because a great m.any Germans 


married Americans or had American friends. And we were 
not at war, and they were not anticipating then trouble 
with us. 

October 25, I965 

SCHIPPERS: I'd like to ask a little bit more about how 
you met your first wife, Helen Hays, and how you came to 
marry her on April 6, 191^. 

NUTTING: Well, when I wait to Munich, I went to a pension, 
the Nordland on Schellingstrasse. My cousins in Boston, 
who were quite given to European travel, always stopped 
there. They highly recommended it and they seemed to 
have been friends of the two women who kept the place. 
So I spent my first period of study there at the pension 
which proved to be a very pleasant place and also a very 
i [ 1 L e re S t Irig on e . 

They had quite an interesting clientele and there 
were people of all nationalities. There were some Ameri- 
cans who were over there traveling and vjho were spending 
some days or even v;eeks in Munich. There were people 
from Austria and from England. There was quite a delight- 
ful young woman who was studying music, a Scotch girl, 
a pianist. So the company there and conversation at the 
table was quite interesting. There was also a man who 
had Just retired, who I understood had been quite an eminent 
oculist in San Francisco. His name was Dr. [Adolf] Barkan. 
He and his family were staying there, and my first wife, 
though I don't think she knew him in San Francisco, knew 
his name very well. 


Well, among the people who were pensioners at the 
Nordland was Helen Hays (the same name as the actress 
except she spelled her name without the "e"). It was an 
old Maryland family. She and I had very delightful times 
together. We used to go out and dine, and I spent inter- 
esting evenings with other people there. V/hen the year 
of study v;as up, I decided to go dovm for a little trip 
to northern Italy. 

In the meantime, I had not seen as much as I wanted 
to see of Munich, and also I was ambitious to spend a 
little time in Vienna. There was an art movement in 
Vienna at that time that was interesting, and there were 
some artists and painters that I would have liked to have 
been in contact with. My visit to Vienna consisted of 
spending the Christmas holidays there with a young Ameri- 
can architect who had come to the pension. He was going 
to Vienna, and I thought it v;ould be a very nice idea to 
spend a week at Christmastime in Vienna. We went and 
had a delightful time. I was very much impressed with the 
charm of Vienna and the charm of the Viennese people. 
They're free from a certain stuffiness of the north Ger- 
man, and they had all of the and friendliness of 
the south German people, plus a certain atmosphere of 
elegance that was still to be found in Vienna. There 
are several little incidents that illustrate what I 
have in mind--not only the friendliness, but also a 


certain quality that Is quite hard to describe. There 
was a certain aristocratic sense, even among very simple 
people I met there. And people from whom you might expect 
more coolness could treat you with a consideration that 
was not In the least condescending. 

A very funny little Incident, one of those that makes 
quite a vivid vignette In your memory of life, took place 
when I was leaving Vienna. I got aboard the train with 
this friend of mine, and I found I didn't have any ciga- 
rettes. I looked at my watch and found I had plenty of 
time to go out and get some cigarettes, v;hich I did. V/hen 
I came back I found the train gone, very much to my surprise 
The only person near me was an army officer in a very 
elegant uniform. He was gorgeous and looked very superior. 
I don't know vjhat his rank v;as, but it was a rather high 
rank judging from his looks. But I spoke to hLm. I 
thought he might know English. I couldn't do very much 
with German, and at that time I knew no other languages. 
He understood what I was troubled about, and he made me 
understand (I've forgotten how) that the train would come 
back. It had gone down to come back on a different track, 
and it would be there shortly. So I felt relieved, and 
sure enough, the train came and I got aboard. I looked 
out the window as the train pulled out of the station. 
I saw the officer standing there. He smiled and saluted 
in a friendly and a dignified way. I can still see hLm. 


There were quite a number of things like that about 
the Viennese people that I remember. It seems to me to 
be rather a special characteristic of theirs. Of course, 
that V7as in the days before V/orld V/ar I when there was 
much more gaiety. The war clouds had not really commenced 
to gather at that time. And I found both Munich and 
Vienna charming places, I arrived in Munich at the time 
of the Fasching (their carnival), which was great fun. 
And in Vienna this young fellow (I'm sorry to say, I've 
forgotten his name but, of course, I only knew him for a 
short time) and I went to a different cafe and to a 
different theater every evening. We also went to the 
opera . 

Of course, I hunted up everything I could in the way 
of the art galleries, so I could see the famous pictures 
there. There v;ere certain things that I especially wanted 
to see, that I was especially interested in. There were 
some late Rubens in the gallery in Vienna that I was 
looking forward to seeing, and I went to visit them. 
As I was hunting the hall where the Rubens were said to 
be, I passed a door and looked in and I was startled 
to see a whole wall, maybe more than one wall, of the 
works of Brueghel, the Elder (Bauer Brueghel). I knew 
they were there, but up to that tLme, I hadn't been es- 
pecially impressed by him. But when I got a glimpse of 
those I went in, and I spent the rest of the day, really. 


with Brueghel. It v;as a revelation to me to see his work 
in the original. And since then, Brueghel has been one 
of my--what shall we call him--heroe3 in the history of 
art . 

There wa3 another part of that vacation too. I've 
forgotten just exactly how it fitted in. There was a 
young fellow from an art gallery there in Munich, he was 
a clerk, and he said that we could go up to Garmisch- 
Partenkirchen and have a wonderful time. He, having a 
a very small salary and being very economical, of course, 
I thought it was a good idea. I could go with him inex- 
pensively, and in fact it turned out that way. We went 
to Garmisch and stayed for several days. He had friends 
or knew somebody or had introduction to some family about 
a mile or so out from town, in the mountains. 

It was really an old-fashioned peasant family, the 
well-to-do sort. They had a farm, and they dressed in 
peasant costumes--the boys with their bare knees and 
leather breeches and feathers in their hats. And we 
really had a good time there. The people were friendly 
and warm, and I learned to like the sort of food that the 
people in that region ate. In the evening, we'd walk 
down to tovm to the brauerei and have beer and sing songs 
with some of the fellows around there. Neither of us 
went in for any of the sports that they're now so famous 
for. In fact, I don't know that they did very much then. 


Maybe they did skiing and things of that sort, but I didn't 
see any. But the evenings were fun, and then vje'd come 
home by starlight. 

One thing that struck me very much vjas these people's 
health. I v;asn't too strong and I vjas a pretty slender 
sort of guy. I was embarrassed by these people in the 
mountalns--these big husky girls and powerful young fel- 
lows. I felt like some kind of an anemic monstrosity 
[laughter] in the face of the vigor and health of these 
young men and girls. Of course, to add to this, v;e had 
a little trouble in speaking to each other, although we 
had lots of fun trying to understand one another, even 
though we couldn't get very far. 

Then I went back to Munich and finished my year's 
study. I worked in my little studio and also in a couple 
of the schools. I changed schools a couple of times, 
trying to find one thpt was sympathetic. Then I'd get 
models at the academy. That was the first time that I 
ever engaged a model on my ovm. I went to the academy 
to get a model because I was told that's where you got 
them. The academy had a big imposing entrance. I don't 
know whether that building still stands or if it was 
destroyed in the vjar, but it was a very plain building 
hidden behind a big facade. Most of the building was made 
up of studios and lecture halls of a very simple sort. 

In this entrance, there was a large hall and an 


Imposing stairway. I went in, and sure enough, here 
were a great many people--young and old, men and women. 
The men were on one side and the v/omen on the other. 
Many were in costumes; the Italian costume was very popu- 
lar. In those days, models v;ere used much more than they 
are now, for all sorts of pictures that v;e are familiar 
with. There were many painters who were hangovers from 
the eighties and nineties, who did Italian scenes and all 
sorts of anecdotal pictures of people in costume, many 
in Tyrolean costume. 

Well, they all rushed toward me and held up their 
hands to attract admiration. Didn't I want a model of 
this type or that type or with this costume or that costume? 
I found this rather embarrassing, and I went and hid 
behind a column. I felt it was sort of a slave market, 
as though I was going to pick out a favorite slave, 
[laughter] Finally, I made up my mind: "This would be 
rather Interesting to paint." So I went up to this girl, 
and she was delighted and trotted along after me to my 
studio. I've forgotten now wh?>t it was I tried to do. 
I had an idea that I'd make some effort at exhibiting at 
that time as well as studying, but that was rather a 
premature idea. 

I was tremendously impressed, of course, with the 
art in Munich and with its galleries. In this country, 
as I said, we didn't have a chance to see very much before 


World V/?r I, the work ofmany of the people who were in- 
fluencing modern art--people like Matisse and Derain, 
to say nothing of Picasso, who then was not so well known. 
But in Munich you could see plenty. There were many 
galleries that showed a most advanced sort of painting, 
beginning with Cezanne. I saw some excellent Cezannes 
in a very fine Cezanne show. 

Naturally, it was rather puzzling to me, because 
I felt sympathetic to so much of it and found it exciting, 
and on the other hand, I was very much puzzled. When you 
go to a school and get academic training and most of 
your reading looks upon the Impressionists probably as 
the most advanced form of art, you are not prepared for 
this. And in those days, a man like [John Singer] Sargent 
commanded enormous respect. It's rather hard to realize 
how much we admired Sargent. He seemed to be to us stu- 
dents a man that you put up along with Frans Hals, Velas- 
quez and Titian. He was really one of the important 
painters of America, and I think he is not really recog- 
nized for his full worth. With all his shortcomings, 
I think we can be proud of him as a figure in American 
art. Now, of course, we feel that Ryder and Eakins and 
Homer most represent us as real American painters and 
are among the most genuine artists; whereas, Sargent 
and Whistler and others reflect more of European art. 

All of the Munich crowd painted directly from life 


or from nature as much as possible--even Carl Narr, who 
was quite a distinguished man in those days, although 
he held with the more academic idea for quite a long 
time. There's a huge thing of his in Milwaukee called 
The Flagellents. Incidentally Carl Marr was from Mil- 
waukee and afterwards became a professor at the academy 
in Munich and, in his time, had a big reputation. He's 
forgotten now, but one reason I went to Munich was that 
I thought I might work with Carl Marr. 

In Munich, I think that I commenced to free myself, 
and I realized that you had to get something; it couldn't 
be £iven to you. If it's for you, you'll get it, and if 
you have a vision or feeling that there's something wrong, 
you must do something about it; nobody's going to do it 
for you. Fundamentally, all education is a m.atter, in 
the last analysis, of self-education. Of course, that was 
not a convinction at that time, but that was a beginning 
of a feeling which afterwards has meant much to me. 

V/ell, to go back to the Pension Nordland: Helen 
Hays and I had some very delightful times. We used to go 
to concerts and to the theater and to the opera together. 
She enjoyed music. She was a great reader. She loved 
to explore the town, not Just for its picturesque qualities, 
but rather for a deeper feeling of life. She seemed to 
be making so much of her travel. Other people were picking 
up superficialities, it seemed to me, while she had a much 


deeper sense of the meaning of what she was seeing or 

She and her traveling companion left and went to 
England after a few weeks, and when the school year was 
over, this sane fellow with whom I went to Garmisch de- 
cided he too would like to go to Italy. For the same 
reason I mentioned before, that appealed to me quite 
a lot because he had so little to spend and also I wished 
to spend little. It was not that I had little to spend 
because Father (who wanted me to get the best of my ed- 
ucation and who was paying for it) didn't put any limit 
on it. He said, "Spend what's necessary. When you need 
money, why, write for what you need." If we had decided 
on what I would invest in this enterprise, then I would 
have budgeted it, but as it was, I was always trying to 
get along on the least possible. I was very proud of 
myself when, at the end of the month, I hadn't spent much. 

Well, this young man, whose name I think was Rhule, 
decided that he had saved up a little money and that 
he'd like to go down and spend some time in northern 
Italy and that we could go together. He knew some French 
and a little Italian and, of course, in northern Italy, 
German is quite helpful. So we went together to Venice, 
and sure enough, soon he found a very cheap place for 
us to live. We commenced to enjoy Venice. 

I really enjoyed Venice. I had alv;ays had an 


immense love of Venetian painting, all the v;ay from the 
Belllnls through [Giovanni Battlsta] Tlepolo, even 
though Tiepolo, especially In those days, was not con- 
sidered vforthy of much enthusiasm. But there were 
qualities in the painting of Tlepolo and his son Domenlco 
that appealed to me strongly. I found tv;o fine things 
of Domenlco 's In Venice that I still remember and I'd 
love to see again. I don't ever see them reproduced. 
It'd be quite an adventure to go back and hunt up some 
of those things that Impressed me at that time. 

In the meantime, I was In correspondence with Helen 
and the upshot of It vjas the t she came to Venice and we 
were married there. The problem of getting married vjas 
something that had to be solved, and v;e didn't know any- 
thing about it. But v;e soon discovered that by being 
married in the consulate you're married on American soil, 
which simplified matters. The first idea was to be married 
by the Episcopalian minister there, but there v;ere diffi- 
culties about the publishing of banns, or something of 
that sort that held us up. V/e didn't have time to wait, 
so v;e found the Scotch-Presbyterian minister, a very nice 
little man, who v/as very pleased to marry us. V/e were 
surprised when we got to the consulate to find that the 
wife of the consul had put some flowers up over the con- 
sul's desk, trying to show a little touch of consideration 
for the event in that way. So we were married there. 


I thought it would be most romantic to take a gondola 
to the consulate, but I found that it v;as such a short 
walk that it would be niuch easier and quicker Just to 
walk, [laughter] From there, we went to Florence for 
our honeymoon. 

It's rather hard to describe Helen very quickly. 
I'd have to stop and think. She was rather small. She 
was, without being prim in the least, always very correct 
in her manner. Though she came from^ Hagerstown, Maryland, 
of an old Maryland fam.ily, she was born in California. 
Her father was an army doctor stationed in San Francisco, 
and she was born there and raised in San Luis Obispo. 
Then she went back East for her education, and on the 
death of her parents, she v;ent back to Hagerstown and 
was by way of being a secretary to an uncle of hers. 
Her uncle, whose name I'd have to look up, was quite 
well-to-do and apparently a very interesting man. He 
had been a consul in Rome at one time, and he'd had other 
activities of that sort. I don't know what his interests 
were in Hagerstown. 

I don't remember how long Helen lived in Hagerstown, 
but it was quite a long time. She had a great sense of 
responsibility for her relatives, and I think she took 
care of an aunt until her death (not long before I met 
her). I know that she eventually became so versed in 
her uncle's affairs that he would go off, maybe on quite 


long trips, and leave her In complete charge. She v/as 
a very capable person in that way. 

And, In the meantime, she bought a little house in 
Hagerstown and was very fond of gardening. She always 
wanted to write. She had a great feeling for all of the 
artE--music, literature, painting. And she not only did 
gardening with enthusiasm but also wrote about it. She 
wrote articles for the New York Post , I believe--a news- 
paper that then existed, although I've forgotten the 
exact name of the paper. I think she wrote a weekly 
column for awhile, and the result of that was a book called 
My Little Maryland Garden . It had some success, not too 
much, but it got good reviews even in England which pleased 
her because the English are such critical people about 
gardens, and anything that she might have to say about 
a garden that got their approbation she felt really meant 

She also wrote a novel which v;as never published 
but apparently wasn't at all bad for a beginner from 
criticisms and advice she got from an agent. She wrote 
quite good verse, some of which was published. She had 
studied piano, and she liked to draw. I have a great 
many of her sketches, drawings, and small paintings. 
Sometimes they were from nature, many from fantasy. 
She had a very fine feeling in her work. In fact, she 
even had a couple of her drawings that got noticed in 


a national show at the Art Institute In Chicago one year. 

She had an amazingly catholic taste in reading. 
The last years of her life she wasn't at all strong. 
She was ill for a long time, and it was quite astonishing 
hov; much she would read. I used to get armloads of stuff 
for her to read. She was well up on all her detective 
stories and the writers and was a very good critic of 
them. She also read Dante's Divine Comedy through in 
the original while she v;as ill. She worked through it 
bit by bit. I found a book on Easter Island that fasci- 
nated her; things that were historical or archeological 
she found interesting. She v/asn't at all pedantic in her 
interest in history. She just liks3 people and what they 
did, not only in modern times but in ancient as well. 
So with her great inner resources, the difficulties of 
the last years of her life were not as great as they 
would be to a person with less. 
SCHIPPERS: Was she the same age as you? 
NUTTING: She was much older than I. 
SCHIPPERS: How much? 

NUTTING: It seems rather absurd to say, but I don't know 
exactly how much. I never thought about it one way or 
the other. I suppose she was about twenty years older, 
not more than that. At least, it's hard for me to believe 
that she was any more than that. One reason that I can't 
feel that she was is because afterwards, when we came 


back to California, I knev; her younger sister, and she 
seemed twice as old as Helen. She was an old lady; v;here- 
as, Helen never gave that impression. She was so easy 
and graceful in her movements and her figure was in such 
beautiful condition up to the time of her death. Her 
posture and her gestures were not that of an old person. 
Up until her illness, her mind was anything but that of 
a person along in years. Her interests and curiosities 
were that of a young person, and that to me was her great 
attraction as a companion. V7e enjoyed everything so 
much together. She had not only a liking for, but a 
deep appreciation of things that I liked, whether it v;as 
wandering around a curious little Italian village, with 
appreciation of the life there, or whether it was in art 
or music or whatever it might be. V/e shared interests 

She had dark hair and dark eyes. She never put on 
too much v;eight. She never had to v;orry about it. She 
had a nice figure and dressed very sLmply and very 

We went to Florence for our honeymoon, which was a 
delightful city to have a honeymoon. Also, it was inter- 
esting to me for its art and architecture and association 
with such as Michelangelo. We stayed at a pension 
near the park. Our room overlooked the Arno, and it was 
very pleasant. VJe were so much absorbed in our life In 


Florence and vjith each other at that time that we weren't 
at all aware of the storm clouds that were gathering. 
We were learning Italian and could at least make out the 
headlines of the Italian papers^ but we didn't read the 
papers from England and from home too closely. So what 
was happening was unknown to us, and the final explosion 
was a great surprise and very much of a shock. V/hile 
we were in Florence, I had a letter from a cousin who 
\I8E in Munich. She v;anted very much to see me before 
she went back home. She was traveling with a group. 
She was one of these Boston relatives that I mentioned. 
I didn't feel much like going up to Munich because it was 
an extra expense. But she was so insistent, that she 
sent money down and said, "I must see you." 

So I finally decided, "V/ell, we'll go up and spend 
a couple of days in Munich and come right back to Florence." 

We took the train to Munich, and war was declared 
as we crossed the border into Germany. \Je were all told 
to get off the train and were examined one by one. There 
was one fellov; who I took to be an American, but he really 
was a German who had lived in this country for a long 
time. He v;as starting up conversations with people, and 
I thought he was just trying to be friendly, but v;hat 
he vjas really doing was trying to find out whether I was 
on the up-and-up, whether I really was an American tourist 
or whether I was an Englishman or some other nationality. 


Having lived in the United States, he of course could 
ask all sorts of leading questions about one thing and 
another. He was satisfied we were all right, so we got 
back onto the train and eventually moved out. A lot of 
people were left behind in a kind of a corral, in a 
fenced-in place. I don't know how many there were, or 
what the situation was exactly, Ar\y\iay , we went to Munich 
and saw my cousin and then she went on and left us behind 
in Munich. Did I tell about the experience in Munich 
at that time? 

SCHIPPERS: Yes. You told us last time about this experi- 
ence in Munich, so we can pick up again on Florence. 
While you were in Munich and then later in Venice and 
Florence, you were still, of course, ;'/orking at your 
art. What was it that you were trying to accomplish speci- 
fically during that period? 

NUTTING: Well, I still had a great faith in good schooling 
for the artist, a feeling that it wasn't a matter of 
genius or talent, basically, that it was learning the 
craft of a painter. And even that summer in Florence, 
I found an art achool and joined it. I'd go down every 
day and spend part of the day working in class, painting 
from a model. The rest of the day I'd spend seeing sights 
and galleries and exhibitions or anything of Interest. 
So we didn't take many trips in the environs of Florence, 
except quite nearby. 


We went up to Vallombrosa . Helen always remembered 
a line from Paradise Lost ; "thick as the leaves of 
Vallombrosa . " That v;as a very haunting line to her, and 
she wanted to see Vallombrosa. We went up in a little 
horse-cab, and coming back down the hills, a car swerved 
around a corner and took the back vjheels of our carrozza , 
and we went bouncing dovm the road with only the front 
wheels. We had quite a scene there and a very noisy 
altercation between the young fellow who owned the car 
and our cab driver. But the young fellow was very nice 
and polite to us, and he drove us back to Florence, 
That's one of the little adventures of our outing. 

And then because of Shelley, more than anything else, 
we went to the place he was drowned. North of La Spezia, 
isn't it? V/e spent a few days up there in that region 
where he lost his life. I think I have two pencil sketches 
I did (I sav; them the other day) of the old castle there. 

Then v;ith the coming of autumn, we decided to go 
down to Amalfi on the Bay of Salerno. It resulted in our 
spending the vjinter there. It was a wonderful place to 
be. Although it was wartime, living was amazingly cheap. 
There vjere no tourists and people were so glad to get 
any patronage at all that you could get excellent quarters 
for very little. We stayed at the Hotel Luna in Amalfi. 
Originally, it had been a monastery. Our room was a 
kind of a monk's cell. It had a little front room and 


then a little dark bedroom behind and looked out over 
the water. Down below us was the road, and across from 
us, there v;as an old tower. Of course, the sv;anky place 
in Amalfi--and I think still is--was the Santa Catarina. 
But the Luna v/as very nice. An English couple who were 
there vjere very pleasant and vje enjoyed knowing them. 

And I started painting. I got people from around the 
village to come and sit for me, and I'd pose them out in 
the patio (you didn't call it the patio there) and paint 
from life. There was a young priest who vjas quite pleased 
to come and sit for me, and I think I still have the study 
I did of him. V/e ' d take long v;alks. 

I became quite interested in wine. The board at the 
pension included wine. Well, I didn't know one wine 
from another. My family was not a teetotal family at 
all, but we had very little in the w?y of drink at home. 
Very seldom did v;e hr-'ve anything alcoholic. My experience 
with wine v;as extremely limited. One thing that bothered 
me was that, though we had quite good meals, I was wondering 
whether this proprietor was taking advantage of an ig- 
norant American when it came to the wine. He could have 
easily given me the cheapest kind of wine and I v;ouldn't 
have known the difference . It reminded m.e of an English 
friend of mine who said that when he was a boy, his father, 
who v;as quite a lover of good v;ine, would sometimes let 
him have a sip of some especially nice vintage to 


cultivate his taste, and he often wondered what grown 
people found good about this stuff that tasted like a 
mixture of ink and rusty nails, [laughter] 

So along with enjoying the scenery and sketching 
out-of-doors, one of the projects I took on v;as to learn 
something about wine. The wines are good around Naples 
and Capri and Salerno. The Falernian wine, of course, 
we find mentioned in among the classical Roman writers. 
So I vjould stop and get a sample of wine at this place, 
and then at another village I'd get something a little 
more expensive, and I'd compare that with what I'd drunk 
before. Then I'd see something that v;as very, very cheap 
and I'd try that. Finally I went back to the hotel one 
evening, and at dinner, I had the courage to say, "You 
know, I don't think this vjine is quite as good as that 
I had last week," or vjords to that effect. As a matter 
of fact, I didn't have the slightest idea vjhether it was 
or not. [laughter] The proprietor, of course, got quite 
excited: "Oh, this is a better wine than last week," 
or "They're exactly the same," or something. 

"Oh, maybe so, maybe so. Let me try it." Well, 
little by little, I did learn. From then on, one of the 
pleasures of living in Europe w^s exploring the vintages 
of the various parts of the country we lived in or visited. 
Wine and cheeses. I became interested in the cheeses-- 
goat cheeses or the cheese of sheep's milk or the various 


kind? of p-^rip-^nt cheeses, expensive cheeses, f'^mous cheeses 
Cheese '~nd v/ine erne to be for me sort of the b;?sls of 
good food. If you h' ve some good cheese ?nd bre'~d ^nd 
good wine rnd some fruit, you're all set. 

One d'-y vjhen I v;^s out walking, I saw a fellov; paint- 
ing in the dlst-=nce. Well, th-t's not so unusual down 
there, but when I drew ne?r, I saw that he didn't h've 
the appearance of an Italian. I spoke to him, and he 
turned out to be an American. We got into convers'^tion 
and I found that he and his wife and a friend of theirs 
had rented the villa over the se^, about a h-lf a mile 
from Am^lfi. They turned out to be extremely interesting 
people and afterwards we became very warm friends. His 
name was Earl Henry Brewster. Next spring he went to 
Sicily from Amalfij ^nd we went up to Rome. And while 
the Brewsters vjere in Sicily, they wrote us and invited 
us dovjn. They had some means and lived a very interesting 
life. They would rent a villa or house or some kind of 
comfortable place and really live in a pl''ce for awhile, 
instead of simply being a tourist. They were doing that 
at Amalfi. They painted very industriously, and they had 
this nice villa and lived a delightful life. Then they 
went down to Taormina and did the same thing. 

Well, we were very ple^^sed to go because it happened 
that winter was very unpleasant. It was rainy, cold, 
rather dismal in Rome, and it seemed to be a great idea 


to go south and get some real sunshine, so we went. 
We got to Taormina right in the midst of a heavy rain- 
storm, [laughter] We went to their villa, and they had 
a very charming place above the sea, a short distance from 
tovm. The next morning turned out to be beautiful. There 
was no rain. It was clear and there was a beautiful sky 
and sparkling sea. 

Henry and I vjent out on the veranda for breakfast-- 
we were the first ones up--and dovm below us was a cargo 
steamer th?t vjas moving along unusually close to the 
shore. We watched it and commented on the fact that it 
was so near to us. Then, all of a sudden, there was a 
puff of smoke that came out of the middle of the steamer. 
There was a boom, and we realized what had happened-- 
it had been torpedoed. So I started jotting down notes. 
I thought now history is being made--my first experience 
with gunfire [laughter] that to a slight degree resembles 
warfare. So I noted, at 8:10, there was so and so; 8:11, 
so and so; 8:12, so and so. I made notes of this, and 
in the meantime, Henry had rushed into the house to get 
up the rest of the family to come out and see what was 
going on. 

While I v;as vjatching, I was surprised to see a little 
puff of smoke come from a submarine which had then sur- 
faced. I watched the submarine surface and then came this 
little flame from it. I wondered what had happened, and 


while I was wondering, there was a funny sound that a 
.75 shell makes and the whole garden in front of me seemed 
to go up. [laughter] But it didn't do any damage. There 
were very large cactus plants, and they absorbed the 
fragments of the shell. There was hardly any mark on 
the house, and I didn't get hit; so it was all right. 
But that submarine stayed there and the ship sank in about 
ten minutes. The two ends of the ship upended and dis- 
appeared beneath the surface of the water. The crew v;as 
taken off; it wasn't a very large crew. I never really 
learned whether any lives v;ere lost or not. I should 
think there v;ould be because the boat was completely cut 
in half. How everybody could escape, I don't knov;. 
We couldn't get any information because it was pretty 
well clamped down. 

Afterwards, in the afternoon, a boat came from 
Taranto, an Italian Navy boat, and it circled around the 
oil slick a few times and then went back. The submarine 
stayed around all day and rather stupidly sank some fishing 
boats and sailing craft. 

The population of Taormina, of course, was excited, 
but what surprised me was that the English people that 
we knew there were not at all the phlegmatic sort of 
people that they have the reputation of being among the 
Europeans. The idea, of course, among the French and 
Italians is that the Englishman is very reserved and 


very taciturn, a man of few words and rather cold in his 
manner. But these English people were anything but re- 
served. They were expressing their opinions and they v;ere 
shouting and saying and doing all sorts of foolish things 
[laughter], whereas the Italians were curiously calm, 
except for one funny fellow. 

They weren't shelling the town, but there v;as a 
semaphore Just above vjhere we vjere staying and the sub- 
marine was trying to quiet it, because it would spread 
the news. But, it being quite high above the sea, they 
couldn't quitemake it. So after about half-dozen shots 
or so, they stopped. But, of course, these shells fell 
on the hillside and rather disturbed the people. So 
this man I mentioned began rushing around, gathering up 
his animals and putting them In pens, and getting his 
family together. Finally they started up the hill to 
take shelter among the rocks. He was in the lead, mar- 
shalling his little flock. As a baton he had his wife's 
rolled-up corsets, and he was v;aving these corsets and 
shouting at his kids and his wife and old folks and all 
the rest of them. These Italian corsets were a funny, 
stiff, old-fashioned corset that they v;ore on the outside 
of their blouse. It was that sort of thing; and rolled 
up, it made a good baton. 

SCHIPPERS: During these years, what was your source of 
income? V/as your father still sending you money? Did 


your wife have an Income also? 

NUTTING: Father was still sending some money. He vjanted 
to do it . I had the very definite idea after our marriage 
that I would go back to the United States, and I expected 
to go into commercial work, illustration, portrait paint- 
ing or teaching. I had prepared myself for all these 
fields except commercial art. I'd alvjays had in mind the 
possibility of doing illustration, and in those days, 
illustration was a more interesting field for the painter 
than it's since become. Afterwards, it became a more 
jazzy sort of idea for making a m.agazine attractive. 
But in the days of Howard Pyle and his pupils, like Harvey 
Dunn and [Newell] Wyeth and all of those men, they took 
their art very seriously, and it was a perfectly good 
field for someone who expected to be a painter exclusively 
to enter. But Helen had had a life, not only of quite 
hard v;ork but of very heavy responsibility, and v;hen her 
uncle died and left her with money, not very much but 
enough for comfort, she was so enjoying Europe that we 
finally decided to prolong our stay over there. Little 
by little I did some things. I'd paint a portrait or 
sell some of my work, and with what my mother left me, 
we got along, not at all luxuriously but pleasantly. 

October 29, 1965 

SCHIPPERS: Last time you made mention of Earl Brewster 
and you wished to correct that and state his full name 
as Earl Henry Brewster, 

NUTTING: Yes, his full name was Earl Henry Brewster. 
It's curious that, for a moment, I remembered him as 
Henry. His wife's name was Achsa. They were both painters 
Achsa was very ambitious to do rather large decorative 
canvases. Earl had also been a pupil of William Chase, 
but he deviated quite a lot from his training as a 
painter. He and Achsa were living at this villa near 
Amalfi with a friend of theirs, Frederick Shaler, a very 
talented man, who had saved up his money and had come 
to Europe for a couple years of painting and studying. 
He, I think, would have been quite an important painter 
in the modern trends, but unfortunately, when they were 
living in Sicily about a year or so later, they went out 
for a walk (they were both great walker and loved to take 
long hikes) and he stopped and got a drink of water at 
a farmhouse and was dead of typhoid a very short time 
after that. Earl had an exhibition of his work in Rome 
which was noticed quite well and especially admired by 
people like Giacomo Balla and some of the painters of 
the Futurist movement. But what trips we made in Italy 
really were those to the Brewsters at Amalfl. We spent 


the summer there, went down in the spring, and, I think 
it was in October when v;e left and vjent up to Rome. 

Also, my wife had a friend, an old friend of the 
family's or, at least, she was a member of a family that 
had been friends of her people in Maryland, and she was 
married to an Italian, Ferdinando de Chiara. In his 
youth, he was supposed to have been the most handsome 
boy in southern Italy and from an aristocratic family. 
In some ways, he was very charming~-and in some ways, 
quite annoying. They, apparently, were rather well-off 
because they had a beautiful villa up at Anacapri. So 
while the Brewsters were in Am.alfi we used to visit Capri 
quite often and we'd stay with the de Chiaras. The social 
life on Capri, as it was in Italy, was somewhat disrupted 
by the war. People had either gone home or were absent 
on other things, but life, in some ways, was even more 
delightful than it would be in normal times. Capri, 
which was usually overrun with tourists v;as then more 
or less deserted; so we could enjoy the island and the 
people and the residents in a way that wouldn't otherwise 
be so pleasant. One of the pleasures I had, which I 
think would be quite incredible now, v;as to be able to 
go to the Blue Grotto and have the place all to myself 
for a swim [laughter], things of that sort, you know. 

And there were interesting people on Capri. Compton 
MacKenzie, the writer, had a villa there, although he 


was away most of the time. His wife lived there, and we 
used to see quite a bit of her. We also made a friend 
there who afterwards had quite a lot to do with our life, 
both down there, then in Rome, and then in Paris. That 
was Richard Wallace. He came into my meeting of Joyce. 
Wallace entered into the picture quite a lot, and the 
fact is, in [Richard] Ellmann' s book on Joyce, The Life of 
James Joyce , his name appears rather frequently for cer- 
tain periods of the story. 

As a boy I was extremely shy, which was rather under- 
standable because I didn't grow up very much among people. 
When I was Involved in something that I was especially 
interested in, then I wasn't at all afraid. A case in 
point would be that as a boy I used to want to browse 
around secondhand bookstores a lot. Well, proprietors 
of bookstores are not especially anxious to have kids 
hauling their books down off shelves and turning them 
over [laughter], but I felt that, doggone it, those 
things are very important to me. So, I'd brave the 
disapproval of the proprietor if I saw a book I wanted 
to look at. What I have in mind Just now is that when 
I had an idea that somebody might be of unusual interest 
to me, I would find some way to meet hLm or get in touch 
with him. 

Later in New York, I was ambitious to be a mural 
painter and I dreamt of winning the Prix de Rome and 


going to the American Academy in Rome. V/hen I was v;orking 
at the [Art Students] League I had that in mind, and in 
my work in composition^ I always had the idea of large, 
monumental sort of designs in mind. Well, in those days, 
the really known mural painters in this country were 
people like Kenyon Cox and Edwin H. Blashfield. They did 
big things for our state capitols and public buildings. 
One day I took the idea into my head to go down and see 
Blashfield, v;hich I did. He was very nice. I had quite 
a hard time finding his studio. 

I finally found the place and I rang the bell. 
Then I heard a voice av;ay up in the heavens someplace, 
and I turned around and looked up a long stairway. There 
was somebody and he said, "Yes?" 

And so I said, "Mr. Blashfield?" 

And he said, "Yes, vjhat can I do for you?" So I went 
upstairs and explained to him why I came, that I wanted 
to be a mural painter, and I thought he would give me some 
good advice as to a course of study. He said, "Well, 
I'm very busy, but I will give you just five minutes." 

So I sat dovm, and he talked very nicely to me for 
just five minutes. In the meantime, in this huge studio, 
boys were working on big canvases, v;ith projectors throvj- 
ing up designs onto great canvases destined for some 
state capitol. He was doing one of his big allegorical 
compositions. So the sam.e thing happened to a certain 


extent in later life and usually it happened to work out 
very well. I've had no reason to regret my temerity. 

Another hero of mine as a boy was Elihu Vedder. 
My aunt had a book^ that was published, oh, way back in 
the eighties, I think. The Rub^aiya't of Omar Khayyam , 
with his illustrations and decorations. I liked it very 
much; I thought it was quite wonderful. There was a thing 
of his in the Boston Museum that I liked. I liked things 
that were very imaginative; that's one reason I liked 
Howard Pyle so much. His illustrations were very imagina- 
tive, especially his own version of the story of King 
Arthur and his knights. They vjere pen drav;ings somewhat 
influenced by German engravings, but very decorative, 
very fine illustrations. They were quite a good influ- 
ence on me as a youngster. 

VJhen I was in Capri, I heard quite a lot about Elihu 
Vedder. He'd been living there for a good m.any years, 
and he had a villa there, the Villa Quattro Venti. He 
was then one of the patriarchs of the island. There v^ere 
two American gentlemen v;ho were more or less of the same 
class--Charles Caryl Coleman and Elihu Vedder. 

So I couldn't resist calling on Mr. Vedder. My wife 
and I found the Villa Quattro Venti, and he received us, 
at first, not too warmly. He said, "Are you trippers?" 
(He used the English expression--"trippers . " ) So I ex- 
plained to him what I was in a sense: that we weren't 


Just passing through and my reason for coming was because 
I loved his work. Well, the result v;as that we became 
quite warm friends. His daughter Anita took care of the 
old gentleman, really sacrificed her life for him. She 
was a very charming person and talented. If she'd had 
a chance, I think she would have developed quite a way. 
Afterwards, when we were living in Rome, they disposed of 
their property on Capri and came to Rome to live, so v;e 
saw quite a great deal of both of them. That little 
painting on the wall is one I did of him at the tea table 
one afternoon. So the Brewsters and Shaler and these 
friends of my wife's and Elihu Vedder were among the first 
acquaintances that we made in Italy, people with whom 
we became real friends. 

We went toRaneand found a place to live near the 
Piazza del Popolo and the Via della Fontlnella (the 
Street of the Little Fountain), which is just the next 
street to the Via dei Incurable, or the Street of the 
Incurables, [laughter] The two names rather stuck in my 
mind. It ' s a little short street that connects the Via 
del Babuino with the Corso. Avery pleasant little woman, 
Signora Dividus--! remember her name v;ell--whose husband 
was away at the war rented us a very nice room and served 
us breakfast and brought in our bath. Very seldom in 
our stays in Italy did we have a bathroom. We would ring 
In the morning, and the first thing the maid would do 


would be to bring in a big shallow tub and towels and soap 
and one thing and another. You'd bathe, and then they'd 
bring in breakfast. That was true at Signora Dividus' . 
She provided breakfast and bath, and the rest of our 
meals we ate out. 

Well, all of this time of course I v;as very much con- 
cerned about my study--what to do, how to work. But I 
still h?d the combination of ideas which began in Munich: 
that I would like to vjork in a school or under some paint- 
er for whom I already had great respect. Hov/ to find that 
master was quite a problem. In those days, the study of 
painting differed quite a bit from the feeling that a 
student has about it now. They will go to a school. 
They'll go to the Pennsylvania Academy or the National 
Academy or the Art Students League, but mostly it's the 
atmosphere and general feeling of this school that they 
think out; whereas, then, it was very much like it v;ould 
be with a musician. A violinist might be a pupil of 
[Leopold] Auer and a pianist of [Theodor] Leschetizky. 
Art students, on the other hand, dreamed of studying with 
some famous artist. The two most famous teachers in those 
days in this country vjere VJilliam M. Chase and Frank 
Duveneck. Of course, there v;ere others who had follow- 
ings. So I think that if I look back now, I was rather 
on the lookout for somebody v/ho'd be my mentor and guide. 
And that led to another experience, similar to the 


experience that I mentioned before in the case of Blashfield 
and Vedder. 

In Rome, the director of the Villa Medici was [Paul] 
Albert Besnard. When I v;as studying in New York and I 
used to go to the library, I ran across an article on the 
work of Albert Besnard and his travels in India, and I 
was much impressed by the reproductions of some of his 
watercolors and dravjings. So I got the idea that he was 
really quite a great man, and his academic success, of 
course, bolstered that idea. 

We looked around for a studio and place to work, 
and v;e were quite lucky, because being viartime, things 
were quite cheap. Our living in Amalfi was amazingly 
inexpensive, and in the Via Margutta I found a vacant 
studio, and it was very large. I don't remember what 
the dimensions were, but it was a very large and very 
high room, a studio with a big window and a marble floor, 
black and white squares of real marble. It had been 
occupied by a Russian princess who, due to the war, had 
to go back to Russia. She had partitioned a small part 
of the studio off and had put all her valuable furniture 
and belongings in this corner. It didn't take up too 
much room, it didn't look bad, and the rest was this 
beautiful studio, v;hich we got very cheaply. The window 
looked out on the Pincian Hill, and at sunset, I could 
look up and see the Villa Medici in the orange light of 


the setting sun. 

I got busy in my studio and tried to do some work, 
but I also started looking around for some really serious 
place to study. I used to look up at the Villa Medici 
and think, "Nov;, Albert Besnard is up there," and I wanted 
more and more to meet him and to get his advice. So I 
screwed up my courage, and I went up to this magnificent 
Villa Medici, which is really a beautiful place, with 
beautiful, big grounds. It's been the French Academy 
since the early nineteenth century. Besnard received 
me and he was to my surprise extremely pleasant and 
gracious. He said, "VJell, let mie see some of your v;ork. 
I'd like to see it." So I thanked him very much, and 
he said, "Bring it up and I'll look at it." 

The next thing to do was to pick out some stuff to 
take up to him. I vjas doing rather big canvases, so 
I solved the problem by hiring a fellovj who roped up a 
big bunch of my canvases and put them on his back and 
we went up to Villa Medici. Besnard took me into the 
library, and we spread these canvases along the v/all. 
I was extremely nervous because my progress hadn't been 
too rapid. I was never too happy with my teaching, and 
I pulled this way and that and didn't know exactly what 
I was trying to do. And he looked at them and m.ade a 
little remark about this and a little rem^ark about that. 

Then I said, "But, Mr. Besnard, what do you think I 


ought to do?" Well, he, of course, was a Prix de Rome. 
He was one of the most brilliant of the Prix de Rome 
students, and afterwards won many medals and honors. 
He became director of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and of the 
Villa Medici. So I thought, with his background, what 
he would feel was that this was infantile, inept sort 
of stuff and that I should go to school and study. I 
imagined that v;hat he would advise me was, first of all, 
to work hard and improve my drawing. 

But to my surprise he didn't say so. "Oh," he said, 
"I'll tell you what you do. You get a big canvas. You 
paint a big picture." 

And I said, "A big picture?" 

He said, "Yes, anything you want. Do your sketches 
and your composition and paint a big picture, and I'll 
come down and look at it . " 

So I went out and bought a canvas six feet by nine. 
I thought that might [laughter] qualify as being a big 
picture. And I set to work on it . I made, first, some 
sketches and dravjings and pastel compositions, and finally, 
I had an arrangement of three figures for a romantic 
sort of decorative composition. I got it on the canvas 
and started to work. I'd have to run up and down a step- 
ladder most of the time. I'd get up there and do it 
piece by piece. When I finally got the thing pretty 
well along, I called on Besnard, and to my surprise, he 


and his v;lfe came down. They had tea with us, and we had 
a very delightful afternoon. He wanted to see everything 
I did, and I'd haul out canvases, and if I'd see something 
that looked especially bad, I'd try to shove it behind the 
piano. But he'd say, "No, no, no, no! Let me see that." 
So he commented on my work and gave me encouragement. 
He didn't give me any special advice except to go ahead, 
be myself and work. As I say, from a man of his rigor- 
ous academic training, you'd expect something rather 
more severe. 

So I didn't enter any school or study under anybody 
in Rome, VJhile I was in Amalfi I had sent a canvas to 
the Amatori e Cultori dei Belle Arti and got refused. 
I got up to Rome, and the next show that came along, I 
sent again. I got accepted. And I think I had something 
accepted each year after that. I didn't have any one- 
man shows or anything of that sort, but that was their 
principal exhibition and I made it without too much 
trouble. My stuff wasn't too good, either, as far as 
that goes. 

In the meantime, of course, I was excited in seeing 
everything that was to be seen in the way of painting. 
I saw things that I was very familiar with. It was more 
than interesting to see them in the original because 
there would be revelations like the frescoes of Michel- 
angelo, which I was perfectly familiar with ever since 


childhood through black-and-white reproduction engravings. 
I always thought that they would be rather monochromatic 
because he was a draftsman and sculptor and not essentially 
a painter. The first thing to surprise me was the color 
quality in the decorative work of the Sistine Chapel 

Some of our trips were just for pure pleasure and 
others vjere pilgrimages to things that I wanted to see in 
the environs of Rome. While we viere living that summer 
in Amalfi;, I had been to Naples very often and had become 
quite familiar with what was to be seen there, including 
the frescoes of Pompeii and the things in the museum in 
Naples and in the environs of Naples. I imagine that the 
environs of Rome have changed. People have not told me 
very much about it; and of course, it's many, many years 
since I've been there. In those days, the feeling of 
Rome was of this big city tliat was set down clean-cut 
in the middle of the Campagna . 

If you went outside the walls of Rome and up the 
Appian V'ay, you \iere out into an expanse of prairie 
country where there were these strange depressions every 
once in awhile which were hard to understand until it 
vjas explained to you. This is where the catacombs have 
caved in and the earth had dropped down and left a hole. 
The ramifications of the catacombs have never been complete- 
ly mapped. Just before we went to Rome, as a m.atter of 


fact, one of the young fellows who had a fellowship at 
the academy went into exploring the catacombs and never 
was found again. That kept the academy and his friends 
disturbed for a long time. 

Leaving the Campagna to go up into the Alban Hills, 
you go up to Frascati and Tivoli. They are wonderful 
excursions, and also were settings for a certain amount 
of artistic influence, especially in the history of Ger- 
man painting. It's very interesting to see the influence 
that the Roman Campagna had in the nineteenth century 
German landscape painting. And we used to love to go 
out to Lago dl Neml v;hlch Is a little lake. The Lago 
di Nemi is a mirror-like lake. It's the lake of Frazer's 
Golden Bough . A large Roman bark, or whatever they call 
it, sank there. Mussolini did something about exploring 
more of It and they pulled parts of it up, but it wasn't 
completely known at that time. And on the edge of this 
lake, which is in a round crater, there is a mysterious 
sort of a place quite suitable for the Temple of the 
Golden Bough. There's a little restaurant on the edge 
of it where we got roast kid and a white wine called 
Santo Spirlto. The roast kid and Santo Spirito wine 
made a delicious meal, and while eating, you looked dovm 
on this still, mysterious-looking lake and the little 

As I said, the environs of Rome have so much to 


offer in the way of memorable excursions. I rather doubt 
it has still the charm that it had then, because it v;as in 
wartime, and there were no tourists and things were very- 
quiet, and in many ways, more delightful. Also, of course, 
transportation now is so much easier v;ith more roads 
and because people own many more cars. It's hard for me to 
imagine Rome jammed up with automobiles. Most of the 
city transportation vjas still with carrozzi . In Amalfi, 
for example, I don't think I ever saw an automobile all 
that summer we were there. There also was a little town 
which, I believe was completely wiped out in the war-- 
leveled, completely destroyed. A charming little place. 
I remember there v;as a hotel we used to stop at once in 
awhile. We v;ould go there and spend the night, then go 
to Pompeii or into Naples or on some of our trips around 

So Besnard got me started on doing a big canvas 
and I finally decided to make it more of a problem of 
self-instruction rather than following a master. I think 
that vjas an important stage in my development. What had 
happened, of course, up to that time was that a certain 
amount of my upbringing gave me a respect for authority, 
that other people knew more than I did, that one mustn't 
pretend to try to do things until you know your business 
and that you must be a good student. And that v;as kind of 
hard if you were devoting yourself really seriously to 


an atmosphere that was unsympathetic and you couldn't 
figure out exactly v;hy. 

Just recently I've been interested to find somebody 
else vjho I didn't realize before had undergone somewhat 
the E^me sort of thing but much more successfully, probably 
because he ' s a far more intelligent man. I was given a 
birthday present recently of a voucher good for a book, 
and I got this Life of Delacroix [by Rene Huyghe], It's 
very interesting, because although it's not his life 
story exactly, it's a study of Delacroix by a very in- 
telligent man. He traces the conflict th-t Delacroix 
had in his development between the influence of a classic 
spirit, v;hich was so strong in art after the transition 
from the eighteenth to nineteenth century painters like 
David and Ingres on one side, and the rise of the Roman- 
tic movement on the other. Delacroix simply seem.ed to 
envision the problem in a much broader way and was much 
more courageous in follovjing through. In my own case, 
I always had this idea that? first of all, one must engage 
in serious study and work and not bank on talent or the 
Importance of your own ideas too much, which was rather 
unfortunate, because as I look back, I feel that even a 
very slight intuitive feeling should be treated with 
respect. And it's one thing that I have tried very hard 
to do in my teaching since and that is to watch very 
carefully for natural feelings and Impulses and to 


cultivate a student's faith in himself, even though he 
might question it from the point of view of reason. 
Don't throw it overboard simply for that; it may be valu- 
able. You don't know. Save it. Treat it very carefully. 
It may be v;ell worthwhile. Well, it's just a case I remem- 
ber which I've alvjays felt illustrates one of the most 
interesting things about teaching, and that is, it's not 
only that you're able to give things of value to others, 
but it ' s a wonderful means of getting an education your- 

SCHIPPERS: Earlier you mentioned that when you were in 
Rome, you started a large canvas and this was the first 
big one that you'd undertaken. Was your own style begin- 
ning to emerge at this time? 

NUTTING: Well, yes. But it was something, if you call it 
a style, that took hold of me. It wasn't something that 
I subscribed to. I suppose I was conditioned to a certain 
approach by the things I had enjoyed as a youngster. 
I told you before that I could remember all those things 
of Gustave Dore, a very romantic illustrator, and those 
illustrations of Elihu Vedder in Omar Khayyam, which 
also were somewhat in line with that feeling. In other 
words, the direct objective of painting from nature, 
although I was taught it in art school, was not a funda- 
mental drive--that feeling toward painting that a born 
Impressionist has, for example, or that a landscape 


painter or en pleln air or outdoor painter has. In other 
words, I suppose, I v;as a dreamer [laughter], and my dreams 
had more reality very often than the object before me. 
I really commenced to feel in Rome a certain dichotomy, 
most intensely. And I can almost remember exactly how 
it happened . 

I had this dream as a student in New York of winning 
the Prix de Rome and going to the American Academy in 
Rome and becoming a mural painter. So one of the first 
things I did v;hen I got to Rome v;as to visit the American 
Academy, on the Janiculum Hill. I met the director, and 
he was very pleasant and very nice to me and showed me 
around. I sav; what the students were doing. They were 
all working on projects. They viere doing their own v;ork 
in their studios, and then they did one in com.mon. The 
architect and painter and the sculptor X'jould work on one 
project. The architect did the building. The painters 
did the designs for decoration. The sculptor did the 
sculpture. It v;as, of course, all very accomplished, 
very brilliant stuff, and I admired it and envied it 
very much. They could all do so much more than I could 
dream of doing, and I hoped that if I really worked very 
hard, maybe I could get there too. But I remember walking 
away from the academy and down through a poor part of town, 
in the Borgo San Pietro, and I looked at the freshness 
of color and the vitality of real people, and then all 


this rather pretentious allegorical stuff that they were 
dealing with seemed to me suddenly rather meaningless. 
I found even the smell of garlic in those little narrow 
streets rather refreshing. It was something alive, some- 
thing that had real substance to it. 

Even drawing, which up to that time I'd looked upon 
from the academic point of view, required a certain func- 
tion of line, a copying of form very exactly. This is 
good drawing or that is bad drawing. They were very sure 
about it, you know. Now even that idea was badly shaken. 
As a matter of fact, Besnard had some influence on that 
because I could see that some of his drawings that I 
thought very exciting were, from a school point of view, 
quite poorly drawn. And I found that Rodin's drawings 
were very exciting, but they had few academ.ic virtures. 
Of course, a person who had a feeling for drawing could 
see a rich background of understanding in those vivid 
dravjings that to other people looked like ordinary scribbles. 

So, I think about that tLme my feeling or sympathy, 
especially for the more academic training, was pretty 
badly shaken, and from then on, I would get Italian models 
with Italian costumes and other characters and people and 
do com.positions and things v;hich would be imaginative, 
but my pleasure in my work was increased by a certain 
play between my interior life and contact with the infi- 
nite richness of reality. The Beaux-Arts' spirit 


became something rather unreal and meaningless. One 
reason that I painted a great deal from the model then 
was because they were so available. 

In those days. Via Margutta v;as nearly altogether 
a street of artists' studios and of people who did casting 
for the sculptors. Usually the shops down on the street 
level were occupied by these fellows who did casting for 
sculptors. There vjere several of them in the little 
street. I think there were other businesses, of course, 
but up above were artists' studios. Models used to con- 
gregate in the Via Margutta; so if you felt like doing 
some work, you could lean out the window and see Pom.pilia 
or Vittoria or somebody, and say, "Come here and do some 
v;ork." So she'd come up. You had a model right at your 
doorstep . 

Incidentally, it's rather interesting (I suppose 
probably this also is something that is past), but in 
those days, the little tov;ns up in the mountains would 
each have a certain means of livelihood. In one little 
village, they v;ere all caning chairs and in another little 
village, they v;ere doing something else that seemed to 
be characteristic of that community and at which they 
made their living. 

The village of Anticoli Corrada was no exception. 
In the summertime they had their little bits of ground 
on which they cultivated their vineyards, their grapes 


to make wine. But they were all artists' models. The 
whole tovm was populated with artists' models, and they 
were much in demand. Like a lot of villages and towns 
In Italy, they almost had their own language and they had 
their own characteristics in build and feature. About 
this community, I believe some people had the idea (I've 
forgotten whether there was any reason for it), that 
it was sort of a colony which came from across the Adriatic 
They were darker than the mountain people ordinarily were. 
Very handsome, very classic in their build, very intelli- 
gent, very nice people. They v;ere magnificent from the 
point of view of the model in the conventional v;ay. They 
had beautiful figures and fine shapes, very handsome 
people, and made wonderful characters for religious pic- 
tures and classical pictures and things of that sort. 
Models were cheap. Everything was cheap in those days. 
So, to go back to what I was trying to do, I would 
paint portraits, models, head studies and do a lot of 
figure drawing, because during all this time I had no 
idea if I were staying in Europe. I'd say, "Well, next 
year I must go back and get busy." So there were the 
three things I planned on: teaching and portrait paint- 
ing and illustration. I hadn't dropped the idea of illus- 
tration, because at that time there was still a certain 
field for it. If you go back to illustrative magazines 
of the eighties and nineties, you'll be surprised to 


find some very interesting names. The reason was that 
as students they had been first in Munich and sometimes 
other cities like Di!Isseldorf . But Munich especially had 
an influence then. And the ones who came back from Paris 
would be involved on how to make a living, and they would 
do illustration. The idea that illustration is a commer- 
cial art hadn't entered into the picture at the time. 
An art editor got the best artists he could, and 
sometimes some very distinguished painters began as illus- 
trators and worked for m.agazines. Probably the most 
successful v;as Edwin A. Abbey v;ho I think got practically 
his whole art education in the offices of Harper' s vjhen 
he vjorked for Harper' s Magazine . In the beginning. Harper' s 
and the early illustrated magazines published in this 
country got artists to do the illustrations, and they did 
their illustrations right there on the spot. They had 
a space set aside and the boys would work on making the 
drawings directly on the wood block which was then en- 
graved and then published. But after the European-trained 
painters started coming back, they rather balked at that 
idea. They wanted to do the work in their own studio 
and bring it to the publisher. Some very important people 
did that. People I mentioned, like Blashfield and Cox, 
as young fellows started out as Illustrators and after- 
wards became very successful mural painters. Even a 
man like John La Farge did some of the best illustrations 


back in the eighties or somevjhere along there. After- 
wards he became a very distinguished painter and writer 
and designer of stained glass. 

So, I didn't feel that there was, at that time, a 
sharp division between doing work for a magazine and 
being a painter. If I could sell my picture to a maga- 
zine, that was one thing. If I went to a gallery and 
sold to a collector, that was another thing. But, in 
either case, I was doing the best I could, pictorially, 
as a painter. I felt that there were certain discrepan- 
cies there, but they weren't nearly as great as they 
afterwards became, because the demands of illustration 
and the developm.ent of the talent of the real painter 
became more and more separated. So I hoped to go on with 
portrait painting, teaching and illustration, when I 
came back. 

But, of course, we were both enjoying our life in 
Europe enormously, and in a way, I felt that the war 
had interfered to a certain extent in vjhat I was trying 
to do in my studies. I got into various activlties-- 
Red Cross and one thing and another. After going to 
Paris, v;e kept putting off our return, year after year. 
SCHIPPER: In Rome, you were of course absorbing all of 
the great works as you did elsewhere in Italy. 
NUTTING: Yes. I think I mentioned it before, I've always 
had and still have an insatiable hunger for seeing things. 


I'll go Into any exhibition or any gallery and enjoy It. 
I don't think of things too much in terms of good or bad 
or indifferent. When I go into a gallery I don't think: 
"This is by a great man and this is by a lesser man." 
I enjoy this or that, and then, all of a sudden, something 
will bowl me over completely. I'll be just flabbergasted 
and have to go back again and again to see it and vjonder 
what in the world made it that way. 

I felt that very definitely as a student in Boston. 
I spoke about going to the museum very often, it being 
right next door to the school, and v.'hat troubled me was 
that what I vjas learning in school and v;hat these painters 
had done wasn't the same. I couldn't quite make out the 
connection. I didn't feel that what they did was vjhat 
I was trying to do in the school. I didn't mind the 
fact that it was pretty dull, pretty hard work, and rather 
like slave labor, because I thought I could look forward 
to it giving me something that I wanted, something that 
these people had. But more and more, the people who had 
great influence on me were, I would say, essentially 
painters. That, of course, expresses it in a very 
general sort of way, a mere adumbration of what I had in 
mind . 

I was more excited, for example, by the painters of 
Venice than of Florence, though my admiration for Floren- 
tine painters and artists was unbounded. But they were 


essentially sculptors and draftsmen; whereas, we have 
a great school of Venetian artists, especially from Bellini 
on and even somewhat later than Tlepolo, who were definitely 
painters. And the Flemish [painters] influenced me for 
the same reason. I'm still greatly enthusiastic about 
Dutch painters. At that time El Greco was not spoken of 
very much. He wasn't especially well known. They have 
a good El Greco in Boston--or did have at that time- 
that fascinated me, but the other students couldn't share 
my enthusiasm because they couldn't see how I could ad- 
mire anything that was so badly drawn. Of course, that 
story that I told about the first showing of Matisse that 
I ever saw illustrates, sonewhat, the atmosphere I was in. 
The serious painter or serious artist couldn't think 
of that sort of thing as something important. 

November 1, 1965 

SCHIPPERS: While you were in Rome, you said that your 
social activities increased and I wondered if you'd tell 
us something about that. 

NUTTING: Well, Rome was very interesting to me in th^t 
way because up to that time, except for the winter in 
Munich, I had not had much of what you would really call 
a social life. That doesn't mean I didn't have warm 
friends and a certain amount of enjoyment being with 
people, but in Munich and in Rome, I commenced to see 
many more people than I ever had before. 

We stayed In .Am.alfi that We went down there 
in the spring and stayed until October and then decided 
to go up to Rome. We made the decision, but I rather 
wondered about it as I didn't know exactly what Rome would 
mean to me. All of this time, I was very serious-minded 
about doing something with my work. Even at Amalfi, I 
sent things to the annual exhibition in Rome. And then 
by going to Rome, I had the idea, undoubtedly, that I'd 
find schools or somebody I would want to study wtth-- 
something to organize my work a little more than working 
entirely by myself. And that's all I had in mind. 

We got to Rome and went to the Pension Quisisana. 
It was a very nice place. It was one that later we often 


recommended because it was a very delightful place, run 
by a Swiss and, of course, they are very good hotel- 
keepers. The next thing I did, almost the next day, was 
to go up and visit the American Academy, because for 
years, I'd dreamt of being a mural painter and even of 
trying for the Prix de Rome and going to the American 
Academy for mural painting. So my first curiosity was 
the American Academy. That is across the river in Rome 
and among the seven hills of Rome. It ' s a beautiful 
place with a very beautiful view of the city. 

And I was very nicely received there. I met some- 
body and explained why I came: thatlwas a painter, 
that I always had the ambition to become a vjorker at 
the academy and to have a fellowship. So, he took me 
to see the director, and he, in turn, was extremely hos- 
pitable. He showed me all over the place and I met some 
of the other fellows there that were painters and sculptors 
and architects. So I came away quite pleased with my 
first acquaintance with Rome. 

And that very evening I got a telephone call, to 
my surprise, at the pension. It was the director. He 
He was an architect and was the resident director of 
the academy. He said that (I think it was the next 
evening) they were having an Informal gathering, a sort 
of a smoker for the students, and would I like to come 
up and meet some of the boys? Of course, I was quite 


flattered and pleased, and I v;ent up and spent a pleasant 

We looked around for a place to live, and in the 
Via della Fontanella near the Piazza del Popolo, we found 
a Signora Dividus who had a very nice apartment. Her 
husband was away in the army, and she was renting rooms 
in her apartment. She gave us a very pleasant room, with 
breakfast and bath. VJe ate our other meals out. The next 
thing was to find a place to work. I thought I would 
try to find that first before I investigated any other 
of the art activities of Rome. I wanted some place 
where I could set up my easel and get busy. And we were 
very lucky. A great many people left Rome. In a way, 
that was one of the delights of being in Italy in war- 
time. There were very few tourists and none of the bustle 
and activity of great crowds of people. Many foreigners 
had gone home on account of the war and left their places 
for rent. And that was the case with this studio in the 
Via Margutta, which was a very large studio, with a real 
black-and-white marble floor. It had a huge window that 
looked out to the east, and from the window, I could see 
the Villa Medici up on the Pincian Hill, which in sunset, 
used to be especially impressive with the pine trees and 
houses and the buildings below. 

A part of the studio had been partitioned off by 
a Russian princess who had had the place. Princess 


sounds as though she was somebody very important, but, 
apparently, princes and princesses are as common in 
Russia as counts are in Italy, [lauchter] She had left 
there somewhat hurriedly and had kept the place to be 
sublet and simply put her things in this partitioned 
part which was done very nicely, well carpentered, so 
it didn't spoil the place at all. In fact, the extension 
of it provided another little storeroom and a place where 
I eventually had a printing press. I tried to do some 
etching and lithography, as well as my drawing and painting 

My wife was much more accustomed to social activity 
than I had ever been, and we met some pleasant people. 
First thing I knevj, she gave our first tea party. She 
was a talented and delightful hostess, so this tea party 
went off very nicely and led to our meeting quite inter- 
esting people, people who v;ere more or less residents in 
Rome, especially of the English and American colony. 
They were the first ones that you'd meet, naturally. 
Among them from the very beginning, we found some quite 
warm friends. 

I remember one was Theodora Synge . She was a cousin 
of the playwright, John Millington Synge. She was a very 
charming middle-aged lady who all her life had dreamt of 
being an artist and had tried her best to study and to 
learn something. But very much like Anita Vedder--and 
as a matter of fact, Helen, my wife--they had taken up 


so much of their life vjith family cares, they'd been 
deprived of a lot of the normal sort of development in 
life that a person of talent ought to have. But as soon 
as Theodora had been freed of family care, she went to 
Paris and studied there and vjith quite a good teacher. 
She learned to paint rather well, and she had a studio. 
We used to take trips together. She v;as a very delight- 
ful person with all sorts of rather quaint little ways 
but enjoyable ones. 

The most impressive thing that I remember about her 
was that she always had her tea basket with her--every- 
time we'd take a trip. If we wanted to go to see something, 
it usually involved going a certain part by train and 
then maybe partvjay by bus and then maybe v;e'd hire som.e 
kind of a vehicle to eventually get to our destination. 
At every stop, out would come the tea basket. She would 
light the alcohol flame, and we'd have a cup of tea while 
we waited for a train or for a bus. [laughter] I always 
remember Theodora for those interminable cups of tea we 
had at every stop for refreshment along our route. 

Another friend was the ex-wife of John Fothergill» 
who was quite a savant of sorts in classical studies, 
an Englishman. Gillian Fothergill had been a student 
at the Slade and made quite beautiful drawings. She was 
a very delightful person and, in a short time, we knew 
quite a fascinating group of people. 


I discovered that Just back of my studio was the 
British Academy. The Circolo Artistica (Art Society) 
had quite a handsome building with a rather ornate 
ballroom. Sometime in the history of it, it must have 
had quite a little money from art activities or else some 
patron provided them vjith it. It was a palazzo kind of 
a building, with its ballroom, a very good library. 
It was very handsomely furnished. It had a large studio 
where artists met to draw from the model. I don't think 
there was any special formality in joining the group. 
So I was very happy to have the chance to join them, 
because figure dravjing was like daily piano practice and 
to draw from life regularly means a lot. Even older 
artists would feel the same v;ay and would join. They 
vjere a very delightful crowd of people. I met quite a 
few people there that I enjoyed knowing and vjho became 
very good friends. 

One extremely picturesque figure vjas the minister 
from Cuba, Mr. Rivera. We afterwards became quite good 
friends. The first time I saw Mr. Rivera was when v/e 
were working away at drawing. I looked over and here 
was a man, immaculately dressed. He had a white collar, 
tie, and was a very neat, rather distinguished-looking 
man. He was drav;ing in a method which was very old-fash- 
ioned. I think it was really the first tim.e I had ever 
seen anybody use that technique. First of all, he had 


gloves on. Then, in his left hand, he had sn artist's 
palette that had been covered with chamois skin on which 
was what they call crayon sauce. (l don't know if you 
are even able to buy crayon sauce these days. VJhat it 
amounts to is a stick of something like very soft pastel 
which you rub onto a surface--ln this case, the chamois 
skin-covered palette. Then with a paper stump, you build 
your drawing up with tone by dipping the stump into this 
powder and using your stump very much like you would a 
brush. You can handle tones with great delicacy. And 
in the days when they wanted to model things very deli- 
cately in tone and spend a long time on them, crayon ■ 
sauce was, apparently, one of their favorite means. 
It was a very practical, very good way of drawing that, 
sort of thing.) So this man, with his gloves and his 
crayon sauce and his immaculate appearance [laughter] 
was quite noticeable. I went over and spoke to him and 
found he spoke perfect English, and we got acquainted. 
In all of the groups of that kind in Europe, even 
at the Julian Academy in Paris, what they expect of you 
is what the Italians would call a bevuta , or "treat the 
crowd." If you're poor, why, you don't do very much. 
But what they did ordinarily in this group, which was 
a group of about fifteen or twenty people, some of whom 
were well-off, others who were Just students and had 
very little, was to have a couple flaschi of a quite cheap 


red wine and sandwiches, or something to go with It and 
toast each other's health. V/ell, apparently, Rivera felt 
that he should do something more than that--whlch he cer- 
tainly dld--because In the middle of the evening, at the 
time for the model rest. In came a flunky v;lth big baskets 
and champagne and all sorts of delicacies. He really 
treated the group royally and made a great Impression. 

Well, it turned out that he was the Cuban minister 
and that all his life he had a love of painting. As a 
boy, he wanted to become an artist and his family objected 
strenuously to anything of the sort and made him study 
law. And from lav;, he went into diplomacy. At that 
time he was the minister in Rome and used to give me, 
among other things, marvelous cigars. For the first 
time, I really appreciated vjhat a good cigar was. 

Sunday afternoon, I think, was our regular day at 
home. The European Idea is that your at-home day is 
printed down In the corner of your card. It v;lll say 
Mondays or Thursdays or Fridays, whatever your day at 
home Is, so you knov; that If you go that afternoon, your 
host is receiving. Ours was Sunday afternoon. Senor 
Rivera was nearly alvmys there. 

Well, he v;as one of our friends, and then another 
one that I enjoyed very much, whom we saw a good deal of 
in Rome and then afterwards in Paris, was Gordon Craig, 
the son of Ellen Terry. As a boy, with his mother and 


Sir Henry Irving, he began work on the stage, and after- 
wards, he had quite a lot of influence on the theater. 
The modern theater owes much to his pioneering. He was 
a strong influence as a writer and designer as well as 
his work in the theater itself. Gordon Craig published 
a beautiful magazine called The Mask. Incidentally, he 
did beautiful vjoodcuts and drawings. I saw him first 
when I was on the Corso. A carrozza drove by and in 
it was a man leaning back in the seat, with a broad- 
brimmed black hat and white hair brushed straight back. 
He had a cloak tossed over one shoulder in a romantic 
sort of fashion. I realized it was Gordon Craig, because 
I had seen a picture of him not long before and I was 
sure that it was Gordon Craig. 

Then, later in the day, I was calling at the Hotel 
Russie to leave a message for a friend, and at the desk, 
here was Gordon Craig getting his key or som.ething. He 
was staying at the Russie. I walked right over and spoke 
to him. [laughter] He was very pleasant, very nice, and 
he asked me where I was living. I told him that I had 
a studio in the Via Margutta . He said, "I have too. 
I've just taken one." The result was that I went to see 
him in his studio, and he came to our studio. And from 
that time on, he was really one of our most interesting 
friends in Rome and, aftervjards, in Paris. He seemed to 
have a way of going back and forth between London and 


Italy. He eventually settled in Rapallo, and he and 
Max Beerbohm became two of the most distinguished 
Englishnien to end their lives in Rapallo. Both were 
colorful figures of the colorful nineties. 

Knowing Gordon Craig meant much to me. His charm, 
witj sophistlcation--his enthusiasm as well as his out- 
standing talent contributed to the "Education of Henry 
Adams"--that is to say, years later I too did a little 
designing for the theater, nothing of special Importance, 
some sets for a small theater. 

Not only vjas Craig a man v;hose talk was interesting 
and valuable, but also he vjas marvelous fun. He had more 
fantasy capacity for enjoyment than anyone I ever knew. 
His erudition in his own field v;as amazing, VJalking 
around Rome and later around Paris, again and again he'd 
stop and say something like, "You know. Nutting, over there 
in 1770 Adrienne Lecouvreur played Phaedre "--or some 
such fact of theater history. Well, the same thing 
happened in Rome. He could name theaters and plays and 
the famous people connected with them. He had a knowledge 
and a surprising memory for the history of the theater. 
And he loved, in his v;alks, to go back--to fam.ilies, 
to people--to recall theatrical adventures. Everything 
he did, everything he talked about, was seldom too far 
from the theater. 

But as I say, not only was he interesting but also 


he was such great fun. Once, when I was living in Paris, 
he stopped off on his v;ay from London and we v;ent out 
for the evening. It was Just after World VJar I and Paris 
was rather dismal. The lights were still subdued, blue, 
and there was no real illumination in the street. Things 
closed very early and there was still quite a lot of the 
depressive feeling of wartime about the city. V/e went 
to a cafe for a drink and to have a little conversation. 
He felt rather hungry, so he ordered something. They 
brought him something in the v;ay of a sandv;ich, and he 
said, "Won't you have one?" I said, "No, thank you. 
I think I'll pass." Well, for some reason, he thought 
that was quite funny. Maybe he never played poker, 
[laughter]. Anyway it seemed to amuse him. 

V/ell, we sat there and talked and had our drink and 
he had his sandwich. He watched the people going up and 
down the street outside the cafe. It vjas rather a spooky 
effect because the street was rather dark. The lights 
were painted blue which gave a rather glaucous kind of 
an atmosphere to the scene outside. About all you could 
see of people, really clearly, were their legs as they 
walked back and forth in the light that shone from the 
cafe onto the pavement. V/hile he v;as talking and making 
some remarks about the people, he saw a beetle or cock- 
roach starting to crawl across the pavement. He became 
intensely interested in it. He v;as all excited because 


he expected it to be stepped on, but it kept on going 
slowly and the feet went back and forth and the creature 
didn't get stepped on. He says, "You see that. Nutting? 
That's fate. Do you believe in fate?" So he was all 
ready to discuss the philosophy of fate, and at the same 
time, he was v;atching this thing as though he was watching 
a superior performance of a Greek tragedy. The dram,a of 
this little object as it went across the pavement fasci- 
nated him. Finally it disappeared in the darkness, and 
he leaned back and sighed, and the drama was over. 

So we finished our drinks and there was nothing to 
do. Everything vjas shut up. It was a most dismal pros- 
pect for any sort of an interesting evening as you could 
Imagine. He said, "Let's go and see the Wallaces." 

I said, "Oh, Craig, heavens! It's about eleven 
o'clock, and they're in bed." 

"Oh, that doesn't make any difference. They wouldn't 
mind , " 

"Well," I said, "if you say so, let's go." So we 
went and, sure enough, the Wallaces were in bed, but they 
got out of bed and got out some drinks and we sat around 
and talked. Wallace had just gotten a book he found very 
interesting. It had some interesting illustrations that 
he showed Craig, and we talked about that. And then 
Wallace also had gotten an engraving or something of 
Craig's, and he brought it out. We discussed that. Then 


we got up and let the Wallaces go to bed and started out 


We v;alked over towards the Seine. We got to the 
Rue de Rivoli and over towards the water, and it was very 
dark. There hardly anybody around , but v;e came to a 
place, I think they called the Cozy Tearoom. Maybe the 
name was to attract English trade, although it obviously 
wasn't an English place. There was a little light that 
shone through the transom, and Craig said, "Somebody's 
here . " 

I said, "But it's shut up. It's closed." 

"Oh, let's try it anyway." 

So he pounded on the door. Nobody ansv;ered. He 
pounded again, and pretty soon, it v;as opened a crack. 
I've forgotten what Craig asked for. Maybe he asked for 
some drink or something, but it was far after closing 
time and it v;as illegal for them to serve anything at that 
hour. But they vjhispered, "Come in I Come in I" So we 
slipped in, and they brought out vjhatever Craig wanted, 
and we sat there and ate and drank. Some of the rest of 
the family got out of bed, and they came down and we all 
sat around and chatted. I guess they found this English- 
man who spoke very little French interesting. (Even his 
Italian vjasn't very good, though he spent so much time in 
Italy, v;hich rather surprised me.) 

We spent about a half an hour there, chatting and 


drinking and then went out again into the darkness. 
By that time it did look as though v;e really had to go 
home. I mean there seemed absolutely nothing more v;e 
could do. Even his genius couldn't cook up anything that 
was at all exciting or amusing and there was no place to 
go at that time--no cinemas, no theaters--and there vjas 
nothing to attract anybody. Just a gloomy night and these 
blue street lights and little else. We went on walking 
down the street and talking. Then, in the distance, we 
heard a strange sound. I'd only heard it once before. 
It ' s a little bit hard to identify, at least I found it 
so at first. It was the roar of a crowd, but when you 
hear it in the distance, it doesn't sound at all human. 
It ' s a strange vjeird sound. And he stopped and said, 
"What's that?" 

I said, "I think it is human voices, but what could 
it possibly be?" 

"Let's find it." 

So we vjent dovm the street a way and it got a little 
weaker, so v;e turned back and took another direction and 
by that time it got a little stronger. So by trial and 
error, we crossed the river, over in the direction of the 
Sorbonne and the Institute, over on the Left Bank. Then 
it was undeniably the sound of a crowd yelling their heads 
off. And sure enough, we came down to the end of a little 
street where it opened out onto the Boule Miche (the 


Boulevard St. Michel Is familiarly known by the French 
as the Boule Mlche), and there vjas a huge crov;d of stu- 
dents. I couldn't make out vjhat in the vjorld they were 
yelling so about. 

There didn't seem to be anything going on to cause 
It, and so I spoke to one of the boys. "V/hat is it?" 
And he didn't exactly know. He said something about a 
taxi and then he let out a yell and joined the chorus 
of yelling. I looked out over the crovjd and, sure enough, 
in the midst of this crowd was a taxicab. Just then Craig 
came up to me. He also had spotted the taxicab. He said, 
"Here, you take this card and invite the people in the 
taxi to dine with us next Sunday at the Cozy Tearoom." 

And I said, "Good God, Craig, I'm not an actor. 
I can't put that across. You go do it." 

"Oh, you speak French, you can do it." 

I said, "Go ahead, you do it." 

So he went through the crowd (he wore this cape, 
you know, and had longlsh white hair) and went up to the 
taxicab. He bowed, and I could see him presenting his 
card. He bowed and then he came back through the crowd, 
and I said, "V/ell, Craig, how'd it go?" 

He said, "Good God, they're Americans." [laughter] 

I said, "Americans? Oh. I'll see about this. I 
can't let compatriots be in trouble without at least 
trying to do something." So I forced m,y way through the 


crowd, because they were all squeezed together. All the 
boys were having a marvelous time, just raising Cain. 
When I got up to the taxicab and I looked in^ here was 
a middle-aged man and his v;ife in evening clothes, very 
much dolled up. Obviously, they v;ere coming home from the 
opera or something of the sort, I spoke to him, "Are you 

And he said, "Yes! Of course, we're AmericansI It's 
a God damn shame I " 

And I said, "V/hat ' s a God damn shame?" 
He said, "I thought they were Apache and I shot." 
And then it dawned on m.e that there v;as glass all 
over the floor of the taxicab and, sure enough, the window 
opposite me was all sh-^ttered. VJell, it turned out that 
the silly 'fool was driving home at night through the 
Latin Quarter, and some of the students were out looking 
for a little fun, like Craig and myself. They savj this 
cab with these elegant people and they jumped on the cab 
(the cabs had running boards in those days), and they 
probably said sorrie thing cheerful to them and scared the 
couple half to death. He had a pistol and he fired it 
to scare them off. VJell, all they had to do was to let 
out an appropriate yell of some sort, and they got every 
student in the Quarter out of bed and dovm in no time 
to join the fun. [laughter] 

But I couldn't get any further v;ith themi than that, 


because by that tLme the gendarmes came and pulled me 
by the coattails and told me it wasn't any of my business 
and that they'd be all right and not to mind. Pretty soon 
some other officers of the lavi came up in a taxi and took 
charge of the situation. Then two taxicabs went off down 
the street with the crowd following behind, a long retinue 
of them, yelling and singing and having a great lark, 
including Gordon Craig who was just as much of a boy as 
any of the rest of them. He marched along, his white hair 
blowing in the breeze, and waving his broad-brimmed hat 
and shouting, " Viva la bella donna 1 Viva la bella donna I " 
[laughter] When the procession disappeared vje decided 
we'd had an evening, that it was quite successful, and 
went home . 

SCHIPPERS: -V/ho were some others you knev; in Rome? 
NUTTING: As a matter of fact, social life in Rome was 
very pleasant. Our ov;n afternoons became more and more 
attended with the people we enjoyed. There were writers. 
There was an Englishjnan by the name of Storer, a poet 
and a writer with whom afterwards we published a little 
paper. And there was a friend of his, Roma Webster. 
I also knew quite a few very talented Italians. As I 
began to speak Italian with some degree of fluency, I 
enjoyed them more and more . 

Down the street was a painter by the name of Felice 
Carena . Felice Carena was a very fine painter and a 


very interesting man. After we left Rome after the war, 
he became director of the Academy of Fine Arts at Florence, 
and I think he remained there as director for quite a 
number of years. The last I heard, he was retired and 
living in Venice. Up at the Villa Medici in the after- 
noons, all sorts of people came to visit, some of them 
quite distinguished people, writers like [Gabriele] 
D'Annunzio for example. Besnard had a way of doing 
portraits of the distinguished people of his time. I 
felt they were not all commissions, but done for his own 
pleasure. He did one of D'Annunzio, and he did one of 
Cardinal [Desire] Mercier, the Belgian. He did a big 
canvas of him. He also did one of the Pope, also large. 

He did a huge thing of the King and Queen of Belgiam, 
and I think it must have been quite a job for him because 
he was a very heavy man at that tim.e. He obviously loved 
good eating. He was gone, I remember, for some tlm.e from 
Rome. He came back with studies and drawings and pastels 
and one thing and another as docamentation for this big 
canvas, which I later saw in one of the museums in Belgium. 
It must have been at least twelve feet high, as I remember. 
So he had to go up and down a ladder to paint it, which 
must have been tiring. However he was used to doing 
huge canvases as murals. The king and queen are on 
horseback on a beach. It sounds like a huge canvas 
for just portraiture, but it had pictorial qualities. 


and Besnard t/iqb very fond of doing horses. Some of his 
most famous things include horses in the sunlight. First 
thing that brought him success v;as a canvas called Horses 
Fighting Flies , with an effect of bright sunlight. 
The strong movement of these restless animals in the 
sunshine vjas quite a brilliant performance, influenced 
by the Impressionist painters. Like so m.any academ.ic 
painters, they latch on to anything that is despised at 
one period and then turn it to good account and make it 
academic for another period, [laughter] And that, of 
course, happened \vlth Impressionism. The principles of 
Impressionism were afterwards used by a great many of the 
really very academic painters. 

There was quite a successful sculptor also that lived 
in the Via Margutta. His name was Sciortlno, a man v;ho 
got quite a stream, of comm.lssions for monumental sort of 
things from various parts of the vjorld. You'd go into 
his studio and there would be a work for som.e city in 
Russia, and later there 'd be something being built up 
that was for Argentina. Apparently he was doing well. 
He was a good host and his evenings (he had evenings 
instead of afternoons) were very plea-sant . 

Some artists, especially if they're doing things 
in quantity, such as watercolor painters and print makers, 
very often m.ake their a v;ay to sell their things. 
Again and again, you'll meet .Americans over there vjho 


do that. It's not especially a European trick. Some 
friends of ours, for example, were both etchers, and they 
got along quite well. They stayed over there and made 
a living. He would go to the club, and she'd go to the 
woman's club and to the church--wherever Americans con- 
gregated or v;ere to be found--and she v;ould meet them and 
invite them over You'd go there, and there 'd be a crowd 
of people in their little apartment. VJell, they'd come 
in one door and meet people they knew and have a very 
pleasant time meeting others. They would be served tea 
and nice cakes, and from there, the crowd v/as gently moved 
along through the next room and into the studio. First 
thing you know, they were looking at the prints, and so 
they repaid the hospitality by buying a print, [laughter] 
And these people seemed to live quite a pleasant life. 
But it was a sort of an aspect of art life that I per- 
sonally didn't really appreciate. I couldn't see myself 
living that way, but still I couldn't criticize them for 


A much more distinguished man in Rome was Carlandi. 
He was really a brilliant watercolor painter and also a 
landscape painter in oil. He was very prolific. He worked 
from morning to dark, and at certain times of the year, 
when the flowers were in bloom in the Forum, he was down 
there painting watercolor after watercolor. Then he 
did other things besides, and he had a beautiful, big 


studio. He was very successful. He made his studio a 
showplace, and he sold a great deal of his work from his 

There was a very brilliant academic painter^ Sartorio, 
vjho did some of the murals for the Senate building in 
Rome. He also had a couple of magnificent studios in that 
building. It was rather a new building and well planned. 
I met him a couple of times and found him. very interesting. 
But he v;ent to the front and v;as captured and made pri- 
soner and taken to Austria. There was an idea among 
people that I knew that he wasn't really captured, that 
he just let himself be captured. He wasn't in sympathy 
with the war. He had many friends in Vienna, and he 
was very glad, I think, to be there. He probably vjasn't 
really a prisoner so much as being on some sort of res- 
tricted activity. Otherwise, he probably lived, from 
what I was told, a normal and happy life in Vienna during 
World War I. He was a brilliant draftsman and had great 

I [Leon] Bakst up at the Villa Medici. .At that 
time I knew very little Italian and no French, but in spite 
of that, we got along quite nicely. The next day I met 
him at a little shop on the Corso, and he recognized m.e 
and came up and shook hands and wanted to know if I would 
like to see the set that was being done from, his design 
for one of his ballets that Diaghilev v;as putting on. 


It vjas the ballet of the Good Humored Ladies , It was 
given in Rome but I afterwards saw it in Paris and he 
had modified his design somevjhat--making it less expression- 
ist ic. Diaghilev, at that time in Rome^ was producing 
ballets that were trials. Some ballets he decided to 
keep on and others he discarded. A set by Giacomo Balla 
was not used. It was not really a "set "--it was an ex- 
perimental ballet of lights and no dancers. Then the 
troupe went to Paris with a definite program. So quite 
a number of these things were produced in Rome, and the 
company was there for some time. 

Interesting people came to Rome who v.'ere connected 
with Diaghilev 's ballet. People like Picasso and Stra- 
vinsky were there. In fact, the first time I really 
heard Stravinsky was in Rome. There was some hall where 
they rehearsed their music for the ballet, and in some 
way, I got an invitation to a rehearsal. And we both 
went. We had to stand because, although it was a huge 
hall, there was not very much of anyplace to sit down. 
Besnard was there and right beside me was Picasso. I 
didn't speak to Picasso, because of my poor French. 
I'd like to have known him. At that rehearsal, Stra- 
vinsky played Le Sacre du Printemps . I looked over at 
Besnard, and Besnard 's taste in music apparently wasn't 
up to that because he had a funny look on his face, 
[laughter] He looked at me and made a grimace--Stravinsky 


was still too much for him. 

SCHIPPERS: You said the short story writer whose name 
you vjero trying to remember was Katherine Mansfield. 
NUTTII\IG: Katherine Mansfield, yes. Well one of our 
friends in Rome, whose name, curiously enough, was Roma 
[laughter], Roma V/ebster, vjas an intimate friend of 
Katherine Mansfield. We always hoped to know her, but, 
of course, she was in very delicate health v;hen she had 
come to Rome at that time. Afterwards, when we were 
living in Paris, she was out in Fontainebleau, but she 
died not long afterwards. 

Roma Webster had a friend, Edv;ard Storer. Edward 
Storer was an Englishman. Lately I've been trying to get 
in touch v;ith him again, because som.ebody wrote me that, 
not too long ago, they had heard him talk over BBC, but 
I haven't succeeded so far. I'd like very much to get 
in touch vjith him because v;e saw a great deal of each 
other. He was a writer and a poet. He had some of his 
work published in England by the Egoist Press. One was 
a little volum.e of verse which were translations, in this 
case, from the Greek, and in that there were som.e little 
woodcuts and bits of decoration that I did. I'm sorry to 
say my copy got lost and I've never been able to get 
another one. One day Joyce turned to me and said, "I 
see you too have been published by the Egoist Press." 
I didn't know what he was talking about for a moment 


and then remembered my little woodcuts. 

V/ell, v;e savj a great deal of Storer and Roma Webster 
and were fond of them both. We used to go on excursions 
together. We had a great many interests in common and 
shared pleasure in things to be seen and to be done around 
Rome, so we enjoyed doing them together a great deal. 
In some way that I did not take the trouble to understand, 
he was given the choice of joining either the British or 
Italian forces. Anyway he Joined the Italian army and 
turned up one day in the grey uniform of the Italian 
soldier. I got the idea that the Italians were somewhat 
embarrassed and didn't quite know what to do vjith hLm. 
He wound up in the censor's office where his job was 
reading mail from the front. He had funny stories about 
his work. He had to read stacks of letters v;ritten to 
loved ones and they often had flowers pressed in the 
pages. He found these troublesome when trying to get 
through many letters, so he finally speeded up things 
by putting these letters in a separate pile, with a 
pile of the flowers beside it. Then when he finished a 
letter he would pick up a blossom or so at random and 
insert it before resealing it. He was stationed in 
Rome and we continued to see much of him. One day he 
turned up and had an idea. He said, "Let's start a 
magazine . " 

Well, my wife and I thought that was a marvelous 


Idea, but I thought, "Heavens above! Magazines are pretty 
expensive things to do." 

"Oh," he says, '!E think we can do something. It 
doesn't have to be expensive, just so we get something 
printed. Because of this v^artime, everything is so 
dismal. Let's have some activity that has some meaning 
to replace all of these stupid things that vje have to 
think about these days." 

"So fine. How do we start?" 

"Well," he said, "I'll get materials. You and Helen 
provide some v;ood and linoleum cuts for it, and also you 
can get things. You don't have to pay for them. You 
explain to people v;hat we're doing and get them to lend 
a block. It can be either wood or linoleam, so far as 
that goes, a process block. Not half-tone, of course, 
but a line cut." 

So sure enough, he found a printer and Storer's idea 
was that we'd have something striking by using an unusual 
paper. If we printed on butcher's paper it would m.ake 
it attractive and unusual, and it would be perfectly good 
so far as practical purposes of printing were concerned. 
He found a paper that looked interesting. It had rather 
a roughish kind of texture. It literally was butcher's 
paper that was used at that time for wrapping meats. 
He took it dovm to the printer and had him try it out. 
K worked all right except that the printer complained 


because the paper had some sort of foreign matter. Tittle 
bits of stones or pebbles or something in it, and was 
inclined to beat up his type rather badly, so he objected 
to that paper. So it finally came around to our using 
the ordinary cheap form of nev;sprint. 

I went out to my friends and told them vihat we v;ere 
doing, and v;e got blocks--sometimes linoleum, sometimes 
wood. I was a little dubious about the use of linoleam 
in spite of the fact that the editions of our paper v;ere 
quite small. I didn't think they would hold up, especially 
on an old press. I thought they v;ould be beaten to pieces 
by the bang of the press. But I was quite wrong there. 
I cut the masthead in linoleum and it lasted perfectly 
through the three years that we kept the little paper 

Of course, the first problem we had to discuss again 
and again, with all sorts of arguments this way and that, 
was the name. V/e finally settled on the name "Atys." 
Atys was one of those gods like Adonis, one of the fer- 
tility gods, a Phrygian I believe. Curiously enough, 
Storer found a little altar (it was within the walls of 
Rome, although I've forgotten what hill it was on), which 
had been dedicated to Atys. \lhen we finally got Atys 
launched, we went up and held a little ceremony at the 
altar to Atys, inaugurating the publication. It was 
improvised--there may have been a libatlon--maybe some 



Well, the way it worked out vjas that Storer and 
my wife both had a certain amount of material of their 
own, but Storer had one quite nice idea. He h?d friends 
in various cities among the literary people, and he got 
them to write any art or literary news on a postcard-- 
anything at all they could get on a postcard--and send 
it along. So in that way we got in touch with people in 
London and in Dublin and in New York, and I've forgotten 
what other places, ^nd they came in various languages. 
Something I think came in German. I've forgotten v;here 
that vjas from., but it probably came from some Swiss 
correspondent, critic or someone of that sort. 

Then one of my friends in Italy was Enrico Prampolini. 
He v;as a painter. He vjas lame. He had hip trouble and 
limped but v;gs quite talented, and he was interested. 
He belonged very definitely to the m.odern m.ovement of 
art in Italy in those days. He v;asn't completely a 
Futurist, but his things tended quite a bit towards the 
abstract. He was very good, and he alv;ays had his vjork 
done on time. He seemed to enjoy doing it, and you never 
had to go after him. Every month I would go around and 
pick up the ne\} cover he made us. We'd print very often 
with tvio blocks, so we had tv;o colors. Two colors would 
give three colors all together. So the general effect 
of our paper was quite good, and very often some of our 


contributions from some of the young v^r iters and poets 
were excellent. 

SCHIPPERS: What language was it printed in? 
NUTTDJG: In all languages--Engllsh, French, Italian, 
and as I say, even German. It depended on where the 
news or contribution came from. If it came froir. Paris, 
it would be in French. If it came from Zurich, it would 
be in German. And, of course, the paper v;as largely in 
English and also things in Italian that v;e got there in 
Rome. I haven't seen Atys for years and years. I wonder 
where it is. I must get my copies out and look at them 
again and see v;hat they look like. It was not a success- 
ful enterprise from the point of view of money (it wasn't 
meant to be), but very successful in the fact that we 
could do it at all and that vje didn't lose much money 
on it . 

People seemed to enjoy it. It \ias som.ething different 
I've forgotten how many subscriptions we had. But it 
v;as very simply done by this job printer who had a little 
place down in a basement kind of a place in an old build- 
ing in Rome. He had this old press, and when he used to 
run out of type, he v^ould change to a different font 
because he wasn't used to printing anything of m.uch length. 
But the effect v;asn't bad, and it v;.?s quite enjoyable. 
It was very successful in the way that it gave us con- 
tacts and communication v;ith other people and, to my 


surprise, meant quite a lot afterwards when I went to 
Paris and found thpt there were people, even In Paris, 
who already knew my name. 

November 5, 19^5 

MUTTING: VJell, my life in Rome from the very beginning v;as 
one of continual interest and fascination. Maybe because 
in spite of wartime the pleasure v/as greater.. There were 
no tourists, and traffic vias at a minimum. One had wonder- 
ful walks by moonlight through the shadows of almost empty 
streets. Baroque architecture by moonlight is thrilling. 
Acquaintances multiplied. At first, English and American 
and, little by little as the language barrier v;as overcome, 
Italian. It's not so easy for a foreigner to make friends 
quickly in a European country. But one thing impresses him 

x^-.,^ v^4- .■,^. n T .. r^.^ ,-. ^ »>^ ^v^ T^ T4i,„ ,,„,. — j-u.^ I j:>„j^„^T.. 

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their friendship tends to be lasting. But, in the meantime, 
there will be maybe what seem.s to be a little diffidence. 
For one thing, they're not inclined to entertain in their 
own homes nearly as much as we are. At most, they would have 
an afternoon on vjhich they would receive. There weren't 
cocktail parties. They would serve tea and very simple little 
refreshments, and they v/ere really m.eetings for conversation, 
not the Vv'ay in v;hich we're used to v;hich is to have long 
evenings or cocktail parties. And if we were invited out 
to a restaurant rather than to the people's home, v;e took 
it as a matter of course. I think that is especially true 
of people who are not too well off and live at home very. 


very simply. And if they did v/ant to do something nice 
for you, they vjould take you out to dinner or some kind of 
a festivity. 

It's rather hard to pick and choose among the people 
we found most interesting in Rome. Some of them, of course, 
at the time had a certain reputation and since have become 
quite VJell knov7n. Most of these people V7ere people that I 
met rather casually. We had short conversations with people 
up at the Villa Medici when I used to go up there on their 
afternoons. They would serve tea in nice weather out in the 
gardens and in the wintertime, in inclem.ent v/eather, inside. 
There was a great variety of people. It might be Cardinal 
Mercier or it might be Bakst. Designers and painters, 
scuj-ptors, writers, iausicians were ainong the people who were 
present at their gatherings. Some of the people vjere in- 

One that I've alv;ays v/ondered about quite a lot was a 
very charming old gentleman. He was an Alsatian. His name 
was Strohl-Fern. He must have been really very wealthy. 
Apparently as a young man, he had been quite ambitious to 
be a painter and had studied v;ith [Charles] Gleyre. Gleyre 
was one of Renoir's first teachers--one of the fev; teachers 
that he had. As a boy, after he left his job as a china 
painter for Limoges, Renoir studied in Gleyre 's studio. 
Gleyre didn't take him very seriously and maybe Renoir 
didn't learn too much. 


But Strohl-Fern had a beautiful villa. It v/as, as I 
remember It, qui.te a good-sized estate just outside the 
Porta del Popola, v/hich is one reason that make me think 
that he must have been a man of decided wealth. By this 
time that property, I imagine, v/ould be nearly invaluable. 
He was very interested in art and artists in a very nice 
and practical v/ay. On the grounds of his estate he put up 
little studios, very simple places, vjhere one could v;ork 
and live. It was a little bit like what Huntington Hartford 
did here at Santa Monica. Strohl-Fern always had young 
painters there. Sometimes they'd be Italian] 
they'd be foreigners. They would stay for a period and be 
able to do their work in peace or carry out som.e projects 
that they had on hand without worry. 

The old gentleman used to come to see us once in a vjhile. 
He played the piano quite well. He would sit dovm and play 
a bit. I especially remember little excerpts from Wagner 
that he used to play, and he vjould talk art and discuss 
things. I'd say he had more of the feeling of the southern 
German. There was nothing the least bit Prussian about him. 
He vjas a very amiable, pleasant sort of a person. At least, 
he was in the little contact I had v;lth him and from what I 
knew of him. 

Many Italian artists at that time v/ere under the influ- 
ence of Futurists; the influence of [Emllio] Marlnettl was 
very strong. There v/ere other movements in Italy as there 


were in France at that time--croups with different philo- 
sophies and ideas. The Futurist moveraent v/as still rather 
dominant, though during World V7ar I. I didn't know many 
of the people in that movement. Of course, most of them 
were young fellov/s and v/ere by that time in the army, and 
some of them were lost. 

Probably the most talented member of the Futurist move- 
ment then vi'ds [Umberto] Boccioni. Boccioni's v;ork is still 
something that we feel is the work of a very genuine talent, 
both in painting and in a rather remarkable piece of sculp- 
ture that he did. He died in the war. 

Some vjere still in Rome and were working. Giacomo 
Balla was one of the strongest figures in some v;ays in the 
Futurjst movement, though he was an older than the othPT-K^ 
Probably for that reason, he vjas not in the army. He \'ras a 
very accomplished painter, academically to begin v;ith, and 
it's interesting that a man in middle life should throw so 
much overboard so completely and with the enthusiasm that 
Balla did. Flis most famous v;ork, iifhich is reproduced again 
and again in the history of art, is of a woman walking v/ith 
a little dog following. It's a little bit like the idea of 
[Marcel] Duchamps ' Nude Descending The Staircase . It's a 
multiple figure. This little dog is trotting along, v/ith 
a haze of little legs under him, and the feet of the woman 
and the si-zinging leash are multiplied in multiple exposure, 
so to speak. It gives an amusing sense of movem.ent. The 


idea of movement and sound was something that the Futurists 
seemed to be most desirous of getting into their work^ and 
they tried to evoke it by means of dynamic form and color. 
They v;anted to express more than simply the aspect of things 
and other feelings that vre get from life experience. 

Balla was also interested in doing something for the 
ballet and the theater. One evening in his studio he 
shov/ed us a model for some play or maybe a ballet--! can't 
remember now exactly what it vjas--but it vjas quite an 
elaborately constructed model. He was trying to explain 
what he wanted to get into it, and he had arranged some 
lights that he could turn off and on by pressing a button. 
He explained that he v/anted his design and his color to 
get tl'je effect and soai'id of a stormy and lie even tried Lo 
evoke that with his little model. He pressed a button 
\>/hich gave the idea of flashes of lightning. He turned 
off the lights; then he'd press the button and he'd get a 
flash of lightning. And back behind a screen, he rattled 
a big piece of tin that made a thunderous kind of a noise, 
[laughter] It v;as pretty good, but the real delight was 
the man's excitement and youthful enthusiasm. He was a 
sophisticated, educated man, but in demonstrating his vjork, 
I'Jith his flashing lights and noisy sheet of metal, and in 
the interest and boundless energy that he poured into \';hat 
he was doing, one felt a childlike simplicity that was part of 
his strength. 


Prampolini waa one of our most faithful collaborators 
on Atys . He seemed always happy to do anything that was 
asked of him, and he did quite a number of cuts for us, 
most of V7hich we printed in tvjo colors. After leaving Italy, 
I lost track of him. I did see his name occasionally during 
the Fascist period. Apparently, he had success as a painter 
and became well enough known, because not long ago I sav; 
a notice of his death in Time magazine. But just what he 
did after I left Italy, I don't know. I'm a bit surprised 
at his fame, for although he vjas a dedicated worker and 
highly articulate, he vjas not strong. He was lame. He had 
trouble vrith his hip and he walked with some difficulty, but 
it didn't hold him back from being an active and interesting 

, ^- 

3 1^. 

Fortunato Depero at that time v/as very active and one 
of the real Futurists, in that he was quite an uninhibited 
worker for his cause. He could be dadaistic in his behavior 
and his talk, and he v;as willing to try out any idea no mat- 
ter how V7ild it might seem. He'd plunge right in, whether 
it was v;riting poems or making speeches or painting pictures 
or whatever. He had quite a lot of the more conventional 
idea of the Futurist as being a wild man in art. But it 
wasn't at all true of people like Prampolini and Giacomo 
Balla. Those v;ere three artists of the modern movement 
that I really sav; something of. There v/ere some others, and 
I think that at that time they would have meant something to 


me if I had been able to associate with them. 

None of the artists that I met in Rome did I ever 
ferret out. There are a few occasions in my life when I've 
done that--and usually very successfully. I've seen the work 
of a man and I'd say, "VJe have something in common. I'd 
like to know that fellow. We have something to talk about." 
And sure enough v;e did. And the fev7 times I've done that, 
as I say, I used to be very successful, and v;e remained 
good friends and found quite a lot of pleasure and companion- 
ship. But, in Rom.e, I don't remember doing it except in the 
case of Gordon Craig v.'hen I v;alked up and spoke to him.. And 
from, that little chance meeting cam.e a friendship that I en- 
joyed for some years. 

The movement at that tim.e would have meant something if 
I had knov.'n some of the group. Giorgio di Chirico v/as the 
chief exponent of Scuola Metafisica. He denies any value, 
however, in his early work. Apparently it makes him very 
angry to this day for people to pay large prices for things 
he did in his twenties. But things he did afterv;ards, they 
don't think are of special importance. It's a very strange 
phenomenon in the history of art for a mian vjith the talent 
he had and the influence that he had to suddenly go through 
this extraordinary negation of the whole spirit of his early 
work. The others vjere men like Giacomo Carra. He and several 
others v;ere very interesting painters and remained so, m.ore 
so than di Chirico. 


Sculptors, of course, v;ere very numerous and some of 
them v.'ere extremely interesting. In Via Margutta v.'here I 
lived, there vjere quite a number of them. Sculpture is in 
the Italian blood. 

A friend in the Via Margutta v;as Felice Carena, a very 
talented painter. He had his studio not far from mine, and 
his friendship was valuable to me both as man and artist. He 
■was a good critic. He was taken into the arm.y not long after 
we v;ent to Rome, so I only sav; him occasionally after that. 
Later he became director of the Academy of Fine Arts at 
Florence, and I think he won a Carnegie prize. 

Ferruccio Ferrazzi vras another very talented painter 
that I saw m.uch of. He vjas not a member of v.'hat you would 
call the real modern movement at the tim.e. Pram.polini and 
Balla and Depero and people who were influenced by di Ghirico, 
of course, certainly v;ere; vjhereas Ferruccio Ferrazzi and 
Carena were looked upon as extremely modern by the academic 
artists of the tim.e. Carena was very much interested in 
the painting of Gauguin and I think he worked for a certain 
synthesis of form and design v/hich v;as inspired by Gauguin. 
But his painting was m.uch more impasto and, in som.e ways, 
more romantic than Gauguin's. Ferruccio Ferrazzi had been 
a prize winner at the academy. His v/ork aftervrards scandalized 
his professors terribly, but it would look rather normal now- 
adays. VJe can't look upon it as anything especially revolu- 


Sciortino, one of our best friends, was really an aca- 
demic sculptor. I say academic--he v,'as really a sort of a 
professional maker of such things as monuments and portrait 
busts and did very v;ell. He used to have his v;eekly teas, 
often with interesting guests. 

The most colorful person that I met in Rome, the one 
that I remember most vividly, was an Englishwoman. She 
came to our studio, seemed to like the atmosphere, and we 
used to see quite a lot of her. She had the German name 
of Stanharding-Krayl. I imagine her English name was Harding, 
and it was hyphenated vjith Krayl. She v/as not at all the 
sort of person you'd expect her to be when you first met 
her, if you had knov/n anything of her background. 

She was a T^ather small- rather elerant little person. 
She dressed simply, but vjith exquisite taste . She had a 
plaster cast of her head in Paris, and when she wanted a 
hat, she v;rote her modiste that she wanted a hat of this 
sort or that sort, and sure enough this v7oman apparently 
could use this cast. I suppose v;hat she had was a cast of a 
portrait bust vJhich gave the lines of her face and form of 
her head, and the hats were successful. 

Her cor.plexion was very good and she v;as a v;ell-groomed, 
quiet sort of a person. So it was amazing, when you commenced 
to learn something of her life. 

She was from an English family. Her father was, I think, 
a minister for a sect known as the Plymouth Brothers. She, 


as a young woman, rebelled against that atmosphere and v/ent 
to London. The first thing she did v;as to get a position as 
private secretary to somebody, a position she held for some 
time. Then she got v;anderlust. She really had wanderlust 
to an extraordinary degree. She went to Italy and made 
friends there with KM the Kollv/itz, I feel that there's 
no modern woman artist that can very well be put ahead of 
Kathe Kollv/itz. She v;as not a painter. She v;as a very ac- 
complished draftsman, drew marvelously ivell and with a great 
vitality and a very deep passionate feeling. 

Stanharding met Kathe Kollwitz in Italy and they 
decided on a walking trip together. They took the trip 
up the vrest coast of Italy through theMaremma, v/hich espe- 
cially in those days viae rather a rough part of Italy. H 
Duce drained the marshes of theMaremma so the malaria that 
had infested that part of Italy ever since, I imagine, the 
fall of Rome vjas gotten rid of. Now it must be a different 
sort of country. But then it was rather wild and a poor 
part of Italy. 

They took knapsacks and slept in the towers along the 
coast. There are still many towers in much of Europe that 
were put up for protecting the coast from piracy and other 
invasion. The Martello Tower that appears in James Joyce's 
Ulysses , I believe, v;as that sort of a tov;er on the coast of 
Ireland. Along the coast of Italy, there 'd be these towers 
and they made good use of those places. They were at times 


more or less j.n ruins, but they were shelter. They traveled 
with their packs and made a trip, apparently, very satisfactory 
to both of them. I never met Kathe Kollv;itz, but I heard 
quite a lot about her, especially from Stanharding. 

Then came the idea that Stanharding had to make some 
more money. And, in a quiet way, she seemed to know everybody 
and had many friends. She vjent to Florence v;ith some intro- 
ductions, probably from friends in London, and she solved 
this problem of raising a little cash by getting a lot of 
Japanese lanterns and decorating them. I have a little sketch 
by her which shovjs that she really had a nice feeling for 
drav/ing with the oriental brush. She learned to draw rather 
V7ell, but that's about the only thing of the sort I ever 
savj of hers = Anyi/r?5y, somebody gave her a garden party and 
all of the English colony in Florence was invited. It was 
very successful, and she was financed for another adventure. 
I don't know if it was only the money from that, because 
she also did other things. She corresponded rather regular- 
ly. She had a certain amount of writing she could count on 
in London magazines and papers. So she was a versatile sort 
of person with talents for dravjing and vjriting. 

VJhat she did then was quite astonishing. She v/ent to 
China, and in order to know the Chinese, she steered clear of 
any foreign colonies. She tried to be, really, with Chinese 
people. She even went further than that. She went up the 
Yangtze Kiang V7ith the natives in native boats, I imagine 


that \vith her travels and her talent as a vjriter, she did 
vzell. I'm sorry that I never sav; any of her v/riting. I might 
at least have gotten some newspapers or magazines. Nov; I 
think I v/as certainly a chump not to have done that, but 
it wasn't until later that I realized v;hat a uniquely interes- 
ting character she vjas. 

Well, she did that same thing in India. She walked 
through India--walked? hiked ! --sleeping in rest houses of 
some sort. I've forgotten now exactly how she described it. 
English people are fond of being really adventurous that 
wa^'-. I kneiv one Englishv/oman who had much that same sort 
of spirit and even got herself a rank of officer in the Bul- 
garian army or some strange thing. But she looked it. She 
was tall and she was rathei' tanned and rather weather-beaten 
and you could imagine that of her. But you could not imagine 
Stanharding-Krayl doing all of these things. She had a very 
quiet and sweet vjay, but she could take the world by the tail. 

So she vjas in Rome then for several months. She was very 
fond of swimming in the Tiber, and she'd come dovm to the 
studio and want to know if I didn't want to go out for a swim. 
VJell, in those days, there weren't any facilities for using 
the Tiber for swimming and water sports or anything of that 
sort. Going north of the Porta del Popolo up the river, 
there was a beach that had been roughly prepared for that 
sort of thing. They put up little rough shelters where you 
could dress and undress. V'e'd go there and have a swim in 


the river. As I remember the Tiber, it is a bit like a 
miniature Missouri River. It's rather muddy and it's not 
too attractive, but it's perfectly good for swirrjning. V/e 
had quite an enjoyable time on these little trips we'd make. 
Helen was not a sv;imraer] so she never went along. 

The time came when we sensed that she had som.e other 
project in mind, because she v/as bedeviling the people at the 
British Embassy to get into Germiany. She was separated from 
her husband, Krayl, who was a German, but we couldn't under- 
stand what she was driving at. It seemed that she would 
go there to finish the separation or divorce from her husband 
in Germany. Well, she became rather of a joke with people 
we would meet from the embassy or the consulate because she 
was so persistent and would not Ipt. pnvbndv aionp Thpv 
just couldn't get rid of her. She was going to get into 
Germany, and by Jove, she did. 

The last time we saw her, Gillian Fothergill and ourselves 
and Stanharding had a pleasant dinner together at the San 
Carlo Restaurant on the Corso. During the dinner, Stenharding 
turned to Gillian and said, "Do you mind if I sleep on your 
balcony?" Gillian Fothergill was staying at the Hotel Russie 
at the time, which was one of the better-known hotels of 
Rome, and somebody sleeping on her balcony seemed a little 
bit unconventional, but she said, "Why, yes, certainly." So 
Stanharding said, "it'll be very nice because I'm going to 
leave very early in the morning." As we went out of the 


restaurant, che reached behind the door and picked up a 

Geruian knapsack, one of these sacks the Germans alv;ays carry 
on their walkin:^ trips. Coming into the restaurant, she had 
tossed it behind the door, and on leaving, she picked it up 
and slung it on her shoulder. She said, "V7ell, v;hen your pack 
is on your back, the fun begins." 

We didn't hear of her for a long time and wondered 
hov/ she got along. Then, all of a sudden, in the London 
Daily Mail , v.'e read she was back in London. She didn't go 
to Germany to get a divorce. It wasn't anything of the 
sort. Where she was headed for was Russia, and she got to 
Russia. I imagine she might have gotten along all right ex- 
cept for unforeseen events. There v;as another v/oman in Rus- 
sia. Ampri r-.fin np^^/snar)p"r^^InTn?^ n . nric\ t.hpv wprp bnt.h nndpr kur- 
^ _-_. -,^ ^_ ^_, . ^ — ^ _ _ _... ..._ — ... 

picion--from vjhat I heard from newspapermen at the time. Ap- 
parently, this American girl, to save her ovm skin, managed 
to throw suspicion onto Stanharding. VJell, the result v?as 
that Stanharding was in prison for quite a long time. That 
was just after the famous days that shook the world, when 
things v;ere pretty tough. I don't knov; just hov; much is known 
about the history of that story, or hovj much could be found 
out, but I understood she ^vras under sentence of death part 
of the time she v;as there. 

Anyvvay, she was eventually released. I met someone who 
met her in London and v;ho said she had changed a great deal, 
that she looked very worn and her hair had greyed quite a lot. 


The experience had been rather terrible for her. At least 
she survived it. What happened after that, I don't know, 
except that in this same resistant, strange way of hers, 
she commenced to bedevil the Foreign Office in London for 
some kind of damages or reparations, or whatever they might 
call it, for v;hat she'd gone through. Somebody that I met 
said that she had gotten something out of the situation 
anyway, in a m.oney \iay. 

One might expect that I'd know more about the student 
life of Rome during that period of my efforts, but I don't. 
All of the artists I knew were no longer students, except 
for quite a number whom I'd meet and talk to in cafes. There 
would be little groups, and there would be conversation, dis- 
cussion and arf'Jim.en t s in va.rious lan'''ua>''"GS. The fact is 
that for a long time, although Rome was not like Paris and 
Munich and other cities that became cities of art, it did 
seem to be a city to which scholarships, fellowships were 

The academies of the various countries were rather im- 
portant; all countries had an art academy there. The English 
had one, both for art and classical studies. The French 
government awarded the Prix de Rome to students of the fine 
arts v;ith four years' residence in Rome at the Villa Medici. 
The Spanish had part of a former convent where prize-winning 
students from the Academy of Madrid were sent for more study 
and work. There was also a German academy. Most of the aca- 
demies were government institutions, but the American Academy 


was not. But they have a Very beautiful academy and give 
fello^vships in art, architecture and classical study. 

Some of the boys I knew from the American Academy--a 
couple of them stayed in the same pension v/e did--v;ere doing 
work in the classics. One was preparing a text of Heliodorus. 
He used to vjork every day in the Vatican Library. The other 
was a Latinist. I've forgotten v/hat he was doing in Rome. 
So that was rather the extent of my association with students, 
v;ith people v;ho v^ere more or less in the same boat that I was. 

One young fellow that I enjoyed in his v;ay was very 
talented. Maybe it was not that he v/as talented, but he v;as 
such a dedicated artist that by sheer application he v;as 
making good. He was a Mexican vJith a scholarship from the 
Acadprnia San Carlos in Mexico Cit'^''» He V7as Mexican and 
he v;as mostly Indian, if not entirely so. He had a little 
room in Rome v.'here he was v;orking. Mexico didn't have an 
academy; they simply had money to send him to live in Rome 
for a certain period. He used to start v.'ork at eight o'clock 
every morning; he was a tremendous v;orker. He had a very 
disorderly room full of all sorts of rubbish, paintings, 
sketches and drawings. He'd wake up to his alarm clock, roll 
over and light the alcohol under the coffee pot. Then he'd 
get up and start drav.'ing. 

The kind of study he was submitting himself to rather 
interested me. It v;aE unusual. He would never choose or set 
up a still life or think too much about the subject. He'd 


simply look around among all this disorder in his room and 
he'd find maybe a book and a pipe or something lying on the 
table. He'd choose a certain section of this, and for the 
rest of the morning, for four hours, he would draw that very 
meticulously. He acquired a surprising skill in very accu- 
rate and very minute drawing, highly finished in form and 
also in subtlety of tone. The tonal values of his drawings 
v/ere rem.arkable. He'd draw an old leather-bound book and 
handle the tonal value so that you felt the worn and dusty 
character of it. That sort of drawing he could do astonish- 
ingly well. 

Then he would go out and get himself som.e lunch. The 
afternoon he vjould spend out-of-doors, drav/ing things that 
he saw ai'ounu him. Soi:i6times it vfoulu be people, soructiiTies 
landscapes. He vjorked from a model to a certain extent. He 
was trying to do portraits, but his painting, curiously 
enough, v.'as bad. He simply seemed to have no feeling, no 
taste for painting. But he had a faculty for close observa- 
tion and accurate copying of nature. He felt his limitations 
very keenly. When I last saw him, he v.'as getting almost 
neurotic because he felt that he was heironed in. He had this 
ability, but he had no special use for it. He envied the 
people v;ho were doing creative and imaginative things. When 
he tried to do something imaginative, it would simply be 
silly. And he knew it was. He didn't know v;hat to do. All 
he could do was to sit down and draw another still life or 


go out and dravj another peasant sitting on the Spanish Steps 
or something he could copy faithfully. A limited sort of 
illustration v;as about the only field in VJhich he could be 
of any interest or of any value to anybody. 

There vjere also some South American boys v/ho used to 
come on scholarships, or other means, and take studios for 
their work. Our neighbor, Salas, v/as from Ecuador. He 
painted steadily and made rather beautiful drawings. And 
there was our very good friend Raoul de Moulin Ferenzona. 
He had a combination French and Italian name. Coming from 
my studio one day, I found that the studio next to me, which 
had been empty, was suddenly occupied. So I made myself known 
to my new neighbor. He turned out to be a delightful person. 
Mg was an ''"'''aliar' and d''d Q"f"(2VTi>TTo tio /^-rrir-ii-t- T^o^^-v•^- v^^.i^v-. 

except for a fair amount of work in watercolor and tempera. 
But he V7as a fine printmaker. He had been living in Vienna 
at the beginning of the war and had to leave his press and 
his belongings behind and get back to Rome. But he was an 
amazingiy resourceful boy; at very little expense he built his 
own press. And to anyone who knows anything of chalcographic 
printing, that is an impressive accomplishment, even for one 
having means to buy adequate parts and m.aterial. He went to 
the flea market and various other junk yards and found a big 
wooden roller that vjas made of hardwood that served very v;ell. 
It is the most important element. Then v;ith odds and ends 
of hardware salvaged here and there, mostly little parts of 


machinery, including two from the brakes of old horse-cabs 
such as they used in those days, he put this stuff together 
and made, mirabile dictu, a printing press on vjhich he did 
beautiful work. VJoll, anybody who knows anything about copper- 
plate printing knovjs that a good press is of prime importance. 
It's Impossible to do anything unless you can do adequate 
printing. Not only vias he able to make his prints but also 
to build his press. There was just a touch of the Da Vinci 
about him, because he v/as more than just a conventional 
artist. He could do many things. And he was a delightful 
conversationalist, and he also had literary ability. He wrote 
short stories and poems. 

He got back from Vienna obviously with very little, and 
T wondered how he v;a s going to support, hirnReTf, But he rented 
this little studio and got himself started. He made a port- 
folio of his etchings, and he alv;ays had them with him. It 
wasn't long before he had entree to many places, and he always 
had his little folio of etchings with him and people bought 
them. They didn't buy them out of charity either, because 
they were things people liked. Also he soon got commissions 
for portraits in drypoint. He had an unconventional style 
in his portraits that appealed to many. So he lived simply, 
but nicely, through the wartime. He was too old for the 
army, so he was not drafted. He's another one of those people 
I often wonder about--what he did after the war, what degree 
of success he might have had in better times. 


I never knev; any of the yoiing men at the Vil3.a Medici, 
the French Academy. Eugene Savage and Ezra VJinter at the 
American Academy I sav; quite often. They afterwards became 
quite successful mural painters in this country. Eugene 
Savage becam.e head of the School of Fine Arts at Yale and 
did a great deal of mural painting. 

Well, all that I've mentioned to you heretofore was 
independent of my life and activity in the American Red Cross, 
which v;as my real contact vjith the v;ar and, understandably, 
both a formative and reformative experience to me. I got 
accustomed to a greater variety of people and situations. 
Up to that tim.e, I ^^?as inclined to m.ove in a small circle 
of friends, to see much of a few people with v;hom I v;as happy, 

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I became more aware of the world of people, their strangeness 
and variety. Once I had this feeling, life became m.uch 
more interesting. And I think one thing that contributed 
to it is that in the first place, there is a general feeling 
of warmth and good will (at least I've found that) in Italy, 
maybe more so than nearly any other country. There is more 
spontaneity and good humor. 

Near us lived a well-knoi^/n (though still fairly young) 
figure painter, the Baron Shauensee. He did attractive por- 
traiture, probably his main source of income. His father 
had been an officer in the Swiss Guard at the Vatican, and 
the boy v.'as born in Rome and raised and educated there. He 


v;as really quite Italian. I used to see quite a lot of him. 
He was a rather successful portrait painter. He also painted 
some subject pictures in an old-fashioned sort of way. He 
was an interesting, cultivated man, and v/as a good musician 
as well as being an accomplished painter. 

After I left Rome and v;ent to Paris (I'm a terrible 
letter v;riter and I don't keep up m.y correspondence at all 
well) I lost track of him and his activities. I lost contact 
with most of my friends in Rome except a fev; v/ith vrhom I did 
have correspondence. But one day, after I had been in Paris 
for years, there vjas a ring at my door. I went to the door 
and here to my amazement was Baron Shauensee. I shook hands 
very enthusiastically. VJe were glad to see each other. He 
cam.e in and sat down at the i^iano and i^la'^'^ed a little bit 
and v.'e talked and reminisced. I got out som.e cookjes and 
vermouth or something, I've forgotten v.'hat, and m.ade coffee. 
We really had quite a gay time for an hour or so. It v;as 
just as though v/e hadn't been partsd. We just picked up vjhere 
we left off and everything was quite v/onderful. Then he 
got up and we shook hands and said good-bye, and that's the las 
I've ever heard of him. But that was the sort of easy, spon- 
taneous waiTith he had. 

I have great admiration for the French--what intelligent, 
informed person hasn't? But all peoples have some outstanding 
and attractive characteristics. After living with the Italian 
people for some four years, I left, impressed, among other 


thin^^s, v.'ith their patience and good humor. They may blaze 
up easily--maybe the south Italian is more inclined to 
be impulsive and hot-headed--but v/hen you're standing in line, 
for example, they're not elbov;ing their v;ay to the front. 
They av/ait their turn, quietly and cheerfully. Of course 
those were in many ways happy days and maybe my mem.ories 
are a bit colored by nostalgia. 

[I look back on the period as one of great potential 
maturation, much of which should have been attained years 
earlier. However, as I look back I think for one thing I 
was very lucky. Maybe lack of vjorldly wisdom v/as compensated 
for by some evidence on m.y part of good vjill and good inten- 
tions. So far as my work was concerned it seemed to be accep- 

concerned me, something more intangible than my routine job. 
In much of my v;ork, I was out on my own, sometimes I was in 
places vjhere foreigners were seldom seen, especially ones in 
uniform and a uniform makes you feel you represent something. 
You are bound to go away leaving some sort of an image not 
so much of yourself but of the American Red Cross, even the 
Americans. Well, in spite of my very frequent feelings of 
inadequacy I can look back gratefully to very many experiences 
of kindness and generosity. I got a lecture once from some 
important townsman who seemed to think I had come on a sort 
of charity mission and seemed to v;ant to inform me on how 
much they v;ere doing, and v.'ere capable of doing for themselves, 


However, when he got it all off his chest and I had made my 
little speech, everything went fine and the meeting adjourned 
in high good hamor. ] 

Every day I spent long hours dealing with people of 
all sorts and classes. But it simply strengthened that 
same feeling I had and a certain affection I've alv;ays had 
for the Italians since those days. 

The general effect there, of course, ivas more or less 
psychological. It's part of growing up, war and so forth, 
meeting more people, being in contact v/ith them. Though Rome 
was not a real center of art activity such as Paris was at 
that time, the movem.ents there v;ere very much alive; very in- 
telligent, very interesting work vjas being done In all direc- 

and intellectually, and in many other ways, and the great 
richness of the past of Italy, of course, v/as som.ething that 
could never be completely absorbed. Then there was also 
contemporary life and activity, VJhich was quite inspiring 
and stimulating. 

While I lived in Rome, I used to get accepted at the 
exhibitions pretty regularly, v;hich was a certain amount of 
encouragement. I didn't try for any very formal study. Up 
to that time, I had quite a lot of faith in schooling. I 
gradually lost a good deal of that. But really on account 
of the war, I looked forward to staying on and getting at 
least one year in Paris at one of the good schools there. 


For that reason, v;hat viork I did in Rome, I did on ray own 
and more under the influence of my friends and the advice 
of friendly, fellov; painters than by taking any course at 
the academy. 

Well, v;hen I look back on the work (I haven't very much 
left) I'm a little bit surprised. One of my friends in Paris 
was the negro painter, H.O. Tanner, and he said it was 
always very distressing to look at one's early work. Either 
you vjere so embarrassed that you didn't do better or else 
you feel so sad that you haven't made any progress. I think 
there's quite a bit in that, because very often I run across 
something I did v;hen I was quite young and I wonder why I had 
that vision, that intuition at the time, but for some reason 
didn't have faith enough in it tc follov; it through. I think 
that's quite an important part in one's developm.ent. The ones 
who were really lucky were those vfhose intuition obsessed 
them. I think of a painter like Delacroix or Van Gogh-- 
people who were quite different in style. The fires simply 
can't be put out. But if a person is inclined to be rather 
too rational about his work and tries to do creative work 
and to subscribe to some idea simply because he thinks 
it is the ri'iht thing Instead of vjhat he really feels it 
should be deep down, that's dangerous. I don't think any- 
body is com.pletely free from that conflict. 

I've been studying Delacroix lately, his writing as 
well as his life and v/ork, and I discover something I didn't 


quite realize before. Looking at his v/ork, you feel that 
from the very beginning he knew exactly what he v/as after 
and v.'ent at it v;holeheartedly . VJhich in a sense he did, 
but he did it because he had certain support from talented 
people, like his friend Gericault, for example. With 
others, it v;aE the same idea. They gave each other moral 
support. But as a young man, you can see that v;hat we 
roughly speak of as the conflict between the classical and 
romantic v;as something in Delacroix's life. In the paint- 
ing world, he vjas almost the epitome of the man painting 
for the pure joy of painting; at least, that's the general 

Nobody shovjed more pleasure in actual painting than 
Renoir did- 8nd that is one of his f^reat a'opeals. You feel 
that he had such thorough and complete enjoyment in every- 
thing he did, and that is one thing that makes him very 
popular and extremely attractive. His v;ork radiates that. 
People don't realize that even after he had a certain amount 
of reputation, he went through a very difficult period of 
trying to find himself in vjhat seemed to be somewhat of an 
impasse of the Impressionist movement, of reverting to Ingres 
and to a classical feeling. And it took very hard v;ork, 
very severe discipline. 

So v;hen I look back at m.y early work sometimes I'm 
dreadfully ashamed of it and I don't want much of it to 
survive. I don't think that anything that I did as a young 


person would be looked upon as the vjork of a talented boy 
at all. Sometimes youngsters v/ill do very interesting things, 
but I doubt if I often did. I used to drav; a great deal, 
but my drawings were not at all distinguished. In fact, 
they vjere inclined to be rather weak. That period in Rome 
--which I think I suggested when I spoke of the American 
Academy--was a period of frustration in what is usually 
spoken of as "finding yourself," [a period of vague dis- 
quiet, a feeling somewhat like that of Dante, of being "lost 
in a dark vjood," of longing common to everybody for a Vergil, 
for a master, for an exponent of divine wisdom. 

Although after choosing the path of art I hoped for 
material reward to a reasonable extent and was far from 
despising v.'hat modicuiri of fame and fortune m.ight eventually 
be granted me, I believe I am honest in saying that I was 
above all seeking a way of life. VJhile still a teenager I 
was beginning to suffer from disappointment vjith religion 
as I found it usually presented. Hov/ever a sort of faith 
gradually took hold as a com.pensation for the disappointment 
and I found it expressed in some words of Goethe. I don't 
knov; where to find the quotation but v;hat he wrote was to 
the attest that: 

He who has art and has science 
Religion too has he. 

If he has not art and has not science 
Let him religious be. 

So far I have not really denied religion; I am in a state 

of feeling that in its essential purity it will be found 


in the deepest recesses of v;hat is commonly spoken of 
as the "soul" to have a conimon source v;ith science and art. ] 
Well, I'll say the unfortunate thing is that very often 
natural feelings and intuitions come to the surface, but 
are promptly mistrusted or, still worse, receive prompt 
disGouragem.ent from the outside. Education is not putting 
stuff into a person, it's drawing something out of them. 
Educare , the verb, means to lead out, to find out what is 
there and let it have existence and be realized before it is 
questioned and analyzed. 


NUTTING: VJith our entrance into World VJar I, being Ameri- 
can, I became concerned about entering the amy, but I 
didn't know exactly what to do or how to go about it be- 
cause I was living in Europe. I was somewhat an expatriate 
in a way, not connected with my home base. But my question 
was more or less solved for me. We used to go to Capri 
in the summertime for our vacation or when we had any spare 
time, we'd go down for a week, sometimes for longer. We 
had many friends on Capri after a few visits, and som.e of 
my happiest memories are of Capri. 

Cross work. It was there I made the acquaintance of a 
who aftervjards became a very warm friend--Richard Wallace. 
It's rather worthwhile to m.ention Richard V/allace to anyone 
interested in James Joyce, especially if he has read Richard 
Ellmann's life of Joyce, which was published fairly recently, 
in which his name appears frequently. He was part of that 
entourage of Joyce's in Paris which included ourselves and 
others . 

When I first saw Richard Wallace, I was sitting on a 
terrace in Capri with som.e friends. It was part of what we 
would call a patio back of their house, and you could look 
down in a little street below where people were going up and 


dovm the hill. I was watching all of the various types of 
natives and visitors as they went up and dovm this little 
street. And I caught sight of a man who was rather tall 
and had gray hair--rather prematurely gray--coming down 
the street, i thought he was a very attractive-looking 
guy and rather interesting. Sometimes you see somebody and 
their face impresses you but you vjill never see them again. 
I thought I'd rather like to know that man. It was just a 
thought that passed through my mind, you know, that if I 
had an opportunity, I was sure he'd be a very pleasant per- 
son to know and v;hom I would enjoy. There was something about 
him that suggested vje just might have much in common. 

Well, after our visit with these people we v;ent on to 

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there but this man. So we got acquainted and found that he 
was Richard VJallace. ¥e did have much in comjnon and it was 
the beginning of a wann friendship that continued until his 
death some ye^rs later in Paris. 

It turned out he was taking a sort of a sabbatical 
leave. He started out in life as a commercial artist in 
Boston, and from Boston, he went to Chicago. He and Joe 
[Joseph C] Leyendecker shared a studio and living quarters 
and did commercial \\Jork in Chicago. Joe Leyendecker after- 
wards was probably the most successful commercial artist that 
we've had in this country. He did an enormous amount of ad- 
vertising illustrations and before the days of Norman Rockvjell 


many covers for the Saturday Evening Post . 

Well, V/allace and Leyendecker worked for a couple of 
years or so, I don't think it was very long, but both of 
them v;ere quite able and really clever boys and made quite 
a good living. But they dreamt of going to Paris to study 
art and Wallace told me the story of how they came about 
making the trip together. Whatever money they could save 
from their v/eek's earnings, they'd stash away someplace in 
the room, most any old place--under the mattress, in a drawer, 
or in some kind of receptacle--and leave it there. Finally 
they decided that maybe they had enough to make the trip, 
so they had a housecleaning, retrieved their cash, counted 
it and decided that they had enough to spend a year studying 
in Paris, 

So they went to Paris and worked at the Julian Academy 
under Jean Paul Laurens, and at the end of the year, Leyendecker 
went back and went to town with his commercial art. V/allace 
stayed on in Paris and did illustration for Hachette et Cie. 
Hachette et Cie is an old publishing concern in Paris, a pub- 
lisher of m.agazines, books and all sorts of things. He worked 
for them and did quite a lot of illustration, especially for 
a magazine that they published, a very popular fsmiily maga- 
zine called Lectures Pour Tous . Then they also gave him a 
type of editorial job in connection v;ith the company, and 
eventually, he became art editor for Hachette and Company. 
In as old and prosperous a concern as Hachette, I imagine it 


was a pretty good job. 

Somewhat late in life, he met an English girl v;ho was 
over there with a theatrical company and married her--Lillian 
Wallace. They hadn't been married very long when I met them 
in Capri. Due to the v/ar and I think vrith some other ideas 
in mind, which he later developed rather successfully, he 
took time off, the good part of a year, and spent most of 
it on Capri and in traveling. Afterwards he v;as in Rome for 
some time and then returned to Paris before v/e did. 

The reason that I always think of him. in connection v;ith 
the Red Cross is that one day on Capri, I got a telegram 
from Rome, asking me if I would report to the Red Cross head- 
quarters in Rome. Well, it didn't explain very much v;hat they 
wanted, and so I took this telegrain to Wallace and baid, 
"What do you suppose they want of me? They don't seem to 
explain vjhat they want me for." 

But he said, "Yes, I have the same message. We'll 
go together. " 

So we went back up to Rome right away together and went 
around to where the temporary commission of the Red Cross 
was then established in some offices. V.'e found the m.ajor 
who had signed this telegram, and I v.'ent in to see him. He 
thanked me for coming, and he explained to m.e why he had sent 
for me and Wallace and quite a large namber of other people. 
They had gotten the names of a number of Americans v-jho spoke 
Italian well enough for all practical purposes and who could 


conduct ordinary conversations. That v;as about as far as my 
Italian ever got, because I never really studied enough to 
write correct and good Italian, But I did have some facility 
at speaking Italian, and, of course, I could read it fairly 
well. And then he explained what he v;anted me for. He said, 
"l \\'ant you to inspect hospitals." 

V/ell, that gave me rather a jolt and I said, "Well, 
there's been some mistake because I know absolutely nothing 
about hospitals." 

And he said, "Oh, well, that makes no difference." 
(That was another surprise.') 

And I said, "VJell, if that's the way you feel about 
it, v;hy, I'm quite willing." 

niia o xo ciiu^uii ocvj uvj naa uua u i/inr:xc vvcxc ocvcji ux uc 

who were chosen from among the American people who were liv- 
ing in Italy at that time to visit hospitals because the Red 
Cross was supplying all the necessities of hospital vjork in 
quite a large quantity, but not through the Italian Red Cross. 
They sent a representative everywhere, even to dressing 
stations on the front that needed som.ething. The represen- 
tative vjould interviev; the people and get their request and 
then send back a report. The report was necessary largely 
because the requests varied so. And I discovered very quickly 
v;hy. I'd have to go to a pl?ce. I'd find a hospital that 
was beautifully run and \-ias very clean and efficient and 
seemed to have an excellent staff. I'd explain v;hy I came. 


and they v;ould be very modest about their requirements. The 
reason for supplying them was that after the retreat of 
Caporetto, when the Austrians swept down from across the 
mountains do'.vn tov/ard the Piave in northern Italy, the 
Italians lost an immense am.ount of hospital equipment. A 
large proportion of their hospital facilities were up there 
in the north and they lost them very suddenly. So a great 
many were in rather desperate straits. So that was, as I 
understood it, the primary reason for this help that was 
given to Italian hospitals. 

Sometimes v;e'd find an excellent little hospital that 
was struggling along vjith very little. I'd explain why I 
came and asked what they needed, and they v:ould say, "We're 
doing fairly vjell, but vje are rathei- badly in iieed of auto- 
claves. It vjould be very nice if you could give us that." 
Of course, vje would be very glad to. 

The very next place I'd go to would be a higgledy-piggledy 
old palazzo or something, where they v/ere caring for the 
soldiers in a very inefficient and a very careless sort of 
v;ay and maybe not too clean. I would go around inspecting 
everything--operating rooms, kitchens and everything th-tt 
V7as on my list of things to look out for. And these people 
would say, ''Oh, yes, what vie need is a truck. It would be 
marvelous if v;e had a truck. Then v;e could do.,.." They 
thought the Am.ericans were there with plenty of money and 
materials, and that all they had to do was ask for it and 


they'd get it. 

So, you had to send the report back to Rome giving a 
pretty good picture of the relative needs of things. That 
was quite a difficult thing to do. It didn't mean that I 
had to be a doctor or a man especially up in medicine. What 
happened vjas that before I v;as sent out on this, I was sent 
out v/ith a hospital man, a doctor, v;ith a thorough knovrledge 
of everything and v:e v/orked pretty hard for two or three 
weeks studying hov; hospitals were run, v;hat they V7ere doing, 
what you could expect, what you could not expect, what con- 
ditions should be and so forth and so on. Then, on the basis 
of that, the Rome office vjould supply the hospital. 

So VJallace and I went out and ordered our uniforms and 
SusroGG ou u on our worK one sanie uay. i was seno up xirso 
to Genoa and then to all the little towns from Genoa up to 
Ventimiglia to all of the military hospitals along the coast 
there. I've forgotten where Wallace v/ent, but he did similar 
sort of vjork. 

One thing that I v;as rather grateful for--though it 
wasn't kept up --was that the first uniforms that they gave 
us in the Red Cross were of the English cut, with an American 
insignia on it. Well, they changed that pretty quickly, be- 
cause in the distance you looked like an English officer. 
But the English uniform was so much better looking and so m.uch 
more comfortable and so much more practical than the wretched 
ones that v/ere designed for the American Army, vjith their 


tight collars and funny-type jackets and no pockets. The 
English officer's uniform had these beautiful big pockets. 
VJhen your uniform was nicely pressed, it looked elegant, but 
v/hen you didn't have to look elegant, you had plenty of room 
to stow all sorts of things in the pockets. And on hot days 
you were very glad to have the open collar. 

So I went onto Genoa and reported there to the general 
of the armada in Genoa, and with all the previous arrangements 
of the Red Cross, everything worked sm.oothly. They would give 
me a car and a chauffeur and very often an escort, just a 
man to help me out in case I got into some difficulty with 
the language or difficulties of any sort. They'd send along 
a young lieutenant or somebody who was very glad to have a 
little vacation. And it was pleasant to have a little company, 
Well, I took the work maybe a little bit too seriously~-I 
felt I just had to make good. Something about its being war 
work was rather sobering, you know. It was very serious to 
me and you just had to get right in there. I worked hard, 
especially if I had an escort, and I used to wear him half 
to death because I got him up so early in the morning. I'd 
be out on the road before daylight. It was a rather unneces- 
sary bother sometimes for the hospital because I'd have to 
rouse people out of bed and go around and poke my nose into 
everything, without seeming to, which wasn't too easy. But 
it always worked out quite nicely with a little tact and if 
you didn't act too officious. If you took your time and 


discussed problems--"May I visit your hospital?"--they 'd 
shov; you everything. 

Sometimes, that involved quite a v/aste of time because 
every officer in the Italian Red Cross was a doctor. So 
when I said I v/aa- from the Am.erican Red Cross, they supposed, 
of course, that I v.'as a doctor, and there seemed to be no 
way of convincing them that I wasn't even a medical student 
or somebody connected with medicine. So I'd have to examine 
their operations carefully and comjr.ent on the good work they 
were doing and look at X-rays and comjnent on this, that and 
the other thing. They'd ask me advice about something and 
I'd have no advice to give, of course, and I'd have to slide 
by very often by pretending ignorance of the language or 

siastic and wanted to be especially hospitable. Often the 
military hospital would be a v.'ing or section of the building 
of a civic hospital, and after getting through with these 
poor boys and the soldiers, they'd rush me into the other 
v;ards where I'd have to look at all sorts of troubles and 
problems of the civilian population. Then I had to really 
work up a m.eans of getting out of it all. 

V/ell, I finished my first assignment just before 
Christm^as in 1917. I rushed back to Genoa. My wife me 
in Genoa and we spent Christmas Eve together in Genoa. I 
just barely got through in time to do that. 


That trip from Genoa to the French border was maybe 
the most pleasant experience in my work. For one thing, 
there were many beautiful places on the way. Those little 
towns, the places where I stayed, vjere tourists' resorts. 
There were a lot of English people who liked to vjinter in 
Italy, and a good many of them were still there. People 
were very nice to m.e . I'd go dovm to dinner at the hotel 
and, after dinner, the first thing I'd know I'd look up and 
somebody would be standing there. They'd say, "Pardon me, 
but you're the first American officer v;e've seen here, and, 
of course, it's quite a thrill to see a representative of 
your country." They'd think I was English on account of 
my uniform and then they'd see the insignia that I v.'as an 
Americqn and thpy onuldn't nnite moke that out. Then they'd 
invite me for liqueurs and coffee afterwards. And very often, 
I'd spend the rest of the evening quite pleasantly. 

At this tovv'n (I've forgotten the name), an orderly 
hunted me up at one of the places where I was working and 
delivered a note. It was from the sister of Theodore Roose- 
velt. She invited me up to have lunch. Hov; she found out 
I was in town, I don't know, because I'd com.e in and put up 
for the night and planned to be gone the next morning. But 
apparently she knew of my arrival. She was very pleasant and 
hospitable, and I spent a couple of hours at her delightful 
villa, had lunch, and went back to v;ork. 

Well, as I say, I was a little too serious in a way. 


because I got up very early and v;orked very hard in visiting 
these hospitals. And then came the job of writing reports 
and that was sort of nerve-wracking, especially in the be- 
ginning, because I didn't know if I was saying exactly the 
right thing or was making the right judgment. However, I 
vjas fairly v/ell prepared, and with the training I had, it 
wasn't long before I got a sense of relative values, people, 
efficiency, character and needs. When I couldn't say exact- 
ly what their needs were, they had to make their own deduc- 
tions in Rome from requests that they would get from these 
hospitals . 

I went back to Rome to report for the next assignment, 
and in the meantime, this temporary commission that had or- 
ganized the Red Cross left, and T found an entirely nev; or- 
ganization there. I went in to see my new chief, a tall 
military-looking man with a goatee, and he welcomed me. He 
was a doctor, and he wore the regular officer's uniform.. His 
name was Joseph Collins, and he was in the Officers Reserve, 
I think, something of the sort. The rest had the Red Cross 
uniform, vjhereas he had the regular army major's uniform.. 
Well, he had not exactly a severe manner, but rather a very 
formal demeanor. He didn't frighten me especially, but he 
didn't have the easygoing feeling that the other fellows around 
the place had. 

Another thing that rather surprised m.e vjas that I found 
that none of the people that entered the Red Cross at the 


same time I did were around. It was nov; a fairly large or- 
ganization. It was much bigger than it v;as v;hen I left Rome 
to go on with my work. There were the two main divisions of 
the activity; one was the medical affairs and one was the 
civil affairs. I belonged to the medical affairs. I went 
in to meet my nev/ chief. Dr. Joseph Collins^ who turned out 
to be not only a doctor of medicine but also a neurologist, 
a psychiatrist, and an author. Afterwards, he became rather 
well known for his books, such as The Doctor Looks at Liter - 
ature , The Doctor Looks at Love and Life . He had a series 
of those things that had considerable success. He turned 
out to be a very interesting man. 

But one thing that rather surprised me v;as that all of 
the people that were in that office when I left seem.ed to be 
gone except one other man, and that was Wallace. As a matter 
of fact, I think VJallace and I were the only ones that stayed 
on his staff, or vjhatever you'd call it, until the end. Others 
came and v;ent and were transferred until he found people he 
couiawork with. He was very fond of VJallace and he v;as al- 
ways very nice to me. I used to see a great deal of him and 
in off hours, he used to come down to my studio. The fact is, 
I did a portrait of him, but it vjasn't very successful. 

And also he used to invite me out for excursions. He 
wanted to see the environs of Rome, visit some of the sights 
and explore things. So he'd phone me, and we'd go together 
and have lunch up at Frascati or Tivoli or someplace like 


that. He wanted to discuss things, and among other things, 
I learned quite a lot about psychology from his point of view. 

At that time, we were commencing to discuss Freud a 
great deal. He was not a Freudian, but he was quite fair 
and quite interestin'^ in the way he discussed psychoanalysis. 
I was commencing to have an interest in psychoanalysis, not 
because of any complexes I might have personally had, but be- 
cause from what I read of psychoanalysis it seem.ed to be that 
here v;as something that might contribute to the understanding 
of a creative mind, hov; the m.ind would function and work. Of 
course, it vms a great disappointment v;hen I found out after- 
wards that Freud him.self admitted that it vras a mystery to 
him. So if it was a mystery to Freud, it will remain a mys- 
tery to me, T'm sure. 

But Collins was quite a part of my life from then on, 
in Italy and afterwards in Paris, because he used to be back 
and forth between America and Europe very frequently. He 
would usually pass through Paris, and when he did, vje al- 
ways got together. 

I've forgotten what Collins had me do after my finishing 
the vjork along the Riviera from Genoa north, but if I remem- 
ber rightly, it was visiting hospitals around Rome. Of course, 
there was quite a lot of that sort of work to be done right 
there in Rome, and I rather imagine he did that more to keep 
an eye on me and to see what he wanted to do with me than 
anything else--not that I was especially useful around Rome-- 


but he was satisfied v/ith what I was doing and he sent me up 
to Padua. V/ell, Padua is on the Piave. That was not long 
after the retreat of Caporetto. It was just before Hemingway- 
was up there. I didn't meet Hemingway, but he was there about 
that time. 

Our headquarters vjere in Padua, and I ran up against 
certain problems there. In a lot of v;ays, it was an education 
working for an organization of this sort, and like any organi- 
zation, especially when it's not very solidly formed and has 
been put together rather hurriedly, there v/ere all sorts of 
little jealousies and conflicts. So rather to my surprise, 
I found that I was looked upon as an interloper vjhen I went 
up to these other regions. There were representatives sta- 
tioned in various parts of Italy, and the seven of us that 
I spoke of had no fixed location. VJe were connected with 
the Rome office and were sent out from the Rome office, so 
we were looked upon as interlopers in a way. The man in charge 
of a certain district wanted to have it all in his own hands. 
He didn't like to have anybody from the main office come in 
and interfere. I didn't understand that at first, but it 
didn't take very long to learn. And then I got along very 
well. I was in Padua for some time and worked up and down 
the front, even in the dressing stations, the little tempo- 
rary hospitals . Again I vjas out very early in the morning until 
late at night doing that sort of work. 

Padua was more or less evacuated. The perm.anent 


residents with means left Padua. At night, a very large 
proportion of the population went to the country. I don't 
remember whether they were required to, but I rather doubt 
if they were. But I can remember very distinctly that 
towards evening crov;ds of people would move out into the 
country. They had places to sleep v?ith friends, I suppose, 
or most anyplace. So at night Padua v;ould seem quite em.pty. 
They were afraid of bombarding. \Ie weren't, really. A shell 
fell once next to the palazzo v;here we had our headquarters, 
but there was no special damage done and nothing very much 
happened. But they were always afraid of it. 

The work itself in Padua I found extremely interesting. 
It took me up and down the front and also over the plains of 
the Veneto- vjhere a ^rreat manv of the i^laces I h?d. to visit- 
were old seventeenth and eighteenth century palazzos. 
Beautiful places. One place would be an army headquarters, 
another v;ould be a hospital, another v/ould be something else 
that v:as taken over by the army. In that way, I sav; houses 
and gardens and villas that an ordinary traveler \\'ouldn't 
have an opportunity see. Sometimes it vjas quite astonishing 
to see vjhat delightful places there were, and some were quite 
important places. The house itself might have frescoes by 
Paolo Veronese, for example. There v/ere things that would 
am.aze you. The seventeenth and eighteenth century Venetian 
families built these beautiful country estates. You always 
think of them living in a palazzo in Venice, but they had 


wonderful properties out in the country. There were beauti- 
ful formal gardens with statuary, and there v/as lots of 
water up there and lakes. One estate had a moat around 
it. It was not for fortification but simply for decoration, 
and it had bridges across the moat to the villa. 

V7allace was on the same sort of work. He V7as sent on 
shorter missions to the front. I was more or less stationed 
in Padua for some time and worked from there out. But I 
would be in town every evening except for on a few occasions. 
Twice I had to go down to Venice and I stayed overnight in 
Venice, I came back the next day, I remember also going 
to Verona. But the work, as I say, v;as extremely interesting, 
and it wasn't anything I could complain of. Sometimes I vjas 

but it wasn't anything like the boys who were doing ambulance 
work or that sort of thing. So, in some vjays, I felt kind 
of asham.ed of myself--th.3t I wasn't doing something a little 
more disagreeable. Still, it had importance, so I didn't feel 
too badly about it. 

Also, I didn't regret in the least that I ivas meeting 
interesting people, because stationed in Padua were quite a 
number of newspapermen and correspondents, interesting people 
to know and to talk to, more so than my Red Cross crowd. 
Some of them were quite distinguisned . Perceval Gibbon was 
already well known as a writer and poet, and also he was a 
very lively, energetic and very amusing man. For some reason. 


he and I seemed to get along veryv;ell. I don't knov/ what 
I had that he would find at all interesting, but he alvfays 
asked rne along to anything he thought would interest me. 
He was transferred while I v/as there and some of the Italian 
newspaper people and some of the other newspapermen met at the 
hotel to give him a little send-off, a very quick informal thing 
with a few drinks all around. It lasted about an hour. 
Gibbon hunted me up and asked me to com.e, and I vjas the only 
non-nevjspaper person there, v;hich rather surprised me but 
also pleased me. 

Another man we liked v.'as Thompson, the correspondent 
for Associated Press. VJe used to dine together quite a lot. 

After I'd been there for awhile, I found work for my 
wife. She could t'^'oe and was ver'^^ efficient in lots of v-'avsi 
and so they sent her up there to be in the office at Padua, 
and she did some work there. 

Well, at that tim.e there was a tremendous epidemic of 
flu. They called it Spanish influenza, didn't they? 
SCHIPPERS: Yes, they did. 

NUTTING: And so it turned out that most of the hospitals 
I v;ent to v;ere crov.'ded with people with the flu. It's quite 
natural, especially if you get rather rundown a bit and 
you're a little tired and your resistance is not too great, 
why, you're susceptible to the flu. So I got it. I was in 
bed in Padua for quite awhile. 

VJe had a very delightful place. It v/as an old, small 


palazzo, beautifully furnished. My room, though^ v/as a 
spooky sort of place in a way. There v;as a huge armoire 
against the wall, and all of a sudden, that would slowly 
and quietly sv;ing out. Then somebody v/ould come in from 
behind it. It wps curious. Appai'ently the family that 
lived in this palazzo wanted to isolate an apartment and 
had figured out this way to do it. They put this big armoire 
in front of this door, which was the only place they could 
put it. And they hung it very nicely so that this armoire, 
which v;as very heavy, v/ould svjing out. I still remember ly- 
ing there in this fever and then seeing the furniture start 
to move tov/ard me. 

When I got v.'ell enough, they shipped me back to Rome 

VjVlPVP T n nn^JPi T P><5r> prl Thpn frMr nn-i+o n T ,^n -t ■(-■irvio T rl -i /^ rvnr 

work all around Rome. I had some rather interesting experiences 
there, too, in a \vay that I vjouldn't have had otherwise. It 
was analogous to going around the palazzo up in Veneto, up 
in Venice, and I saw things that I wouldn't ordinarily see. 
I'd visit little communities out in the Campagna with a doctor 
and a nurse and vje v;ould visit among the Italian peasantry 
to take care of sick people. Out in the Campagna you 
seemed far from civilization. V/ith Europe being so crowded 
and out in the Campagna you'd think, "v;hy isn't it all cul- 
tivated? Why aren't there fields of grain and all sorts of 
growing things?" It's a treeless land to the horizon where 
one sees the distant hills. Portions of aqueducts still 


stand, monuments of ancient Rome. Then you run across this 
little community of people and they would be living then very 
much as they did in the days of Romulus and Remus, and I 
mean literally. They lived in round structures with no win- 
dows. If I remember rightly, they were thatched, were built 
of stone and had conical roofs, and you'd go in and there 
would be a fire in the middle of the structure. At first 
you could see little in the dim light. Then you'd make 
out figures of sick people lying in their berths against the 
wall. V/ell, I wish I'd documented more about some of those 
communities at the timo--hov; m.any there \<iere, for example, 
and hovj prevalent or where I'd ru_n across some kind of a 
freakish district of that sort of life. As I say, I can't 

^ m^ CTi r^n ■^■^ Q'f'il'l r=>"V"^Q'^c f:»GY^or*'ia"llTr CTr~ir»o -f-V^ci r^otrc ^-f* ffncc'^.n-iK^-n 

vjhen he really did a lot towards modernizing Italian life, 
including road building and draining of m.arshes, etc. But 
in those days, you still vjould see the peasant costame. 
Socci were vjorn in place of shoes. They are a leather sole, 
laced to the foot v;ith thongs. It makes a picturesque foot- 
vjear and m.ay be at least as good as moccasins. However, 
shoes are a status symbol and not to have real shoes was with 
them not only a hardship, it was a humiliation. 

V/hile getting back my strength I worked in and around 
Rom.e. It was all interesting, and much of it very pleasant. 
I'd meet interesting people and see interesting places around 
Rome; some of them, like the sv;anky athletic club which I 


was once sent to, was made a place for convalescent officers. 
The boys were a cheerful bunch. One proudly shov;ed me around. 
He kept opening doors to sho^-j me this and that. He opened 
one door only to quickly close it. I caught a glimpse of a 
pretty girl about to step into a tub. 

After my tour and interviev; I went dovm to my car and found 
a young fellow lying back in the seat. "I sav; your car here 
and thought I'd join you." I'd never seen him before. He 
was a young convalescent v;ho wanted to have a ride, and here 
vjas an American and the car looked pretty good. He thought, 
"Let's take a ride with him." [laughter] As a matter of 
fact he spent the day v;ith me and v;e got quite friendly. 
SCHIPPERS: Did you make all these trips alone or did your 
wife accompany you? 

NUTTING: She was in Rome and vjhen I went on that trip up 
the coast from Genoa north, she wanted to see Genoa anyi^ay 
so she went and stayed in a hotel in Genoa. I left her 
there, and then I v.'ent on--making m.a'ny stops--along the coast, 
up as far as Ventlmiglia on the French border. Then I got 
back to Genoa just in time to spend Christmas Eve with her. 
Then v.'e went back to Rome together, and I v;as sent to Padua. 
I was there for quite a long time, but I've forgotten how 

After a few v/eeks, I got her a job at the office in Padua 
because the director of that district v;as a man by the nam.e 
of Thwais, a vjealthy Milwaukean, v;ho at first, I think. 


looked upon me as somev/hat of an interloper meddling in 
his affairs. V/ell, I got things straightened out v/ith him, 
so vie didn't bother one another. And he vjas nice. He was 
all right. He had some funny ideas. He wasn't especially 
interested in vjhat I was doing. He was more interested in 
civil affairs and caring for the poor and needy. I don't 
knov7 what idea he had, but he tried to start selling surplus 
goods in Padua to the families v.'ho had m.en in the army. He 
got into conflict with the business elements of Padua there, 
so that didn't work out so well. His first sale caused 
excitement and drew a huge and noisy crowd. I had to stay 
home to help him and spent most of m.y time being a sort of 
traffic cop struggling to keep order. 

T ffot into ci'^'il affairs too. It didn't last very 
long, but it was an interesting change. I learned one day 
that a commission--!' ve forgotten v;hether it v;as more than 
one man--was coming to see us in Padua, apropos some nei-: 
project they had. I didn't knov; very much about it. I guess 
I wasn't too much interested and thought, "Let him and the 
other people there in the office fight it out." ^.7ell, it 
turned out that boosting the morale of the Italian soldiers 
seemed to be very much on the mind of the Red Cross and had 
become one of their major concerns. A present of money, in 
proportion to the need of the family and number of the family 
at the front, was to be given. I was sent out on this v.'ork 
v;ith an Italian marchese and one other American, but I 


represented the Red Cross in this thing. I had to go to 
the bank and get Italian lira bills, forty or fifty thousand 
lira, and that's when these big pockets came in handy, 

An Italian secretary or an accountant or something 
went along with me. We'd go to the tovm and stop at the 
tov;n hall and call on the mayor. Most of the towns vjere 
quite small, so work could be done rather rapidly. The 
idea vjas that the mayor and people like the priest or other 
important people in the town --school teachers and important 
citizens--would form a group, hear and discuss the whole 
business. I had a little speech in Italian, which I prac- 
ticed, and I'd get that off. Then the Italian (I've for- 
gotten his name now), who was a very nice old, 
would speak and explain what it was all about. Then they 
would hand out leaflets and little pamphlets and postcards 
to be sent to the front and one thing and another, to all of 
these people. And, in the meantime, the secretary that we 
had with us would be in communication with the secretary 
of the mayor, somebody in his office, and would pass me a 
piece of paper that there were so many boys at the front, 
so many families in need and so forth. Between them, they 
would m.ake out v.'hat they thought would be a proportionate 
sum to be given to that tov/n, and I would reach down and 
pull out some m.oney, lay it on the table and the mayor v'ould 
take it. Everybody of course was very much impressed and 


very much pleased. 

If they didn't knov; that I v.'as coming, it wasn't too 
hard, and we got it pretty well worked out. They'd call 
this little meeting and the important people would gather 
together; an effect would be made, and the present of the 
money would be given to the mayor for its distribution. Our 
pamphlets and literature would be distributed, and then v;e 
could go on to the next town. Sometimes it could be fairly 
quickly done. 

But in spite of everything we could do, a town v.'ould 
sometimes knovj vje v/ere corning--! don't know how--but they'd 
get vjord, and they ivere certainly very vjarm to us in those 
days. The first thing I'd know, I'd be driving up the road 
■f- Qv.TP Y>H g ''"his V '' llsp"e or "'"'^is "''OV-'n and on '^^'^ w"'' 1 ^'^ a 
house, I'd see a poster--"Viva gH Americani," inbig letters, 
and the closer I'd get, there v;ould be more of these posters. 
Then, doggone it, you'd get up to the square of the town, 
there would be a I'/hole bunch of little kids with their flags 
waving, people standing up on the steps of the courthouse, and 
maybe there vjould even be some music. They'd come down and 
usher us up and get out the champagne. Then we couldn't get 
away, of course, sometimes for the rest of the day. I've 
forgotten how long this lasted^ but for awhile, it kept m.e 
awfully busy. But it was fun. 
SCHIPPERS: Were you receiving a salary? 
NUTTING: I vjas receiving a nominal salary. I've forgotten. 


but it was something like ninety dollars a month. They didn't 
seem to have any fixed salary for the v/ork v;e were doing. I 
accepted it, but I don't kno\i whether all the others did or 
not. Some were very v/ell-off. 

Of course, an experience of that kind, in v/hich all of 
your thought and activity is taken completely away into 
other fields, is bound to have a great influence on one's 
thinking and one's life. I suppose v;hat it did more than 
anything else v;as to get me outside of myself. I had to 
meet a far greater variety of people and be in much more tense 
situations than I had ever been in before. There vjere 
problems to be solved very quickly--and they v/ere serious 
because they involved many people and things of importance 
to them. Som.etimes it seemed to nie rather more than """ could 
cope with. To begin viith, this v;as m.y first experience in 
working in a large organization and facing the frictions and 
difficulties that here v/ere aggravated sometimes by our 
plain inexperience. And a lot of the work of the Red Cross, 
especially in those first years of the v;ar (I don't knov; 
vjhether they had background for that sort of experience or 
not), seemed to me extrem^ely inefficient. It's not that I 
ever blamed anybody that I knew. They v/ere all dedicated 

But my wife, for example, worked in Rome--well before I 
went into the service of the Red Cross--in places where there 
there v;as work to be done for the poor, giving sewing work 


and so forth to families v;hose men had gone to the front, 
and also the packing and shipping of donations or things that 
had been supplied by the Red Cross to the boys at the front. 
And she v;as often very unhappy because things that had been 
prepared for the packages and that v/ere supposed to be some 
sort of aid and comfort in their life, such as blankets, 
soap, chocolate, cigarettes, stationery and things of that 
sort v;ere so inferior. The items v^ere sometimes of little 
Importance, but still it v;as something that should have 
been taken seriously. The packages were so shoddy and so 
badly prepared that she vjas ashamed to have anything to do 
vjith them. Blankets vjould be sent to the soldiers up in 
the north, especially the ones vjho were fighting above the 
Piave v.'here it's pretty chilly in wintertime and the extra 
warmth would be more than critical. But these blankets, she 
said, v;ere so sleazy that she thought she could stick her 
finger through them anyplace, that you could simply hold 
them up and poke at them and your finger v/ould go through. 
They were m.ade of the cheapest sort of material. 

The packages were also badly put together. She said 
that the cookies and chocolates and little things to eat 
v;ere vjrapped along with a cake of strong-smelling soap, 
and she couldn't im.agine v;hat they v;ould taste like when 
the boys finally opened their packages. Well, things like 
that all along the line m.ade us rather unhappy and I've 
never felt inclined to argue when people are critical of the 


Red CrosSj because I could see that very often they had 
quite good reason to be. 

The Salvation Army was extremely successful and it 
vjon the hearts of the doughboy in a v;ay that none of the 
rest of us were able to. 

Sometimes I v/ould be sent to v/ork directly connected 
with the population. Sometimes there 'd be trains to be met 
that vjere crovjded v;ith refugees from the north. And that 
was a job that I always dreaded, because you get a crowd of 
poor and frightened, inefficient, and sometimes seemingly 
stupid people who didn't have even common sense in caring 
for themselves. I found it was a problem, that v;as cut of my 
world. I have been moved to admiration by some peasantry 
when I have knov;n Lheni in theix- own envii-onment . The simple 
and uneducated though poor can have sterling qualities not 
only of character but in their skills and abilities. But 
once deprived of familiar surroundings, they are lost and 
confused very often. To hear or read about them is not see- 
ing them (or hearing and smelling them) and being concerned 
in their vjelfare. 

NOVEMBER 12, I965 

NUTTING: One of the interesting things, and one of the 
pleasant things a person remembers, I think, is the small 
thing that happens unexpectedly and has a very short dura- 
tion. At the same time, because of some connection or some 
relationship it sticks in your memory. One of these things 
is the seeing of interesting or important people, maybe for 
only a few moments. One day, for example, I v/ent into a 
bookstore in Rome. It v;as a small bookstore and there was 
nobody there but the proprietor and a very distinguished- 
looking old lady with a rather old-fashioned costume, rather 
elegantly dressed, and she was sitting at the counter. She 
wasn't standing, and I noticed she v;as being waited on with 
great deference. The proprietor was rushing around and 
bringing out some books and putting them in front of her. 
She would reach over v;ith rather an elegant gesture and turn 
a few pages and then maybe brush the book aside with some con- 
tempt. Another book she'd look at with some interest and 
put aside, apparently, reserving it to buy. 

I browsed around and was fascinated by v;hat was going 
on because it was just these tv/o people, and as I say, I 
was rather impressed with the way the old lady was being 
treated--being seated at the counter, and in a queenly sort 
of way making her choice of v/hat she wanted to read. Finally, 


she got up and v;ent out pausing for a fev/ last v;ords v;ith 
the proprietor. I suppose he was assuring her that her 
wishes v;ould receive most prompt attention and that the 
books would be sent right over to her address. VJhen she 
was gone, I asked the proprietor, "V/ho v;as the lady v/ho just 
went out?" He said, v;ith a feeling of av/e in his voice, 
"Eleonora Duse, signor." Incidentally, when I v/as stationed 
in Padua and had a table in the dining room of the Storione, 
and right behind ne was the table of Gabriele D'Annunzio 
and his group of aviators. So there v/as a quite vivid pic- 
ture of a very distinguished actress, and it remains as a 
nice little vignette. She was so much herself and conscious, 
at the same time, of really being very much herself. 

And I have quite a num.ber of little vignettes in my 
memories. One evening my wife and I v/ere coming dovm from 
the Pincian Hill. We ^^^ere on one of our very frequent walks 
up there. As I have said, it was a favorite place to go in 
the evening at sunset because the sunset from the Villa 
Medici is memorable, on a sanuner evening especially. And 
the hill being very near us, we did go up there very frequent- 
ly. So vie watched the sunset, with the silhouette of St. 
Peter's across the city against the sunset and the city below 
us, and enjoyed very real beauty. 

VJhen it commenced to get dusk, we wandered down the 
Via Sistina on our way to the Spanish Steps and dov7n to where 
v;e lived. As vje got down the Via Sistina, near the Spanish 


steps, the street was deserted. Hardly anybody was in the 
street. It's a very interesting street, not v;ide but v'ith 
many palatial buildings, with vjhat the Italians call portoni -- 
the big handsome doorv/ays that lead into courtyards. And 
out of one of these portoni came a rather short, stocky man, 
very much v/rapped up. He had a scarf around his neck and 
had an overcoat on, and he was accompanied by a v;oman. He 
got into a horsecab that was waiting in front of this place, 
and I v;as rather startled. I was quite sure that I knew who 
he was. And so I v/atched. 

The horsecab drove dov;n the street a vev; yards and stopped, 
and this bearded man turned and looked back very intentl.y, 
as though he was expecting something. A couple of servants 

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some sort of box--not too large. It looked as though one 
could carry it quite easily, but there v/as one on each side. 
They were v.'alking very slowly and carrying the box very 
carefully, m.ore or less as though theywere transporting the 
Ark of the Covenant or something that they had to treat v/ith 
great respect. They placed this box very carefully in the 
seat of horsecab number tv.'o. Then the tv;o cabs went jogging 
dovm the street, as one could v;ell have guessed, in the direc- 
tion of the railroad station. And it v.-as Rodin, Auguste Rodin. 

If Rodin had stayed longer in Rome, I think I would have 
met him because I afterv/ards knev; a man with v;hom he stayed. 
He had an apartment in the Via Sistina, and Rodin vjas his 


guest. I knev; that Rodin was in Rome at the tine, partly be- 
cause somebody told nie, but also because of a rather amusing 
thing happened to one of my models, Pompilia. 

Pompilia was a very favorite model in Rome in those 
days, and she v^as working for me. To my surprise, v.'hen she 
came that afternoon, she posed rather badly. She seemed to 
be quite exhausted. She'd been working that morning and I 
said something like, "You seem tired, Pompilia." 

"Oh, " she said, vjith a big sigh, "I'm so tired." And 
I said, "Why?" 

"Well, I've been vjorking for Signor 'Rodeen' this morning." 

I said, "Have you indeed? Tell me about it. What have 
you been doing?" 

"Oh, " she p-ald. "It was drRj^dfnl . He didn't have me do 
anything all morning long taut pull off and put on my chemise. 
Put it on--pull it off--put it on--pull it off--put it on-- 
pull off. It vjas just terrible.'" 

Rodin vjorked very little from, a posed model. He vjatched 
people in m.ovem.ent. He'd have them do some homely thing of 
that sort, some activity, and then he'd make hundreds of 
these very rapid drawings, which now are quite well knovjn. 
But he never had them in exhibitions. They were his ovm 
personal reference material. From these things, he'd find 
the ideas and germ.ination of themes for his sculpture. So 
the movement he chose in this case vjas to have this girl 
keep pulling her chemise off and putting it on again, and 


poor Pompilia said that she v/as completely v;orn out, which 
is rather understandable, because Rodin was a terrific worker 
and I suppose not too easy vjith his models. He vmsn't easy 
with himself. He v/orked very hard and he expected his models 
to vjork hard, too. 

So I knevj that Rodin was in Rome and I didn't have any 
difficulty in recognizing him immediately. I might have been 
a little surprised if I hadn't knovm of it. I kne\-i him by 
his pictures, so I wouldn't have been fooled at all. But 

I'll alv;ays remember that scene of that street with the 
falling dusk and those two horsecabs going down the street 
with great care because of this box which contained a piece 
of modeling that he'd been v;orking on. I suppose it was wet 
clay, and he didn't want it shaken too m.uch, and so thRv 
handled it carefully to avoid danger of it falling to pieces 
in transit. So those are my memories of Rodin and Eleonora 

Later, in Prance, I remember an analogous sort of ex- 
perience dovjn in Sables d'Olonne. It too was im.pressive 
because it v.'as so unexpected. Sables d'Olonne is a fishing 
village and the women there have a very interesting costume. 
They have a very full, rather short skirt. They vjear sabots 
--or at least they used to, I don't knov: how much they wear 
their costume nowadays. And they had a tall, starched head- 
dress. It's quite a stunning costujne, and it v;as a very 
pleasant place to spend a little vacation. The market there 


was very attractive. It xvas an open-air market. VJith all 
the fruit and vegetables and the v;omen in their stunning 
costumes, and the color, life and activity, it made market 
day a real pleasure. 

Well, I v/as at the market one morning making some notes 
and some sketches of the scene and of the people v/hen a 
Rolls-Royce pulled up, vjhich rather surprised me because 
cars v/ere rather rare in those days. And to have anything 
so elegant as a huge Rolls-Royce vjith a chauffeur drive right 
up into the crowd surprised me no end. I vjondered who in 
the vjorld that might be? And there was one passenger in the 
car who got out--rather short v;ith a moustache. And he 
walked around very briskly, examining the produce very 
caref ull'^'' . I thou'^'ht I had never seen a head of lettuce or 
a cauliflower treated so critically. He took his time, comi- 
paring this, that and the other thing. I wished after;-;ard 
I had followed him and watched all his marketing. I thought 
--"y^u have to come to France to v.'atch an elderly affluent 
gentleman, alone in a country market, carefully and v;ith ob- 
vious expertise, choosing the components he v/ished for his 
dinner." V7hen he returned to his car I got a good look at 
his face, it v/as Georges Clemenceau. 

There are numberless little scenes of that sort. One 
that I enjoy remembering took place when I was sitting at 
the Cafe Dome in Paris one evening. It was rather crovjded, 
and a lot of people vjere coming and going. A man came in. 


looked around for a table, but there v/ere none vacant. 
I was alone at my little round table, and seeing him rather 
at a loss as to v;here to seat himself, I gestured to him. 
He smiled and joined me. He ordered his drink, and \ie sat 
there and had a very interesting conversation. He was a 
pleasant person, quiet in manner and at the same time able 
to make even casual talk a pleasure. It showed an imagina- 
tion, and v/hatever subject we mentioned, he seemed to have 
some remark or something to say about it. So I enjoyed m.y 
talk with him very much. He finished his drink, and he got 
up to go and I too rose and expressed the pleasure in talking 
v;ith him. Of course, in Europe, you're a bit more formal 
than you would be here--at least they used to be. I didn't 
exactly click rny heels, you, knov/^ but. bowed slnghtlv and 
gave my name. He did the same, extending his hand and say- 
ing, "Chagall." So, I spent that time talking to Chagall 
and didn't know it. I didn't realize it until after he vjas 

V/e first met Edgar Maurer on Capri. He was a corres- 
pondent for the Chicago Tribune , and one summer he had an 
apartment or a villa on Capri. His wife stayed there, and 
he v;ould get to Capri fairly often for short visits. We 
saw a great deal of his wife and Edgar on his visits. Af- 
terwards, we met often in Rome and became good friends. And 
in Padua, I also saw much of him while he was there. He and 
his brother V7ere both newspapermen. And Edgar was one of 


these alive interested people. I vjould find it hard to 
imagine him suffering a moment's boredom. 

I said that Padua at night vjas more or less evacuated, 
and the families living in Padua, as many as could, left 
Padua and were living elsev;here. Well, the result v/as that 
there was a wealth of rooms and apartments available to the 
right people. The Red Cross had a very nice palazzo, and 
Edgar was very much impressed v/ith a room that he got in a 
beautiful old palazzo, v;hich he wanted me to see. So I vjent 
around and it was--as much as we could see of it--a wonder- 
fully interesting old place. Understandably m.uch v/as locked 
anyi'jay. It had some good frescoes, and seemed to be one of 
the more elegant houses in Padua. 

There v.'as one room es''^eciall'''' he v.'anted ^^'^ '^'^ s°'^ ^'^ 
said, "This big salon is really so im.pressive, I wish you 
could see it. I vjonder if v.'e can't manage it?" He said, 
"It's nov; occupied by the chief of police, but let's go 
knock on the door." 

And so v;e vjent and knocked and there v«;as no response. 
Then he knocked again and all v/as quiet. But he was so 
anxious for me to see the room that he tried the door. It 
was unlocked, so he opened the door and the chief of police 
was there having a nap. We had disturbed him. [laughter] 
He v;as very nice about it. He didn't complain about being 
disturbed. He didn't have any intention of ansvjering the 
knock, but since we v;alked in, he was polite. I still rem.emember 


the abashed look that Edgar had. We both were abashed, as 
a matter of fact. We told him v/hat v.'e came for, and he urged 
us to make ourselves at home. So vje admired the carved 
ceiling and all the gorgeous decorations in the chief of 
police's boudoir. 

SCHIPPERS: Previously you've spoken of having the Spanish 
influenze and just nov/ you referred to it as trench fever 
rather than Spanish influenza. I think that should be inser- 

NUTTING: As I remember it, we sim.ply called it trench fever 
vjhen I v;as along the front. I remember using the term 
Spanish fever a little af tervjards, but, at that tim.e, trench 
fever seem.ed to be the most common term as I remember. 

the Red Cross because all of this time in my life in Europe, 
there 'd always been this dominant idea that I wanted to go 
to Paris and get dov/n to somiC hard \vork as a student. That 
doesn't mean that I hadn't made quite good use of my time 
in Italy, but all my life, I looked forward to Paris. It's 
rather strange that I did not go directly to Paris but 
went to Munich first. I rem.ember, when I v;as a boy, I first 
got the dream of going to Paris--one of those real dreams-- 
"someday I'll go to Paris!" It was like something impossible 
ever to realize, but it would be such a v;onderful idea to go. 

In those days, Paris had more prestige as a place for 
studies than it has novj. V7e felt that you didn't get a real 


art education unless you v?ent to Paris. I think that's be- 
cause all of the painters that vje boys admired had studied 
in Paris. Before that it had been Munich. My first influences 
may have been from Munich because Chase v;as one of ny teachers. 
I V7as in the last class that VJilliam M. Chase had. Chase and 
Duveneck and VJulter Shirlaw were among the group of Munich 
painters v;ho came back and had an impact on American painting. 
It really upset the old Hudson River school of painting. 
They vjere looked upon as very radical. After that, it shif- 
ted to Paris with men like Thomas Eakins, for example, who 
was a pupil of Ger&rae. 

Incidentally, you spoke of so-and-so as being a pupil 
of so-and-so, like Chase v;as a pupil of Piloty and that sort 
of thing. There's another thing that was rather different 
in the art education of those days from vjhat it is now. I 
never hear a young artist today saying, "l vmnt to study 
vjith so-and-so." Whereas, in those days, an artist vjas very 
much like a musician. A pianist would study v.'ith Leschetizky, 
for example, or a violinist v.'ith [Leopold] Auer or [Eugene] 
Ysaye. He vjould look forward to having a great master to 
study xs'ith. VJhen I v.'as a boy, v:e had the same idea about 
painting. You wanted to study vjith some great master that 
you venerated. It v./as a dream that you had in your mind con- 

V/hen I v;as a youngster, I was once in a store in Cleve- 
land, Ohio. My parents had left me there because I sav; a lot 
of prints and things that interested me. They said, "Well, 


you can stay here v/hile v;e go and do some shopping." I had 
a few pennies to spend, and I was amazed to find I could buy 
what I thought v.'ere very beautiful prints for ten cents or 
fifteen cents or tv;enty cents. So I spent all my pocket 
money on these pictures because I was getting quite a prize. 
And v;hile I v;as doing that, I confided to the fellow who kept 
this print store that someday I wanted to be an artist, too. 
Then in a lov; and serious voice I said, "And someday, I'm 
going to Paris." I was very much disappoiiited because he 
didn't seem at all thrilled by the idea. He thought that 
was quite a commonplace idea to have. I had thought he might 
be sympathetic and responsive to anybody v/ho had such a grand 
aspiration as that. In its vjay, that idea was always in my 

Well, things happened. I went to Boston because of 
Edmund Tarbell. My teacher in St. Paul thought Edmund 
Tarbell was simply tops. Nobody in the whole country was 
quite so vjonderful as Edmund Tarbell. He wasn't a student 
of Tarbell himself, but a friend of his was, and he got the 
idea that if one could only go to Boston and study with 
Edmund Tarbell, why, nothing vjould be finer. It could have 
been, but it didn't vjork out quite so well. Hov.-ever, it's 
curious how certain temperatm.ental things influence you. 
I got a great deal from the Boston Museum which was next 
door to the school. That was ver^'- inspiring, very thrilling 
for me, and I spent all my spare time in the galleries there 


and studied. Another thing that meant much v;as the art 
room at the library. They v;ere very nice to me there and 
got out all sorts of thincs that I found exciting. 

I felt more and more that although I had a tremendous 
appreciation fcrwhat I knev; of the French painters--and in 
those days the Impressionists were looked upon as very modern-- 
at the same time^ there vjas something about northern Euro- 
pean art that had a strong appeal for me. I think that it's 
a very mysterious sort of thing. It v;ould be a very interes- 
ting thing to analyze how much one is conditioned in one's 
taste by inheritance and v.'hether if you have Welsh blood or 
Irish blood or Celtic blood, that there is a spirit v.'hich 
we rightly call the romantic ^ which seemes to be inherent. 
In other words, it's rather hard to imagine a man like [William] 
Blake, for exam.ple, being an Italian, isn't it? On the other 
hand, purely classical art or literature is rather hard to 
imagine in England. [Alexander] Pope maybe as near, 
doesn't he, to classical v.'riting as anyone. It's somewhat 
understandable. VJe have a Corneille, a Racine in France, 
but a Corneille or a Racine would certainly be a fish out 
of vjater in England, wouldn't they? [laughter] 

So, there v;as a pull tov/ard the north, in spite of the 
interest I had for French painters. That interest, of course, 
came partly through the influence of my reading and partly 
through the influence of the teachers I had, v/ho v;ere first 
or second generation students of the Paris school.- So I 


finally decided that instead of going directly to Paris, 
I v7ould go to Germany. 

I v.'as moved to that by reading an article in an art 
magazine by an American painter who described student life 
in Munich, and it sounded extremely attractive and also 
amazingly cheap. My mother had died and I was back in New 
York, studying, and I v/rote my father, who was financing my 
education, that I'd read this article. I told him that it 
gave me the facts and figures and that it sounded as though 
it vjould be much more economical for me, even v;ith the ex- 
pense of travel, to work in Munich than it would be in New 
York. So he said, "Go ahead." So I went to Munich and I 
spent the winter there. Because of the interruption of the 
\-jRr. T didn't get to Paris for some years. Tt was a dream 
to be fulf illed--that at least part of my student life 
should be there and I should have something to remember as 
my artists friends vjho had had that experience there. 

As soon as I could get out of uniform, I made arrange- 
ments to get rid of my stuff, and I can remember being im- 
pressed with how much had accumulated in my studio that I 
had to dispose of. And I left my friend Ferenzona quite a 
legacy of some rather good m.aterials and one thing and another, 
because I didn't want to travel with anything more than just 
our baggage, trunks and valises. Actually, I took away 
very little of my work; I destroyed most of what I did, in- 
cluding the nine-foot canvas that I had spent so much time on. 


I couldn't imagine anybody wanting it--I didn't kid myself 
that it was a masterpiece--so that went along v/ith the rest. 

There was difficulty in getting passage to Paris be- 
cause the reservations on trains were hard to get. I had 
to wait several days, and then got it so suddenly that I 
had to cancel a dinner engagement with my friend, Ferenzona. 
I'd been looking forward to that evening with him, but then 
had to leave without even a farevjell. 

VJe v;ent to Paris and that v;as in February of I919, 
just after the war. I can remember the train pulling into 
Paris very distinctly. There had been a snowfall and the 
city vras ai: white with a light snow that had freshly fallen. 
It's rather a rare sight to see Paris in that condition. It 
was duck, and wc went to the address that had been given us. 

To go back a little bit, one thing that worried us very 
much about going to Paris was that we heard that there was 
what the French called crise du logement . There was just 
nothing to be had in the way of rooms or places to rent, 
and many hotels were still full of people who were in activi- 
ties connected with the war. So finding a place to stay 
was really very much of a problem, and we didn't have any 
addresses and couldn't get anybody who would help us in this 

V/ell, sometime before, we had met in the Restaurante 
San Carlo where we used to dine very often, a Captain Laurent, 
a Frenchman. He was sitting at the table next to us once 


when we were having dinner and I got into a conversation with 
him. For dessert, he v;as having my favorite dessert--cheese, 
fruit and v:ine . It seemed to start the conversation, that 
the most pleasant dessert that one could have was cheese, 
fruit and vjine, and from that we commenced to form an ac- 
quaintance. He invited us out to his studio. He had taken 
a studio out in the Villa Strohl-Fern and fixed it up very 
nicely. He v/as an officer in aviation and was connected vjith 
the embassy in some way. Apparently, he v;as a nan of consi- 
derable means. We saw him quite often; he was a very pleasant 

When time came for us to leave Rom.e, I happened to 
mention to Captain Laurent that v.'e v;ere rather disturbed 
because v;e had no idea vjhere we'd stay in Paris. And he said, 
"Well, I'll tell you. I have a garconniere and you're quite 
welcome to it. You stay there until you find a hotel or 
vJhatever you v/ant. Take your time because I v.'on't be in 
Paris for some time. There's nobody there, and there is no 
reason vjhy you shouldn't use it." 

VJell, of course, v;e were grateful to him. So that 
evening at dusk, we drove through the streets of Paris, v;hich 
v;ere all white with the nev;-f alien snow, out the Champs 
Elysees to Passy. There Captain Laurent had quite an ele- 
gant little garconniere and the concierge was very amiable. 
Apparently, she was fond of Captain Laurent, and any friend 
of Captain Laurent was a friend of hers. It vjas a tv.'o-room 


apartment. She built a beautiful fire in a big fireplace 
in the front room. Not only that but she prepared a very- 
nice little dinner for us. So our introduction to Paris 
vjas more pleasant than we had at first anticipated. 

The next day we v/ent out and coitimenced to scout around 
to see A'/hat \'^e could find for a place to live. VJe explored 
the Montparnasse district because I studied my map of Paris 
pretty ^A'ell and knew the quarters which were considered 
artists' quarters and the Latin Quarter and v;here the Louvre 
vjould be found and all the rest of it. I was very curious 
to see Montparnasse because it vjas a famous name in my read- 
ing. I found it disappointing because it was no more artistic 
than Santa Monica Boulevard v/ould be. [laughter] It was 
shops and stores and cafes and streetcars, and rather shabby 
quarters, it seemed to me. It rather puzzled me. I thought 
there 'd be some atmosphere about it, but there didn't seem 
to be a bit. There was the old railway station, the Gare 
Montparnasse, vjhich I believe nov; has been torn down and re- 

However, in that quarter, i-^ic found a hotel and a room, 
I had to curb my impatience because I vjanted to go out and 
visit the art schools and see the galleries and everything. 
But first we had to establish ourselves, especially to make 
my wife a little bit more comfortable. We stayed for some 
time in that hotel and looked around from that vantage point 
for some more permanent place. That took a lot of hunting. 


quite a lot of inquiry. 

I've forgotten how we located it, but on the Rue Falguiere 
we found a big studio with a supont , as they call it, which 
is a typical artist's studio in Paris. It had two roor.s, a 
studio light and then a high ceiling. At one end of it there 
is a vei^y wide balcony which amounts to a room. A little 
stainvay goes up to it, and it serves as the sleeping quarters. 
Well, this seer.ed like the real Paris artist's life — a studio, 
a supont . It suited us exactly. It was furnished. It had 
been the studio of a man who was a very well-knov7n American 
painter in those days, John Noble. 

Having a studio was inexpensive, very reasonable, and 
living was simple but quite confortable. \-Je were especially 

lUCkV beCaUE^ ■^ "^ i.toc: -rnvvri cKq^ r^^m-f'^%--l-^\-.l -.^ -r-t- ,,„„ ,,^-.,,. 

livable indeed. And I embarked on m.y life as an art student. 

V?ell, the first school that I hunted out vias the 
Julian Academy. Most of my ideas about art student life 
came from reading novels like Trilby [George duJteurier] and 
other books of that sort. Of course, as a boy, anything that 
had to do with an art student's life or an artist's life 
I read, so in some vmys, I was quite well informed. I knew 
that the Julian Academy vjas one of the most famous art 
schools in Paris. It's near the river, on the Rue du Dragon. 
I haven't talked to anyone who knows anything about the Julian 
Academy since, so whether it's still existing or not, I don't 


I imagine that I came in more or less at the end of 
that period of atmosphere that you read about in artists' 
lives--la vie de boheme , of Trilb.y --you knovi, the nineteenth 
century idea of an art student's life. For one thing, the 
school v;as unlike any other school at that time that I knew 
of. It was divided into the men's school and the vjomen's 
school. This school vjas the m.en's school and the women's 
school was someplace on the other side of the river. V/ell, 
being entirely a men's school, it v;as maybe a little bit more 
boisterous than it would be otherv/ise, certainly more so 
than the other art schools in Paris which were for both men 
and v/omen. The Julian Academy v;as quite an old school; I 
imagine it vjas founded back in the middle of the last century, 
It Is a hiRtoric sort of place, A lot of famnus people have 
been students there and a lot of famous painters have been 
teachers there. 

I understood that a model wanted to start an art school 
and that one of the famous academ.icians told him that if he 
v/ould get a place and that- if he could do his ov;n posing, 
this painter (who vras fond of the guy) would come around 
and give criticisms. The painter's name being very v;ell 
known and the model also being quite excellent, the school 
prospered. Models were very much more important in the old 
days than they are nov;. It really was a rather serious 
profession. And Julian, whoever he was, really got along 
very vjell. Where he started, I don't know. 


What they had in my time was a huge studio in v;hich 
three classes vjorked. There were two painting classes 
and a sculpture class, all in this huge barn of a place. 
It was rather fascinating, it was so big. When you went 
into the place, first you went into a hallway, and then 
through an office, and from the office you v?ent into this 
big studio. The place was swept out, but otherwise it 
wasn't taken too much care of. On the v/alls v/ere many 
small paintings, vJhat the French call esquisse . They are 
small composition paintings that v/ere done by students as 
a weekly problem. It was surprising hov; m.any famous names 
were on these paintings. I think the school made really 
quite a lot of money selling some of them. There were a 

The regular courses at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts or at 
some of the more formal or the national academies v;ere 
rather more elaborate, m.ore laid out for you. They included 
the studies of anatomy, perspective--the required courses. 
If you vjere admitted as a student, you could graduate with 
certain work accomplished; v;hereas, in a school like Julian's, 
the only thing you vjere supposed to do, really, vjas to go 
there and draw and then paint and do your esouisse. and 
you'd get a criticism once a week from some men, many of 
whom \^ere m.embers of the Institute. They were men who v;ere 
very v.'ell known academically. They v;ould come around, but 
the criticisms were not too satisfactory because the classes 
were very large. 


What vjould happen v;as that the little fat man who v/as 
the sort of the secretary vjould come into the room and an- 
nounce "The master has arrived!" (I've forgotten exactly 
just what terns he used^ but they V7ere v;ords to that effect.) 
"Le Maitre est arrive!" Any commotion or anything that v/as 
going on at the time v;ould quiet down and everyone was very 
respectful to their teachers. Then this little guy would 
disappear and come back ushering in the master. He would go 
around J but he v.'ouldn't criticize everybody. He would pick 
out a vjork here and there and stop and talk about it, and 
the rest of us vjould crovjd around and crane our necks and 
try to hear what he was saying and try to apply his v;ords of 
wisdom to our ov;n work. Only the favorite ones got real per- 
sonaj, auocnuion. ixie reso ox us goo none. xus-^ worked ouo 
pretty well though, because, after all, vie still gained 
from it. I reiiiem.ber a teacher I had in Boston once said, 
"After all, you fellov;s learn more from each other than you 
do from me." Maybe that vjas overly modest, but in a way, 
it's true. It's partly vjhat you get from your teacher and 
partly v;hat you can make of sharing your troubles and prob- 
lems with others, criticizing each other's work and so on. 
A large part of it, I think, is working with other serious 
students . 

Well, curiously enou-^h, if you describe some of the 
activities of that school, you'd think they weren't very 
serious, but most of them vjere very hard vjorkers. At the 


Julian Academy--in contrast to any other school that I 
ever v;ent to--the kids seemed to have a capacity for all 
of a sudden having a few moments of fun, then they'd go 
back, nose to the grindstone, working to beat the dickens. 
It vjould be very quiet, then all of a sudden sorT^ebody 
would start to sing, "Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques." Then 
they'd all join in and have a grand time singing "Frere Jacques," 
and then get dovm to vjork again. 

One or two of the boys there would always be more or 
less the clowns. They'd have to put on an act once in a 
while to liven things up and have all sorts of fun for a few 
minutes. But then, they were back again, hunched over their 
drawing boards or working avjay at their canvases. But any- 
thing that mieht be a distraction- thev v;ould take advantage 

The one boy came in one day and said, "There's a 
wedding across the street." Well, that broke things up in 
a hurry. Everything was very serious and quiet and solemn 
until that announcement vjas made, and they all jumped up 
and the boy explained what it was. The people upstairs 
across the street were having a v>fedding and they were coming 
dovjn pretty soon to drive off in a procession. So the fel- 
lows rushed around and grabbed all sorts of old rags or bits 
of costurae hanging around the place and they put them on. 

This one boy looked especially funny. Among the equip- 
ment at the school v;ere plaster casts of one sort or another. 


especially for beginners. Some of the casts were from life; 
there was one cast of the front of a female body from the 
throat down to the hips--just the front of it. This cast, 
of course, was not solid plaster. (Casts like that are 
made more or less like a mask, because they are hollov; on 
the inside, and have a sheet of cotton laid into the back 
before the plaster sets to hold it together and in shape if 
the cast gets cracks or breaks.) VJell, this cast fitted 
this boy exactly, so he put this on his front and then put 
on some kind of a headdress. So he looked like a very white 
nude going out v.'ith a strange headdress. [laughter] He 
had something around his walst--I've forgotten what. 

Anyi-zay, it was a very wild and funny-looking crowd 
that went across the street to greet the wedding party. Sure 
enough, the bride and the groom came down. They got into 
their carriages, and the boys all danced around and sang 
and cheered. They were very nice about it, and they had a 
lot of fun. The crowd cheered the bride and groom, and when 
the carriages of the viedding procession drove off, they 
fell in behind and went down the street and out onto the 
boulevard a ways. Then they went back to work again as 
though nothing had happened, and again all was quiet. All 
you could hear was the scratching of the charcoal and groans 
once in a while from some fellov; who v;as having trouble with 
his work. 

But I was happy to have that experience because, as I 




say. It v.'as the end of the period of the nineteenth century 

rt schools that you read about in the old stories of 
the lives of the artists. It enabled you to visualize 
the boyhood of people like Renoir and Manet and people of 
that period. Although they didn't go to Julian's--I think 
Renoir v.'as a pupil of Gleyre and Manet vms a pupil of Couture 

ho did that big picture, Rorae of the Decadence , which made 
him famous. Quite a nuruber of American painters v;ere 
among his pupils. It was much the same atmosphere as in 
the old days, I'm pretty sure. Somevrhat rowdy but in its 
way, quite serious. In other schools I went to I saw nothing 
of that. 

I stayed about three or four months at the Julian Aca- 
demy. They had very good teachers of their sort. A couple 
of them were members of the Institute. The directors of 
the school had an idea that they ought to have teachers who 
could speak English, but that v;asn't too successful. The 
reason for that was that there were a great many Doughboys 
ho elected art on their educational program and wanted to 
go to Julian. Tv.-o or three of the boys that I knew after- 
wards became well known, not as painters, but there were tv;o 
or three who became very successful comjnercial artists. 

They work.ed rather independently; they didn't seem to 
take the teaching very seriously. A number of them had real 
ability and had been doing professional work before they 
went into the army, so they didn't want to study with teachers 



They simply needed an excuse for a place to work. They'd 
go off in a corner and do a painting, v/hich obviously v;as 
something they v/anted either to exhibit or to use for com- 
mercial jobs. They wanted to have something on hand to take 
back V7ith them connected with their careers. 

I left Julian's, not because I wasn't getting quite a 
bit out of it--because I v;as--but because I didn't feel that 
I'd stay in Paris. All the time while in Europe, I felt I 
was on the verge of coming home. I didn't have any idea I 
was going to be in Paris very long. I thought if I could 
be there a year and then come home and get to vjork, I'd be 
lucky. In the meantime, to get the most out of it, I would 
not only go to Julian, but I'd find out what v;as happening 
in som.e of the other schools. So I went to Maurice De^^'^'s 
at the Academ.y Ranson and worked viith him a short time. Of 
course, my difficulty v/as that I knev/ so very little French 
at that time. I was learning as fast as I could, and usually 
there was a student v;ho could translate for you, but that 
was not too satisfactory. You don't get too much from it. 

At the Academy Ranson, Maurice Denis and [Paul] Serusier 
were the teachers. I'm very sorry that I didn't know that 
Serusier vjas as important a m,an as he was. He was quite an 
old gentleman then, but he had been associated V7ith Gauguin 
and that group at Pont-Aven. He was a writer and theorist 
as vjell as a painter, as v/as Maurice Denis. So he was very 
articulate and apparently a very fine teacher. I didn't get 


too much from Denis. 

From him, I v;ent to Andre Lhote . Andre Lhote v/as a 
painter v/ho unlike the others--Maurlce Denis and Serusler-- 
criticized at the Academy Ranson, but he was very much like 
the professors \vho criticized at the Julian Academy. Teach- 
ing I'jas only something that they felt was one of their obli- 
^tions to posterity; it wasn't a means of livelihood in the 
least. I don't imagine that the Julian Academ.y paid aiiy 
very large fee to these men. But for a French painter (I 
don't know v;hether I'm right or not) I thought Lhote was one 
of the most generous. He was very kind to a young student 
or a young artist, invariably. He put himself out to be nice 
to them. 

seemed to be accessible. All you had to do is say, "You 
knov7, so-and-so, 1 think his work is wonderful." And 
somebody else vjould say, "Yes, I think so too. I'd like 
to study V7ith thnt man." First thing you'd knov;, they'd 
get half a dozen people who admired this fellow and they'd 
call on him and express their appreciation and that they'd 
like to get criticism. Likely as not, he'd say, "Well, pick 
yourselves a place to v.'ork and a model, and I'll come around 
and see what you're doing." And it really didn't amount to 
much more than that. So when people say, "I've studied vjith 
so-and-so," it seems to me very often that's exactly vjhat 
happened. Of course, they also studied in schools where 


they were criticized regularly. 

But Andre Lhote took teaching seriously and gave his 
students more time and attention than did most instructors. 
He was a good businessman as v;ell as an artist of distinc- 
tion^ and I felt he m.anaged his school profitably. He had 
many Scandinavian students,, a good many Americans, lots of 
French people, and some Spaniards and Italians. He, like 
Serusier, v:as very articulate. He wrote quite a lot, and I 
discovered that he seemed to be ready to write almost any- 
time and anyplace. I asked him once hovj he found time to 
write so much and he said some of it was done while traveling 
on the subway. And he v/rote articles and criticism, one 
thing and another, and he could express himself clearly. I 
think that's one reason students liked him. 

Also he was an exponent of something that was quite 
modern. It was a cubism vjhich v;as not very arcane. It 
was obvious in the sense that you could see what he was try- 
ing to do. It didn't require any very deep explanation to 
understand what he was doing in his painting. He felt that 
painting should be two-dim,ensional, that v/hat they used to 
call aerial perspective--that is to say, getting space through 
tonal values--was not part of the game, that your vocabulary 
of dravjing should be extremely simplified and only elaborated 
as you acquired more and more skill and more and more need 
for it. So it was a simple discipline and I thought, excellent, 

I got quite a lot out of it. And I think all students-- 


no matter v/hat sort of v;ork they would do afterv;ards--v;ould 
get a certain idea of the function of line and the division 
of space and concepts of color, which were more or less de- 
rived from Cezanne. Of course, as happens with most teachers, 
especially those v7ho had personality and talent, he produced 
little copies of himself. So there were a lot of little 
Andre Lhotes running around the place, but the more intel- 
ligent and more talented ones made use of his teaching and 
his theory for their ovm purposes, for their ovm needs and 
very m.uch to their advantage. So from him I got quite a 

Then there v.'as a very brilliant Russian draftsman, 
Jacovlev, v;ho did quite am.azing drawings. He v/as with an 
exnedition sent dov;n throueh Africa bv thp antomnni T p dpodIp 
the Citroen Com.pany. It seems to me they went just about 
the length of Africa as an expedition to advertise the car. 
But it was a very serious expedition. There v.'ere scientists 
of various sorts v;ho v.'ent along, and this expedition was for 
a very serious study and maybe for some exploration to some 
extent. But Jacovlev v;ent along with them and he made 
dravjings, especially of natives. He was a marvelous figure 
draftsman, but he also did a great m.any sketches and small 
tempera paintings of landscape and scenery. His drawing 
impressed me very much. He h-^d a big exhibition of his vjoric 
when he came back. 

These large red-chalk drawings were the sort of things 


that would take the rest of us hours and hours to do, but 
he had this astonishing facility to do them in a very short 
time. I asked him if they ever had any trouble in getting 
natives to pose. Apparently they had none, and I asked him 
how long it vjould take him to do a dravjing, and it vras an 
hour or so. But he had a technique of doing these drawings 
on full-sized sheets of something like a watercolor paper. 
It vjas paper that v/ould take quite a lot of punishment. 
With a rough, coarse eraser he could very rapidly get 
the tones and modeling. These natives had scars to decorate 
themselves with, and he could render those very quickly, 
somehow. So from the illustrative point of view, they were 
fantastic. They so fascinated me that I went around to a 
studio vjhere he vjas criticizing. Unfortunately, he wasn't 
there but a fellovj student of his vjas. 

There were three Russians in Paris at that time--Jacovlev, 
Gregoriev and Shoukaiev. They were all boys from what was 
then known as the St. Petersburg Academy. And Jacovlev had 
been a prize student, and I'm not sure that Shoukaiev hadn't 
been too. Shoukaiev too had this ability. It seemed to be 
the sort of training they got there. I worked a short time 
v;ith Shoukaiev. 

With a little bit of experience in other places, prima- 
rily, I think those three schools--the Julian Academy, the 
Ranson Academy, the Lhote Academy--and a short time with 
Shoukaiev probably constituted the most serious schoolwork 


that I did. Of course, there v/ere tv;o quite famous schools 
in Paris — the Academie Grande Chaumi ere and Academie Colarossi. 
Colarossi is a very old school. Many famous artists have 
taught at both plgce and successful ones the v/orld over 
remember them. Both places V7ere in easy walking distance 
for me and vjork there supplemented all my other activities. 

After a day's v;ork in their studios, the boys v/ould 
go dovm before dinner and spend a couple of hours in the 
croquis (sketch) classes. Theyvere called the cours libre. 
There v/ould be no instruction. There would simply be the 
model and you paid your fee, and in that way you got some 
extra life drawing and painting. The same thing could be 
done after dinner in the evening. In other words, there was 
a chance to work and to study from the rr-.odpl . with or without 
instruction, all day long. 

At that time three of the best teachers were Lucien 
Simon, Rene Menard and Castelucho whose first name I forget. 
Castelucho was a mild-mannered little Spaniard. He was al- 
ways anxious to encourage a student. He would stand before 
a wretched attempt at painting, rub his hands nervously, and 
finally begin his criticism by saying, "it's not bad--it's 
not bad--but then, it's not very good either.'" 

November 15, 19^5 

NUTTING: I was very much interested in Hemingvmy's book, 
A Moveable Feast , sketches of the author's life in Paris 
in the twenties. Of course those viere the days v;hen I was 
there. I knew Hemingxvay slightly. I first met him at a 
gathering at the apartment of Eugene and Maria Jolas. I 
never had any extended conversations v/ith him. It seemed 
to me vie only got glimpses of him.. He would be in Paris 
for a short time and then be avjay. There was one painter 
that I used to see quite a lot, by the name of Bertram 
Hartman, and I know he and Hemingway would go off into the 
mountains together. They seemed to get along very v.'ell to- 
gether. I'd see Hemiingi^ray someplace, but maybe I v/as a 
little bit leery of him. The fevj I sav; him he v;as 
rather quiet, though he gave me the feeling that once v/armed 
up he could be interesting. 

The first time I met him, about the only thing I 
remember was that he turned and looked at me and said, "You 
look like a Greco." VJell, vjhat makes me remember the re- 
mark is that I have a feeling that there was som.ething behind 
it. It wasn't just a casual sort of rem.ark, and it could 
even make you immediately^ a little bit uncomfortable. Maybe 
the reason for that is that in The Sun Also Rises there is 
so much about Paris and many of the characters are quite 


recognizable, people that I knev/ quite v;ell, and it seemed 
to me that he treated them very roughly. And he could do 
that. So maybe I felt that if by any chance he put me into 
a bookj I might get rather a raw deal. 

In the Moveable Feast , he describes a fev; people that 
I knew. I was rather surprised with the way he treats Ford 
Madox Ford. Ford Madox Ford surely vrasn't as much of an in- 
tolerable, tiresome snob as Hemingway makes him out to be 
in this sketch. It is amusing, but my ovm memory of Ford 
is that he was a pleasant, civilized person. To me his fa- 
cility as a v/riter was awesome, both in quantity and variety. 
He v/as editing the Transatlantic Revievj in Paris, at the 
time, besides writing his novels. I have an idea--and I don't 
think I'm wrong--that he did a good deal of the v/riting in 
the Transatlantic Revievj himself under other names, besides 
publishing contributions from other writers. 

Also, I was very much impressed by the fact that Ford 
collaborated v;ith Joseph Conrad in Conrad's first v/riting. 
I alv;ays felt that when Conrad made his choice to write in 
English instead of in French or his native language, he 
couldn't have found a finer person to collaborate with 
and to help to cultivate the style that made him. famous than 
to work with as good a writer and as good a critic as Ford 
Madox Ford. Ford Mado:< Ford's grandfather was a well-known 
painter. Ford Madox Brown. Of course, the name Hueffer, 
which was his name originally, is German. He had it legally 


changed to Ford. Of course, by birth and education he vjas 
English; in fact, I vjould say very English. 

He and his wife, Stella Bowen, had a studio in the 
Rue Notre Dame des Champs, and they vjere very hospitable 
people. They had v;eekly gatherings and dances at this 
large studio. They became so popular that it became a bit 
of a strain on the Fords, so he moved his parties to a little 
cafe that Hemingway mentions in this book of his. I used 
to be invited to these evenings. I alvjays dressed for the 
evening. Nov/adays, v;e don't think so much of dressing for 
dinner as vie did in those days. But it was so purely a 
personal matter, especially in Paris. If you vjanted to go 
to Fords', for example, in a sport jacket, it was perfectly 
all right. If you v;ent in a dinner jacket, it too was all 
right. But a great many people, especially our English 
friends, as a matter of course would put on a dinner jacket 
for most any occasion when they went out in the evening. 
And I liked doing it. I had a tux, so I liked to v;ear it 
when I went to occasions like the Fords'. 

We went there one evening v;hen he V7as having somewhat 
of a party, not just a gathering for conversation, and for 
some reason, the feminine contingent in the early part of 
the evening outnumbered the m.ales by quite a few people. 
And Ford walked up to me and said, "Nutting, look, you've 
got to dance like hell. Let me introduce 5'ou to a genuine 
grand duchess." [laughter] So he introduced me to a little 


dark-haired v.'oinarij v.'ith v;hoin I danced. She spoke English, 
but I've forgotten vjhether she spoke English or French 
that evening. She confided that she, too, v;as writing and 
that Mr. Ford was helping her. Of course, I was interested 
and congratulated her on having the help of Mr. Ford. She 
was very modest about her efforts and fearful that they 
v.'ouldn't be successful. Well, the book was successful, 
not because of literary nerit but because it probably has 
historical value. She v;as the Grand Duchess Marie. So her 
memoirs, I think, from the fact that she was rather impor- 
tant, vjas a contribution to the history of her family and 
her times, and it had quite a lot of success. 

Ford, I believe, during the v/ar was affected by gas, 
so urea oning was a xiooxe uIxxicuj-l. lor mm. nis raonsr 
walrus sort of m.oustache and his slight difficulty in breath- 
ing gave him, maybe, a slightly pom;pous kind of a m.anner, 
but I don't think he vjas. At least I never found him so. 
There is no special reason for defending him against Heming- 
v.'ay's caricature, because he's a well-knovm person. But I 
just mention it as part of my experience vjith him. 

Hemingway has a little sketch of another man at a cafe 
table. In Clifton Fadiman's review of the book, he speaks 
of his sketch of "the drunken, joyous artist, Jules Pascin." 
Well, that's Clifton Fadiman's phrase, and according to 
Hemingway, he v;as drinking at that tim.e. He had a couple of 
girls at a cafe table, but he wasn't a drunken person. At 


least I never sav; him drunk. He V'jas always extremely neat- 
ly dressed. He wore what the English call a bowler (we call 
it a derby) a little bit sideways on his head, and carried 
a little cane. He wasn't at all a vie - de - boheme looking 
character. He spoke English fairly well. The fact is that 
during the war, he came to this country and v;as in Nev/ York 
for some years and made trips into the South and to Cuba. 
He did wonderful little dravjings. His real nam.e v?as Plnkus, 
a Roumanian by birth. I think he was still a teenager when 
he used to drav/ for a magazine, Simplicissimus , which em- 
ployed excellent draftsmen and cartoonists. So he vjas rather 
precocious in having his work published by . 
Aftervjards, he came to Paris and eventually'- became a very 
V7e-Lj.— knovjn painuer. Ke was a racner wiooy man xn nis c^uieo 
sort of v;ay and he could say very sharp, very good, very 
intelligent things and react in an interesting way to ideas. 

The funniest story that I remember of him had to do 
with a painting. At that time he painted a large picture. 
Which vjas rather unusual for him, because in the first place, 
it vjas a big canvas, and in the second place, because the 
subject vjas not at all the sort of thing that one sees in 
his paintings, although som.etimes one sees something in his 
drawings a little bit along that line. But it was The Last 
Supper , a religious thing. And it differed from most of his 
work in thr-t it was rather cubistic. It was an experiment 
and under the influence of Cubism and had a rather abstract 


quality and vms less realistic than most of his v;ork. Some 
people vjere looking at the canvas in his studio and some 
smart aleck said, "VJhat are they eating? This is the Last 
Supper and I don't see they have anything to eat." 

Pascin took it very seriously. 'Veil/' he said, speak- 
ing slovjly and thoughtfully, "I'll tell you. That is one 
point to vjhich I gave very serious consideration. I asked 
myself again and again, 'VJhat shall I give them to eat at 
the Last Supper?' And finally I realized exactly what it 
v;as I should give them." And he pointed his finger very 
solemnly at the canvas and said, "Artichokes." [laughter] 
All you savj on the canvas v/as a fev; little black spots and 
one or tv;o streaks that didn't have any resemblance to food 

/~iv rl-ii-inav ^f Qmr cor'-f" ^11 ■(- i.Tn+h p n a -r f o n + 1 -^T Q "t-ya i iTb+. fopri 
w^ «j_i^i^^i ^^ ■^'■^j ^"-^. ^^ ^ .. ^ „ ^ J o--- J 

he explained exactly v.'hat it was. 

One of the painters that I saw most of in Paris was 
Paul Burlin. Pascin invited a few people up to his studio 
one afternoon, and Paul and I decided we'd go together. So, 
we went up to Pascin 's studio, and it was a little bit like 
himself in its neatness, but it also was rather surprisingly 
bare. He had very little furniture. There was his easel, 
his canvases and so on, but no special comforts or any de- 
corations. He had a little crowd of people there, artists 
and some of his girl models. There was no place to sit after 
the two or three chairs had been taken up, so people sat on 
the floor. For the girls in their very tight and rather 


short skirts in those days, it was rather uncomfortable for 
them. But nobody seemed to mind, and the refreshments vjere 
extremely modest. Pascin kept himself rather busy being 
hospitable, carrying around a bottle of Italian vermouth 
and a tray of glasses. 

There wasn't any spread of drinks or cocktails. It's 
not that Pascin couldn't afford them., because by then he 
was really doing very well. His exhibitions were attracting 
a lot of attention. I think his dealer was very successful 
with his work. But he thought that was quite adequate hos- 
pitality. As a m.atter of fact, I think it was. One nice 
thing about those gatherings in Paris, people didn't seem 
to think they had to spend a lot of m.oney to have a good 
time i If the'^'' p"ot too'ether with a simple tea or beverac^e 
or wine or vermouth and a cookie, that v;as all that was nec- 
essary. They enjoyed each other. They didn't come v^?ith 
the idea of looking forv/ard to cocktails or expensive hors 
d'oeuvres and all that sort of thing. 

The most am.using thing about the little party, though, 
was the music which Pascin provided. In those days--I don't 
know whether it still prevails or not--you'd sit at a cafe 
and somebody would com.e by, maybe a broken-down singer, who 
would sing a fev; songs that once they had sung in their pro- 
fessional days. I remember there was one little family--a 
man, his vjife and the children--who had on little circus 
costumes. They'd spread a carpet down in front of the cafe 


and go through their balancing acts and one thing and another 
and then pass around the hat and go on to another cafe. 
That's the v;ay the family \vould make its living. 

V/ell, there was one fellov; who vjas around for quite a 
long time. He v;as a sort of a one-man band. He had a drum 
on his back vjith a cord that v.'ent to his foot so that when he 
kicked his foot it v.'ould move the hammer and beat the drum. 
Then he had a mouth organ and a guitar. He had bells on his 
ankles, one in one tone and the other in the other tone; 
so by kicking his foot, he could ring the bell and by kick- 
ing the other foot, he could ring the other bell. With the 
mouth organ, the guitar and the drum--an incredible combina- 
tion--it was rather a Rube Goldberg kind of contraption with 
strings and wi'res going frnrn one thing to another. Well 
Pascin got this fellow to come up and play for the party. 
He played and everybody danced, and it was one of the vieird- 
est, most unreal and dream-like parties that I have ever 
gone to. Everything was just a little bit different and in 
some way stranger than anything I'd ever seen before. The 
whole atmosphere v/as something that you felt wasn't quite 

Well, to cap the climax, there was a knock at the door 
and Pascin went and opened the door, and a very solemn pro- 
cession walked in. It was headed by Barnes of the Barnes 
Foundation. I can't think of his first nam.e right now, but 
he was the man who invented Argyrol, that famous foundation 


in Philadelphia. He vjas follovjed by, I suppose, secretaries 
or other members of his foundation. They v/ere in Paris buy- 
ing and calling on his favorite painters. Well, they were 
very solemn, puritanical-looking people. Barnes v/as very 
severe and taciturn and these women looked like old-fashioned 
New England school teachers. 

The mixture of this crov;d of people--v;ith this Bohemian 
art crov.'d going through their antics, with this fellow 
jumping around ringing the bells on his ankles, with these 
funny girls around the vjalls--was like the confluence of 
two rivers. I remember coming dovm the Mississippi, v;hich 
is so clear until you strike the Missouri, then seeing the 
two waters swirl together v/hich are not in the least alike. 
I had somewhat this same sensation when Barnes and his en- 
tourage came to this party. It was all right. Everybody 
seemed to take it all in their stride and nobody was the 
slightest big embarrassed. Barnes' party didn't do much 
dancing and weren't frivolous, but they drank their vermouth 
and everything vjent very nicely. 

There was one rather amusing outcome from that. Burlin 
came over to me and asked me if I wanted a model. Well, I 
was spending part of miy day working in m.y studio and part 
of the day vjorking in the schools, so many hours at home 
and then so many hours in the atelier. So I said, "VJhy, 
yes, I could use one." And he said that there was a colored 
girl who had been working at the Folies Bergere, but she'd 


been ill and she couldn't go back to vjork for some time. So 
she was rather badly in need of some kind of work to tide 
her over. And I said, "Well, I'd be very glad to have her. 
I could use her. " 

So, sure enough, she came and I did quite a lot of v/ork 
from her. She was very good. She was an interesting sort 
of a person. She vjas from Jamaica and had an English accent. 
In those days, the Charleston was just sort of the 
rage. I hadn't seen the Charleston danced, but this girl 
was a dancer, so as she \-ias working for me, I asked her about 
the Charleston. I said, "Do you dance the Charleston?" 

She said, "Oh, yes, yes indeed. Of course, I dance the 
Charleston. " 

I said, "l haven't seen it yet. How does it go?" 

She said, "I'll show you." I had an old phonograph 
there, and I said, "What kind of music do you \vant?" 

She picked out a record and said, "This will do quite 
nicely. " 

So I started the music, and then she started to dance 
vjithout putting anything on except her slippers. Then she 
stopped in this very dignified sort of way and in a strong 
Cockney accent said, "Oh, but it's very rude, you knov;." Then 
she let fly and did the Charleston beautifilly. So that vjas 
the final note of that afternoon. 

In connection with Shakespeare and Company and vjith 
some of the other things that we sliall talk about later. 


such as Joyce, I'll have occasion to refer to Hemingway's 
very interesting book. For the time being, though, I'd 
like to go back to my feeling about the environment I v;as 
in in Paris, not only in the schools vjhich I spoke about 
last time but also the general atmosphere of Paris in those 
days. I often thought of it aften-^ards as being a rather 
v;onderful decade. It reminded me a little bit of what one 
feels about the happenings of about a hundre d years before, 
say the I83OS, during the romantic movement in Paris, in 
the days of the conflict between the schools of painting of 
Delacroix and Gericault, with the David and Ingres spirit. 
The vitality of art at that time seemed to me similar and ana- 
logous to the situation in Paris at the time. 

The one thing i",hat, vjas esnecially impressi"^'e was that 
we had been through the war. Nov; v.'ar, unfortunately, is 
rather more of a comjnonplace idea than it was then. I can 
remember that vjhen the war started, nobody could believe that 
in this modern and civilized time a serious vjar could be 
carried on for more than a very short time. They felt that 
it would be settled very quickly. But when year after year 
went by and it still was being fought, we realized that we'd 
entered into quite a different period of world history. 
Nothing that any of us had personally experienced could have 
any meaning in the present situation. Now we have had the 
background of war ever since to give a certain shape to our 
ideas and feelings. But the end of that war, at least in 


Parls--and I imagine in other parts of the vjorld--gave one 
a feeling of release. It v:as as though a terrible pressure 
had been taken off, and it seemed that vje could finally be 
happy and gay without any compunction, that we'd won the 
right to it and paid the price for a better life and that 
v;e could look forward to a better life and a new world safe 
for democracy and all that sort of thing. The future v/as 
rosy and we'd greet it with song and dance, vjhich we proceeded 
to do. 

There was more spontaneous party giving than I've ever 
seen during any other period. At least I felt that vjas so. 
Some of the most delightful costume parties would be gotten 
up almost on the spur of the moment. Somebody would call 

Why don't we tomorrov! night?" 

"okay, and vrho will we have?" 

"VJell, I'll bring so-and-so and so-and-so, and then 
so-and-so will come." 

"Let's make it a costume party." 

And, sure enough, vje'd have a costur.e party and sometimes 
those were the very best parties we had. They were marvel- 
lous, unplanned, spontaneous and full of fun. The balls 
that were given were often ^.'/onderful, the artists balls. 
They also had balls of other sorts. The Bal Bulier was a 
big dance hall v:hich used to be taken over for some very 
interesting balls by various art societies and other groups. 


They u^^ed to be great fun and I have some vivid memories 
of some of the things that they put on. 

One costume ball that I especially remember was one 
Fujita attended. Fujita v;as a Japanese painter. He after- 
wards became very successful, very v;ell knovm, and he alv/ays 
turned up at these balls with quite amazing costume. The 
most striking one--it must have taken him a long time to 
prepare or have soraebody prepare for him--VJas some kind 
of a peasant hat. His v;hole body had been drawn over with 
a beautiful design, patterned just like some kind of lace 
of an Oriental design. It must have taken him a long time 
to put it on and quite a little bother to get off afterwards. 
But it was wonderfully effective. With his hat and general 
sret-nn and his sandals and with som.e kind of fisherman's 
accoutrem.ent he carried, then this strange intricate Oriental 
design all over his body, he was quite a v/ork of art. 

Of course, the artists' ball is an annual affair there-- 
the Bal des Quatz. Arts--which is held every spring. It's 
a ball v;hich in this country, for example, v.'ould be the sort 
of thing that would get a great deal of publicity. But the 
French are very interesting that way. If it v/as not an af- 
fair which they wanted publicized, it didn't get publi- 
city. The artists' ball and the medical students' ball and 
other bolls of that sort are private affairs and the news- 
papers don't laake nevjs on them. A visitor to Paris will 
probably only knovj one is going on if he happens to be out 


on the boulevard having an aperitif and a bunch of young 
people come by in crazy costumes and barge into the cafe 
and order drinks and are very gay, but not necessarily noisy 
or obnoxious. But he could then tell from the looks of 
them that the Bal des Quatz Arts must be on. 

I was working at the Julian Academy the first year they 
had the Bal des Quatz Arts and I didn't know very much about 
it. I heard some stories from friends that there v;as to be 
a big artists' ball and a great affair among the art students 
of the year, and I was interested in going, of course. The 
arrangement was that we'd meet at the school. It was supposed 
to be an Egyptian year, and so I worked quite a bit on m.ak- 
ing an Egyptian costume--an Egyptian collar and an Egyptian 
headdress and all that <^o>"-f- ^-f* -t-u^v^^ t rv^-t- „...a4-^ ..^ o.v,-k,- 

tious kind of a costume together. It was homemade, but still 
it was quite effective. I think it worked out all right. 
When I went down to the Julian Academy to join the crowd, 
I expected the others to all be ready, but I found that their 
idea, which I didn't know about, was to work on their costumes 
down there and help each other paint themselves up and put on 
their costumes and even make them. And the rendezvous was 
arranged for very early in the afternoon. The girls who were 
the artists' models, quite a number of them, were there too 
and had a grand time getting ready. 

Well, they finally got all ready, and they all went 
out, en masse, onto the boulevard. They spent the afternoon 


going into cafes and in and out of anyplace that interested 
them and even to movie theaters. Very often, as far as I 
could make out, the people at the movie houses would let 
the crov.'d in free. They'd stay a short time and come out 
again. They vjent down into the subway (the Metro) and the 
Nordsud, and went over to other parts of town. The after- 
noon v;ore on and v;e vjere larking around the streets and 
going in and out of cafes and seeing bits of movies and 
finding am.usement here and there and getting into conversa- 
tion with people at the cafes who vjanted to be friendly with 
us . 

We finally vjound up across the river at Maxim's. That 
was along toward dinnertim.e, and people were having their 
aperitif. There also was dancing: they had a good orchestra 
and dance floor. We barged in and the crowd all left the 
floor and we took over. The orchestra played for us and we 
danced and helped ourselves to the drinks of the customers, 
which the customers thought vjas all right. They seemed to 
think th-it if they could put on a good enough shov;, it was 
vjorth the price of the drinks. So vje'd reach over and thank 
them for the liqueur or the cocktail, or whatever they 
happened to h'we and would drink to their health and then 
go back to dancing. The orchestra would play, and we'd 
dance several turns, and then we'd all go out again. 

VJhat surprised me was there didn't seem to be any hur- 
ry to get to the ball. The evening v/as spent, more or less. 


in that sort of fun all over the place. It was about ten 
or eleven o'clock v;hen vje finally got to the hall. Getting 
into the place was replly quite a chore because there v;ere a 
very large number of the students from the ficole des Beaux- 
Arts and from all the art schools, and all of the artists 
and former students of schools that could get tickets v;ere 
also there. And with a ball of that sort, there were a great 
many people who would crash it and pay quite a lot to get 
into it, because it vjas quite a famous ball. 

It vjas very vjell handled. Every student, or anybody 
who had been a former student, v;ent to the representative 
of his school. Usually the ma s s i e r , as they call it, of his 
class was there, and he identified you and passed you on to 
the next in oi-der. If you vere recognized as a bona fide 
art student or artist or one who should be there, you v;ent 
down the hall and into the ballroom and were there for the 
rest of the night. 

They had worked out a rather interesting arrangement 
for anybody v;hose credentials were not in order or who couldn't 
find anybody to identify him. They made it quite simple. 
They'd say, "Oh, yes, monsieur. You just go dovm and see 
that person dovjn there." So they'd go down and see so-and- 
so. "Ah, yes, yes. That's perfectly all right. You just 
go down there and through that door and that's the ballroom." 
So this poor guy would go down the hall and open the door 
and find himself out in the back alley with the trash cans 


and v;ith no way of getting back and nothing to do but go 
home. [laughter] 

The ball was a beautiful ball because, naturally, they 
had a lot of talent to prepare for it. The architects and 
the painters and especially soine of the advanced students 
of the fecole des Beaux-Arts and the Julian Academy were 
the ones back of the whole thing. I suppose there were 
committees. I don't know exactly hov; it v;as arranged. I 
think the students of the fecole des Beaux-Arts were the real 
organizers of the Bal des Quatz Arts. They spent days be- 
forehand in decorating the place, building up some architec- 
tural effects in papier-mache, in scene painting and one 
thing and another, so the hall really v;as quite stunning 
and manv of 1;hp onRt.nmps were excellent. And^ of course^ 
it's a terrifically bacchanalian sort of affair. I vient 
twice, as a matter of fact, but I found it terribly tiring. 
It lasts so long, and after I'd seen it tv;ice, I felt I'd 
had it. It vjas an interesting memory, but I never again 
wanted to go to the Bal des Quatz Arts. 

I have an idea that that sort of an affair is more 
successful among the latin people than it would be vjith the 
Northern people. For one thing, the desire to drink too 
much isn't as strong v;ith them as it is with us. I noticed 
that v.'hen the English and Am.ericsns came back on leave from 
the front, the first thing a great m.any of them, did was to 
forget their troubles with plenty of alcohol. But on the 


Italian front, I don't remember seeing an Italian officer 
more than maybe just a bit tipsy. I don't remember seeing 
one really drunk. The Bal des Quatz Arts, which I think in 
some countries would degenerate into just a drunken br^-v/l, 
wasn't that sort of a thing at all. It v;asn't that they 
didn't have as much as they v/anted though, because in the 
middle of the night, or at I suppose about two or three 
o' clock in the morning, they had an intermission and a kind 
of a supper. You could get things that they had there and 
people also brought things. People drank light wines and 
beers, but most of them didn't really drink much and there 
was no real drunkenness. At least, I didn't see any. Maybe 
I wasn't there long enough or maybe they removed the drunks 
verv nnickl'^'. I don't know. 

As I say, it v.'as a very bacchanalian affair and very 
colorful. They put on a few performances v;ith floats and 
one thing and another. Once in a v;hile, there 'd be a cry 
that would go up to go around and spot outsiders. It was 
one of the am:Usements, and if they found somebody who 
didn't belong there, the cry "Au poill Au poil!" would go 
up, then the students would rush in that direction and the 
person v;ho had gotten in under false pretenses or by bribery 
or any other v;ay that v;as not legitimate was divested of 
his clothes or her clothes very quickly and had to join the 
party in a st-^te of nature. There v;?!S plenty of voluntary 
nudity so it was more a v;ay of making them participants and 


not just spectators. But they weren't treated roughly, 
and there v;as nothing too bad about it. 

After a certain hour, the doors were closed and the 
ball went on until about daybreak. In June, in Paris, that's 
pretty early. I think it's about six o'clock or something 
like that. Then it broke up en masse, and we all v;ent down 
to the Chamxps-filysees in procession. It was a very colorful 
procession, not only becnuse of the costumes, but because 
it was rather chilly at that hour of the morning and a lot 
of the people who didn't have very much on tore down the 
painted decorations, the scene painting that was done on the 
regular cotton stuff that scene painters use, and wrapped 
themselves in strips of this. 

Also the'*'' had a lot of li'^hts that they used to burn 
in the old days. I don't kn ov; what they're called. They 
are colored lights that you make by setting fire to them. 
They make quite a little hissing sound and give a great blaze 
of smoke and light, I don't think they have them now. 
They were shaped like big firecrackers and they'd rush out 
and put them on the benches down the Champs-filysees and 
they'd make a tremendous smoke and blaze and v;ere very ef- 
fective. I suppose they v.ere magnesiam flares. 

So here was this great crovjd of vjild, shouting people, 
with the band playing, going down the Champs-filysees . They 
were still in an amazingly good mood and full of vitality 
even at that hour in the morning after having danced all 


night and romping around the tovjn the afternoon before. We 
got down to the Place de la Concorde and many of them had 
stamina enough to jump into the fountains and take a morning 
bath Ui) in those big fountains. I was too tired. I felt 
that cold water xvould just be the end of me. [laughter] 
But some of them got up there and splashed around and had 
a marvelous time up in the fountains. Then we crossed the 
bridge over to the fecole des Beaux-Arts, which is across 
from the Place de la Concorde. There's a large paved en- 
trance to the school behind the big iron fence. We all v/ent 
in there and the band played some more dances, and they 
whooped and yelled and danced around some more. It was 
one last fling. Then they stopped and the band put up its 
instruments. I never saw such a tired-lookmg crovv'a ^rag- 
ging themselves home, waiting for buses and trying to hail 
taxis, as all those people after their vjonderful night. 

One facet of life in Paris in the twenties that I 
fouiid quite wonderful was the theater. There v;as so much 
to be seen, from the most conservative to the m.ost avant- 
garde efforts in drama. It also was inexpensive, so one 
could spend many evenings in the theater, as well as going 
to concerts and other things. But with the Comedie Frangaise 
and the Odeon, you could see classic French plays with the 
finest actors of the time. 

They also had m.ore experimental vjork. The xost famous 
place, I suppose, was Yieux-Colombier . It v;as quite a small 


place and they had extraordinary talent. Jouvet was the 
actor that I most remember of the group working at the 
Vieux-Colombier. He afterwards became director, I believe, 
of the Odeon and also became a very famous actor in a bigger 
field than he had at the Vieux-Colombier. 

There was the Theatre des Champs filysees, which also had 
some wonderful performances. It was a very beautiful theater. 
It was the most modern of the theaters, at that time, in 
Paris. The others were old places and the Thea'tre des Champs 
felysees was comparatively nevj. Incidentally, its ceiling 
decoration was done by one of my teachers, Maurice Denis. 
It also had other interesting things in a decorative way by 
other French artists. It had frescoes by ilmile Bourdelle 
and some ver*^^ in'^eres"^'^ np* '''^in'^s "^ n -f-v^o -pr^.Trov "Kt? T?r^rMTOY'ri 
Vuillard. It was also a more comfortable theeter than the 
older ones in many ways. There was plenty of room betv;een 
the seats and you had a chance to stretch your legs, more so 
than in the older places. 

There vjas also a little company of Russian players, 
the Pitoeffs. Their plays were acted in French, and although 
I think Pitoeff was recognized as a talented actor, the 
French were very critical of his Russian accent. But his 
wife was really quite a wonderful actress, and they had a 
small theater vjhich was somewhat avant-garde in the presen- 
tation of the plays. Pitoeff himself had some very interes- 
ting ideas and considerable ability in the area of decor. 


He could establish a mood without the great expense of 
scenery and sometimes he could do that in quite an aston- 
ishing way. By just simply using abstract design and color^ 
he could set the m.ood of the scene on the stage. That v;as 
one of the things that I enjoyed very much about his vjork. 

And then very often a small group vjould put on something 
in an improvised affair, like barracks on a vacant lot. 
They'd start some idea of an experimental sort. So you got 
a great variety in plays, from the classic French theater 
to the contemporary writers and also worthv;hile experimental 
\^ork and really adventurous sort of things that the very 
small groups would put on. 

Of course, at that time the Russian ballet v.'as also 
y Lx-Lj- aL xts I'leighu. Nijinsky vjas ue±ore my oim.s, but I 
saw many of the famous ballets of Diaghilev which were pro- 
duced in Paris in the t^venties. That's one of the things 
that gave us most pleasure. At that time, I was especially 
interested in the ballet because it seemed to be a v.'onderful 
art form in that it gave a chance for the collaboration of 
the artist, the musician, the actor, and the designer. They 
could work harm.oniously to produce a fine vjork of art. I 
thought it was a field that offered a great deal for the 
future, and it's been one of my disappointments that it has 
not. It's not that we don't have some excellent ballet and 
some wondei'ful dancing, but we haven't built it into some- 
thing bigger in which this v;ork of Diaghilev would have 


simply been the forerunner. So it has been rather disap- 
pointing to me that a work of Diaghilev stands in history 
as somev;hat isolated . He produced some v;onderful things, 
but there has been so little development since. 

Some of the things were especially fine, like Stravinsky's 
Le Sacre du Pr in temps . I don't think I've ever heard of it 
being produced since. Of course, vie hear the music and it's 
really a stunning ballet. Maybe it's too difficult or ex- 
pensive to produce, I don't knov;. But v;hat I was speaking 
of in the work of Pitoeff also was carried on afterwards 
by the designers for the Russian ballet, and v;hat vias more 
or less started by Gordon Craig and Appia and Reinhardt. 
They got away from the old realistic scenery. 

Dia'~''hilev was es'^eci?!!'^'' adventurous. po ' ri crp-h. Pir'ssgn 
and Leger to do sets, and it's am.azing how successful they were, 
They v;ere done by people you vjouldn ' t think had the sense 
of theater. You vjouldn't think of Leger doing it, for ex- 
ample. At least, I wouldn't have im.agined picking him to 
do som.ething. Diaghilev had great imagination, and he got 
wonderful collaboration. 

There was also another theatrical adventure at the 
time which afterv;ards became successful and toured this 
country. That v;as the Chauve Souris. It v;as especially 
good then, and v;e discovered it ratha" accidentally . V/e 
were having an aperitif one afternoon before dinner on the 
boulevard, and my wife and I picked up a little leaflet that 


had been left on the table of the cafe. It was an ad for 
a little group called the Chauve Souris. V/e said, "This 
sounds rather interesting. Let's go and see '/.'hat they're 
doing." So we went. It was a very small theater and not 
many people v;ere there, but the performance was just wonder- 
ful. Everything about it--the presentations, the designing-- 
was wonderful, and it v;as vjitty and colorful and the singing 
and acting v/ere superb. So v;e said, "This is great. We're 
coming back when they change the program." So the next week, 
or vjhenever it was, we went back. The audience v;as som.ewhat 
bigger that time, and the program was again excellent. By 
the third week vjhen they changed their program., their place 
was crowded and they were really successful. 

The Fitoeffs, of course, v.'ere Russian, v.'hich brings 
to mind the fact that there was an imjnense ntunber of Russian 
refugees in Paris at that time, of all classes of society-- 
poor and wealthy and aristocratic. Apparently, a large 
number of them must have come av;ay v/ith some means or at 
least have salvaged some of their belongings, because I 
went to the Theatre des Champs filysees to see Stanislavski 
perform and to see his production, and I never saw a more 
elegant or a more beautifully dressed audience than the 
Russians at that play (the audience vjas naturally very 
largely Russian because the plays viere given in Russian). 
They vjere dressed in jewels and tiaras and beautiful govms 
and things. So they v/eren't at all hard up by any m.eans. 


though a great many viere. I knev; quite a nur.ber of people 
who had been very v.^ell-off and important in Russia beT?ore 
the Revolution. But they v/ere then struggling in all sorts 
of ways to make a living. 

Incidentally, most performances of Stanislavski v.'ere 
very impressive to m.e from the point of vievj of the theater, 
because when he came to Paris we said, "Well, we must go and 
at least stay for one act of Stanislavski because he's a 
great figure in the modern theater and it would be v;ell worth- 
v;hile to at least say we've seen him. But v;e v/on't under- 
stand a v.'ord of Russian, so I don't suppose there's any 
sense in our trying to sit through a play we can't understand 
a word of . " 

So \'ip. went in vjith that idea in mind. The first play 
was the Tsar Fyodor Ivanovitch . It had a very gorgeous, 
colorful, medieval setting, and we v/ere fascinated. I 
didn't know the story, but the moAsnent, the action and 
everything \'ias so interesting we said, "VJell, we'll see 
the next play." And so we did. 

The next play was The Cherry Orchard by Chekhov, v/hich 
was Just as different as could be, of course, from this 
terrifically colorful play, v;ith these gorgeous 
and a Byzantine sort of grandeur to it. The Cherry Orchard 
was a quiet, dreamy sort of thing and in v;hich these people 
just sat and talked. Of course, we v;ere a little bit better 
off for this one, because we could read the play before 


going. VJe knew it more or less anyway; so we could feel v;hat 
was going on. But even if we hadn't knovjn, I think v;e would 
have enjoyed it. 

The use of the stage for movement was fascinating. 
There vjould be a little glimpse through a door to where a 
dance was going on. These figures v;ould pass by the door 
and so on. There were fascinating little things to watch 
all the time in the presentation of the play. It helped 
me enormously to realize the extent to vjhich the theater 
can be a visual art. It's not only v.'hat people say^ it's 
v/hat they do, where they are. It can make the stage such a 
fascinating and beautiful thing. Even without knowing the 
language, you still have so much to enjoy. 

So havinr^ that in m^ind we v.'ent bsck to see the t'^i'*^d 
performance. Stanislavski gave three plays that season in 
Paris. The first was this gorgeous Byzantine thing. The 
next was this quiet, modern play, and the next one v.'as again 
a terrific contrast. That was Maxim Gorky's Lower Depths . 
That, of course, v;as an extrem.e contrast v/ith the other two. 
And, again, it had that same interest for us. 

November l8, 19*^5 

NUTTING: After one semester at the Julian Academy, I decided 
to contact something more in the modern spirit of art. I 
became interested then in the Academie Ranson and the work 
of Maurice Denis and [Paul] Serusier. I lost out on quite 
a bit in Paris because so much time v;as spent in learning 
the language and in contact v.'ith the people through speech. 
Even if I h/^d read French a little more easily, it vjould 
have meant quite a great deal, I didn't knov;, for example, 
what an import?,nt man Serusier was and that he v;as an artist 
of considerable distinction. He was quite an important mjem- 
ber of the Font--Aven group. He vaa articulate and his 
v/riting had influence. He was a very interesting old gen- 

The only reason that I didn't go into his atelier at 
the academ.y was because he had them doing still life. I 
was somewhat bored with still life; I wanted to v;ork from 
the figure. To get back to setting up a still life and 
painting it seemed to m.e too much like going back to m.y 
days at the Art Students League and Chase's enthusiasm 
for still life. But I was quite wrong, because I think that 
Serusier understood certain principles of painting. He un- 
derstood Cezanne, for example, m.ore than most anybody at 
that time understood his v;ork. They were inspired by it, 
but I don't think they really understood it as much as Serusier, 


And if I v;ould have worked with him, I think I would have 
made better progress in--wh'=t shall we call it--the philos- 
ophy of painting. I would have gotten away from the rather 
stupid accurate copying of the model without observation 
of the meaning and the function of color and line. 

Denis did a great deal for m.e in that way, in spite of 
the fact that I still had to have his criticisms translated 
by a fellow student. In that atelier, there always seem.ed 
to be some student who knew enough English to translate the 
criticisms that the teachers gave you. Hov;ever, I didn't 
stay too long with Denis, because I had some friends who 
were working with Andre Lhote. Andre Lhote was another man 
of theory and was also very articulate and wrote a great 
deal on art. 

Unlike the professors at Julian and at the Academie 
Ranson, Lhote had a school which he really gave serious 
attention to. He made it a part of his career to run his 
art school according to his ideas, in contrast to simply 
coming around and giving criticisms once a week or, at 
most, twice a week. I think once a week is about as often 
as you got a criticism at the other schools. But he watched 
his students very carefully and continually. He would be 
there in the m.orning and then do his own work in the af- 
ternoon, and he m.anaged the school o^uite well. 

The principal difference between his instruction and 
the instruction I had in other schools was the emphasis on 


the more abstract form. It v;as definitely a study from 
nature, from the model, from life, from landscape and ob- 
jects, but it v;as very much influenced by the Cubist painter, 
the conception of painting as being a thing of two dimensions. 
Maurice D-nis formulated it in quite a famous line, which 
is often quoted: "A painting, before it is anything else, 
is an organization of color on a plane surface," or words 
to that effect. Before it's a nude or a landscape or a 
crucifixion or what have you, it's primarily an organization 
of color on a plane surface. Maurice Denis's compositions 
v/ere much more figurative than Lhote's. 

Also Maurice Denis and a painter by the name of [Georges] 
Desvallieres were both quite ambitious to found a school 
of Catholic art, to train artists y^^ wan-i-ori -i-o ,^^ -f-hincrc: 
for the church and for liturgical purposes — murals, design, 
architecture and that sort of thing. They started a school 
for that purpose. That interested me quite a bit because 
there the emphasis would be on figure composition and mural 
painting. For a great many years, I V7as quite ambitious 
to do things on a very large scale. I could have worked 
with Maurice Denis, I think, though the school was really 
primarily for Catholics who were going to devote their life 
and contribute their work to the Church. 

It's rather interesting--! just happened to think of it-- 
that there were three men: Desvallieres, Maurice Denis and 
the painter [Georges] Rouault who v.ere Catholics. Rouault was 


very devoted. It may come as somewhat of a surprise to 
people who only know his early v;ork. In his later work^ 
he did use religious themes a great deal. Some of his most 
famous things are religious themes. All three men had what 
I would call a very v;holesome idea in religious art. It 
wasn't an old-fashioned idea that art was the handmaid of 
religion; it was, in itself, a way of life to them which 
was harmonious to their faith. And I think it vitalized 
their work. It certainly did in the case of Rouault, and 
probably also in the case of Maurice Denis. 

Andre Lhote's discipline in his school was rather austere, 
so far as what was prescribed. He wanted his students to 
do certain things--a certain use of the straight line and 
the curve, the reverse curve, and to study the opposition of 
straight ?nd curve in your drawing, no matter what you were 
drawing. That, of course, had the weakness that most of 
the students turned out to simply be little Andre Lhotes. 
But there are many, many teachers for which that is true. 
To a certain extent, maj^be that isn't too bad. That a stu- 
dent should feel from the very beginning that he has to find 
himself is maybe not quite true. 

My argument is that in the days vihen painters were 
really important and valued, in the days of the Renaissance, 
you can't tell the early work of a Raphael, for example, 
from a Perugino. The early work of Van Dyck, you can't 
tell from a Rubens. Even later, as an original a genius 


as [Joseph] Turner spent years in an intense study and imi- 
tation of other painters' work. He did Claude Lorrains and 
Dutch paintings and all sorts of things. An analogous sort 
of thing, I think, we find in what Robert Louis Stevenson 
said about the formation of his style, that he played the 
sedulous ape. He named Addison and Steele and other v/riter- 
stylists that he admired. He did this in order to learn 
his craft. So I didn't mind spending a year or so (as a 
matter of fact, it was just about one year) working with 
Lhote and doing these rather geometrical things that I wasn't 
too sympathetic with. But the principles involved and a 
certain training in observation and exercise in certain 
simplifications, I found enorm.ously valuable. 

Afterwards I remember exhibiting a .Targe canvas, and 
somebody in writing up the show said, "Nutting showed some 
Davidian nudes as seen through a Lhote prism." I had to 
confess it just about described my picture. You had some- 
thing more or less derived from David and rather academically 
drawn. "Seen through a Lhote prism.," meant it broke up the 
nudes and made them look pseudo-modern. But I'm quite grate- 
ful to Lhote for much that I got from him. Incidentally, he 
was a very pleasant person. He used to come around to m.y 
studio and criticize my work, and we'd discuss things. I 
enjoyed his friendship, as well as his instruction. 

More and m.ore, I started to v.'ork in my studio. It was 
a good ploce to v;ork and models vjere cheap. So I v;orked 


by myself in the mornings or even most of the day in m.y studio. 
Then, not too far away, vjas the Academie de Grande Chaumiere 
et Colarossi--t"wo very old schools. They v;ere not academies 
in the sense of Julian or Lhote's or Ranson but they v/ere two 
buildings that were not far apart, and they had studios de- 
voted to various activities--sculpture and painting and draw- 
ing. There were teachers, and it was a little bit more like 
the Art Students League in New York. The teacher v/ould have 
his atelier there and other classes \>;ould be a cours Jibre -- 
you simply had a chance to go and to v;ork, models were pro- 
vided, but you didn't h?ve any instruction. That was espe- 
cially true of the croquis classes which ran all day and well 
into the night, I think, to about eleven o'clock, v;ith a 

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menced to get too dark to see color and paint, and then go 
over and spend a couple of hours at a croquis class and get 
in some drawing. 

For lots of the boys, itwas really their principal art 
education. It was very cheap, and they didn't have to pay 
a professor for teaching in a class, which would have been 
much more expensive. It didn't cost very much and they 
could get in their daily exercise in drawing and in the 
painting classes in the same way. After all, you don't need 
the teacher so much as you think. I had one teacher that 
said frankly, "l think you kids are learning much more from 
each other than you learn from me." That isn't quite true 


because if the teacher is one for whom you have respect 
and you admire his work, he is inspiring to you and inspires 
all the students. Whether he says anything or not, his in- 
fluence is there. It creates an atmosphere in which certain 
things germinate. So he i_s important. 

But, in that v/ay, it was an excellent development for 
me to pass on from my schooling into working more by myself, 
depending more on my own feeling, my ov/n intuition, in try- 
ing to find myself. Of course, curiously enough, I got a 
little stimulus to do that back in Rome when Besnard told 
me to paint that big canvas. Then I commenced to exhibit 
in Rome and, afterwards, in Paris. 

These three very brilliant Russian painters--Jacovlev, 
Shoukaiev, Gregoriev--v;ere in Paris; at. that time and Jacovlev 
had a school. He was a prize student from the St. Petersburg 
Academy. He was traveling in China on a scholarship from 
the academy when the revolution took place, and he was stranded 
in China. He did brilliant v^ork, and he did very large can- 
vases in egg tempera. He was a master in painting in egg 
tempera. In a way, that is a Russian tradition because the 
Russian icon is done v;ith egg tempera. One thing rather 
amused me about painting in egg tempera in the Russian way: 
I was talking to a Russian who also had very great skill in 
that medium, and he said that what they painted with was 
egg and oil and kvass--which, I believe, is a kind of Russian 
beer--instead of water. We use water. I don't know what 


that contributed to it. Some of his stuff v/as in oil, but, 
mostly, it was in egg tempera, largely because his graphic 
sense of drawing and design was much stronger than a medium, 
par excellence, for a person with that sort of feeling. His- 
torically, one feels that in the early Renaissance or even as 
late as Fra Angelico and still later with Botticelli, that 
their work is, essentially, tempera painting because of the 
great love of design and drawing. Later the development of 
the feeling for space, for light, for a certain integration 
of the form v;ith its environment in which there is a feeling 
of the essence (not in the way in vjhich a thing detaches it- 
self from a background but in the substance itself as it is 
illuminated in space and in air) really brought about oil 

Of course this is a digression, and I only mention it 
because I worked in Jacovlev's studio and learned something 
of his very brilliant technique as a draftsman. This was in 
contrast to some of the problems that were presented by a man 
like Denis for example or others v;ith more painterly problems. 
In that way--by going to sketch classes, by talking to other 
students, by getting this variety of experiences in the various 
schools--I gratified my desire to be a serious student and to 
get in contact with all facets of the feeling and spirit of 
student life at that time in Paris. 

I soon conunenced to submit my work to the salons in Paris 
and was lucky. I v;as usually accepted, not only in the more 


modern salons but in the academic salons, the old Artistes 
Frangais for example, v;hich is the most academic of all, and 
then in the Societe Nationale, vjhich v;as slightly more modern. 
In those days the two societies shovjed at the same time in 
the Spring Salon. The Societe Nationale was a secession from 
the Artistes Francais in the early nineties, I believe. A 
number of artists felt that they were more in the modern spirit 
and that the old Nationale v;as "old hat." But the only way you 
could now tell one salon from the other is that the carpet 
changed color as you went from the galleries v;here the Nationale 
v/as shown into the Artistes Francais. I sent to the Nationale 
and v/as accepted after having been accepted in the Artistes 
Francais, the very conservative one. The somewhat more modern 
one waa the Nationale. 

Then I tried the Autumn Salon and they found my work 
more acceptable than I realized at the time. Some years 
ago I found an old catalog of the AutumiT Salon among my 
things and found that that year, I had four canvases in the 
show. They'd accepted four of my things. That, of course, 
is unheard of now in this country. If you get one thing in, 
that's as m.uch as anybody ever does, except vJhen they have 
some special showing or a memorial show. But, in the Autamn 
Salon, they would accept a number of canvases by one man. 
And, of course, at the Independents you had a chance to show 
more than one thing because there was no jury. So I showed 
at the Autumn Salon and also at the Independents as v;ell as 
the very conservative ones. That makes it sound as though 


I didn't have any very special direction In my work, which 
wasn't quite true. I didn't paint for these salons. I 
simply picked out what I thought might be acceptable from 
the things I was doing seriously and would send them. 

Then there was another salon that got started. Paris 
is great for starting some nev/ art society or having some 
new exhibition. This was called the Salon de Tulleries. 
They put up temporary barracks, if I remember rightly. In 
the Tulleries Gardens. The president of that salon was Besnard. 
The vice-president was the sculptor, fimile Bourdelle. I 
sent a canvas to the Tulleries and got accepted. As I look 
back, I'm rather surprised that I was accepted because I 
don't think my v;ork was very good then and also because so 

many of the Dainte'^'^- ■^ropv n-r+i^v ^re^air wnnTrl Rnhmif +.n RPiTnnc? 

--they would be working hard and studying--and would be refused. 
As I say, for some reason I seemed to be more lucky than 
the others. 

So I sent to the Salon de Tulleries. I remember try- 
ing to make up my mind whether to send or not, because I 
imagined it would be a very difficult show to get into. 
They didn't want it to be a very large show, and I've for- 
gotten Just what special ideas they had. As one could well 
imagine with such men as Besnard and Bourdelle, it wouldn't 
be one that would be very adventurous. At the same time, 
I think they honestly wanted to take the best of the most 
talented work in Paris and from the painters who would be 


contemporary in spirit, so it would not be a rehash of aca- 
demic things but, at the same time, what they would consider 
sound painting. There would be nothing of the Dada or the 
Futurist about it. 

Well, I tried to make up my mind what to send to the 
Tuileries, and then I realized that femile Bourdelle was a 
neighbor of ours. He was really in the same block, but you 
had to walk around the block to get into the entrance to 
his court. So I decided I would go and call on Bourdelle. 
That was one of the occasions when I overcame a certain 
amount of timidity in doing that sort of thing. I put a 
half a dozen of my canvases in my little car, and I drove 
around into the court where he had his studios and asked 
for MDnsieur Bourdelle. He was working in his studio, and 
after somebody told him someone was there to see him, he 
said, "Come in," and went on working. He turned out to be 
a very delightful person. He looked at my things, and, yes, 
he thought they might like them and suggested this one and 
this one and was warm and hospitable in every way. It was 
a pleasure to meet him. So I sent this thing of mine to 
the Tuileries and it was shown. 

The day before the opening of the salon was the 
Vernissage. The Vernissage gets its name from the old days 
when the Royal Academy in London and salons in Paris had 
a Petit Vernissage and a Grand Vernissage. The Petit Ver- 
nissage was just for the artists. They would go down to 


see their work, and if they v/anted to touch it up a little 
bit or retouch something, they had a chance to do it before 
the Grand Vernissage, which was really the opening of the 
show, and sometimes by invitation. Then after that the 
exhibition vjould be on. *" 

Well, I went down the day of the Petit Vernissage 
and the show was only about half hung, so I wandered around 
to see if I could find my work. I wanted to see where it 
was going to go before I left, and I finally found it lean- 
ing up against a wall. So I stood around and waited. A 
committee v;as working to place this here and place that 
there, but they didn't hang my picture. I had an appoint- 
ment and I had to go; so I was quite disappointed because 
I wanted to see whether I'd get a good place or not. I 
looked down the gallery and I saw Besnard; so I v/ent and 
made some little remark to him about the exhibition, that 
I thought it was going to be most interesting and all that 
sort of thing--something polite. Then I mentioned I had to 
go and that I did hope that before I left, I would see where 
they were going to put my picture. 

And he said, "Oh, they haven't hung your picture yet?" 
And he put his arm around me and said, "Pauvre enfant, come 
with me. Show me your picture." So I showed him where the 
picture was. Then he spoke to somebody and said, "Would you 
like your picture hung there?" and he pointed someplace. I 
said, "Oh, that would be wonderful." It was on the line you 


know. He said, "All rights" and he gave instructions to 
somebody on the committee that my picture should be hung 
there. So I thanked him and left. 

But I found that sort of thing to be very typical of 
the Frenchman. In other countries, people in the position 
of Bourdelle and Besnard and others, especially those v/ith 
fame, academic honors and prestige, seem to feel that they 
have to be on their dignity somewhat more, although they 
might be very nice about it. One mustn't generalize, but 
I think it is understandable that I enjoy the pleasant 
memories of a happy period of my life. And it makes me sad 
to hear stories from friends, who return from European travel, 
of unpleasant experiences in France and of liking more the 
t.liTie spent J for instance- in the countr'^'' of our former adver- 
saries--the Germans. 

My continual showing was vjholesome for me. To see your 
work in public can be a discipline in itself. I'd get oc- 
casional portraits to do and jobs of one sort and another-- 
most anything that v/ould bring in a little return. Curious- 
ly enough, I did an increasing amount of private teaching. 
I still had an idea that illustrations could be a serious 
phase in my work. I had a friend v;ho v;as a correspondent 
for a New York fashion magazine, and she wanted me to do 
fashion drawing. It gave me a new experience, and it v/as 
interesting. To my surprise I enjoyed it. It was very good 
experience, although I felt I didn't have m.uch talent for 


it, and I couldn't seem to be able to cultivate a style 
that seemed to be appropriate, or especially good. But 
it was interesting trying to do it anyway, and it gave me 
more knowledge of the requirements and techniques involved 
in magazine illustration. Those were the days when really 
distinguished drawing was often done by fashion artists. 
Once in a while I v/ould meet "Eric." His sensitive and 
tasteful line was always a delight. 

SCHIPPERS: VJhat kind of paintings were you doing at the 
time, and what kind of paintings were you exhibiting in 
these shows? 

NUTTING: Well, most of my work at that time, all that I 
exhibited, fell into two categories--portraits and figure 
Dalntinff from, life ^ That V7as ''^artl'^'' because I v.^as 
interested in such v;ork and also because I still felt that 
unless you had the continuous discipline of v/orking from 
nature, you were not going to be a real artist. But the 
things that I exhibited most were figure compositions, and 
sometimes of quite good size, usually nudes. I don't know 
how to describe them exactly except that they were somewhat 
decorative and had a romantic feeling to them. 

As I think I mentioned before, one of the reasons why 
I went first to Germany instead of France was because some- 
thing of the Northern spirit has always more or less possessed 
me. When I was in Boston, where the emphasis v;as on intense 
copying of the model, one of my greatest delights was to go 



to the library where I found in German magazines things 
that seemed to me much more thrilling than the more objec- 
tive work you would find in the south of Europe. When I was 
a boy, the engravings of Albrecht Durer were very impressive 
to me. Even as much as I loved Impressionist painting and 
was thrilled by it, there was something about the sheer ob- 
jectivity, the slice-of-life idea or the momentary vision, 
which vjasn't as altogether satisfying as Durer's engravings. 
I found something in them more deeply moving. That always 
has colored my painting. I have even made conscious efforts 
to get away from it, even to the extent of undergoing some 
psychoanalysis. It was not that I wanted to be cured of 
anything, but I felt that psychoanalysis--which was then 
becnming nuite the rage and everybody was reading and talk- 
ing about it--could give some better understanding of the 
creative mind. Of course, I was doomed to disappointment, 
but at least it was v;orth exploring. 

I felt that in this more introverted sort of feeling, 
I V7as out of step with the rational attitude, especially the 
French rational attitude towards all of their problems. 
The French have not had very much in the vjay of what developed 
in middle Europe knovm as Expressionism. You could place 
Rouault quite definitely in that category, but very few. 
Certainly not Picasso. The Surrealists, you might say, 
could be lumped in with the Expressionists, but that is 
debatable. And I don't think you can really include Dadaism 



or any of those other movements. My experience was that 
whenever I tried to exert my will on what I v/anted to dOj 
or what I thought was v/orthwhile doing, the proverb of 
the French alv;ays came to mind: "Plus ca change, plus 
c'est la meme chose" ("The more it changes, the more it's 
the same thing"). So it always looked very much like a 
Romantic composition after I got through. No matter what 
approach I took to make it something different, I alv^ays 
seemed to fall back to the same sort of feeling. Finally 
I gave up and let nature take its course. 

SCHIPPERS: What was the particular advantage of having things 
shown in these salons? 

NUTTING: One thing that v/as quite surprising to me vjas the 
sniount of attention that is "^iven to all art and cultural 
activities in Paris. When you think of the thousands of 
canvases that are shovm and of all the centers for other 
activities--literature and music and everything else--it's 
surprising that they treat you seriously. I got many more 
notices and comments in French papers than I have ever got- 
ten in this country. In Paris, there might be several maga- 
zines in which they wrote up a shovj, and I'd find my name 
or some comment. Here, if one paper will give a notice of 
a show, it's quite a lot. The critics have different shows 
that they are interested in, and usually they write about 
different people in the shows. So no one artist gets much 
space and quite talented boys will not get noticed at all. 


In Paris, you do get noticed, and it gives you a good feeling 
that people have seen your work. Maybe they knock it and 
say terrible things about it, but that's not the important 
thing. You are part of the life, the activity, the yeast. 
SCHIPPERS: Were you selling any of your canvases at this 

NUTTING: Well, none of my more ambitious ones. I didn't 
get any very large commissions. I did get commissions for 
portraits and once in a while a commission for an illustra- 
tion or something for a decorative book for this fashion 
drawing I did. My friend seemed convinced I could be a good 
fashion artist if I wanted to be. I thought it v/as fun, 
so I did that. It gave me a weekly check but nothing of 
much importance. Of course, portraiture was the biggest 
bet because people like to have their portraits painted. 
Sometimes I sold a landscape, but not very often. I wasn't 
a very industrious landscape painter, to tell the truth. 
I didn't exactly get into portrait painting, but in 
Rome, I did several, largely because anybody coming to my 
studio would see that I was painting people, and if it was 
something they liked, it would inspire them to have something 
done. I'd begin maybe with a portrait drawing or a portrait 
pastel or something, and if that was pleasing, I would paint 
a portrait. Their friends might like it and also want some- 
thing done. It just happened rather naturally. In Rome, I 
did a portrait of Dr. Collins. We became quite good friends. 


and he seemed to think I had something in me as an artist 
and decided to have his portrait done. So he posed for me. 
That didn't lead to anything else. But, usually it does. 
If the portrait is at all successful, there are other mem- 
bers of the family or friends who also want to be done. So, 
in that way, there v/ere alv;ays some to do but not too many. 
Afterwards, I became quite convinced that I could not 
make a real success of portrait painting. I haven't the 
temperament for it. There are ways to get around some of 
the difficulties, but the principal diff iculty--especially 
I think in this country and in modern times--is that the 
form of portrait painting is far too restricted for a man 
to make a whole career of it. If he's really going to m.ake 

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Of course, it has to be a good likeness, and that is for- 
givable because people want a good likeness. The only tim.e 
they might not complain is if the picture happened to be 
by Picasso, and then the very fact that it were by Picasso 
would give it worth even it you couldn't recognize the per- 
son represented. But, nobody like Picasso would consider 
himself a portrait painter. 

Another thing is that I felt that one of the primary 
necessities of being a portrait painter was that you have to 
meet a great many people. You have to be known, you have to 
be seen, you have to make contacts, as they say. It helps 
a lot to be a very amusing fellow and a good storyteller 


and good company. I v^as not especially ambitious to be any 
of these things and never have been. I like my friends, 
but I don't like to be out too much with strange people. 

Portrait painting, as I said, v/as something that you 
simply had to do at that time if you were going to live. 
You either did that or you did Illustration. Commercial 
art, as we understand it nov;, wasn't a concept that we 
had then. At least I had not acquired it as a student. 
When I came back from Europe and found that everything that 
I loved about painting was going to suffer by being put 
into the straight jacket of making likenesses of people — 
along with these other difficulties that I mentioned — I 
junked many early ideas. I have done more teaching for a 
steady income than anything else, 

SCHIPPERS: What kind of income did you get from the por- 
traits you vjere doing then? 

NUTTING: Oh, I don't remember exactly. My prices were not 
high. They were from about $300 to $600 for a portrait. 
It was high then, but it wouldn't be high now. 
SCHIPPERS: On the subject of money, hov; much did you have 
to pay to go to these schools you spoke about? 
NUTTING: That I don't remember, except it was really very 

SCHIPPERS: Was your income still somewhat secure? 
NUTTING: Yes, I'd Inherited a modest amount, but enough. 
And then my wife, too, had her Income; so between the two 


of us, we were all right. I didn't attend any of the schools 
very formally for the last few years in Paris. I used to 
visit some of them and get acquainted with their activities, 
what this or that man had in mind that sounded interesting. 
Sometimes there were classes at the Grande Chaumiere, Colarossi, 
that I would attend for a short time. There was a man, 
Naudin, whose drawings and etchings I admired. He did 
quite a lot of work for fine editions. He had a class for 
a short time at the Grande Chaumiere in the evening. I used 
to drop in to listen to his talk and demonstrations more 
than anything else. So things of that sort I'd get here 
and there--lectures and education contacts. 

The last thing that I could call schooling at all oc- 

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of mine who asked me if I v7ould like to go to the Universi- 
ty of Paris for a suironer course in the Department of Art 
and Archeology. I said I thought it would be a very delight- 
ful thing to do. "Well," he said, "if you want to do that, 
all you have to do is go over to the Student Union and see 
Dr. Van Dyke and tell him that is what you'd like to do." 
So I went, and Dr. Van Dyke was very nice. He said that 
they had two vacancies in this course and if I'd like to 
have one, he'd be glad to let me have it. So, I spent the 
summer, and a very delightful one, not only attending these 
lectures but going to the Sorbonne. We not only had these 
fine courses at no expense but vfere also given a liberal 


amount toward living expenses. 

I took t^•/o courses--one. Renaissance and the other, 
Romanesque and Gothic. Both of the courses had excellent 
professors. We had a different professor about every v;eek 
or so, a specialist in some phase of the subjects. I got 
through all rightj I even wrote my examination in French-- 
which I couldn't do now--and passed an oral examination 
(they gave you an oral examination as well as a written 
examination). There were, if I remember rightly, about 
twenty American students studying in Paris on this scholar- 
ship. To tell the truth, I never knew very much about it. 
I attended the lectures and did the work but never found 
out exactly what I was in or v;hy I was there. But it was 
a fine ex'i^erience and i^ave me a chance to see a lit'^'le bi"^ 
of the life of the French student. 

One thing that rather bothered me was that the little 
fellow who examined me in Renaissance wasn't one of the pro- 
fessors that I liked. He was a professor of art from the 
University at Besancon, if I remember rightly, and he gave 
me the oral examination. Fortunately I was on to him and 
I knew what he thought; so when he showed me a drawing and 
said, "Who is this by?" I said, "It's supposed to be by 
Michelangelo." I knew perfectly well it wasn't by Michelangelo. 
It was by [Baccio] Bandinelli, if anybody. It was not by 
Michelangelo, but I knew he wanted me to say it was by 
Michelangelo, so I said that it was Michelangelo. 


He wasn't too good at drawing. He had some framed 
color reproductions of drav/ings on the wall of the room, 
and he passed by one day and I asked him, "Who do you think 
did these?" (There was no name, nothing on them, just the 
reproductions hanging there.) "Oh, " he said, "I don't know 
but you can see they are French sanguines of the eighteenth 
century." That gave me a little Jolt, because I didn't have 
to have any Inscription to see that they were Dutch sanguines 
of the seventeenth century. However, the other men v;ere 
brilliant professors--this little guy was an exception. 

One of them gave a little party for us at his apartment. 
He was a very Jolly fellow, and he was wonderful on Gothic 
architecture. Goodness, I'd like to take a v;hole course 
from him.. He was so full of life and fun and at the same 
time, had tremendous erudition. He used to run his classes 
overtime. It v/as quite amusing to see the professor of 
the follovjing class open the door and stare at him, but he'd 
go right on talking until he got through. 

I wasn't there long enough and my work wasn't varied 
enough to get much of an impression of the Sorbonne. The 
seating in some lecture halls rises steeply toward the back. 
The lecture halls had the effect of an ampltheater. They 
also make use of the official talent, the Prix de Rome 
painters, for murals decorating the halls, something that 
you don't see so much elsewhere. One work of art there 
that is very important is by Puvis de Chavannes. It's 


In a big hall at the Sorbonne and is very large. Maybe 
its being a summer course, there wasn't the activity I would 
have seen if I'd been a regular student in one of the winter 

The Sorbonne was my last contact with any formal 
schooling or instruction. After that was through, I v;ent 
down to report at the Student Union and they asked me if 
there were any trips I'd like to make in connection with 
the study. It so happened that v;hile I was going to the 
Sorbonne, I had accepted a position in Milwaukee as an art 
teacher in the Layton School of Art, so I was expecting to 
leave as quickly as I could. What I did was to combine 
this offer with a visit to England. I found that the only 
port T could get pas sage from v/as in England. So I said, 
"Yes, I'd like to go to England," presumably to study English 
Gothic. So they paid my expenses for that trip to England, 
and then I sailed from there for home. But I believe that 
they would have given me a trip almost anyplace I wanted 
to go. If I had stayed longer, I would have tried for 
Greece or the Near East, which would have been quite a tre- 
mendous addition to my European experience. 

November 25, 1965 

NUTTING: There is one period that to me seems to be most 
important in my life. Also, I feel it has a chance of 
being of more interest to people than other periods. That 
is the period which I spent in Paris. It v/as the decade 
of the twenties, and it was a very interesting decade, 
when everything was in a ferment. The activities in music 
and art, literature and drama were at their height. I 
feel very inadequate in giving a picture of it. I haven't 
notes, memoranda or documentation which people might value. 
It's only my personal experience. In my talks, heretofore, 
in speaking of Paris, I had in mind, first of all, to give 
some sort of a picture of a young fellow who all his life 
had dreamt of going to Paris, the mecca of the artists. 

Paris is not nearly so much now as it was then, but 
when I was young, it seemed the source of all art ideas, art 
education. Anybody who had studied in Paris was always in- 
teresting to us and we wanted to talk to him. about what he 
did. We used to read novels about the bohemian life in 
Paris, such as Du Maurier, F. Hopkinson Smith. It was not 
just myself, especially, because any young student first of 
all contacts the art student life. Pie knows something of 
the salons, of the ficole des Beaux-Arts, of the academies, 
of the professors who have been especially influential in 


the student life. If v.'e could go to Europe and knew of 
some famous master, then we wanted to study with him. But 
I didn't especially go to Paris for that. I simply wanted 
to contact the life and the activity. 

In fact, I was more or less prepared for a rather 
broader feeling of art student life from my sojourn in 
Munich. I saw the spirit of the academy there, and the 
academy at that time had some quite famous professors. 
There was one professor especially that the American crowd 
favored--Angelo Jank. And all of the American boys I met 
in Munich vJho were going to the academy were very anxious 
to work with him. Apparently he was an excellent teacher, 
and a number of his students that I have known have since 
cono '^laces . It v?as the same time vjhen thsrs v.'ss a f cnicnt 
of Expressionism.. I was introduced to that and found it 
rather bewildering because we had had no contact v;ith it in 
Boston and New York, to any extent, and to find that the 
galleries were largely devoted to the modern movement seemed 
to me quite amazing and bewildering. 

Then came the period in which I didn't have too much 
contact with student life--the period during my sojourn in 
Italy. The vitality of the modern movements was impressive. 
It was the period in which Di Chirico was doing his best 
work for example. The Schola Metafisica was influential. 
The Futurists were still very lively. Marinetti was still 
alive and was Influential. And the young writers, the young 


painters, were in a state of excitement in spite of the fact 
that the cloud of war and the feeling of depression was 

The dedication of the young artists, writers and 
musicians v;as impressive. A boy that I knew had a skele- 
ton cello in the trenches v/ith him, and he vjould get out 
his skeleton cello and kept up his work as best he could. 
I also knew a Belgian painter who always had his paint box 
with him, even at the front. He used to tear off the window 
shades of houses that had been damaged or destroyed or va- 
cated and use them for canvases. He would paint whenever 
he had a chance. Quite a famous example, of course, was 
Gaudier Breszka, the young sculptor, who was killed at 
Verdun v:hen he was twenty- f our = His letters from the front 
were most interesting. In spite of the fact that he was 
right in the midst of a terrible situation, his v;ork as an 
artist was still as serious and preoccupying a subject as 
it ever was. 

So I came to Paris more mature in many v/ays than I 
would have been otherwise. Nov;, what I have in mind is the 
other thread--which I think is really the most important 
part of our lives--our mental development and how it hap- 
pens. It's not that I have any explanation, but there are 
certain observations in looking back that I can make of 
things that have influenced me. I spoke once before of a 
certain conflict that I have always felt in myself. 


I am not arguing whether it's a matter of conditioning or 
a matter of heredity, but the people with north European 
blood do seem to have a certain attitude towards form in 
the arts which is not that of the Mediterranean people, 
that the classical feeling of the south is not a natural 
one to people of northern Europe. Whether that is condi- 
tioning or not, or whether it's the long nights and cold 
winters and psychological conditions which the people of 
northern Europe have grown up in that v;ill bring on v.'hat 
seems to be certain characteristics of northern art, I 
don't know. I have forgotten v;ho it v/as v;ho spoke of it 
as a "metaphysical anxiety," which is not to be found so 
much in the south. There is a form of expressionism in 

northern. In my experience as a boy, as I look back, the 
things that impressed me and moved me deeply in feeling and 
also in action v;ere largely of the northern spirit, though 
the Greek art also had a strong influence. 

As far as heredity is concerned, I have often wondered 
about my ovm family, the Nuttings. They seemed to have been 
quite intelligent people. My own line has not produced 
many male members. My grandfather had seven sisters, and 
he v;as the only boy in the family. My great grandfather 
v;as an architect and a builder. Other family members have 
been clergymen, and one was a distinguished professor-- 
I forget of what. Wallace Nutting made a name for himself. 


He was one of the editors of the Encyclopaedia Br itannlca 
on a subject of Americana. I think there may have been 
some musicians. Adelaide Nutting was head of the nursing 
at Johns Hopkins and professor at Columbia University. 
They have a fine portrait of her by Cecilia Beaux. Cecilia 
Beaux was an excellent portrait painter. She's almost 
forgotten now, but when I was young, she and Mary Cassatt 
were looked upon as the two most important women painters 
in this country. 

In my immediate family, the influences in my thought 
was a mixture of my father's New England background and 
my mother's Southern background. My maternal grandfather 
was from Virginia. The family v;ere Episcopalians, but 

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rigid Congregationalist ideals of behavior. As I remember, 
my grandmother, who kept the Sabbath very faithfully, dis- 
approved of my playing checkers on the Sabbath when I was 
a boy. But she got a little more broad-minded because her 
children and grandchildren had more liberal waj's of thought, 
My father liked the exact sciences. He liked to argue 
things very clearly. At the same time, he was fond of 
poetry. He could recite poetry by the j'-ard. That was 
partly his natural feeling and partly his upbringing, be- 
cause one of his exercises as a youngster was to memorize 
poetry to recite every Saturday. Every Saturday he must 
have some verses to recite to his parents. So he learned 
to memorize quite easily, and even in his last days, when 


he was In his nineties, he amazed his nurses by lying in 
bed and reeling off yards of poetry to them. [laughter] 
On the other hand, he was not a great reader of novels, 
plays, etc. He v/as a slow reader and v/anted to know ex- 
actly what was being said. And although he v/as fairly fa- 
miliar with important v;orks of fiction, he v/asn't much 
of a reader of fiction. 

On the other hand, my mother was quite talented. If 
she'd had more opportunity, and if life had treated her a 
little better, she might have done something. She was a 
great reader and from girlhood had had an ambition to be 
a writer. I have some bits of manuscripts of hers that 
she had started that are rather promising. They at least 
suggest that under better oondit.ions. she could have ful- 
filled her ambition. 

Of course, there was quite a difference in temperament 
between the Puritan spirit of the New England Nuttings and 
the cavalier spirit of my maternal ancestry, who were from 
Virginia. They v;ere rather fun-loving and inclined in a fev; 
instances to be rather hard-drinking. [laughter] 

My maternal grandfather, apparently, was a rather 
brilliant young man. He came out and settled across the 
Ohio River in Illinois. He had studied law. VJhere and 
how much I don't know, but he soon established a reputation 
as a lawyer of unusual talent. The first thing he did was 
to get a Job surveying land for the government. At that 


time, he was paid so much land for every section or quarter 
section or whatever it was that he surveyed. The result 
v;as that he wound up, in a few years, with nice pieces of 
property all over southern Illinois. It started him off 
very well. Maybe, I told the story about this old man who 
said he knew my grandfather mighty v;ell. He said that he 
was the smartest man he'd ever seen, and "the beatenest one 
to fight." I have reason to believe that though quick- 
tempered he was very compassionate and capable of serious 
sacrifice for v;hat he believed to be just. His intelligence 
and sensibility v^as passed onto my mother. 

My little brother Arlie (Arthur) and I were devoted 
to each other and got along together perfectly. I wish 

not queer, different but not abnormal, if that means any- 
thing. He developed very early a habit of putting his ideas 
into clear and precise form, though unlike me, he was not 
a talkative child. Mother said that as a matter of fact 
that he was so slow beginning to talk that she and Father 
began to be worried. Time soon shov;ed they had no cause 
for worry. One evening Father came home with some thread 
Mother had asked him to get her and he took it out of his 
pocket and stacked the spools in a little tower on the table. 
Arlie looked at the varicolored little edifice in v/onder and 
then said slov;ly, "Look at a-1-1-1-1 the thread." When he 
had something to say he said it, deliberately and clearly. 


In our v.-alks around Jalapa we vient one day into a 
cemetery. There vfe saw some things that were unfamiliar 
to us, supposedly Imperishable flov;er wreaths, photos 
of the deceased in little glass cases, etc. Also, some- 
w hat disturbing, a heap of bones from the graves v;here the 
period of tenure had run out. Arlie was silent during this 
tour but observed everything with solemn interest, espe- 
cially the bones which seemed to trouble him somewhat. 
However, as we were going out he explained to Mother that 
it was all right, that the real people weren't there any more, 
what was there wasn't them at all. The real people had just 
gone av;ay into the Happiness. 

I am talking about my brother not altogether for sen- 
Vj-Hisntaj. or i^j-cgrapiiicau. reasons, i^Uo a^sc uscsuss, inosres — 
ted as we are these days in child psychology, I feel he is 
worth knowing. I think I'm quite unequivocal when I say 
that I can think of nothing in his life that vms not normal 
in every way. We vjere healthy kids and lived in a healthy 
and normal atmosphere. If on the one hand he v;as inclined 
to retreat from anything boisterous, and to be wary of 
strange and unfamiliar behavior, on the other hand he v;as 
full of play as anyone. He did have this precocious habit 
of meditating on the mystery of life and often on its unhap- 
piness, and coming up with an epitome of thought. 

An attractive young engineer in Father's office, with 
a Vandyke beard and who was usually about in riding clothes. 


was one of Arlie's best friends. He bore the name of 
Montmorency but was not French, but from Lincoln, Nebraska, 
where he ]:zne\j the Bryan family and had amusing anecdotes 
about them. "Mont" v;as transferred, to the acute sorrow 
of Arlie. He bore the loss of his friend quietly but 
eventually confided to his mother, "Every day and every day 
there is something more to be sorry for." 

He accepted the unfamiliar slowly. At a party at the 
Schonfelds, the French governess of the children in an English 
family, to amuse the group of youngsters there, dressed up 
in a man's riding clothes and strode about smoking a big 
cigar, doing bits of clowning. We all, with the exception 
of Arlie, appreciated her v;ith noisy enthusiasm. He re- 

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was not with the other children, he informed her it was 
"because I don't like that French women, I don't like the 
way she acts . " 

Well, I can see that had he lived, our ways may not 
have parted, but there might have been periods of divergence. 
However, I doubt if he would have eventually been more of a 
prig than I. 

What is innate --and why? 

Mother had gotten tv/o little Mexican chairs that you 
see around, quite small, and he had one and I had one. 
Mother came in on his birthday and he was sitting in this 
little chair and looking very solemn. She spoke to him 


and said, "Arlle, what are you thinking about so seriously?" 
And ho said, "Mommy, do you knov/ what I v/as thinking about? 
I was thinking of what good times I used to have when I was 
a small boy." [laughter] Here was this little six-year-old 
who felt as though he had the weight of years on his shoulders, 

Lately, I've been reading Jung. There's something he 
says about children that makes me think of Arlie as having 
a very interesting personality for Jung to observe. Because 
in some way, it seemed almost as though he was av^are of the 
shortness of his life and was trying to live it fully as he 
could and get as much understanding as he could in the short 
time that he had. I don't say it was so, but as I look back 
now, it gives me that feeling. 

I think he was more talented than T: he could draw 
better than I, although he v;as younger, and I think he was 
smarter in every way. But I don't knov;. It was a long time 
ago, and I don't really remember everything except these 
little pictures of him. I can remember very distinctly 
his golden hair. I was brown-haired. He was blue-eyed, 
and I was brown-eyed. We were very fond of each other, 
very devoted to each other. 

Of course, the strongest influences on me, after his 
death, came from my parents. And as I have sketched the 
two of them, you can see how I got a broad education, if 
not a deep one. Father liked to talk about scientific things 
and to explain things. He would have been a magnificent 


teacher. I say that, not only because of my ovm experience 
with him, but because other young men that he helped often 
said vJhat a wonderful teacher he would be in a college. 
They liked to work with him. He had a way of imparting 
a lot of enthusiasm for everything that he talked about so 
that it wasn't a dry subject. And, with Mother, it v;as the 
same way. She used to read to me a great deal, and then I 
started reading myself. 

Certain things happened that may or may not be important 
but are rather interesting from the point of vie^^r of what 
is true of any youngster--I 'm not speaking of any peculiar- 
ity in myself. They ask questions of themselves and decide 
that they're unans\^7erable and throv; them overboard. I had 
a peculiar tendency — it seems to me, as I look back now — ox 
not leaving the question alone. I would follow it out un- 
til I came, so to speak, to the jumping-off place where it's 
obvious that there was nothing more to be said about it. 
To ask another question would be foolish. It would be 
meaningless if you asked them. But that was sort of the 
starting point. 

The first thing that I can remember along that line, 
although it seemed rather small, was one of those things 
that I feel was a milestone in my attitude towards problems, 
towards life. I read a science-fiction story in an English 
magazine called the Strand Magazine , in which the writer played 
with the idea of time. These young fellows had taken a drug 


•which influenced their sense of time. It was rather a 
silly story, but it fascinated me because it gave me an 
idea--what do you do about time? vjhat is time? 

Along about the same time, I read a story of Hans 
Christian Andersen that also dealt with the idea of time, 
of relative time. For quite a while, that thought rather 
obsessed me. I discussed this matter with my father. Well, 
Father was not v/hat you would call a metaphysical thinker. 
When things were measurable and were obviously real, he 
was quite satisfied to deal with them. So I brought up 
these questions vjith Father- -what is time? v;hat is space? 
how do you define it? We used to have long discussions; he 
was an awfully good man to discuss things with. 

What I was struggling with, and after^-jards formulated 
to a certain extent in a homemade way of thinking, vfas that 
time exists only if something happens, that if you could 
remove all events you have no time. And if you remove 
everything from space, you have no space. And if you have 
only one thing in space, that thing has no size. I turned 
this over in my mind (I was a teenager then), and Father 
could not make very much sense of what I was driving at. 
I don't blame him because I couldn't express myself too 
well, but the idea was there. Since then, it's impressed 
me very much. I don't very often bring up such subjects, 
but once in a while, it comes up as an interesting thing 
for a conversation. I find people have amazing resistance 


to grasp what in the world I'm driving at. 

They have a yardstick. It's not three feet long. It's 
simply a stick v;ith marks on it. It could be a hundred miles 
long, unless you have something that goes with it that makes 
it a certain division of another length. Then you have some- 
thing that you call three feet; other\^ise it's nonexistent, 
as I say, in terms of something existing in space. 

Well, I don't know how to express the strange way I 
felt when I had that certain adumbration of a truth, but 
it did set a certain attitude for me towards life. It was 
not a self -revelation. It was a stage in the development 
of consciousness somehow and it really had some meaning. 
It wasn't just a funny idea I played with. It had something 

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The next thing I can think of that would be really 
a milestone in self-realization, if you v/ant to call it 
that, was v;hen I first went to high school. When I first 
went to high school in Mandan, North Dakota, they were 
rather bothered because they didn't know what to do with me. 
I think I forgot to mention that in Penn Yan I did go to 
high school for a short time, and I think I passed some 
examinations. I can't straighten that out in my mind. 
All I know is that I was quite a nuisance in this little 
school in Mandan because they didn't know what to do with 
me. It wound up that I took a freshman subject and a junior 
subject and a sophomore subject, and I'm not sure I didn't 


have something else, all at one time. They finally got 
me through in their funny sort of way. I wanted to take 
geometry my first year in Mandan. I had passed my ex- 
amination in algebra, and I vfanted to take geometry. The 
geometry teacher said that would be quite all right, but 
she said there would be one difficulty, and that vias that 
the class did very badly the year before and they v/ere 
taking it over in one semester, and she doubted if I 
could do it in one semester. And I said that I'd like to 
try. It worked out perfectly well. Not that I was very 
good at math, because I never got very far with it. But 
thanks to my father, who stimulated my interest in geometry, 
I played with triangles and geometrical puzzles. I worked 
out a geometrical pn/zle ahead of my dad one day. I wasn't 
especially delighted because I was not very competitive in 
my spirit--I go in there to win, but if I don't win, why, 
it doesn't break my heart. 

So geometry had a certain fascination for me. But it 
did a lot more than that. It opened my eyes to the fact that 
you have to start any research with some sort of a premise, 
and you have to accept it. We had the axioms of Euclid in 
those days. We didn't have the geometry that kids have 
now; it vjas just simply straight argument on a certain premise, 
And that fascinated me. So I enjoyed it and the result was, 
of course, that I got along quite all right and finished up 
there. I passed my examination at the end of the semester 



I skipped telling one thing that had quite an influence 
on me, and that is when I took my first violin lessons. 
Mother worked very hard to give me every advantage. We 
were moving around because, at that time of my father's 
life, his v;ork took him here and there and everyv/here. We 
couldn't have a piano, so she was very anxious for me to 
study the violin. She herself was very fond of violin music 
and violin playing. The idea pleased me very much. 

I very soon developed the strong feeling that art for 
the artist is a way of life. And always, ^^^hen I use the 
word artist, I mean people in all of the arts--music or 
drama or literature or any form we speak of as the fine 
ar+'-s Ti'or the T-iPonie for whom vre have any respect, it 
definitely is a way of life. It is a means of self-reali- 
zation. I've used this argument recently, but I don't know 
how much people would subscribe to the idea, because nobody 
has felt especially inclined to take it up as an argument. 
But it's an idea that I think has considerable validity. 
That is, x-Je look upon v;hat a person does and assess its im- 
portance, but not because of some intrinsic quality that 
a thing has. We say that the proof of the pudding is in 
the eating, which is perfectly true. If it tastes good, 
why, it's good pudding. But in the case of the poem or a 
symphony or a drama, it's not that. That isn't of the 
greatest importance, it seems to me. The thing which the 


artist has accomplished is a by-product. What we are really 
interested in is what has happened to that person. If it is 
a way of life, then before Shakespeare v/rote Hamlet , he was 
one Shakespeare and after he v;rote Hamlet , he v/as another 
Shakespeare. And if you feel that something has happened to 
that man, that's the important thing. Whether the play 
amuses you is quite important, yes, but it's not the most 
important thing. The important thing is the life of the 
person v7ho has done it. 

That enters into the argument: Whether a man is a great 
man if he hasn't done anything great. If he v;ere out in the 
v;ilderness and the great man did not leave some monument 
of his activity or of his thought or of his ability, is he 
still a great man? I say he is. The grpatness is an in- 
trinsic quality, and given a certain condition, that spirit 
has moved among us and accomplished certain things. If 
those things were all destroyed and you had nothing but his 
name, that doesn't mean that his greatness is any the less. 

So that thought had quite a lot of influence on me. 
It's also v;hy I criticize so much of the discussion and talk 
I hear evening after evening. I feel we lose getting into 
the depths of feeling with other people when we hear nothing 
but value judgments: "l like." "I don't like." "I think 
that's terrible." "l think Hitler's awful." "l think this 
is beautiful." Bang, bang. And if you raise your voice a 
little bit more, that makes it a bit more true. [laughter] 


But, by going back to Euclid and that kind of thinking, 
v;e can say: if this is so, then that is so and that is so. 
And you can finally unravel, unfold something that's very 
fascinating and very wonderful. Well, that sounds as though 
I were subscribing to a rational approach to life. What did 
Jung call it? The intellectual side instead of the intuitive 
--the one of sensation and feeling. But I think, on the 
whole, I've been fairly well balanced along those lines. 
I have sensation and feeling and intuition and reason, and 
none of them have gone too far. A certain balance has been 
maintained, although in some v/ays, it has not worked out 
from a very practical point of vievj. I always have been 
perfectly v;illing--even anxious--to have a certain place in 

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my ability. If I could teach vilth any degree of success, 
then I'd be extremely happy in teaching. But if it was 
nothing more than using a certain craft for a certain demand, 
such as an ordinary form of commercial art or sign painting, 
and if I could do it well, I'd be quite happy to earn my 
living in that way. 

That may be looked upon as a certain weakness. I never 
dreamt of being very famous, of leaving my mark in the world. 
Some people break their necks to win a prize, but I've 
never valued prizes too much, which I always have regretted. 
Whenever I got something for one of my paintings in the way 
of recognition, it always seemed to me it was for the vjrong 


picture or the wrong work. And after all, how v;as anybody 
to knov;? I suffered very severely from that. It's also 
been the other way around. 

In the old days I used to be on juries quite often, 
and I was terribly unhappy about it. How did I know what 
is the best? VJhy should they take my word that this is the 
finest thing in the show, that this should get the prize 
and that this should get a mention? Some people seem.ed to 
be quite sure of themselves. They knew v;hat art and good 
painting was all about, and they could tell right away and 
very happily went through with it and were very proud of 
themselves for doing it. But I never vjas. I always left 
a seance of that sort extremely tired and was often quite 

In some v;ays, my feeling has been rather borne out 
because in looking back, you can see that even in one life- 
time, the people who have been the fair-haired boys in various 
activities are now completely forgotten. And what makes me 
especially unhappy is when these people are rather downgraded 
because they belonged to certain movements in painting which 
now seem to us not to have been productive of anything very 
important. But at the time, the works were carried out by 
people who were very able and extremely dedicated. I am 
thinking of the period of social realism. It's the first 
one that comes to my mind. It vjas back in the thirties, 
and at that time, I was still out of step. All the young 


fellows that I knew were quite interested in that attitude 
toward work. It was in the days of the American Gothic-- 
Thomas Benton and [John] Curry, Grant Wood--that sort of 
feeling for painting. They were quite important painters 
at that time. It's too bad that we really don't appreciate 
them more now, because I think they had their place and im- 
portance and, historically, should not be neglected. 

So to get back to my development, I was endeavoring in 
some way to follow some rational approach to everything, 
such as when I got onto the time and space problem. I 
took it so seriously. It sounds as if I was trying to 
anticipate Kant or something of that sort, which isn't at 
all true, because there's one thing that has been rather 
consistent in all my activity through life and that is 
never--or as little as possible--to pursue any activity 
unless it has some meaning towards self-realization. 

Although my life has been dedicated really to art, 
especially the art of painting, it's not a v;ay of life 
that I subscribed to readily. I found that pictures seemed 
to have a strange meaning for me. In other words, there 
was an idea that although you could not explain things, 
there was a vast and very impressive field of purely intui- 
tive knov;ledge that could be gotten from art, not only from 
art but from all sorts of activities. 

Incidentally, my activities as a boy were extraordinarily 
varied. As I look back, I always did things for the experi- 
ence that could be gotten out of it rather than trying to 


Impose myself on a situation. It's rather hard to explain, 
but take a very simple thing: We came back from Mexico. 
My aunt was extremely Interested In her garden; she loved 
planting and growing flowers. She was a very good botanist, 
As I said, she was a high school teacher. She taught math 
and Latin, and I think she also taught botany In the high 
school In Kent. She loved that sort of thing, but I had a 
different sort of an attitude towards it. I v;anted to grov; 
things, too, but I wasn't especially Interested in growing 
flowers Just to produce something that was pretty and very 
beautiful. She was doing that. I wanted to do something 
else. They gave me a little piece of ground, and Father 
dug it up for me. I got some seeds. I was fascinated by 
the way a particular seed would come up this v;ay, then 
change to this, then change to that. Eventually, if we 
got some potatoes or some radishes or some lettuce, why, 
that v/as all to the good, that vjas fine, but the excitement 
was in participating in some strange way with living and 
growing of the things. 

The forces of nature fascinated me in the same sort 
of way. 

There was m.aybe a little bit of the builder, the en- 
gineering spirit of my ancestry in me, too. I loved to 
make things. 

I was very conscious of the fact that I would look at 
picture books or pictures on a wall with a tremendous 


interest, not only as to what they represented but how they 
were made. Even as a teenager, I became quite familiar 
with the techniques of drawing; I could deduce from repro- 
ductions that this was done with watercolor and this was 
painted in oil. I'd be quite excited when I could figure 
things out from the reproductions. In those days, color 
reproductions were very rare and v;hat reproductions we had 
it was not too clear as to the techniques and methods used. 
But sometimes you could make them out, and I found that 
quite exciting. 

What I have said so far is probably rather confusing 
because I cited various instances of experience, and what 
relation they had to some sort of integration for my activi- 
ties as I grev; up may not be very apparent. As I see it 
right now, it was really a sort of a struggle betvjeen the 
intuitive life and a rational one. They both had great 
appeal to me. For example, although I never had any ambi- 
tion to be an engineer, there were other forms of that which 
you might call roads of rationality, which I would have 
follovied quite happily. For example, I would have found 
law extremely interesting. And I have an idea that medi- 
cine, too, would have been a career that I could have de- 
voted myself to with great dedication. In both those fields, 
of course, you have the great advantage of being in activi- 
ties that are very much in dem.and. You feel that you're 
part of society. 


That was one thing that made me question more and 
more my impulse towards painting, because I'm sure Father 
thought that with my interest in art I was sort of a 
strange bird in his nest. He thought that if a picture 
looked like the subject and it was something worth look- 
ing at as a subject, why, that was a good picture. And 
he couldn't see there was anything else to it. Mother's 
tastes were literary, poetic, musical. Her feeling for 
painting was not very strong, and so it was rather a lone- 
some interest for me. I had it all to myself. I liked to 
draw and I liked to look at the pictures and I got trem- 
mendously excited sometimes by things for no special 
reason. But I would see something in its sheer existence. 

A little bit of v/hat I have in mind of what I am 
driving at, can be found in Joyce's theory of the epiphany, 
that through certain things you get a certain revelation. 
It may happen with a very commonplace experience, not one 
that's especially rational--or it may be--or it may come 
out of thin air as a message. I don't especially like the 
word "message." There are two things I'm rather suspicious 
of in the arts. One is a work of art having a message and 
also anything that suggests a teleological thing. What I 
have in mind may be something that's existential. I'm 
not sure about that. What I'm trying to do now is to steer 
clear of anything except a very genuine personal experience, 
How you interpret it or what school of thought you put it 


in is another matter. 

I liked to see things grov/ and I liked to use my 
hands] and in certain situations, I got certain experiences. 
The first time I heard Beethoven's Ninth Symphony I was 
greatly moved when it came to the final chorus. I still 
remember walking out Into the cold v;inter night under the 
stars, and I was tremendously moved. I was much more influ- 
enced by music in those days than later. But it alvjays meant 
quite a lot to me. And the same way with literature. It's 
not what it teaches or how it's supposed to influence, but 
what it is. 

That brings me to another very profound conviction that 
has arisen out of these experiences (or you may claim that 
it is of t.hpKP exnpri pncfts . that thp pxnRri - 
ence itself is an unknowable quantity and what you make of 
it, is what you're talking about), that all of the arts are 
in their real value the expression of the experience of ideas, 
not of the ideas themselves. I owe that to John Ciardi. 
Some years ago, he was discussing Dante, and tv.'ice during 
the discussion he expressed that idea. It's the first time 
that I ran across it worded that v;ay. But it made quite an 
impression and I still use It. I feel quite convinced that 
that idea and Joyce's idea of the epiphany have something 
in common. 

Anything that Is nonverbal, of course, you can't talk 
about it. If people walk up to a picture in the gallery 


and start talking about it, they're not seeing the picture. 
It only can be done in utter silence. It's the same way 
with music. You experience it or you don't get the music. 
If you want to argue afterwards as to what it's all about, 
that's all right. But it has no reality except in terms 
of sound. And a painting or sculpture or architecture 
or what have you has to be experienced with a quiet mind 
and with a certain empathy or else there is nothing which 
leads to this thing which I think is the essential value-- 
self -realization. 

In other words, in dividing vjhat we broadly speak of 
as commercial art and real art, it's simply that. In the 
vast amount of art that we see about us--and v;e have it 
ad infinitum --you have that which is manufactured. T up,e 
the terra "manufactured," but maybe there's some better v;ay 
of expressing it. I mean that you go ahead and make a cer- 
tain thing. You go to a carpenter and you say you want 
this, this and this. V/hether it has been done before a 
thousand times, he can do it again. If it's fine crafts- 
manship, it's a work of art. But the real thing--to my 
mind--is only the by-product. I feel that beyond the work 
of art vjas an experience through vjhich the man after having 
done this was not the same. If you experience Hamlet , you're 
not the same person after you've heard it as you were before. 
Art has that function. It's the opening up and raising 
the level of consciousness som.ehow. Otherwise it has no 


special linportance--it ' s an escape mechanism, or it's some 
kind of doodling, or it's a means for accomplishing some 
kind of ulterior purpose. It hasn't the real function in 
our lives which it ought to have. 

December 3, 19^5 

NUTTING: An influence in my Paris life was Otto Rank. 
My knovJing him brought a sort of climax to a line of 
thought that had been going on for some years. It really 
started back in Boston when I stayed v/ith my relative, 
Amy Bridgjnan, one summer. She had a school for young 
people who were having difficulty in school, not because 
of feeblemindedness but because of some emotional difficul- 
ties. And she v/as successful in her work. She'd get 
youngsters who appeared backward and with the help of 
proper physical and psychological diagnosis be able to 
help them, sometimes to a surprising extent. 

While staying with her that suimner, I became av;are that 
she relied a great deal on a psychologist in Boston. I've 
forgotten his name now, but he was quite well known at 
that time. A great many of her trips in Boston v;ere for 
conferences with him and with the youngsters. That was the 
first time that I had heard the name of Freud, which didn't 
mean much to me, but he sounded interesting. Afterwards 
in Munich, I heard more about Freud. His teachings, his 
writings were then causing a lot of talk and were the sub- 
ject of much argument. 

Psychoanalysis was on the crest of popular interest 
in the twenties. I too plunged in and read all that came 
to hand, but I had a special reason for exploring it. Being 


troubled with the tormenting mystery of the creative mind, 
I jumped at the idea that the Freudian concept of the un- 
conscious might throw some light on it. Reading was dis- 
appointing and I yearned to find someone who was an author- 
itative exponent of the theory and from whom I could learn 
something of its application. It really amounted to a 
desire to undergo a short analysis with someone competent, 
and in that vjay to get insight by experiencing its work- 

A young history teacher from Yale turned up in Paris 
on his way back from Switzerland where he had been in analy- 
sis with Carl Jung for some time. He was great fun and very 
interesting. I pumped him all I could about Jung. The up- 
shot was that I decided to write Jung and ask about the 
possibility of a short period of analysis with him. After 
quite a long time I got a letter from him, which I am sor- 
ry to say is lost. He apparently typed it himself and it 
began "j received your letter..." and instead of "l" it was 
"j" this and "j" that. It wound up "Yours truly" and with 
no signature. Anyway it seems he was doing no more analysis 
and he gave me the name of a pupil in Zurich, a woman who he 
thought V'^as very good. 

In the meantime I learned of the arrival in Paris of 
Otto Rank. Now Rank was one of Freud's first pupils and 
a founder of the psychoanalytic Journal Imago . Boy, maybe 
here is our chancel I hunted him up and explained quite 


frankly what I had in mind, that I was not a troubled soul 
in search of help, that I had tried to learn from reading 
many things. Including some of his writings, and that I 
felt something of great practical value in my v;ork might 
come from what he could give me. He demurred, which did 
not surprise me, and suggested the name of Dr. AHendy. I 
said that as a matter of fact Dr. Allendy was a friend of 
ours, that I had not too much faith in him, not because I 
doubted his capabilities but that he was somewhat a new- 
comer in the field. 

After World War I, I Dr. Robert Allendy, a member 
of the psychoanalytic society of Paris. He headed a larger 
group which was for the investigation of modern thought. 
They held regular evening meetings ^t the Sorbonne for 
lectures. Alfred Adler was one of the speakers at one 
time; I was quite interested in his lecture. But Allendy 
had a great variety of people who talked--like the Futurist 
Marinetti, and others. We became rather good friends with 
the Allendys and had very delightful evenings. Their con- 
versation was really quite vjonderful on all sorts of subjects 

As a matter of fact, one thing I miss about Paris is 
the good conversation one can have there. They seemed to 
love to get together just to have good conversation and dis- 
cuss things in a free and easy way. That was just one part 
of the necessities of life--to have meetings for a good talk. 
That doesn't seem so common with us--or at least I haven't 


experienced it as much since those days. 

Dr. Allendy got me more interested in psychoanalysis. 
I read everything I could lay my hands on at the time, in- 
cluding his own books, and those of another French writer 
named Baudouin, who talked about art. My interest in it 
wasn't exactly what other people showed in their talk on 
the subject of psychoanalysis. In those days, it seemed 
to be a much simpler matter than it has proved to be. All 
you had to do was to remember your dreams and be careful 
not to talk about your dreams too much in public because 
you gave yourself away. They almost seemed to think that 
Freud was a writer of a dream book in v/hich the symbols meant 
this, that and the other thing, and all you had to do v;as 
to know the symbols and you could psychoanalyze yourself 
and all that foolishness. I felt it was extremely shallov;, 
and most of the time I was rather annoyed when people pre- 
tended to know a lot about psychoanalysis. 

There was one thing that interested me, especially in 
the readings of Allendy and Baudouin, and that was the func- 
tion of the subconscious or the unconscious (v;hichever it 
might be called by the writer), in the life of the creative 
artist. It was very obvious to me that in this mystery of 
a creative work, things came from the unknown, and we could 
call it the "unconscious" as well as anything else. There 
was no real way of tracking down the inspiration of art to 
any very definite source, and I thought that Freud might 


have something to contribute along those lines. 

As I said once before, I did not enter the profession 
of art, of being a painter, altogether willingly. I 
questioned it, largely because, although it always seemed 
a very Grange and very wonderful thing, I couldn't figure 
out exactly hov; to fit it into v/hat you might call the prac- 
tical life. Curiously enough, I alv/ays had some vision or 
aspiration of what you might call a practical life, having 
a certain place in the vjorld in which you contributed some- 
thing that somebody v/anted. You became part of society in 
a way that's not so obvious in the case of the painter. 

That vjas especially true in view of the conceptions 
of art that were held by most of the people I associated 
wLth as a youngster. They thought the artist was some queer 
duck who was not altogether normal. If he made pretty pic- 
tures and they looked like nature, why, that v.'as good, but 
if they looked horrible that was terrible, [laughter] So it 
was a lonesome job. On the one hand, I had the common ex- 
perience of all grov.'ing youngsters, especially when they 
get into adolescence, of seeing the necessity of having a 
rational attitude toward life and being able to think things 
out as clearly as possible. That v;as largely the influence 
of my New England parentage, who had that attitude towards 

On the other hand--what I did not at that time put into 
words--was the intuitive knowledge that you get. During 


all of my childhood, as far back as I can remember, my 
strongest experiences have been on the intuitive side. I 
could not neglect them. I got what Joyce would call 
epiphanies from things seen, more than anything else. So 
my curiosity ranged very far afield in all sorts of sub- 
jects. I was really quite interested in everything from 
growing potatoes to working out my arithmetic lesson--any- 
thing that gave some sort of an experience and involved the 
use of the mind in both aspects, the rational and the intui- 

Finally, my enthusiasm for art became very great. At 
the age of thirteen, it became somewhat of an obsession 
(using the v/ord advisedly). I v;anted to see; I wanted 

imagine. I think that possibly the genuis vjill do it un- 
questioningly. He knows. I didn't know. I wanted to find 
out. The person with any very great talent, like a young 
Michelangelo, simply starts in when he ' s a youngster carving 
stones and he's carving stones until he's a very old man, 
because through that work he gets this self-realization. 
As I say, v:hat I felt to be important v/as that the 
activity leaves an experience which enlarges your awareness, 
your consciousness, your sense of wonder in life, and which 
can be the only meaning to life. I could see right away 
that if you walked along the path of argument, you would 
come to the place, which is really the Jumping-off place. 


where there is no answer to the questions: who am I? 
why am I here? It didn't take me long to find that those 
questions are there but cannot be answered. But, through 
a certain revelation of experience that I v;ould get once 
in a v;hile, I V70uld find meaning. I say once in a while, 
because in the constant search there would be a lot that 
I v/ould read that v/ould be enjoyable, a lot that I v;ould 
think v/as very v;onderful and very fine; then, all of a sud- 
den, maybe one small part of this experience would suddenly 
hit with a terrific bang, and I wouldn't know v;hy. The 
strongest ones, curiously enough, happened in painting. 
I will have to take that up with a discussion of my expe- 
rience in painting. 

These experiences also aroused c5^uestions of--why? 
And I thought, vjell, maybe these complexes that Freud talks 
about will be something that would give some clue. If you 
could get ahold of those, bring them out into the open and 
see v;hat they v/ere, maybe you could make them work if 
they v/ere of value. If they were not of value, you could 
forget them and not have them troubling you. 

After my conversations with Allendy and after reading his 
works, Baudouin's, and Freud's, Rank's and others, I finally 
wrote to Jung. I had a portrait commission that had brought 
in a rather larger suro than usual at that time. It was 
rather unexpected, somev;hat of a windfall, and I figured 
that I might be able to spend a little money, since none 


of my reading had satisfied rne. I found that Freud was 
diffident about the problem of the artist and finally ad- 
mitted that he had little to contribute. There were certain 
aspects of a work of art in which he was interesting, and 
other writers were interesting in analyzing art, but they 
were of no use to me because I wanted to know what was 
the essence of it--what made a good painting ? what made 
a great work of art? It could not be simply expressed in 
terms of the content. 

The fact is that I began doing purely abstract compo- 
sitions long before I even knev; that people would take that 
sort of thing seriously. I didn't know anything about 
[Wassily] Kandinsky at the time or the other abstract 
painters of seme years later. Although Kandinsky at that 
time was doing his purely abstract work, I didn't knov; it, 
of course, being in places like St. Paul and Boston. 

So this problem got to be rather obsessive with me. 
There v;as a young teacher from Yale who was in Paris for 
a while, and we spent some time together. He was a 
charming, interesting fellow. He had just come back from 
being vjith Jung for some months. He talked about Jung's 
work; so I decided I would write to Jung. I thought that 
Jung seemed to be more of a thinker along the lines that 
were bothering me than any of the others. I had no idea 
of being a patient. I didn't feel myself at all sick. I 
just wanted to know something, to get a little understanding 


of this subject. 

Then I discovered that Otto Rank v;as in Paris, and 
so I vjent around and called on Rank and told him what I 
v;anted. Of course, this may seem rather absurd; I suppose 
that most people went to him because they had troubles of 
some sort and v/anted something in the way of a cure. I 
did not want a cure. I was quite frank v;ith him about 
some of my curiosity, that there seemed to be nothing that 
I could get from my reading on self-analysis that seemed to 
be of any value, but at the same time, I felt that there 
was something in the theory of psychoanalysis that might 
be extremely important to me if I could get some signs of 
actual experience of vjhat could be done v;ith the technique. 

TaTqTI Vio H OTniiT'r>or1 qi-iH vran + or! -h r\ I- i-i (-^T»T iirV-nr T H T H n ' + cm 

to some of the other analysts. The upshot of it was that 
he consented to take me on. Some years afterwards, he pub- 
lished a book called Art and the Artist . I rather suspect 
that one of the reasons that he accepted me v;as because I 
was a very serious young fellow in the field of art. He 
had a chance to observe another member of the fraternity, 
so to speak. 

Rank had a beautiful apartment that overlooked the 
Bois de Boulogne. It had a big window that looked out 
over the park. He had this huge couch, which was more 
or less V7hat I expected, and he made me very comfortable 
there and we started the discussion. The experience 


wasn't especially rich. I don't knov; exactly what his 
technique was, but he did not take people for long periods 
of time, in contrast to people who spend years in analysis. 
Three months, more or less, was the limit of his treat- 
ments--or whatever you v/ant to call them. 

He v;as a very interesting little man, and one of the 
most impressive things about him to me was the degree in 
which he kept himself out of the picture. I used to go 
into his waiting room, and then he opened the door and 
peeked around it. He v;ouldn't enter the waiting room. 
Then he'd smile and nod, and I'd go in and lie dov/n on 
the couch. He'd sit just a little bit back of me, out 
of sight, and I'd look out at this beautiful view of the 
Bois de Boulogne. In the I'lrst part of my experience v;ith 
him, I went every day; then he spaced it out to every tv/o 
or three days and then a week and then maybe once a month. 
So I suppose if they v;ere a daily affair, the number of 
visits v;ould total three months. But I don't see exactly 
hov; he figured it out because the last time I saw ,him, I 
hadn't seen him for maybe a couple of months. 

I wanted to knov; what he wanted me to talk about, 
and he said anything at all. So I just started talking, 
and once in a v/hile, he'd make some little comment. Then 
once in a while, he'd bring up the idea of a dream. He 
never asked me especially about dreams, but if I did have 
dreams, he said that he'd be interested. And that v;as 


another thing that surprised me. I got the idea from my 
reading that the analysis of a dream was something that 
would take a long time and that you had to go through free 
association and a patient unraveling of its meaning. But 
Rank didn't use that idea at all v/ith me. Maybe he did with 
other people, but I don't know. 

He would listen to it, and sometimes he'd confess that 
he couldn't make anything of it. Then he'd say, "V7ell, I 
think" (t'ink) "that it means this and this." And he'd say 
something about it. Then he'd say, "isn't it? Isn't it?" 
And sometimes I v;ould be rather dubious because it didn't 
sound like a very convincing explanation to me; and at other 
times, it seemed to be extremely obvious and I wondered v;hy 
I hadn't thought of it myself. 

One example of that sort of thing was a dream I had 
in which I v.'as walking down a road in a country v;hich wasn't 
too fertile. It was farmland. There were three of us, 
and I think that the other two people v;ere psychologists 
or psychiatrists or people in that field. They didn't 
seem to be any special people. They might have been Freud 
and Ferenczl or someone of that sort, you know. As we 
walked down the road, we passed a little property, a little 
house and garden and a little farm behind it. In my dream 
I said, "VJhen the 'tremens' expire, I become owner of this 
property." And it v;as a very simple, very clear little 

That was all there was to it, and when I awoke, I 


thought I should be able to analyze that. Tremens, tremens? 
I thought of delirium tremens, but I'd never had delirium 
tremens. I've been squiffed a few times, but I had never 
gone much further than that. There didn't seem to be any 
association to delirium tremens or trembling or anything 
of the sort, and I couldn't see anything to this. The 
dream seemed to make no sense whatsoever, so I told my 
dream to Rank. He said, "Yes, yes. In three months. 
Tres menses . " Three months, Latin.' [laughter] Where in 
the world I got that I don't know. But it was very obvious. 

In other words, when my sessions V7ith him expired, I 
v;ould be in possession of something in the way of property. 
Of course, there was a lot more to the dream because the 
property wasn't a very impressive estate. It was a very 
nice place, but it vjasn't anything to be especially proud 
of. So, I don't knov; whether that was a comment of my sub- 
conscious, or v/hat. 

I really had great respect for Rank and already admired 
him for several reasons. One thing was his extraordinary 
memory; he kept no notes. He would say, "You remember 
last V/ednesday when you told me this or that," and I couldn't 
remember v;hat I said last VJednesday. But he would name the 
date I said something and quote stuff that I had told him 
verbatim. So, in many ways, besides being very pleasant 
to know, he was also one that excited quite a lot of admira- 
tion on my part. I had great respect for him on account of 


the remarkable work he had done in his association with 

In another of my dreams, I was playing in a park 
someplace in Paris along the river. It was a very beauti- 
ful day, tov.'ards evening, and I v;as out and walking around. 
A friend of mine had a rubber ball and we started tossing 
this rubber ball back and forth to each other. There were 
children playing down by the river bank and people were 
under the trees. And v;ith the sunlight and the pine trees, 
it was all very charming and pleasant. But there was one 
little man in a gray suit vjho was wandering around in an 
absent-minded sort of v/ay, and he was always walking between 
myself and my friend. So I'd hold the ball until he got by, 
find then we'd acrain start tossin^ the ball. The first 
thing you know, here he vjould be walking between us again 
and stopping and looking around and not paying any atten- 
tion to us. I vfould v;ait, and then we'd go on playing v;ith 
our ball. Finally (I think about the third time that he 
appeared on the scene), I gave him a terrific kick in the 
derriere. And I said, "Do get the hell out of here.'" 
[laughter] And Rank said, "Yes, yes, I was that man." 

Well, that rather startled me. I said, "Hov/ do you 
knov; you were the man?" 

He said, "Do you remember the last time you came, I 
wore a gray suit for the first time? It v;as a very warm 
day, and I put on a light gray suit, one I hadn't v7orn for 


a long time. You had seen me in a dark suit up to that 
time . " 

I didn't remember the gray suit. The fact is, as I 
say, he kept himself so out of the picture that I never had 
too clear a picture of him except his peeking around the 
door and saying come in, and the sound of his voice. He 
spoke very good English, but with a German accent. 

Once I was having lunch on a terrace in Fontainebleau, 
and I looked around and I vjas surprised to see somebody 
v;ho looked vaguely familiar. I looked at him and then 
I looked at him again, and the first thing I knevj, he 
bowed and smiled. He v;as about twenty or thirty feet 
away at another table. By Jove, it v/as Rank. But seeing 
him uiiexpeetedly in a strange place, I didn't place him 
right away. He seemed to have systematically kept himself 
in the background. He was hardly more than a voice to m^e, 
and, even at that, he didn't talk very much. He was very 
quiet, but he made these very sharp and penetrating obser- 
vations . 

Some of my dreams had enough meaning for maybe imme- 
diate practical purposes. I don't know how far he would 
want to push this analyzing a dream--going back to your 
childhood. But there was one, in which somebody 
v/ith a pick was digging away at the base of a cliff, not 
having any effect on it v/hatsoever. Then, all of a sud- 
den, a part of the cliff started to give way, and the fellow 


with the pick backed off and waited for it, and sure enough, 
there v;as quite a mass of the cliff that fell down. 

My observation was that it seemed to mean that vie were 
not accomplishing much. But that I had a subconscious 
feeling that if it were carried just a little bit further, 
it vjould loosen a mass of materials and we'd really get 
something out of our work. To a certain extent, I was con- 
vinced of that, because I had been going for some days and 
our conversation, our talk--it seemed to me--had been rather 
empty. It had no special significance and it didn't seem 
to be getting anywhere. It didn't seem to me that I was 
telling anything of any special importance. There were 
no revelations of my life or any problems that you couldn't 
talk about quite sensibly and they didn't require anything 
in the way of profound analysis to deal v;ith them. 

But then, one day, I v/as convinced that something v;as 
happening. On my way to my seance with him, I v:as parking 
my little car (I had a little Citroen car), and just as I 
was parking, a big swanky car rushed in ahead of me and 
almost struck me. Well, it v;as driven by a chauffeur in 
livery who was very imposing. Apparently, the fellow felt 
that he owned the world. Ordinarily in a situation of that 
sort, I don't blov; up because what are you going to do? 
You can remonstrate, "That vjas a lousy thing you did," and 
that sort of thing, but if I can't see anything very practi- 
cal to do I hold my temper, I take it easy. 


In this case I didn't. I didn't exactly lose my 
temper--that was the curious thing--it wasn't a case of 
blowing my top. I just simply stepped out of my car and 
walked around and read this liveried chauffeur a lecture 
on the v;ay to treat people in traffic. After it was all 
over, I was so amazed at myself because I couldn't imagine 
myself doing it. OrdinarL3y, I might have done something, 
but it wouldn't have been exactly that. In other words, I 
seemed to be reacting differently to the situation than 
I ever had before. I couldn't remember a similar situation 
that exactly paralleled my feeling and attitude and behavior 
in that little adventure. 

So I got to Rank and I told him more or less what I 
have Just been ssving. Here, all of this time v.'e had been 
talking about what I thought was nothing of any special 
importance, but I had gotten a little bit of an idea of some 
pattern of my thought and experience. Also I had gotten a 
little clue on the way in which dreams v;ill symbolize feel- 
ings which are completely unconscious, especially in that 
case of telling Rank to please get the hell out of here. 
That vfas something that I could not imagine that I had any- 
place in my mind. But apparently deep down in me, he was 
interfering with something that I was wanting to do. Yet 
there vjas nothing in our talk or conversation that could make 
it at all reasonable. 

And so Rank said, "Well, I will tell you something 


that you may find rather comforting. I don't understand 
what happens." He said, "You don't ujiderstand, and neither 
do I." [laughter] He just simply knew that from experience 
he could expect that certain things could happen if they 
were handled rightly and if the person's psyche and per- 
sonality could be influenced for the better along certain 
lines. But he wouldn't pretend at all to try to give me 
a lecture on v;hy it was happening because he said, "l don't 
know." So that really is a summation of a very valuable 
experience along those lines of thought. 

My friend, Ramon Guthrie, who is now professor of 
French literature at Dartmouth, also went to Rank. Guthrie 
was not injured physically but very badly shaken up by a 
fall. He was an aviator during V7orld V/ar I, and one of 
those kites that they flew in those days came apart in 
some v/ay, and he fell from a considerable height. He was 
unconscious for some time. [As a result of the fall], I 
think that all his life he has suffered from a nervous 
condition that has been quite a problem with him. I used 
to tell him about my seances with Rank and we'd discuss 
things quite a lot. He was also interested, and he final- 
ly decided that maybe Rank could be a help to him. He v;ent 
and was with Rank for some time, and I believe that he was 
very happy with the results. He really got quite a lot out 
of it, although it didn't result in any complete cure of 
his troubles. The last I heard of him he still would visit 


in Paris with Dr. Vinchon, whom he was very fond of. He 
would be with Dr. Vinchon for some time during his frequent 
vacations in Paris. 

Anyway he v/ent to Rank and told me some very interest- 
ing experiences that he had v/ith him. Sometimes they 
v;ere quite amusing. I think the most amusing one was 
v;hen he told Rank about his difficulties in writing. 
Ramon wrote some quite good novels and very good verse 
and did some translations from the French into English. 
He was quite an industrious v/riter, but he wrote viith a 
certain amount of difficulty, in contrast to his very good 
friend. Red Lewis [Sinclair Lewis]. I say good friend, 
V7ith the emphasis on the good, because they seemed so 

^\^t\j\j^^ t/w Win- <^ 1 i <j yj ii'^ J. . iijc^i. c iridiD a. iiiLiou.ct_L CK^juXi. d l^XUil 

society, and they loved to be together. Yet they had 
little in common in looks and manner and speech and, in 
many ways, their ways of thinking, but above all, in their 
methods of work. 

Lewis was a very hearty and rather hard-drinking sort 
of a fellow. When he was writing, he would not drink, 
but when his book was finished and had gone to press, 
then he could go off and forget things for a^^fhile. I 
never met him when he v;as really sober. That doesn't mean 
that he was drunk all the time. It simply means that I 
wasn't around him too much, but at parties, he always 
seemed to have a little bit more than was good for the 


decorum of a party. But Lewis, of course, was a profes- 
sional viriter. He had done nev;spaper v;ork, and as is very 
often true of people of that type, he had very rigorous 
methods of work. He believed that the only way to get 
anything done was through contact of the seat of your 
pants with the chair in front of your typewriter a certain 
length of time every day. And he did it. In that way, 
of course, he did a great deal of writing. 

Ramon was telling Rank about his own difficulties 
in writing, how he could only write for a short period, 
and then he'd have to go into something else. I remember 
seeing that was true v;hen I spent a vacation with him down 
at Dordogne in the south of France, down where the Cro- 

a couple of months. He did this writing in the morning. 
He'd get up early and v;rite, and then he'd go out and buy 
a newspaper, sit on the curb and read the newspaper. Then 
he'd go back and write some more. Then he'd come out and 
wander around for awhile. Then he'd go back and vjrite 
some more. He didn't have the strength to really hold 
himself to his job hour after hour for a specified time. 
But in that way, he did quite a lot of writing and certainly 
did a great amount of study. 

Rank listened to the description of his troubles very 
patiently and then Ramon wound up by telling him that he 
wished he could be more like Lewis, that he would be much 


more efficient in his work if only he could work like 
Sinclair Levels, that it would be a great advantage to his 

Rank had not said anything until the end. Then he 
spoke [v:ith his heavy accent], "Well, I will ask you a 
rhetorical question. I think it is a question you can 
often ask yourself very prof itably--why the hell should 
you?" [laughter] 

I regret that the width of the continent has separated 
Ramon and ourselves so completely. None of our Paris 
friends do I remember v;ith more warmth and admiration 
than I do Ramon Guthrie. Some years ago when Invitation 
to Learning was on the air I turned on the radio one morn- 
ing to listen to it and to m.y great Rurprise I heard a 
familiar voice. That, I thought, can be nobody but Ramon. 
It vias Ramon. The group was discussing Marcel Proust and 
I listened fascinated. I think it was Lyman Bryson who 
made some reference to the number of times Ramon had read 
Proust in entirety. Ramon admitted he had read X_ la 
Recherche du Perdu through a great many times--it 
seems to me he said eighteen times! I think that must 
have been an average of about once a year. 

He told me that his father had once ridden his horse 
into the hotel Waldorf Astoria. 

The loss of his father when Ramon was quite young 
necessitated his becoming a help in family support with 


the result that the poor kid, from long hours of work, 
would fall asleep at his desk in school. Then came the 
war, interrupting his schooling. He became an aviator 
and flew one of those kites that v;ere used in World V7ar 
I. Some imperfection, even possible sabotage, caused 
his plane to fall and he was unconscious for some days. 
I remember him as a slender, quiet-mannered man and 
though we never spoke of any physical difficulty I had 
reason to believe that the shock of his accident left 
him with a nervous problem. He paid regular visits to 
a Dr. Vichon in Paris, of whom he was fond, and later got 
help from Otto Rank. I have forgotten what they called 
the G.I. Bill in those days, but through its equivalent, 
he went to the University of Toulouse and completed his 
studies there so successfully that he first joined the 
faculty of the University of Arizona and later that of 
Dartmouth College. 

To carry on about my experience with Rank, it's 
rather interesting the v/ay that I started something. I 
not only got Ramon going to Rank--and also getting a great 
deal of benefit from it--but also our neighbor down the 
hall, Ludwig Lewisohn's wife, Thelma. Lewisohn v.'as one 
of our real friends in Paris, and we sav; a great deal of 
him. Anybody who has read his novel. The Case of Mr. Crump , 
knows that his married life was unhappy (his first m.arriage). 
He was divorced after many years. His second marriage 


wasn't really much more successful. Thelma vjas a New 
England girl who married a Jev/ish traveling salesman in 
some little town up in Vermont or someplace. She was very- 
ambitious to be a singer, and apparently the salesman was 
doing pretty v;ell because she did get some musical educa- 
tion in New York and studied singing and felt herself to 
be very talented. She tried really quite hard in Paris 
to make an impression, but she was a rather impossible 
sort of a young vioman. Lewisohn was very patient with 
her and rather wonderful, but how in the world he made 
such a terrible boner in his marriage the second time is 
something I could never quite understand because they viere 
not in the least compatible. 

VIell, he had an idea that Rank might be able to do 
something by psychoanalyzing Thelma; so he sent Thelma, 
and Rank took her on for I don't know how long a time. I 
doubt if it vxas very successful because I don't think very 
much could be done with her. I think it v/as just that she 
v/as m.ade that way. It resulted, though, in something 
rather interesting so far as Rank and Lewisohn were con- 
cerned. They apparently became quite good friends and saw 
a great deal of each other. Rank's book Art and the Artist , 
which came out later, has a preface by Ludwig Lewisohn, so 
Rank must have admired Lewisohn. It wasn't published 
until 1932, which was quite a number of years afterwards. 

What I skipped telling, which also was an influence. 


was the fact that my boss in the Red Cross, Joseph Collins, 
was a psychiatrist and neurologist, and he and I became 
good friends. VJe used to take long walks in the hills 
outside of Rome. Sometimes when v;e would get a day off, 
we would have lunch together. Although he v;as a much 
older man than I, he seemed to find me fairly good com- 
pany and I profited a great deal by arguing with him. He 
was somewhat anti-Freudian, which made it interesting, 
because he could bring up all of the arguments against 
the things that I would mention. After that, my interest 
in psychoanalysis--I v/on't say died down--became very much 

A man whose v;ork I enjoy is Jung. It's not a question 
of arguing v;hether yc)\: are a Jungian or a Freudian because, 
of course, I cannot be either. I take my nourishment where 
I find it. Sometimes I'll find it in one man and an 
equally nourishing amount in a man who is diametrically 
opposed. I think from the point of view of the artist, 
there is something strongly suggestive in Jung's concept 
of the unconscious. In Freud, you get the idea that the 
unconscious is a repository of stuff that you've shoved 
out of sight or sv;ept under the rug. It still functions, 
but you don't know it because it's really more the stuff 
that you've refused. V/hereas, with Jung's idea of the 
archetypes and that of the subconacious or the unconscious 
as being Just as much a part of you as the conscious mind 


and is infinitely greater in its potential is something 
that really has meaning to me. It's not just a theoretical 
meaning of psychology, but rather it's an awareness that 
you can have a certain amount of faith. And if you don't 
like your work and you wonder where in the vjorld that 
came from, don't think that it's a piece of refuse that 
you've thrown av;ay which suddenly has come up to the sur- 
face, because in some way, it is really a valid part of 
you and you mustn't refuse it. It'll take care of itself 
if you keep on v;orking and bringing those fields more and 
more into your conscious life and work, the conscious 
effort to produce something. 

The ordinary Freudian idea of a work of art is just 
about the content. T have earlier exnrRsspd mv diffinnlt.v 
in accepting any of the analyses of people like Ernest 
Jones, for example, or some of the others v.'ho are very 
ex cathedra when they talk about a work of art. It's as 
if they are only talking about the content--what the pic- 
ture is of or what the story is about. My argument--which 
I don't remember anybody ever taking me on for, but it 
seems to me it's a good start for an exploration of what 
I mean--is this: If you have a painting which seems to 
you superb, and gives you a terrific bang, that is a great 
piece of painting, that is a great work of art. But if 
that painting is copied by somebody, who, by careful work 
and careful measurements has copied the painting piece by 


piece and has made a picture which at a distance resembles 
the original very much, he has made something that is ab- 
solutely worthless from the point of view of the painter. 
That thing which made the original something of great power 
is gone completely and you're simply left with a still 
life, a Madonna, a historical picture, a Napoleon, or 
this or that. From a psychological point of view, it can 
be interesting in its symbolism and as evidence of tenden- 
cies of this and that in the psyche of the painter, but 
it is outside the field of any real validity so far as 
being a work of art is concerned. So that is that strand 
of my development. 

I talked about my efforts to find a little knowledge 
of poychoanalysiG, first of all by writing to Jung, and 
by going then to Rank, and that I was inspired to write 
to Jung by knowing a young man v;ho v/as a teacher of history 
at Yale. He was just back from Zurich and spent part of 
his vacation in Paris. V7e had some long talks together, 
and I questioned him a great deal about Jung and his teach- 
ing. Once in a while he would tell some amusing stories 
or give imitations of Jung's way of talking. One thing 
that I thought was amusing v;as his description of Jung's 
theory that there are certain activities that one should 
follov; in the development of what Jung calls "inferior 
functions," that is, Jung's theory of the function of thought, 
of feeling, of sensation and intuition. If a person lives 


a life that is not balanced, say, too much on the side of 
the field of thought, thinking would be the superior 
function and feeling would be an inferior function in 
that case. 

He thought one of the best v/ays of developing an 
all-around sense of the functions was theater. According 
to this boy, he was quite a believer in the value of ama- 
teur theatricals or any activity of that sort which v;ould 
be devoted entirely to the development of the inferior 
functions. He thought it v/ould be a great contribution to 
society to have that kind of a theater. And he said, "Just 
imagine how impressive it would be if you had a building 
and up in lights you had as the name of the theater, the 
'Theater of the Inferior Functions.' Don't you think that 
would attract a big crowd?" [laughter] 

I spoke about my bringing Rank and Ludv^ig Lewisohn 
together and their becoming good friends and also the 
fact that Lewisohn wrote the preface to Rank's book. Art 
and the Artist , which apparently Rank v/as v/orking on at 
the time I was being analyzed by him. Our Paris studio 
was in a new building and down the hall was an apartment 
exactly like ours, which had been occupied by George Biddle, 
of whom I would like to speak later. George left Paris 
and I heard that Ludwig Lewisohn was to be our next neighbor, 
That interested me very much because at that time his book 
called Upstream had made somewhat of a sensation, and he 


had become quite a famous figure, for the time being at 
least. I was looking forward to knov/ing him. 

Blddle's stuff was all moved out and we waited to 
see our new neighbors. One day I was sitting quietly in 
my studio and there was a terrific bang that shook the 
building. It sounded as though somebody had dropped 
something terrifically heavy out in the hall. I went 
out to see v/hat had happened, and there Ludwig Lewisohn V7as 
standing, looking very puzzled and somewhat distressed. A 
fellow had brought a box of books up the six flights of 
stairs. They had no lift for freight, only this small 
elevator that you were supposed to use coming up but not 
going down. It vjas too small to bring up anything larger 

„ J — ._ _. — J „•»_ — »j-, .^ „„ ^„ ^^ 

stairs by hand. It was a new building, and it seems 
rather preposterous, but true. 

This fellow had gotten this box of books up to the 
top of the stairs and almost to Lewisohn 's door when it 
fell off his shoulder and burst, and the books were scat- 
tered all up and down the hall. Here v;as this man, v/ho 
was rather fat and who looked like he might be quite a 
jolly sort of a person, with this very distressed look on 
his face as he saw all of his books on the floor. Then I 
realized it was Ludwig Lewisohn. Well, that was quite a 
surprise to me, because I had pictured him from his writings, 
especially Upstream , as an overworked, thin, v;orried-looking 


man. I could imagine his thin face and maybe some little 
whiskers. But the exact opposite of this person was 
standing there wondering what to do about his books. So 
that was Ludwig Lewisohn. 

The Case of_ Mr. Crump is supposed to be, more or less, 
autobiographical. If it hadn't been for Thelma, our life 
would have been extremely pleasant. VJell, I have to do 
Justice to Thelma. She didn't do anything to make it 
especially disagreeable, but she v/asn't a very pleasant 
addition to our entourage, v/hereas Ludwig Lewisohn was. 
I enjoyed knowing him, not only for the pleasure of his 
company, but also because in so many ways he was a man of 
wide culture and most interesting in his talk. 

He, like Sinclair Lev;is, was a person v;ho had the abil' 
ity to keep regular hours v/hen he was working. We had a 
studio in the top of the building in the Rue Schoelcher 
and above us were small rooms that v;ere supposed to be 
used by servants. If you happened to keep a servant, 
you could also rent a room for the servant, but not many 
people did. Lewisohn used his as a study. They lived in 
the studio apartment, and then he could go upstairs to do 
his work. His room was right above my studio, and I could 
hear his typewriter going at nine o'clock every morning. 
Well, I knew perfectly well that he didn't feel very much 
like working at nine o'clock, [laughter] But it never 
seemed to faze him in the least. 


So I remarked on it one day. I said, "I think it 
is perfectly amazing that you always start writing at a 
certain hour every morning." 

"Well, Myron," he said, "that's very true. I have 
trained myself to that through the years. I knew that if 
I had to earn my living with writing and teaching, I had 
to budget my time. One thing in my ambition to be a 
creative writer was not to depend upon inspiration, but 
rather to depend simply upon doing a certain amount of 
work. I find that it works; that is the way to do it. 
Very often I'll go to my typewriter full of ideas, think- 
ing that I'm going to have a wonderful morning and every- 
thing is going to be fine, but when I get through, I'll 
throw ever'^'^thin"' I've done in the v/aste^^aper basket. 
Another day I'll go to work v;ithout an idea in my head, 
feeling perfectly lousy, hating the v/hole idea, but I 
start doing something and, likely as not, that will be 
one of my best days' vjork. So I don't bank on how I feel 
or what ideas I have in my head, but I have great faith in 
doing something. By continually doing it, a certain pro- 
portion of it v/ill be something that I'll want to salvage 
and it will be part of my oeuvre, part of my work." 

Ludwig was very hospitable. He loved to have people 
around him, and his evenings were very interesting. By 
that time, of course, he had made a name for himself. I 
imagine he's somewhat of a forgotten writer now, but he 


was well knovm in those days for his novels. He v;as also 
a critlc--a music critic and drama critic--and he did a 
great deal of that. He also wrote verse. So, invita- 
tions for his evenings were accepted by interesting peo- 
ple. It was in his studio that I'd meet people like Joseph 
Wood Krutch; I remember having a very interesting conversa- 
tion with him. There was Josef Hoffman, a famous archi- 
techt and art influence in Vienna. There v/as a sort of 
renaissance of decorative arts in Vienna in thos days. 
I met Theodore Dreiser and Sinclair Lewis there. Sinclair 
Lewis disgraced himself abominably there one evening. 

Dreiser I found very interesting. I met him only a 
few times. I met him there and at other friends' houses, 

but the even in"" '^hS''" ^ T'e"^ Vtit>'. a-l- T nrJi.T-i rrto 4-Kq /^j^Trr i^Tcii-iQ 

to sit happened to be next to him. I went over and sat 
down, and he started talking. He wanted to know what I 
was doing. I told him I was painting. He wanted to know 
if I was interested in Japanese art and Oriental art. Which 
rather surprised me, because from his v;riting I would never 
guess that that might be one of his interests. But apparent- 
ly it was--he was very much interested. 

So we discussed painting and art for a little v;hile, 
and he said, "Where's your studio?" 

And I said, "just down the hall a few doors." He 
said, "Let's go and see your work." So v;e got up and went 
to my studio and he looked at the things on my wall, and 


again I felt somehow they v;eren't the sort of things that 
he would like because of the realism of his writings. And 
these more introverted, romantic things of mine, it didn't 
seem to me, would be anything that would appeal to him. 
So just to break the silence, I made some remark about 
my being rather romantic. And he said, "That's why I like 
them.'" VJhich surprised me. 

And then he told me that story, which Powys himself 
tells, about the Negro boy who was very bad in looking 
after the cattle. Nothing could be done with him. Final- 
ly it was discovered that the inside of his little hut 
was all covered v;ith drawings of cattle. He'd been doing 
those things instead of really tending to his v;ork. I 
uoxi • L. Kjlow exac oj-y now una o "was apropos Oj. Wna o v«6 were 
talking about, but we v;ere having quite a nice time. 

Of course, when Lewisohn found that one of his princi- 
pal guests had escaped him, the first thing I knew there 
was quite a noise outside our door and the v/hole crov;d 
had moved down to gather up Dreiser and bring him back to 
the party, v;hich they did. I never heard Dreiser really 
talk to any great extent. The few times that I met him 
he seemed to be rather silent in company. Well, I imagine 
he could be a wonderful talk3r. In that way he was like 
Joyce, who also v/as a marvelous talker. 

December 3^ 19^5 

NUTTING: There were many personalities in Paris that are 
very vivid in my memory, though they didn't enter into 
my life to any great extent. They vjere sometimes casual 
meetings; other times they had connection with some event. 
One was our ambassador. Ambassador [Myron T.] Herrick. 
Herrick must have been a very unusual man. I didn't know 
him except for a couple of meetings. I used to hear a 
great deal about him, of course, because he v;as our ambas- 
sador in that very important period of the vjar and during 
such historical events as the landing of Lindbergh which 

V>r*nn crV^i' hic npmo 'hofrir'o -!-Vio rMim-io r»rM^-f-T>-ino"in-ir 

The most interesting thing about him V7as that his com- 

patriots--that is to say, a good many of us who were living 

in Paris--used to be embarrassed by him at times. But the 

French liked him very much. To them he V7as a bon garcon. 

1) — 

They thought he ;-7as just great, and they accepted him v;ith 
a generosity and understanding that the rest of us didn't 
seem to alvjays have. Of course, it's very gratifying if 
you're represented by someone in a foreign country and he 
is really liked. It means a great deal. There was nothing 
particularly gauche about him. In fact, he was a very 
charming man in his manner. He v;as very good-looking and 
in lots of ways was attractive. 


But as an illustration of what I have in mind, I re- 
call when a banquet v;as given for Bernard Fay, a French 
historian who wrote some rather important v;orks, especial- 
ly on American history and the relation of American history 
to French history. The ambassador was a principal figure 
at the banquet. Speeches were made and Ambassador Herrick 
rose to make his little speech. The way this was told 
to me was that the ambassador rose up and addressed the 
audience by saying, "l am here to talk about a young man 
who has written a book. It seems to be a very important 
book. What's the title of this book? Oh, here it is." 
He picked up the book and he read off the title. "it's 
called so-and-so and so-and-so. And it's written by that 
■^oun^ man over there. He v^rote this book. Hov' old are 
you, son?" [laughter] 

Although the dignity of the French people is not 
stiff, you knovj, there's alv;ays a certain formality and 
dignity and respect for an occasion of that sort, and 
that was an extraordinarily informal way of making a 
speech to this young fellow who had v;ritten the book. It 
was rather embarrassing to some of them. But, as I say, 
he was vjell understood by the French and really much liked. 
I don't think I ever heard him spoken of adversely by any- 
body while I lived there. He was also a man who was very 
devoted to his responsibilities, his position. 

His death was probably somewhat premature. I thought 


that his last illness v/as caused by attending the funeral 
of [Louis] Lyautey, the one-armed general that distinguished 
himself in World VJar I. But I see that Herrick died in 
'29 and Lyautey lived longer, so it vjas the funeral of 
some other very eminent man that I'm thinking of. I'm 
wondering if it is still true in a big city like Paris, 
that at an important funeral if you can walk, you walk. 
Women and people who cannot make the trip are in carriages 
or in automobiles. But the cortege always consisted of 
a number of people who walk to the cemetery. As I remem- 
ber it, Herrick insisted on walking on a winter day when 
it was bleak, rainy and cold, and it brought on his last 

Ullman, a very good painter v;ho was a founder and member 
of an art club in Paris. He was ambitious to form a 
small group of American painters to show in Paris and 
to have exhibitions in this country. So we organized a 
society; it was calD.ed the Paris-American Society of 
Painters and Sculptors--if I remember rightly, a rather 
long name. I was elected a member and became part of an 
interesting group of good painters we had in Paris in those 
days. None of them were especially avant-garde, but they 
were not old-hat by any means and many of them were painters 
of considerable interest. 

We tried to get along with as little formality as 


possible, and we just had a secretary. He was presiding 
officer and general factotum as far as any official 
mechanical business of carrying on the group was con- 
cerned. One year I was elected secretary of the society, 
and v;e had a meeting to decide on an exhibition. Some- 
body was successful in getting a very good gallery in 
the Place Vendome. It's quite a famous gallery--for 
the moment I can't remember its name--it handled very 
important works. It was quite a feather in our cap to 
have as important a place as that for our showing. 

The next thing that came up was the matter of pub- 
licity. Somebody suggested that we get the ambassador 
to open the exhibition. V7ell, that seemed a little bit 

a little too far. After all, it's pretty hard to get the 
ambassador to even more important things, and here we are, 
a small group of painters having a show in a gallery he 
doesn't know anything about." But I said that there's no 
harm in trying, all we could get was a refusal. So they 
said, go ahead. 

So I went to the embassy and asked to see the ambas- 
sador. Of course, they v/anted to know my business. There 
was quite a little red tape. They said the ambassador 
wasn't very v;ell and wasn't seeing any more people than 
was necessary, but they'd take my name. He sent word 
for me to come in. I went into his office. He was sitting 


at his desk, and he rose up and shook hands and wanted 
to know v;hat I had on my mind. He said, "By the way, 
your name is Myron, too. V/here'd you get that name?" 

And I said, "My father was Myron." 

"Where did he come from?" 

"Well, he was born in Ohio." Of course, Herrlck was 
a former governor of Ohio, and so that broke the ice--my 
father was from Ohio and his name was Myron. So I sat 
down and chatted. 

Then he said, "l hope you don't mind. I don't feel 
too strong these days. I haven't been too well. I'll 
stretch out on the couch." So he got up, went across 
the room and stretched out on a big couch and said, "Now, 

So I told him we'd organized a society of painters 
and sculptors and v;ere going to have an exhibition at 
the Place Vendome, and we thought if he could spare a 
moment to pass by for the opening of it, we would be very 
grateful indeed. He said, "Oh, I'd be glad to, but you 
can understand how it is. I'm a very busy man. I haven't 
the time and the strength to do too much." So I said I 
understood perfectly, but that I just felt there wouldn't 
be any harm to ask him if by chance he could do such a 
thing. Then he went on and talked about something else 
and he came back and said, "By the way, when do you have 
that exhibition?" And I told him the date of it. And he 


said, "Where is it?" And I said the Place Vendome. "VJell," 
he said, "I'll come around. What do you want me to do?" 

"Well," I said, "if you just can drop in for a very 
short time and give it the eclat of an opening, that's 
all we would ask for." 

"Oh, I can do that, I think." 

So sure enough, we had the show. I went down scared 
to death because I never had a good memory for names--as 
you see, it's not getting any better, [laughter] I had 
the job of meeting the ambassador and introducing him to 
everyone. There were about a dozen of us artists, and 
then I had to take him around the exhibition and see to 
any other introductions that had to be made. VJell, it 

was a whole bunch of photographers and when the car drove 
up and the ambassador came in, the flashbulbs went off. 
He v;alked in, and I remembered everybody's name. I pre- 
sented everybody in our group to the ambassador, and also 
the other important people there who hadn't met the ambas- 

He walked around and looked at the pictures in a very 
dignified way, and at the same time was quite v/ann and 
cordial, although he looked a little puzzled at some of 
these things. Some of the modern art was a little bit 
more than he had any experience of. We got all the way 
around the room and then I escorted him out to his car. 


Out in the hall, there was a big picture of hunting dogs. 
He said, "That's the kind of a picture I like." 

I said, "Yes, that's very well painted, very well 
painted, indeed." It was a very corny sort of a thing, 
with dogs lying in the grass and maybe some ducks around 
or something, but he liked that picture. Then he got in 
his car and v/e shook hands. Things went off very nicely. 
So that was my experience with the ambassador. I don't 
think I ever saw him again. 

The exhibition v/as very successful in the sense that 
we all got quite sjinpathetic notices. There was one thing 
about having exhibitions in Paris--you get many more v;rite- 
ups there than you do in this country. The papers seem 
to have moie space to apend on exhibitions. All kinua of 
papers and magazines will notice exhibitions and make 
comments and sometimes give some very good criticism. Any- 
way, it was so well received that we v;ere encouraged to be 
a little more ambitious. I think probably Ullman and some 
of the other painters who were better known (two or three 
of them were very well-knovm painters) used their influence 
with the result that we got an exhibition at the museum 
in Brooklyn and also in several other places. I must have 
some records someplace of v;hat really happened to that show, 

But I remember that we sort of joined forces with 
some of the New York painters for a show in the galleries-- 
the "Paris-American Society with Guests," or something to 


that effect. The guest exhibitors with us included Pascin, 
and Rockwell Kent was also one. There were tv/o or three 
others. We also invited some guest Frenchmen whose work 
we admired. So they had a chance to exhibit in this coun- 
try, which they hadn't had before. It so happened that I 
made a trip to New York at the time of the exhibition and 
had a chance to see it. I was very much pleased with it. 
We also got some quite good notices in the New York papers. 

The society didn't last very long. Several of the 
painters left Paris and came home, and we didn't succeed 
in really holding it together for any number of shows. As 
a matter of fact, that show took place not too long before 
I left Paris myself, a couple of years before, I think. 
Sn it dipd a natural deaths But in its short career, it 
was interesting, rather successful, and I always enjoyed 
my memory of Myron Herrick. I think we had a very nice 
picture of him. 

One of the interesting figures of Paris in those days, 
mentioned in both Shakespeare and Company and in Hemingway's 
book, A Moveable Feast , was Natalie Barney. I've forgotten 
how we met Natalie Barney, but she had her afternoons and 
she gave us a very cordial invitation to come whenever we 
wished. The first time that I went there was rather sur- 
prising in the sense that it was different from most salons 
of that sort that we had been experiencing in Paris. She 
had a very beautiful seventeenth century house, not a very 


large place. I understood at the time that it had belonged 
to Adrienne Lecouvreur, but it seems according to Sylvia 
Beach, it was Laclos. Anyv;ay, it v;as one of the early 
famous French actresses. In the beautiful garden there 
was vjhat the Italians call a tempietto , v/hich Hemingway 
speaks of. 

The first afternoon that we attended one of her 
salons, she was linwell with laryngitis or something, so 
there was some servant alv/ays walking around telling 
people not to smoke in the salon. If they did v/ish to 
smoke would they go out to v;here the drinks were being 
served because madame v;as suffering severely from her sore 
throat. She walked around dressed all in v;hite and had 
a feather something aroiind her neck^ She didn't seem to 
be very attentive to her guests, but I suppose largely on 
account of the fact that she v;asn't v:ell. She wasn't 
especially talkative. 

VJhat v;as unusual about the afternoon was the company. 
Some of the most interesting people in Paris vrere there. 
One of the first people to arrive was Salomon Reinach. He 
was a historian, a member of the institute and a famous 
name in France. His books are used as textbooks in school, 
in art history and things of that sort, I think he wrote 
Apollo , didn't he? It's a small textbook, and it's an 
excellent thing--a compact history of art. Well, to have 
a man like that come in, you think you're going to have an 


afternoon of very erudite conversation of some sort. But 
when the next person comes in, Paul Poiret, why, you feel 
a little bit mixed up. Then the next person who came in 
was an English poetess who didn't know French, apparently, 
so she had to go around finding people who could speak 
English. The conversation got started, and who should 
come but Raymond Duncan. Well, Raymond Duncan is cer- 
tainly a contrast to Poiret and Salomon Reinach and some 
of the others, because Raymond, as we know, always wore 
this Greek costume v;ith his hair done up in the back over 
this fillet. He vjore sort of a mantle, bare legs, and 
feet in sandals. So that was a rather unusual figure to 
enter a salon. I've forgotten the order in which they 

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between the various people v;ho entered. I did talk to 
Fernand Leger, the Cubist painter, quite a bit and enjoyed 
him very much. 

Well, the afternoon was very pleasant in the strange 
mixture of thought and character and fields of activity. 
In a French gathering, the conversation is nearly always 
extremely interesting. They had a little program in a way. 
I remember Paul Poiret and somebody else did some readings. 
Apparently, Paul Poiret fancied himself as having consider- 
able dramatic talent, and he and some vjomen did some reading 
of some important thing. This English poetess read 


her own poems, v/hich may have been rather good, but she 
read so badly that I couldn't make up my mind v/hether 
they were good or not. I believe she had some recognition, 
though I didn't knov; her v7ork. 

V7e did not see Natalie Barney very much. Only on very 
rare occasions did \ie go to her salons, although we had the 
invitation to come at any time. I don't know exactly v;hy 
she accepted an invitation of ours. We had an evening in 
which Jan Hambourg promised to play for us. Jan Hambourg 
was one of three brothers v/ho were musicians. Mark Hambourg 
was a very successful concert pianist. I don't believe 
that he had played in this country very much, but his 
regular tours in England and on the Continent were alvmys 

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nected with the Conservatory of Music at Toronto. Jan v;as 
the violinist member of the family. They were all sons of 
a musician. Jan was a pupil of Ysaye and a very accomplished 
violinist, but he never m.ade the grade of being a really 
successful concert violinist, although he did work very 
hard. Mark seemed to have been the really talented one 
and he really made a place for himself. Although having 
Jan play was not like offering a famous virtuoso for 
entertainment, at least he was very accomplished and played 
very beautifully. So Natalie accepted the invitation and 
we told her that v/e would have Jan playing some of the 
things that he had been working on. 


I don't remember very much about the evening, but one 
thing--I think my V7ife noticed it more than I--was that 
Natalie Barney was a true society woman. Her sense of 
timing was excellent. She knew how to manage things in a 
social v;ay that would be successful. She managed to come 
in at Just the right psychological moment after our party 
had been started and at just that interim when everybody 
was happy and had their drinks. Then it was time for m.usic 
and, at that moment, Natalie Barney came in. The v;ay she 
swept in vjas like a stage effect. You felt she had some 
spy outside to give her her cue. [laughter] Aside from 
that, my memory of her is not too strong. 

I don't want to be at all disparaging in describing 
her that way, because she was a very interesting woman and 
she had talent in writing in her own right. Remy de Gourmont's 
Letters to an Amazon were addressed to her, I'^hich are 
writings of some importance. I have never read them. In 
fact, I don't remember reading Remy de Gourmont very much, 
more than simply dipping into his work. So that was another 
little picture of my Paris life. 

Anyone doing any research in the literature of the 
twenties will undoubtedly have found the Little Review , the 
magazine that was published by Margaret Anderson and Jane 
Heap in New York. It was one of the first ones to try to 
publish Joyce and some poems of Baroness Freytag von 
Loringhoven. Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap seemed to 


think that the baroness had some very genuine talent, 
and maybe she did. I haven't looked at her writing for 
a great many years. She v;as such a remarkable person her- 
self, such an individual, that I imagine with any talent 
at all as a writer her poems may have some real quite 
genuine interest. She turned up in Paris and obviously 
was impecunious. 

One of the first times that I sav/ her, she posed 
at a sketch class of the Grande Chaumiere. I v;ent one af- 
ternoon, as I did frequently, to drav; from life. At the 
Grande Chaumiere, they would change the model at certain 
hours. They would have a model from a certain hour to a 
certain hour, maybe for a long pose, and then another model 
from that hour on i-'ould have ms^''be shorter i^'Oses. The 
classes v/ere alv;ays quite full. They v/ere v;hat the French 
call cours libre . There was no teaching. It \vas simply 
a place to go and v;ork and study, and you could do that in 
the afternoon and up until about ten o'clock at night. 
Many students would go to the art schools and work all day, 
and then work up into the night at the cours libre . They 
put in an immense amount of work that way. 

One afternoon, I was finished with one model and sat 
back to wait for the next one to come on and that series 
of poses started v;ith the most strange-looking creature. 
She was dark and rather thin. Ordinarily, a model has no 
costume at all, but she did, to the extent that she had 


big, heavy bracelets on. I don't remember, but she may 
even have had anklets on and big earrings. So 
here was this strange, wild-looking creature with all this 
hardware on her. Then she struck the most dram.atic poses 
with the most passionate gestures. And it was the Baroness 
Freytag von Loringhoven. 

I didn't know her at the time, but afterv.'ards, I met 
her at the cafe because George Biddle knew her very well 
in New York. Apparently, he liked her quite a lot. I 
guess she was quite a sterling person in many v.'ays, in 
spite of being so strange. I've forgotten how it happened, 
that she took to coming around to see me. The concierge 
didn't like her very much and he used to try to steer her 
avja'^''. He thou°"ht she v/as rather a stran^^e-lookin^ creature 
and didn't v/ant her around. She had some problems on her 
mind--I've forgotten v;hat they were--about getting along 
in Paris, and she had come to talk about them. 

Once when she came and v;as sitting opposite me, I 
noticed she had a huge garter on just below her knee. I 
couldn't help looking at it once in awhile. She noticed 
it and said, "Do you see my garter?" 

And I said, "Yes." 

She said, "Don't you admire it?" 

I said, "Why, yes, I think it's extremely interesting. 
What is it?" 

And then she showed me v;hat it was. She had gotten a 


watch and had taken the back off it so that you saw all 
the v;orks. Then she set the v;atch as an ornament on her 
garter, which made a very modern-looking design. It v/as 
interesting, rather good. She seemed to have a flair 
for strange things like that. 

Then she came around one day with a small package. 
She said she had v/ritten a letter. I've been trying to 
remember who the young people were she had v;ritten to. 
They were writers who afterwards became fairly v;ell knovm. 
She had known them in New York, and they were in the south 
of France. She'd written them a letter and thought that 
they might be able to help her and would I read the letter? 
I said that I'd be glad to read it. 

She said- "You read it and see v^hat ■^''ou think of it." 
I said, "Very v;ell." Instead of handing me the let- 
ter, she undid this package vjhich was vjrapped up with a 
coarse string and wrapping paper and here v?as about a 
half-inch of manuscript. It wasn't folded; it was a lit- 
tle stack of v;riting in blue and red ink. It would be in 
blue and then change to red and then go back blue. I 
couldn't figure it out exactly. Well, I was rather appalled, 
b ut I started reading. She wrote very clearly, and there 
wasn't any trouble reading her writing. But it took quite 
a lot of time to read it, and she sat there patiently 
while I read this long letter. I wish I had made some notes 
on what she talked about in that letter, but it was about 


everything imaginable. The final idea was to find some 
solutions for her difficulties. V/ell, of course, I couldn't 
do anything for her. I said what I could about the letter, 
that maybe she could clarify points that v/eren't quite clear, 
but on the whole, I thought it was excellent. So she 
wrapped it up and went away. 

She apparently liked to talk to me about things. She 
didn't really tell me her troubles. She wasn't neurotic 
in that sense. She seemed to take her problems philoso- 
phically and liked to talk about them. But my wife didn't 
like her to come around for a very earthy reason. She 
didn't use the deodorants that are advertised on TV, and 
when she left, we knew she'd been there. [laughter] It 
was rather curious because she dressed neatly. Finally 
my wife put her foot down. She v/ould not have that v/oman 
around any more. That pleased the concierge very much, 
and so she and the concierge got together to say that v;e 
were out of town for some time. Anyv/ay, she v/as discouraged 
from coming any more--somev;hat to my disappointment, because 
I found her interesting in a curious kind of vjay and en- 
joyed her talk. 

She v;asn't in Paris too long. She went on from France 
to Germany, and the next thing that I heard v/as that some- 
place in Germany- -Munich or wherever it was--she decided 
that she had had enough and turned on the gas. 

Our neighbor in the same hall was for some time George 


Biddle, the brother of Francis Biddle. George was the 
painter member of the family and also a writer. One 
interesting thing, so far as my life in Paris was con- 
cerned, was that the first car I ever owned was one I got 
from George Biddle. Up until the time that he left Paris, 
I never owned an automobile and didn't know how to drive. 
That seems surprisingly late in the day--nowadays all 
teenagers can drive--but it so happened that I had never 
had a car and knev; nothing about driving one. VJhen Biddle 
left Paris, he had a little Citroen car which he sold to 
me quite cheaply. I took lessons and passed my examination 
and did my first driving in Paris, which v/as certainly a 
very severe test because in those days just after World 
War I, traffic regulations were almost nonexistent,. Thev 
had a certain degree, I suppose, of traffic control before 
the wai} but due to the lack of gasoline, during the v/ar 
there was very little motor traffic and it vjas very easily 

One of the first things that happened after the war 
was a tremendous increase in the number of automobiles. 
Citroen who had been a manufacturer of war materials con- 
verted his plants into the manufacture of automobiles. And 
the first man to take on publicity for Citroen was our 
friend, Richard Wallace. VJell, one of the first cars that 
Citroen put out was a little car, a sort of convertible, 
very small. It was a cinq-chevaux, a five horsepower. 


But it was very practical, and we had a great deal of fun 
with it. So that's one of my memories of our relationship 
with George Biddle. 

He was a very interesting man. He was a Harvard man, 
a man very broad in his interests, and he was distinguished 
both as a painter and as a sculptor. He played the flute, 
and while he was living down the hall from us, we used 
to spend evenings together playing flute, violin and piano. 
My wife played the piano, and we'd play trios. V7e'd drink 
the dark, Jamaica ruxn and play these trios the last thing 
in the evening before going to bed. He v;as also a very 
hospitable man, and he used to have very interesting din- 
ners and parties with interesting people. 

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with people that he vms interested in. Joyce v;as one. 
Joyce v;as a very hard man for people to meet, and in the 
latter part of the twenties, of course, everybody wanted 
to meet him,, especially people who were interested in 
literature or in writing. But Joyce refused invitations 
except from a very fev/ people and his parties at his oxvn 
house were always very small. But, finally, I did arrange 
for a meeting with George Biddle at a restaurant called 
La Biche in Montmartre. 

La Biche was quite a good little restaurant, and it 
was rather distinguished because the painter Jacovlev, 
about whom I spoke before, did some tempera decorations 


which were really very brilliant. He didn't skimp on the 
job at all. He did a beautiful job of decorating the 
dining room with paintings in egg tempera. One of the 
reasons I liked to take my friends to dinner there was 
because the dining room was very pleasant and Jacovlev's 
decoration so good. I always liked to see it again. 

So we arranged to have the dinner there. It went off 
nicely, although I don't think it was any special success. 
Joyce didn't scintillate, but at least George got something 
to put into his memoirs, which he did. It was not too 
much, but at least it was one element of them. 

George Biddle was then married to a very charming 
Texas girl, who also v;as trying to draw--and did draw 
quite v;ell. That marriage didn't, last. He's now married-- 
and has been for many years--to an excellent sculptor, 
Helene Sardou, a v;oman with a fine talent. 

One extremely interesting evening that we owe to 
George Biddle was spent at the apartment of a man who had 
been ambassador, as I remember, to Russia, William Bullitt. 
He was a young man, it seemed to me, for that post. Ap- 
parently, he had been a friend of the Biddies for many 
years. That's one reason that George took us both there. 
It was a musical evening. Walter Damrosch was there and 
[George] Antheil. I've forgotten what was done, but one 
of the most impressive things was Antheil playing a compo- 
sition on a mechanical piano. He had perforated the roll 


himself, or else he had it done from his music, so all he 
had to do was to sit there and pump av;ay on this mechanical 
piano and out came his own composition. He had a bug 
about mechanics. At one concert he gave there, he had 
airplane propellers and typev;riters, and the typev;riters 
were rapping away^ and the airplane propellors were blowing 
a good, stiff breeze onto the audience. The audience turned 
up their collars in derision at this kind of music. 

It was quite delightful and interesting to see the 
way that Damrosch took this sort of thing and the other 
thing that he played. Damrosch would smile and seemed to 
be enjoying it and having a big time. You'd think that 
he might be more critical. At least I had an idea he 
might, because Damrosch 's conducting, it alv;ays seemed to 
me when I was young, was something very conservative. 
You'd think he would be shocked to have anything so sacri- 
legious as a mechanical piano brought in in the name of 
music. But, no, he enjoyed it. The v/hole evening v;as 
quite delightful, and the people v/ere very interesting. 

The Ludwig Lewisohns moved from our building to a 
larger apartment; Thelma found that the studio apartment 
was rather too small for her, and they found a very nice 
place just before the holidays. VJe were invited to a New 
Year's party vrithout knowing exactly how to find them. I 
remember going to the address, and it was a building that 
seemed to be occupied mostly by Americans. But there was 


no concierge to tell me what apartment to go to. At least 
I couldn't find the concierge, so what I did was to knock 
on doors and ask if they knew Ludwig Lewisohn. At every 
door I knocked on a party was going on and they'd say, 
"No, no, we don't know the Lewisohns, but come in, we're 
having a wonderful party." Sometimes they started to drag 
me in. Any American who was loose in Paris, why, they'd 
haul him in to join the party. And that happened several 
times. I'd barge into these parties and then have to escape 
from them. 

I finally found the Lewisohn apartment. His party, 
of course, was not as riotous as the ones that I had been 
passing up coming to his. The first thing I remember 
about that evening vjas T.iidwig taking me up to a splendid 
ham. He said, "Have some ham, Myron. I think it is a most 
estimable ham." I thought that was a funny word to apply 
to a ham, especially at that time. He'd been raised an 
Episcopalian, but he'd gone back to the faith of his father 
quite vigorously. He was studying Hebrew, and I think 
that he was keeping up the Jewish celebrations. And to be 
offered an "estimable" hami by him struck me as rather quaint, 

What I remember most vividly about the party was 
Rice. Elmer was there and full of fun. During the evening, 
he got in the middle of the floor with a lot of people 
sitting around him and started singing. And it was amazing 
the number of American songs that he knew, words and music. 


all the way back — it seemed to me--to Civil V/ar days. He 
would lead the singing of song after song. A good many 
of the people there knew most of them or knew some of a 
song or they at least knew the tune. It was a lot of fun. 

Thelma Lewisohn was having one of her tantrums in the 
next room. I am sorry to say that Thelma could at times 
be embarrassing to her husband--and to the rest of us-- 
especially after an extra drink. Anyway Elmer, completely 
oblivious to anything but his songs, kept us absorbed 
through it all. 

Elmer and his family were in Paris, it seems to me, 
for about a year. They were very delightful people. I 
remember very vividly what he told me about starting his 
career as a pla;>".v'right. Usually you v.'ould think that it's 
absolutely necessary that you go through a long apprentice- 
ship and refusals of manuscripts and all that sort of thing, 
but to have somebody suddenly become a successful dramatist 
seemed to be almost unbelieveable. I wonder exactly how he 
managed to do so well. He must have had an interest in his 
work and have been working at it years before he actually 
appeared as a playwright. 

He said that his father wanted to put him into business 
and he tried that and hated it, so he studied law and threw 
up the idea of business. He went into law quite seriously 
and v;ent so far as to be admitted to the bar. And then he 
said, "For the second time in my life, I did a fool thing. 


I threw up law." [laughter] First he threw up business; 
then he threw up law. He said, "l didn't want law." 

I said, "What did you do then?" 

"Well," he said, "a friend of mine and I for some time 
ted been interested in v;riting plays. I got the names of 
agents and I picked out two, and I left a copy of my play 
with each of them. Shortly afterwards I got a letter from 
one of the agents who said to come dovm for an interview. 
I went down expecting just to get my manuscript, but they 
said that, no, they liked the play and they wanted to talk 
it over. 

The result was that he made a deal v/ith this concern. 
Then he went around to the other agent to get the manuscript 
+\-\o+ v>g cari-f- H- Q +hem and ''"hat s'^ent v.'as f'^ri'^'^s bec^'^'^'^ ^^ 
also vjanted the play. The play was On Trial , and it went 
into rehearsal in Nevj Haven, was produced there and was a 

The first play that I sav? by Elmer Rice v;as performed 
in French, curiously enough. It v/as The Adding Machine . 
I never spoke to Elmer about it, but I often wondered about 
it. There's a funny thing in The Adding Machine , an ana- 
chronism, and it was translated into French. V7hy it was 
kept I can't quite see, because if the scene is medieval-- 
isn't it?--it's pre-Columbian. It speaks of the European 
peasant digging potatoes. As I sat in the audience and 
heard that, with all this atmosphere of medieval life, the 


peasant digging potatoes rather startled me. 

The last time I saw Elmer Rice was many years after in 
New York. He saw us across the room in a restaurant and 
came over to chat with us. He seemed v?ell, heavier than 
when I had last seen him, in spite of the loss of a kidney 
in the meantime. 

One of the most vivid personalities in Paris in those 
days was e.e. cummings. He too was not there for very long, 
but I don't think that anybody who ever met him could for- 
get him. For one thing, unlike Joyce, he and his writing 
seemed to go together so well. I don't think anybody just 
having a conversation with Joyce or listening to his humor 
would think that he was a writer of the sort of things 
that he v.'rote. But^s had that same vrhimsicalit^'' 
and inventiveness of language in his conversation and 
actions that you find in his writings. There were little 
comments that he would make v;hen you'd say something. 

He, too, had one thing in common with Joyce--he didn't 
like to go out where there v;ere many people. You usually 
met him at some little cafe at some distance from the 
center of things. He was not, unlike a great many of the 
writers, much of a drinker. I won't say that writers v;ere 
given much more to drink than other people, but for some 
reason, at least among the people that I knew, writers 
were more inclined to drink to excess than painters and 
sculptors. Some people only did on certain occasions. Joyce 


had the reputation of being a drinker, but in as much as 
he really never lost control of himself and he was always 
extremely, as the French say, " comme 11 faut ," and because 
of the fact that he seemed to be able to remember every- 
thing no matter how much he had the night before, you 
can't say that he was really an alcoholic. I don't suppose 
you could say that Sinclair Lewis was either, even if 
he vfent on a binge when he got through work--and he could 
drink quite heavily. 

When you get a drink at a cafe in France, they serve 
it on a saucer that has the price of the drink on the edge 
of it. If the v;aiter brings you a beer, for instance, he 
picks up the saucer that has the correct beer price marked 

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you get ready to go, you have a stack of saucers in front 
of you. It depends how long you've been staying there and 
how much you've been drinking, as to how high these saucers 
would be stacked. 

That one night cummings and I had been at a cafe quite 
a long time and the stack of saucers got more and more 
mountainous. It was quite a tall stack of saucers. I 
think we wound up with a very tiny little liqueur glass on 
the top. And cummings looked at that and said, "Well, 
Nutting, I guess there's only one thing to do. You take 
one stack and I'll take the other, and vje v;ill run like 
hell." So that was the reaction to his drinking. 


I told him vjhere I lived. I don't know v;hy that 
little phrase seemed to fascinate me, but I vjas trying to 
tell him that, although we lived on the third floor, he 
mustn't be surprised if the elevator apparently v/ent up 
to the sixth floor. I told him the reason was that the 
studio apartments really had two floors, an upstairs and 
a downstairs, and that the front part of the apartment 
had a door on each floor, whereas the studio itself really 
occupied tv/o floors. 

So I said, "When you go up in the elevator, you seem 
to be going much higher than you would otherwise." 

He was listening and he said, "Yes, yes. Lights pas- 
sing rapidly." I don't know vjhy that "lights passing 
ra>^idlv" crot. into it- but I could see mvself j.n the ele- 
vator with these electric lights going--tick, tick, tick-- 
you know. 

December l4, 1965 

NUTTING: We always planned our summer vacations rather 
carefully because v/e wanted to get the most out of them. 
As I said, we never in the least bit felt ourselves to 
be expatriates. \le always expected that probably next 
year v/e'd be going back home, but we kept putting it off 
and putting it off because things were so interesting, 
so exciting, and also because we could manage to stay 
longer. So one thing was to make the most of some summer 
trips. Some of the parts of the country I imagine have 
changed a lot. I see quite a lot of reference to St. Tropez 
now as a summer resort, which is quite a fanciful place. 
When v/e were there, it was still a very simple town. It 
was a fishing village, and it was known by the fact that 
the painter, Paul Signac, had his villa there. Of course, 
for that reason, St. Tropez v;as known in the art circles. 
It v;as in a part of the country where painters such as 
Signac and afterwards other painters v;ould take up residence, 

And one suirmier, v?e decided on St. Tropez. I've for- 
gotten exactly why. We had a friend, Gillian Fothergill, 
whose husband was quite a scholar, quite an eminent man, 
in his field in England. She was divorced. Gillian was 
living in Rome, and she knew St. Tropez quite v;ell. I think 
it v;as because of her that we decided to visit St. Tropez. 


After our stay in Rome, she v;as also in Paris a great deal, 
She was one of the people that we didn't lose track of. 
We saw her off and on quite often. 

So we went down to St. Tropez and we found it to be 
really a delightful place. There was a very simple hotel, 
a very inexpensive one, and the people v;ere congenial. 
Gillian Fothergill also came down at that time. Among the 
other people who joined us was a very eminent art critic, 
Roger Fry. Roger Fry not only was a writer, but at one 
time he had been curator of paintings at the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art. I believe he was the one who was instru- 
mental in the Metropolitan Museum acquiring that quite 
famous group portrait of Renoir's, Madame Charpentier and 

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considerable difficulty because Renoir v;as not looked upon 
as being very important and they didn't vjant to spend too 
much money for his painting. I may be wrong, but I have a 
vague memory that he didn't find it easy to get the con- 
sent of the directors for the investment in that very fine 
example of Renoir's portraiture. 

Roger Fry vjas there with his sister. His sister was 
in some educational v;ork--I've forgotten exactly what--was 
it prison reform? They v;ent about in very simple attire. 
Of course, it was quite thrilling for me to know Roger Fry, 
I had been reading his books, and they had quite a lot of 
influence upon me. He also was an industrious painter. 


He was not an especially good painter in the sense that 
he made much of a name for himself, but he v/as an able 
painter. He spent all his spare time with an easel, espe- 
cially painting out-of-doors. He did a number of canvases. 

There was a very charming, middle-aged v/omen, Mela 
Muter, of Polish origin, v;ho was quite a well-known 
painter at that time. She was also part of that crowd. 
And there was a young English v;oman who was very ambitious 
and industrious and turned out quite a number of good 
canvases. So there were many painters visiting St. Tropez 
that summer. 

There was a nice little beach not far away where we 
went for swimming and bathing. I imagine nov; it's changed 
much, but at that time, you could go to quite simple 
stretches of beach that weren't too much inhabited, just 
a few houses and pine woods. 

One day, I was taking a v:alk of a couple of miles or 
so dovm the beach, and I ran into a man by the name of Paul 
Hirtzel. In Paris, we always called him "Disciple Paul." 
He was one of the followers of Raymond Duncan and he and 
his wife and his youngsters always wore the Greek costume-- 
just a simple tunic and sandals. In Paris, I used to see 
him around on those foggy, cold winter days with a roll of 
posters under his arm and a bucket of paste and brushes, 
going about putting up posters for Raymond Duncan. Raymond 
Duncan used to have demonstrations in a theater in Paris of 


his rhythmic exercises and his readings and things of 
that sort. Well, Paul Hirtzel and his wife and youngsters 
were there living in the woods in a house that had more 
or less fallen to pieces. There were only one or two rooms 
left, and they were living quite a primitive sort of Homeric 
life. The way I discovered him was that as I looked into 
the woods I saw this figure moving back and forth in the 
sunshine. He v;as doing rhythmic exercises. They were done 
without music. 

All of Raymond Duncan's following there in Paris v/ould 
spend so much time a day doing this sort of thing. VJe did 
them ourselves. We used to go down and join the group and 
learn them. They were very simple, very good and rather 
interesting. Both my wife and I at one time could do them 
quite well. They would give you precision and control of 

So he was dov/n there with his wife and two youngsters, 
and I used to visit with him quite often. One day I was 
out in the water, and I lost track of their little girl. 
Her name was Terpsichore. Little Terpsichore disappeared. 
I looked around and couldn't find her, and all of a sudden, 
I noticed her little topknot floating on the surface of the 
water. I made a grab for it and pulled her out. She'd 
gone under and didn't seem to be able to come up again. 
I took her ashore. But she was a brave little thing. She 
sat down and spit and gurgled for a minute and whimpered. 


but pretty soon, she forgot all about it and went on playing. 
It didn't seem to frighten her, v;hich rather surprised me. 
Psychologically the kid seemed to be in pretty good shape. 
She was not easily frightened. The children v/ould sit 
there and crack pine nuts on little stones. They were 
little nudists, ran around quite naked and were quite 

I didn't do too much work that summer at St. Tropez. 
We used to take long walks, and I was interested in talk- 
ing to the people like Roger Fry and a painter by the name 
of Lespinasse. He was a fine wood engraver and a very 
bright fellow. I did quite a lot of sketching, but not 
very much serious painting. In fact, the only really 
sei-ious painters I think v;ere Mela Muter and Roger Fry 
and this young English woman I spoke of. She would do 
quite large canvases. She'd do one canvas a day practi- 
cally, rather complete and rather handsome things, too. 

There are a few things that I remember quite distinctly 
about St. Tropez. One is the feeling for style that the 
French have. I mean people have an idea of taste and that 
sort of thing, but they're not especially struck by a 
feeling about dress. There was an Englishman there, ap- 
parently quite well-to-do, and he made quite an impression 
on the French people at the hotel by his dress. What he 
did was simply to go out and buy the cheapest kind of 
clothes. He'd get a straw hat (I think he got his hat off 


a barrow) and some simple garments such as a fisherman 
wore at St. Tropez. But v;hat impressed these French 
friends of ours was the fact that he seemed to have more 
style, more dignity, in the way he wore these simple things 
than others could get by spending a lot of money. And v;hen 
they mentioned it, I could see that they v;ere quite right. 
The old gentleman seemed to have a certain cachet about 
him, don't you know. In his quiet dignity, wearing simple 
things, he gave things an elegance. We'd look around and 
see people who had spent money trying to look chic and 
they simply looked foolish by comparison. 

That summer had a rather unfortunate ending. As I 
said, St. Tropez in those days was rather a simple sort of 
a town. It v;as a fishing village, and although the hotel 
was quite neat and comfortable and nice in every v;ay, sani- 
tation wasn't perfect as evidenced by the fact that on our 
return my v;ife v;as quite ill with paratyphoid. They didn't 
call it typhoid, but she was ill with something that v;as 
analogous to typhoid, vjhich was rather a bad ending for 
what was on the whole a pleasant and interesting summer. 

Another suirmer we made Brittany our field of explora- 
tion, and that too was delightful. My wife found a news- 
paper ad placed by a Professor Therond who had a villa in 
a little town on the coast of Brittany. He gave you pension 
and French lessons. V/e v/eren't doing too v:ell with our 
French and thought if we could go to a place like that and 


get regular lessons and take it a little more seriously, 
it would mean quite a lot to us. It turned out to be a 
successful investment. Professor Therond and his wife 
had this very delightful villa, and they had the day all 
mapped out quite nicely. They had about a dozen people 
at their villa, and they gave you private lessons at 
certain hours. In the morning you got up and had your 
lesson and did your study and one thing and another. 
Lunch was rather later than we ordinarily think of it 
being. After that, we'd all go out and take a long walk. 
Then we'd come home for dinner. You were not supposed to 
speak any English, especially at mealtime; you v^ere only 
to speak French. 

Scandinavians. There was one Danish boy and some Nor- 
wegians and Swedes. They vjorked very hard and studied 
quite seriously. I think the European student gets ac- 
customed to harder work, even as a youngster, than our 
kids do. We're always worried about our kids being over- 
worked in school, but they never seem to think there is 
any danger of that with the European youngster. As a 
ter of fact, I think that probably they do overwork, but 
at least, if they survive, they get the habit of real study 
and it's rather stimulating. 

It's interesting the different difficulties that we 
had in languages. For example, in the Scandinavian language 


there is the "j" sound. Of course, we're used to that in 
the Swedish dialect. "We had a very 'yolly' time," and 
they would call a man "Yack, " you knovf. I didn't realize 
that it's really because they don't hear our "j" sound. 
This girl used to go out and sit on the edge of the cliff 
and look out over the sea. She liked to do that because 
she thought it was "so cozy." She had a funny idea of 
the word "cozy" in English. She spoke quite good English. 
They all did. And this girl would work with a combina- 
tion of the French words like " j ' a i chaud , " v;hich means 
I am hot. But she found that very difficult. She'd 
say, "Zhay zho--shay show--shay zho. " [laughter] She'd 
have to struggle and struggle. Finally she got so she 
could sense the difference and pronounce the two words. 

They were well-brought-up young people. They v;ere 
all young people; we were the older ones, even then. 

One variation in the routine there was provided by a 
woman whose name I've forgotten. She was in her way, very 
interesting. She was a movie actress and had apparently 
been in show business ever since she was a child, and she 
was the type of a person who had grown up in show business. 
Her work out here in California had been as a stand-in. 
She substituted for actors v/hen there were dangerous things 
to do. She was a fine rider. As a matter of fact her 
nose had to have some reparation. It had gotten damaged 
in some stunt that she'd tried that didn't quite work, and 


she was hurt. So she was there. She'd taken a vacation, 
and apparently she was doing very well. She also thought 
she would learn a little French, but she didn't learn 
any as a matter of fact. She had no talent for language 
whatsoever. But she was very jolly and full of fun, and 
I think may have at times somewhat scandalized these 
rather nicely brought-up Scandinavian youngsters. [laugh- 
ter] But they enjoyed her very much. Most of the time we 
spent there v/as pleasant and profitable. 

We left after about six v;eeks and explored more of 
Brittany, v;hich has more interest than I think people 
realize. It's a country with a culture, more or less, of 
its own. It's a very Catholic part of France. It sur- 
prised me that a country no larger than France should have 
such a great variety of cultures. I was out walking one 
evening along the lanes and roads and I got completely 
turned around so that I didn't know my way back to the vil- 
lage. An old lady came along; so I spoke to her and asked 
her the way back to town and she looked at me blankly. So 
I tried again, more slowly and more clearly, and she shook 
her head. She didn't seem to know v;hat I v/as talking about, 
And I thought, "Well, I know my French isn't perfect, but 
it's rather surprising that I can't even get that little 
simple idea across." But no matter how slowly and how care- 
fully I asked the question, she didn't understand. Then I 
discovered she didn't know a v;ord of French. She only knew 


Breton, the old Celtic language of Brittany. I wonder if 
that is still true. Of course, all the youngsters have 
gone to school, but when she was a child, she never had 
learned French. 

V7e found a young fellow in a bookship at Quimper 
who was interested in our exploring Brittany, and he came 
along just for the pleasure of the ride, because he re- 
fused to consider himself a guide. He was an excellent 
guide. He knew the country and history and the arche- 
ologyandv.'as a very delightful fellow. V/e enjoyed him very 
much, and he helped us quite a bit in getting the full ad- 
vantage of our stay in Brittany. 

That summer was quite successful. The fact is, all 
our suromcrs vjcre interesting. I don't remember any upsets 
except certain things like Helen's getting ill at St. 
Tropez, which, of course, was unfortunate. Otherwise 
they were all extremely profitable. 

One summer we had a friend, a Belgian painter, Kvapil, 
who was a very excellent painter and was then gaining a 
considerable reputation and life was getting easier for him. 
He'd been in the army during the war, was married and living 
in Paris. For a long time he had rather a hard struggle. 
His wife had a job in a government office^ they had a little 
studio, and he v;as working extremely hard. When we knew 
him, he had had some quite successful exhibitions and his 
work was selling. He talked of Corsica a lot and was quite 


anxious to go there. He had been there once before. He 
had a friend by the name of Lemercier v/ho wanted to go 
down. A couple of other friends also decided they v/ould 
like to spend their summer in the same way. So we went 
down to Corsica. 

Corsica is another part of the world that I imagine 
has changed a lot because of the increased facility in 
traveling. I suppose you can fly over there in a few 
minutes now^ but there was no means of getting to Corsica 
by air in those days. The boat that went to Corsica from 
Marseille was very slow, and I think purposely slow. They 
would leave in the evening and dock the next morning by 
daylight. So they went slowly--at least that was the idea 
that I got--so as not to arrive at night. It's a deTight- 
ful island. It's mountainous. There's hardly a flat spot 
on the whole island. What they call the maquis, the 
shrubbery growth on the hills, is rather aromatic. You 
can get a whiff of the islands out at sea, if the v/ind is 
right. It was very pleasant. 

These people, and I think especially Kvapil, who had 
been before, had found at Cap Corse, which is the narrow 
part of the north portion of the island, in the little town 
of Rogliano, a hotel where you could get pension very cheap- 
ly. It was a little hotel that had had a certain degree 
of prosperity in the horse-and-buggy days because people 
touring the island would stop over. It wasn't doing so 


well then, because with a motor car, they could make a 
whole tour of the Cap Corse in a day; v;hereas, in the old 
days, it took several days to do it. So they were very 
glad to give us a pension very reasonably. 

We spent the summer, a rather long summer, at Rogliano. 
We had the whole hotel to ourselves. There were three 
other couples who were painters and then two unmarried 
young fellows who came down and joined us. They were all 
industrious painters and hard workers. In fact I never did 
so much work during a summer as I did that sumjner, because 
the rest of them just shamed me into doing it. They'd get 
up early in the morning and stretch canvases and put on 
heavy packs and climb the hills and paint like mad all day 
long. They would come back, unstretch canvases and get the 
stuff ready for next day, then drink cocktails and have dinner, 
They v/ould have great fun in the evening but would go to 
bed early. Next morning it was back to work. It was a 
great vacation to them, especially for Kvapil, who had 
spent years in the army and then lived in Paris without 
the means for vacationing. He loved it. 

My wife did quite a lot of drawing and painting, but 
as I said, her interest was also very much in language and 
literature and she was fascinated by the language of that 
part of Corsica. There are several dialects on the island. 
There's even one colony--it's quite an old one--where Greek 
is still spoken. At Cap Corse you can get along quite easily 
with Italian. The dialect there was so close to Italian 


that in conversation you don't have very much trouble. 
On the other parts of the island it's a different mixture. 
It's remarkable hov; quickly a dialect v;ill change in a small 
distance; I noticed that very much in Corsica and in places 
of that sort. People only a few miles apart could hardly 
understand one another. Somebody told me (I didn't look 
it up historically) that one reason for it was that a lot 
of the people of Cap Corse had come over from Lucca in 
the early days. Well, Lucca is a part of Italy where a 
good Tuscan language is spoken, so it hadn't changed too 

There were many customs still surviving on the 
island that were very Interesting. The one that especial- 
ly impressed my wife vitxa a bort of extemporized eulogy for 
the deceased that was spoken at funerals by an old lady 
who was a specialist at that sort of thing. They were 
called vocerl . That fascinated her. My wife wrote quite 
good verse herself as she was very much interested in poetry, 
not only the classics but also modern poetry and the develop- 
ments of poetry or any new manifestation of poetry, and she 
felt this v/as something she'd never heard of before. She 
found a small paper-covered book by somebody who had collec- 
ted some poetry in the Corsican dialect and had it printed 
locally. So with the help of a schoolmaster there, she 
translated these voceri into English. They were afterwards 
published in the Bookman , a good literary magazine in its 
day. These voceri were illustrated with some veiy nice 


woodcuts. It was nobody that I knew. In fact, v/e didn't 
know they v/ere going to be illustrated until after they 
were published. So, that was her special project that 
summer, and the rest of us, as I say, painted industrious- 

One pleasant fellow, Lemercier, came dov7n later and 

brought a little Ford with him. That added to the pleasure, 
and we took some little trips v;ith him. Otherwise we had 
to depend on local transportation or walking. Lemercier 
had been an aviator in the war, and he was a rather good 
painter, but he also had a real gift for mimicry and pan- 
tomime. He was quite talented. He was rather an aristo- 
cratic sort of a boy. He had the finer qualities of the 
French who had background and breeding. But with him. 
came a man who vfas quite uncouth in his way. It was not 
because of any natural uncouthness, but rather because of 
a certain willfulness on his part to be somewhat of a bar- 

There was also a very talented painter by the name of 
Favory. Favory, I think, would have become one of the very 
well-known French painters, but he suffered a head injury 
afterwards in a motor accident, and it v;as one of these 
prolonged, tragic deaths. His painting was more inspiring 
to me than that of any of the other fellows. They were all 
quite different, but Favory, I think, was really a talented 
painter. I have a red-chalk drawing of Favory, one of the 


few things I have of that period. 

I used to go dovm to the cafes in the little tovm, and 
just like in Italy, they'd say, "Are you an American?" 
I'd say, "Oh, yes. I'm an American." And they would say, 
"Oh, I have a relative. He's in America. He lives in 
Buenos Aires," or someplace. [laughter] They didn't seem 
to have any idea that North and South America aren't as 
close as two islands in the Mediterranean. 

Also, we met quite a number of people [who had lived in 
the United States]. That v/as true in parts of Italy too. 
Italians v:ould go back home after having made enough money 
to live on. And in some little tovm up in the mountains, 
you'd find a barber who perhaps had lived in Chicago for 
t^;enty or thirty years; there he was in a little barber- 
shop in a village up in the mountains. In Corsica, there 
sometimes were some very nice homes ovmed by Corsicans who 
had made their fortunes in this country or in South America, 
I say their fortune--that is, they had made enough to go 
back and invest in a nice piece of property and live the 
rest of their life comfortably. 

There was one property, for example, that v;as for sale 
for well under five thousand dollars. It had a nice old 
house, with vineyards and quite a bit of land--I've for- 
gotten how many acres--and the buildings that went with 
the house were very nice. So one could see that if a person 
had made some savings in this country and had something to 


live on, they could be much more comfortable in Corsica. 

However, at that time, the part of Corsica that I 
saw v;as depopulating. There v;ere villages that were fal- 
ling into ruins and so were the terraces. They would ter- 
race the hills v;ith stone walls, as they do in Italy, for 
the vineyards. Hardly anybody would be living in the vil- 
lage but old people. One old man that I met was lamenting 
the fact that his country v;as going down so badly. He 
said the reason for it was that the principal crop raised 
in Corsica was the "cap of the fonctionnaire . " That is 
the cap of a postman or a policeman or somebody in the 
government employ v;ho vjears a uniform. He said that the 
great ambition of a young Corsican v;as to go to the Conti- 
nent and to get a job in the government. So they would 
leave the island as soon as they possibly could in search 
of some such viork that offered the cap of the fonctionnaire . 

One of my memories of Corsica--it happened every 
once in awhile--v;as the surprise of finding time tele- 
scoped, so to speak. You'd meet somebody who, as a child, 
knew somebody and it took you back a century or so before. 
I met one old gentleman who had been an editor of a nev/s- 
paper in Bordighera, and one day he said, "Did you ever 
hear of an Englishman by the name of Edv;ard Lear?" And I 
thought for a moment and I said, "V/hy, yes, of course. 
Edward Lear." He said, "l knew him very well." And I said, 
"You did?" 


I really was surprised because Lear was Queen Vic- 
toria's drawing teacher when she v/as a young woman. 
Besides his nonsense verse and nonsense drawings, he was 
a very fine topographical draftsman and he traveled and 
did v;atercolors of scenes and landscapes and views of 
places, the sort of things that were done before the days 
of the camera. He did them very beautifully. But, of 
course, he's famous for his limericks and for his nonsense 
verse and drawings. 

And this old gentleman said, "l knew him very well. 
But he was a very strange man," And I said, "Why? VJhat 
was strange about him?" He said, "v/ell, usually he was 
very nice. He was very polite and I liked him very much. 
But sometimes I v^ould meet him on the street and h^'d 
walk right on by me and say, ' Oggi non parlo l ' ( 'Today 
I don't talk.'') and he would go right on by." [laughter] 
He would give him the brush-off. 

Two things that impressed me. One v;as this funny 
picture of Edvmrd Lear and the other was to know somebody 
whose memory went back--it seemed to me--to ancient times. 
Of course, it vjasn't so terribly far back, but I always 
associated it with quite another era, another period. And 
to actually talk to a man who knev/ this man gave a feeling 
of time being telescoped so much. 

One trip v;as an extra dividend. It happened in I926 
when they had the exposition of decorative art in Paris. 


My wife happened to see a notice in a paper or art magazine 
or somewhere that Paillard_, V'lho was a manufacturer of 
artists' materials among other things, was offering a 
prize for a mural painting. They were going to put up a 
pavilion at the fair and they v/anted canvases of a certain 
size as panels in this pavilion. And she said, "v;hy don't 
you enter this competition?" My first idea was that it 
vjasn't especially worthwhile; then she pointed out that 
you got excellent Belgian linen canvas and the best mater- 
ials that Paillard had at cost. At least you had that 
much to the good, which was perfectly true because, after 
all, if you want to do a large canvas it does run into a 
little money. At that time, I did feel like doing large 
canvases, so I entered. 

It was a very fair competition. You had to make a 
special sign and seal it up. I've forgotten hov;, but it vias 
done some way so that nobody would knov; v/ho did the picture. 
It v;as absolutely anonymous unless, of course, members of 
the jury recognized the style or the handiwork of a painter. 
So I got this large canvas--! 've forgotten just how big it 
was, but it must have been about six feet by eight--and set 
to work and did a composition of three figures. It was not 
exactly monumental, but at least it had a decorative spirit 
and was rather richly painted. The pictures were shown in 
the Pavilion Marsan, a gallery in the section of decorative 
arts at the Louvre. They had all of the things for the 


competition shown there. There was a very good jury; 
Jean Forain., the painter, was chairman of the jury. 

I was having breakfast with my wife v;hen there was a 
knock at the door and a young fellow came in with an en- 
velope. He took out of the envelope this sign that I had 
made and v/anted to know if that was mine. I said that it 
was. "Well, " he said, "then I have the honor to inform you 
that you have won First Prize." There were two first 
prizes and I had gotten one of them. I v;as rather dazzled 
and surprised. I vjas very appreciative, of course, because 
I received several thousand francs. 

With this extra money, I took a trip. I had a friend, 
Paul Burlin, one of the most interesting of the American 
painters of very modern tendencies that was living in Paris, 
and he wanted to make a trip through Belgium and Holland. 
He vjanted to know why I wouldn't come along. My wife 
didn't want to make that trip, but she urged m.e to go, 
because it was a very good way to get some benefit out 
of my prize money. 

So I went with Paul to Brussels and to Antwerp and up 
through Holland. We stopped off at all of the important 
towns and sav; everything that v/as of special interest to 
a painter, besides a lot of other things. We made sidetrips 
to see the countryside and would go dovm to the seashore to 
see what the vacation spots were like. VJe finally wound 
up in Berlin, where my money ran out. So I skimped back 


to Paris. That was one of my exploits outside of Paris 
that contributed interesting and valuable experience as 
an artist. 

As everyone knows, one of the interests of traveling 
in Europe is that the minute you cross the border, you 
seem to be in a different atmosphere, a different culture. 
It's quite surprising how quickly it changes. For example, 
in Belgium, v/hen I stepped out of my hotel, one of the 
first things that I sav; v;as a woman cleaning the pavement 
in front of a shop. She v:asn't sweeping it, nor did she 
have a mop. She had a bucket of v;ater and a brush, and 
she was down on her knees scrubbing the v;alk in front of 
her little shop. She had it spotless. I v/on't say that 
the whole si^irit of Brussels was ouite as neurotic v-hen it 
comes to cleanliness, but it certainly wasn't something that 
you'd find in southern Europe, by a long shot. 

The fact is, for people who go from places like 
Germany and Belgium and Holland to the Mediterranean 
countries--especially parts of southern Italy, for example-- 
it must be a shock to encounter the smell, the dirt, and 
unsanitary conditions. Maybe the contrast is not so great 
nov;; I don't know if travel has somev;hat equalized the 
spirit and habits of the people or not. I imagine that 
it's still true in places where they're still struggling 
with poverty, like Calabria in southern Italy and in parts 
of Sicily. But the neatness and sedateness, especially in 


Holland, is quite a contrast to countries further south. 

Paul and I would go out in the evening to see v;hat 
we could find in the v/ay of some diversion, and maybe 
what was advertised as a night club would have quite a 
nice orchestra, A fev; young people might be dancing and 
the older people would be sitting having their refresh- 
ment very quietly, but there would not be any noise or 

We took some kind of an excursion to see something of 
the country. We went by boat on the canal. We got off 
here and there to see things, and one stop was to visit 
what was supposed to be a typical Holland farm. Well, 
again what v;ould come to my mind v;ould be the Basque 
country, v;hich is all very neat, with nicely whitewashed 
houses and neat farms. But in Basque country, the first 
thing in stepping outside of the farmer's front door that 
you would see v;ould be one of his prized possessions-- 
his maiiure heap. It would be in the front yard, right near 
the front door. And it was something that he vjas quite 
proud of. But, of course, in Holland, it's a different 
atmosphere altogether. 

This farm that we visited was a very old farm. The 
building was square. One corner was the dvjelling part and 
the rest of the building was taken up by the barns and 
stables and storage. There was a square opening in the 
middle--! don't knov; exactly how to describe it--but it 


was a hollow square. You could v;alk all the way around 
and through the dv;elling, and it vjas absolutely immacu- 
late--the stalls, the cows. One of the first things I no- 
ticed was that the stalls that weren't occupied had been 
washed and scrubbed out carefully, and then there v;as a 
large heap of sand pressed down into a kind of a mound. 
This, in turn, was decorated with seashells and one thing 
and another, so the thing looked very pretty. 

But the most surprising thing to me was looking 6o\m 
the stalls and seeing the lines that went from near the 
base of each cow's tail up to a pulley in the roof. There 
was a weight at the other end of the line that equalled 
the weight of the cow's tail. It was well calculated so 
that the cow could swish her tail quite cnmfnrt-ably when 
she wanted to, but when the tail came to rest, the tail 
would rise up gracefully and hang in a kind of a reverse 
curve. [laughter] And, of course, that contributed great- 
ly to the neatness and cleanliness of both the cow and the 

Scheveningen was the resort town that we visited, and 
it wasn't too different from the seasides in other parts of 
the world. In those days, there V'/as hardly any honky-tonk 
or that kind of thing. People were pleasant. 

Probably the most important painter that Belgium has 
had in modern times lived at Oostend. 

In Amsterdam we met quite a well-known dealer of books 

^2 2 

and art and prints in New York, who knew Paul Burlin 
quite vfell. He took it upon himself to show us Amsterdam, 
V7hich was great for us because he visited Amsterdam many 
times and was very knowledgeable about the life and spirit 
of the city. So that finished our trip through that part 
of Europe. 

Berlin was still pretty much in a spirit of depression 
after the war, and vie got this feeling of tenseness and 
depression. Ue were there for a very short time and spent 
all of it we could in seeing things like the v;ork in the 
Kaiser Friedrich Museum and other places. I had seen it 
once before and v/as glad to see it again before I returned 
to Paris. 

There is one creiueriuous auvanoage xn seeing tilings in 
the original. I don't think that is realized by most 
people. They think, "Oh, yes, I know Michelangelo very 
well." They may have a beautiful book on Michelangelo, 
but walking into the Sistine Chapel and getting the trem- 
mendous thunder of the old boy coming from above is not 
the same thing as opening a nice book lying on the coffee 
table with beautiful color reproductions. Several times 
I have had tremendous experiences that only could happen 
in the presence of the vjork. I think the first one pro- 
bably was the work of Giotto. I thought I was fairly 
familiar with a man's work, such as Giotto, then found that 
the originals rush on you with a strange power. The work 


of Giotto was a case in point, but the same thing happened 
at Colmar when I walked in and saw the altarpiece of 
Grlinewald. It just knocked me all in a heap, /nd maybe 
still more impressive was the Burial of the Count Orgaz 
in Toledo by Greco. That thing left me quite breathless. 
There were quite a few occasions in which that sort of 
thing would happen in Holland. There vjere a number of 
real revelations. There was nothing as breathtaking as 
the Burial of Coun t Orgaz , but still some were tremendous- 
ly impressive. I think of the old boy, Frans Hals, and 
the group portrait that he did of the old women who were 
directors of the poorhouse [Lady Regents of the Haarlem 
Almshouse ] in v;hich he was an inmate at the end of his 

sureness of touch that some of his earlier things may have, 
but it is probably as pov;erful, if not the most pov;erful 
piece of portraiture of his whole life. The old boy, im- 
poverished with these old vjitches running his life for 
him, to still do a thing like that is unforgettable. 
SCHIPPERS: I don't remember if you mentioned what speci- 
fic work of yours won the prize at the Decorative Arts Ex- 

NUTTING: It was a figure composition of three figures. I 
v;on one prize and an American girl won the other prize. 
I think it is rather surprising for two Americans to win 
both prizes. As a matter of fact, many things were sent 


in, works v/hich from the point of view of technical ability 
were superior to mine and superior to hers. Her thing 
was much more ornamental than mine. Mine was a more 
realistically painted thing of three figures. I after- 
wards destroyed it. It's funny because I've never been 
happy with any of my vjork that got any recognition. In 
that case--it being rather large--I didn't know what to do 
v/ith it. I thought, "Oh, heck," and so when I left Paris, 
instead of going to the expense of having it packed, I 
simply painted it out and sold the canvas to a secondhand 
man, because a lot of painters around the Quarter would 
buy up old canvases as material for their v;ork that had 
been used by students. In this case, it could be scraped 

vas. So that was the fate of that picture. Afterwards, 
when I came home from Europe, Paillard for aivhile advertised 
in American art magazines and they used a reproduction of 
this picture in their advertising. I was never especially 
proud of it. It v.'asn't a very good thing really. 
SCHIPPERS: Do you paint out or scrape down your canvases 

NUTTING: Oh, yes. Oh, I save very little. It doesn't 
look that v;ay if you see my storage room--there ' s so 
much rubbish there--but, as a matter of fact, I save very 



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