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••!yron C. Hutting 
Intervlev;ed by Donald J. Schlppers 

Complstsd uni8i' the'~i-Css 

of the 

Oral History ProfcraT. 

University of California 

Los Angeles 

Copyright (5) 1012 
The Regents of the University of California 

This manuscriot is hereby made available for research 
Durnoses only. All literary rights in the manuscript, 
includlno; the riB;ht to publication, are reserved to the 
University Library of the University of California at 
Los Angeles. Mo part of the manuscript may be quoted 
for publication v;ithout the -written permission of the 
University Librarian of the University of California 
at Los Angeles . 


TAPE NU^fBER: IX, Side One (December 27, 1965). ... 425 

Meeting Janes Joyce — Descrintlon of Joyce — 
The Joyce family — Giorgio and Lucia Joyce — 
Joyce's taste in wine — Anecdotes of Joyce — 
Grov.'th of Montparnasse--Cafes and conversa- 
tion — Anericans in Paris — Joyce as Dedalus — 
Evenings at home — Nora Joyce 

TAPE NUrffiER: IX, Side Two (January 5, 19^6) 453 

Wyndham Lewis — Joycean superstition — Joyce's 
notes — Hork habits--Style in Ulvsses — Picking 
up Phrases — Nora Joyce — f^amlly life — Drawings 
of Joyce — Portrait of Nora — Influences on Joyce 

TAPE NUMBER: X, Side One (January 10, 1966) 


The Louvre — Travel to Snain — Jaloux and good 
advice — Velasquez and Goya in the Prado--El 
Greco — Patinier — Toledo — Greco masterpieces — 
Spanish painting — The Escorial — Paris friends, 
the Gordons — Writers and travelers--?.aymond 
Duncan and the dance — Isadora Duncan — Saxe 
Cummin gs 

TAPE NUMBER: X, Side Two (January 10, 1966) 502 

The Gordons' trip to the United States — Ad- 
vantages of life abroad — Living as an art — 
Maurice Lambert — Paul Burlin — Travels with 
Burlin — Holland and Amsterdam — Adolf Dehn — 
Lithography--Outing to Chevreuse — Car accident 
and a new notoriety — First trip home, v;ith 
Burlin — Staying at the Harvard Club 

TAPE NUf4BER: XI, Side One (January 31, 1966) 526 

Jewish friends--Burlin — Shipboard drama and 
its aftermath--Charleston, South Carolina-- 
About Paul Burlin — Seeing Dr. Collins In New 
York--Change3 in the city — Return voyage — 
Jean de Bouchere 



XI, Side Two (February 6, 1966) 552 

De Bouchere, book Illustrator — Weetinpc Paul 
Robeson at the Lewlsohns' — Epinhanies and 
metaohors — Education — Youth and nhllosoohy — 
Experiencing art — Study for understanding — 
Children and syr.bolism — Destruction of crea- 
tivity — Inspirations for creativity 

TAPE NUMBER: XII, Side One (February Ih , 1966). , 


American Art Association — Alexander Harrison — 
Frederick Frieseke — H. 0. Tanner — Eusiene Ullman — 
Association of Paris-American Painters and Sculn- 
tors — Gatherings of intellectuals — Meeting people 
in Paris — ■Pord Madox Ford — Edith Sitwell — Enter- 
taining at home — At the Joyces' — The Hambourgs — 
The Wallaces — Bourdelle and the Salon de Tuilieries-- 
Jo Davidson 

TAPE NUMBER: XII, Side Two (February 21, I966). . 

The Luards — Puoils of Lowes Luard — Methods 
of teaching drav;ing — Dravfing and draftsman- 
ship — Daumier — Rupert Bunny — American artists 
Russell, Remington, Sargent — Developing as an 
artist — Influences 

TAPE NUr^ER: XIII, Side One (February 28, I966). 

Atm.osphere of Paris — Teachers helping young 
painters — Seeing Despiau — Art atm.osohere in 
Munich and Rome — Lhote as teacher — Art of 
Renoir — Monet — Denis and Serusler — Jacovlev 
and Shoukaiev--Russians in Paris — Prix de 
Rome --Frieseke — Aman-Jean — Dufy contributes 
to Atys 



TAPE NUMBER: XIII, Side Two (March 7, 1966) 


Art as a function of cultural growth — Role of 
the artist in society — Adventurous, dangerous 
life of the artist — Daumier — Goya — Chagall — 
Balancing scientific and intuitive mental pro- 
cesses — Meeting Durand-Ruel — Comjnercial art 
by fine artists — Toulouse-Lautrec — Holbein, 
Influence of Vasquez Diaz 

TAPE NUrffiER: XTV, Side One (March 21, 1966) 667 

American attitudes towards art — Benjamin 
West — Chester Harding — F-''ural paintinc; — Puvis 
de Chavannes — Rivera, Orozco, Siquieros — 
Easel naintings — Profession of portrait paint- 
er — Murals and religious painting — Tiepolo — 
Art schools in Eurooe — Art and environment — 
Department store salon 

TAPE NUI4BER: XIV, Side Two (March 28, 1966) 692 

Leo Stein — Discoverer of Matisse — ^riend of 
Paul Burlin — Earning a living: portraiture 
or illustration — Invited to teach in Milwau- 
k:ee--Layton School of Art — Teaching methods — 
Contrast to Paris — Teaching art history — Learn- 
ing to teach — Students 


XV, Side One (April i* , 1966) 7l8 

Floyd Pauly, student — Layton School and Art 
Gallery — The Atelier ooens in a bookstore — 
Life class grows — Teaching anatomy — Sculnture-- 
Fresco painting — Atelier, antidote to art 
school instruction 


XV, Side Two (Aoril 11, I966) 7^1 

Life in Milwaukee — Wisconsin Players — Art for 
theater — The VJalrus Club — Performing at the 
Walrus Ball — The Depression — Social signifi- 
cance in American oainting — V/isconsin Painters 
and Sculptors — Federal Art Project — American 
Index of Design — Historical murals 

TAPE NUMBER: XVI, Side One (April I8 , I966) 


Mural at the Milvfaukee Museum of Natural 
History — American Index of Design — Encour- 
aging individuality in teaching — Lithographic 
printing — United States revisited — Attitudes 
toward competitiveness--Teaching art anorecia- 
tion — The Mymans--Anecdotes on nature apprecia- 
tion--California trip 





IMl, Side Two (April 25, 1°66) 


In Players: Boris Glas:olin--Set 
for The Gardener's Dop; — Lev/lsohn's 

visit — Carl Rohnen — Helen Nutting's illness 
and accident — Flannina; move to California — 
Chooslne; a olace to live 


XVII, Side One (^^ay 2, 1966) 803 

Milv/aukee Art Comnisslon — Civic monument to 
Llncoln--Milles ' desi?^n rejected — Feted on 
leaving" Mllv;aukee — Visiting San ^rancisco — 
Cambria — Settling in Hollywood--Helen Nutting's 
writings recalled — Meeting the Russian colony — 
Lorser Feitelson and S. P'acDonald-Wright — 
Writing for Script — Rob Wagner — Collector Edward 
G. Robinson — Art Center course in Industrial 
illustration — Riveter at Lockheed 

TAPE NUMBER: XVII, Side Two (May 9, 1966) 829 

Air warden in V/orld War Two — Learning first 
aid — Attraction to medical profession — Invi- 
ted to teach at Art Center — Head drav.-ing — 
Father in Alhambra — Art Center moves — Other 
teachers: Reckless, Kaminskl — Feitelson — 
MacDonald-Wright and Synchromism. 

December 2?, 1965 

NUTTING: If I remember rightly, v;e got to Paris in February 
1919^ on a snov/y day and eventually got ourselves settled 
in a studio right near Gare Montparnasse. In the mean- 
time, the Wallaces had settled in Paris, too. Of course, 
before his marriage he had been a resident of Paris and 
had made his career and his living in Paris. So, of course, 
we got together. 

Dr. Joseph Collins had a way of going back and forth 
between Nev; York and Paris, He used to go to one of those 
spas in Germany for a vacation to get rested up. He was 
always complaining of his digestion (he was very particu- 
lar about his eating), so I imagine it had something to do 
with that. Anyway, I met Wallace one day, and he said he 
had a letter from Dr. Collins and that Collins thought 
that James Joyce vjas one of the really top contemporary 
writers, that he'd v;ritten a book called A Portrait of 
the Artist as a_ Young Man, which he thought v;as excellent. 
Collins had learned that Joyce was now living in Paris 
in poverty and was going blind and was in rather serious 
straits, which vjas, of course, somev;hat of an exaggeration 
but understandable. He asked Wallace to look him up and 
arrange a meeting. The next time that I saw Wallace he 
said, yes, he'd found Joyce and that Collins would be in 


Paris on a certain date and he had made an arrangement to 
meet him and have lunch together. So we did, 

I've forgotten where the lunch was, but it was a very- 
nice place with quite a pleasant, sunny dining room, and 
a very nice table setting. Being a very successful doc- 
tor, Collins didn't stint on entertainment. We met at this 
restaurant and Joyce turned up. That was the first tim.e 
that I'd seen him. Joyce was a rather slender, very erect 

The photographs that you see of him don't give you 
a very good idea of the man. I've been trying to analyze 
[the reason for] that. I think that v;hat happened with 
photography in those days, especially nev;spaper photo- 
graphy, v.'as that the ordinary emulsions that were used 
had very little correction for color. So your blues would 
come out white and the reds would come out black. That re- 
sulted in this rather reddish little goatee and moustache 
of his coming out much darker in a photograph. It very 
often gives him a slightly comic look, and I can't remem- 
ber ever getting that impression of him. You see this fun- 
ny little man v/ith these little black spots on his face, 
you knov;, and it doesn't look at all like Joyce to me. 

He had a lot of dignity in his looks and in his bear- 
ing. In fact, he had more of vjhat the French vjould call 
comme il faut in his behavior than anybody I ever knevj. 
He had a very particular manner and speech and politeness. 


Some people rather make fun of him for it. 

Joyce apparently didn't have very much of an idea 
why he was invited or who Dr. Collins was. Joyce had a 
strange way of clamming up and not saying a vjord if he 
vmnted to, but that luncheon was very successful--Joyce 
was very affable, very talkative. It lasted between tv/o 
and three hours; Collins asked him questions about his 
v;ork and his writing. Collins v;as then v;riting his books, 
such as The Doctor Looks at Literature , and he fancied 
himself as quite a literary critic. Joyce ansv.'ered his 
questions very nicely and gave him a sketch of his life, 
of his experiences in Trieste and how he taught at the 
Berlitz school there, of his experiences in passing exam- 
inations for a position of teaching and going to a bank 
in Rome and other experiences he had in trying to make a 
living for himself and his family in Trieste. Well, as I 
say, the luncheon lasted quite a long time. 

The conversation was very interesting, and I regret 
very much that I don't have any notes or any recollection 
of specific things discussed. Mostly, though, it was 
about himself and his life, and to a certain extent his 
ideas. It was more biographical than anything else. He 
didn't get into any arguments on literature or anything of 
that sort. Finally, the meeting came to an end. 

We were walking down the street together and Joyce 


said, "You live near the Gare Montparnasse, don't you?" 
And I was rather surprised. He said, "How do you think 
I know?" I couldn't think, but just through some chance 
remarks, he had put two and tv/o together--that any person 
who had said those things must be a resident near Gare 
Montparnasse. That was the first evidence I had of his 
extraordinary awareness of moment. He already had had 
serious eye trouble, v/hich with these thick glasses gave 
him a faraway, absentminded look. But he certainly was 
not, and never was. He lived every moment to the fullest. 
He knew and observed and stored away and would take out 
his little notebook and jot down a word wherever he vjas. 
It vjas very characteristic of him. 

which was publishing Ulysses at that time before it was 
suppressed, and he loaned them to Collins to read. The 
next day I went over to Collins' hotel. He was sitting 
up in bed v;ith these Little Review magazines on the bed 
beside him. He had been reading these magazines since 
the night before and throughout that morning. And he 
said, "VJell, Nutting, I'll tell you. I have in my files 
any amount of writing by insane people that's just as good 
as this is." Collins got up and v;ent to the bathroom to 
take a shower and corrimenced to talk about how tragic it 
was for a great mind to deteriorate so and become perfect- 
ly crazy. He really felt this had extraordinary talent 


and that this was really a very sad case indeed. VJell, 
he was the first person I had talked to that had knocked 
Joyce as much as that. 

Of course, Joyce was very controversial, but he al- 
ready had a very enthusiastic following. Ezra Pound was 
in Paris then and v/as doing a great deal for him. A lot 
of the young writers looked upon him as one of the great 
writers of the period and were already trying to imitate 
him and were influenced by him. Collins didn't feel that 
v;ay. VJell, fortunately Collins didn't publish anything of 
that nature and little by little he came around and decided, 
after all, maybe there v/as something in his work. I think 
that later he did write some things that were quite appre- 
ciative of some of the valuable work. 

I found his work extremely puzzling, but my wife, who 
was much more of a literary student than I was, appreciated 
his work from the beginning more than I did. It was only 
after quite a lot of reading that, little by little, I com- 
menced to really enjoy his work. For a long time, it did 
seem to me that it was unnecessarily difficult, and I 
could sympathize v;ith an English v/riter, Arnold Bennett, 
who said it was reserved for James Joyce to make novel 
reading penal servitude. [laughter] And I must confess 
I never have read Finnegans Wake through. It's a little 
bit stiff for me, but my wife enjoyed it very much. She 
used to read it and reread it and quote from it, and she 


she got more fun and interest out of it than most people 
would from some of his simpler v;orks. 

We met the family--Nora Joyce and the two young chil- 
dren, Giorgio and Lucia. Lucia was a very charming girl 
in those days. She had two great enthusiasms--one was 
Charlie Chaplin and the other was Napoleon. She was just 
crazy about Charlie Chaplin, and she came home one day just 
all aquiver. She'd been out in a park along the Champs 
felysees, up toward the Arc de Triomphe, and every afternoon 
there 'd be crov;ds of youngsters sitting on benches v;atching 
the guignol , the puppet theater. As she was standing, 
watching this puppet show, she looked up and happened to 
glance at someone standing beside her. It was Charlie 
Chaplin. So, of course, she got a tremendous thrill out 
of that. She had clippings and all sorts of things about 
Charlie Chaplin. And, for some strange reason, she had 
this enthusiasm for Napoleon. So if people would see 
little busts of Napoleon at f ive-and-ten-cent stores, 
they'd buy one for her. Or if it v;as a new picture of 
Napoleon, they'd get it for her. She had a great collec- 

Giorgio was older than Lucia--they were both teenagers 
then--and he vjas a very correct sort of a boy. His manners 
are rather hard to describe. I might imagine it being 
the influence of the Austrian court or that sort of beha- 
vior, you know, punctilious. 


The family was av;fully hard up then. You can read 
in Ellmann ' s book about his experiences in Zurich and 
about Mrs. McCormick who had financed him for some time 
during that war period. It v;as a double reason--partly 
the fact that she felt that he was a very great talent 
and also because the period v.'as extremely difficult for 
people, such as writers or artists, with a career that 
would be seriously interrupted. Even his teaching was 
hurt by war experiences. So Mrs. McCormick financed 
him in Zurich. 

She was, I think, undergoing analysis with Carl 
Jung and she wanted Joyce to be analyzed, but he refused. 
As I say the story is in Ellmann. One thing that the ex- 
perience CixCi was oO ourn ooyce againso psycuoansj-ysis, Gj.— 
though he was quite a good analyst himself in a v/ay. He 
v;as very clever in seeing associations in dreams. You 
could tell him a dream, and he could remember things and 
put two and two together in a way that was very good. But, 
of course, one of his puns, v;hen he spoke of the Americans, 
was, "They are a Jung people, easily Freudened." [laughter] 
And the one time that I ever heard him use any really 
strong language was something apropos of psychoanalysis-- 
I've forgotten what it v;as. He wasn't given to exaggerated 
speech or any violence in his language whatsoever; he v/as 
always quite sedate. 

Well, being in straitened circumstances, they were in 


this old hotel down by the river. V7hen I got to knov/ him 
better, I used to go down to call on him, and eventually, 
I used to take him around in my little car. He would be 
working on a suitcase, sitting in an armchair. A suitcase 
would be resting on the arms of the chair, and that was 
his desk. They only had the two rooms, and that was a 
very difficult situation for a man to do very serious 
work. He was working very hard on his book. 

He finally resorted to going to a cafe. It was a 
cafe over on Rue de Universite, And he would sit at the 
back of the cafe and write. He would get himself a coffee 
and stay--as you can do in a French cafe. If you buy even 
a small drink, you can stay there all day if you want to. 
He became good friends of the proprietor and the v.'aitcrc, 
and during most of the day, they kept this quiet corner 
for him vjhere he wasn't bothered. There he'd have his 
books and notes and the manuscript, and he would work. 

I started speaking about Giorgio and his manner. He 
was also extrem.ely neat in his dress. I imagine he pro- 
bably pressed his ov;n trousers and kept his clothes in as 
good shape as he could, but the poor kid didn't have very 
much in the v-zay of clothes and they were getting pretty 
worn. You could see where cuffs had been neatly trimmed, 
you know, and the collar showed a little bit of wear. But 
it was always clean, and he always looked very, very nice. 

Giorgio was a much more reserved boy than most, and 


I don't remember him letting himself go except in impatience 
He was quite an impatient sort of a boy sometimes. He'd 
break out in protestations of one sort and another. 

Lucia was quite full of fun, and she used to love 
to come to our place when we had evenings, especially one 
year v/hen my v;ife sent for her niece, Helen Kieffer, to give 
her a year in Paris. VJe had a studio and the upstairs 
sleeping quarters and also another little room that up to 
that time we had used for storage. That v.'as cleaned out 
and Helen made it quite a nice place. Helen Kief fer was 
named after my wife, so they both had the name Helen. 
Helen Kief fer got along very nicely with Lucia Joyce, and 
they used to go places together. They both vient to the 
sam.e school, and Helen Kieffer learned French very well. 
Helen Kief fer was a quieter girl than Lucia, but they both . 
had a lot of fun. 

They went to a camp that summer. My wife found a 
place--I've forgotten whether it was in Normandy or Brit- 
tany--that had been highly recoimnended by some friends for 
the girls to go and get some experience of country life in 
France. The Joyces let Lucia go; so the girls shared a 
tent in this camp. They had studies and exercises, and I 
think we have a photograph someplace of them throwing the 
j'avelin. They were doing something of that sort, I've 
forgotten what. The principal excitement was when the camp 
was visited by King Alfonso of Spain. For some reason he 


was brought around to inspect the camp, and the girls all 
met the king. Of course, that vjas quite thrilling. 

Evenings at our place were quite a lot of fun. One 
thing that used to contribute to it v;as that Lucia's 
passion for the art of Chaplin went so far that she imi- 
tated him. She would borrow her father's or her brother's 
shoes and clothes and put on a little moustache and prac- 
tice the walk and swing this little cane around. And she 
did very well, too. So on these evenings, that was one 
of her contributions to the gaiety. There were other 
games of one sort or another that were part of the festi- 
vities that we had. 

The Joyce kids v/ere multilingual, of course. Having 
lived in Trieste, they knew Italian. The fact is, they 
only spoke Italian in the family. It always seemed so 
funny to hear this Irish family chattering away in Italian. 
And when living in Zurich, they learned German very well. 
They v;ere just at the age they could learn rapidly. Their 
French was excellent and their English was perfectly good 
except for little things that once in a while would pop up 
that would shov; that it wasn't their native language. Lucia 
was trying to guide my wife to some shop or someplace, but 
she made some sort of a mistake in the direction--she thought 
she knew exactly where it was--and she wanted to apologize 
for what was promising to be some sort of a vjild goose 
chase. She said, "Mrs. Nutting, I don't want to make an 


experience for you." [laughter] Of course, it is a 
French construction, it's not English. 

She vms funny, too. Somebody loaned them an apart- 
ment, but the furniture wasn't in very good shape, and 
Lucia warned my v;ife not to sit down on a chair, because 
she thought it wasn't safe. She said, "All the furniture 
in this place is just stuck together with spit." [laughter] 
Then she felt she had said something very crude, and she 
apologized for it. 

Of course, the tragedy in the Joyce family was that 
Lucia lost her mind, some sort of a dementia praecox. 
She's now in a sanitarium in England. Giorgio was married 
and remarried and lives in Munich. 

Well, that v;as the Joyce family when we first knew 
them. They were in the hotel and they had apartments 
loaned to them throughout the whole history of their stay 
in Paris. Ellmann seems to have run down every place where 
they lived. All I feel I can contribute, because so much 
novj has been v/ritten about the man, are footnotes to what 
has already been much more completely described by other 

As I say, Joyce v;as a man of great decorum and dig- 
nity of behavior; I don't think I can cite an instance in 
which he--within human reason — behaved in an undignified 
manner. VJhat I have in mind is the contrast of his behavior 
to a lot of other young fellows around Paris in those days. 


even very, very talented ones. One idea comes up again 
and again when people speak to me about the man. First 
they say, "Oh, you knew Joyce," and I say yes. Then, very 
soon, out comes the idea that Joyce was a terrific drinker, 
that he vjas very much of a drunk. It seems to be a very 
common idea, and which isn't at all true. I say it isn't 
at all true, because although he did have very frequent 
evenings in which he was bibulous, it wasn't every night, 
by a long shot--and it was never in the daytime. I don't 
think I ever saw him do any, what you might call "serious 
drinking," in the daytime. If it was, it v;as X'/hat the 
rest of us do and that v;as to have a cocktail before 
dinner or something of that sort. But he v/asn't fond 
of cocktails. The only drink that he really liked very 
much was a very dry white wine--a Swiss wine that he liked, 
one French wine and an Italian wine. 

He had special ideas about wine. He didn't think that 
the French idea of a very highly cultivated v;ine was in the 
spirit of wine. Fie thought that v^ine should be good wine-- 
and for everybody. Of course, this is really the Italian 
idea. The Italians don't have any famous v;ines from vine- 
yards \';here a certain few square feet are cultivated and 
where the wine then is kept until it's exactly right and 
at a certain age, where the v/ine made from them is perfect 
and becomes extremely valuable and is sold for quite a lot 
of money a bottle. The Italian idea, so far as I could see. 


was simply to make a good wine. If you got Chianti, it 
was good Chianti. There v/as lots of it and it came in 
big f iaschi . Something that was very recherche vjas foreign 
to their idea of v;ine. Joyce also thought that v/lne v;as 
one of the blessings of life and there should be plenty 
of it and it should be good and unadulterated. That's 
what must be asked of it, not something that was supposed 
to be super-fine and for a very highly cultivated taste 
that could tel3. differences in the superiority of the wine. 

But, as I say, I don't feel that you can think of 
him as being the drunkard that people are inclined to think 
of him as, because being really under control, he was a 
dedicated artist. He had enormous capacity for work, more 
so than any other person that I have known. For other 
writers that I've known, a fev7 hours of application is 
about all they can stand. Of course, there is all the 
other work you do in connection with writing--your research 
and reading. But Joyce seemed to have the idea that he 
should be able to have the ability to sit down and work 
very meticulously hour after hour all day long. 

He had his dinners at an hour which for us would seem 
rather late, never before seven o'clock or about eight o'clock. 
We'd meet for dinner; v/e ate out a great deal in those days. 
A lot of our meeting with friends was at dinner at a res- 
taurant--much more so than we do now. Joyce would turn 
up for dinner, and you could see that he really was very 


tired. He wouldn't know what to order, and he would sit 
and he would always sigh. He was a great man to sigh. He 
would heave a deep, melancholy sigh. He apparently had 
no appetite whatsoever. But after v/e had a little cocktail 
or something of that sort and a little conversation, he 
commenced to brighten up; then he'd think of something he 
wanted to eat and he'd order that. Then v;e'd have dinner. 
On occasions v/hen the evening was prolonged and extra bottles 
of wine were ordered, he would be quite himself again. And 
no matter hov; much he had to drink, he was alv;ays a marve- 
lous talker. You could listen to him for hours. 

Another thing, he had a certain control of memory 
which others did not have. He always could remember even 
when it- seemed to m.e he v-as quite befuddled. I kncv; that 
the next day I v;ouldn't have the foggiest memory of v;hat 
feppened, but he could tell you everything and quote vjhat 
everybody said. And he seemed to be just as observant and 
just as able to collect impressions and ideas after tvjo 
or three bottles of wine as he was before. It was fantas- 
tic . 

Then, the other thing was that even though the evening 
would sometimes go on till one or tv;o o'clock--and by that 
time it vzould be two or maybe three bottles of v/ine--he 
would still be up at a fairly good hour, by eight o'clock 
or so, and at work. I don't know how he did it. It was 
beyond me. He didn't seem like a man of very strong physique, 


He v/as slender, and he v;as not in the least athletic. I 
never knev; him doing anything that was athletic, except 
that he liked to dance. He liked to do fantastic dances, 
pick up his coattails and do an Irish jig. He had a lot 
of fun in him, and quite a capacity for enjoyment. 

There are all sorts of stories in a community of 
that sort, and it's so easy to tell stories if it's a good 
story, v;hether it's true or not, and a lot of them v/ere 
told on Joyce. They had an idea that he'd get up early in 
the morning and rush down to take a plunge in the Seine. 
As a matter of fact, I don't think he ever took a tub bath. 
He was very clean and very neat, but he wasn't fond of get- 
ting himself in the water very much. He washed, I guess, 
'h^7• si^ono"e bathinc^- and I don't think he was at all a swim- 
mer. His son, incidentally, vias . Giorgio distinguished 
himself in school in Switzerland as a sv\rimmer--won a prize 
or something. I can't think for the moment what it was. 
But, anyway, the boy was quite a good athlete, a very bright 
boy. His father was anxious for him to cultivate his voice. 
He did make a very good start at it, but apparently nothing 
ever came of it. 

I can see all sorts of little pictures of the man 
that are very vivid, and if a person were writing a novel, 
these little snapshots of him would be interesting. They 
haven't any special importance, biographically, but if they 
were put in relation to the picture of the personality by 


a talented v/riter, they could be very interesting. I'm 
not sure, but I think it was the evening after one of his 
birthdays that v/e had dinner together. We then v;ent to 
some little cafe down in the very old part of Paris where 
there v;as that feeling of the houses coming together over 
the street, that medieval style. Each story of the houses, 
as you went up, v/ould become a little bit bigger, and 
they got more room in a house by making the top floors 
larger than the bottom floors. So the result v;as that 
the street v7ould be a sort of a canyon with a tendency 
for the roofs of the houses to meet overhead. Especially 
at night in a street like that which is ill-lit, it gives 
a very medieval kind of a feeling. You could imagine you 
were back in the days of Francois Villon or some such 
spirit of life. 

As we left the cafe on our v/ay home, Nora was expos- 
tulating with her husband about something--!' ve forgotten 
what, I guess he didn't v/ant to go home--and he was very 
quiet about it. Then he did one of the really impulsive 
things that once in awhile he would do. The street was 
deserted and rather dark, and all of a sudden, he leaped 
out into the middle of the street and went dancing down 
the street in this semidarkness . He wasn't very steady 
on his legs, which gave a strange jumping-jack effect to 
his m.ovements as he went from side to side and disappeared 
into the darkness. And he was shouting, "l am free! I 
am free!" That picture of him--that voice out of the darkness. 


"I am free.'" and that marionette kind of a figure disap- 
pearing dovm through these little old houses--is one of 
the things, as I said, that has no special significance 
except that it shov;s a certain amount of personality and 
character of a person that you have known. So he didn't 
let himself go in that way very often. 

There v;ere a lot of funny stories told about him 
because people didn't know him very v;ell, and they couldn't 
verify things. So all the gossip and rumors--his 
being a dope addict and this, that and the other thing-- 
were very easy to spread, because although he was not at 
all unsociable--he was very fond of his friends--he was 
not the kind to go out and be among people. 

The Montparnasse grew very rapidly after World VJar I. 
When we first went there, two rather small, insignificant, 
very ordinary cafes, the Dome and the Rotonde across the 
street were very much patronized. But, as the population, 
especially of foreigners, grew in the quarter, these two 
cafes enlarged^ they took on adjoining stores and broke 
down partitions and became big cafes. Then another one 
started. It v;as a sort of a coal and wood yard and some- 
body built a huge cafe there--! 've forgotten now what it 
was called. Some of the older cafes were quite well known. 
The Closerie des Lilas wasn't very far away, and it was quite 
a rendezvous for literary people. VJe lived quite near. 
We first lived in back of the Gare Montparnasse, which v/as 
a short walk, and afterwards in another direction up the 


Boulevard Raspail, where v;e finally got an apartment. 

Especially for painting, one had to economize on 
daylight quite a lot, because in vjintertime the days are 
quite short and decent light is only available until early 
afternoon when it begins to get rather dark. Then the 
interesting thing to do is to go out for a cocktail or 
an aperitif and wander dov/n to the Dome or Rotonde. There 
you'd invariably see some of your friends, and you'd 
have an hour or so of conversation before dinner. Some- 
times after dinner, there 'd be quite 2a rge gatherings and 
maybe v/e would have a lot of discussion and arguments. I 
always thought that was quite a valuable part of life over 
there. You didn't have to have any special meeting place 
or club or form a society for it. You could just go nut 
at certain hours of the day and meet people; and a certain 
group of artists would get together and in another place, 
there would be writers. Their talk was good. They dis- 
cussed their problems and had great debates. 

Of course, that's obvious in the story of the Impression- 
ist movement in Paris--the meetings of Degas and Pissarro 
and Monet and others at that famous cafe in Montmartre. So 
it's very characteristic of life there. V7hen you speak of 
why this activity occurred in Paris, I think that cafe life 
contributed a lot to it. I felt it to a certain extent in 
Munich, but not so much so, and still less in Rome. But in 
Paris, I think it was a really very important part of it. 


You had this chance to talk to people, to meet people, to 
exchange ideas; and I think that was one of the great 
attractions that brought a lot of people there. 

There were other reasons, of course, in that period of 
the twenties, especially for the Americans being there. 
The exchange was so much in our favor that many Americans 
had a chance for a trip to Europe that otherwise might 
have been impossible. And living was still quite reasonable. 
So they v;ent there partly because of the fame that the 
life was having at that time and partly because it v;as pos- 
sible for them to do so economically, which, incidentally, 
was the reason I v;ent to Europe in the first place. It 
was basically a money-saving device; I could get more for 
my money over there. Of course, I was crazy to go, so 
that was also very much a part of it. And, while living 
in Paris, although I always felt I was very soon going to 
come home, I was very glad when I found v;e could stay one 
more year. In some ways, it may have been a mistake, but 
at the same time, I don't regret it. 

Joyce never went where there were crowds of people. 
Of course, after the beginning of the publication of Ulysses 
by the Little Review, his fame and notoriety increased, and 
people v;ere more inclined to throng around him if he shov/ed 
himself than vjhen he first went to Paris. He didn't like 
that sort of thing. I think he was a shy man in lots of 
vmys. He was a very, very courageous man, but at the same 
time, there vms a certain shyness. So we v/ere always finding 
some little place where we'd congregate that was unknown to 


other people. And as soon as it was discovered, we'd 
move and find some other little place. 

I won't call it a coterie, but he had a certain group 
of friends. There was Ezra Pound, and an Irishman by the 
name of Arthur Power, a man we all liked very much. He and 
Joyce got along awfully v;ell together. And there V7ere a 
few other friends that he would have at his apartment. 
Afterwards vjhen he had a nice apartment, he used to enter- 
tain very nicely with little dinners. We'd be there for 
Christmas or New Year's. It was interesting to see him 
enjoying a really comfortable life. 

The apartment wasn't large, but it was a very pleasant 
one. It was rather commonplace in its furnishings, but 
it was very comfortable and not un tasteful at all. The 
last years that we knew him, he had on the mantelpiece a 
copy of Narcissus, a bronze that came from Pompeii. It's 
a little nude that stands a couple of feet high. It's a 
boy holding up his fingers this way [gestures], and I 
think his one hand is on his hip in a kind of listening 
attitude. It's quite a well-known Roman bronze. Somebody 
had given him this, I imagine--I doubt if he had bought 
it. Anyway, it vras standing on the mantelpiece and in 
this arm that was crooked was a bunch of little Greek flags, 
and each flag represented a new edition or translation of 
Ulysses . And they were quite numerous; so, by that time 
I think his income must have been pretty good. 


For the publication of Ulysses , one thing that he 
wanted was to have the cover of it blue (it was a paper 
cover), and he wanted it the color of the Greek flag. I 
said, "Well, Joyce, that's all right. The Greek flag is 
just blue. That's all. It depends on how they're making 
the flag. If they v:ant a dye that is permanent and will 
stand the weather and the sun, v;hy, of course, it's an 
expensive color because ordinary blue pigments and aniline 
colors are rather fugitive and vary somewhat in quality. 
We have a cobalt blue, which is very nearly prismatic 
blue; ultramarine, v;hlch goes very slightly to the violet 
side; and Prussian blue, which can be used in juxtaposition 
to its complementaries to bring out a certain greenish 

ntlfl"l^"^.^^ in i +. Rn+ TAihcin -f-V-icnr ' vo rnakinG f ISCS . thev SiniDlV 

dye it blue according to the quality of the dye they hap- 
pen to have . " 

"No," he said, "I'm sure they have a very definite 
blue for the Greek flag and not other flags." 

So sure enough, he comes around waving this little 
Greek flag and he says, "l want you to match this color 
for me." So I got busy with the blue pigm.ents and pointed 
out that the blue was a color of this sort and maybe just a 
little touch of Prussian with ultramarine would give it 
something of that sort. But one thing he couldn't see vjas 
that the flag was silk and that you put that same color on 
paper and it doesn't look like the same blue as the silk. 


He couldn't understand that. He thought there was some- 
thing v;rong with my vision because I couldn't make that 
piece of paper look like that silk flag. [laughter] 
However, as v:e know, the first edition of Ulysses came 
out v/ith its blue cover, which didn't take too long to 
fade and get rather dull. 

He was not interested especially in the visual arts. 
I think that he rather gave up on the idea of painting as 
being anything very serious. The only art work I ever 
heard him really get enthused about was the Book of Kells. 
The manuscript illumination, of course, is of an am.azingly 
complicated design, and that fascinated him. He'd get out 
his magnifying glass--he had color reproductions, or at 
least some plates somebody had given him of the Book of 
Kells--and he'd look at them with great pleasure. He said, 
"l think the reason I like it is because of the intricacy 
of it." It's the first time I'd ever heard that pronun- 
ciation, and in one of my letters to Ellmann, I m.entioned 
that pronunciation. He said, yes, that Yeats also was 
inclined to use that pronunciation--intrlcacy for intricacy. 

But Joyce always felt himself a vmtchmaker, a man who 
would work with infinitely small bits and put them together 
with great precision. He felt that v;as one of his great 
characteristics as an artist. On the other hand, there's 
one thing that alv;ays rather amused me about Joyce. He 
calls himself Dedalus in the Portrait of the Artist as a 


Young Man . He's an artificer; he's a workman of precision. 
And I don't think I'm wrong, but I think he probably was 
as helpless with his hands as anybody I ever knev;. [laughter] 
But, of course, that's not entirely fair, because V7hat 
he did was to handle v;ords and language v;ith the same en- 
thusiasm and the same love and meticulous care that the 
artist would do--what Cellini would do, for example, in a 
fine piece of gold work or engraving or something of that 
sort, V7ith a great precision and great delicacy. So he 
wasn't v;rong in calling himself Dedalus. 

His evenings at home, as I say, v/ere alvjays very en- 
joyable. They never had in a large group, only a fev/ 
friends at a time. I doubt if they entertained very many 
at home. Unless they were people that they really felt 
were in the family circle, they took them out to a res- 
taurant to dinner and gave them hospitality of that sort. 
His entertaining at his home v;as very informal. When v.'e 
gathered there for dinner or for some evening, Joyce 
wouldn't appear until the guests v;ere all there. Then 
he'd com.e v/andering out of his study--he had the luxury 
now of a study, a little room where he could really work-- 
and he used to come out in his white coat, v;hich should 
have given him a look that rather suggested a doctor or 
a nurse, but it didn't. And he v.'ouM wander in quietly 
and sit down, and he joined the conversation and then we'd 
have dinner. 


Afterwards he'd go to the piano and sing some of his 
songs. He had written songs using the melodies of other 
songs. "Mr. Dooley" was one thing he used to sing quite 
often. "Mr. Dooley, Youlee, You," is a satirical sort 
of thing to the song of "Mr. Dooley." We had radios in 
those days, but he didn't have one, and they weren't espe- 
cially good yet. Somebody would play the piano. 

And he loved to dance. He always danced in rather 
a quaint, funny way, like he was doing an imitation of an 
Irish folk dance or something. I never saw him dance 
formally--doing the waltz or ballroom dancing. He just 
liked to skip around and really have fun, always in a very 
serious sort of a way. He never, never laughed. He'd 
break into a rather charming smile once in awhile if some- 
thing amused him, but I don't ever remember him really 
going "haw-hav;" and really laughing. 

About the drinking that I spoke of before, we did 
have in the Quarter, in those days, some boys who were 
rather hurting themselves in the way of drinking. Speaking 
of this reputation that Joyce has of being a drinker, you 
never hear of Sinclair Lewis spoken of as a drunk. I may 
be unfair to Lewis, but I saw him very often in Paris while 
on his vacation, you know, and when he was traveling and 
having a good time, he began drinking pretty early in the 
day, it seems to me--and shov;ed it. He showed it by not 
being a very pleasant person very often. 


Joyce, however, was alv/ays very polite. One time 
he did get so far along (Just he and I were together) 
that it came closing time and the proprietor insisted 
he had to shut up the place and that we had to go. And 
I said, "VJell, Joyce, they're going to lock up the place. 
We realty have to get out of here." And he looked 
rather distressed at that, \lhen he got up, I found he 
really couldn't stand on his feet. I had to put my arm 
around him and half carry him out into the street. Well, 
out in the fresh air, he sort of straightened up and he 
got a little more strength, but he was quite wobbly. He 
and I started to walk slowly dovm the street--! vjas try- 
ing to find a taxicab--and quite a nice-looking Frenchman 
passed by and saw that I was in somewhat of a difficulty. 
He stopped and said, "Can 1 be of any help?" In French. 

And I said, "No, thank you. I can get along very 

Joyce drew himself up with great dignity and invited 
this man to come and have a drink with us. I've forgotten 
how he expressed it, but it was veiy politely done and in 
a very dignified manner. 

The other Frenchman said, "Oh, no. Thank you very, 
very much indeed." And so Joyce said, " Alors allez- 
vous -en! " ("Get yourself gone.'") A very cold a llez- 
vous - en ! 

"Oui, monsieur, oui, monsieur." And he went on dov;n 


the street. 

So I got Joyce home. I wasn't making any effort to 
be abstemious at all in those days, but I think that Nora 
rather liked for me to be out with Joyce because she was 
rather sure that at least he could get home without 
leaving his overcoat someplace or have some kind of a 
mishap. It was not because I made any effort to stay 
sober, but just because of a physiological peculiarity 
that has always been with me. Up to a certain point I 
drink very enthusiastically, and then I get a sense of 
paralysis of my insides and I just can't sv;allow anymore. 
I just don't want it. [laughter] All I want to do is to 
keep very still for awhile. If you leave me alone for 
about an hour, I will then feel right. But the unfortunate 
thing is that in not being able to join the party in the 
spirit in which it is going, I get rather dismally sober. 
So if it goes on too long, I'm just cold sober and want 
to go home, while the rest are having a whale of a good 

Well, that would be true when I was out with Joyce. 
I'd have all I vjanted, and I'd stop, you know. He'd polish 
off another bottle, and by that time, I'd be sobered up-- 
and he wouldn't have--and I was in a position to guide the 
party home and pick up the belongings and take care of 
things. I think Nora got onto that. Afterv/ards I felt 


that she v;as never reproachful if he came home even early 
in the morning. She was always very nice about it. 
SCHIPPERS: How often did you see Joyce? 
NUTTING: Oh, very often. For one reason, Nora Joyce 
was very fond of my wife and she used to come over a great 
deal. She wasn't a complaining woman at all; she didn't 
come over to weep on my wife's shoulder, but she liked to 
have somebody to confide in. She liked Helen very much, 
md for that reason, she'd be over quite a lot. And we 
used to be at their place quite a lot. 

Also what was conmon with most of us in the Quarter 
in those days v/as that we ate out a great deal. We used 
to have our favorite restaurants and we used to meet in 
small groups, and very, very often it would be i.'.'ith the 
Joyces. It was usually either a restaurant down near the 
Beaux-Arts or down on the St. -Germ.ain-des-Pres, or a res- 
taurant in the Quarter. There was one called the Trianon. 
It all depended v;hether we wanted to have a very simple 
meal or felt like splurging a little bit. Sometimes we 
at an extremely simple little restaurant where we would 
meet by prearrangement. 

Then we took trips out to Fountainebleau together and 
to do things of that sort, little excursions. In the winter- 
time, v;e'd meet at least once a week, either for dinner at 
each other's house, or we would go on an excursion to places 
outside of Paris and spend the day. Of course, in the 


summertime, v/e went our various ways. VJe used to go south 
a great deal, and they v;ould also go places. Everybody's 
great ambition in Paris is to vacation someplace in the 
summertime . 

SCHIPPERS: About how many years did you knov; the Joyces? 
NUTTING: V/ell, it was during the twenties. We left there 
in '29, and they had been in Paris about a year before I 
met them. If I'm not mistaken, they arrived in 1920, so 
from '21 to '29 I knew them. My wife corresponded a little 
bit with them after we came back to this country. Joyce 
had a phenomenal memory for people's birthdays. He never 
v;rote them down, but he remembered them. He had a great 
love of birthdays and he used to send my wife a telegram 
or something on her birthday. He congratulated me on my 
birthday once, only he got the month wrong. He got the day 
right, but he made a mistake on the month. [laughter] 

JANUARY 5, 1966 

NUTTING: Another man that I met through Joyce was Wyndham 
Lewis. I was already somev/hat familiar v;ith his vjriting. 
Wyndham Lewis was an extremely talented draftsman, a 
painter, a very able writer and, in some ways, quite a 
brilliant thinker. He v/rote a small book called The 
Caliph' s Design . At that time it interested me quite a 
lot. And when Joyce said Lewis v;as coming to Paris, I 
asked if we might not have dinner together and I'd have a 
chance to ask him some questions concerning some of the 
things in this little book of his. 

Joyce arranged a dinner. I went, but instead of 
just the three of us as I had expected, there v;ere also 
other guests. One v;as Robert McAlmon and also a young 
sculptor by the name of Moore. Well, the dinner was quite 
successful but I v/as rather disappointed because when I 
started asking Levjis some questions about his book--I 
told him I'd enjoyed it, and I wanted to talk about it-- 
the others didn't want any very serious conversation. So 
it turned out to be just a good-natured sort of a dinner. 
Bob McAlmon perhaps had been celebrating a little too much 
or something. V7e had quite a few drinks at dinner that 
didn't agree v;ith him, and he became ill. So after dinner, 
he went home and left Moore, Joyce, Lewis and myself to go 


on to a cafe and have some more talk. 

Well, it resulted in our being out, really, all night. 
I've forgotten where we went. We went from place to place 
and talked. Finally we wound up going to Les Halles in 
the early morning, down in the Paris marketplace. It's 
quite a nice place, interesting, too — at least, it used 
to be--I believe it's either being taken down nov; or is 
gone. In the early morning, you v/ould see great wagon- 
loads of produce coming into town to feed the city of 
Paris, and in the vicinity there were lots of restaurants, 
some very simple ones and some more ambitious ones, all 
quite good. Winding up down there for breakfast was rather 
a usual thing if you were out all night. So v;e v;ent down 
there and had breakfast and then started leisurely going 

Well, Lewis and Joyce had been drinking rather con- 
tinuously all night and though they weren't too intoxi- 
cated, they had become rather uninteresting. Moore drank 
very little; he was very sober. And I, as usual, about 
that time of night was tiresomely sober. [laughter] It 
had been hours since I had had the slightest desire for 
anything in the way of alcohol, I enjoyed my breakfast and 
coffee and then wanted to go home, but when I mildly sug- 
gested that it was time that we break up and go and get 
some sleep, Lewis leaned over and put his arm around me and 
said, "My darling Nutting, I won't go home and you can't 


make me go home. " 

Well, I wouldn't remember that except--as I said before 
— the interesting thing about Joyce was that he alv;ays 
seemed to remember everything. At that time, he didn't 
seem to be especially av;are of the world around him. One 
of my worries, knowing that he had so little to spend, 
was that he was buying a drink maybe for one franc and 
giving a five-franc tip. So I was trying to salvage these 
five-franc tips and would instead put down a respectable 
tip, with the idea of giving the money back to him later. 
I didn't think there was anything especially v;rong with 
that idea. It seemed to amuse Moore no end, though. He 
caught me doing it, and he laughed and thought it was a 
j^reat "ioke. Aftcrviards Jc^^ce could mention things up 
to the very end of the evening and described Lewis' state 
and his saying, "Darling Nutting, you can't make me go 
home." He quoted him verbatim and showed that there was 
nothing in the whole evening that was in the least lost 
on him. 

There were one or tv;o things that were very Joycean. 
One vjas superstitions. I could never quite make out vjhether 
Joyce was really superstitious or not. He enjoyed super- 
stitions, especially old ones, and sort of played along 
with them. He had his own idea of what was good luck and 
what was a good portent and that sort of thing. One time, 
early in the morning, we were at a cafe and I lost Joyce. 


I looked around and found that he was sitting with a Greek 
sailor and having a wonderful conversation vfith him. V/ell, 
it wasn't because the boy was an especially interesting 
companion--! 'm sure of that--but it was the fact that he 
felt it was a good omen to meet a Greek. Anything Greek 
was a good omen to him. To have the evening wind up with 
a contact V7ith a Greek seemed to him something that really 
meant good fortune and led him to become very friendly 
with this fellow. 

Well, it's unfortunate that those two men, vjho v;ere 
very unusual men, very different, disagreed with each other. 
Even then, Lewis was very critical of Joyce and disagreed 
with him. They were disagreeing on a lot of subjects, 
and it was ver^'' unfortunate that I can't remember about 
what. Why I did not make some notes of v;hat the talk v;as 
about I don't know, but I didn't, so it just remains as 
these mild memories. 

Then about this young Moore, afterwards I saw notices 
and pictures of his sculpture in art magazines. So, of course, 
I said, to myself, "So that was the boy. That was Lewis' 
friend that he thought was such a genius." And I always 
supposed that it v;as he. But Ellmann, in his interview 
with Henry Moore in England, said that Moore claimed he 
never met Joyce, and I'm wondering whether that's really 
true. It seems very much of a coincidence that another 
sculptor who v;ould be admired by V/yndham Lewis and one he 


felt was representative of very modern art, as Wyndham 
Lev;is was, would also have the name of Moore. I think 
it's rather strange. I'm rather wondering if at that 
time the boy paid much attention to whom he v;as with. He 
didn't talk; he didn't seem to be too much interested. He 
was mild and a very pleasant young fellow. I think maybe 
he just tagged along with Lewis and didn't especially notice 
viho he was with. That's just a possibility. It doesn't 
sound too intelligent because by that time Joyce v/as quite 
well known. I'm sure Moore would have known, and if he 
paid any attention to his guests, he would certainly have 
remembered him. 

So that was one of the evenings. It was the longest 

pijpniriiy T e^MP-r Rnpn-h. wi -f-.h .In^rr-p' TTcnnl T ^r vjq ""Ot home St 

a much better hour. That was the only time I ever met 
VJyndham Lewis. I found him a much more interesting man in 
his writing than he was personally. 

In Ellmann's book, there is quite a vivid description 
of Joyce and Giorgio. In its v;ay, I think it's very true. 
It's very good. Of course, when you speak of the way people 
were impressed by Joyce, I think you can understand it in 
terms of their personal feeling. Clive Bell didn't like 
him especially. Some people would call him arrogant. I 
think that speaking of him as being arrogant is rather un- 
fair; I don't think he was at all an arrogant man. I think 
he was shy. He didn't seem to enter easily into a crowd. 


In spite of all the people who really admired him and 
were willing to like him very much, he much preferred to 
be with very fev; people and keep his distance, but not 
because he vjas snooty. It was because to suddenly become 
well knovm after a life of hard work and neglect v/as a bit 
heady for him. He couldn't quite take it. I never knev; 
anybody who really disliked him, and I certainly never 
knew him to be offensive in any way or give any reason for 
someone to take umbrage. 

I alv;ays thought it was rather ironical that he should 
use the name Dedalus, meaning himself. A Portrait of the 
Artist as a^ Young Man is, of course, roughly autobiographi- 
cal and in Ulysses , too, it's himself he's v;riting about 
to a certain extent--Dedan us . the artist, Joyce had the 
limpest handshake of anybody I ever met. There were just 
no nerves in his hand. He'd hold out this object, you know, 
and you'd take hold of it and wobble it, but there was 
nothing in the way of a clasp or a handshake. I don't 
think it was any lack of warmth or feeling. I just think 
that his hands were not parts that he expressed himself 
with. I can never imagine him doing anything mechanical 
or fixing an electric fixture or doing the little jobs that 
so many people do around the house as a matter of course. 
I had an idea he'd be quite helpless. I have no special 
reason for feeling that except that his hand seemed so in- 
efficient in the handshake. 


One time I went down to get him on an appointment, 
and I found him struggling v/ith a package he had wrapped 
in a very childish way in black oilcloth. He had a cord 
v/hich wasn't at all appropriate to tie it with. If he'd 
had good twine;, he could have made quite a neat job of it, 
but he had gotten this rough hempen cord which was hard to 
handle anyway and was too big for the purpose. He v;as 
trying to tie a knot, and the cord v;as slipping off the 
package. I've forgotten whether I finally helped him out 
or not. I rather imagine I didn't because I didn't v,'ant 
to imply that he wasn't capable of v;rapping a bundle. But 
he finally got this bundle tied and lifted it up, and it 
held together. And he said, "Do you see this? This weighs 
tv.'elve kilos and it's the notes that I have nnt uRRd in 
writing Ulysses . " [laughter] So, I don't know how much the 
bundle of his used notes would weigh. 

Of course, as I said before, he v;as a continual 
maker of notes--evcn in the hospital. I went to see him 
the day after an operation on his eyes--one of the many 
operations--to see how he was getting along, and they 
told me I could go up and see him if I wished. So I went 
to his door and itwas ajar. I looked in, and here v;as Joyce 
lying on this bed with enormous bandages over his eyes, like 
small pillows bandaged over both eyes. He v;as lying flat 
on his back. I said, "Hello, Joyce." And he didn't move. 
He lay there perfectly quiet, perfectly still, I felt 


rather embarrassed. I thought they had let me see him too 
soon after the anesthetic and operation. Then he reached 
under his pillow and pulled out a notebook (a composition 
book such as we use in schools) and a pencil. He held 
the notebook up and very slowly traced something by touch 
onto a page. Then he shoved it back under the pillow. 
Then he held out his hand and said, "Hov? are you. Nutting?" 
Even then, he had this av;areness of watching his thoughts, 
his feelings and his ideas. 

Ordinarily, he kept a very small notebook in his vest- 
pocket. Walking down the street one day while carrying 
on quite a lively conversation, all of a sudden, he pulled 
out this little book and wrote something in it in his 
fnjinv little tin'^'' hand and ■•"'ut it back. Of course, it 
caused an interruption in what he was saying, so I looked 
at him rather inquiringly--! wondered v;hat idea had sud- 
denly popped into his mind. So he pulled the book out again 
and held it up, and on one page were simply the words: 
"carriage sponge." [laughter] Then he put it back. 

Afterwards, I saw his method of vjorking. He had great 
big pieces of wrapping paper and colored pencils and a 
chart of his work. This note probably--! don't know--would 
have a number and would go to department so-and-so and so- 
and-so on this big chart. All of the material related to 
Ulysses , which he was then working on. But that very metho- 
dical way of working and that inveterate taking of notes v;as 


to me most striking. Everything was mapped out in colored 
pencils on the chart. He carefully preserved all his mate- 
rial so that even after it got through v.'ith his material, 
he'd wrap it up and v/eigh it and it vjas ready to be filed 

Well, I think I mentioned the fact that when I first 
knew him, I did catch him working one morning. I found 
him in his room in a rather cheap little hotel v;ith very 
little heat. It was quite cold. He had his coat on, and 
he was sitting in an armchair with a suitcase resting on 
the arms of the chair. That v/as his desk, and he was in 
this little room working. I think they had tv;o rooms in this 
hotel. I think it was on the Rue de I'Universite, down 
by the river. That's the only time that T ever savj him 
actually engage in his work. 

Ordinarily, he v/ouldn't talk too much about his v;ork 
except after dinner, after a couple of bottles of v;ine, 
and then sometimes he would. I remember once when he was 
working on the wandering rocks episode, he told me various 
ideas he had for the form of it. One of them v;as what I 
think Ellmann describes in his book here. He got the idea 
from some childish game he played with Lucia. I won't say 
childish because Lucia v;as then thirteen and she was not 
at all a child; she was mature for her age. It was a game, 
though, for young people. In playing this game, it gave him 
an idea for the wandering rocks. And I also remember, for 


example, he was concerned about the last episode which 
is about Penelope, Molly Bloom, just before she goes to 
sleep. It has enormously long sentences, and he said at 
first his idea v;as to do it in the form of letters that 
she had vjritten. And then he got this other idea of 
simply a flow of her thoughts and reveries as she drifted 
off, eventually, to sleep. That to me proved to be his 
masterpiece. I think it was a very marvelous piece of 
writing. The contrast between that and the style that 
he invented fac Bloom is startling. To some people, it's 
a very dull episode, but to me, it's very fascinating. 
Have you read it? 

NTTTTyMr! * V^n v»Ciyn ciYvi'h c»v» +-V^o-f- /^ rN T (^ wa -f- Komo -f n o Q 1 c-f-\rlo V^ o 

uses? To me each episode in the book is sheer music, and 
the book as a whole is a great symphony. Follov/ing that 
wild VJalpurgisnacht , the Circe episode, one moves into a 
quieter movement, the one of the cabman's shelter, leaving 
the tumult behind. Then the fascinating movem.ent 
when the pair are homeward bound under the stars and where 
Joyce makes scientific and mathematical exposition sheer 
poetry. Finally Bloom is in bed, he dozes off. "He rests. He 
has travelled. v;ith? Sinbad the sailor and Tinbad the Tailor 
and Jinbad the Jailer and VJhinbad the Whaler and..." 

I just said, he was alvjays writing things down, making 
notes of everything. You can see that all of his writing 


is based on very real, very concrete experiences. Probably 
every mite of it he could trace dov;n to its origin. It's 
not a thought-up fantasy or a dream life, ho'wever, the 
dream form may be used. It's anything but that. Undoubted- 
ly, all of the people v/ho knev; him are in some way in the 
book. In Ulysses , at least, sometimes it'll be obvious. 
Well, vjhen we had that little dinner on his birthday, 
when he got out his first copy of Ulysses , one of the first 
things that he did was to open it and show my wife where 
her name appeared among the trees. 

And once, by accident, I discovered something else. 
Molly Bloom in this long reverie of hers says to her husband, 
"Roll over for the love of Mike." When I read that, I was 

was an American expression. So the next time I saw him 
I spoke about it. I said, "Well, Joyce, I didn't know that 
'for the love of Mike' was an Irish expression. I thought 
that was something that v;as quite American. Do you say that 
in Ireland?" He said, "No." "Well," I said, "where did 
you get it from then? And why did you use it? Where did 
you get it?" He said, "From you." [laughter] 

There is also the saying my mother used in greeting 
a friend: "Hov; does your corporocity sagatiate?" Once 
we made arrangements to meet the Joyce family for some per- 
f ormance--I 've forgotten what it was now--and we went in and 
the Joyces were already there. I walked up to him and I 


said, "How are you, Joyce? Hov;'s your corporocity saga- 
tlate?" And he looked puzzled for a moment, and then he 
smiled. But I didn't ask him if I had contributed that 
or not. I rather suppose that I did, because he didn't 
take it as an expression that he v\'as familiar with. It 
turned up in Ulysses , so I sort of imagine I contributed 

Another thing was a little song. I was with him one 
evening--I've forgotten what episode it's in now--and he 
sang it. He first recited the words, and then he said 
"The tune goes this vjay, " and he sang it--thls little verse. 
And I said, "You ought to have the music with the words 
vjhen the book is published." And he said, "No, we can't 
do that. You can't go to the extra p.ypp.n^p. . Illustration 
and that sort of thing is something that we can't afford." 
But I said it wouldn't cost anything. And he said, "Why 
wouldn't it?" And I said, "All you have to do is take a 
piece of music paper and v;rite it out in black ink, and, 
for very little, you can get a cut made from the engraver and 
the printer will put it in for you." That seemed to be news 
to him and, sure enough, that was vjhat was done. So I made 
the contribution of having the music of the verse appear. 
Otherwise, it would have been simply the words of the song, 
nothing else. VJell, undoubtedly, as I say, everybody that 
knew him would be surprised how much in some vjay or another 
they contributed, because nothing was lost on him. 


Wellj of course, the trouble over Ulysses began right 
after I knew him. Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap had 
published a certain amount of Ulysses in the Little Review 
in New York, but then it was suppressed. Finally, the 
ban was lifted. When we came to this country (I left 
Paris in I929), I brought with me two copies. One was 
the copy of his first edition, a signed copy that Joyce 
had given us, and I'd also been given another edition in 
a smaller format and very beautifully bound. V/hen I got 
to New York, they searched my luggage and they found the 
second edition, but they missed the first. So it was 
sheer luck that I salvaged my valuable copy, vjhich now is 
in the library at Northv/estern University. It was one of 
the first copies to arrive in Paris from Di.lon, where it 
was printed. Just a small number were printed. 

Of course, I suppose everybody v;ould admit that Joyce 
was a very impractical sort of a man vjhen it came to worldly 
affairs and money, but he vjas very conscientious about it. 
He didn't hesitate to ask for a loan of money when he needed 
it, but you were quite sure of getting it back, and some- 
times very quickly and very promptly. At least that was my 
experience. So far as I know, it vjas alv;ays true of him. 
He wasn't a sponger in the least. I met him one day, and 
he spoke of the next day being his wife's birthday. He 
said, "I have nothing to give her." So I loaned him a 
hundred francs. A hundred francs then was quite a little 


bit. The exchange fluctuates so, but it v/asn't a small 
sum. He bought her something in spite of the fact that 
they v;ere down to practically nothing, as his wanting the 
loan would indicate. In some way, a very short time 
after\-7ards, he repaid me. But, he v;as quite capable of 
borrowing money from you and deciding that, instead of 
groceries, he'd buy flowers. It had more meaning to him 
than food would have at the time. So he would spend it 
in that way. 

SCHIPPERS: You previously mentioned something about a 
standard joke in the Joyce household having to do with 
Irish humor. 

NUTTING: VJell, that v/as apropos of Nora Joyce. Nora was 
--I alv/avK felt and J think my v;ife did, too--really quite 
a grand person. She v/as always very dignified, very quiet. 
She was very much puzzled by her husband and also very much 
impressed when she found that all this crazy work that he 
was doing really meant something after all. Instead of 
making a good living for his family and all that sort of 
thing, he'd spend all his time writing a book that people 
thought was terrible and v;as censored. I suppose it was 
something that was pretty hard for her to understand. She 
never read it, of course. She was not an educated woman. 

Curiously enough, she had a great love and a good 
appreciation of music. She'd go by herself sometimes to 
a concert of her favorite composers. She was especially 


fond of certain works by Wagner. They seemed to mean a 
great deal to her and some of V/agner's things she'd hear 
again and again, even if she had to go alone. It v;as some- 
thing that had real meaning. 

So far as understanding her husband's v/ork, of course, 
that was just nonexistent. There was no understanding 
at all, and I don't think she v;as especially interested. 
I think probably the favorite joke of Joyce in speaking 
of his wife v;as that Nora would say to him, "Jim, have 
you any book of Irish humor in the house?" And Joyce 
would reply, "No." [laughter] 

Family life in the Joyce family was really excellent, 
very quiet, simple. The deep affection that Nora had for 
her f ami 1 V held thRm f.ofyp.f.hp.v marvpT nii?;! v. .c;hp \«ja s -rt^i^^^-v 
very patient. Once in awhile I'd hear her get rather 
scolding, but it wasn't too serious and it seemed to me 
that they really were very devoted. The relationships in 
the household seemed to me excellent. 

Speaking of that--of the family, the children--Lucia 
was a very lively, imaginative, intelligent girl. Her 
brother \'Jas not at all like his father or like his sister, 
and least of all, his mother. He v;as maybe a little bit 
stiff, a little punctilious and inclined to be rather ar- 
gumentative. And the family vjould burst forth in Italian, 
which v/as a very impressive language to carry on an alter- 
cation in. You can make more noise and sound more ferocious- 


it seeras to me--in Italian than you can In most any other 
language. VJhen Italians get to really laying down the 
lav/ to each other, they can make a tremendous racket. 
Giorgio had quite an ability along those lines. Most of 
the time, he v/as very quiet and very sedate. I don't think 
the altercations really amounted to anything at all serious; 
they v;ere just a little noise in the family. 

At that tlm.e, I still V7as interested in doing portraits, 
Temperamentally, I never have been a portrait painter, but 
I like to paint people. I like to paint from nature, and 
I like to do portraits if I'm not bound too much by the 
whims and fancies of the sitter and the sitter's family-- 
that gets to be quite unbearable. I asked Joyce to sit 
for me, and he seemed to be pleased to do so. Nothing 
very much came of that, partly because he v;as working 
tremendously hard, very hard, and also because his eye 
trouble was always more or less present. Sometimes he'd 
be laid up for some time with it. I no sooner got started 
in my painting when an illness would put a stop to it. Then 
I realized it was kind of an imposition. If I'd felt 
more sure of myself as a painter, that I vjould do something 
that was of great value, I might have pressed the matter a 
little bit, but I imagine I v;as somev/hat intimidated by 
my own work at that time. I v;asn't too satisfied v/ith it. 

I did do some drav/ings of him. A crayon dravjing is 
now ovmed by Paul Kieffer in Nev/ York and is mentioned by 


Sylvia Beach in her book, Shakespeare and Company . She 
said, "l wonder v/hat became of that drav;ing that Myron 
Nutting did of Joyce? I've always liked it." That 
pleased me because I thought she would be pretty sensi- 
tive to what sort of things were done of him. 

I also did one of Nora. Of course, Nora had plenty 
of time to sit, and she was a very placid sort of a person. 
She was a marvelous sitter. That portrait of her I always 
rather liked, and it's reproduced in Ellmann's book. I 
also did some of Lucia. She used to like to come around 
and sit for me. One of the pictures I did of her is now 
with the one of her mother. Incidentally, the beginning 
of one of Joyce is also in the library at Northwestern. 
It's there along vjith some odds and ends of Joyce's vjriting 
and some drawing I sold to Northwestern University, some 
time back. Most of the things I don't think I kept. The 
one of Lucia is, I think, all right. It's quite nice, and 
I wasn't at all ashamed of it the last time I saw it. The 
one of Nora I thought was very good as a portrait, and I 
think everybody else did. They always seemed to like it 
very much. It had some sort of qualities of painting. It 
v^asn't just a "spot knocker," as we used to call them v;hen 
I was a student. We used to divide portraits into spot 
knockers and real paintings. 

It seems to me that Ellmann's book is really a master- 
piece, a wonderful piece of patient research. And he has 


used the material amazingly well. 1, not being a man 
who's been up against that sort of a problem, wouldn't 
be one to really be critical. I think that a lot of my 
personal impressions of Joyce would not be of any histori- 
cal importance. Hov^ should I put it? Even though the 
person had the experience with the man, he might not have 
any deep understanding and could not present something 
that's memorable and interesting. I could cite quite a 
number of examples. 

One is of the painter Redon, v.'ho knew the painter 
Delacroix. He went to an evening where Delacroix, the 
painter, vjas present. He was a great worshipper of Delacroix, 
Delacroix left the party alone and walked through the Paris 
Ktreets . Redon and his young friend, who v.'ere both c^uits 
young, followed him at a distance and vjatched him as he 
was walking in a meditative sort of way through the streets. 
Then he suddenly stopped, turned and went in another direc- 
tion. They knevj v.'hat had happened. He'd recently moved 
to another studio--the one he occupied when he died. But 
when he left the party, he automatically started walking 
home alone to his old quarters. Then he came to, and changed 

That's a very slight thing, but I notice when I read 
about interesting people, a little thing like that will stay 
in my mind. That's one reason why I am encouraged to give 
things that might by chance be interesting, although they 


are really very, very slight. 

I mean, I'll never forget that night v/hen Joyce went 
leaping into the darkness dovm this medieval-looking 
street. It may have nothing to do with history, but, 
at the same time, it had overtones to me because I knew 
the man. Like that picture of Delacroix walking home, it 
increases my feeling of the reality of a very great figure. 
That's very little to go on, but I'm glad that Redon re- 
corded it. 

Joyce was always interested in people. Sometimes he'd 
listen very attentively to some story about something he'd 
never heard of. You would tell it rather casually, and 
then, all of a sudden, he'd start asking questions. For 

pvnmnlp . T mpnt.innpii f.ha •(■. mv fir-pit. violin t.pflphpr wani'.pd 

me to read Homer. Not only did Joyce sit up and take notes 
of this little anecdote, but he v/anted to know what my 
teacher's name V7as and every detail about my first violin 
lesson and a vjhole description about the violin teacher. 
Again, it v;as this thing of the Greek--Homer--coming into 
the picture, and for some reason, he snatched onto that 
little fragment and took it all apart and examined it from 
all sides, 

SCHIPPERS: You've mentioned that you cannot remember the 
specifics of discussions that you had with Joyce, but in 
general what were the tenor of the discussions? 
NUTTING: Among other things, they always centered around 


what he was working on, what he was thinking about at the 
time in his v/ritings, like when he talked about the problem 
of presenting the significance of Molly Bloom in this last 
chapter and hovj he had at one time decided to do it in 
the form of letters. He v^ould talk about what she meant, 
and how she was the Penelope, the weaver of the tides, the 
moon and space, turning the night aroujid the earth in in- 
terminable revolutions. He would think out loud and describe 
the significance of the things. That's why I'm so extremely, 
extremely regretful that I didn't make notes at the time on 
what he was actually saying v;hile he v;as working, because, 
very often, it would be that sort of a problem. 

Then there vjas the wandering rocks episode, but those 
were the onl^'" two incidents that I actually remember. He 
had an idea of what he wanted the vrandering rocks to be, but 
it finally came to him when he was playing a game with his 
daughter, some little game that he bought to take home to 
amuse her. Just what the relation was I never could quite 
figure out. But, in some way, it clarified things for him, 
and he found out what to do in the formation of a style for 
that episode of Ulysses . 

He was never gossipy and he was never argumentative. 
He would very quietly express opinions or advance an argu- 
ment, but he never got warmed up to defend a position. It 
was always a rather cool dialectic, as I remember. He'd 
say something, and then if you would disagree with him he'd 


say "but that," you kjiov/. He v/as rather unemotional^ even 
under the influence of alcohol. He never got excited 
about anything--at least v/hen I knew him. He v;as alvmys 
very controlled in his thinking and his feelings. Oh, 
he'd feel very strongly about things, yes. I think that one 
of the most marked characteristics, so far as his feelings 
were concerned, was his hatred of violence. 

I know that he liked Wallace very much. I don't knovj 
if he cared very much for Wallace's vn'.fe, Lillian, but 
she appears very decidedly in Ulysses , and quite often. 
The use of the vjord "yes" in the last episode has to do 
with her. The episode begins with yes and ends with yes. 
Joyce said that yes is a feminine word. Joyce vms out at 
the Wallaces' little country place one weekend sitting in 
the garden and heard Lillian talking, and all through the 
conversation, Lillian would start with yes, and then she'd 
end v/ith yes. He was dozing in the garden and heard Lillian's 
continual use of the word yes. From there it got into 
Ulysses . 

At the time, I v;as rather puzzled that he didn't seem 
to be interested in politics or v;orld events. Of course, 
he was very much aware of them and very well informed. But, 
working on a book which was set on a certain day m^any years 
before ( Juno l6, 1904, I think, is Bloom's day), it seemed that 
he was out of the world of present events. But, I feel 
that he wasn't really at all out of the world of present 


events. He v/as keenly aware of them, but he also had a 
sense of things that were eternal. V7hat at the time seems 
so tremendously important, v.-hen seen later in perspective, 
perhaps hasn't as much meaning. This is rather a crude 
way of expressing something that I ought to give more 
thought to, because I think there's a kernel of truth in 

I knov; that Joyce several times said that he was very 
much influenced by the philosopher [Giovanni Battista] Vico. 
I never read Vico, and so it was never quite clear. There's 
something about a recurrence of an event that's almost like 
the Oriental idea of the spiral, a returning of things at 
a different level. I took it to mean that the Trojan War 
and the sixteenth of June in Dublin are the same, only 
in a different place in the spiral. Maybe he vzas seeing 
world history truthfully. And though the scene v;as not 
laid in the Paris or Trieste or Zurich of those days, 
years before, the reality wa s in Zurich and Trieste and 
Rome and Paris and, above all, curiously enough, in Dublin, 
from v;hich he was an exile, and also in Gibraltar, a place 
that he never visited. 

I think I told you about this man who could not be 
convinced that Joyce had never seen Gibraltar, had never 
been there. Joyce sat down and talked to this man about 
Gibraltar and talked and talked about this characteristic 
of the town or the life. Finally this man said, "When 


were you In Gibraltar last?" And Joyce said, "l was never 
there." And he v/ouldn ' t believe him. But the reason that 
he knew so much about Gibraltar was that was where Molly 
Bloom came from. He familiarized himself with everything 
from the apes, to all the streets and shops, and apparently 
every detail that would make Molly more real. 

Speaking of Joyce's hatred of violence, he v.'as quite 
fond of VJallace and was very much grieved v;hen Wallace 
died. He died in the mid-tv7enties. But he vjas frankly 
critical of him because VJallace was very fond of prize- 
fights. He followed the French boxers all his life and 
found a certain drama, a certain poetry and a certain sig- 
nificance in fighting that he thought v;as very wonderful. 
And Joyce couldn't see that, for a mnment., A lot of Joyce's 
conversation and some of his witticisms were on violence. 
His words to "Mr. Dooley, Mr. Dooley-ooley-ooh, " is a case 
in point. War, violence, and cruelty were a special ana- 
thema to him. 

SCHIPPERS: Did he often give opinions of people? 
NUTTING: Not too readily. Not too readily. V/hen he did, 
though, he was very frank and very exact in what he'd say 
and what he felt about the person. It was the same way 
with anything else--books and writers--he always epitomized 
his feeling very, very well. You knev; exactly how he felt 
about talents. I think v;hat he said about Bob McAlmon was 
rather good. Bob was writing then and was trying very hard 


to become a good writer. I asked Joyce what he thought of 
his work and he said, "VJell, I think he has a disorderly 
sort of talent," Apparently he said that to somebody else, 
too, because Ellmann quotes somebody else as saying it. 
But it's what he said to me, v;hen I asked about Bob's 
ability. At the time, I didn't know v;hether Bob was just 
a playboy or really a serious writer. Of course, he 
married a wealthy v/omen, which was very nice for Joyce be- 
cause she v/as very generous in helping out the Joyce 
family when they had difficulties. 

One thing was somewhat peculiar to Joyce. I think 
that most people who have accomplished anything or are 
trying to, when they're asked to say a few words, will 
at least get up and attempt to speak a little hit and 
make themselves agreeable. But Joyce never would. For 
one thing, he would never explain his v/ork. They'd say, 
"Why don't you explain what you mean by this? Here you 
have a book you call Ulysses . You say you get it from 
Homer, but the only clue is the title of the book. I can't 
see how you find that all this gloom and all these people 
in Dublin have anything to do vjith Homer. VJhy don't you 
explain?" No, he wouldn't do it. 

We had in Paris a little group which was very much 
like the Severance Club here. We had a name for it, but 
I haven't been able to remember it and I can't find a 
record of it. It was formed by Madame Ciolkov;ska (that's 


v/ith the Polish ending to her name). Her husband was an 
artist, somewhat of an Aubrey Beardsley type in his drav/ing. 
But not being able to support himself with his art, he v;as 
doing journalistic v;ork. He spoke excellent English, and 
he v/as v.'riting in French on English subjects. His wife, 
Muriel Ciolkov/ska, was also a writer, a correspondent. 
Among other things, she was correspondent for the American 
Art News. She was a very i.nteresting and very energetic 
woman, and she formed a group, a little dinner club, and 
was very successful in making the meetings interesting. 
They had some excellent writers as guests. Andre 
Maurois was our guest one evening and talked very well, 
and J.H. Rosny, a novelist, was also an important and 
interesting guest and gave a very interesting talk. Then 
v;e had a dinner devoted to Joyce and that, of course, v.-as 
quite well attended in the sense that it v;as an invitational 
affair. Each paid--as v;e do at the Severance Club--for 
his own dinner, plus his share for the speakers. Joyce 
was the guest and other people were quite willing to talk, 
but v;hen they asked Joyce to speak, he wouldn't say a word. 
I never heard him speak before an audience. I wonder if 
he ever did; I can't imagine him doing it. He was peculiar 
that way--at least, to me he was. 

Jaxiuary 10, 1966 

NUTTING: Apropros of that painting of Nora Joyce 
that's reproduced in Ellmann's book, Mrs. Nutting asked 
me if she was a "big woman, because the picture gives the 
idea of a very large person, at least she felt that. And 
I said, "No, she wasn't especially large." Then I told 
her about a woman who was sort of a guide in Paris. She 
made her living by getting together groups of people, 
usually fairly small groups, not a very large crowd — 
I think they probably paid her rather well — and she v;ould 
take them to the Louvre and then to various places of 
artistic inrerest. She also had the idea of taking them 
to artists' studios, so they could see something of the 
artist's life in Paris, get them right into the atmosphere. 
She called me up one day and wanted to know if she could 
bring her group over to my studio. Well, I didn't care 
much for the idea, [laughter] but I knew her rather well, 
and I felt I couldn't refuse her. So I straightened up 
the place, and the next day when she came with ten or 
twelve people, not a very large group, she commenced her 
little spiel of what the artist's life in Paris was 
like, and how Paris was a great center of art. Then she 
commenced to try to explain my pictures, which was 
[laughter] rather strange. I don't knov/ if some of the 


comments she made illuminated my v/ork to me any more than 
to the group, but among other things, she commented on 
that picture of Nora Joyce which v;as there. She looked 
at that and said, "Look at that picture. I want you to 
observe that very closely. Do you remember yesterday 
when we were in the Louvre looking at Andrea del Sarto, I 
said that one of the most outstanding qualities of his 
painting was the quality of bigness? Now that picture 
has it! That picture has that quality of bigness!" 
[laughter] So it's been quite a goke in our family ever 
afterwards that that picture of Nora Joyce has a quality 
of bigness. 

Sometimes the guides were really very well informed 
and well worth listening to, but other times they were 
gust simply people who'd take crowds around to amuse them. 
One of my most vivid memories of going to the Louvre has 
to do with crowds. One of my Sunday jaunts was to go 
down to the river and browse along the caves and the 
bookstalls and then cross over and drop in and see one 
gallery or another in the Louvre, something that I 
especially enjoyed. Everything would be still, and you'd 
be enjoying things, and then there 'd be a sound in the 
distance like a storm approaching, a kind of rumble. 
The sound of the crowd would grow louder and louder, and 
the first thing you'd know, the galleries would be full 
of people. The guides would be shouting out explanations 


right and left, and these people would helplessly gaze 
at these things and try to iinderstand them to absorb 
culture. They would stand around and get in your v:ay 
for a while, and then they'd move off and the noise would 
die down in the distance and you'd be left alone again. 

When I had a vacation, except for one or two summer 
vacations — such as the one spent on Corsica and the one 
in Brittany — I looked forward to seeing important things 
in galleries. Last time I think I spoke of seeing Edmund 
Jaloux at the opera. I stood up and went through the 
motion of looking around at people, and I hadn't the 
slightest idea I'd see a soul I knew. So I was surprised 
to see that Edmund Jaloux was a few rows behind me. I 
had just met him, and he was a very pleasant person. I 
went over and talked to him, and I told him I was going 
to Spain, and he urged me to be sure to see the Pateniers 
in the gallery at Madrid. That surprised me because 
writers don't go as far afield, usually, especially 
American and English writers, in art interest as to 
know Pateniers from Al Capone. But I think largely that 
the French, as young people, grow up with more feeling 
for the arts than they do in some other countries. I've 
noticed that they seem to absorb it naturally, and they 
get a familiarity with it — both ancient and a familiarity 
with modern art, too. 

We went down to Spain shortly after that, and, of 


course, seeing the Prado was a great adventure to me and 
also getting a little bit acquainted with Spain, [tape 
off] We spent about ten days in Madrid. My real interest 
in going down there was to see Velasquez and Goya and 
Greco, especially, and the people you don't see in any 
great quantity outside of Spain. And it was a tremendous 
adventure. As I was saying, I also very much en,joyed the 
spirit of the country, getting acquainted with it. I 
think the thing that I remember most was the typical thing 
about the Spanish feeling. I always had a feeling that 
a Spaniard was a person with great pride and a sense of 
dignity, as that old joke about the tourist in Spain 
indicates. He was accosted by a beggar, and he turned 
to him and said. Aren't you ashamed of yourself, a good 
strong man like you out begging when you can easily earn 
your own living?" And the beggar drew himself up and 
said, "Sir, I asked for alms, not advice." [laughter] 
I was reminded of that spirit one day while having lunch 
at a restaurant in Madrid. We had a table next to the 
window and were looking out, watching the passersby, and 
an old couple came up the street across on the other side. 
The man was blind and was being led by a woman, presumably 
his wife. They looked like a married couple, and they 
could very well be. He was veiy simply, very plainly 
dressed, but very neatly dressed. The building opposite 
had buttresses that made kind of a niche in the wall, and 


she put her hands on his shoulder and backed him into one 
of these places where he'd be out of the way of the traffic 
but still close to the passersby. She got him placed 
there, and then I saw he had on gray gloves. He pulled 
off one of these gloves and put it in his pocket. Then 
he took out of his pocket what looked like a little tin 
plate, or a silver-effect dish, and he stood there holding 
out his little plate for alms. I was wondering if in any 
other country in the world you'd see anything of that sort. 

In southern Italy the beggar, of course, plays the 
game of being a beggar. He looks like a beggar and he 
looks helpless. He can pretend illness or anything to 
excite sympathy, whereas this man didn't do a thing. He ud-i- lie u- iixo vj-j-gjiij- u^ cuiu. iij.iD px j-w-t; , uu.1-1 11c iic;c;>.i.c;v.i c3.-i-uio , 

so he asked for alms. That to me was a pathetic and a 
rather startling thing. We all feel that spirit — whatever 
it is — to a very large extent in Spanish painting. It's 
not so much in Goya, but in Greco and in Velazquez there 
is a certain authority, a certain dignity, a certain pride. 
And it goes all the way down to the poor and all classes 
of society. 

Seeing the Prado is really an adventure, because 
even though in other places you'd see very good things by 
the Spanish painters — a good Velasquez here or a fine Goya 
someplace else — there you had whole rooms full. And it 
was breathtaking, Goya especially. I never realized the 


amazing versatility of the man and that so much of the 
very finest painting of the nineteenth century was antici- 
pated in Goya's work. It might be Manet, for example, 
which you would see well represented in a Goya, very 
much Manet's spirit and his sense of painting. I even 
found Whistler among Goya's things, that same search for 
subtle tonal relationships which you find in Whistler's 
work. Ordinarily, the person who is not too familiar with 
Goya is inclined to think of him as a rather fantastic 
painter with a certain amount of violence in his work or 
his etchings, like the Desastres de la Guerra . His 
war pictures and his very grotesque things do have a 
certain interest from the point of view of iconography 
and literary interest. But to realize the sheer genius 
of the man as a painter, you really have to go to Spain 
to see his work. That was, as I say, an adventure and 
a great revelation. 

Along with the paintings, dov/nstairs in a gallery 
at that time was a large collection of his drawings. He 
was an inveterate draftsman; he did hundreds of small 
drawings. And, of course, he did his famous lithographs 
very late in life. But besides doing those, apparently 
he must have painted all day and drawn all night, according 
to the amount of work that he produced. Lots of the 
discoveries that I made about the painters down there 
would be interesting to talk about to a person who 
is interested in that sort of problem. I don't 


know that it's especially germane to our problem. One 
thing I've always been interested in, speaking of Goya's 
drawings, is the use of drawing by painters. Some 
painters were very prolific draftsmen and did a great 
deal, and others did none at all — Velasquez, for example. 
I only know of three or four authentic drawings of Velasquez, 
and they are very slight things, just sort of notations, 
ideas. They're not part of his verve, of his output. 
But a man like Rubens, for example, you can follow through 
from the very first sketch to the final work. There are 
first drawings and sketches, studies from models, from 
life, studies out-of-doors of a landscape, and then a 
small oil painting in which the general scheme of his 

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it was thrown up on the canvas by assistants, and when 
they got the basic structure of the picture on the large 
canvas, then he would come to finish it up. In the case 
of Velazquez, and to a certain extent in the case of 
Titian, you don't find veiy much drawing. In Veronese 
you find a great deal, and in Tintoretto, a great deal. 
But there is a very strange thing about Goya — and I 
think, maybe, the person even with a casual interest in 
art might find it somewhat interesting, and to me it was 
quite fascinating — is that although Goya, as you can see 
in his etchings, had a very fine knowledge of figure, 
sometimes his figures are rather badly drawn. The Ma,i a 


Desnuda, for example, certainly wouldn't win a prize in 
an art school for figure drawing — in an academic art 
school, at least — because the figure doesn't fit together. 
The head doesn't really fit on the body and things of that 
sort. But as a painting, it's quite fine. It's a superb 
thing. But it shows that the immense amount of drawing 
does not seem to have been preparatory to these things. 

Usually, you find quite interesting work where the 
painters, especially in the case of Rubens, would go to 
nature. He would drav/ from a real hand, and you v;ill find 
a whole sheet of studies of hands to be used in a final 
painting. The same with a figure or a drapery. He'd do 
it again and again, experimenting, and finally it would 
go on the final canvas, .out in vjoya, j- only found one 
drawing that had the evidence of being done from life, 
from nature. All the others were gust sheer improvisations. 
How he acquired this ability to draw the figures as well 
as he very often did, especially in his etchings, in those 
Disasters of War , for example, or the fantastic series, 
is hard to explain. But there was no evidence in anything 
I've ever seen of his, except in a very few cases, of it 
being done directly from life. 

The one that I did find in the library in Madrid 
was a red- chalk drawing for that portrait of the Duke of 
Wellington that was recently stolen and then returned to 
the National Gallery in London. Apparently that was not 


painted directly from life, but he first made this drav/ing 
from life in red chalk, and then from that he painted the 

This is also somewhat true of Greco. I tried to 
find some original drav;ings of Greco. We know from early 
documents that he modeled a great deal. After his death, 
there was discovered a large piece of furniture, some 
sort of a wardrobe with shelves, that was full of plaster 
studies that he'd done. But in Madrid, I only foiind one 
authentic drawing (that was also at the library in Madrid), 
and there are very few others. But, it may be that he 
didn't keep his drawings. Michelangelo, after all, left 
instructions that all his drawings be burned. For a long 
time in Spain, I don't think that there was any special 
attention paid to drawings and studies that weren't made 
into pictures for exhibition. Collecting that sort of 
thing began fairly early in Italy and in France, but in 
Spain, they probably weren't valued and were lost. So, 
although I think the point is rather interesting from 
the point of view of a painter, it's not very conclusive 
as to just hov/. 

The mystery of how painters work is sometimes rather 
insoluble. I found that especially true of Velasquez; I 
simply couldn't figure out how he could do it. I didn't 
know what the procedure would be to accomplish that sort 
of a thing. It just looked as though he all of a sudden 


had an idea, and then it appeared on the canvas, [laughter] 
There is no evidence of any process of the struggle that 
goes into the making of it. [tape off] 

Of course, one of the first things that I did was to 
look up Patenier. He was Belgian, from the Low Country, 
and you'd expect to find any number of his things, but I 
had only seen one here, one there, and one someplace else. 
He was one of the first real landscape painters. His 
paintings have a little biblical incidence going on in 
them someplace to give them a reason for being, but what 
he was really interested in v/as landscape. He was a 
genius at landscape. He really made a great contribution 
in the development of landscape as a form of art. I 

seven magnificent Pateniers all in a row. So I was 
grateful to Jaloux because I would not have thought of 
Patenier if he hadn't told me about them, and I might even 
have missed those. So, I was grateful to him for putting 
me wise to their presence there. 

Ve spent about ten days in Madrid, every morning at 
the Prado and in the afternoon going about to see what 
else we could find of interest and to enjoy the city. 
From there, we went dovm. to Toledo to see the El Grecos. 

When I was a student in Boston, there was quite a 
fine Greco portrait in the museum, that I liked very 
much. The other students couldn't see very much in it. 
That was before the days when Greco had become as famous 


a painter to the student and art historian as he has since 
become. At that time, his paintings were available at 
prices that were not too great; they weren't very expensive 
pictures, even in my youth. Zuloaga owned some very fine 
Grecos and was a tremendous admirer of Greco. Velasquez, 
incidentally, was an admirer of Greco and appreciated his 
talents as a painter. But that picture in Boston was the 
first one to make me quite enthusiastic about him, and he 
has always been one of my heroes ever since. So going to 
Toledo to see a great deal of his work was another very 
enriching experience of that summer's travel. 

Toledo is, as we all know, an old town. It has a 
Moorish atmosphere with little tiny streets and it's a 
place where you can get lost very easily. Usually in 
traveling I do not depend on guides; they disturb me too 
much. Even if they know their subject very well, the 
talk and conversation distracts me from absorbing and 
enjoying things. I always try to find out as much as I 
can before 1 see the thing and then simply go to complete 
an experience already begun. In Toledo, though, I found 
that I could not find the churches and the convents and 
the places where things were to be seen. Even with a 
map, it was a perfect maze of little streets and a hopeless 
proposition. So I had to wind up by employing a guide. 
But, in one way, I compromised because I was careful to 
find a guide who did not speak English, [laughter] I 
could struggle with a little bit of Spanish if I wanted 


some information, but the rest of the time he could leave 
me to quietly look and enjoy things. 

One of the great Grecos in Toledo was the Despo.i'ar , 
Christ Despoiled of His Garments , which is an early thing 
and has a lot of the spirit of Venetian painting still in 
it which gradually left his work. There is a certain 
richness of color and a certain Venetian opulence in feeling. 
His later work got more and more austere. But in his very 
fine period there is a huge thing in a chapel called the 
Burial of the Count Orgaz , and it simply knocked me for 
a loop. At the times I saw it, a big iron grill closed 
the chapel, but that was all right because the painting 
was very large — and you couldn't get very close to it 
ai'iyway — ^ou could still look through the bars of the 
grillwork. To me it was one of the tremendous adventures 
in painting of all my sightseeing over there. The first 
one, I mentioned it once before, was the Giottos in Padua 
and afterwards those in Assisi. They were very much of a 
revelation and a tremendous thrill. Another one that was 
a surprise and gave me quite a lot of excitement was the 
Isenheim altar at Colmar of Gnlnewald. Another topnotch 
experience was the great Grecos in Toledo. The Burial of 
the Count Orgaz , with its very marvelous row of portrait 
figures in the lower part of it and its wonderful movement 
of figures up above, has a sense of realism and a sense of 
mysticism, but above all it has that strange, indefinable 
thing — a sense of painting. 


It's interesting that Spain has not produced any 
schools of painting. You haven't families of painters, 
like you had in Italy. You haven't any special school 
in which other painters are confused with the master. You 
do have these great individuals v/ho stand out, and for 
quite a long period, they had a very fine sense of painting, 
partly because of their contact with the Low Countries, 
•Flanders, which in a way is almost the home of this sense 
of painting that I'm speaking of. Also they could acquire 
things from Italy at a period when some of the finest 
things had been done. As a matter of fact, Philip tried 
to get some of the great French painters and Italian 
painters to come to Spain, but the only one that did that 
I can think of offhand was [ Giambattista] Tiepolo, and that 
was in the eighteenth century. He died in Madrid. He 
did the ceiling of the Royal Palace at Madrid. But Greco 
being born a Greek, hence his name El Greco, his real name 
being Domenico Teotocopulo, was educated in painting fairly 
late in life, considering a painter's training in those 
days. He studied in Venice and from there, he went to 
Spain and spent the rest of his life there and became one 
of the great Spanish painters. He's somewhat of an 
anomaly, but he did it very convincingly. There's something 
about Spain that seemed to have been exactly the country 
for him to give expression to what he had in his art. 
So that was our Spanish vacation. 


Oh, yes, the other important thing that we saw there 
was the Escorial. I would like to have gone down to 
southern Spain and the region which is more associated 
with people like Murillo, but we spent as much as we could 
afford by that time, so we came back after seeing the 
Escorial. The Escorial, of course, is extremely impressive. 
You can see it from the train window. It seems isolated, 
away off there in the hills; there are no cities or little 
towns around it — this special building, this great mass 
of somber structure. But it contains not only things of 
tremendous historic interest from the point of view of 
Spanish life and history, but also a number of excellent 
Spanish works and of other artists, [tape off] 

In dealing with material of this sort, the great 
difficulty — at least I find it so — is to decide on what 
is important to say. If I were trying to write this out, 
my method would be simply to spill out everything, to make 
notes knowing that I would want to use very little of it. 
But I would get a flow of material and not evaluate it 
until afterwards. Then, out of that, maybe I could make 
something to write about. I feel the same difficulty 
here because there are masses of things that I enjoy 
talking about, but immediately my critical mind comes to 
the front and I say, "Well, this is not of historical 
value and this is not interesting to people, unless it 
happens to be a special occasion or special person. " If 


you can do it, of course, even a very slight anecdote can 
be extremely interesting if told by a man who has great 
ability in telling a story. But my mind keeps running 
across things, as I say, that are to me quite enjoyable 
memories, and on the chance that maybe they are a facade 
for something that is more interesting later, I feel 
tempted to talk about them. In this case, I have in mind 
the people in Paris, and I find it's amazing how many 
people I knew, [laughter] I have some quite vivid memories 
of them, and "good many of them are quite important. 

A couple of our very warmest friends were Jan and 
Cora Gordon. We found them not only extremely enjoyable 
friends but also extremely interesting. They were both 
English. Jan's uncle, I think, was a bishop and Jan had 
what I suppose you'd call a good upper-middle class up- 
bringing. I don't know whether he went to what the English 
call public school or not, but he was a very well-read man, 
very highly cultivated. But as a young man, he had an 
ambition to become a painter, and he went to Paris to 
study. He entered a school — I've forgotten what school 
he said it was — but after a week or so there, he decided 
that that school was not for him. But he had paid his 
tuition in advance, and it v;as against his idea of thrift 
to spend money entering another school, so he spent that 
term working by himself out-of-doors. He'd go over to 
the Luxembourg Gardens and aroiond to other places in Paris 


and paint out-of-doors. In his various serious studies, 
there were certain qualities of painting. I remember he 
said he was especially under the influence of the 
Impressionists and of painters like Velasquez, and he 
wanted to cultivate as fine a sense of tonal values in 
his painting as he could. He did a great many studies 
out-of-doors with that very definite objective. Then he 
met another art student in Paris, a girl, and he painted 
her portrait. That portrait got into the Salon, very much 
to his surprise and satisfaction, and it gave him a certain 
amount of success. He married his model, Cora. 

Well, they also wrote. They were both musical; I 
think she had studied the violin quite seriously as a 
young person, and he understood music quite well. They 
had an adventurous spirit which seems to me especially 
frequent with English people. They wanted to go out and 
see the world and didn't mind roughing it and taking 
all of the difficulties in stride. They didn't write 
ahead for reservations and that sort of thing. They 
couldn't because they didn't have the money. But it wound 
up that they lived — it seemed to me — a very interesting 
life. They both did quite a lot of drawing and painting, 
and he was a good etcher. They both made use of their 
drawings and paintings as illustrations for their travel 
books. Also, in their travels, they would collect folksongs 
and other music. They would hear a t\ine, he would write 


it down, and when they got back, they arranged these things 
for two instruments — a guitar and a Spanish lute. It 
doesn't sound like too good a combination, because both 
instruments are lutes, as a matter of fact, but he did a 
very nice job of it. It made a veiy fine, colorful back- 
ground. Though they weren't accomplished singers, they 
could sing well enough to make it quite an interesting 
evening. They'd get out their collection of folksongs 
and folk music from the country that they'd been traveling 
in, and it was really quite worthwhile. They would pick 
out a country that they wanted to do; one year it might be 
Portugal, another year it might be Finland. They'd select 
veiy contrasting parts of the world and culture. 

Tile wintertiiiie would be spent in getting the rudiments 
of the language of that country. They'd study quite hard. 
Also, that was the time when they did their writing and 
would put their previous summer's notes and material into 
shape for publication. They painted a sign which they 
hung on their door: "We Like to Work Till Four O'Clock." 
[laughter] And so they put in a good day's hard work. 
After that, they were very sociable people — they liked to 
have their friends in — so after four, you could drop 
around and be sure of a welcome. 

One of the most amusing afternoons that I ever 
spent — it certainly was unique in the sensations that it 
evoked — was at the Gordons. I dropped in to see them. 


riy wife wasn't along that time. She'd gone someplace 
else, so I went around to see the Gordons. It was after 
four, and in the English custom, they had the tea table 
set up. A few friends of theirs were there, and Cora 
introduced me to a writer (I think he was a Bulgarian). 
She thought he was quite an important talent. Some work 
of his was going to be produced in Paris. So I sat down 
next to him, and he was very talkative, and in his speech, 
he got along quite well. Apparently, he knew English very 
well, but his accent was rather difficult. But with close 
attention, we got along very nicely indeed. He was a very 
interesting man, and we discussed all sorts of things. 
Then, all of a sudden, he was saying something about one 
Ox i_ii5 pxays, slUu. ne peacneu. inuo nis xnsj-u.e coau pociceu 
and pulled out a manuscript. He said, "I have something 
here that will illustrate what I mean. I will read to 
you this scene from this play of mine." So I was pleased 
to hear a sample of his dramatic writing. He started to 
read, and — well, it's no exaggeration — if that man had 
been speaking his native tongue, I wouldn't have understood 
it any better, [laughter] I tried to find some simple 
words like "of" or "the" or "and" that sounded English, 
but none of it sounded a bit English to me. He was 
declaiming this stuff to me, and he apparently thought he 
was doing it in beautiful English. I guess the expression 
on my face must have gotten rather curious, because I 


looked across the room and Cora was trying to keep a 
straight face, [laughter] When he got through he wanted 
my opinion, and I didn't have the slightest idea, of course, 
of what to say. In this sort of paralyzed condition, the 
situation was saved for me in another strange way. All 
of a sudden, there was a crash as though the house had 
fallen in. The door to the courtyard v/as open and a cat, 
who'd been snoozing off to my right, flew through the air 
and out this door. Then there was more dust and clatter, 
and I didn't have the slightest idea of what had happened. 
Everybody, of course, was very much startled. This studio 
was on the ground floor and opened directly onto the court 
and next to it in this court was a wall. What had happened 
was thai several square yards of plaster had fallen off 
the side of this building and had come down through the 
skylight. You can imagine what a racket that would make 
and what the disturbance would be. Well, that left the 
studio in a semihabitable condition because of the glass 
and plaster and dust. Fortunately, it didn't do any 
special damage. I guess the glass broke the fall of the 
stuff to a certain extent and no other damage was done, 
so we collected our wits. Then Cora went and made some 
more tea and got out some more cups and things. Jan took 
the little table and chairs outside into the courtyard to 
finish our tea. Well, we no more than got settled and 
collected ourselves, and started a little conversation 


again, when from behind me came the weirdest sound that 
I'd ever heard up to that time. I hadn't much idea of 
what a banshee sounds like, but this was about as close to 
the wailing of a banshee as I think anybody could invent. 
Well, that kind of froze my blood again, [laughter] I 
didn't know whether somebody was being murdered or what 
terrible distress they were in, but I noticed that nobody 
else seemed to be the least bit concerned. And there was 
no reason to be because I heard this strange sound quite 
frequently afterwards. 

There was a poor little old woman who they said had 
been quite a successful singer in her day, and she was 
going around and singing for coppers. She was a beggar. 
But her voice, though it was strong and had a certain 
resonance, instead of having a modest kind of vibration 
which would be acceptable, had a strange kind of fluctu- 
ation of sound that sometimes I have heard in sirens — a 
wow- wow-wow-wow sound. It would rise up in this courtyard 
where the acoustics made it resonant, and this sound 
going up to the heavens was scary. It was the kind of an 
afternoon that a writer simply could not invent, [laughter] 
No amount of fantasy, it seemed to me, could describe the 
atmosphere and the succession of feelings that took place 
during that teatime. [tape off] 

Among other people that we knew in Paris, although 
in a way he was sort of outside of the general circle of 


our acquaintances, was Raymond Duncan. Ity wife and I 
found him really very interesting. He had a place down 
near the Ecole des Beaux-Arts on the Rue Jacob, and 
passersby could look in the window and see them weaving 
and carrying on their occupations. Raymond had an idea of 
living a very simple and rather austere sort of life. He 
and his disciples, as we called them, dressed in this very 
•simple costume modeled after the ancient Greek. They 
wore sandals and this very simple costume with a cloak 
for the rainy and foggy weather. Raymond always had a 
sort of a band around his head with his hair rolled up 
tightly in back. They got up very early in the morning 
and worked very hard. They studied, did crafts, wove 
things, and did woodcuts and paintings. Then part of the 
day, they spent doing exercises. There was also a man, 
Gurdjieff, who had somewhat the same idea of living a 
rather austere life and doing a lot of hard work. He 
incorporated the idea of a dance with exercising. Raymond 
Duncan also had dance groups, but they did not gather at 
his place. They met in a hall once a v/eek, and you could 
go down there and meet with them. My wife was quite taken 
with his exercises. They were done without music, and it 
seemed to me, these things were somewhat inspired by — 
even maybe copied from — Greek vase drawings, sculpture 
and things of that sort that showed the dance. I don't 
know how much authority he had for some of the movements. 


They were simple and rather archaic, but when you would 
practice them awhile, you realized they were excellent 
because they gave you a certain control, a certain 
precision of gesture. You could do rather interesting 
things. If you should happen to fall, for example, there 
was a certain sequence of movements that allowed you to 
rise up without rolling over and shoving and pushing and 
that sort of thing. You'd see the ones who were practicing 
suddenly throw themselves on the floor and then almost 
float up because of a certain coordination of movement. I 
found it quite fascinating, and for awhile v/e used to go 
down and practice these things. 

Also he put over in the corner of the hall some easels 

artist coming in could take advantage of this true Greek 
life that was going on around him and make some studies. 
So I used to go and make action drawings from these things. 

I never met Isadora, but everybody else knew her. I 
went to see her dance and I have someplace a collection of 
some twenty-five or thirty pencil studies that I did in 
the theater from her dancing. But, of course, she was 
a very different sort of a person. She was much more of a 
sybarite than her brother; I don't know whether they saw 
much of each other or not. I used to hear a great deal 
of her when I first knew Gordon Craig because she and 
Gordon Craig were amis . But the things that Raymond 
Duncan did were interesting. They were always extremely 


active, all day long. They'd have Socratic conversations. 
We didn't join in very much, but it was rather interesting 
to listen to them discuss and argue things, sitting around 
in their Greek costumes, [tape off] 

There was one year that we saw a great deal of Saxe 
Cummings and his wife, Dorothy. Saxe at that time was 
writing. He was working on short stories, and he used to 
read them out loud to get our opinion of them. His wife 
was a very accomplished pianist, and she used to pose for 
me. I did some drawings of her and also started a large 
canvas of her sitting at her piano. I don't have it now. 
I've forgotten what became of it, but I suppose I destroyed 
it because it wasn't too successful. One or tv;o drawings, 
though, I thought were quite good. I still have those. 

Saxe ' s aunt v;as Emma Goldman. She was in Paris for 
awhile, and I found her to be quite a grand old lady. 
There was something very impressive about her. The v;ay 
she talked, the way she told stories showed a certain 
strength of character and a quiet sort of dignity that 
was quite impressive. She was only there for a fairly 
short visit, but while she was there, we met her quite a 
number of times. We used to go out evenings with the 
Cummings and with her other friends and enjoyed them quite 
a lot. 

I wish I could remember some of the stories she told. 
She was a very good storyteller, not in the way of 
anecdote but she could recount an experience of her childhood 


or girlhood or some scene. It suggested to me that she 
could have been a very fine novelist in somewhat a Russian 
style, with a little touch of Dostoevski in it or something 
slightly Chekhov. [tape off] 

Fritz Vanderpyl was a man that Joyce enjoyed very 
much. He was a very hardy sort, a talkative critic and 
writer. I didn't know him very well, but I used to see 
•him very often when I was with Joyce. His talk was very 
good. Once in awhile even I would get into a bit of an 
argument with him. He had some curious ideas about certain 
things. He was a very good art critic; I think probably 
that was what we had most to talk about. I would defend 
some man's work he was averse to, or vice versa. But he 
was a good marx to talk to because his discussions v/ere not 
argumentative. They really were profitable kinds of talk, 
which the French have maybe more talent for than most any 
other nation. 

January 10, 1956 

ITOTTING: Among our friends in Paris that we enjoyed most 
were the Gordons because they were really good fun. They 
had a sense of fun and also were highly cultivated people 
with interests in all sorts of things. They were good 
musicians. He was well educated and could discuss any 
subject, and he saw the humor of life. They were very 
interesting because they were very creative people. They 
were not producing anything of any vast importance but 
they enjoyed doing their work, which v;as writing. They 
made their living with their books, and every year they 
got out a travel book. Also he wrote on art very well, 
and only recently, I saw one of his books on art quoted. 
They may seem somewhat out of date now, because they were 
written more or less for popular consumption, and there's 
been so much of that sort of writing done that I imagine 
he's forgotten. But I suppose that his books are still 
available in the library, and maybe sometimes they're read 
because they're quite enjoyable and he was very articulate. 
As I said, they both loved adventure and they really 
enjoyed their work. They'd spend their winters writing 
and working on their drawings and illustrations for their 
books. She especially did a great deal of sketching and 
did some rather nice things of their travels. They also 


were very good etchers, and he was a good painter, not 
especially a distinguished one, but he had a thorough 
understanding of his craft. 

The last time that I saw him was when they were 
planning their last big adventure, and they were really 
excited about it. They were going to explore the United 
States. And it was quite amusing, because they would do 
a great deal of talking about it in anticipation of the 
trip. You'd think they were a new Columbus discovering a 
countiry that nobody had ever seen before, and they'd tell 
us things about our own country as though we hadn't been 
born there, [laughter] Incidentally I think that is 
something that a real traveler will do. He anticipates 
certain things; then he is interested in finding out how 
the real thing doesn't jibe with his anticipations. I 
remember that Besnard said that one of the first things 
he always did before he went on a trip — he made some trips 
to Africa and other countries — was to sit doi-vn and make a 
lot of sketches of what he thought he was going to see 
and what he was going to experience. Then he would get 
a revelation when he found that his anticipation didn't 
Jibe with what he anticipated. I have the same sort of 
feeling. If I'm going to see some new region, I like to 
find out about it. Well, this is going to be so-and-so, 
and I expect so-and-so. That's especially true in great 
works of art. When I make certain pilgrimages — as I have 


done — to see a Greco or a Rubens or something, I try to 
learn as much as I can about it from reproductions. When 
you see the work eventually, it can become a terrific 
revelation because you've done a lot of preparatory 
exploration in the subject. That was especially true of 
Giotto, for example. Well, if I had simply walked in to 
see Giotto for the first time in the Arena Chapel at 
Padua — it was the first things I'd seen of his — I would 
have been very much interested, but I don't think I would 
have gotten the enthusiastic reaction that I had when I 
finally saw them. Because above and beyond what I knew 
about him, all of a sudden I saw that there was a great 
deal that I hadn't experienced in his work. So, although 

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own country to me and v/hat we did and hov/ we ate and all 
the funny ways we had, I was quite sympathetic because I 
knew that they would bring a freshness and sensitivity to 
their experiences and have a willingness to revise their 
opinions eind ideas and impressions which would make it 
much more meaningful than if they went in perfectly cold. 

Well, it so happens that that was in 1927 — one of the 
few dates I can remember. I also v;ent to New York, the 
first time that I had come back to my homeland since going 
to Europe. My wife didn't want to make the trip; she didn't 
want to come back until she came back to stay. She hated 
oceain travel because she was always very ill and, of course, 


travel in those days was by boat (obviously so, because 
in 1927 when I was in mid-ocean, Lindbergh landed in 
Paris). Well, I met the Gordons in New York. Ve had 
dinner together one evening and off they went. Apparently, 
they had quite a wonderful time. They got a little old 
Ford and went down South, and from there, they went on a 
regular old-fashioned showboat. That seemed to give them 
a lot of experiences they enjoyed. They were on the show- 
boat for some time and then took off across country. I 
don't know whether their writing on that was ever published 
or not, because when they got out to Los Angeles, Jan 
had a heart attack. The only way they could get back to 
Europe was by going through the Canal. They didn't dare 
cross into higher altitudes; they had to keep more or less 
at sea level for his safety. They made the trip through 
the Canal. He died not long after. I never saw the book 
published or heard about it. I didn't correspond with him 
after that trip. 

I know that Cora lived in London and that she v;as a 
writer for the Studio magazine. In the old days it used 
to be the International Studio . It was quite a luxurious 
magazine and she did art news and writing for the Studio 
for quite a number of years. I saw her name. She wrote 
quite well, not in a critical way. It was more of an art 
news sort of thing. So that v;as the end of our experiences 
with the Gordons. 



There's one thing I was especially impressed with 
when I was living abroad: it seemed at that time that I 
knew a greater variety of people than I ever have since 
coming home. It has been my experience that you get 
into a certain circle of friends and acquaintances and 
your contacts aren't as varied. Maybe it's because I 
grew older and that as a young man, I was out sort of 
banging around and hunting up experiences more and was 
more excited by variety. But jne thing that I realized — 
especially after I talked oncc with Ludwig Lewisohn 
about the people who were most interesting and meant most 
to his life — was that they ar by no means always the 
people who are the most well-known talents, [tape off] 
It seemed to me that people . ho had special gifts ox- 
talents seemed to give everything they had to their work, 
and really the art of living suffers to a certain extent 
from it. I think that you could realize that — or at least 
it seems to me that you can — in most biographies. The 
art of living is itself a great art, and if everything 
of your life is put into your work, your life sometimes 
can easily go haywire. 

The life of Edgar Allan Poe is an example, and it 
may have been to a certain extent true of the poet Rimbaud. 
They are people who have left very precious work for us in 
their art, but people whom v:e wouldn't especially enjoy 
as companions. Whereas, the all-around people are enjoyable. 


And I think it's one reason I remember the Gordons so warmly. 
They weren't great. They weren't geniuses, but they did 
a good job. They gave it enthusiasm, with a ,ioie de vivre 
and a sense of adventure, that makes the Gordons very 
happy memories of our life in Paris. And I had quite a 
number of other friends in the same category. 

There was a man, Lambert, for example. I think he 
was a French Swiss, if I'm not mistaken. I don't think he 
was born in France. And as a young man, he did drawings 
for Simplicissimus . Simplicissimus has a lot of very 
remarkable draftsmen and illustrators for what we would 
call a cartoon sort of drawing, marvelous caricatures, 
like [Olaf] Gulbransson and some of those men who drew 
for Simplicissimus . Jules Fascin as a boy was very 
precocious. Simplicissimus published the first work of 
Pascin before he went to Paris and became a painter. His 
early drawings are really quite amusing, not at all like 
the drawings that we know of him later. 

Lambert was not a genius, but he was a very interesting 
man in his enthusiasm on any subject. As an artist he 
was verj accomplished. One has to have some understanding 
of the difficulties of working on copper to appreciate 
what really wonderful work he did, how he managed it 
technically and with what precision. His drawings were of 
a decorative sort, rather illustrative. When he came to 
Paris, from the work that I saw, I imagine that he made a 


pretty good living at it. In those days, there were quite 
a few artists that worked for publishers. I don't know 
whether it's done now or not — I don't think it is — but 
at that time, they would buy a copperplate from an etcher 
and steel-face it and publish it in quite large editions 
that they could sell cheaply. Once in awhile in this 
country, I run across some of those old things in second- 
hand stores and places. They had the advantage of having 
a certain quality of richness, a print quality, that 
especially in those days could not be had in photographic 
reproduction. They were real etchings, real copperplate 
prints. And being printed by some means — I don't know how 
they could do it economically, but apparently they did 
this from the steel-faced plate — they could publish them 
and sometimes a print would get popular and have quite 
a large sale. The publisher would buy the plate outright 
or else the man would get a royalty. 

Well, Lambert did very handsome plates of Spanish 
subjects. He was very much interested in Spain. His other 
hobby was Latin. He was a very good Latinist, and there 
was a concern in Paris that published a book of his of the 
poems of Ovid. It must have been a very limited edition 
because it was a very deluxe sort of a work. He made the 
book in quite an amazing way. Every line in the book was 
printed from a copperplate. There was no type used at all. 
Every letter was drawn with the precision of a type-printed 


letter. It didn't have the carelessness or imperfections 
of a hand-drawn letter. It must have taken a long time 
when you think of drawing a beautiful letter precisely on 
copper. Then it had to be bitten and maybe worked after- 
wards with an engraver so that the plate was as perfect 
in design as it could be with type but at the same time 
still have the richness of a copperplate print. So with 
•the illustrations to Ovid, with all of the verses done in 
Latin and his translations of the Latin, it must have been 
a terrific job. But it was quite a marvelous performance. 

Well, here again was a person who was a very real 
artist. He wasn't a great artist; he wasn't part of a 
modern movement; he didn't represent anything but he did 
a vei'y beautiful j"ob. It was coDiniercial work, yes, but 
it was tasteful, sensitive sort of stuff. 

Among other things, he did very nice bookplates. I 
think he got a great many commissions for bookplates, and 
naturally his technique was perfect for that sort of thing. 
He could make a beautiful copperplate of a bookplate for 
a nice library, and he could probably get well paid for 
them. One of the amusing things that happened was that 
an ex libris society from this country wrote to him, and 
they wanted to get samples of his work for a collection 
of bookplates. And he got this letter which was written 
in English. He knew French and German and Spanish, but 
he didn't know English; so he had the letter translated. 


Then came the problem of answering this letter. So he 
had an idea that Latin ought to be the universal language. 
He thought Esperanto was all nonsense, for if you had a 
beautiful language like Latin, v;hy do you have to have 
Esperanto? And so he decided he would answer this letter 
in Latin, v;hich he did. I imagine it was probably quite 
elegant and perfect Latin. But that was the last he ever 
heard from his correspondents about the bookplates. Ap- 
parently they couldn't find anybody to translate the Latin 
for them. 

He had quaint habits v/hich were rather enjoyable. One 
peculiarity, among other things, was that he had quite 
beautiful penmanship. He wrote somewhat in the style of 
an old Italian hand, something like the chancery script. 
I think I have notes of his someplace. I haven't been 
able to find them yet, but I don't think I've lost them. 
And they're rather worth seeing because when you see this 
letter, it looks as though it had been in the mail for 
the last couple of hiindred years. When he was out browsing 
around at the flea market or someplace and there was an 
old book that was of no value but was old enough to have 
the handmade paper with the texture of the screen that you 
get on real handmade paper, he would buy the book and 
save the flyleaf. He used that paper for his drawings 
and sketches and very often for correspondence to people 
that he cared for. He would never use an envelope; he 


folded it as they did in the old days and used sealing 
wax. So when you got this piece of yellow paper with 
this sealing wax and written in this brown ink, which he 
made himself, .and looking as though it had been done with 
a quill pen, why, you had a feeling that it was something 
that had been delayed in the mail from the days of George 
Washington. It was very noticeable but a lovely thing to 
have. It was really quite charming, and he always expressed 
himself in a whimsical, interesting way. I think I still 
have one or two of his letters, and I hope I haven't lost 

Among my painter friends, a man that I really saw 
the most of, curiously enough, was the painter Paul Burlin. 
I've forgotten when I met Paul, sometime in Ihe luid-twenties. 
I got into a conversation with him someplace and shortly 
afterward there was a ring at the back door. I went and 
here was Paul Burlin and his little dog — I've forgotten 
whether his little dog was named Michelangelo or Vincent 
Van Gogh. He came in, and from that time on, we saw 
quite a lot of each other. He was a very interesting man. 

Paul lived on the third or fourth story of a building 
with a balcony in the Latin Quarter, and the dog, in 
tearing around the house, dashed out into the balcony 
a little too rapidly and tumbled off the balcony and was 
killed. Paul felt very sad about that. He seemed to be 
quite fond of his pup. 


Paul Burlin is one of the most interesting of the 
painters representing the modern movement, although he 
never attained the distinction that a lot of his con- 
temporaries did. 

When I won the Paillard Prize in Paris for a mural, 
it was sort of a windfall, and whenever I had some unex- 
pected money of one sort or another — which would happen 
occasionally if 1 got a portrait commission or, in this 
case, a prize — I'd spend it in some special way. I wanted 
very much to visit the galleries of Belgium and Holland. 
My wife didn't feel like doing it, hut Paul Burlin was 
very much interested. So we went off together on the trip 
to Belgium and Holland. We went up as far as Amsterdam, 
anu uCiGii xroui .Hifl5ueru.&m oo xjerxm anu. speriu uwo or onree 
days more. When my money gave out, we came home. It was 
really a very valuable, a very interesting trip. And he 
was fun. In a way, the contrast between us — temperamentally 
and looks an.d everything else — was very much like the 
contrast between Ramon Guthrie and Sinclair Lewis. I 
think that was one reason why I found him very interesting, 
and maybe that's one reason he liked me because [tape off] 
I was so different, in life and experiences and in the way 
I reacted to things. In many ways, of course, we had 
things in common — our interest in paint;ing. He had a very 
broad and very excellent feeling for painting. 

Very often an artist is inclined to see very little 


outside a certain field. If he's a modern painter, other 
periods will bore him iinless they have something very 
definite to contribute in terms of what he's thinking 
at the time. I often wondered how some of these boys — 
I don't happen to know any of them personally, but I 
would like to meet them, a pop artist, for example — how 
he feels about Titian; or an op artist, how he feels about 
Rembrandt. Is there something that is the same, or is it 
an entirely different world? I mean has he broken com- 

But staying in one field was not true at all of Paul 
Burlin. He was even inclined to defend people that other 
of our confreres would run down; he would find merit, 
liioeresu, aiiu uaxenu in uneir worK, anu. lor uj.j.axi reason, j_lS 
was a very interesting man to go around the galleries with. 

It was my second trip to Brussels and Antwerp, but 
they are both extremely interesting towns. Brussels has 
a reputation of being a little Paris, and in a way it is, 
but it's also very, very different. It has its own 
character and, of course, some wonderful galleries. Ve 
got to Amsterdam. We had stopped off on the way to see 
the galleries in that town which was destroyed completely 
during the war, a town in Holland, Rotterdam. It's been 
rebuilt rather beautifully in the modern way, at least 
that's how it looks from what few photographs I've seen 
of it. That desti-uction was tragic because it was a 

charming Dutch city. It was more than just a tov/n; it 
was quite a good-sized place. Amsterdam, of course, is 
tremendously rich. We saw things like The Nightwatch , 
and in Haarlem, we saw Frans Hals. The day or so that we 
spent in Amsterdam was especially interesting "because v;e 
met a dealer from New York. Weyhe began as a dealer in books 
and rare editions and from that went to prints and eventually 
■became qpite an important dealer. His career in New York 
was quite a bit like Jake Zeitlin's here in Los Angeles. 
Jake started with hardly anything, just a few books and 
a hole in the wall, and now he ' s an internationally known 
man in the book world and also to a certain extent in 
graphic art. And Weyhe v/as the same way. And his place 

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place. But he happened to be in Amsterdam; he was buying 
some things. I remember he had found quite a collection 
of old maps, qpite a valuable collection, and he v;as quite 
excited about that. At the time, he commenced to travel 
a great deal in Europe while buying things, and he knew the 
cities very well. He was a very interesting man to be 
with. He wasn't just a bookdealer. He was a man of q,uite 
broad feeling, a very interesting man to talk to and a 
cultivated traveler with an appreciation of the things to 
see. So he took us around to show us things in Amsterdam, 
and he was a marvelous guide. I got more feeling of the 
city from being with him than I could possibly have gotten 


alone unless I had spent a good deal of time in the town. 
And, in spite of the fact that I don't like guides, but 
he wasn't a real guide. He was just an enthusiast, and 
he wanted to share his pleasure of the old city and to 
point out things of historical interest and artistic 
interest and interests of other sorts. 

Then we went from Amsterdam to Berlin. Berlin was, 
of course, still in a depressed condition. Ve didn't 
stay there very long, just about a day and a half or so, 
but that was time enough to see the gallery there and a 
little bit of the town. I had been there once before, 
but only for a very short time. Then we went back to 
Pari s . 

Another man. living in Paris at that time was Adolf 
Dehn. I don't remember how many years he spent there, 
but he lived and worked there for quite a long time. 
Adolf Dehn was doing lithographs. Afterwards, probably 
his watercolors of the American scene made him as much of 
a reputation as his lithographs did. But he made a very 
decided reputation for himself with his lithographic 
drawing. And it was rather courageous of him, I think, 
to try to make himself a reputation in lithographic drawing 
because even etched plates, which up to that time was 
the quintessence of the printmaker's art, had fallen in 
market value. Lithography to most people was looked upon 
as a commercial art, v/hich seems rather strange because 


Whistler did some quite beautiful drawings on stone and 
there were quite a few people whose work on stone was 
well known. But people didn't think that a lithograph 
was something they could spend very much money for or 
would have any great value as a collector's item. Most 
people still use the term lithography in speaking of what 
is really commercial lithography, which is simply offset 
on metal plates, and it's not true lithography at all. 
The actual work on stone hasn't been done commercially for 
a good many years now. The true lithograph is done on a 
block of Bavarian limestone, which is smoothed and grained 
and you can draw on it. It ' s a very delightful method of 
drawing, because you can prepare the grain, a coarse grain 
or a line grain, according to your taste. Also your 
crayons, which are greasy in the sense that they are 
rather like a marking crayon instead of a graphite crayon, 
can be used in a great variety of ways. Also there is 
what they call tusche, which is the use of lithographic 
ink and a brush. Well, it's a thoroughly autographic 
method of making a print because you work on a stone and 
the proof that is pulled can be modified afterwards. So 
it's by no means a method of reproducing a drawing. It 
is autographic as an etching. But in those days, that 
wasn't realized. So I always felt that Adolf v;as rather 
adventurous in spending so much time on them when he had 
his living to make. But he was justified because he not 


only developed a beautiful technique in lithographic 
work and a nice sense of the possibilities of the stone 
for various qualities in the use of the inks and trans- 
parences and the use of brush and the handling of the 
crayons so that the thing had a beautiful print quality. 
But also he was rather lucky because he had quite a sense 
of humor that showed especially in his lithographs. You 
don't feel it so much in his watercolors. They alv;ays 
had some little note which was illustrative but didn't 
destroy the aesthetic value of his print at all, and it 
helped to make the work more saleable. And Weyhe (I'm 
not sure that I'm even pronouncing his name rightly — 
I'll have to look that up) became interested in him and 

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For a long time, he wouldn't do them, but finally when he 
did do them, they were very successful. Well, those two 
fellows were among the people I probably saw as much of as 
anyone else. 

One day Dehn decided to go out into the country, down 
to the valley of the Chevreuse and spend the day. I had 
acquired a little Citroen, cinq-chevaux , automobile, and 
we had a wonderful time with it. (I've forgotten gust 
what year that was.) I bought the car from George Biddle 
when he left Paris. He had been using it, and I bought it. 
I learned to drive in that little car. [laughter] Helen 
and I made quite a number of trips in the summertime with 


it. On this outing that I had with Adolf Dehn, we went 
out into the valley of the Chevreuse, He didn't do any 
very elaborate sketching from nature; the fact is that 
he couldn't seem to draw very elaborately directly from 
nature. He would make notes and memoranda, and quietly 
at home he could build a thing up. He'd get all the data 
and the material necessary for even his watercolors. 
Then, in his studio, he would make quite a successful 
picture. So he made notes and memoranda of life in the 
little villages that we passed through, of the people 
and that sort of thing. 

I always will remember one place that we stopped at 
for lunch because it was one of those times when you come 
uO a certain ccncxusion auouu some prouxeiu t/iiau you ve 
been working on. In this case it was the problem of 
taste — what is good taste? Ve went into a little place 
by the roadside and the first thing that impressed me was 
that it was a very charming place. It was so immaculate, 
and the proprietor and his wife and family were very neat, 
very cheerful, very friendly. We had a very nice lunch, 
and as I sat there and looked around this room — which, 
as I say, was very pleasant, very agreeable — I realized 
that there wasn't an object in the place that you could 
consider in good taste. I think everything was what the 
Germans would call kitsch. There were little porcelain 
figures on the shelf, the sort of things you get at the 


dime store. There also were several vases made from shell 
cases. There were, apparently, quite a number of people 
in the French Army X'^/ho were very good metal workers and 
discovered they could amuse themselves very quickly with 
the .75nmi shell cases by working them into some kind of 
an ornamental object. They very seldom were very good 
design, but very often were very well worked. They'd 
'turn this shell case into a certain spiral with fluting 
around it. Then they'd open up the top of it and bend it 
back into petals and one thing and another. From the 
point of view of craftsmanship, they were all right, but 
as objects of beauty, there v/as quite a lot to be desired 
usually, [laughter] Well, there were some of these things 
around, and the pictures were the same sort of thing. At 
the same time, I came to the conclusion that there isn't 
any such thing as simply "in good taste," that's measurable, 
Those objects in that relationship had a certain beauty, 
because you felt that the people loved their life; they 
loved their home; their cooking was good, and it expressed 
an enthusiasm for what they were doing. But if you would 
suddenly try to convince them that this was very bad 
taste, that in turn would be in bad taste, [laughter] 
And if you put a Picasso or some Matisse in there all of 
a sudden, it would be a sore thumb. Well, I think that's 
something that could be discussed ad infinitum . At the 
same time, it was one of the little things that did have 


quite a bit of influence on my thinking about those 
problems afterwards. 

Well, after lunch, we pursued our trip through the 
Valley of the Chevreuse and went through a little village. 
Then the adventure of the day happened. It wasn't anything 
of any special importance, but we went up a very narrow 
little street in this village that had a stone wall on 
each side. When I came to the top, I very unexpectedly 
found myself in the middle of a mud puddle. It hadn't 
been raining, but apparently someone had thrown water out 
or something and that mud puddle happened to be in the 
middle of a right-angle turn of the road. So when I hit 
it I had to also turn, but it was invisible until I was 
right on it. So here I was in the middle of a mud puddle 
having to make a sharp turn to the left. Well, you can 
imagine what happened. I skidded wildly and slid over 
into a house. I didn't do any damage to the house other 
than a little scratch. But in getting away from the house, 
before I could straighten out the car in this little tiny 
narrow street, I ran into the stone wall on the other 
side and crushed my fender. Finally, I got straightened 
out. Everybody had rushed out to see what was going on; 
we had quite a little crowd around us. I investigated 
and found that the fender was crushed, but the alignment 
seemed to be perfectly all right. So both of us got hold 
of the fender and pulled it av;ay from the tire. We had 


quite a little struggle, quite a little pulling, but we 
finally managed to bend it away from the tire so the wheel 
would turn and so I could steer the car without too much 
trouble. Dehn seemed to think we ought to go straight 
back home, but I didn't see any sense in that because the 
car would run. So why shouldn't we finish out the day, 
which we did. Well, the fact is, we wound up at the 
Fontainebleau, and then from Fontainebleau we went back to 
Paris. Everything went fine. 

Well, when I left Paris, I found I had a reputation. 
I've forgotten who was to blame for it. Both Dehn and 
Paul Burlin \-jere awfully good talkers and awfully good 
storytellers, and they could make a good story about 
things. Now, Paul Burlin was a man who simply hated to 
be bested by anybody; he was a very ambitious guy and very 
unhappy if anybody could do something he couldn't do. 
There was one thing Paul couldn't do — he couldn't- drink. 
After one or two drinks, he had to call it off. Well, I 
didn't even try to drink excessively, but I knew that 
after a certain time, I could get along quite well if I 
had another drink. I had got it pretty well figured out 
how long I'd have to wait if I had two double-martinis, 
for example, before I would drive. Looking back, I could 
evaluate my behavior and reactions and could say, "Well, 
I'll be more careful next time." But due to the story- 
telling abilities of Adolf Dehn and Paul Burlin, I left 


Paris with the reputation of being the wildest driver and 
a drinker who could hold more than anybody else in the 
crowd. I don't think I had that reputation with many 
people, but they apparently conveyed the idea to a few 
people that I was a bottomless pit when it came to alcohol, 
which wasn't the least bit true. That trip through Belgium 
and Holland was my first one with Paul, and then he v;as 
•coming back to New York and wanted to know if I didn't 
want to come with him. My wife didn't want to; she didn't 
want to make the trip until she came home to stay. But 
all this time, of course, in .my life in Paris, I'd been 
concerned about going home but without much idea of exactly 
what I would do, because I hadn't equipped myself with 
some monejnnakmg means. j. hadn t won a reputation as a 
portrait painter and gotten a clientele, and although I 
had done a certain amount of commercial work of one sort 
and another, odds and ends, I did not have contracts to 
really look forward to so I could settle down to a job 
or have some means of income. Of course, what happened 
was that I eventually took a job of teaching and I have 
done quite a lot of that. But we discussed the matter 
and decided that it might be a good idea to make a sort of 
exploratory trip back home and meet people and maybe get 
some idea of how we could reestablish ourselves in our 
home country. So I finally decided to make the trip with 
Paul Burlin, He was doing it because he did have contacts 
in New York, and he was taking back quite a lot of work. 


He had a very good reason for doing it, "but I had a rather 
more tenuous plan of what I would do when I got to New York. 

What I was saying about the contrast in our way of 
reacting and "behaving towards things was brought out 
quite a lot in that trip. As I say, he was a very 
ambitious fellow who hated to be bested in anything. He 
played checkers with me, but I beat him so badly that he 
swore he'd never play a game of checkers again, [laughter] 
Well, it just so happened that I had played checkers a 
little bit and he hadn't. It was quite unreasonable of 
him. Once we were sitting at the bar on the boat going 
over and just for fun (I think he started it) we made 
sort of a little pass at each other. We got to talking 
auoUl/ uoxing or someuu-xng. j- u.iu.n t know anythxng about 
boxing, but his passes got a little bit more serious and 
he really tried to reach me. Well, he was a short man 
and his arms were short, but my arms are long, so I discovered 
that all I had to do was to push him away and his passes 
would be in front of my nose but wouldn't reach me. Well, 
that drove him quite frantic. Each time I would shove 
him away, and they would pass in front of my face. None 
of them touched my body at all. Of course, he could 
have hit me if it had been really serious, but it was 
rather funny that just in that little thing he couldn't 
get anywhere because of the length of my arms. He got so 
winded that I v;as disturbed. He kept at it until he v/as 


panting frantically. (I think he's still living, and 
he'd be over eighty now or just about eighty.) I don't 
think he had any special heart trouble or anything, but 
he suddenly got v;inded in that little game. Well, I think 
it was the day before v;e got into New York that he said, 
"Ityron, do you know anybody who can get you a room at the 
Harvard Club?" 

I said, "At the Harvard Clul?? What do you mean?" 

He said, "I think we ought to stay at the Harvard 

I said, "Well, I'm not a Harvard man and neither are 
you. " 

"Well, that doesn't make any difference." 

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"Got to have a good address, got to have a good 
address. " 

And I discovered that is one thing that he'd knock 
himself out to have, even if he had to sleep in the cellar. 
If it was a good number or a good name of a hotel or some- 
thing of that sort, that was very important. Well, my 
only idea v/as to go around and find a reasonable room and 
make myself comfortable. I was only going to be there for 
a short time anyway, so what the heck. But no. "Oh 
well," I said, "I'll see." So in New York I asked Paul 
Kieffer v/ho was connected somewhat by marriage and a 


Harvard man. He said, "Yes, that's all, right. I'll get 
yqu a room at the Harvard Club." I rather demurred 
because it seemed rather silly. "Well," he said, "you 
stay there for a day or so and then find yourself a place." 
So sure enough we did. The reason Paul could go to the 
Harvard Club was because his first wife was of the 
Philadelphia Curtis family, and he too could get an intro- 

January 31 , 1966 

NUTTING: The trip over to New York in 1927 with Paul. 
Burlin was rather an adventurous one in a way. In con- 
nection with Paul Burlin, I often think of a friend of 
mine Boris Glagolin, who had been an assistant director, 
I think, of the Royal Theater, of what was then St. Peters- 
burg. He was an actor and a writer and a very highly 
cultivated man. Apparently, he had quite a hard time in 
the Revolution, because he was on the wrong side. He 
didn't tell me much of his experiences, but a few of them 
are quite vivid that he Just brought in once in a while 
in the conversation. One was about when he was in prison. 
It was in the wintertime, and looking out through a little 
window of his prison, he could see a bit of the courtyard. 
The prisoners were dying in large numbers, and what they 
did was to lay them out until they froze solid and then 
stacked them up like cordwood until they got ready to 
take loads away for burial. Well, he finally got out of 
Russia and came to this country. One thing that I always 
remember quite vividly, because it seemed to be a little 
point that one does remember in the case of people who 
feel keenly about belonging to a minority group. Some- 
times it's ennobling, very often it is and brings out 
great spirits, but it also can have a very bad influence 


on them. 

On Glagolin's way out from Russia on the train and 
during this long trip, he got into conversation with a 
Jew. They enjoyed each other's company very much and 
became quite good friends in the sense of good traveling 
companionship. But they got to a border and there was an 
examination. The police or authorities were checking over 
these people that were going out and picked up this Jew 
and said, "You are so-and-so" and accused him of this or 
that or something. And the Jew got quite excited and 
denied it emphatically. He said, "No, I was not the one. 
It was this man! " And he pointed to my friend who had 
been his warm traveling companion across the country. 

It also reminds me of a conversation I had with a 
Jewish friend of mine that impressed me quite a lot. We 
were discussing what people would do under certain cir- 
cumstances, and he gave a very interesting talk that the 
great characteristic of the Jewish people was the will 
to survival, that came first, and when a decision had to 
be made it was in terms of survival. 

The question that brought it up was that of a woman 
who had to decide whether to sacrifice one of her children. 
Should it be the boy or the girl? What would you do in a 
situation, of that sort? And he said that it was not the 
Jewish idea that they should all go dovvTi .together, but 
rather that somebody must survive. They'd pick out which 


one would be the most important. member of the family to 
survive. That would be the only question. 

A man v;ho in some ways reminds me veiy much of Paul 
Burlin is Lorser Feitelson. He also has that feeling 
that they're quite wonderful friends up to a point, and 
then if they get at all suspicious of their status, all 
of a sudden you find they will turn on you without apparent 
rhyme or reason. And Paul, I must confess, was a little 
bit that sort of a guy. He was a man of tremendous 
energy and ambition. 

Obviously, he came from the East Side, from a poor 
family. I met his brother, and he was just a common 
Jewish boy. He was making a living in a clothing store 
or something in New York. But Paul had very genuine talent 
and great ambition. In his boyhood he had lived for a 
short time in England before he came to this country; he 
had even gone to school in England. He didn't have very 
much schooling, . but he was a reader. I don't think he 
read for the love of reading. It was so he could talk 
about the right things and be a good conversationalist in 
whatever company he found himself. For the same reason, 
he cultivated the ability to tell a story, and he worked 
very hard to become a good raconteur — and he was a good 
one. He had a rather bitter wit which was very amusing, 
and it helped to make him good company in a group. It 
was always enjoyed. And he had a rather sharp mind. 


I've run across several references to him in things I've 
read since, by people writing on the art of that period 
and personalities. One man spoke of him as having a legal 
mind, which may be true. He had quite a good capacity to 
reason things. But in his life as a whole, he could be 
a very warm friend, but you were never quite sure of him. 
We got along very well together, though I think there was 
the same sort of a contrast between us, except in degree, 
that there was between my friends Ramon Guthrie and 
Sinclair Lewis, in temperament and attitude towards life. 
I think that's one reason why I found him very interesting, 
because so much that he thought and did contradicted what 
I thought and did. It gave me a chance to be conscious 

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have . otherwise done. And for some reason, he seemed to 
lil^e to be with me. I don't know why; I don't know what I 
had to give to him at all, because I had no pretensions 
of being a good storyteller, and I wasn't especially 
ambitious in society. He was. He wanted to know important 
people; he wanted to go to important places; he wanted to 
have a good address. He wanted to be somebody — and he 
wanted it desperately. Well, I think 1 told you how we 
got to playing a little bit and pretending to box, but he 
being a very short man with short arms and I having long 
arms, all I had to do was to keep pushing him away, which 
infuriated him so. He wasn't nasty about it, but he got 


completely winded. I got worried because he was panting 
so. I thought they'd have to lay him out on the couch 
or something "before he would come to. But he stopped 
panting after a while and that was the end of that. 

There was also that little incident in .the hotel 
lobby vihen there was nothing else to do but to pick up 
a checkerboard and play. He had never played checkers, 
and I knew a little bit about it, not very much, so none 
of the games lasted very long. Finally, he got up and 
walked off and swore he'd never play checkers again as 
long as he lived. 

But the drive and energy of the man was rather 
impressive. He certainly lived a full day in every way. 
rie worked very hard, and he always had projects and plans 
on which he was working. He decided to go to New York to 
contact some dealers and to take over some of his work 
and wanted me to go too. Well, as I've said before, 
during all the years I spent in Europe, I constantly had 
this idea in mind that very soon I was to go home and find 
myself in my own world. But it was put off and put off, 
and this seemed to be rather of a good idea, that I should 
go with him, because he grew up in New York and he knew 
lots of people there and knew all the galleries. I thought 
maybe I could see how to find myself and what sort of work 
to go into, how to look for an occupation, what to do for 
an exhibition, and find dealers that might be interested in 


my stuff, although I didn't take over very much. So I 
decided to go with him. My wife said she would not go; 
she didn't want to go home until she came to stay. She 
hated sea travel. She was always very ill and, of course, 
there was no plane travel in those days. So I came to 
New York with Paul in 1927 — one of the very few dates that 
I remember of my life over there. The reason that I 
remember the date was because we were in mid-ocean when 
Lindbergh landed in Paris. We got the news and, of course, 
that was quite exciting. 

Well, Paul and I got aboard the ship. He always 
dressed very carefully for dinner because he didn't know 
who he might meet and he would spend any amount of time 

and adjusting that and brushing his hair until he was 
quite satisfied with his appearance. Then we went to 
dinner, and the first thing he did was to look all around 
the dining room to see who was there. In the meantime, 
he had read the passenger list. Once he said, "What do 
you think of that woman over there?" 

So I looked over at the table that he indicated and 
said, "She looks very nice. A very attractive woman." 
He said, "She seems to be alone." Well, he didn't lose 
any time after dinner in getting acquainted, which he 
did rather successfully. He was quite skillful in that 
sort of thing. She did turn out to be quite a pleasant 


and quite an intelligent woman. She was on her way home 
from a rather extended stay in Europe and was going back 
to New York. She had gone to England alone and then after 
that to the Continent. Well, the upshot of the con- 
versation was that she should come to our stateroom for a 
highball before we turned in. And she did. [laughter] 
The stateroom was very small; it was an ordinary old-fashioned 
steamer stateroom with two berths and a sort of a couch under 
the window. There wasn't very much room for us, and so he 
and she sat down below and I got up on the upper berth 
and stretched out and carried on the conversation very 
nicely from there, without crowding the space down below. 
Well, I never saw anything happen so fast in my life. I 
didn't pay too much attention to the conversation; there 
didn't seem to be too much to lead up to it. But the 
first thing I knew, the light went out. There were 
windows opening out onto the deck that had wooden shades 
that pulled up from below and latched. So they were down 
there speaking in low whispers, but I couldn't hear 
anything and didn't pay any attention; so I dozed off. 
All of a sudden, there was a bang, and it seems that one 
of these shades, or whatever you'd call them, had fallen 
down, [laughter] The latch hadn't quite latched. So 
I saw the silhouette of Paul struggling with this thing. 
He finally got it latched, and it was all pitch darkness 
again. Then 1 heard a little rustling and very faint 


whispers, and I lay there and waited and, guess, to a 
certain extent dozed off. Well, it wasn't very long until 
I heard the door open and some whispered good- nights, and 
it was all over, [laughter] It had been accomplished, 
and he v;as very satisfied with himself. Well, I wasn't 
too much concerned about that except that the next day, 
although he was quite polite to her, it didn't seem to me 
that he was as nice to her as he might have been. He 
seemed to have somewhat lost interest to a certain extent. 
So I tried a little bit to make up for it, and I sat on 
the deck and talked to her. As everybody knows, there are 
lots of people who while traveling will just tell their 
life stories and all sorts of things that they'd never 
08-Lx m uueir nome uown uecause they feel that they can 
talk to people they'll never see again. Hiey just open 
up, and you get to know all about them. And she told her 
story, which was rather interesting. 

She was of a Jewish fajnily, and she was married and 
had a couple of children. They lived in New York and I 
don't know what her husband's business was or how he made 
his living, but whatever it was, he lost his job. It 
was knocked out by the war or for some other reason, 
and he was going through a bad period and having a very, 
very hard time. And she gave quite a vivid description of 
her life and what it was to be so poor. Her husband would 
go out every day to try to make some money, try to find a 
job, try to find some way to get along. She said that 


one thing that made it especially hard for her was that 
she knew — although he didn't know she knew — that he had 
some pills in his briefcase and she knew what they were. 
The idea was that he was going to fight it out, but if 
worst came to worst, why, he'd bring an end to the situation. 
This situation lasted for some time, until the man got an 
idea, that now would be nothing at all but which at that 
time wasn't too common. Some people that he knew were 
having trouble with a typewriter in their office. Well, 
he knew typewriters and he said, "I'll take care of it," 
which he did for a small fee. That gave him an idea, 
and so when he took the typewriter back he said, "You 
have got so many typewriters in this office that have to 
be taken care of. now much does it cost; you "uo take care 
of your office machinery?" Well, the upshot of it was 
that he made an agreement to look after all the typewriters-- 
I don't know whether they had any other machinery or not — 
for a fixed sum. And it worked out very well. He built 
up a business of that sort. What would you call it? 
SCHIPPEBS: Service repair. 

NUTTING: Service repair for office machinery. Well, he 
got so he could hire help — I suppose maybe specialists 
for certain jobs and that sort of thing, I don't know. But, 
anyway, she said that he really found himself in this work 
and it wasn't too long before the pressure was eased a 
great deal. They were living q^ite comfortably and in 


quite a civilized way. Well, he went even further than 
that, for he became rather prosperous in the business 
and it became something more than Just a decent living. 
Then to her amazement, that although during this period 
of trial and tribulation and holding up the spirit of the 
family there 'd never been any letdown, but when it came to 
having the pressure talcen off, she found herself in a 
rather peculiar state of mind. Probably a psychologist 
could explain it rather clearly, and I think the rest of 
us could understand to a certain extent. What I felt was 
that a certain amount of responsibility had been taken 
away; she wasn't as useful a person in keeping the family 
going as she had been, and the children were growing up 
and they didn't need her so much. So she found herself 
in a curiously nervous state of mind, in somewhat of a 
depression, aggravated by the fact that although she had 
been extremely loyal to her husband and had done everything 
in the world to keep their little family going and had 
done all that she possibly could, that basically she and 
her husband didn't have veiy much in common. What he liked 
and enjoyed was rather boresome to her, and she commenced 
to take an interest in things that to him seemed rather 
nutty. I imagine that he liked just good plain bourgeois 
living — good food and card playing and that sort of thing. 

Por one thing, I know she was very musical because 
she talked about music and would also comment on a girl's 


voice that she happened to hear singing. She said, 
"There's a voice." And she apparently \inderstood a good 
voice the moment she heard it, or at least its potentiality. 
That probably was a field that he wasn't interested in. 
So it got to the point where she felt that she had to do 
something about it. And she got the idea (that was in the 
day before people went to psychoanalysts to get counsel) 
of going to Havelock Ellis because she had read some books 
of Havelock Ellis, and she thought he must be a very grand 
person and that he would understand what her trouble was 
and would give her some advice. Her husband was agreeable; 
so she went alone to England and apparently had some 
conversations with Havelock Ellis. I don't think she 
saw very much of him, because aS far as I know, Ellis 
didn't make a profession of counseling neurotics. But 
she found him extremely helpful, and before she went back 
to New York, she decided that while she was over there, 
she would cross the Channel and take a trip. Apparently 
money was not too much of an object any more, and there 
was no reason why she couldn't do that and get the full 
benefit of her trip to Europe. So she went to France 
and then she went on down to Italy. She said she had a 
marvelous time and enjoyed everything enormously. 

In Italy she met a young Italian officer. Well, 
apparently, that experience with this young officer was 
just too wonderful and too beautiful for words. She went 


"back with a very, very happy feeling — what with Havelock 
Ellis and an affair with this gorgeous boy. So she was 
going home now, and she felt that for the rest of her life 
she would understand and she would live and everything 
would be all right. 

Well, that was all very interesting, but as I say, 
this thing began practically before we left port. And 
•I think it was about the third day I spoke to Paul Burlin 
about something and asked him what was on his mind. It 
turned out that he was fit to be tied. He had to go to 
the doctor, and the diagnosis was the worst. He was 
furious — and he was rather brutal about it. Well, I 
thought it was rather unfortunate for Burlin, but the 
person I i-eally felt sorx-^ fox* was this little woiaaii, 
because here was her wonderful trip marred in this very 
gruesome way, for she had passed the trouble on to Burlin 
without the slightest suspicion that she could be guilty 
of it. But it worked out that way; there was no other 
explanation. So then I was worried about her because she 
lapsed into silence and would stand by the rail and look 
out over the ocean. 

Once, very soon after that, I was .going down into the 
main saloon from the upper deck (two great big stairways 
curved down into the main saloon) and she was coming up. 
She looked at me, then she fainted and tumbled down the 
stairs. I had to pick her up and lay her on a couch. 


She came to all right and wasn't hurt. At first, I 
thought she had injured herself but apparently not. So 
that was all right. 

The rest of the trip, with Burlin in his state of 
mind and his ruthlessness, was rather distressing. My 
concern for her (I've forgotten her name completely and, 
of course, that doesn't make any difference) was rather 
considerable because if she was a neurotic, I was wondering 
what steps she might take. However, she seemed to think 
things out and come to. 

When we got to New York, her family met her and she 
seemed very cheerful then. I had a letter from her after- 
wards, a little letter, and that's the last I heard of 
her. I can only hope that everything worked out for the 
best for her. But that impetuosity and that ruthlessness — 
I don't say especially of this particular man but of a 
type that I think we all know — was one of the most vivid 
experiences I have had of that type of a person. 

Lorser Feitelson was the same sort of man in some 
ways. He was a very delightful person, very intelligent, 
a very good talker and good storyteller, but once that he 
turns, he turns on you with a viciousness that is infuri- 
ating. I don't mind a person turning on me if they'll 
tell me what it's all about; and if I can do something 
about it, I v/ill or if I can't, I can't, and that's the 
end of it. But to have someone just turn on you without 


any discernible rhyme or reason I think is one of the 
most unpleasant things one can have happen. It's very 
seldom happened to me, and it never did with Paul Burlin. 
We always got along very happily. In New York, he was an 
interesting fellow to be around v;ith, but again you could 
see how he was making the most of every moment. For one 
thing, he was rather lucky because he had a man who was 
•a rather renowned GU doctor in New York, a very brilliant 
fellow. I enjoyed knowing him. He was highly educated, 
and he had known Paul for quite a long time and took care 
of him. He knew some interesting people and we went to 
some interesting evenings. One evening was with Freud's 
nephew. Be mays (I've talked about him before, but for the 
moment his name has slipped my mind). He was a very, 
very successful public relations, advertising man. We 
both met him in Paris first, then met him again in 
New York, and he invited us to dinner. He had some very 
interesting people, and it was quite a delightful evening. 

And the fact is, every evening Paul seemed to manage 
something that was quite worthwhile. But in his life and 
his business and his contacts — everything — that same energy 
and calculation that characterized him, since I first knew 
him was there. 

He had friends dov^ni in Charleston, South Carolina, 
and I didn't want to spend the money to go down there 
with him, but for some reason I decided to. I've forgotten 


now what I had in mind. Maybe I had been somewhat influ- 
enced by his idea that if you're going to be at all a 
success in the world, you must know people, which is to a 
certain degree right. It doesn't mean that you've got to 
chase after them, but if you know them and make a good 
impression, from a practical point of view that's worth 
thinking about. So I went with him. We stayed at a 
place in Charleston where they took paying guests. It 
didn't call itself a motel or a hotel or anything of that 
sort. It was really a family that had rooms. It was very 
nice and some rather interesting things happened down 

In some ways, I'm rather glad that this was part of 

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very simple people have. I've often thought of it in 
other connections since; especially when I did my Jury 
duty here, I was again impressed by that same thing. 
People who are uneducated very often by sheer human 
sensibility would sense something that a person who does 
too much thinking won't be aware of. Paul Burlin certainly 
knew how to get around very well with all sorts of people. 
And the fact is, he was always trying to kid me, you know. 
When we got down to Charleston, he was always asking me — 
would I do this with colored people, how would I behave? 
He knew that my ancestry was part Southern, and he wanted 
to bring it up continually and razz me about it. He always 


claimed that he understood people thoroughly and could 
get along with anybody very well indeed. He wasn't a snob 
like me. He was a real adult human being. Well, I rather 
resented the idea of being called a snob. But in this 
house where we got a room, [something happened that 
showed another side of him] . We unpacked our suitcases 
and, naturally, our evening clothes were somewhat wrinkled. 
In those days, we never went out to dinner except in a tux. 
Paul called for the darkie who did the chores around the 
house there. I think his name was Oliver. (It's funny 
I should remember his name, but I'm pretty sure it's 
Oliver.) When he found out his name, he said, "Oliver, 
do you see my evening clothes there? They're badly 
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could see, he asked him very nicely. And after all, 
that's what the boy was supposed to be doing there, taking 
care of the guests and the chores of that sort. And 
Oliver said, "Well, no, sir. I'm awfully soriy. The 
missus she's given me an awfully lot of work. I won't 
have one minute. I'd be glad to help you, but I just 
haven't got the time." 

Well, that made Paul rather sore, and Oliver went 
off. I \inpacked my clothes and examined them carefully 
and found out I was in the same fix. Whether I hadn't 
packed them very well, and in spite of all sorts of care, 
they didn't look too ^ood. Oliver happened to be coming 


down the hall and the door was open, and so I said, "I 
am in the same fix as my friend here. My clothes need 
pressing pretty badly. " And he came over and looked at 
them and he said, "Yes, they sure do. You give them to 
me. I'll have them back in no time." [laughter] So 
he went off with my clothes and pressed them nicely, but 
he wouldn't press Paul's. And I still never have been 
able to figure out what turned that colored man against 
Paul. There always was something that caused him to be 
willing to do it for me and not for anyone else. There 
was something he resented about Paul, and something he 
accepted from me. It's one of those little mysteries, 
[tape off] 

Burlin's friends in Chai"leston proved to be very 
channing, interesting people. They were old Charlestonians, 
and one was a well-known writer, whose name I've forgotten 
at the moment. I think with short stories, especially, 
he was quite successful. How Paul would knov; such old- 
fashioned Charlestonians, I don't quite know, except that 
his first wife was a Curtis of the Philadelphia Curtises. 
She was a very accomplished musician. 

Well , I gathered from remarks that Paul made now and 
again that the Curtis family didn't think very much of the 
new addition to their tribe. I don't think they especially 
disliked him, but they didn't think he was quite up to 
the family tradition for one of their girls to marry. 


Natalie Curtis had studied to be a concert pianist but 
had injured nerves in her hands or her wrists through 
overwork, and so devoted the rest of her life to col- 
lecting folk music. That was rather a laborious job, 
because that was before the days of tape recorders and 
the means that we have now of collecting things of that 
sort. A tape recorder would have been a godsend to her. 
She would learn folk airs of the South, and then she went 
out West and did the same thing with Indian music and 
wrote them down. Of course, in many cases, when she 
could, she collected the words. And, apparently, she was 
on the way to accomplishing quite a lot when she was 
killed, I believe, in a motor accident in New York. 

■ «J-i.^J.i. -i- J-_l_XOU .IVJ.X^ MV J- CH-C_1_ -L-lOLJ. _1_ JLXJ. , iJ. O UKCLOXX U XLLCXJ- -1. -1- ^ ^X . XiO 

was married, though, at the time he made this trip. He 
was married in Paris to a girl who was a buyer for a big 
Chicago department store, and she was a bright, nice woman. 
The marriage didn't last too long. But the wedding break- 
fast was rather interesting. He wanted me to be best man. 
Well, to be best man simply meant to go do;\Ti to the mairie 
with him and picking up the legal papers for the marriage. 
But, of course, at the wedding breakfast, he called upon 
me for the toast. Well, usually I'm not fussed by that 
sort of thing; I can get away with something. But for 
some reason he sprung it on me. I didn't realize that 
somebody had to propose a toast, and I was completely 


•unprepared. I felt that on an occasion of that sort you 
had to do something a little more than simply hold up a 
glass and say "Here's to you." So, finally, I passed 
the buck. There was a very nice French boy there and he 
gave a toast in French. It was very short and quite 
dignified and quite all right. 

But it was surprising the number of important people 
that he had at that wedding breakfast. They were people 
of accomplishment of one sort or another, musicians and 
writers and so on. And it showed that he had made a 
certain degree of quite warm friendships with a great 
variety of people. 

I remember Leo Stein was there. Leo Stein gave him 
a beautiful book of very fine reproductions of all the 
engravings of Albrecht Mrer as a wedding present. Others 
gave him quite nice things, and the affair was really 
quite distinguished. I've seen Paul once since. He came 
out here to give a course at USC, and I went down to 
see him. I was quite flabbergasted because when I asked 
where to find Mr. Burlin, Mr. Paul Burlin, I was told, 
"You mean Dr. Burlin?" And that rather took my breath 
away, because neither he nor Lorser, I think, had ever 
got into high school. He was a self-educated man and, in 
a way, quite successfully so. But "Dr. Burlin" certainly 
sounded very funny to me. [tape off] 

Besides meeting these friends of Burlin' s in Charleston 


and attending some rather interesting cocktail parties and 
dinners and affairs of that sort, we filled in our day by 
exploring Charleston. We hired a cab, a colored man 
and a horsecab, and explored the town pretty thoroughly. 
Ve also drove out into the countryside and made sketches. 
If we had had more time , we would have done some painting 
down there, but we both brought back quite a lot of material 
•in the way of notes and sketches on the life and landscape 
about Charleston, [tape off] 

I, of course, couldn't do very much in New York in 
a short time. For one thing, I didn't bring over a sub- 
stantial enough amount of my work to have an exhibition, 
and I had no idea how to get one. The whole idea of the 
oPxp was luore j.or reconnaxssance so unau Wj_i.en -u u.i.u. go 
back, I'd have some sort of a plan for starting life over 
again in my home country. However, I was kept fairly 
busy in one way. 

Dr. Collins was then back in New York and practicing 
as a psychiatrist and neurologist. He was very nice to 
me, and he had a friend who wanted some kind of portraits 
of her children. He said, "Why don't you do them?" 

"Well," I said, "That would be very nice." So I 
did drawings of these yoiingsters and that was a terrible 
gob. I'm not especially good working with children. Some 
people have sort of a knack of getting something of children 
that people like, but I want an adult sitter v/ho'll sit 


still. Then I can get along fairly well, but these 
restless children Just about drove me nuts. However, they 
liked my things veiy much and then they had some friends 
and they wanted some things done. So during all of my 
stay there, I v;as sort of passed around here and there. 
I think if I had stayed, I might have built up kind of a 
little business, a source of income doing portrait drawings. 
They weren't all children; I did quite a few adults, too. 
I did them quite reasonably. I think it was seventy-five 
dollars, something like that, for a drawing. 

As a matter of fact, I did enough so that it went 
a long way towards paying my expenses in New York. It 
didn't pay the expense of the whole trip by any means, but 
it helped very decidedly. Also it gave me a feeling that 
if people liked my work or certain aspects of it, I might 
be able to do something with it. 
SCHIPPERS: How long were you in Charleston? 
NUTTING: About a week, I think it was. 
SCHIPPEES: And then you returned to New York? 
NUTTING: And then to New York. Yes. 
SCHIPPERS: And how long was your stay in New York? 
NUTTING: I was trying to remember. It wasn't very long. 
A month or six weeks. I would say about a month, [tape off] 
The return to New York was rather thrilling. I'd been av;ay 
for a number of years — quite a number of years! I left in 
the autumn of 19'13 and then didn't see it again until 1927. 


And what impressed me wasn't so much how it had changed, 
but how I_ had changed. When I went there first as a boy 
thirteen years old, things looked so tremendously grand, 
not only because it seemed outwardly rather grand but 
because they represented grandeur — a great art museum or 
a big library. Per se, it was something av/esome to walk 
up the steps of the Metropolitan Muse\im. Knowing that 
these great masterpieces were in there magnified your 
feelings and impressions. 

When I was studying in New York, I used to go down 
to the library, and I always had great respect for the 
building. I never stopped to criticize it, because it 
represented a certain amount of dignity and grandeur. And 
to go in and be able to get the books that I wanted and 
spend the hours of the evening there was one of the most 
delightful parts of my life in New York as a student. So 
when I got to New York, I took a cab to my hotel. I 
kept looking right and left, and when I saw this dingy, 
squat building, I thought, "My God! That's the library." 
When I first knew it, it was fairly new. It wasn't dirty; 
it was still rather pristine. When I saw it the second 
time, the smoke and the grime and the way the surrounding 
skyscrapers sort of crushed its magnificence, was to me 
\inbelievable. That happened several times — things I 
remembered with a certain magnitude seemed to have shrunk 


That was my first feeling about New York. The second 
feeling was how amazing it was that in a city as large as 
that you kept running into people you'd met before. I've 
never found that true of any other city. I went into a 
cafeteria in New York for breakfast and looked at the boy 
next to me, and he was one of my fellow students in Boston, 
way back in 19^1 2, I suppose it was. I went into a book- 
store and the first man who walked up was a man that I 
had known years before, I've forgotten where. The ease in 
getting around New York, compared to Los Angeles, and the 
fact that you were always bumping into your old friends 
always impressed me and surprised me. Also the ease with 
which you could get together in New York is much more 
pronounced than m any other city I've been in, even a 
smaller place like Milwaukee. It seemed to me that with 
a few telephone calls, all of a sudden the gang was all 
there. I mean they jumped into the subway, and they were 
there in no time. Whereas, elsewhere, you have to make 
plans if you're going to see your friends, especially 
out here with the big distances involved and where you 
depend on your car. [tape off] 

Well, the time I had budgeted for the stay in New York 
came to an end, and first I was going to go back ahead of 
Paul Burlin. I decided that I had done all I possibly 
could unless I would come much better prepared than I 
was then. It wound up, though, that Burlin decided to 


go back first class. I didn't see any sense in it. There 
was no point in first class that I wanted especially. 
Second class was excellent, and so I went to get my ticket. 
And there was a fellow ahead of me who was having some 
kind of an argument about his stateroom. I got my ticket 
and looked at it, and I said, "This isn't the stateroom 
that I thought that I would get." 

He said, "No, it's much better. I just had a scrap 
with this guy ahead of you and decided to give you this 
ticket instead of him." [laughter] I don't know what it 
was, but for some reason I came out with a ticket for a 
stateroom I hadn't paid for. I don't suppose the difference 
was too much, but it was very nice and was much better 
than I wnijXd have had otherwise. So I v/ent second class 
and Paul went first class, and I found it really didn't 
make any difference anyway because if you dressed for 
dinner and wandered around, you could wander into first 
class without any trouble. So I did that all the way over 
and didn't paiy any attention to whether I was in first 
place or second class. Of course, I didn't eat first 
class. But I had met nobody in the first-class section 
that I cared to talk to. They seemed to be the dumbest 
lot, whereas I met quite a number of people in the second 
class who were much more interesting people. They were 
teachers or professional people of one sort or another 
and interesting to meet. 


One of my artist friends in Paris was Jean de Bouchere. 
(I'm not quite sure of the spelling of his name; I'll 
have to look up the spelling.) He was an illustrator, and 
anybody getting books from the library, especially ones 
published in the twenties and thirties, will find any 
number of classics illustrated by him. In a way, his 
work was very good. It was good book illustration and 
■also very decorative. He was a Belgian by birth and very 
articulate and a wonderful man to talk to. He was well 
read, well educated, and an author of a book on drawing, 
which he called The Dialectic of Drawing, which promised 
to be quite a good book. He complained that the publisher 
had cut it down, but even as it is, it was a book that I 
enjoyed reading. I still have it in my librar;^^. He 
lived in the country. There were several things about 
him that did not at all bear out the popular idea of the 
artist. One was his amazing ability to organize everything 
in his life. Apparently, he bought this property in the 
country which he loved, but he had to spend a certain 
amount of time in Paris. He had a very small room as a 
studio in Paris. You'd go into it, and you'd think it 
wasn't big enough to do anything in at all. But then you 
would come to find out he did an immense amount of work 
there. He must have been a mathematical genius, because 
there wasn't a square inch of that room that wasn't put to 
use. He could pull out a great number of canvases, rather 


large canvases, and you couldn't "believe there was any 
place for them there. But there would be a slot which 
would hold so many canvases, and all of a sudden, this 
piece of furniture would yield up pictures for a whole 
exhibition. His worktable was absolutely immaculate and 
in such amazing order. He used inks, various inks. Even 
in doing black and white, he'd have inks of various densities, 
and he had a funny little keg, that I think he must have made 
himself, that was inset on the desk with a little spigot 
so that he could get ink from this and this and this 
spigot. He took things of that sort off the surface of 
his desk and put them up into little pockets and holes. 
In sort of a guest book I have, he did this drawing, and 
he described how he came to do it. He said he was sleeping- 
out-of-doors in the summertime, and he heard a tree toad. 
It seemed to be quite near; then all of a sudden he looked 
up in a tree, and through the branches of the trees he 
saw a full moon and the pattern of the tree branches 
across the moon. And in a crotch of two little branches 
sat this tree toad. He said the whole thing made a perfect 
design. This little thing in my book is a sketch of a 
moon, branches across the moon and a little tree toad 
silhouetted against the moon. He always had a certain 
whimsy, a sense of spotting charming things in that 

February 6, 1966 

NUTTING: Jean de Bouchere was a prolific illustrator of 
books, especially of Greek, Latin and Renaissance classics, 
many of which were enriched with his work in line and 
color. I found him a most pleasant and interesting friend. 
In looks, he was rather like a character out of an early 
nineteenth-century novel, say from Balzac. He had a 
quaint old-fashioned appearance, and his whimsy and fantasy 
were always delightful. One picture I have of him was 
when we were leaving a party one evening and a number of 
people were standing about at the head of the stairs 
talking, conversation was being carried on which ought 
to have been finished before the party broke up. I looked 
around and Jean de Bouchere was standing with his face to 
the wall aind with his hat upside down in the crook of his 
arm. I wondered what in the dickens he was doing. I 
discovered he was spending the time very carefully plucking 
the rosebuds from the wallpaper and dropping them into his 
hat one by one. [laughter] 

Another person that I appreciated very much knowing 
(I don't know where we should insert these various little 
reminiscenses; we v/ill have to organize them eventually), 
was Paul Robeson. Very often among other people at 
Lewisohn's evenings were some of the Negro writers v;ho 


were either living in Paris or passing through Paris, 
and they would spend an evening with him. Paul Robeson 
was in Paris for a while, and he and Lewisohn seemed to 
be quite warm friends. Paul Robeson, himself, I found 
delightful. He was quiet, rather slow-spoken, dignified in 
his manner. With him was his accompanist, Mr. Brovm, who 
was very lively and full of fun and a good musician, of 
course. In many ways, he was quite a contrast in manner 
and appearance to Paul Robeson. One thing about Paul 
Robeson that is not too common, I think, with musicians 
and people in the performing arts, was that he was happy 
to make his contribution. One of the delightful things 
of being in company with him, even though there might be 
a few people — maybe a half-a-dozen or so of us — Hr. Brown 
would go to the piano and Robeson would sing magnificently. 
He was a man of broad interests, and fine education, a 
good talker on many subjects. His singing was not only that 
of an accomplished artist but impressive because of his 
interpretation of such things as Negro spirituals which he 
sang simply and with deep feeling, not concertized or made 
sentimental. I saw him years afterwards in Milwaiikee 
where he gave a concert; after the concert I went back to 
speak to him, and he remembered me very warmly. He had 
a quiet, very charming smile, and he seemed to be pleased 
to see me again. 

I just noticed in a new encyclopedia that I got recently 


that Ludwig Lewisohn (my biographical dictionary is rather 
old, "but the Columbia Encyclopedia is up to date) was one 
of the founding professors of Brandeis University. He 
was a professor there, I knew, but I didn't know that he 
was one of the first ones. 

The last time I saw Ludwig was in Milwaukee. He 
came there to give a lecture, which 1 attended, and after- 
wards we got together. I asked him up to our apartment, 
and he said he would be delighted to come providing nobody 
else was there but ourselves. He said "I'd like to spend 
the evening with you, but I really haven't the energy to 
see other people." Well, of course, I agreed to that, 
very much to the disappointment of some friends v;ho 
LuTifortunately knew that I v;as going to ask him up. They 
didn't know, of course, whether he would accept or not. I 
Just happened to mention that I hoped that after the lecture 
he would come up to the apartment, but after I promised 
Lewisohn that I wouldn't have any guests, I had to explain 
to them. In spite of that, when I looked out the window, 
I saw they were driving up and down the street, apparently, 
in hopes that they might get invited in. So we had the 
evening together. It was very pleasant, and that's the 
last time that I saw him. [tape off] 

Of course, one's life is not made up by any means of 
simply your experiences or observations or of people 
you've met or anecdotes or that sort of thing. 1 feel so 
strongly that the interest of living is also in the life 


of the mind. I think for most of my life I've had the 
very definite sensation or feeling that we live between 
two worlds. We have a Januslike structure. We're looking 
to two directions — the outer world and the inner world. 
The meaning is dependent upon a rich experience in both 
directions. The magnitude of that sort of an approach 
began to almost appall me when I came to the consciousness 
that I could put it into that form, that figure, that the 
two are so absolute in their mystery and profixndity. The 
few times that I have suggested that idea to other people, 
I seem to get little sympathy or understanding. I think 
everybody v;ould agree that they have certain experiences, 
certain revelations, something that all of a sudden becomes 
real to them and from then on through their life has 
meaning. I believe that people have that without realizing 
the importance sometimes. They think it's slight and 
maybe a passing thing; whereas, if they grasp it, really 
would discuss it, they might find it to be an opening 
wedge to some new development or new line of thought or 
something important. 

Something happened the other evening which is rather 
a case in point. It's the sort of a thing which I think 
may be somewhat analogous to Joyce's idea of an epiphany. 
We were at a Phi Beta Kappa dinner, and I was talking to 
Stephanie Holton, Firs. Cyril Holton, our hostess, and she 
was speaking of Henry Forman and regretting his loss because 


he was a charming and valued friend. Among other things, 
she said "I think he was a very balanced man, don't you?" 
And I didn't say anything. For some reason that remark 
seemed to stir up something I didn't know exactly what 
it was, so I didn't answer right away. 

And she said, "Are you there?" [laughter] 
I said, "Yes, I'm here. I agree. He was a very 
well-balanced person." But what happened was that, like 
a projection on a screen, that word "balanced" seemed 
to stir up something almost like resentment. The first 
thing I saw in this amorphous sort of vision was the 
balance in this use of the metaphor and it went back to 
childhood where the statehouse had a woman with the 
handkerchief tied over her eyes and holding a pair of 
scales in one hand and a sword in the other. The scales 
made me think of other simple mechanisms that have played 
such a vastly important part in the history of any culture, 
such as the wheel. But the first things that came to my 
mind on this movie screen were things like the plumb line, 
a weight on a cord. It might at first be some natural 
cord like a horsehair or vine to form a string or a thread, 
and on that put a weight; so you had the plumb line and the 
plumb bob. And another thing that came to mind was the 
spirit level. It occurred to me that the spirit level 
was a pretty advanced instriiment compared to the other 
two, but then I could see that it wasn't at all difficult 


from the very beginning — to construct something quickly 
and fairly easily which would establish the horizontal 
right angle to the plumb line. So the ideas of the vertical 
and the horizontal and balance become metaphors that 
enter into our descriptions and our evaluations of other 
people. We say that he is an "upright" person, or he's 
"on the level," [laughter] and, of course, he's "well 
balanced. " 

But recent events really enter into this. Supposing 
you were to take a trip to the moon someday or maybe to 
some greater distance in outer space. What meaning does 
verticality have out there? What meaning does being on 
the level then have? And how are your balances going to 
work out there? Tne metaphor has disappeared, and we have 
got to think in different terms. 

In the first place I feel that imbalance is more 
interesting than balance. Man gets an "insane desire" 
to fly. Then when he succeeds nothing will do but he must 

keep going to "the ends of nowhere." His obsession, 

imbalance, leads him to harness a terrific amount of energy 
which in turn enables him to create a fantastic imbalance 
that thrusts him on his way. 

Another subject I would like to mention, Stephanie 
Holton talked about education. She has always been deeply 
concerned about the education of her two daughters. 
Conversation turned to philosophy. She said, "Oh, that's 
a very hard subject." And I said, "No. It's not at all 


a hard subject." Then it was time for the speaker, and 
our conversation ended. I don't suppose we would have 
carried it very far anyway, but I would have maintained 
that from early childhood the sense of wonder and hunger 
for understanding causes us all to "philosophize," and 
is not in essence working for a doctorate. 

I recall a quotation that for many years has interested 
me. It's from Goethe and he says: "He who has not art 
and has not science, let him religious be. He who has art 
and has science, religion too has he." That's my memory 
of the quotation. I don't know if it's always translated 
that way. I don't know why I suddenly think of it. As 
a teenager, I was interested in religion. My mother was 
also, but my father was not so much ao until much later. 
He had become rather agnostic. I had to go through the 
struggle of thinking my way out of religious problems. I 
feel I was fortunate in that I never completely threw 
religion out the door and simply said, "Well, it's all 
nonsense, don't you know. I'm an atheist and that's the 
end of it." That seems to me to evade the problem. I 
think that in this quotation from Goethe is a clue to an 
approach which I have found meaningful. Of course, the 
result is that in discussions some people put me do^^m as 
a rank atheist and others say, "Well, after all, Myron, 
I think you're rather a religious person, aren't you?" 
So far as thinking of subjects themselves as being difficult, 


I think that is a very harmful attitude. Take philosophy, 
which in the Western world has become to such a large 
extent in the minds of many people an academic subject, 
something that you have to take courses in and get a 
degree in and you have to read things that are abst37use 
to explain it and expound on it. It seems to me it's 
ruinous to what ought to be a very valuable feeling towards 
thought. Take any experience that you have. To go back to 
my extremely early childhood, one of my earliest memories 
is that I was rather disconcerted by the apparent auto- 
matic movement of my feet when I had learned to walk. 
I can remember distinctly toddling along with these gigantic 
figures of my father and my mother behind me. And what 
was happening then was to be continued and is being con- 
tinued through my life. In other words, at two and a half 
or three years old — whatever I was — I was already a 
young Cartesian, [laughter] In other v/ords, I had begun 
to wonder at the relation of mind and body, of spirit and 
matter, though I had no words for it. But I was experiencing 
something that would eventually lead to verbalizing the 
problem and sometimes to talk about them. 

My father was an excellent man to discuss things with. 
He might not have the slightest idea of what I was talking 
about, but he was patient in trying to find out what I 
was driving at, and in that way he contributed more to my 
education than anybody in my life. He cultivated a feeling 


for dialogue. But in any other form of thought or 
experience, the same sort of thing would happen. You'd 
have mathematics or sciences or mechanics. 

I can remember when I was a child, I saw in my 
picture book an illustration of some little Indians out 
with their bows and arrows and I thought that was fascinating, 
but I couldn't quite malce it out because I'd never seen a 
bow or an arrow; I didn't know anything about them. The 
Indians apparently had some strange object which they could 
shoot with. So somebody explained to me that that was the 
arrow and that they put it in a bow and the bow being 
springy, why, it made the arrow fly through the air. That 
was a fascinating idea. I wanted to do that myself, but 
I had no experience in bows and arrows and only had a veiy 
slight conception to work with. It had this strange 
shape. One part was curved, and apparently the string 
bent it into an arc. And they said the substance of the 
bow was springy wood. Well, that idea of springiness 
seemed to convey something, so I hunted around the place 
and eventually I found a piece of very stiff wire that 
was springy. I tied a string to the ends of the wire, 
and sure enough, it bowed out. But the placing of the 
arrow was a bit of a mystery to me. It's curious what a 
struggle I had in getting the principle of laying the 
arrow against the bow and then pulling it out and letting 
it go. Once it was shown to me, I felt like an idiot. 


that I hadn't seen it in the first place. But after all, 
I was working on very little experience and information 
and nothing but a diagram of shapes to v/ork on. Well, of 
course, mechanics and mathematics are extremely difficult, 
but it ' s far more important that you experience them than 
to just know about them from a book. I felt that deeply 
in my teaching. 

Some years ago, I started a monthly talk on art. 
Well, if you have slides, it's not too hard to keep people 
interested in an art talk, with a little good sense and 
sympathy. But I wanted to go a little bit further, 
because even people to whom I talked and who had taken 
courses in art appreciation were in the same boat as people 
in many other fields. In other words, they ax'e leax-niiig 
about something. They're not learning the experience. The 
only thing that I can liken it to that seems to convey 
much of what I have in mind is that there's a great dif- 
ference between reading a cookbook and eating a good 
dinner. If you have somebody who can prepare a fine 
dinner for which you have appreciation, you have something 
that is important. A cookbook is a fine thing, but you 
can read a cookbook till the cows come home, and you 
won't know a good food from inferior food or have a taste 
for good cuisine; and you're still hungry. You only kno\v 
about the subject. In literature and in art, m.any people 
suffer in this same way. Again I think that is something 


in which they have not outgrown their school experiences. 
So they say, "Well, you know Coleridge said this about 
so-and-so. Or a contemporary critic said so-and-so about 
this work. " 

"But how did you experience the thing?" Very often, 
in extremely simple people, you have revelations; if you 
only could forget what has formed you and simply in all 
■innocence watch what's going on. The fact is, I paraphrase 
the saying of Jesus, "Unless you become as a little child, 
you shall in nowise enter the kingdom of art. " When it 
comes to the creation of art, I also claim that it is a 
kingdom that "cannot be burglarized." As Emerson says, 
"It's better never to read a book than by so doing be 
warped from your own orbit." 

Years ago 1 served on a jury in Los Angeles. It 
was composed, excepting myself, of women. It was an 
experience I'm glad to have had. It gave me an insight 
into the workings of a court and the law, Justice, and 
so forth in this country, which I hadn't had an opportunity 
to see firsthand before. The jury was composed of 
intelligent women, most of whom were well-to-do and well 
educated. In every way you could feel that they belonged 
to a class well above the average. But there v/as one who 
was a very simple woman. She was middle-aged, and she 
apparently was not a native because she still had some 
accent. It may have been a German accent. She was quiet- 


mairaered but in the jury room, as the discussion and the 
argument went on I realized little by little that several 
times the person who really understood this case was this 
woman. She didn't belong to any privileged class whatso- 
ever, either in education or from the point of view of 
money. But she had iinder standing. She had feeling. She 
had humanity. She had a sense of what is right and Just. 
She stood out little by little in this sophisticated group. 
There were several cases in which Negro lawyers represented 
litigants, and I was impressed by their self-control, 
their dignity. They were articulate and good thinkers. 
You're inclined to think of their talents running to theater 
and entertainment or to fields that are not characterized 
by qualities you think of as necessary to being really a 
fine lawyer, [tape off] 

SCHIPPEES: Many times you've mentioned off tape — why 
you saw so many writers in Paris instead of artists. 
NUTTING: Yes. Of course, it's not quite as true as the 
talk so far would suggest, because after all I was working, 
and naturally I went to exhibitions, to schools, to 
gatherings. I was one of the founders of the Paris- 
American Society of Painters and Sculptors, but I didn't 
belong to any other art society. I think I told you about 
that and about getting our American ambassador to open 
a show for us. But I think I had less of that sort of 
thing than my artist friends. 


I don't know exactly how to explain it except that 
I liked the contact with another world. I liked my 
thought to impinge on fields of thought that weren't in 
common with the one in which I was working. I found it 
very enriching. 

But also there was another reason, and [that has to do 
with] what I said about attitudes towards school and the 
effect of school and how I think that we ought to really 
outgrow our school. It shouldn't dominate us as much as 
it seems to with a great many people. They stop [growing] 
after they've graduated, and their thought seems to go 
around too much in circles. There should be more courage 
in exploring your ideas, even if they don't seem very 
sound. At least it's more wholesome, I think, to live a 
creative life. 

One of the experiences that I had as a boy was 
getting used to an idea that I found rather difficult. I 
always had great respect for people who knew things, 
maybe sometimes a little bit too much. A few times I 
suffered by trying to be a follower and not trusting my 
own intuitions enough. If I had brought up my own feeling 
and intuition and given it expression, I'd have gotten 
more out of my teacher than by simply saying, "Oh, well, 
I don't know anything yet. I must follow him. I must 
understand what he does, what he says. That must be right, 
and he knows more than I do." 


But along with this respect came another development, 
along with my religious struggles, as a teenager and also 
with my ambition to have as well developed a mind as I 
could attain within my limitations. Up to that time, I 
had gotten the idea as a youngster that in some mysterious 
way, education was something in itself. To this extent — 
that a person who was learned or experienced in one field 
would have some sort of a natural overlapping into other 
fields of thought. A little bit of that, of course, is 
in the old-fashioned idea that you should study things 
gust to train your mind, Just for sheer discipline, that's 
that, and you became educated. Of course, that is ob- 
viously not true. I even thought at one time that 

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that it must be a development of the spirit in some way 
that would lead to deeper understanding and make you a 
greater soul in every way, which meant that your sense of 
values in -other fields would be much more worthwile — 
more correct, if you like — more accurate. When I dis- 
covered that that was not at all true, I was very much 

Well, another thing rather impressed me early in the 
game. It was that in the field of literature you apparently 
have the expression by the great writers of all facets of 
life, all forms of life, which to a large extent is true. 
But when I discovered that because you could appreciate 


Homer and Shakespeare, it did not mean that the work of 
Rembrandt and Michelangelo automatically also became open 
books, I was really quite amazed and felt that there was 
something wrong about it. I think to a certain extent 
there is, but not too much. I did begin to feel that a 
writer had a wonderful medium as an artist, that you get 
a vision of life, insights, which are impossible to get 
■in any other way. But they're not the only ones. One 
mustn't be at all disturbed because they may be extremely 
common and ordinary in their reactions to things that you 
think important and that to you have meant very much. 
Some of the writing, even of the criticism of their own 
work, will say things which as an artist, to me, don't 

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that the way to describe moonlight — I've forgotten Just 
how it goes — has something to do with the reflection of 
light off a bottle lying in the water, it's suggestive, 
but it's only a technique and out of some context easily 
becomes absurd. It has little to do with moonlight. If 
I see the glint of a beer can in a creek, I don't think 
it necessarily means moonlight. If I'm walking out at 
night, it may be moonlight, but it might be something else 
quite different. It's symbolism that is really not 
of any great value. But I think it is quite suggestive 
to the young writers, that you don't go on trying to 
exhaust your vocabulary on the qualities of moonlight. 


It is a veiy definite experience. A book I haven't read 
for a great many years — and I think I'll have to reread 
it because, I think, to a certain extent it has value, 
maybe more than I think — is Tolstoy's book on art, What 
Is Art . I think it illuminates Tolstoy probably a lot 
more than it does any question of art, especially when he 
talks about the visual arts. Russia, with very few 
exceptions, has had little influence in painting and sculpture 
comparable to her contributions in literature and music. 
Her Kandinskis, Chagalls and Soutines found themselves in 
foreign climes. Of course, the book was written after 
he'd gotten a certain bias. So here was a man with a 
tremendous insight and a great artist, but not a man who 

who was practicing an art which was not his own. So I 
learned to accept my limitations and be resigned to a 
place at best on the periphery of things. For instance I 
have to sadly admit myself an outsider in much of modern 

I said that I entered the field of drawing and 
painting, not altogether willingly, because I was questioning 
and somewhat skeptical, largely because I did not know 
people who valued it very greatly and who, at most, thought 
that it was something that was all very nice and a good 
thing to know about and that it represented some refinement 
of culture which is important to people with education; 


but it wasn't of vital importance in real life. And I 
think that has really been the American tradition up to 
fairly recently. Now, it's miich less so. So my interests 
as a youth v;ere, and to a large extent still are, diverse. 
I still think that it's a very wholesome idea to consider 
the artist fundamentally as a maker. Unless you feel 
that his primary function in life is as one who makes 
things, you can't get very far in understanding what he 
does beyond that. It is the central objective — the 
experience of making something, of making something grov;, 
of putting materials together, or of constructing something. 
Any activity begins that v/ay. Joyce, in spite of being 
helpless with his hands, called himself Dedalus and . 
likened himself to a watchmaker, and I feel he v;as quite 
right to do so. But. it began not because he was fond of 
watches but because as a child there was a [sense of the] 
magic of words and a love of fitting them together with 
infinite patience and great finesse. Most children have 
it, as a matter of fact, and there's something that I 
really can get quite warm about. That is the atrophy in 
the growing child of his sense of metaphor and his sense 
of graphic symbolism. The youngster has them, but little 
by little, his language flattens out into stereotype 
expressions and his drawing, which might be full of 
vitality and excitement becomes blighted. As a child he 
happily "makes" things in line and color. This happens 
along about the age of nine, ten or at most eleven, then 


you'll find that all of a sudden he becomes timid. And 
when they become adults and you try to teach them some- 
thing about drawing, they say, "Oh, I have no talent." It 
simply means that they have buried their talent and for- 
gotten where they left it, but it's there all the time. 
But so far as any use of it is concerned, it's more a 
question of atrophy than anything else. Extended, it 
becomes simply a commentary on civilization and education, 
which gets you into some very fascinating but awfully 
deep water. Well, there are, of course, exceptions. 
There have been many writers who have lived a very rich 
sort of life and who have even had ambitions in the other 
arts. Thackeray's ambition to be a painter is evident in 
his writing. And although he didii't draw so awfully well, 
he drew very interestingly, and I think it's too bad they 
didn't allow him to illustrate his own books as he wanted 
to. But the most they would let him do was for him to 
make his sketches. Then they'd get somebody else to do 
the drawing from his sketches, but his own sketches were 
often delightful. I think nowadays he would illustrate 
his own books just as Thurber did. Other painters have 
had ambitions in graphic art and in music and in the 
sciences. To me, it's rather impressive the extraordinary 
number of writers and even musicians who began in fields 
like medicine. Fritz Kreisler, if I'm not mistaken, was 
a graduate in medicine, and he maintained an interest all 


his life in it. All artists — although it may be simply 
the art of using and putting together of words and the 
fascination they have with that — are makers and very often 
are very fine makers in other fields. They can use their 
hands; they love to build, to make, to construct — a certain 
contact with the outer world. But by and large I think 
that American and British writers have not had too much 
feeling or at times even respect for the painter. They 
don't feel that his medium is one which means too much. 
As in the case of Tolstoy, they looked upon the painting 
as an image, as an illustration in which you took actual 
things from nature and in some way made them a symbol 
of something else. But that strange ambiguity which the 
painter has always been conscious of — the difference 
between the appeal of the image and the appeal of the 
thing itself — is something they very seldom understand, 
and yet it's vastly important. It's quite obvious in 
some forms, like music, for example. It's not at all 
difficult even for people who Eire not too musical to 
realize that music is something which is of intrinsic 
appeal and that program music is not of the highest order. 
They may not feel that way, but they can see the argument 
and admit it. But it cannot be so easily understood in 
the field of painting. When you look at the image, you're 
not looking at the painting, and when you're looking at 
the painting, you're not looking at the image. That is 


pure nonsense to most really very highly cultivated people 
who have not been too much influenced by a field such as 
that of painting. They may feel it to a certain extent 
in more abstract forms and in qualities of architecture, 
of good taste in furnishings and other things. But the 
relationship between what the picture is about and what 
the picture i_s, is something that, once it is recognized, 
one feels has been the struggle of the artists through 
the ages. It derives from the fact that like all the 
activities, it must have some sort of social value, and 
people v/ant pictures; and they want pictures of things. 
So on that basis, the artist will go ahead and find a field. 
Some of the Renaissance painters, for example, were not 
even x-eligj-ous, but there was a demand for the religious 
painting; and they expressed religious ideas very well. 
But the fiindamental drive or stimulus to become a painter, 
was not the fact that it was religion that they were 
interested in, but it was simply because they loved painting. 
That was all. I think that somewhat the same is true 
of a surgeon. Although he does wonderful work for us in 
the field of surgery and his contributions have been 
invaluable. The doctor is often one of the highest 
types of mind in the devotion, sacrifice and dedication to 
their work. It began not with the idea that they wanted to 
help somebody, but with the thing itself, which is so 
amazing. As a boy, when his pet cat or dog or little animal 


broke a leg, maybe he found that he could put a splint 
on it. "Isn't that wonderful? If I'd do that, the bone 
will grow together. It's fascinating. I must knov/ more 
about that." And maybe for the time being, he forgets all 
about his little animal in the miracle of this thing 
happening. Or if he cuts into the form and finds a 
tendon and how it pulls here and there, he thinks, "My 
•this is an amazing mechanism. How astonishing. " Then 
when it gets in disorder, like a kid who wants to fix his 
car or something, he wants to put this together again so 
it will work. And from that will grow some activity on 
his part of tremendous social value, but basically it's 
an extremely simple wonder at something that is happening 
in one worxu arounu us. 

A person who is musical will find a very deep experience. 
Santayana said something about the composer and the musician. 
How did he put that? It's something about the composer 
being one who philosophizes in music, and the musician 
being a philosopher in sound. That wasn't the way he put 
it, but that roughly was the idea. If I remember rightly, 
Robert Burns, who had a fine sense of word rhythms and 
combinations in his verse, was a person who couldn't tell 
one tune from another. I remember reading once that he 
was very unmusical, which seems very strange because 
poetry seems so closely allied to music — it's the music 
of words as v;ell as its appeal through imagery. 


Well, I think the interest that I've always had in 
writers and people v;ho v/ere interested in literature was, 
to a large extent, because I envy them. Although I scribble 
memoranda and notes on all sorts of things, I promptly 
lose them. As we have observed, I really ought to have 
a vast amount of material from the period I have been 
talking about, but I don't seem to be able to find it. I 
find all sorts of worthless stuff that I can't make any 
use of; a little bit of organization would have meant 
quite a lot. It does lead one to understand that sometimes 
an activity which may seem very shallow to a person in one 
field is really a very, very deep experience to another. 
The field of painting is especially that way. For the vast 
majority of people, it's a picture; it's a piece of wall- 
paper. I don't object to that because it's something that 
pleases them; it symbolizes something. But there is no 
realization that as the musician philosophizes, the painter 
does too. If one could respond, if your receptivity to art 
and to thinking v/ere sufficiently delicate, I think you'd 
very likely find that Spinoza and Rembrandt, who were 
somewhat contemporary, were also somewhat alike in stature 
and significance. It's one of the ways, one of the paths, 
the tao of experience. That is the reason why I alv/ays 
argue that it's not some sense of values you can set up for 
the thing itself v/hich are independent of the man who made 
it, because it ' s an activit;)'- or a product v;hich is really 


a by-product of what is really important — that he has 
traveled through a country and, as it were, has left a 
record of it which makes us realize that he sometimes 
traveled in a marvelous country. It's a countiy that we 
don't see — he did! But when we read what he wrote, when 
we hear what he plays, or when we see what he makes a 
symbol of, in some strange way we get reverberations from 
this far-off world that's very exciting, very thrilling. 
And it may be something that to one person seems very 
unimportant. When a man like [Jean Henri] Fabre, a country 
school teacher, went out to watch the ants, many may have 
thought him crazy, but maybe he was having a tremendous 
revelation through that. To a small- town mind, he must 
have seemed an unmitigated nut. 

February 1-4-, 1966 

NUTTING: Besides the introductions that we had to people 
in Paris through the publication of Atys , I found that 
there was a club in Paris called the American Art 
Association in the Rue Joseph-Bara and I met an American 
•painter who was a member. He took me around one evening 
and proposed me as a member. So I took down a canvas to 
show, as they asked me to do, with some others who wanted 
to be members of the club. And I was voted in. While 
in Paris I was a member. It was a very nice place. 
Frederick Frieseke, the painter, did the most in keeping 
it going mccxy uecause ne was a -Lrienu- ox xaenjamin jiltmaii 
who owned the B. Altman Department Store. Altman was very 
generous in supporting the association. It was a very nice 
apartment with a billiard room and comfortable furnishings. 
It had a place not only large enough for meetings but also 
large enough for small exhibitions. Most of the members 
were older painters, somewhat to the distress of Frieseke. 
He wanted to get in more of the younger artists, but the 
older ones were interesting to me because some names I 
had known since my early boyhood. One was Alexander 
Harrison. I used to get from the library in St. Paul 
the volumes of Richard Muther's History of Modern Art. 
I would read one volume, take it back, and get the next 
volume. And I think I must have gone through that 


histoiy "two or three times, and among the American painters 
that he mentioned v;as Alexander Harrison. At one time the 
painting of his in the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, 
called The Wave, had made him famous. Also he had won 
quite a lot of acclaim at one time in Paris where he spent 
most of his life. 

His brother, Birge Harrison, came back to America. 
In his day, he was a v;ell-known landscape painter, though 
pretty \\rell forgotten now. As a matter of fact so is 
Alexander Harrison. However, to be sitting next to Harrison 
at dinner, I found rather exciting. Here was a man I had 
read about and I had seen his pictures in books and in 
art magazines. To know him personally I found quite thrilling, 

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what we speak of now as modern art — the influence of the 
Fauves and the rise of such men as Picasso and Derain, 
Matisse and others — v;as very far along its way. So it was 
interesting that the old gentleman would say, "Oh, yes. 
Yes. I think there's some very remarkable work being done 
in modern art." I commenced to wonder what in the world 
he would find interesting in it, because his success went 
way back to about 1890, maybe the eighties. He said, "I 
myself don't use broken color, but I've seen things in 
broken color I've thought were veiy interesting." So the 
Impressionists were the last word in modern art! From 
then on, apparently he wasn't aware of anything happening. 


I'd ask him if he was painting anything. "Oh, yes, gust 
touching up some old canvases." Everyday he would walk 
past our place to the Lion de Belfort which is qi:^ite a 
long walk. 

Another man who was at that time — or had been previous- 
ly — a very successful painter and was looked upon as one 
of the most important of our painters was Frederick Frieseke. 
Again I doubt if his name is known to many people now. He 
received, I think, a gold medal or something in San Fran- 
cisco and he had gotten other big prizes. At one time, he 
was looked upon as one of our most important American 
painters. But his reputation was also commencing to dim 
as he was replaced by other rising generations of Americans. 
He lived in Paris and had a very nnce apartment there. He 
also had a country place in Brittany. 

The Negro painter, H. 0. Tanner, was another who in 
those days was very well known. And before World War I, 
I suppose he was by far the best known American Negro 
painter in this country. He was a pupil of Benjamin 
Constant and had an austere academic training, but it 
developed some quite nice qualities in him as a painter. 
He got away from the old salon kind of painting into 
something that was really painterly, fine in color. He 
was fond of doing biblical subjects. He did other things 
besides. One of his canvases is owned by the museum here 
in Los Angeles, Daniel in the Lions' Den . I haven't seen 


it for a good many years. Apparently, they keep it in the 
cellar, which I don't think is altogether right because 
for that sort of thing, it is very good. And I think if 
you're going to have pictures on show, you should have 
[those with] intrinsic interest and value, but also [those 
that] will give a person an idea of the development and 
history of American art. And the paintings of men like 
Tanner should be represented by at least one work. A 
good many other painters, of course, are in the same 
category, and the museum may own' many that from my point 
of view ought to be accessible to the public interested in 
American art. 

The Irish painter, Roger O'Connor, was also a member. 

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writers — as well as painters. He lived in Paris. When I told 
Roger Fry, sometime later, in St. Tropez where we stayed 
in the same hotel. (I used to have conversations with him 
and I mentioned O'Connor), Roger Fry seemed to have quite 
an admiration for his painting, though he didn't represent 
anything especially modern. It's just very genuine, 
very good work. And I told Roger Fry that O'Connor had 
decided that Derain was a very talented painter. Roger 
Fry said, "Oh, I'm so pleased." [laugher] That was a 
funny way of saying that O'Connor had come around to 
recognizing the talent of someone so modern as Andre Derain. 
Another extremely able painter, and a very interesting 


man, was Eugene Paul Ullman who had had quite a lot of 
success in the days before World War I. He was living 
in Paris an4 painting. He interested me for more reasons 
than one. Most painters can talk about painting and its 
theory, but Ullman happened also to be a man who loved 
the craft, the technique of painting, more than most 
anyone that I knew at that time. He understood all the 
processes that had been used, for example, the various 
ways in which egg tempera could be combined with oil 
painting as a preparatory process in the making of a 
picture. It is an ancient idea, revived later, and now 
it's quite common. But, then, painters apparently didn't 
think very much of doing it. So I painted a couple of 
lax'ge canvases more or less using techniques suggested by 

Ullman also loved the idea of the club. He enjoyed 
the club and was a regular attendant and a great talker, 
but he thought that we weren't doing enough in the way of 
exhibitions. He said we had enough talent in Paris among 
the American painters to have much more important repre- 
sentation than we were having especially in group shows. 
The result was that we formed a small association; the 
Association of Paris-American Painters and Sculptors, I 
think was the name we gave it (it was rather a long one). 
That was towards the end of my stay in Paris. It was 
about three years that we kept it up; I came back to this 


country and others went elsewhere, and I don't knov; that 
it was kept up as a club. It may have been reformed, 
reorganized. I know they have an American artists' club 
there, and it may be very much the same thing, in idea at 

I already told of the opening of our first show of 
the society when I got our ambassador to come down and 
open the show. Well, that was my principal chance of 
associating with mature painters, and in many ways it 
meant quite a lot. Among other painters was Harold 
English. He was also a member of this group that we formed, 
a Los Angeles painter who died here some years ago. But he 
was quite prolific and in many ways an able painter. I did 
not become a member of any French society that I can think 
of or, at least, nothing of any importance. Small groups, 
temporary sort of affairs would be formed. There was one 
that had, I thought, a rather silly name — the Arc-en-ciel, 
which means the rainbow. Why a group of painters should 
be called the "Rainbow" I couldn't quite see. But somebody 
had some idea that the promise of better things, a rainbow 
in the sky after the war, and that sort of thing would be 
symbolic and that we should sort of herald the dawn of 
better times. The group that formed the Rainbow was not 
especially important, but I enjoyed showing with them at 
a nice gallery. 

Most of my contacts were with what might be called 


sort of constellations of people, most of whom were 
literary people. Probably Lewisohn represented more of 
that sort of thing to us than anybody else, because he 
seemed to have many more people at his evenings, not only 
the ones who were living in Paris but those who happened 
to be passing through would be invited up to his apartment. 
The first apartment that he had v/as exactly like ours, 
which gave a very large room. It was through him that I 
met a great many people that I wouldn't have otherwise 
gotten acquainted with, at least not so quickly. I met 
people like Sinclair Lewis and Theodore Dreiser and some 
Europeans — [Josef] Hoffmann, the Austrian architect, and 
Joseph Vood Krutch. I didn't know Joseph Wood Ki*utch's 

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very much. But he was a stimulating man to meet. I had 
a really very delightful conversation with him. I've 
forgotten the subject, but the flavor of that talk I have 
never forgotten. 

Hoffmann, the architect, was very interesting and 
his ideas of painting seemed to me so very good. He tried 
to present the idea that a good painting had a certain 
consistency of make or of texture that will go through 
the whole thing, and the lack of that was one of the 
first things that one felt, even without knowing what might 
be the fault of a bad painting. It has since been 
expressed, and I think quite well, as "equalized tension." 


Well, I've met people who quarrel with that because it's 
borrowed from physics. But I think it suggests very much 
what Hoffmann had in mind, and what I find to be a very 
sound idea in the consideration of painting per se and of 
a man who has a sense of painting and v;ho says something 
directly through the medium of painting and not simply 
through the representation of a symbol, a landscape painting, 
a still life, a group, a scene, or historical picture in 
which you have a substitute for seeing the thing in nature. 
Those things can be very ma37velously rendered and have 
been done by people who make very fine illustrations. But 
then you come to the thing which is the real painting and 
this quality, v/hich I speak of Just now as equalized 
tensxon because -l can t j-inu. any ueuoer expression lor lo 
than that, was one of the things that I got from Hoffmann. 

Another of the marvelous things about those gatherings 
in Paris at places like Lewisohns and Victor Llonas sind 
Galantlere and others was that people seemed to get 
together to exchange ideas more than I've ever experienced 
since. Now we have some quite interesting discussions at 
gatherings here, but we haven't that sense of everybody 
trying to throw some ideas into the ring and let them 
impinge one against the other as one would have at those 
gatherings in Paris. And we got into that quite quickly, 
curiously enough. 

There is one man whose name I've been trying to find. 


but I can't find it. It'll come to me because I remembered 
it a while ago, but I forgot to jot it dovm. Oh yes, it 
was Mercereau. He was in the literary world as a critic; 
I don't know if he made any fame for himself as a creative 
writer, but in publishing and in book reviewing, criticizing, 
he was well known in Paris. His apartment was small, and 
I thirJc that's the most vivid thing I remember about it. 
The people who used to come to his weekly afternoons were 
extremely interesting people and just listening to the talk 
going on around you was well worthwhile. But the apartment 
was so small and the gatherings sometimes were so big 
that you never had a chance to sit down. They v/eren't 
cocktail parties. At the home of one of our friends, it was 

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others, Italian vennouth and seltzer water and a cracker 
might be all you would have in the way of refreshment. 
People didn't go to them to drink. They didn't expect 
cocktails; they went because they wanted to see people, 
and they wanted to exchange ideas and get together. I 
didn't experience that so much in Italy, and in Germany 
I was too much of a stranger to know. By the time I got 
to Paris, though, I got some understanding of European 
life, and probably in some ways entered into it much 
more easily. But I did notice that the great difference, 
for example, betv;een England and France is that in England 
you haven't the same chance to know interesting people. 


The Englishman is more dependent upon his club^ and he's 
also somewhat more aloof in his social relationships. 
But in Paris, you did meet people, partly due to habit 
of having afternoons in which you received people without 
any obligation to extend any expensive hospitality. If 
you wanted to drop in, it was fine, once you had the 
entree to somebody's salon. The other habit we had there, 
after a day's work, especially around the Quarter, was 
wandering down the street to get an aperetif at the Dome 
or Rotonde or the Closerie des Lilas or wherever you liked. 
You wouldn't be sitting there very long before you'd 
see a friend pass by and he would sit down and have a 
chat. You might wind up with a group and would have a 
wonu.erxuj. time bexore dinner, talking things over. So 
that and these gatherings in people's homes contributed 
a great deal [to knowing people]. There was more of that 
sort of thing, as I say, than I have experienced before 
or since. 

The principal homes to visit that I can think of 
offhand would be those of people like the Victor Llonas, the 
Joyces, the Lewisohns and the Galantleres. They had 
larger gatherings than most people, except the Joyces, 
who never had many. Joyce did not seem happy with many 
people aroiind. If he had an evening in their apartment 
with a half-a-dozen people, he was content. He enjoyed 
himself and he made everybody else enjoy themselves, 


because in his quiet way, he was full of fun. He liked 
to dance a jig, and he loved to sing funny songs, and he 
loved to listen an.d malce funny comments. 

Speaking of the American Art Association, our art 
club in Paris, the fact is that many of the members v;ere 
or had been very well-known painters. One member, though 
he didn't attend gatherings too often, was Waldo Pierce. 
Waldo Pierce seems to have made himself quite a fixture 
as a really significant painter in American art. I notice 
whenever he has any exhibition or mention in the art 
magazines, there's considerable respect. Although he's 
not representative of any of the modern movements, he's 
felt to be a very genuine and certainly a very amusing man. 
iic was very wiuoy. ±±b was, ix j. m nou miLSuaxCsn, a Cj-ass— 
mate of George Biddle's at Harvard. And he v/rote ballads 
that were very colorful and quite a lot of fun. For some 
time probably the most interesting gatherings — at least 
they were most varied — were the ones at Ford Madox Ford's 
studio. He also took a studio apartment which gave him 
a very large room and a nice place to have gatherings. 
I never was there when there seemed to be any complications, 
but after coming back to Paris, I found that he wasn't 
having his parties in his studio anymore. He had made 
arrangements with a bistro. I've forgotten the address 
of it; Sylvia Beach may have possibly mentioned it in 
her book. I forgot to look that up, but it seems to me she 


did. Maybe Hemingway also mentions it in his book. Well, 
some of the boys sometimes would drink a little too much 
and then get a little out of hand and it was annoying to 
the Fords, I suppose, and I don't suppose the neighbors 
liked it too much if they got noisy. So having this 
place on the off-night that they were closed made it quite 
nice. It had a little balcony upstairs where they had 
French accordion music, and they could dance or simply 
talk or do as they pleased. 

I have described one of his parties when he had the 
Grand Duchess Marie present, one of Ford Madox Ford's 
parties that I especially remember because of meeting 
a very interesting person. We got to the party and Ford 

^ . -3 :-3 fIT T_ T T\T.- a_-l_J ..» -1_ J 

caiuc ujj cUiu tocixu., jjuuis. iici'c , iiuuo-Liig,, ^yuu vc ^u ^ ou 

dance like hell. There are hardly any men here and so 
many women." (It was early in the evening and the guests 
hadn't all arrived.) "Come over here. I want to intro- 
duce you to a genuine grand duchess." So he introduced 
me to this slight, dark little person, and we danced and 
talked for a while. She said that she, too, was trying 
to write, and I said I thought that was a very interesting 
thing to do indeed, and, was she writing in English? I 
believe she said yes. Her English seemed to be very good, 
and I gathered that she was being helped by Ford to put 
her ideas into words. That wasn't a new thing, of course, 
for Ford Madox Ford, because he and Conrad collaborated. 


and I have an idea he must have been a great help to Joseph 
Conrad in the beginning of his career as a novelist. 
Well, I supposed that her writing was a novel or something 
of that sort, but I discovered afterwards she was the 
Grand Duchess Marie and that her book had quite a lot of 
success, although maybe not because of literary merit 
but because it was a very valid and interesting document. 
It gave her quite a lot of fame, and from the way she 
spoke, she needed the money. Whether she really did or 
not I don't know. 

Ford Madox Ford's wife, Stella Bowen, was an ac- 
complished painter. I don't know whether she was a student 
at the Slade School, but her drawing was good and was 
somewhat reminiscent of Slade School draftsmanship. Stella 
used to come around and we used to share the expense of 
a model and practice drawing in the evenings at my studio. 
Then after she and Ford Madox Ford parted, she kept the 
apartment, which was also a studio apartment. But she 
did not have as large gatherings. If I remember rightly, 
it was Wednesday afternoon when she was at home and she 
had very few [people in] . Ramon Guthrie and his wife and 
ourselves were usually there, and there 'd usually be two 
or three other people. The Russian painter, Pavel 
Chelishev, was nearly always there. Pavel Ghelishev 
was one of a group that called themselves the Neo-Romantics, 
the chief members of it being Eugene Berman and Christian 


Berard and Pavel Chelishev, Whether there were any 
others that exhibited with them, I don't remember, but 
they were the ones who were by far the best known. 

Chelishev was quite an interesting man. He used 
to bring Stella a drawing once in a while, and I used to 
talk to him about the problems and the sort of thing he 
was doing. Well, once, one of the guests was Edith Sitwell, 
who had come over to Paris to give a lecture, and she 
could talk of nothing else but this lecture and the 
reception of it. I got the idea what disturbed her most 
was that her readings and her talk hadn't stirred up any 
conflicts or noise. I think she rather enjoyed having 
some kind of a succes de scandale from the way she talked, 
which seemed rather strange because she didn't look like 
that sort of person. And, in the way she discussed 
things, it wouldn't suggest she was out to scandalize 
people. Well, she wanted to leave early, so I went out 
with her to help find a cab. I walked v;ith her over to 
the Boulevard Montparnasse. As we were walking to the 
boulevard, we passed an art gallery and a beautiful Renoir 
was in the window. I made some remark about it — "What a 
beautiful canvas that is of Renoir that's in the window 
there." To my disappointment, she didn't even turn her 
eyes to look at it. I have often wondered since 
whether [it was because] she didn't have any special 
feeling for painting or whether she wasn't going to have 
her attention directed by this uncouth American to what he 


thought was art. I don't know if she thought me uncouth, 
but sometimes you have a feeling English people think all 
Americans have something strange about them. Hemingway 
makes quite a lot of Ford Madox Ford's idea that an American 
cannot be a gentleman. I think Robert Graves also has 
some such idea in some of his writing, which isn't so 
offensive as it sounds — at least I didn't find it so. 

Our own place was quite a favorite; we used to have 
a great many visitors on our days at home. Paul Burlin 
also used to have interesting people. He was a witty 
talker. People enjoyed him, I think, not so much for the 
benefit of the conversation as it being so amusing. He 
had a good critical sense in many ways, though, and his 
uiscussions couj-u. u6 quioe interesting, wne o± one mosu 
amusing things I remember at his place was a gathering of 
people (I think we were all going to a costume ball 
someplace, which were then so popular), and Paul had a 
meeting at his studio before we went on to the ball. I 
think the most striking figure in the party was Sholem 
Asch, the writer and dramatist. He was a tall, Oriental- 
looking person, and he had on an Oriental costume of 
some sort, which was very becoming. He looked as near 
like King Solomon, I think, as you can make up a man to 
be for that sort of character. Sholem Asch's son became 
a successful writer, but I don't remember meeting him, 
although I met Sholem Asch several times. He was 


articulate, pleasant, and loved to talk on all sorts of 
subjects, which, incidentally, I think is sometimes not 
true of talented people. Some don't always talk easily. 
Joyce, for example, was often rather difficult to talk 
to, just to sit down with and have a conversation. If he 
felt in the mood and it was the right time of night, 
his conversation might be wonderful, but then again, he 
could sit with company by the hour and hardly say a word. 
Joyce was once at Mercereau's apartment, where we used to 
have to stand up because there were not enough chairs, 
and if there were enough chairs, you wouldn't have room 
enough to bend your knees because [laughter] we were so 
close to each other. I don't think Joyce did any talking 
at all, but he did have a chair in the little room in the 
apartment. And this man's apartment was full of books 
on bookshelves and there were stacks of books on the 
floor and stacks of books on the chairs. He also had a 
large collection (apparently it was something that 
interested him very much) of all sorts of little objects 
that are used in the church services, which included bits 
of embroidered vestment and utensils of one sort and another. 
Joyce sat and gazed at all these things, apparently in 
considerable puzzlement. I couldn't make out exactly what 
he was turning over in his mind, but apparently the fact 
that this stuff which had been used in churches and in 
sacred ceremonies of all sorts and of a very serious nature 


should simply become objects to decorate the walls of a 
critic's [apartment] for some reason seemed to malce quite 
a deep impression on him. "Do you realize," and then 
he went on in words to the effect that these had been 
associated for years with the holy offices, and how here 
they are Just objects of curiosity for people to use as 
conversation pieces, or so they seemed to him. [tape off] 

Another writer I knew was a Rumanian. His name was 
[Konrad] Bercovici, a Rumanian by birth but an American 
writer. He lived in Paris for about a year, if I 
remember rightly. They were neighbors of Jan and Isabel 
Hambourg, so we got to know them through the Hambourgs, 
because we were quite warm friends of Jan and Isabel. 
Ve met the Eercovicis at one of their evenings. After- 
wards, we went to the Eercovicis for an evening, and my 
wife left her umbrella. The next day I went to get the 
umbrella, and I found Mrs. Bercovici out in the kitchen 
having coffee. She invited me to have coffee, and we sat 
down there in her kitchen, which was a very disorderly 
kitchen. The remains of breakfast were all over the 
table. She poured out some coffee, and we sat there and 
had a long chat. 

The Hambourgs really had a small group of friends. 
Like some others, their home was rather restricted, but 
they gave delightful dinners. Isabel Hambourg was, I 
think, a schoolmate — at least she was an old and very 


warm friend — of Willa Gather. I always regretted that I 
never had a chance to meet Willa Gather, but so often 
people would come to Paris when we were out of town. Ve 
always went away in the summertime, and very often interesting 
people would visit Paris in the tourist season or too 
late in the spring for us to meet them. Also, I never 
met John Quinn, and I would have liked to very much. I 
had heard a lot about John Quinn before I knew Joyce, 
because my first wife's sister had married John Kieffer, 
whose brother was Quinn 's law partner. So she used to 
hear quite a lot about Quinn in the early days when buying 
modern art was a much more remarkable thing than it became 
afterwards. But it made Quinn famous. He had all these 
s orange piCuures ne uougiiu in -rans. .n.x oerwaru.s, Wj-i.en 
Quinn became sort of a patron of James Joyce, I would liked 
to have knoT-\na him, but I never had the chance. And that's 
true of quite a number of people. 

Genevieve Taggard I met in New York and got to know 
her quite well. I did a portrait drawing of her. She 
and her little girl were living in a very simple, very 
cheap little apartment at the time. Her husband. Bob 
Wolf, whom I afterwards knew in Paris, _ apparently was a 
man of unusual gifts. He graduated, I think, summa cum 
laude at Harvard but he lost his mind, and the last I 
heard I was told he was in an asylum, leaving Genevieve 
Taggard and her little girl, Marcia, to take care of 


themselves. Well, of course, she did very well. She 
taught in women's colleges, and her v/riting brought her 
distinction. She came to Paris and was there for a short 
time. I think what impressed me most about her was her 
lack of being especially thrilled by or impressed by what 
she saw, on what, I think, was her first visit to Europe. 
To me everything was very exciting, but she took everything 
so very calmly. She wasn't going to stay in Paris; 
she was going to be there a short time and then she was 
going to go down to the south of France to live with 
somebody for a period to do some writing, do some work. 
Except for letting herself get outrageously cheated by a 
taxi driver, you'd thought she was an old-timer in Europe. 
one raoiicj." uxcLfac a.DuuL/ wiicto s. uiiuug,inj wcx'c xccixx^ 
thrilling things to see and do. 

Richard and Lillian Wallace, of course, were our 
oldest friends in Paris. We had become good friends 
during our Roman days, and then during our stay in Paris, 
we probably saw more of them than atnyone else. I never 
knew anybody who was more liked by as great a variety 
of people as Richard Wallace was. People of all temperaments 
and social grades took to him. He had something about 
him that was extremely attractive, and he was also a very 
helpful man and was very kind. But that wasn't especially 
the reason. He had something about him; there was a sort 
of magnetism that seemed to influence people right away 


in his favor. He was quite helpful to the Joyces in many- 
ways, and they thought a great deal of him. Gordon Craig 
too profited by his good sense and business experience. 
It seemed to me Craig had a genius for snarling up his 
affairs. I don't remember that our circle of acquaintances 
was especially enlarged through him... oh, yes, I can now 
think of several instances. When I first went to Paris 
and didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, whether to 
enter Julian's or to go to some other academy, or what 
steps to take to become a bona fide art student in Paris, 
he said, "Why don't you go around to see Besnard's son-in- 
law, Avy? I know him very well." So he gave me an intro- 
duction to Avy, who was really an ex-son-in-law because he 
and Besnard's dau<^hter were divorced = Avv. a.-nriarentlv. 
had considerable success. He was a graduate of the 
Ecole des Beaux-Arts and a well-known painter. So I 
went, and he was quite gracious. He told me about student 
life in Paris and what he thought one ought to do. He 
wanted me to bring some of my work around and let him see 
it. Well, I'd just gotten to Paris, and all I had was 
a portfolio of drawings and figure studies, and odds and 
ends — small ones. But I took that around to show him, 
and he looked at them. He said, "Yes, they're good 
but too clever, far too clever!" [laughter] That 
rather surprised me, because I didn't laiow they could 
even be called clever. He said they were not only clever. 



but were far too clever. Well, afterwards I knew what he 
meant. He got out a "big portfolio of reproductions of 
the drawings of Ingres and shov;ed them to me and said 
that was what I should strive for as a model of drafts- 
manship. If I could understand what Ingres was doing in 
those drav;ings, I would then ufiderstand what I had to do 
to become a real artist. That was not bad advice, as a 
matter of fact. I accepted it and still would. 

The Wallaces had a little place with a garden out 
in the country for their weekends. We used to visit them 
there quite often on weekends, and sometimes he would have 
other guests. But as I say, I don't feel that many of 
our friends really enlarged our circle of acquaintances 
especially, but once in a while you'd meet somebody who 
really would. There was one little Englishwoman who 
would have her afternoons and teas and vms very fond of 
having us come. She lived on the Ile-de-la-Cite and just 
down the hall in the same building was a man who in his 
way was important in the modern art movement, Emile Bernard. 
He was one of the first to put in practice theories 
developed by Gauguin of linear pattern and his flat color 
to build on that. He was always there and was very pleasant, 
and I saw some of his drawings, v;hich were very good but 
not especially contemporary in style. They were rather 
old-fashioned views of Paris and so forth. I never knew 
that he had been a friend of Gauguin's and of Van Gogh's 


and had corresponded with them. His letters have been 
published, and now we see an increasing interest in him. 
There was an exhibition, not long ago, of his earlier work, 
and a critic pointed out that this young fellow in his 
early twenties was in some ways way ahead of the other 
members of the Pont-Aven group, [tape off] 

The sculptor Emile Antoine Bourdelle I got to know 
because I had occasion to call on him when a salon of 
painters was founded, and he was vice president of the 
group that started it. It was called the Salon des 
Tuileries. I didn't know whether to submit anything or 
not; from what I heard and read about it, it seemed they 
were going to have a somewhat exclusive salon. They seemed 
to have an idea that so many of the exhibitions in Faids 
were so enormous that people got lost in them. So I had 
an idea at first that this salon v/as going to be so 
restricted that one \TOuld have little chance of acceptance. 
However I called on Bourdelle and took some of my things 
and asked him his honest opinion — was I in the category 
of somebody for v;hom it would be worthwhile to submit to 
the Salon des Tuileries? And he was very nice about it 
and said he thought they would be interested and would 
like to see my work. He suggested that I submit anyway, 
which I did, and I got accepted. 

The first exhibitions of the Tuileries were really 
very fine ones. They showed many excellent painters. It 


wasn't especially advanced. It was just modern painting 
which was good without being what people usually speak of 
as experimental. 

Another sculptor who lived near us was Jo Davidson. 
Jo Davidson was a very vital sort of a man. He was not 
very tall and he had very bushy black whiskers which looked 
fierce. But looking out of these bushy black whiskers, 
his eyes had a gentle, almost sad sort of an expression, 
and yet he was full of fun. He was a tremendously energetic 
man, determined to be successful, and he was successful. 
My mental picture of Jo Davidson is of a man with one hand 
working vigorously modeling clay and with the other hand 
holding a telephone receiver to his ear [laughter], 
because he not only worked, but he was in contact with 
every source that might be of any benefit to him. He had 
a dealer in Paris, but the dealer wasn't finding 
commissions fast enough for him; so he fired the dealer, 
jumped on the boat and v/ent to New York and came back with 
a whole raft of commissions. He did the whole thing 
himself. "Stick to me, kid, and you'll wear diamonds," 
I remember him saying, when he took a girl out on the 
floor to dance. 

February 21, 1966 

NUTTING: One of the things that occurs to me more and 
more as we go on with our work on this project is the 
fact that there's a great deal of material which, if it 
were put in the right place and the right context, would 
he interesting. The problem seems to me to put it in 
such a relationship so it forms part of the atmosphere and 
the picture we're trying to present of Paris in the 
twenties, and of our life there. If it were a book like 
Stuart Gilbert ' s The Last Time _! Saw Paris , you would have 
an artistic problem, not this rambling "stream of con- 
sciousness" sort of thing. 

But, of course, we're not doing a work of art exactly; 
so it's bound to have, it seems to me, more or less, the 
monotony of such things as diaries and journals. I noticed 
a long time ago that when you start to read a diary or a 
volume of someone's letters for a time, they're rather 
boresome, but little by little there emerges an atmosphere 
of a period or a personality comes to life such as with 
the letters of Van Gogh, or Pepys ' diary, or Delacroix's 
journal. All of them are fascinating if you have the 
patience to really get into them, and then they become 
really interesting. Well, that's, of course, a digression. 

Before we went to Paris, we had a letter of introduction 


to an English painter, Lowes Luard. I suppose it was a 
French name originally — it doesn't sound English. But 
he was very much an English gentleman in every way, in 
education and manners. There was a rather amusing thing, 
which I suppose is something that is dying out in England, 
at least I gather it is. The person who gave us the letter 
of introduction to him spoke of both him and his wife as 
being warm friends. But what impressed me — although I 
was more or less used to it — was that she was somewhat 
apologetic about Mrs. Luard because her family was not 
as good a family as her husband's because they had been 
"in trade." [laughter] And that use of the expression 
"in trade" I never quite got over, the feeling that 
that should put you in a certain class. You might be a 
very superior person and very nice, but you weren't quite 
up to a person in another class. 

Well, ai^yway, the Luards did turn out to be delightful 
people. They had a grown daughter who was studying art 
in one of the government schools of design. The things 
that I saw that she did at that time were mostly textile 
designs. The schools apparently gave very broad training 
in art history and theory as well as in techniques. Our 
own art schools, of course, have departments of that sort, 
such as the excellent one of industrial design at the Art 
Center here in Los Angeles. 

Well, Mr. Luard was an excellently trained painter 


and draftsman, and his especial fondness was for horses, 
not in the sense of the hiinting scenes and the sort of 
things of the Royal Academy, but he did excellent drawings, 
paintir-gs and etchings of the drafthorses that they used 
to have in the old days in Paris. 

He was also a very articulate man. He was a delight 
to talk to and to discuss things v/ith. And he published 
quite a few articles of one sort and another. One contri- 
bution that is interesting to anyone who is interested in 
art education, especially the history of art education, 
was a book that he published which was a translation of 
some pamphlets by [Horace] Lecoq de Boisboudran, who was 
a teacher, not at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, but at 
another of the government schools of arL. He was a 
remarkable teacher, as is evidenced by the fact that he 
had some remarkable pupils. Rodin was one of his pupils 
and also Lhermitte, a man who is somewhat forgotten now 
but who was a man of great ability. 

Another man who was a pupil of his and who apparently 
profited very much by his teaching was Alphonse Legros. 
Legros is an interesting man, not only because he pro- 
duced some interesting things as a painter, but because he 
was a superb draftsman and his etchings very definitely 
have a place in the history of printmaking. It would be 
very hard to ignore him in writing a histoiy of the 
graphic arts of the nineteenth century. 


I think it was due to Whistler's influence that Legros 
got the position of instructor of drawing at the Slade 
School of Art in London. There he had a definite influence 
on the succeeding generation in art education. Education 
of the painter especially, in England up to that time, 
was under the influence of such schools as the South 
Kensington School and also of the Royal Academy. It was 
■as I see it, and I don't think I'm wrong, really a German 
influence. It was the influence of "dear" Albert (Victoria's 
consort), v;ho was interested in cultural matters, and I 
think he had quite a lot to do v;ith the South Kensington's 
curriculum of art. 

The Germans of that period had their national and 
government schools and acadeiuies which were very well- 
advanced and were very influential, hut the idea of drawing 
was one of extremely laborious copying skill and minute 
representation. Of course, a most interesting aspect of 
German art is its graphic art, ever since the days of 
Holbein and Mrer. They have made great contributions 
in engraving and printmaking. Unfortunately South Ken- 
sington imported some nineteenth century German ideas of 
art education. It wasn't helped too much by the teaching 
of Ruskin, though Ruskin himself did some rather beautiful 

In art school in those days kids had to sit before 
a plaster cast, with crayon sauce and a well-stretched 
sheet of paper, and they worked ad infinitum. Crayon 


sauce is a soft crayon rubbed onto a pallet or piece of 
paper. Then with the use of the stump, tones are layed 
on. They didn't have rubber in those days, the sort of 
putty-like rubber that we use now, but fresh bread is a 
very good substitute for it. So by squeezing a bit of 
fresh bread into a fine point and stippling this by the 
hour you get quite a close reproduction of a plaster cast. 
You read of students who were very proud, after having 
worked some weeks or maybe even months on a study from 
the antique, that they could still find some way to spend 
an extra few hours refining it. I've seen some of the 
work in Germany (I never saw any of the student work in 
England of that sort). Sometimes they'd do them quite 
large. We could forgive this if, in so doing, a student 
learned how to draw. But he did not really. In the 
nineteenth century, England produced many very wonderful 
draftsmen, but they were the people who had ideas and 
visions and convictions of their own and usually went 
ahead in their own way, more or less unsuccessfully so 
far as any recognition was concerned. Sometimes men v/ho 
were not looked upon at that time as being especially 
important we now think of as really being quite important, 
like the draftsman Charles Keene, all of whose work was 
done for Punch. His drawings are beautiful and very fine 
in every sense of the world. 

Well, Lecoq de Boisboudran managed to instill into 


his pupils a sense of real drawing and an understanding 
of the tradition of true draftsmanship. One thing he 
stressed to the nth degree. I say the nth degree because 
the results seemed so remarkable in some of the student 
work of a man like Legros, but which one can also recognize 
in the work of men like Lhermitte and to a certain extent 
in the work of Rodin. But what he stressed was that the 
tradition of drawing in the Western world, and still less 
in the East, is not a matter of making meticulous copies 
of nature. That means more than I think most art students 
realize, that the cultivation of knowledge and memory 
was vastly more important to the artist of the Renaissance 
than we realize. They had to understand the foxm that 
they were using. 

I remember once when I was a boy reading somebody's 
article or book on Michelangelo in which he spoke of the 
tremendous knowledge that the man had of the human body, 
but he seemed to think that that wasn't altogether 
necessary because all he had to do was to have a model 
up there on the scaffolding posing in a position. Here's 
Adam holding out his arm. He'd look at it and draw 
Adam on the ceiling, [laughter] Well, even then that 
struck me as absolutely ridiculous for two reasons: you 
cannot have a model posing up on the scaffolding when 
the figure is being drawn up on the wall. You'd have to 
look over your shoulder to where this fellow would be 


perched on another scaffolding, which would be absurd. 
In the second place, Michelangelo's figures, as any 
draftsman who has worked from life knows, are not copies 
of a figure. The knowledge that he used is ybtj much the 
same sort that Delacroix used when he said that nature is 
a dictionary. He went to nature for his pictorial 
vocabulary. It wasn't to make a color photograph of 
nature, but to see, to understand, to feel and to translate 
into graphic or plastic terms. That's not so obvious in 
the case of the realistic painters such as Vermeer and 
Rembrandt, especially the earlier seventeenth century 
Dutch painters. Sir Charles Holmes, who was director of 
the National Gallery and also a good painter and an 
excellent writer, wrote a very interesting book on 
Rembrandt in which he analyzes his work from the very 
beginning, and one can see, as he points out, by a study 
of his drawings and his etchings the progress he made in 
his work from his boyhood on to the end, that so far as 
his means of expression was concerned, it was a continual 
alternation between the close examination of the world 
airound him and its phenomena and a storing it away in 
his mind for rumination and understanding and then to be 
given out into his work. Although in the beginning one 
can see very easily the studies that he made directly from 
nature and from the model, and one can contrast them with 
those done from imagination or memory, fairly early in 


his life you come to a time when you cannot tell: Is 
this done from a model or done from memory? Is this done 
from imagination or was this some analysis of something 
he happened to see before him? It merges that completely. 
The subjective and objective experience of the man becomes 
integrated and becomes one of the secrets of his great 
power. This is in contrast to the faith of simply having 
a completely "innocent eye" and copying nature faithfully 
and making it look as much like nature as possible, that 
it's going to be a beautiful picture because it's a beauti- 
ful thing in nature. 

So Alphonse Legros went to London and for many years 
was head of the drawing at the Slade School and made the 

RTqi^a Kr-Vinr,"! a'hr\m+: "hVif^ f-inoc+: cr'Vion'l n "F r' -navr-i ncr in "Pn-m-n-io 

The people who came from the Slade, without exception — 
those who made any name for themselves — draw beautifully. 
Augustus John was a renowned product of the Slade School. 
And Augustus John was, I feel, one of the last of the old 
masters and one of the first of the new ones so far as 
England was concerned. His draftsmanship is the nearest 
thing to the drawings of the old masters as anything that 
England had produced. 

France had gone further — usually, though, in the 
somewhat self-taught people like Daiimier. Someone in 
seeing the Michelangelo frescoes in Rome for the first 
time said, "Tiens, Daumier!" [laughter] And he wasn't 


too far wrong because Daumier had done these cartoons for 
the Paris papers with a draftsmanship that I'm sure 
Michelangelo would have admired. 

That reminds me of one of Degas' witticisms. Somebody- 
said something rather disparaging about Daximier's drawing 
and Degas said, "Well, if Raphael looked at Daumier' s 
drawing, he would say, "That's good, that's all right.' 
■But if he looked at the drawing of Adolphe Bouguereau, 
he would say, 'That's my fault.'" 

Well, to go back to my friend Luard, we had talks 
very much along the lines that I have Just outlined in my 
conversation. He had done some research and unearthed 
some pamphlets that had been written by Lecoq on this 
probleiu of drawing aiid the functioii of memory in art and 
its relationship to the study of nature. Luard trans- 
lated these pamplets and also found some drawings by 
Legros and by Lhermitte and other students. They look 
like good, old-fashioned art school drawings, but they are 
drawings that only an advanced student in the old antique 
class could do, directly from the object. But they had 
been made to do those drawings by studying the object 
first, then going away and drawing, then going back and 
learning some more, and then going back and drawing. 
That's how they had done those drawings. They'd done 
them from the antique and also from some paintings of 
the old masters. It was amazing how they could memorize 


a very complicated thing. Well, one can see right away 
how much that meant to a man like Rodin, for example. It 
gave him a marvelous language, idiom, a trained memory and 
profound knowledge that enabled him to do such an enormous 
amount of work, which is the same thing which impresses 
us about a great Renaissance man. Along with this 
translation of these pamphlets and the illustrations, 
Luard wrote a very interesting essay on the subject. Of 
course, the book Memory in Art is out of print, but I 
have seen it in the libraries very often, and I think if 
any art student would like to run it dov,Ti, he'd find it 
quite a- valuable little thing to study. I found Luard to 
be not only a valuable man to talk to and discuss things 

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were full of fun, and we used to have delightful times. 
One thing that we enjoyed was the charade. He made 
fine art of that old game. He very quickly could con- 
struct a scene to illustrate, instead of simply acting an 
idea out. His wife was a quiet little person and she 
enjoyed the performances, but she didn't take part in 

Another of our English friends was a young poet by 
the name of Barnaby. He was quite talented and once wrote 
a good sonnet in a taxi on his way to our house. 

At that time I was very much interested in the 
Russian ballet and some extraordinary decors v;ere being 


for Diaghilev by Picasso, Derain and important modern 
artists. The presentation of feeling and mood through 
stage setting was an art that I would have liked very much 
to practice. Afterwards I did a little of it and found 
it fascinating. But one of the strongest stimuli, curiously 
enough, was Luard's doing charades. I remember he and his 
daughter chose a word and it called for a pastoral scene 
with moonlight. Well now, just off the bat, to put on a 
pastoral scene with moonlight sounds a little bit difficult, 
doesn't it? But doggonit, he could do it! He got two of 
the people who were playing the game to lean over like 
you do to give the idea of a horse, you know, but I think 
the person in front held his fingers up to suggest horns 
and then the^ had a sheet over them which gave the semulance 
of a cow. The cow walked slowly in follov/ed by the milk- 
maid. Luard had taken one of the lights in the room and 
tipped it over and hung a thin piece of stuff over it so 
it subdued the light. It made a soft sort of a glow 
which was very much like moonlight, [laughter] It really 
was quite a dramatic little scene. The milkmaid milked 
the cow in the moonlight and somebody did little croaks 
for frogs. Anyway, when they did a charade it wasn't just 
to make you guess something. They put on a scene, and 
they could do it so quickly that you didn't get bored 
waiting for it. They'd have battle scenes and assassinations 
and pastoral scenes and all sorts of things, usually with a 


hint at least of a decor or set. He stimulated my interest 
in the theater and provided some education as to what 
constitutes drama. A little game of that sort sets you 
to thinking how much is visual and how much is literature. 

He had some recognition in France. I know he did a 
mural, but I never got a chance to see it. It was in one 
of the government buildings someplace. The French govern- 
ment had commissioned him to do this mural. I have been 
sorry I never could get to it. I've forgotten now what 
the reason was that I didn't. 

Another one of the English-speaking friends was the 
Australian painter, Rupert Bunny. Several times since 
we've been doing this taping, I've been impressed that 
once a name has come up that I haven't spoken for many, 
many years, I either meet somebody who casually happens 
to mention the name or else I run across it in my reading. 
And in the case of Rupert Bunny, I met an Australian painter 
not long ago, and for the first time since my Paris days, 
I mentioned his name. Sure enough, this man knev; him. 
Bunny was one of the better known painters of Australia 
in the old days, but he lived in Paris. There were no 
flights to Australia then, but he would go back every 
few years, I think every tv;o or three years. He was one 
of the members of our club on the Joseph-Bara, the 
American Artists' Club, and he played the piano quite 
well, which is always an asset at gatherings. His playing 


was good. It wasn't professional, but it was good pinao 
playing, and when anybody wanted to have a sing-song or 
something of that sort, why, he was all ready to play for it, 
He painted, and in their way, his pictures were good. 
He was able, very competent, very fluent. He had a very 
nice sense of color. He painted a great many landscapes, 
bu,t he was also especially fond of compositions of figures 
•in a room, a little like our own painter, who was more 
or less a contemporary of his, Frederick Frieseke. He 
liked nice stuffs, and girls in flowing gowns, and gave 
all sorts of textures and nice qualities to these picturep. 
The sort of thing he did, he did very well. But like so 
many of the older people in those days that found them- 
selves between two periods, he suffex'ed from the feeling 
of belonging to a passing generation. ¥e used to talk 
about it at the clubs. I remember him saying something 
that I thought was rather poignant. He would go to the 
Automne Salon, for example, and see very modern art, and 
he'd sa;}% "Think how terrible this is. What a negation 
of everything that I believed in and had faith in as fine 
painting and good art." And he said, "I'd feel that I 
couldn't stand it. But that's not the worst of it. I'd 
go home after looking at those things and look at my own 
things, and I couldn't stand them either." [laughter] 
What it probably boils down to is that so many of the 
artists of his generation were in that upheaval. It 


wasn't so much of an upheaval except that it was rather 
accentuated by the Fauvist movement in which men like 
Matisse, Derain, Eaoul Dafy, Othon Friesz and others 
were doing things that seemed to many of their contemporaries to 
be making fun of painting. 

I think that Bunny was philosophical about his work. 
He enjoyed painting — he loved painting! During World War I, 
his studio was upstairs in a building over in the Q^arter, 
and he could look through his window into another large 
room where women were doing some kind of war work, pre- 
paring bandages or something of that sort, or maybe 
sewing for the war effort. The room was full of women 
and he did an interesting picture of the scene. He said 
that eveiy time he went to work in the morning, he would 
stop on the landing and look do\\m into this big room with 
all this white stuff and these women, and then the first 
thing he did when he got into his studio was to do a little 
work on a canvas from memory. So day after day he'd look 
at this scene, and little by little,, the picture grev/ into 
quite a fine picture. I imagine that in Australia they 
probably have, as they do in other countries, a muse\im of 
things illustrating World War I, and that picture of 
Bunny's, I think, ought to have quite a good place. 
SCHIPPEES: In your discussion about Bunny and Luard, 
you made comments about Bunny, having a reaction to his 
confrontation with Cubism. Was yours similar? And also, 


when you were discussing Luard, you talked about memoriza- 
tion and the representation of objects. Was this something 
that was influencing your own creative productivity? 
NUTTING: Yes, it was, very muph. In my own case, there 
was something that maybe v;as unfortun.ate. The really 
creative artist usually is so obsessed by what he wants to 
do that he doesn't let other things interfere with it. 
Take a man like Charles Russell, an illustrator. I have 
admiration for him. He ' s left a body of work that I 
think is important to us. Charles Russell had little or 
no schooling. As a teenager, he came out West and lived 
the life of the early days. First, he carried around 
a little box of cheap v/atercolors with him and made 
picuures^ oiien ne got some oils suid mads some more 
pictures and swapped these pictures for drinks at the 
saloon. He didn't think about art. He didn't think about 
Giotto. He wasn't worried about trends in aesthetics and 
what was good and was bad. He just liked to make pictures, 
and he learned to do them. He wasn't too good a painter, 
but his knowledge of his subjects was fantastic. There 
wasn't a bit of anything in the way of documentation — 
every element of the saddle to the hind leg of a horse — 
that he didn't know thoroughly. And one would feel that 
there was the same faithfulness in his characters. I mean, 
that ' s the way the Indians looked at that time ; and 
that's what they had on. At the same time, it was done 


with an enthusiasm for the telling of these stories. 
Frederic Remington's work is more sophisticated,, but 
has the same vitality. Well, the fact that it is going 
to be purely instinctive that way, of course, I don't 
think is entirely necessary. A number of artists, from 
Benvenuto Cellini on down,, have had much to say about 
art. Cellini wrote a rousing good story of his life. 
[laughter] Sir Joshua Rejrnolds' lectures, Delacroix's 
journals — other painters and sculptors have been thoughtful, 
articulate, and sometimes philosophically interesting. 

At the Boston Museum School, Tarbell in criticizing my 
work one day — the drawing of a head and the making of an 
eye or the modeling of a nos,e or something — said, "You've 
go u uo xearn uo u.o it. j.± you re going to be a painter, 
there's only one way that you can look forward to making 
your living. You have to be a 'pahwtrait' painter." 
Well, I tried very hard to be a "pahwtrait" painter, 
[laughter] It wasn't so much the making of the "pahv;- 
traits" that I found difficult, because with sufficient 
application and industry, one can get aroiind to doing it 
with a modicum of talent. It was Just that as a profession 
I could see before too long that I would not make the 
grade; it required certain things to be successful 
that I felt I didn't have. As a matter of fact, our 
most successful portrait painter at that time, and really 
a brilliant one, was John Singer Sargent. But practically 


in the middle of his career, he stopped professional 
portrait painting completely. He wouldn't go on with it. 
He went out and did from nature many beautiful and 
brilliant watercolors. I feel that he and Winslow Homer 
will be best remembered for raising American watercolor 
painting from a somewhat amateur status to serious art. 
He left a few other canvases done in the last part of his 
life which are fairly good. 

But there is always I think that conflict. I could see 
it in a book I recently got,, a lengthy biography of 
Delacroix, which is quite exhaustive. I hadn't realized 
that he too was torn between the classical feeling and the 
romantic feeling. It wasn't an easy role. He didn't all 
of a sudden see the light and become a great dramatic 
painter. It's something which you can see in his journal. 
All through his life it had to be considered very carefully 
and thoughtfully. Well, my first introduction, of course, 
when I went to Europe, was to the Fauve movement which 
had taken a strong hold in Germany; some of the famous 
groups — J3ie Brticke and Der Blaue Reiter — had been formed 
and were showing some remarkable talents. It was all 
extremely new to me and very confusing, as you can imagine 
from the story that I told you about my first seeing the 
paintings of Matisse at the Boston Museum School, when 
they had to unlock a door as if it were a Gabinetto Segreto 
of the Naples museum. In those days, there was a little 


knowledge of Matisse, but I remember a girl, a fellow 
student, saying, "After all, his things are very easy to 
do. We used to amuse ourselves" (she had just come back 
from Paris) "by making Matisse drawings and seeing who 
could make the most Matisse drawings. It was very easy 
to make a Matisse drawing, no trick at all." [laughter] 
But it was very, very hard to sharpen up your charcoal 
into a needle-like point and make a corner of an eye. 
That was real drawing. I was terribly troubled then, 
because I sharpened up my charcoal and I tried to do my 
"pahwtrait" according to Tarbell ' s instructions. It was 
making the pieces. Then I would go over to the museum 
and see some wonderful things, especially a Greco. None 
of the other students thou°'ht much of the Grec^ '^■'■'■t I 
thought it was wonderful. Something about that gave me 
goose pimples. There is at times a definite physical 
sensation to be had from a work of art when it is the real 
thing. I think it was A. E. Housman who said that 
one knows poetry when he feels (he quotes out of context) 
"a spirit passed and the hair of my flesh stood up. " 
There v;as a portrait by Rubens there that also made an 
impression on me. I would look at these things, and then 
I would go back and look at the things we did at the 
school, and I couldn't see the connection somehow. That's 
what really worried me. I thought that there must be a 
thorough understanding of what it was to make a painting. 


I thought that Tarbell knew it and [Frank] Benson knew it 
and [William] Paxton knew it, and I was sure that my 
anatomy teacher, Philip Hale, a son of Edward Everett 
Hale, knew all about it. This young fellow from the 
West must just keep his mouth shut and listen and pay 
attention, which I tried to do. But it didn't work too 
well; so on the one side, I found myself trying to do 
the things I wanted to do, but not doing it with a 
conviction, a faith that Charley Russell had when he did 
his Indians out there on the plains [laughter], with 
nobody to bother him — if they liked it, he could get a 
drink for it. I felt there must be some sense of values 
that I didn't know anything about. What one does later 

"little sensation, " as Cezanne called it. Even if they 
do lead one over the cliff, go ahead, risk it! In 
Germany, there were just avalanches of things that I 
had never seen before. They're all old hat to students 
nowadays, but then much was confusing. 

Then there was World War I, and in a way that took 
quite a chunk out of some of my development during my 
life in Italy. Though Besnard was not a great painter, 
he was a brilliant one, and his encouragement for me to 
go ahead and get a big canvas and paint a picture, I 
think, is one of the best pieces of advice I had. It 


did me a great deal of good. Modern talents had increasing 
meaning for me. I was a long way beyond Alexander Harrison, 
who thought that modern art stopped with the Impressionists. 
By myself, I did a great deal of work, most of which I 
destroyed. Not to make too big a step into modern art, 
I went to the Hanson Academy where Maurice Denis and Paul 
Serusier taught. I didn't accomplish too much there. I 
felt it would be very interesting to work with someone 
who was really one of the Fauves, and Othon Friesz taught 
there. But I had not yet learned to understand French 
too well, and it's rather a bore to have to find somebody 
in class who could translate for you. They're not always 
available, and in the second place, Friesz wasn't at all 
articulate. He would rub his hands in an embarrassed 
sort of way before his student's work and then whisper 
something. You didn't know what in the dickens he was 
trying to say. Then he would shrug, smile in a diffident 
sort of way, and move on to the next. When you'd think 
of the vigor and force of his painting, it was very 
strange — this shy guy trying to teach people and seeming 
not to have anything to say. 

I was still trying to find a guide and next chose 
Andre Lhote. Andre Lhote was a successful teacher for 
many years. He died not so long ago. He was one of the 
few teachers in Paris that made his teaching a real project. 
In other words, he had a school to which he gave a great 
deal of attention. Most of the schools v/ere like the 


Julian Academy which were run by somebody who just owned 
the school and the professors simply dropped in once a 
week for criticism. In most cases, they did it because 
there was more or less a tradition — at least there was 
then — that if you had acquired a certain amount of success 
or esteem among your fellow workers, you had some obligation 
to pass on the torch so to speak. If you had a group 
that thought, "Well, I think so-and-so is terrific. Gosh, 
if we could only study with that man, we'd learn something," 
the first thing you know, you'd get together and form a 
little committee and go down and call on this guy and tell 
him how much you liked his work. Likely enough, he would 
say, "Well, you find yourself a place to work and get a 
model, and I'll come ai-ound at ten o'clock next Friday," 
or something like that. That would happen with the French 
more often than in other countries. I wouldn't say about 
England because my student days weren't spent in that 
country so much. When I think of Besnard and Bourdelle 
and Raoul Dufy and others, I'm impressed as I look back 
by their patience and friendliness that they could spend 
their time with some strange American barging in on them, 
and do it so nicely and so generously. 

February 28, 1966 

NUTTING: The atmosphere in which I found myself in Paris 
seems to have been quite different from what I hear it 
is like these days. But I haven't talked to many people 
who have been living there or studying there who have had 
at all the same sort of experiences. Every year, friends 
would go over and come back, and so often they didn't 
find the atmosphere in France too pleasant. It certainly 
contrasts greatly with my own experience when I was there 
in the twenties. 

I found that people with the real French character, 

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modern movement, were simple dedicated workers. They felt, 
it seemed to me, that they had work to do and they did a 
day's work simply and without pretense. They got up and 
worked all day and did their best to do a good job. The 
men whom I saw something of, who really had a reputation in 
Paris, official recognition, v;ere never "high hat." 
Besnard was as v/arm and cordial and friendly as though I 
were a fellov; student. Bourdelle was the same way. He 
was vice-president of a society called the Salon des 
Tuileries, " Besnard v;as president, and 

he was vice-president. I understood that it would be a 
rather selective exhibition and it wouldn't be nearly so 


large as others. They had the idea that they wanted to 
get the best talent of the younger painters without having, 
as the Salon d'Automne did, the more advanced and experi- 
mental sort of things, and, not nearly so much of course, 
as the Salon des Independants did. They wanted it to be 
more representative of French art. So, I took my paintings 
around to show to Bourdelle, and I asked him if he thought 
that I ought to send them to the Tuileries show. He had 
a number of large studios very near to where I lived, 
back of the Gare Montparnasse. I felt rather diffident 
about it because in the first place, my French at that 
time was limited, and I'm not one to really barge in very 
easily and seem to try to get influence. I didn't want 

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was the kind of a salon in which my work would be acceptable. 
He was cordial, very nice. He said, yes, he thought they 
would like my things. As a matter of fact, I did get a 
couple of canvases in the Salon des Tuileries. But he did 
it all so very simply and so very nicely and so very 
warmly as was characteristic of the other men, the artists, 
in the art world that I met there. The lack of pretension 
seemed to be characteristic of all of them. 

Jean Paul Laurens wasn't living when I got to Paris, 
but Wallace told me that he used to see him and his wife 
very often. He was then very famous, very well-to-do. 
He built a beautiful home over near the Luxembourg 


Gardens, a big house with large studios. Wallace said 
he'd often see them in the streetcar going down to the 
band concerts someplace in that part of Paris and that 
they would be sitting back in the second-class section (in 
those days, there were first- and second-class sections of 
street cars). And here was this old couple sitting there 
looking very bourgeois, very simple, going to their band 
concert. I would see a similar sort of thing once in a 
while. I'd see a man in a funny old-fashioned, semi-militaiy 
costume, riding back in the second-class section of the 
car, and when it got down to the Institute, he'd jump 
off. He had one of these fore-and-aft hats v;ith feathers 
on them and braid on his coat and a little sword. Well, 
I knew that he was a member of the Academy who was going 
to a meeting in uniform, [laughter] I wonder if they 
still do that, because it seems so strange, especially 
this little sword which is a relic of so long ago. 

Another man that I didn't know but that I would see 
in the same way was a very distinguished sculptor. He 
is rather an indispensable figure in the history of 
sculpture in that period along with Rodin, Maillol, 
Bourdelle and the others. That was [Charles] Despiau. 
I didn't know him by name for quite a long time, but I 
knew him by sight. There was a little restaurant, very 
cheap, near us, but the food was quite simple and good, 
and we used to drop in there for lunch quite often. Here 

would be this man in work clothes sitting at a little 
table over in the corner. He looked as though he was 
oust a workman who has knocked off for lunch like any 
other workman. Eventually, I discovered he was Despiau. 
But he seemed to be a very quiet and very modest and very 
hard-working sort of a fellow. When we went to Corsica 
with Favory and Lemercier they were very much excited 
about their vacation. You thought they v;ere going to just 
have a lark — and they did have a wonderful time — but they 
were workers. I mean they got up in the morning and they 
went out and they worked all day. When they came in, they 
unstretched their canvases and stretched new canvases and 
then had dinner and a lively conversation. They'd go to 
bed and get up early in the morning. I never worked so 
hard in my life in the summertime, because you just 
couldn't help it. With such an example, you felt silly 
if you weren't doing something. So I did a whole bunch 
of canvases, and at night I used to draw quite a lot. 
But I was inspired by these fellows who simply and quietly 
did their Job. They discussed art, of course, and some 
interesting things, but there was none of this bohemian 
atmosphere that is ordinarily thought to be characteristic 
of the artist's life. They were intelligent, hard-working, 
dedicated men in every way. So that was one very wholesome 
influence on the beginning of my life in Paris. I don't 
say that it contrasts too much with what I found in New 


In Munich, my German didn't get anywhere at all. I 
didn't make any progress in German, largely because I 
was too timid about using what few words I knew. So 
I didn't know the German painters at all. I just had a 
little bit of experience in the art school in Munich. 

In Rome, I felt very much the same atmosphere to a 
large extent, but not nearly so much as I did in Paris. 
The first school that I went to impressed me very much, 
the Julian Academy, because one of the things that the 
"nouveau" (that is the new student in the class) always 
did was to treat the crowd. He was expected to. They'd 
knock off at the model, rest, and go across the street 
to a little cafe. You were supposed to buy them all a 

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forgotten what the French call that sort of a thing. 
Well, I went with the crowd. It was a pretty big class; 
I think there were about twenty of us in the class that 
I joined at the Julian Academy. It was a painting class. 
At that time, on account of our exchange, the Americans 
had the reputation of having plenty of money. So I thought 
that I would be rather in for it because they'd think, 
"Oh, he's got plenty of money," and so_ they'd get them- 
selves a good drink for once or buy themselves maybe an 
especially good bottle of wine or something of the sort. 
I had visions of my bill being rather large, but to my 
amazement it was very small. They didn't take advantage 


of me in the least. A great many of them didn't take 
anything alcoholic, not even a beer. They took chocolate 
or they took a coffee and a croissant or a little some- 
thing. And it seemed to be perfectly natural. So that 
made me feel a little bit more at home. I wasn't quite so 
much of a stranger. And the boys weren't, as I say, 
taking advantage of the fact that it wouldn't mean any- 
thing to me if I spent more money than they were used to 

Of the French people that I knew best, Andre Lhote 
was probably among the better known people. Andre Lhote 
was again one of these serious workers. He ran his school 
in a business-like way, and he was developing it into a 

it was just after the war and he was just starting it. He 
had a very large studio, [and to get to it], you had to 
cross the backyard of the place which was often rather 
muddy. You went across on boards that were laid down to 
make a walk to the stairv;ay of the studio. Instead of 
the usual weekly visit for giving criticism, he gave his 
group frequent attention. I think he was there several 
times a week, and he gave very good, very clear explanations 
instead of simply stopping and giving a little demonstration 
and talk at an easel. At the Julian Academy, it might 
be that only half a dozen of the boys would get a criticism, 
and the rest of them stood around and listened and tried to 


profit by what the professor said. Then the very common 
thing, the usual thing, in art instruction was not only 
that the professor would explain what was wrong with your 
work, but that he would proceed to show you. He would 
take a little piece of your work and a brush and would 
commence to render a modeling of a forehead or some 
transition tone or color and show you how to do it. 
That sort of thing seems to be gone completely now. The 
art student is so afraid of having his personal feeling 
and his special talent being interfered with, that you 
never touch a student's work. You mustn't do anything to 
it. You talk about it. I can understand that to a 
certain extent, but 1 think it's rather unfortunate. In 
some ways the old academic teaching" had a certain advanta~e. 
You weren't allowed to be an artist at first, anymore than 
a person learning to read and write and to spell correctly 
and to use good grammar was to immediately suppose himself 
to have the elements of a Shakespeare or Keats or a 
talented novelist just because he was learning his craft 
and his medium. I think that was the attitude they had. 
If you drew correctly, you were getting along all right, 
and if you drew incorrectly, why, you'd better get busy 
and learn how to draw correctly. And the same way with 
mastering your mediums — your techniques. You might not 
want to paint like your professor, but at least he showed 
you what could be done. It was quite wonderful when you 


had a man with great skill, after you had been sweating 
over the construction and modeling of a knee in paint 
and it looked perfectly horrible, and he'd pick up some 
color, seemingly more or less at random, and all of a 
sudden this thing v;ould loom up on the canvas. I often 
found it a thrilling revelation. So, although I had a 
strong feeling in many ways towards developments in 
modem art, I also still had — and cultivated by this 
sort of an atmosphere — a feeling that a lot of them lost 
out because they did not really learn their craft. I had 
great respect for men who maybe didn't interest me too 
much artistically because they knew how to do a good job. 
I think that is fine. Use your medium with skill, ability, 
and knowledge. Andre Lhote went much further, and I 
went from Julian Academy to Andre Lhote, because he v/as 
definitely one of the modern painters of the time. He 
was also a listened-to theorist, but in class, work v;as 
almost entirely before the motive, nudes, still lifes 
or maybe from motives brought in from outdoor work. But 
in a way he was a very good transition, because he would 
use, as an illustration of what he was talking about, 
maybe a painter like Ingres or even David to illustrate 
a point, painters that seemed far removed from what we 
were trying to do. The pictorial idiom that he used was 
more abstract, but just as intelligent and just as severe 
a discipline as it would be with men of the academic 


tradition from Ingres and David. That helped me along in 
that sort of a conflict of feeling between the painting 
that I had learned in Boston and in New York, which 
were still completely without any influence of any of 
the modern movements. The very latest movement would be 
the Impressionist painters, and even there they insisted 
on the basics of drawing — the kind of drawing that I found 
very difficult to learn. It took me a long time to really 
assimilate it. But with men like Lhote, you sort of 
looked both ways. You looked ahead and back to what 
could be gained from what had been done in the past and 
you applied it to what might be in the future. 

What I started to say was that I was rather relieved 
L>o xinu., later, that what would seem to me a certain 
timidity on my part [was not uncommon] and that the ones 
that seemed to be doing things were simply the ones that 
jumped off into deep water without worrying about anything, 
getting out there and doing something. That has a great 
deal to be said for it, but in the biography of painters 
like Delacroix, for example, you find, it seems to me, 
exactly the same sort of a struggle to find themselves in 
relation to the current of thought and development, so 
that their work would not be simply a purely shallow, 
personal expression, and so it would have depth and 

Another example is Renoir. The oft common idea of 


Renoir as a painter is that he just painted for the pure 
joy of painting. That is largely true. When he was a 
pupil of Gleyre, Gleyre looked at his work and he said, 
"I see that you paint for amusement." And Renoir was 
cocky enough to say, "Monsieur Gleyre, I assure you that 
if I didn't enjoy painting, I wouldn't be doing it." 
[laughter] But from his learning the business of china 
painting at which he earned his living as a boy and then 
through his academic work with Gleyre and then his associ- 
ation with the Impressionist painting, he grew naturally, 
like a good healthy plant would grow, into the new atmos- 
phere of his time and talent around him. And his early 
things were very excellent Impressionism. The Frog Pond, 

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Impressionist pictures. He and, I think, Monet went out 
together and painted this park scene of the little lake 
and the boats. But I think because of the simplicity and 
the sincerity of his dedication to his art, he, like other 
painters of his time, found that Impressionism, though it 
had so much to contribute, was in some way a blind alley. 
The only painter who really followed it through consistenly 
to the end of his life, or with a certain degree of con- 
sistency, was Monet, who was an old man when he did his 
very powerful things of the water lilies. He had a pond 
made on his little estate outside of Paris and planted 
water lilies and painted huge canvases of these, which 


are quite stunning. But even there — looking at that rather 
wonderful show of Monet's that they had a few years ago 
at the museum — I was impressed that he v/as still trying to 
push further with what he was doing and really anticipated 
what you see in such forms as Abstract Expressionsim. 
Whereas, a few years before, his landscape might be simply 
the translation of these tonal and color values as he saw 
them in this supposed innocence of the eye. The signifi- 
cance of painting, little by little, gained the upper hand 
so that he went from nature into a deeper sense of real 
painting, or at least a strong tendency toward it, although 
he never gave up that dedication to nature and to the 
immediate visual experience. 

Tiie other experience that I had was with a very fine , 
teacher, Maurice Denis, again a man of very superior 
intelligence. Although he was a little colder we really 
became quite good friends. With Lhote he used to come 
around to my studio and have tea with us, and we'd chat 
and discuss things. He was the only one of my teachers 
with whom I really established a friendship outside, 
largely because he was the only one 1 stayed with for any 
length of time. [I would stay with] the others for only 
a few months, and then I would want to get some other 
kind of experience, so I'd go someplace else. 

Maurice Denis was not only an important mural painter, 
he was also an excellent writer on art. I didn't learn 


too much from him, but another teacher who was at the 
Eanson Academy at the time was Serusier. I didn't know 
it at the time, but Serusier was a far more important 
person thsin I had reason to know. Maurice Denis advised 
me to study v;ith Serusier. Probably if I had a few months 
with him, he would have given me a quicker linder standing 
of Cezanne than anybody living, though his own work is more 
influenced by the Pont-Aven School — Gauguin and that group 
in Brittany — and also by the Gothic. His woodcuts and 
illustrations show much of that influence. I used to 
watch the work of his students. His class painted still 
life and did things very "Cezanne-ish, " in compositions and 
style. I think that I really ought to have worked with 
him. I would have ccctten insi'^ht into the si°'nificance 
of Cezanne's art much quicker. 

There were three Russian artists in Paris in those 
days. 1 think all three of them were persona non grata 
in Russia. Jacovlev was in China on a scholarship from 
the St. Petersburg Academy when the Revolution started, 
and I think that Jacovlev and Shoukaiev also were prize 
students who were traveling at the time. They were 
associated with the government on the wrong side of the 
fence, so they were expatriates. 1 think Jacovlev, 
especially, felt rather keenly his expatriation. He was 
a remarkable draftsman. I never knev; anyone with such 
dazzling facility. He went down through Africa after he 


came back from China. The Citroen automobile people financed 
an expedition to advertise their cars. They had a caravan 
of all sorts of cars, and they organized a group of anthro- 
pologists and botanists and people who would study Africa 
from various points of viev;. It was a long trek from 
North Africa and down. In those days, I don't know how 
far they could go with cars, but it was quite a long trek 
and gave the automobile a tremendous amount of advertising. 
Jacovlev came back with a great number of large drawings 
and tempera sketches of natives and landscape, mostly of 
people. He could do these Conte chalk drav;ings very 
quickly. I met him quite often. He used to be at the 
teas of the Ciolkowskas. Muriel Ciolkowska was the art 

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American magazines. Her husband was an artist, more or 
less of the Aubrey Beardsley sort, but he also wrote for 
art magazines and did correspondence. They used to have 
afternoons, very small groups, and Jacovlev was there 
quite often. I asked him once how in the world he could 
do these things of these natives — he did them from life; 
he didn't do them from photographs as illustrators very 
often would do — I asked him if he had difficulty getting 
natives to pose, and he said it wasn't difficult. These 
drawings (which are quite large, on about 20 x 24 inch 
sheets of heavy drawing paper) were so complete. They 
weren't fussy; they v;ere done very directly with great 


completeness. Not only were they beautifully drawn, but 
they were superb as documentation. If a native had 
scars or welts on their bodies, such as they make for 
decoration, he had a way of suggesting it, you know, 
without tickling it up or trying to render this minute 
detail. So they were fine illustrations, but were also 
thrilling because the man could handle his material so 
easily and so directly. He said he had no special diffi- 
culty in getting natives to pose. I asked him how long 
he'd take to do a drawing like that. He said an hour and 
a half or two hours. Heavens, for most of the people I 
know, it would be two or three days of work to do one of 
those things, but he had a technique which he developed 
and was very effective. He used a hard- rubber ink eraser 
that he could buy there (they were in little squares), 
and by putting the broad side of his crayon on the paper, 
he could then swipe this eraser over the tones, and it 
was amazing to see him model a form. He didn't use it as 
a stump, which gives a more opaque tone, but this gritty 
eraser would give beautiful transparent tones to the red 
chalk. The only one other man that I knew who used that 
technique was Shoukaiev. Maybe the two of them invented 
that on their own, because I've never seen it before or 
since. He could also use pastel as simply and with an 
effective and very fine quality. 

I v;anted to find out more about that, and after 


studying with Maurice Denis, I went to this Shoukaiev 
School. I say Shoukaiev' "because Jacovlev was then gone 
on some other expedition or was traveling somewhere, 
which he was always doing. He spoke English fairly well, 
in a deliberate sort of a way, and I asked him if he'd 
learned English in Russia. And he said, "No, I learned 
it in China." [laughter] He was only in China for a year 
or so, but he learned English very satisfactory. He said, 
"I-am-a-too-rist-paintaire. " [laughter] He was very 
modest about his work. His Chinese things are quite 
fascinating. He did a number of large compositions in 
tempera. He was very fond of tempera. He thought that 
he was using the original Byzantine technique of tempera 
painting of the icon painters, which may have been ti-ue. 
He certainly had great facility in using it. Very few of 
his things I saw were in oil. But tempera was very finely 
suited to his way of working, because, after all, it's more 
of a draftsman's medium than a painter's medium. He did 
large decorative things on Chinese scenes, of Chinese 
characters, and an immense number of small drawings in 
his sketchbooks. I always had a feeling that he had a 
nostalgia for his own country and regretted very much 
that his work couldn't be shown there and that he couldn't 
be represented in the future by having works in Russian 
museums. I don't think that they ever gave him any 
recognition. He came to this country afterwards (I didn't 


see him after I left Paris) and v;as head of the Department 
of Drav/ing and Painting of the Boston Museum School of 
Fine Arts. He died in Boston not long after. Shoiikaiev, 
as I say, also drew in that same way and I was glad to 
have a new and interesting experience. 

There was a very large colony of Russians in Paris 
in those days and from all classes of society. Everyone 
in the class working with Shoukaiev, with the exception 
of myself and one other, were Russians and that in itself 
was an experience. Some of the boys — and girls, too — 
were doing quite good work. But my most vivid memory 
of that short stay there was an almost Dostoevski sort of 
a scene. You know how Dostoevski will start v/ith something, 
and then there's a little more tx'ouule, and then further- 
in the story you find a little more. When you got to the 
climax, my, there's a whole lot more; then, all of a 
sudden, there's a terrific uproar and then it dies down. 
I can't think of a specific instance, but I remember 
years ago when I read Dostoevski that was one thing that 
impressed me — the way he'd develop an emotional situation 
until it got out of hand, and then all of a sudden, it 
would die down. Well, that exact thing happened in the 
school one day. A girl came in and nobody paid any 
attention to her. She looked very sad. She sat down on 
a bench over near the door, and the students kept working 
away, drawing the model. When the model rested, one or 


two of them went over and talked to her, and she started 
to cry and sniffle a little bit. Somebody sort of com- 
forted her and apparently gave her a little word of advice, 
and then the model rest was over and they went back to 
work. The girl sat there, wiped her eyes and blew her 
nose and looked very sad. During the next model rest, 
more of them went over and they started talking. They 
talked a little louder, and then they got into quite an 
argument. They argued and she protested, and then the 
pose was called again. They all went back and worked 
hard again through the next session. At the next model 
rest, they went over and started the argument again. It 
got even louder. During the course of the morning, heavens, 
it was biie most emotional scene. She crieo. and she wailed, 
and they bawled her out, and they disagreed with each 
other— "Yes!" "No, no, no!" "No, no, no, no!" [laughter] 
And they all got noisy and so emotional. After they had 
worked off all their steam they went back very quietly to 
work. By and by, she got up and blew her nose and wiped 
her eyes and went out, and everything was calm again. 
But, without iinderstanding the words, Just to watch that 
scene was like seeing something on stage, [laughter] 

I did have a few Russian friends, and, of course, 
there was also a great deal of Russian talent in Paris at 
the time. There was Pitoeff and his little theater which 
was quite fascinating. They put on Russian plays in French. 


It was very interesting. His wife was especially talented. 

Then I used to have models knock at the door, and sometimes 
they'd be Russian. One time there was a rather interesting 
looking middle-aged v/oman and I engaged her. Model fees 
were very modest. One could afford to use models then, 
about as much as one pleased. It didn't amount to too 
much. She turned out to be the wife of somebody who had 
been high up in the navy. He may have been an admiral, 
I don't know, he was apparently somebody of importance. 
She was a very cultivated and interesting woman. There 
was another strange little creature that came one day, 
and she wanted work. She was Russian, and I engaged her. 
She had learned English in Constantinople. Her English 
was very limited, but unlike mc, she was not at all timid 
about using what fev; words she had. I got over that to a 
large extent in Italy. In Germany, as I say, I made no 
progress in German because I was afraid of mispronouncing 
a word. Why that should be any special sin, I don't know, 
but it intimidated me. In Italy, I got along more easily 
in Italian and eventually in Erench. I didn't do too well 
in French, but enough to enjoy life among the Erench people. 
Well, this girl was Russian and was a dancer. I don't 
know how much training she'd had, but apparently she was 
quite good. She hadn't been well, and she was trying to 
tide things over by doing some work as a model so that 
she could at least eat and pay her room rent until she got 


back again into her work. She was very funny. It was 
a hot summer day — speaking about not being timid in 
speaking a foreign language — and she looked at me and saw 
that I was suffering somewhat from the heat (I had on my 
painting blouse), and she said, "Are you hot not? Take your 
dress off." [laughter] I wasn't as hot as all that! 

Down the street there was a little Russian eating 
place run by a Russian family. He had been a colonel in 
the Russian army, and he and his wife and daughter v;ere 
very cheerfully running a very nice little eating place. 
One thing that impressed me about those people, the ones 
that I met, was that they were so uncomplaining. Whatever 
their past had been, they never seemed to bewail theix^ 
fate or talk of their misfortune. They seemed to plunge 
in and make the most they could out of life. One boy told 
me about a boy that he knew who had been very wealthy. 
He came to Paris with the remains of his fortune and 
stayed at a fine hotel, threw parties and went to the 
opera and enjoyed life up to the hilt until his money was 
all gone. Well, he didn't shoot himself. He got work. 
He got work as a servant in that same hotel where he'd 
been spending his money. He went, from having everything 
done for him, to getting up early in the morning and going 
around and blacking the boots of the guests. (The people 
in Europe put their shoes outside the door at night to get 


them shined for next morning.) And he went on cheerfully 
leading that sort of a life. I don't know as that would 
be especially a Russian characteristic, but it seems to 
me it was very impressive. Among a large proportion of 
the ones that I knew, it seemed to be characteristic. 
They weren't given to melancholic states of mind that one 
maybe would rather expect from one's reading of Russian 
literature. Of course, that's very much of a digression 
from what I started out with. It's a phase of the atmos- 
phere, though, that surrounded me at that time, [tape 
off] I don't know whether this impression that I had at 
that time was because it was a period of transition — 
probably not — but it was one of being impressed and rather 
saddened by artists who had outgrown bheir period. I think 
the first time that I felt it was when I was at the Luards 
one afternoon and there was a painter by the name of 
Devambez. Devambez was very well known in Paris then. 
I think he had a sizeable public for his work. But after 
talking to him I felt he was a disappointed man, his 
youthful dreams ending in a wasteland of potboilers. 
He had found a certain form that was popular, and it sold 
rather well. Well, Devambez had been a Prix de Rome. 
V/hen I was a boy and used to read everything I could 
about artists' lives, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the 
Prix de Rome always seemed to be marvelously romantic 
sort of things. Here was the competition for the Prix de 


Home which always sounded thrilling, how you made your 
application and eventually so many were accepted. Then 
you had to go in for a preparation which consisted of 
being given a subject for a picture (in the old days it 
used to be either the classical sort of subject like the 
Judgment of Paris or something allegorical or historical), 
and in something like three hours you had to do a 
■composition. That was then stamped. I think you could 
have a tracing of it, but the original sketch was then 
put av;ay in a safe. I've forgotten all the rigamarole. 
Then you v/ere given a loge, as a studio, and they provided 
you with everything you needed in the way of models and 
accessories. Everything that went in out of the studios 
was very carefully examined so that everything would be 
on the up-and-up and to make sure your painting was 
completely original. You had to hold to the composition 
you had made with little or no modification. All that 
soiinded exciting. Then, finally, the great day would come, 
and one young fellow out of all of France would get the 
Prix de Rome and go down to work in the Villa Medici for 
four years. So that was the aura the ItixL de Rome had for 
me, and when I'd meet somebody who was_ a Prix de Rome, I 
felt he was really somebody. Claude Debussy v/as a 
Prix de Rome. Otherwise I can think of no well-known nan 
in anyway connected v/ith the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Oh 
yes — I believe Georges Rouault was a Deioxieme Prix de Rome. 


He competed and won second place. And then here was this 
very quiet, modest man who was doing rather anecdotal sort 
of pictures and being a little bit apologetic about himself. 
He said, "I was born too late; I was bom too late." V/ell, 
of course, that's often true of our American painters. 

Frederick Frieseke, as a young man, had great success 
in this country. He was one of the American painters 
when I was a kid. When I knew him, he was living in Paris 
and was still painting beautifully, but you felt he was 
sad. He couldn't quite figure out what happened. 

The most tragic figure, it seems to me, was Frank 
Brangwyn who had at one time great success. He spent a 
lot of time and energy in doing some big panels for the 

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accept them. And from then on, for the rest of his life, 
he was really kind of a forgotten man. They had a big 
restrospective exhibition of his work at the Royal Academy, 
but he wasn't interested. It didn't seem to mean anything 
to him at all. I rather imagine he was a rather embittered 
man when he died. I was in Besnard's studio once when 
Aman-Jean walked in. He had just gotten his election to 
the Academy and Besnard and Aman-Jean embraced each 
other French fashion. I suppose the old gentleman was 
pleased to have a youthful ambition realized. But, again, 
I think he must have felt he was living in a world that 
had passed him by even though he had won this high honor. 


Leon Bonnat died while I was in Paris and I remember 
my friend, Richard Wallace, who had lived many years in 
Paris, saying that he believed that had he died twenty 
years earlier he would have been given a state funeral. 

Of the academic painters another man who was an 
influential teacher was Lucien Simon. And Lucien Simon 
was still teaching at the Grande Chaumifere when I went to 
Paris, and he had quite a lot of influence on many yoiing 
Americans. I often wondered why he didn't get more 
official recognition. Only long afterwards did it occur 
to me — 1 don't know that I'm right or not — that the 
Dreyfus Affair may have had something to do with it. In 
other words, did anti-Semitism enter the picture? It's 
a Jewish name, of course, but I didn't thirJk: of it at the 
time. He was an instructor in drawing at the Ecole des 
Beaux-Arts as well as having a large painting class at the 
Grande Chaumie re. I heard him give criticisms a few times 
and found them well worthwhile. So those were my 
influences both in the modern way and the academic spirit, 
and those were the French painters that I came in closest 
contact with. 

I met sometimes Just casually in conversation, like 
the time I had a conversation with Chagall and not knowing 
it was Chagall until we parted. I went to see Eaoul Dufy 
when we were still publishing Atys . Eaoul Dufy's woodcuts 
were quite stunning, beautiful, decorative things. The 


woodcuts that he was doing at that time were used as book 
illustrations and I thought I'd at least try to borrow a 
block from him. But we weren't in a position to pay any- 
thing for it, and that made one rather diffident about 
going to a well-known artist and asking for his work. 
At that time, of course, he was not nearly as well known 
as he became. I went and the same sort of thing happened 
again. He received me quite cordially. Obviously he had 
a lot of work to do, but he took his time, sat down and 
we chatted about what we were trying to do with the magazine, 
and he was very sympathetic. Finally he brought me a 
little block and he said, "Would this do?" 

And I said, "I'd be delighted." He didn't hurry me 

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"I have a model coming, " or anything of that sort. He 
opened up some portfolios to show me many of his drav;ings, 
and he really gave me a sort of lesson that I wish I had 
profited by. His studio was in perfect order and all his 
work was in perfect order. His drawings seem very often 
to many people careless scribbles, and they would think 
that if some of them were lost, why goodness, he had done 
so many more that there wouldn't be any great loss. I 
remember his taking a drawing from a portfolio which was 
rather large, one of these pencil things of crowds of 
people at Longchamps. Then he happened to see one little 
place where it had gotten a bit rubbed. He got so concerned 


about that spot where the pencil had been touched and rubbed 
a bit, that he immediately got an eraser and carefully 
cleaned it. Then he very carefully put the drawing back 
in the portfolio. I only wish his example had influenced 
me more, [laughter] If I had gone out and done twenty or 
thirty of those in a day, which I think v/ould be quite 
possible, and they got rained on or something, I'd think, 
"Well, that's all right. I'll save a few of these things, 
and the rest I'll burn." But with him, if the drawing 
was worth keeping, it was worth caring for and to be 
treated v;ith respect. I think that was the most impressive 
thing about my conversation with him, besides seeing his 

Lyons, and he had great influence on silk designing. And 
designing was his first way of making a living after he 
got back from the war, I believe, and he was quite success- 
ful. From that he went on to do some book illustration, 
etchings and woodcuts. He also had an exhibition of 
things he had done in collaboration with a ceramist — 
little miniature gardens that were quite charming. 

March 7, 1966 

NUTTING: In the last session, i>f I remember rightly, I 
was speaiing of certain conflicts which, I think, are very- 
evident in the work of all artists. There's a very- 
popular notion, apparently, among people who think that 
art is rather a decorative adj'iinct to life, that it's all 
very nice but nothing too important and that the artist 
is simply a man who likes to make pic-tures and who has 
a very happy life if he can make a living at it because 
he doesn't have to work. It is one idea that, to me, 
is so difficult to understand, yet it is so prevalent, that 
art is a product of some degree of advancement in a culture 
beyond what is ordinarily thought of as among the practical 
things in life. Very often people will be somewhat 
apologetic about American art and say, "Oh, well, we're 
a young country. We've had to do this and had to do that 
and we had to settle the land and we hadn't time for things 
of that sort, but nov/ that we are more prosperous and we 
have more leisure, why then, we'll have more art." Now 
that idea is expressed by people, it seems to me, who 
have given it no thought and by people who ought to at 
least question the idea a little. With a little knowledge 
of history, history in the form of the monuments that 
have been left in various ways by various cultures, it 
seems to me to point to something quite different. In the 


first place, it's very hard to imagine that Homer appeared 
on the scene when Greece or any of the ancient world was 
especially comfortable to live in. Of course, I admit that 
a certain amoimt has to be granted to the idea that has 
been pretty well expressed by Toynbee, that the advance- 
ment of a culture and these plateaus that he speaks of are 
dependent upon a certain balance. If life is too easy, 
there's no advancement, and if it's too hard and austere, 
as with the Eskimos, for example, you don't have a rising 
to another plateau. But even admitting that, art of any 
form, if of any value, it seems to me, is not the product 
of a sort of a hedonistic activity. It's the meaning- 
fulness, conscious or unconscious, that things or an ex- 
pression has to a culture. If it were true that affluence 
and a chance for the better things of life would auto- 
matically bring on worthwile art, then all we'd have to 
do is to have some more Morgans and Vanderbilts and 
Rockefellers—patronage in short — to provide it. But 
we found it can't be done. An enormous amount of money 
has been spent for art that has had official recognition 
but that we now feel has no very great significance, and 
that the writers, painters, and composers who have 
contributed most to the country have been all too often 
men who have been very badly treated by circumstances. 
If it were true about affluence, then it must be that the 
artist, as well as the culture, must have a certain 


comfort and affluence before he produces good art. But 
that is not at all true. The artist who has been deeply 
dedicated veiy often leads a life that is anything but 
what we would call a happy one. It's not enough a part 
of the desire of society for him to be completely happy. 
I think for that reason that the scientist, the physicist, 
the chemist, the engineer has more chance of what v;e would 
•ordinarily call a happy life than the creative artist. 
Well, cite Bernard Shaw, 'T am simply calling attention to 
the fact that fine art is the only teacher except torture." 
As I mentioned, he is one person v/ho'll give you a hint 
that the artist is fundamentally a subversive sort of a 
person, that society has a certain amount of justification 
in suspecting him. 

And we can cite Russia as being not altogether vnrong, 
from their point of view, in clamping down on the artist 
because if you give him a free hand, he's liable to set 
off a conflagration which would be very dangerous to the 
status quo or to the efforts that the Soviets are trying 
to develop. Democratic countries are not altogether free 
of similar fears, [tape off] I don't knov; if a really 
talented, honest, dedicated student in the arts v;ould 
think about this too much. I think he feels them; and 
although he may not verbalize them — if he's not a writer — 
he may do it in his work, and he does undergo this 
conflict between what are the needs of his psyche and what 


he can get from tradition, from his relationship to 
society. Neither one of them must be violated, because 
it's the impact of the irmer world and the outer world 
that will cause a spark to ignite something, and then 
we have a poet or a writer or a painter or a musician. 
If it's all on one side too much, you have the academic 
and the sterile , and you have an unhappy man, even though 
he may do quite good work. The commercial artist, for 
example, I discovered is often, not always, a discontented 
person. I mean the man who simply does the thing for 
money, who manufactures a certain thing for a certain 
purpose. Even though he's quite a good craftsman, as he 
grows older, he can do the job, and if he's got a job, 
why, he does his work. But he doesn't do his work as an 
artist. He does his work like a carpenter or a workman 
who simply goes out and gets a job and is content to 
earn a living. But very often, of course, the men who 
began with aspirations and had dreams have been crushed 
by a certain routine of work. On the other hand, the 
person who has no sense of society and relation to his 
fellowman, and simply reverts into himself is very 
dangerous too. 

And that brings up another thing I feel is true. 
The life of an artist is an adventurous life and has its 
dangers. Among people I have known personally, and among 
others I have known only slightly, there have been seven 


suicides. The last one was Hemingway. Ordinarily we're 
inclined to think — "Well, something became iinbearable, 
don't you know." I don't think that is necessarily so. 
They come to a point, and we don't know what it is. I 
was quite impressed the other day when I saw Tennessee 
Williams on TV. He was asked, "Why do you write plays?" 
And his answer I found rather startling. He said, "It 
makes life bearable." He said it very quietly, and it 
seemed to me that was the truth. I mean he wasn't trying 
to be smart; he was confessing a simple fact, "It makes 
life bearable." Of course, it does more than that for a 
man of his intelligence and his ability and his talent. 
An activity such as his, though it may be a very important 

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area, or what ought to be a very wide area, between where 
life is bearable and where it's not bearable. Biographically, 
I think we can find countless examples of that sort of 

One rather little one, which I think is rather touching, 
is Honore Daumier, who we feel now to be one of the 
greatest artists of his period, but who in his time was 
looked upon simply as a cartoonist and not at all a serious 
painter. I suppose he must have done several thousand 
lithographs for liberal papers in Paris, and he got himself 
thrown in Jail a couple of times, I believe, for his 
cartoons. He didn't make very much of a living. His 


life was an extremely simple one; it was among the poor 
people of Paris. Among his friends was Corot, who was 
very nice to him. Well, when Daumier was old and blind, 
Corot told him he had a little house on his property 
that he didn't know what in the dickens to do with, and 
that he wished Daumier would come out and live there and 
sort of look after it. There 'd be somebody in the house 
and that would be a help, or words to that effect. 
Corot was not only kind, he had beautiful tact. 

As we all know, his paintings and his drawings are 
of simple people — the poor, washerwomen and saltimbanques 
and people in third-class railway carriages. To him, the 
whole drama of life was in it, not because he was preaching 

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in that strata of life which he knew so well. And v;alking 
down the street with this person one day v/ho said that it 
was tragic so many people had to live such hard lives, 
Daumier said, "Xou and I are more lucky. We have our 
art." At first, 1 suppose some people would say, "Oh, 
your art is sort of an escape mechanism, a means of going 
off into your dreams and getting away from all the trouble 
and reality of life." But it's not that, of course, at 

Just now I also think of Goya as a person whose work 
contains much bitter satire and commentary, but there's 
nothing preachy about either of those men. Their work is 


not propaganda, nor do they point to roads of salvation. 
The artist in his wonder is like Kepler and asks, "Why- 
are things as they are and not otherwise?" That under- 
standing in itself — which the artist is so deeply in search 
of — is what will have influence. And I think great 
literature and great art have proven that. Coming down 
to the influence and function of the arts these days, 
the other day I watched that long line of people going to 
see the Matisse show at UCLA. It's hard to know Just 
what Matisse means to the average person. And the Van Gogh 
show some years ago at the museum was also jammed. It took 
us an hour to get into the show. We Just inched along 
with this long line of people. I suppose that is largely 
because it had been so well publicized, but he seems to 
have meaning for people. 

A man that surprises me is Chagall. He's a very 
popular painter. It's curious that he's also a very good 
painter and a good artist, a very genuine one. But he 
seems to have a very definite meaning to a great many 
people. Now they 're bringing out reproductions of his 
work. I don't know how they'd rationalize their interest 
in him, but in the great movements and changing forms of 
our present living — which I find rather disconcerting to 
put it very mildly — it seems to me that to a large extent 
people are searching unconsciously for a certain compensation 
that will restore a certain balance. 


C- p. Snow, of course, has dealt with that in his 
novels — the conflict "between the scientific and the more 
intuitive mind. And, a long time ago, JiHig pointed out 
that whenever that sort of thing happens, something else 
is happening at that very time that will restore a balance 
of the psyche. One case that I remember, which was an 
argument of that sort of thing, was that at the very time 
that the Goddess of Reason was being crowned in the Pantheon, 
wasn't it, there was a young man in India translating the 
Up ani shads . [ laughter] And then we think of the influence 
that Oriental thought has had since those days, that the 
stress in this way automatically brought out the spirit 
in the other direction. So I think to a large extent our 
mucresu in aru seems "go ue exoremexy S-Ligxiu, au xeaso 
among the people of my generation and somewhat younger. 
In your generation it's probably with much more under- 
standing — it certainly is in your case. There is a feeling 
that somehow there is there something worthwhile, and every 
once in a while you get a certain reaction. Otherwise 
they're rather antithetic to what's going on, even though 
we have it spread around us in lots of beautiful books 
and fine color reproductions. Even in magazines such as 
Life and Time , you can get quite a review of art, much 
more so than when I was young. And it's much more 
accessible. Andre Malraux's "museum vrithout walls" is 
certainly true, to the extent in which the museum can have 


a powerful influence. In those days in Paris, we had so 
much that was available. We had the Louvre. We had the 
salon. The official salon was very large, and in its 
way was very successful still. I wonder how it is now. 
But at that time the Artistes Francais and the Society 
Nationale, the two big societies and huge salons for 
painting and sculpture, got a great deal of attention, 
and any success in the salon still meant a lot to many 
painters. And, of course, at the same time that I was 
there, the modern movement had already become history 
to a large extent. Certain phases of it had been 
accomplished and had gone by. Synthetic Cubism and 
analytical Cubism had all been worked out, had its 

least it was my feeling there) was being continually torn 
between the influence and a certain admiration which in 
spite of myself I might feel for something that I might 
think was not too good, and I might reproach myself for 
it. I don't anymore because I think that veiy often when 
something has meaning it may be in something that's not 
too important. 

A Swiss painter Arnold Bdcklin, for example, was 
enormously popular in his day. I suppose an art historian 
realizes, but I'm sure that the average person who gust 
loves Giorgio di Chirico doesn't know how much influence 
Bdcklin had on him. They will go and look at these very 


romantic pictures of BdJcklin, and Canaday in his history 
of modem art makes fun of BiJcklin. But it simply meant 
that there was one facet, that there was something in 
the work of Bdcklin that had meaning to the young di Chirico 
and sparked something that gave him as a young man a 
remarkable development for a time. Di Chirico himself, of 
course, is a very strange person because he seems to have 
•lost that talent very early in life; all his good work 
was done when he was quite young. 

And among the people that I mentioned, Eaoul Dufy, 
just to take one at random, was not a man who suddenly 
thought, "Well, I will capitalize on making something 
that's very chic and decorative." He started out with 
xEtpressxonism, anu. xroin -Linpressiomsm to i^eing ens Cj. txj.c 
Fauves, and then he was very much excited by Matisse. 
I'm sure he didn't kid himself that he was a very great 
artist, because although he was always a very delightful 
and a very charming one, he was not one of the great ones, 
but he knew he had a certain serenity in being himself 
and in making the most of his talent. 

After the war, he began first of all in making his 
living as a designer of textiles, of silks for the Bianchini 
Freres. Then he did some beautiful etchings and woodcuts 
for the illustrations of Bestiare by Guillaume Appollinaire 
and some other books, and from then, to great popularity 
of his watercolors and painting. 


That a person simply pours out art without any 
trouble is a fallacy, as in a little satire I read once 
of Elbert Hubbard. He spoke of having this colony of 
artists where they all "worked without toil and achieved 
beauty. " Even for a man who seems to be as spontaneous 
and fantastically productive as Picasso, all he has to 
do is to pick up his materials and start working at a 
moment's notice and with everything just going fine. He 
just pours things out and in an almost volcanic sort of a 
way throws out canvases and etchings and drawings and 
pottery and all sorts of things. But Man Ray, who was 
out here for some years, knows him quite well and said 
one day that Picasso really had periods of complete 
inactivib^, when he was completely stumped. He was in 
a sad state of mind, but finally he'd pull himself together 
and would go back. And the struggle that Renoir had when 
he found himself in an impasse with Impressionism would 
be quite a typical experience of the creative mind, 
[tape off] 

One memory of my life in Paris was meeting Durand-Rael, 
And anybody who has read the very fine book of John Rewald 
on the Impressionists [ The History of Impressionism ] 
will know what I mean. He did a very wonderful job for 
modern art and was one of the great dealers of modern 
painting. It came about in a rather curious sort of a 
way and a rather amusing one. I went to the George Petit 


Gallery to see an exhibition of the watercolors of 
Cezanne. They had quite a large exposition of his 
watercolors. Maybe it is not known to most people, unless 
they're especially interested in Cezanne, that he did a 
great many of his studies in watercolor. Many of his 
researches in color were done in watercolor; he left quite 
a body of work in that medium. As I went into the gallery, 
•I spoke to the man in charge there, and I said that I 
understood that Monsieur IHirand-Ruel would admit visitors 
to his apartment to see some of his collection of 
Impressionist paintings. At that time, he owned some 
quite famous ones, some that are now in important museums. 
He was quite liberal in letting people come. I believe, 

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gallery that would introduce them if they didn't have other 
introductions to him. Well, the director of the gallery 
was very nice. He said that, yes, ordinarily it wouldn't 
be too difficult to arrange a date to be admitted, but he 
said he was sorry that Monsieur Durand-Ruel was ill, and 
had been for some time, and had ceased having any visitors 
at the apartment. And so I thanked the man and I said 
I understood perfectly and that I was sorry. Then I 
went on to look at the exhibition. As I went from one 
watercolor to another, I came to one that rather puzzled 
me. Then I realized why it was puzzling. It was upside 
down. I looked at it again and, sure enough, it was upside 


down. And Just then this man passed behind me and I 
stepped over and spoke to him. I said, "Monsieur, this 
watercolor is upside down." He said, "Oh, no! no! That's 
impossible!" And I said, "I assure you, it's upside 
down. " And he walked over, he looked at it and he looked 
at it very carefully, and he said, "It's not upside down." 
I said, "It's upside down. Now, the articulation of the 
branches of a tree into a tree trunk run a certain way 
and this would be impossible if the tree were not pointing 
upward. These lines should be going upward instead of 
downward, no matter v;hat kind of a tree it is." He said, 
"I think you're right." He took it right off the wall 
and went off with it and said, "I'll have this reframed. 

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Then I went on with the exhibition. On the v/ay out, 
he stopped me and said, "I telephoned the apartment of 
Monsieur Durand-Euel and he'd be glad to see you on a 
certain date." So I thanked him very much for that. It 
was quite a surprise. So at the appointed hour, my wife 
and I went over, and we were received by a young member of 
the family in an officer's uniform. I think he was a 
lieutenant. He was a very charming young fellow, and he 
showed us all over the place, and we discussed and talked 
about things, and it was very pleasant indeed. There were 
paintings all over the house — in the bathroom, halls — 
the walls were covered with masterpieces. I think that 


famous balcony thing of Renoir's was in his apartment at 
that time. It really was quite a thrilling collection of 
the paintings of that period. There were Renoirs, but 
there were also other great Impressionists that he owned. 
So it was quite an afternoon of seeing fine painting. 
After we got through, he said, "I'd like to have 
you meet my father." I said I'd be delighted to, so he 
took us into a room. The old gentleman was in a wheel- 
chair and a nurse was pushing him around, and he said, 
"Tou are a painter?" And I said, "Yes, I am a painter." 
He was very pleasant and wanted to know what I had been 
doing, where I was studying and so forth and so on. He 
was quite cordial. So I left with quite a nice memory of 

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He supported the Impressionists; he believed in them; he 
nearly wrecked his business with the Impressionists. A 
very courageous, very understanding dealer of the finest 
type, [tape off] 

Rather naturally, the painters that I knew in those 
days were not the famous ones. I met a few, but the 
people who really influenced me had not yet made any 
very great success. A few of them later did. I only 
think two or three times have I been suddenly inspired to 
call on a man whose work that I liked specially. I never 
did it very easily. It alv/ays seemed an imposition on a 
person for me as a perfect stranger to go and say, "Hello, 


I like your work. I thought I'd like to come around and 
meet you." [laughter] But sometimes the impulse was 
strong enough, so I would do it. And one day in the 
salon I saw this painting by someone who, to me, was quite 
an unknown painter. His name was Bos shard. There v/as 
something about it that made me think, "By Jove! I'd 
like to know that man. He has something. We have something 
■in common." It's not that in an exhibition my work would 
look at all like his work to an ordinary person. But I 
could feel in the way he was making this thing, and things 
he was searching for — the relations of form and color and 
design and a sense of nature — it was something that I 
was also working with, quite seriously at the time; and 
I thought he v;a3 very genuine and that v;e would have 
feelings in common. I looked up his address and thought 
it wasn't far. He lived on the Left Bank, not far from 
the Gare Montparnasse, as I did; so I dropped around. And 
it happened as in the very few times that I've done that 
sort of thing, that it was very successful. I was quite 
right. And we got along beautifully. 

Bosshard was a young Swiss painter, and I won't say 
that he had any direct influence on me any more than anybody 
else did, except the stimulus that you get in the exchanging 
of ideas, in seeing each other's work, and in the criticism 
that goes back and forth. He interested me not only because 
of his ability (he had a very good training in Switzerland), 


but because he had developed a style which was his own, 
quite his own, in Paris. He said he had done this to the 
extreme disgust of his teachers back in Switzerland. But 
they were very v;rong, because they had no reason to be 
disgusted. He wasn't a person who was simply jumping on 
the bandwagon of Cubism or Synchromism or some other kind 
of an "ism. " He had evolved a feeling that was not 
especially impressive from any point of view. It was gust 
sincere and good and had a very genuine charm. It's rather 
a dangerous word to use, but it was winning in its honesty 
of decorative qualities and color and accomplishment as a 

He stands out among a lot of artists that I knew in 
one rather curious sort of a v/ay. It was very obvious 
that he could not paint without a feeling that there was 
a cooperation between himself and his motif. At that time, 
he used a figure a great deal, and that's when I first 
noticed it. But it would be true, I think, no matter what 
he painted — still life or anything else. It's not simply 
something out there, out of which you'll make something, 
but rather that he and this landscape, or he and this 
motif, or he and this model must have a rapport. The 
only way to explain it was that in the case of nature, 
he had almost a pantheistic kind of a feeling. I don't 
think that he would admit that himself; it's Just that you 
got that feeling from the way he reacted. 


I used to meet him quite often after his day's work. 
We'd go down to a little cafe and sit there and have an 
aperitif, and he'd bring his model along with him. Well, 
he didn't have too much money, and I don't suppose he could 
pay as much for the use of a model, but he needed to use 
them a great deal in his work. And so he'd have these 
poor little creatures that v;ere rather undernourished and 
rather wan. He didn't have any sentimental attitudes 
towards his models, but he always gave the girl the feeling 
that she had a certain importance in his work. And he'd 
turn to me and say, "Don't you think that she has beautiful 
hands? Just look at that line of her face." The poor 
little creature was probably very unattractive — a very 
goou- model Vcjry often xsn't especially attractive in the 
ordinary sort of a way — but she'd come to life, and she 
felt that she was important and contributing something to 
a great artist's work (he'd do it in a very nice, nice 
way; there was nothing phony about it at all); that he 
enjoyed his work and v;as doing good things; that he v.-ouldn't 
be doing good things if she hadn't helped him, cooperated, 
done her work well; that he was appreciative of it and so 
forth. I think that that feeling about him has stuck with 
me. He afterwards did quite a lot of decorative work. 
And as a great many of the artists in Europe do, more so 
thsin in this country, he did book illustration. 

Ambrose Vollard made book illustration something 
really worthwhile in France. To a certain extent there 


has taken place here a definite split between commercial 
art and fine arts. We put them into tv;o categories, and 
then we forget that one of the greatest influences in 
poster design, for example, was Toulouse-Lautrec. There 
has been in Europe much more of a continuation of a 
tradition that really goes back to the Renaissance. The 
Renaissance artist had his bottega, and he did what v;as 
asked of him. If they came into the shop and they wanted 
a painting on the wedding chest, why, he did a beautiful 
painting on the wedding chest. If they wanted a fresco 
in a chapel, and if they had a reputation for that sort 
of thing, they got the job. Hans Holbein, for example, 
did some very fine designs for metal work before he 
became a portrait painter to Henry VIII. And it wasn't 
something that was separate. I don't think they had any 
idea they were doing something that was not as much a 
work of art as anything else. They had a certain modesty 
about making a good thing, whether you did a little 
woodcut for a book or a huge fresco in a church. A certain 
job had certain problems. And that spirit is more prevalent 
in Europe than it is here, or certainly it was at that 
time. Here the feeling is that — and it is true, too — 
if you do too much commercial work, as many of the boys 
have had to do to make a living, or even illustration, 
which can be something quite superior and fine, you have 
to be very careful or you'll find yourself in a rut out 


of which it's very hard to extricate yourself, [tape off] 

Another man I knew in Paris when I first went there 
was Diaz. At that time, I knew no French^ and my Italian, 
which is more or less nonexistent now, at that time was 
fairly fluent. This man was in Paris for a v/hile, but not 
very long. I've forgotten how we met, but we hit it off 
quite well under certain difficulties, and that was the 
one of language. He was Spanish, and he could speak 
Spanish, of course, and French. 

I said, "Do you know Italian?" And he said, "No, 
I don't know Italian." But we struggled on. I could 
tmderstand Spanish to a certain extent, and I could some- 
times use a Spanish word. The rest of it, I spoke in 

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to have really quite a lot of fun and interesting talk 
with one another. 

After our first meeting, walking down the street with 
him, I said, "I thought you said you didn't know Italian." 
Because in a curious sort of way, I could understand him 
quite well. It wasn't Spanish, and I knew it wasn't quite 
Italian, but there was no difficulty, and we talked about 
all sorts of things. And I said, "You said that you don't 
know how to speak Italian, but you're speaking Italian now." 
And he stopped in the middle of the street and in his 
enthusiastic and loud way of speaking, he tossed his hands 
up in the air and shouted, "No. Non parlo Italiano! 


Improvise Italiano!" (I don't speak Italian, I improvise 
it.) [laughter] He was another one of the very genuine 
painters that I fortunately met quite a number of. He was 
unpretentious and very much dedicated. He had a lot of 
sketches that he brought from someplace where he had been 
staying in the south of France. He had been spending the 
summer there and was stopping off in Paris for a month or 
so before going back to Spain. 

His work at that time did have an influence on me. 
Up to that time, I felt that in working out-of-doors, 
you didn't get anything out of your study unless you 
really produced a canvas. I would spend hours and hours 
to really produce a picture. Well, those were still the 
days when it was taken as a mattei- of course LhaL evexy 
painter would do a certain amoiint of work out-of-doors. I 
don't know when I've now seen a painter painting out-of- 
doors. They do it, I know, but it's been quite a long 
time since I've seen much of it. But in those days, 
part of your education as a student you felt was lost if 
you didn't get out before nature and paint directly from 
the landscape and things out-of-doors. 

This son-in-law of Besnard's that^ I spoke of, Avy, 
when he was giving me advice about drawing and showing me 
the works of Ingres, he told me of his own student life 
and how he used to go to the Beaux-Arts at eight o'clock 
in the morning, and then when the days got longer in 


spring, he'd leave his classes at four o'clock and jump 
on a bateau mouche (the little passenger boats that go 
up and down the Seine), to some place in the suburb, and 
get in an hour or so before sunset of painting from nature 
before he went home for dinner. But Vasquez Diaz gave 
me rather of a different feeling — he was one of the first 
ones to do it. He had a great variety of studies from 
nature, but most of them seemed, at first glance, to be 
rather slight. But then you saw in them the continuity 
and analysis of nature. He didn't try to spend his summer 
painting salon pictures; he was really using his mind as 
much as his materials. That changed my thinking. I 
don't know why I had that idea up to that time, but I 

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part of their regular work to budget their time and get 
out and paint from nature, and when they didn't bring home 
something which was exhibit able, why, it was time largely 
lost. You had to do that, which was, I suppose, for them 
a certain practical point of view. 

I didn't see anything more of Diaz after he went back 
to Spain, but then I'd see his work reproduced in the art 
magazines; so his success grew. The last thing I saw 
was what looked like a very excellent portrait of the 
king, Alphonso. Apparently it had been commissioned, 
and it was successful in a special v/ay. Almost inevitably 
a commission portrait of that sort is a kind of a 


"spot-knocker" — as we used to call them. It's the sort 
of thing you have to do. Official portraits and portraits 
of royalty are often typical examples that you see in the 
Royal Academy catalog. But this had all the virtues of 
characterization, of fine portraiture, and also you could 
see from the reproduction, a very good painting. Since 
then I don't know what he's done. I haven't seen his v;ork 
in magazines anymore, [tape off] 

Two sculptors were young men at that time and were 
just getting a reputation. One was Lipchitz. (Ve had 
that wonderful show of his out here not long ago.) In 
those days, he was Just making a name for himself, and 
I used to meet him at Lhote's. I used to go to Lhote ' s 
afternoons quite often; he made me welcome along v.'ith some 
of his other students. Then his friends would drift in, 
and sometimes they'd be very interesting people. Lipschitz 
used to come in to see him, and although I didn't talk 
with him myself very much, I foiind it very interesting 
to listen to him talk with Lhote. They would look at 
things, discuss things, criticize works and bat ideas 
back and forth. I wish I'd had a little of the Boswell 
in me in those days and filled some notebooks. 

The other sculptor, Zadkine, I used to talk to a 
great deal. The most important thing I know of that 
Zadkine has done is a big monument at Rotterdam, a monument 
in memory of the destruction of Rotterdam. In those days, 


he was a very ambitious young fellow and spoke English 
very well. Apparently, he had been sent to England as a 
boy for part of his education, so maybe that was one 
reason that I remember him more, because in my first years 
in Paris my French wasn't very fluent and his English 
was very good. We'd argue and discuss things. He seemed 
to think that his career was going to be very short. 
Somebody said something about, "Well, I'm thirty years 
old now — getting old." "Oh," he said, "don't mention it, 
don't mention it." He seemed to be in terror of grov/ing 
old. He had to hurry up and get something done before 
he'd die. His life was going to be short and all that 
sort of thing. Well, I know he's still living. I guess 
he must be about eighty now and he's still working. 

March 21, 1966 

NUTTING: I think I spoke once before of the fact that as 

a boy I had this enthusiasm for painting but that it 
rather puzzled me, and in a way, I resisted it. I don't 
think that people generally realize what a great change 
there has been in the attitude tov;ards the vrork of the 
artist. The feeling persists to a large extent in many 
people today, which is more or less a survival of some- 
thing that was much stronger at one time. Various things 
occur to me that rather illustrate what I have in mind : 
some of the stories of the early experiences of American 

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the nineteenth centrury in this country as something that 
was rather superficial, something that was all very nice, 
but not a serious part of life. I remember a boy in my 
class was not very bright and of considerable concern to 
his family. Like numberless kids he liked to play with 
a pencil and his father, thinking he wasn't good for 
anything else, thought maybe he could become an artist. 
There was, maybe, a certain puritanical idea towards 
luxuries. The evaluation of art among people as a whole 
can be expressed or understood in some of the expressions 
that were used. For example, an expression that's never 
heard nowadays but that was very common when I was young: 


the thing was "pretty as a picture." [laughter] Now it 
doesn't have any special meaning. We don't think of a 
picture essentially, as being something "pretty. " Of 
course, in colonial days and through all the history of 
this country, there have been people who had a certain 
nostalgia for European culture and wanted nice things 
and even had quite a fine feeling for them. But the 
rank-and-file American felt that a person who went in for 
anything of that sort was wasting his time. It wasn't 
real living; it wasn't serious. It was something rather 

I remember a friend of mine speaking of a painter 
that he knew, a young fellow who vient out in the summer in 

and he was a very serious painter. He'd get up very early 
in the morning and work all day, knocking himself out to 
accomplish something during the good weather. One day he 
was painting and a thunderstorm came up. It loomed on the 
horizon, and there was the lightning and thunder; and a 
farmer drove by and saw him painting (he had his easel 
set up near the road in a field), and he called out to him, 
"Well, son, I guess you better pick up your playthings and 
go home." riaughter] That Just about epitomizes, I think, 
the attitude of a lot of the people in the early days. For 
that reason, it's all the more remarkable that we did 
produce such excellent talent — boys who had so little chance 


to see anything or to be inspired by. They had no 
galleries or exhibitions. The only chance they had of 
seeing a good painting would be in the home of some 
wealthy person who had things that they had brought from 
Europe. That would give a certain stimulus, and even if 
they were to be seen, they were probably at some distance. 
Earely could they see anything of importance. 

For a man to develop as much as Benjamin West did, 
I think is quite fantastic. There are all sorts of 
apocryphal stories about his getting colors from the 
Indians and making brushes of hair from the tail of his cat — 
it makes a nice story — in his efforts to learn to paint. 
He had poor engravings, mediocre sort of things, that could 
XHspire iiim oo draw anu. uo pamu, uUu in spzLue Oj. lu aj-o., 
he accomplished really a great deal. He became president 
of the Royal Academy in England and received great attention. 
Nowadays, vie find his work pretty dull and not too competent. 
But that the drive should be so strong [is surprising]. 

Another painter who really led a fantastic life was 
Chester Harding, a man born in the latter part of the 
eighteenth century. He died about the time of the Civil 
War. It's just an illustration of how much meaning an 
art can have when it's genuine, what a force it can be in 
a man's life. Chester Harding was a backwoods boy who 
lived a hard life on a farm and practiced various trades. 
He made chairs, I think, at one time; he tried to keep a 


saloon. He had a dickens of a time making a living. 
Nothing seemed to succeed very well, until one day an 
itinerant portrait painter came through. Those were the 
days when people wanted likenesses, and they were provided, 
to a large extent, by people who traveled around. They'd 
take a canvas and paint a figure in costume, more or less, 
a general sort of idea, and left a blank place for the 
face. You'd pick out the pose you wanted [laughter] and 
have the clothes somewhat modified and the face painted in, 
and there you had a picture. I suppose that was the sort 
of a painter he was, and the first one that Chester Harding 
had ever seen, and he was bowled over by the fact that 
you could actually take some paint and make something 
that looked like somebody. That was a very exciting idea 
to him. I am not sure, but I think that among the other 
things that he tried to help him make a living was sign 
painting. Those were the days in which you could teach 
penmanship and paint signs and give a few lessons on the 
flute or something, maybe throw in a few lessons in 
dancing, and in that way you could get by. If I remember 
rightly, he had his materials for sign painting — paints 
and brushes and equipment — so he tried a portrait of his 
wife. And to his amazement, it looked something like 
her. His own words were the equivalent of simply going 
wild with joy. He was so excited; it opened up such a 
new world to him. It was fantastic. So he spent all his 
spare time painting portraits, and before long he could get 


five dollars apiece for them. That helped quite a lot, 
and then he went to bigger towns. He went down the Ohio 
to cities and got some commissions. Gradually he increased 
his prices because he got more and more proficient, and 
it's surprising how proficient he got. His things aren't 
too good, but that he could do anything at all with so 
little training or inspiration is amazing. When he v;ent back 
home, quite pleased because he was getting fifty dollars 
apiece for a portrait and was really making a rather 
decent living, his father, instead of being pleased, was 
scandalized. He thought he was asking fifty dollars for 
some kind of a bunco game or some kind of a fraudulent 
enterprise, [laughter] He was very much ashamed of him. 

C tiCCiUCU. L.U XCCX iJ.J.Ci tDUll iiclU. OUX'ncU. UUU XJ-OOXC tSiiU-L'O UX 

being a common swindler. 

Incidentally, Harding went on to England and really 
made a success of portraiture over there. He did some fairly 
good things, likenesses at least, of some of the political 
figures of the day. 

It is not that we didn't have some successful land- 
scape painters, and painters of other sorts, but a good 
portrait painter had the most chance of a livelihood. 
At least that was sort of the spirit of the art school 
that I went to. So I struggled at being a portrait 
painter but without too much success. I think I could 
have done much better in a somewhat different atmosphere 


than I was in. The Boston School, though in its way- 
excellent, was for some reason not sympathetic to me. I 
think it was because I took it too seriously and worked 
too hard. I really did work hard. They used to have 
these four-hour stretches of drawing from the model, v/hich 
is a pretty long pull, and then the rest of the day I 
spent working and studying. So I didn't really have the 
energy to put into my work. I had a sort of breakdovm 
and couldn't work at all for a week. Nothing was wrong 
with me. I simply seemed to be exhausted. And then I 
went back and whaled away again. But it was inching along 
where it ought to have been much plainer sailing. 

At the same time was this feeling of the career. From 

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know more about it, I would absorb all the art books in 
the little libraries that I got in contact with. In 
St. Paul, they had quite a good art library and books 
that I thought were perfectly marvelous. I'd never seen 
anything like them before, and I used to rush down after 
dinner and spend my evenings in the library pouring over 
these things. And the idea of mural painting seemed to 
me the grandest career that one could embark upon. I 
got more and more enthusiastic about mural painting. 

My only contact with real mural paintings were the 
paintings in the capitol at St. Paul. They have those 
of Blashfield and some other painters. What are their 


names? I've forgotten now. And in the supreme court 
rroom of the capitol] , big lunettes of JohnLaFarge. 
The room wasn't very well lit. The light was rather weak 
in there, but in a way, it gave a certain mystery and 
majesty to these huge things ofLaFarge. I thought they 
were perfectly marvelous, and I believe they are quite 
good. So for a long time, I dreamt of mural painting. 
But there were certain difficulties. One is the fact 
that there was a period, inspired by the Chicago Fair of 
189^, in which sculpture and painting was very much used 
by the architects. That really was the beginning of the 
spirit of mural painting that was exemplified by the work 
of Edwin Blashfield, , Kenyon Cox, and half a dozen others 
who made a reputation for themselves doing things, 
especially in public buildings and the new courthouses and 

When we were students, Puvis de Chavannes v/as looked 
upon as one of the great men of the period. He's somewhat 
less known now, but he seemed one of the great ones at 
that time. The fact that he had a sense of the wall and 
didn't paint big realistic historical pictures, such as 
we see in the Capitol at Washington [which were done] by 
some of our earlier painters, seemed to be something 
extremely modern, rather revolutionary. As a boy I 
enjoyed Puvis de Chavannes very much and I used to look 
at his murals in the library in Boston a great deal. 


I wasn't altogether happy with his work, I think, for the 
reason that although they were very beautiful in design, 
and certainly from the point of viev; of decoration they 
fiinctioned veiy well, they seemed to me not paintings . 

On the other hand, in the library upstairs was 
Sargent's famous prophets and there are big panels by 
Edwin Abbey, who was an excellent illustrator and who 
■painted some fine illustrations on the wall. But that 
again didn't seem to be quite right. So I would look 
back to the things that really inspired me and could not 
figure out exactly what was ahead, what I could shoot for. 

When I got to Europe things clarified quite a bit. 
Certain artists were terrific experiences to me in the 
way oj- waj-j- pamuing. x onxntc prouauxy uij.e j-iirst; one was 
Giotto. His work I had known since a youngster through 
a bunch of Perry pictures I bought. So I knew the 
pictures quite well, but I was quite amazed, and it was 
a revelation to see the real paintings. Then I did see 
things that were the quintessence of v/hat I would like to 
do. They made me long to have been born in the days of 
the late Renaissance, in Venice, for example, when Tintoretto 
and Titian and the real painters could do these magnificent 
big canvases. At the same time, the days of Blashfield 
and Cox were drawing to a close, and there was nothing 
very much to inspire one to become a mural painter until 
the influence of the Mexicans — Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiros. 


And it is interesting that in spite of a lot that I find 
quite tiresome about [Diego] Rivera, he did have a sense 
of fresco painting. Although quite a few things have 
been attempted, especially under the Federal Art Project 
in pure fresco, the ones I've seen seem to fail from the 
point of view of being painting. But Rivera's good things 
have really a nice sense of painting. He could often use 
the medium with real feeling. In fact, unless you're 
really born in a period of great fresco painting, such 
as the Italian Renaissance, I doubt if you could do too 
much with it. And there's no special reason why we should, 
because we have the technical means of getting so many 
effects now that in the early days was limited to pure 

[Jose] Orozco had a definite sense of the painter. 
But outside of that, what distressed me was that, from 
what little I could see or learn about, architects were 
not as interested in mural painting as they had been. 
They wanted pure architecture, and that was disturbed by 
stuff being put on their wall. And if they did, they 
wanted it to be flat and decorative, and not at all the 
work of the real painter. I always feel that Giotto was 
a real painter; Gn!inewald was a real painter; and El Greco 
certainly was. That big canvas of his in Toledo, The 
Burial of Count Orgaz , is a wonderful thing on a wall, in 
that architecture and in that setting. It combines 


everything one could dream of. So what I was suffering 

from was a yen for the monumental, which in the case of 
a Rubens got full expression. And Rubens, although 
he did quite a number of small things (some of his most 
beautiful things are his sketches for his large canvases), 
he said he did not enjoy doing what he called little 
curiosities, and he spoke of the easel picture as a 
"little curiosity." V/ell, I think the painter all along 
has felt a little bit the sense of the easel picture as 
somehow not being quite the real thing. But in spite of 
that, of course, some of our greatest things are quite 
small, and they're really sort of "little curiosities." 

Rembrandt ' s Supper at Emma us in the Louvre , which 
X think IS one of the mos"C temfic paxntings, as a 
painting , a small picture that could be carried around 
and hung any place in the house quite nicely. So, to a 
certain degree, I felt that, after all, there are plenty 
of fields without going into anything on a very large 

I enjoyed painting portraits, but it didn't take me 
very long to feel that as a career it v;as something that 
I would not be too successful in. I mean I didn't have 
the temperament for it. The profession of a portrait 
painter is felt just now, I think, to be more or less a 
commercial art. When I was a boy, we never sav; an 
exhibition that didn't have portraits in it. Portraits 


were quite an important part, especially in the shows in 
Minneapolis-St. Paul. If they had portraits by [Robert] 
Henri and [William] Chase and other of the well-known 
portrait painters from the East, we felt they had something 
really worthwhile in the show. And now, of course, we 
never see anything of that sort at all. That doesn't 
mean that we haven't some excellent portrait painters, 
and we have a great many portrait painters. It's 
interesting that there's as much of a demand for the 
portrait as there is, but people love the painted portrait 
for some reason. And if you can do one halfway decent, 
you can usually find a public for it. And if you can do 
them very well and like to do that sort of thing, you 
can have quite an interesting life. But it involves 
being with people much more than some painters like to be. 
You have to be socially agreeable. 

I noticed in Paris some of the painters that I met 
there who were portrait painters — and not very good ones — 
did very well. They were sociable fellows. They liked 
to be out. They liked to meet people. They were good 
storytellers, and they could give nice little parties. And 
the first thing you'd know, somebody would give them a 
commission for a portrait. 

Sometimes it's quite difficult to understand. One 
case I remember was in Sicily. There was a man there who 
had a very nice old place v;hich he fixed up and he put in 


a billiard room. He was a watercolor painter, a rather 
amateurish one. But for some strange reason everybody v;ho 
went to his parties would buy a watercolor [laughter], 
even though they'd swear they didn't like his work, and 
they wouldn't have one of them for anything. But the 
first thing you'd know, you'd meet them, and they'd 
rather shamefacedly confess that they had bought one of his 
watercolors. I wondered how he did it, but I could never 
figure it out. He never seemed to use any salesmanship; 
he didn't talk them into it or anything. But, you know, 
he hypnotized them into going away with it. A lot of 
portrait commissions, I think, are the same way. Of 
course, that was something that didn't fit in too much 

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pleasant it might be. 

Another reason that I found difficulty in practicing 
as a portrait painter was that more and more I found it 
difficult to work if I couldn't work alone. The presence 
of other people, even of the sitter, I found disturbing. 
If I could freeze the sitter and make him unconscious for 
a few hours [laughter] and then bring him to life, why, 
I think we'd get along beautifully, because then I could 
work in complete solitude. 

Sometimes in the history of art you can recognize 
people who had this same difficulty. George Frederic 
Watts, who was a much better portrait painter than many 


people recognize, would not let the sitter see what he 
was doing iintil it was finished. Well, I think that is 
rather hard on the sitter because they're curious to see 
how the thing is coming along, you know. And they're 
sjmipathetic if you're in difficulty. So I don't see any 
special reason why you should try to isolate yourself in 
that way, but that was his way of working. And so they'd 
come sitting after sitting and they'd have the boredom 
of sitting there and then go away vdthout knowing what 
had happened. 

The story that I rather like and really brings Watts 
to mind as a portrait painter is his portrait of Carlyle. 
It's quite a fine portrait. Finally it was finished, and 
he turned it around for Carlyle to see. Carlyle looked 
at it, and it seems Carlyle used to fall back into his 
Scotch speech in conversation very easily, so he looked 
at it silently for a while and then he turned to Watts 
and he said, "I'm in the habit of ^^^irrin' clane linen!" 
[with a Scotch accent] He saw tonal values of grays on 
this white shirt, which was something he couldn't appreci- 
ate — it was a white shirt and should be painted v^hite. 

Sometimes the talented people get by in another way. 
The other extreme was a woman in Paris. I'm not sure but 
I think she won the Carnegie Prize. Her work was excellent 


in its way. I know she did get quite substantial recog- 
nition for her portraits. I used to see her once in a 
while. She was, I think, Polish by birth. Boznanska 
I think her name was. I used to go up with some of her 
friends sometimes and drop in to see her. She had a 
big studio. What made it difficult for people was that 
she wanted a great many sittings. She seemed to take a 
heck of a long time to paint a portrait. Ordinarily, 
of course, that would tire a sitter out. You can go a 
few times, but it becomes an awful bore if a painter wants 
a great many sittings because for most people it's rather 
hard work, sitting still. But she had the ability to work 
with any number of people around her. So she'd have the 
samovar going and cookies and things on a table and 
people would drop in and meet each other there and conver- 
sation would be going on. I think the sitter probably 
found it quite amusing. He could sit there and listen and 
join in once in a while, and all this time, this little 
old lady was working away on his portrait. When she got 
through there wasn't too much on the canvas, after maybe 
months of work. It'd be a very delicate tonal sort of 
thing, as though seen through a haze, but with a very 
fine sense of character. It really v/as a very genuine 
portrait painting. Out of this mist, a personality v/ould 
emerge which was very convincing, very good. 

That is the opposite extreme of a person like myself 


who likes to have silence or maybe some recorded music. 
But I'm not able to do my best work if somebody's there 
and has to be amused. And even if I had good stories or 
anecdotes to tell to keep a live expression on their 
face, why, I wouldn't be in the mood to do it. 

So the idea of mural painting was in the back of 
my mind all of the time I was in Paris. I was always 
•thinking of it. One of my teachers, Maurice Denis (I v;as 
only with him a short time), was a Catholic and did many 
things for churches quite a lot. He did many murals. He 
did the Theatre des Champs Elysees, which was then somev/hat 
a new theater in Paris. Incidentally, it has some very 
fine examples of some of the painters of that time, in- 

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excellent small panels. Then there are these large things 
by Maurice Denis which are very decorative. 

Maurice Denis and George Desvallieres formed a school 
for painting, especially of a religious nature. I went 
down one day to the atelier where they had the school, 
thinking that maybe here was my chance. They didn't seem 
to feel that they wanted students who were not seriously 
interested in the Catholic faith working in church 
decoration, church painting, and church art. They rather 
discouraged the idea of my joining, so I was rather 
disappointed because I might have wanted to do something 
for a Catholic church. After all, Chagall is doing 


windows for Christian churches now. Hov; did they know 
that I wouldn't turn out to doing some very fine things. 
Some of the Renaissance things were done by some very 
irreligious people and were looked upon as very successful 
religious paintings. But that was the only chance that 
I had, then, of learning some of the techniques of 
mural painting and getting experience. 

The great inspiration I had for that sort of thing 
started with Giotto. If you know the work of a man only 
through reproductions and prints, you often get a surprise 
when you see the original things, and so it was surprising 
to see the beauty in color of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel 
ceiling. In spite of Greco, who described Michelangelo 
as a vex-y estimable man but that he wasn't a painter — 
which was not altogether I think fair — one knows what 
Greco meant. Greco's early training was Byzantine. In 
Venice he became a painter in the Western sense. Of course, 
anything Venetian is completely absent from Michelangelo's 
painting, especially his fresco painting. The fresco 
technique, except for fresco secco , is not one especially 
in the spirit of Venetian painting. The quality of 
painting in Venice is really expressed much more in oil 
painting. I have Titian in mind and Tintoretto maybe 
above all. He painted the enormous Paradise in the Council 
Hall of the Doges' Palace. It's not Just a design, it 
is great and profoiind painting. On a smaller scale, the 


Griinewald altar in Colmar is also an example of what painting 
meant to me. And, of course, the Burial of Count Orgaz 
of Greco bowled me over completely. 

The man who in those days — much less so now — was 
rather disparaged was Tiepolo. I enjoyed Tiepolo because 
no matter how many acres of wall he v/orked on, he main- 
tained a spirit of the true painter. He was not just a 
man making beautiful patterns. It was gorgeous painting. 
In many ways it can't be compared to the real giants, 
but he was certainly fantastic. He had marvelous ingenuity 
in his compositions, in his design and form. His color 
was sometimes superb, and always with the feeling of a 
real painter. That spirit of painting is a rather curious 
thing. It occupies a country for a while and seems to 
move on and take up its abode someplace else. It starts 
in Handers and gets tired and goes down south to see 
what the weather's like down there and we have the 
Renaissance (the techniques of Venetian painting really 
come from Handers), and it visits Spain, not very long, 
and makes the acquaintance of Mr. Velasquez and El Greco, 
and it later paid a short visit, and we have a Goya. 
There are no great Spanish schools, but a few geniuses. 
But it liked France very well. It hung aroiuid France quite 
a lot and brought forth some wonderful things. It had no 
sympathy with Poland or Russia or that part of the world, 
and not too much v;ith Germany. 


Germans are great draftsmen — their Ho lb e ins and their 
Diirers and their [Martin] Schongauers — and a few startling 
cases of art like the painting of Mrer and Griinewald. 
But I suppose that after that early period, the economy 
of life in Germany was not favorable to much development 
in the arts. 

Holland had a short period of great painting. Before 
her Eembrandts and her Hals and her Vermeers and her de 
Hoochs there's not too much. And then after that you get 
a sudden sort of a flight by the boys who trekked down to 
Italy and, not being Italians, they brought in a spirit 
which made it quite a descent from the extraordinary 
talent of the painters that I just mentioned. 

MJTTING: Well, literally speaking, I sold my first portrait 
in an art school, in St. Paul. I did a portrait of a 
model and the woman v;ho was posing was quite impressed 
by it, and she offered me five dollars for it. So I was 
delighted to take five dollars for my portrait, which I 
painted rather quickly, as a matter of fact. As I remember 
it, it was quite a long time before I did anything as good. 
It was quite freely done; it was nice in tonality, and the 
drawing wasn't bad. There was quite a bit of likeness 
there . 

In art schools, of course, I worked from the model, 
doing portraits. I don't remember selling any — or even 
trying to — until I went to Europe. I was quite surprised 


to find two things in Paris. I think it could have been 
true also in Rome, but I especially noticed it in Paris. 
All of a sudden, I had pupils, and I had people who 
wanted their portrait painted. In both cases, I don't 
think they'd have studied art if they'd been at home. 
I think that they were gust traveling and thought it would 
be nice to take back a portrait. And would I paint their . 
portrait? I found quite a lot of people were doing that 
sort of thing. I mean they really systematized it by 
meeting people who came to Paris and by going to teas and 
parties and getting acquainted and throwing a little 
dinner. All of a sudden it would happen. But that is 
something I never did. In spite of that, every once in 
a while somebody v;culd v.'ant a portrait. I didn't charge 
too much, two or three hundred dollars for a head. So 
I got those to do and then someone would say, "Oh, my 
daughter is going to spend the summer in Paris. Couldn't 
you give her some drawing lessons? Couldn't you. give her 
some painting lessons?" And somebody else would say, 
"Well, while I'm over here I think I'd like to learn 
something about painting. Would you teach me?" Here were 
schools v;ith a thousand, it seemed to me, teachers and 
painters and places to go, but maybe there was a kind of 
shyness about going where English wasn't spoken or taking 
the trouble to find somebody who spoke English at the 
schools, so they'd take the first one who could. It 


seemed to work out quite successfully. They enjoyed 

It's curious that I don't even have photographs of 
any of the things that I did in those days. There vras 
hardly anything worthwhile. I have no record of them. 
After I left Paris, while I was in Milwaukee, I did some 
under the Federal Art Project. I did things mostly for 
schools and places that wanted a portrait of the principal 
or director or somebody. One time I had to do it from a 
lot of old photographs, which was pretty difficult. Another 
time I did a portrait of a professor of medicine at 
Wisconsin University, a charming man who used to come 
around. I did the portrait for the university under the 
projects But I didn't try for commissions; I didn't 
encourage it. [tape off] 

Another thing that rather had its implications, I 
think, and that is environment and relationship of a vrork 
of art to its environment. We all rather hate to show our 
work in a bad collection of art, in a gallery that shov;s 
poor things, or in an exhibition which is not up to 
scratch, because it seems to pull your work dovm for some 
reason. It looks like the rest of the stuff unless you 
really look at it. The fact that people don't see a thing 
except in terms of the surroundings as a whole puzzled 
me at first. Now that was one thing that bothered me 
about doing an easel picture. How do you do a serious 


thing like Rembrandt's Supper at Ernmaus ., a small picture 
in the Louvre, which Rubens would call a "little curiosity," 
maybe because it's a little canvas. But it ' s a very, very 
grand thing. That being used as a decoration on a v;all in 
an apartment or something, there would seem to be a lack 
of ability to integrate it. You don't have tremendously 
serious music going all the time, and yet you're perfectly 
willing to have something that a man has spent a great 
deal of time on. Well, obviously, Rembrandt was rather 
a slow worker, and he obviously spent a long time on that. 
It was a very serious problem to him. He did it very, 
very beautifully. But it wasn't done as an ornament. It 
wasn't done as a decoration over a mantel or anything of 
that sort. It was a veiry profound work of art. 

Well, I got a little clue in Rome, when I noticed 
that I would do something and it would be on the wall 
maybe for a month, but nobody would ever notice it. Then 
I chanced to rearrange my studio, and I put this over on 
another wall someplace else, and people would come in, 
"Oh, you've done a new picture! I never saw that before." 
[laughter] That's puzzled me, but I find it's very 
common. I had people here not long ago who said, "Oh, 
when did you do this? I never saw that before." Great 
Scott, again and again and again, they sat right opposite 
it and never saw it. Well, I think it's rather a good 
thing because you can see it in terms of the environment, 


and then if it appeals to you, maybe you'll suddenly 
realize that's a great thing. I'm sure that you could 
take a great masterpiece and put it in a window on Vilshire 
and watch the crowd, and mighty few would stop to look 
at it. But maybe somebody would get excited, "Where 'd you 
get that? Where did that come from?" 

Once in Paris — apropos of that sort of thing, that 
it's when you see it in an environment in which it's not 
appropriate or it is appropriate — I suddenly discovered 
that one of my cufflinks was broken. In those days I 
had sort of a fetish of never wearing anything that cost 
any money in the way of Jewelry. Cufflinks of a good size 
and shape and color was all I wanted. The same v;ay with 
evervthine" else of the sort. I had few things of value. 
So when I found my cufflink was broken, I went into the 
Printemps, I think it was, a sort of department store, 
the Macy's of Paris, and went around until I found a 
coiinter where they had five-and-dime stuff. A crowd was 
shoving about at a sort of bargain counter next to it, so 
I edged my way into it. These women were pawing for the 
stuff and grabbing this and that and working their way in 
and working their way out. As I was looking over this 
stuff, I glanced up, and over in the corner, I saw a section 
that was partitioned off to a certain extent where there 
were pictures. Well, that didn't surprise me because 
department stores have their sections where you can buy 


framed pictiires. I didn't pay any attention. Then I 
glanced up again, and I thouglit it rather strange. When 
I found what I wanted, I went over to see what it was. 
And here was a collection of pictures, and in the state 
of mind that I was in, I could not bring myself to believe 
that they were paintings, because in that atmosphere of 
this old store (I mean it was not like the elegant stores 
we have nowadays) and with all these middle-class women 
pawing over their lingerie and one thing and another, 
making a lot of noise, and the people milling around, the 
general atmosphere v/as anything but the spirit of the 
Salon Carre at the Louvre, [laughter] And so my first 
idea was, "My, these are wonderful reproductions. Goodness 

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seemed to be a real painting. Well, seriously, I still 
couldn't believe that they were real paintings. I thought 
maybe I had taken too long a walk, or it was the heat or 
something [laughter] that affected me and that I was 
seeing things. I went up to the canvas. It was a jewel. 
One of the nicest little Courbets I ever saw. Up in the 
comer, it was signed Courbet. I got close and I looked 
at that thing and it was paint. It was not a reproduction! 
I went to the next picture and it was a beautiful Pissarro. 
They were all smallish sort of pictures, but it was a 
fairly good-sized collection of the Impressionists — of 
Courbet and of Manet — and each one of its type was just a 


knockout. Well, I thought to myself, I am dreaming. I 
went out and looked over the room, with all the activity 
there and the noise and the bustle and the people 
shopping for their goods, and I turned back and looked at 
these things, and they were real! I di-dn't know what to 
do about it. I looked around and here v;as a tall fellow 
in -uniform standing nearby. So I v/ent up and spoke to 
him. I cooked up some kind of a question, I've forgotten 
what it was. I didn't know what to ask him, but I said 
something about this collection of pictures. He said, 
"Yes, Monsieur, that is a private collection of Monsieur 
Chouchard." Veil, Chouchard v/as the owner of the store, 
and afterwards, I think, he provided a special museum or 
endowment for the collection someplace, and it really 
was a famous collection of painting. But to meet it all 
of a sudden in a different atmosphere was an experience 
that I have often thought of. I think it does have cer- 
tain implications about the function of the small picture 
in the life around your house. 

In my Saturday evening group — as I've said before, 
it's all worthwhile — v/e are very v;illing to discuss a 
picture simply from the point of view of decoration, 
because it's going to be that first of all. It's going 
to be simply an object on the wall of a certain color 
and have a certain place. In your home it has a certain 
texture and quality of its own. It takes on its meaning 


from the way you dispose of it. You could have the 
finest thing in the world and you could v;alk into a place 
and feel that, the person v;ho owns it has no feeling for 
the subject at all because of the way it's used and the 
way it's placed. But somehow another person v;ho really 
has a feeling for the graphic arts or for painting can 
take a mediocre thing and use it in their surroundings 
so that it has meaning. That person understands. That 
person feels. 

March 28, 1966 

MJTTING: Although I never got to know Gertrude Stein at 
all well — I only met her — her brother Leo Stein was to me 
a very interesting man, and I used to meet him quite often, 
especially at the Rotonde. He loved to talk. He talked 
very well, and I have an idea that he's not given enough 
credit for the Stein participation in the modem art 
movement. I remember he told a story of the first Matisse 
that he bought, and I had the idea it was one of the first 
painters of the modern movement that he had acquired. 
And the way he told the story, he was the man who really 
discovered Matisse, although he didn't say so. He said 
that he went to an exhibition (I don't know whether it was 
the Autumn Salon or the Independants) and v/as very much 
interested in the contemporary modern painters being 
shown there. He saw this thing of Matisse and liked it 
very much, found it extremely interesting, and he jotted 
it down along with some other names. When he went out 
at the desk there, he asked the price of the Matisse 
painting, among others, and he was given the catalog 
price Matisse had set on the work. For some funny reason, 
the person at the desk inferred that probably he could 
get it for less if he wanted to make an offer. I don't 
knov; whether that v;as the practice or not, but I can't 


imagine it was. The price was very modest, as a matter 
of fact. So he left an offer which was something below 
the catalog price. He went back and found that Matisse 
had refused the price. He said it didn't make any dif- 
ference to him, especially because the price wasn't too 
much, so he gladly paid the original price Matisse asked 
for the picture. Afterwards, he found that at the time 
they presented this offer to Matisse, Matisse was not well 
and also was not financially at all well-off. But, in 
spite of that, he felt that he had put a fair price on 
the picture and he simply refused to come down on it. 
Anyway that was his story of his buying his first Matisse. 
He didn't mention his sister as being in on the interest 

and made his choice and acquired the picture. So that 
gave me the idea — and from his conversation, too — that he 
was a man who had good understanding and good insight, 
the kind of a person who would do very well in appreciating 
what the modem painter was trying to do. 

I never heard Gertrude Stein talk, but I've read what 
she has to say, and she didn't have at all that kind of a 
mind. She may have had an intuitive feeling that was 
good, and a lot of feeling for it rubbed off on her from 
other people. And I'm just wondering, I simply don't 
know, if maybe Leo wasn't really the man with the brains 
and the understanding, as well as having a sensitivity and 


an intuitive feeling about modem art. Anyway, that's 
the impression I got from the stories he told and also 
from the very long conversations [ I had with him] . 

I met quite a few people that way who gave me the 
idea that they were working on something, that they were 
writing something. I never read any of his writing, 
come to think of it. I'm sorry I haven't. I'd like to 
look it up and see what he did. But he gave me the feeling 
that he liked to talk if a person was at all sympathetic 
and a good listener, [laughter] I mean he v/asn't a man 
to talk just for talking' s sake, because in talking, he 
put his thoughts into words, and maybe in the conver- 
sation, he could shape things in his mind preparatory to 
wri uing. 

Two or three times, I've met people and I was quite 
sure they were doing that. I remember once, up in the 
Abruzzi Mountains where we stayed in a little hotel 
during a vacation, we met an English Journalist, a writer. 
He was taking a little time off for a rest and staying 
at this same hotel. He was an interesting man. But he 
was apparently writing, even on his vacation, and at 
dinner or after dinner, he would talk very interestingly. 
Well, I'm sure he wasn't especially interested in informing 
me on world affairs, of the Balkan situation or that sort 
of thing. It v/as just what he had on his mind. He was 
interested, and if his talk could have been taped, I 


think it could have been published with very little 
modification or correction. I think that in a way this 
was one of his techniques, and Leo Stein was another one 
of those people. 

Leo Stein was one of Paul Burlin's wedding party. 
Paul Burlin married a buyer for Carson Pirie Scott & Co. 
in Chicago. She was a very handsome Jewish girl, tall, 
black-haired. When they were married, Paul asked me to 
be best man. Well, best man simply meant he wanted some- 
body to be a witness when he went dovm to the mairie to 
get married. But they had a very nice wedding breakfast 
with some quite interesting people, and Leo Stein was one 
of the guests. And his wedding present, I thought, was 
a very handsome thing. It was quite an expensive book, 
apparently, and it looked to me like practically all of 
the metal engravings of Albrecht Mrer were in it. 
They were very well reproduced. I remember him giving that 
book, and it stuck in my mind because it is one that I 
would have loved to have had. But the wedding present 
and our conversations are about as much as I remember of 
Leo. [tape off] 

As I said, I went to Europe without any definite idea 
of how long I was going to stay or what I was going to 
do. The course of events — my marriage and the coming of 
the war and my war activities — put any idea of coming 
back out of my mind for some time. But, always, in the 


back of my mind was the idea that pretty soon, or in not 
the too distant future, I must get back home and get busy 
with whatever I was going to do in the way of some sort of 
a career. One evening at the Rotonde cafe, I met a [Jean] 
Paul Slusser v/ho was head of the art department at Ann 
Arbor. We got into conversation, and he was staying a 
little time in Paris, so I invited him up and we had 
drinks. I saw something of him during his short stay there, 
and one evening sitting at the Rotonde, I talked to him 
about life in Paris and how much I enjoyed it and how 
much my years in Europe meant to me, that I always thought, 
from year to year, that pretty soon I would be going 
home, but in some way, I put it off. We could manage to 
stay on for another year and there were things we wanted 
to see and things we wanted to do, so we'd wangle another 
year's stay. And I said, "This can't go on forever. 
I've got to go back and start something, but I don't know 
what to do." I hadn't been showing at home, and although 
I started out in art school with the idea that in some way 
I must make a living, there were only two things that we 
as students thought of as a means of livelihood to be at 
all substantial: One was portrait painting and the other 
was magazine illustration. 

In those days, illustration was much less of a 
commercial art than it afterwards became. That is to say, 
quite a number of our best painters started out in doing 


work for magazines, even mural painters like Kenyon Cox 
and Blashfield. I remember one very excellent thing that 
was done by John La Farge in the early part of his career 
for one of those magazines. The magazines in those days 
that really did nice things were Harper' s and Centur^;^ 
and Scribner ' s Magazine . They made an effort to have 
really good work. The result v;as that the good illustrators 
like Fyie, and especially Pyle ' s pupils, could consider 
themselves as very real artists. They didn't v;ant to do 
ephemeral things; they did the very best they could as 
artists, and especially as painters. Some of them were 
excellent. Harvey Dunn, to mention a name, was a pupil 
of Isle's, and so was N. C. 'Wyeth. Another reason my 
enthusiasm for Howard ?yle increased as a yoiingster was 
that when I went to the capitol at St. Paul [I saw a mural 
of his] . They were rather ambitious for mural decoration 
in the building of the capitol, and they had a number of 
our best known mural painters — the large lunettes of John 
La Farge that I admired enormously. In the governor's 
reception room, there was a good-sized picture, not a 
mural but a large canvas by Howard Pyle set in the paneled 
wall of the reception room — The Battle of Gettysburg . 
I'd like to see it again. But I wasn't prepared to be an 
illustrator. I hadn't done much work of that sort in 
Paris. I had done some, but in a rather slight sort of 
way. I made drawings for a paper there. 


Curiously enough, a friend of ours persuaded me to 
do fashion drawings. I didn't do them very well, but she 
liked them; and the paper didn't complain, so it was one 
little source of revenue — the weekly drav;ings. She'd 
bring material and also take me to openings. I'd make 
little sketches and draw up the fashions, and I'd do a 
group of things that she wanted done. I also used to do 
things for her for other magazines that she represented in 
England, none of which were over in this country. That 
was, of course, not at all up my alley, and I was amazed 
that they wanted them. However, it was a good thing for 
me. It gave me a Job, a very definite problem and technique 
for working for reproduction. So I enjoyed it. 

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illustrator, and had done excellent work. What I was 
regretting was that in pursuing my own work, I had not 
tried to get some sort of a start in that field. But it 
is Just as well I didn't, because I don't think that I 
would have had any very great success, especially in the 
magazine field. I still would have enjoyed doing things 
for books. I never did except for one book of poems 
by Edward Storer that was published by the Egoist Press, 
and I've lost my copy of that. I had some little woodcuts 
in it, but not very many. But I enjoyed doing them 
very much. 

I mentioned these things to Paul Slusser, that it would 


take some time if I were going to make a career of portrait 
painting. I didn't know exactly where to go, or how to get 
started, or how to make the contacts. So I said, "So 
far as I can see, what I must try to do, the very first 
thing, is to get a Job teaching iintil I can see which 
way to find myself, because I've been away a long time. A 
lot has changed. It is a different world than it v/as 
•when I left home." He said, "If you want to teach I 
know a job for you." And I said, "That's very interesting. 
I certainly would consider it." He said, "We'll see 
about that." He didn't say anymore about it. Well, a 
few days later, I got a letter from Biarritz in the south 
of France, from a Charlotte Partridge, and she explained 

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that she and Miriam Frink were spending their vacation in 
the south of France and also that they were directors of 
the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee and would like very 
much to interview me for a position as instructor at the 
Layton School of Art. "Would it be possible for me to 
come down to Biarritz?" I wrote back, "Yes." I took the 
train to Biarritz and met them. I found them very 
pleasant people. We had a conference, _ and they explained 
that the salary wasn't very much (I've forgotten what it 
was now), but it was adequate. 

I went back to Paris and talked it over with Helen, 
and we decided to pull up stakes and go to Milwaukee. We 


started right away trying to dispose of our lease on our 
apartment and disposing of things that we didn't want to 
bring back home. Miss Frink and Miss Partridge stopped 
in Paris for a few days on their way back home. We went 
around with them quite a bit, and it was kind of funny: 
I'd take them out to a cafe or to dinner or something, 
and as always happens most anyplace you go, if you've 
lived there for a long time, somebody comes in that you 
know. I would hale them and then introduce my friends. 
Miss Frink and Miss Partridge, and then I'd say, "Well, 
I'm leaving, you know." And they'd say, "What? You're 
leaving Paris? Why, that's incredible. You've been here 
such a long time. I can't imagine you'd ever leave Paris." 

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of the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, and I'm going 
to teach there." Well, the almost embarrassing thing 
was that, again and again, they'd burst out into a great 
guffaw over the idea that I would leave Paris to go to 
Milwaukee, [laughter] It was something that they seemed 
to think rather grotesque. They couldn't imagine that 
after my life in Rome and Paris, all of a sudden I'd go 
to Milwaukee. With Miss Prink and Miss Partridge sitting 
right there and hearing their city laughed at, it was, 
as I say, somewhat embarrassing. 

Then came the Job of subletting the lease. A man and 
his wife turned up, Garrett Sinclair and his wife Catherine. 


He was the painting teacher at the Layton School of Art. 
He had been with the school since its beginning and was 
talcing a year's leave of absence and was going to live 
in Paris, so he and his wife came up to the studio, and 
before the evening was over, we had subletted our studio 
to them. He thought that was wonderful because he was 
wondering what he was going to do in Paris about finding 
a place to live and work, so he was very glad to take 
over the rest of our lease for the year. We were all 

After we'd disposed of everything we could that we 
didn't want to take back, we had the rest packed. During 
the packing, we had to entertain people who came in and 
ou o — txiey u.earu. we were leaving Parxs — so it was a very 
busy time. Quite towards the end of our preparations for 
leaving, Edward Titus, the bookdealer, came up with a 
friend of his. [tape off] Well, our furniture was all 
gone practically, and we had nothing but packing cases 
and the general confusion of a place that's about to be 
vacated. But Titus and his friend sat down, and we 
brought out drinks and sat on the boxes and really had a 
very delightful evening. Titus was a quiet but a very 
interesting sort of a man, and his friend was quite 
charming and seemed to enjoy himself very much and talked 
very well. Titus gave his friend's name when he introduced 
us to him, but he didn't make too much of an impression, 


and it wasn't until towards the end of the evening, or 
after they were gone that we realized v/ho it was. It 
was suddenly made plain that he was a man v;ho at that 
time was extremely well known as a writer because his 
novel, The Green Hat , had been very successful. So that 
was one of the last of our contacts with the people in 
Paris who were contributing to art and letters. 

In the meantime, we had been trying to find passage 
home. But it was the end of vacation time, and I found 
it was extremely difficult. We went again and again to 
travel agencies and offices to find some passage to get 
us to New York. Finally we found that the only really 
satisfactory passage that we could get was from England. 

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pleased to have one more look at London before going 
back home. So we went to England, stayed about a week 
in London and again I got to see some of my favorite things 
in the National Gallery — Tintoretto's Origin of the Milky 
Way , Velasquez's Venus , and Titian's Bacchus , and other 
things that I was especially enthusiastic about. We 
also enjoyed the city, because London is such a contrast 
to Paris, but at the same time it has its ovm charm and 

We got a steamer that sailed from Plymouth, I believe. 
From New York we took the train to Milwaixkee. We got to 
Milwaukee on a weekend and school started the following 


week, on Monday. I called on Miss Partridge and foiind 
that they had been in a terrific dither. Miss Partridge 
expected that I would be in Milwaukee well ahead of time 
to get acquainted, you know, and here I had arrived 
practically the day before the school opened, [laughter] 
They didn't know whether they were going to have a teacher 
or not. So they were vastly relieved that I finally 
turned up. Of course, we stayed in a hotel for a while 
and then we found an apartment, quite a nice one, over- 
looking Lake Michigan, and our life in Milwaukee began. 

Well, it was, of course, a tremendous change in lots 
of ways. I was especially impressed with the changes 
that had taken place in the idea of an art school. The 
only art schools that I knew before I left for Europe were 
run on what I suppose they would call the atelier system 
of the European academies, largely because the people who 
were the teachers in the schools, and who in most cases 
managed them, and organized them, had their principal 
art training in Europe; so they used the same idea. In 
the schools of art where you studied sculpture and painting, 
the course would be conducted under that idea and would 
especially concentrate on working from the model. The 
regular course would be to work from a plaster cast and 
then on to life drawing, and then from life drawing on 
to painting. The painting class sometimes would be a 
day's work or sometimes it would be half the day, with 


the morning spent in drawing, and painting in the after- 
noon. In the late afternoon they'd have perhaps an hour 
or so of sketch class, of quick poses, and then for an 
evening course, maybe lectures on perspective and on 
anatomy. There was nothing ever specially required in 
any of the ones that I knev; very much about. In drawing 
or painting, the professor would have a day for criticism — 
usually, as I remember, on Friday. He vrould come and make 
his rounds and give individual criticism and that was 
your teaching. 

When I was shown around the Layton School, I found, 
to my amazement, something quite different, just what the 
art schools now are. The teacher did not have a criticism 
day. He was right there with the class during working 
hours. I found that a bit difficult because, although 
the classes were quite good-sized, once you had gotten 
them started, given your talk and maybe a certain amount 
of demonstration, why, there wasn't very much else to do 
for a while. I would have liked to have gone to the 
library or taken a walk or done some of my own v/ork, 
something of that sort, but that would have been a very 
bad precedent, especially at the Layton School. They 
were quite concerned about their teachers. 

They used to have another thing that I wasn't at all 
used to — these conferences. They'd get the faculty together 
and have meetings to discuss this problem and that problem 


and this problem kid and that problem kid, one thing and 
another. That was all new to me. I didn't know that they 
were going to take a personal interest in the psychological 
condition or the moral behavior of their youngsters, and 
I felt like I was running some kind of a kindergarten 
school in a way. It was strange that these adults, at 
least they were all supposed to be graduates of high school, 
should be treated in this way. Of course, in the older 
art schools and academies, if you were serious, you were 
there on time and you worked hard. And if you v/eren't 
serious, why, you came in late and nobody bothered you. 
In Paris, the quality of the work was measured by the 
monthly concours . The teacher would pick out certain 
things to hang on the wall, and then at the end of the 
month, the things that had been selected were given a 
grade. You'd win a concours . If you could win a concours 
month after month, you were really good. But it was up 
to you to work for it. You didn't have to follow any 
special schedule. The same way with other things in the 
school. If you could pass the examination in anatomy, 
you took it, but you could simply take the course and not 
take the examination. It all depended, of course, on what 
you were vrorking for. They never bothered you. 

But here, heavens above, the bell rang for you to go 
to class and the bell rang for you to break up and the 
bell rang for you in the afternoon and the bell rang for 


you when it was over, [laughter] I had to get used to 
that and also to the fact that every month I had this 
mountain of stuff I had to go through and grade. Why, 
heavens, I didn't know how to grade kids' work, and I 
didn't like the idea. But I finally found what they were 
after, and I went through it more or less to their satis- 

My work was primarily the teaching of life drawing. 
Then I did a certain amoiint of teaching of painting, but 
in that school, they didn't do too much painting from a 
prolonged pose of the model. When they got into painting, 
it was more compositions and things of that sort. They 
had, of course, as all art schools do nov;adays, other 
things — commercial design, for example. 

That's another thing that I discovered when I got 
back, that the career of the commercial artist had changed 
quite a lot. You could work for advertising agencies, 
and there was a special life for the kid who went to the 
art school to prepare himself for advertising, whereas, 
when I was a boy, I don't remember anything like an adver- 
tising agency employing artists. I know it was true in 
St. Paul and was, so far as I know, also true in Boston 
at that time, although I don't know whether I'm quite 
right about Boston, but a lot of the young fellows would 
learn layout and lettering. Those v;ere the two things 
which gave you a chance of supplementing your income. 


And the way I see that it started was that the engraving 
houses that made halftone and line cuts for advertise- 
ments in newspapers and publications would employ people 
to make layouts and to do lettering, because if someone 
would want to put an ad in the paper and he v/ould want to 
have a nice effect and he'd like very much to have a 
picture to go with it, a drawing of what he was selling 
or some sort of a splash, he would go to the engraving 
house to have his cut made. That was his primary reason 
for going there. They'd say, "Oh, yes. Now, we can 
give you this kind of a thing, and we have so-and-so v/ho 
will do this and that for you." So either a boy who 
worked there on the job in the backroom making a layout 
for a fashion drawing or furniture drawing or something, 
or else someone who worked at home would come aroiind and 
pick up his Jobs and take them home. 

I knew one boy in New York who supplemented his live- 
lihood quite well that way. He seemed to have contacts 
with a number of places. I'd be out with him, and he'd 
say, "Vait just a moment. I'm going to go in here." 
He'd go in and come out v/ith some little job they'd given 
him. And that evening I'd be with him in his room, 
and he'd be sitting at his drawing table working away on 
some little thing. He'd take it back to the engraving 
house the next day. Well, that was all gone when I got 
to Milwaukee; I could see that there was something quite 



And here were courses in lettering and layout 
techniques — in other words, in commercial art. The 
division between fine arts and commercial art had become 
much more marked in the training for it. The disciplines 
are not the same, except in the case of basic drawing and 
a certain amount of work in color, but color was always 
studied with the idea of reproduction processes in mind. 
They also had a class in sculpture and modeling, that 
they don't have so much in schools of commercial art. 

The second year I was there I gave the course in art 
history; I gave weekly lectures. I was very well fixed 
for that because they got slides for me from the Art 
Institute of Chicago. At first, I used to make out quite 
careful lists of the material that I wanted, but sometimes 
the slide wouldn't be quite satisfactoiy and would be 
somewhat of a disappointment. But whoever it was at the 
Institute (I never met her and only knew her by corres- 
pondence) did a very good job. I'd tell her what my 
subject was and what idea I had in mind, mentioning maybe 
some things that I wanted especially but left the rest up 
to her, so I'd get a bunch of excellent slides. I enjoyed 
that part of my work very much, except that I couldn't 
do too much with the students. 

I remember the first year I lectured on art history. 
In the little high schools that I went to, ancient and 


modem history were required studies and I supposed any 
high school graduate had the elements of history, that 
you could speak about the Renaissance and mention some of 
the historical atmosphere, or at least refer to it with 
some meaning. So I sailed gaily in and would talk about 
Michelangelo and maybe remind them of the time and at- 
mosphere of Rome and Florence then. But before Michel- 
angelo, they didn't know a thing. My course took two 
years; I had up to the Renaissance one year, and from the 
Renaissance dovm to modem times the next year. I had 
gotten as far as Byzantine art in Italy and was talking 
about that period — fortunately, it was very early in the 
game — when to my amazement, I discovered by accident that 
there wasn't a yo\ingster in the class that knew anything 
about the Byzantine period of the Roman empire or art or 
anything else. They didn't seem to know the meaning of 
the word. There may have been a few, but my impression 
was that on the whole they drew a perfect blank. I had 
to back up and outline my course all over again with that 
definitely in mind. Also if I did refer to anything like 
Byzantine, I had to briefly say something about the church 
in Constantinople, why Constantinople was named after 
Emperor Constantine, the first Christian emperor, and that 
was why we had the Oriental influence in Italy, v/hich 
seems rather strange because you would expect to find that 
much further east. I'd try to do that in a few words, and 


not simply refer to what I thought they would already 
know. So it was a very good discipline in teaching — to 
be clear and not to confuse them, not to assume that 
they knew. 

Some of the students liked the course very much. 
I had quite a few followers. But it's not the kind of 
thing the boys who went there for commercial art, for 
'example, were especially interested in. It was difficult 
to give them enough information to pass an examination in 
art history, because they had to do that to get the 

For my own teaching, I also had an awful lot to learn, 
and that first year was really quite an experience. I 
sailed in quite gaily with the idea of teaching life 
drawing. I thought that was just no trick at all. After 
all, I had been more or less through the mill and thought 
that isn't too important — I mean, the fact that you could 
draw very well or not, as long as you understand it, and 
I felt that I did. After all, I had been looking at 
drawings and reading about drawings, and drawing had been 
a tremendous interest. Every little thing about becoming 
an artist was something that has always interested me. 
So I thought I had it all at my fingertips, and all I 
had to do was to go around, sit down and say, "Well, 
that is very good so far, but now if we'll be a little 
bit more logical about it, it will be much more successful." 


Well, sometimes that would work, but very often it would 
not work, to my surprise. 

One thing always puzzled me very much. I had always 
learned a great deal from my teachers v/hen they showed me 
something. If my life instructor, which was quite the 
ideal in the old days, v/ould make an analysis of a form or 
a structure on the side of my sheet or illustrate what he 
was talking about with a sketch, that was extremely helpful, 
The same way with painting. In those days, the instructor 
in painting would come around and look at your work and 
criticize it. Then he would maybe pick out some little 
part on the canvas, maybe a piece of an arm or hand or 
a bit of the side of a head, and he would mix up some 
color, put it down and find this to be quite a different 
color. William M. Chase was quite a whiz at that sort 
of thing. He loved to do it. He loved to show off, as 
a matter of fact. It was always inspiring. You would 
be sweating over a canvas, and then he'd do the thing so 
easily, you know, just brush in this color and that 
value and that tone, a little turn here and a sharpness 
here and a softness there and here was something miraculous 
happening. And he'd go away and leave you all enthusi- 
astic to try it, to see if you couldn't do it, too. 
That is something that's largely taboo in art schools 
nowadays. Never touch a student's v;ork! That might 
disturb their individuality. You mustn't do that. I 


didn't, but I did try the demonstration. Sometimes I 
would even work rather hard when a kid was having a lot 
of trouble. I'd say, "Now, if you would only go one 
step at a time. Now this is the first step, and if you 
see you can do that with not too much trouble, then, if 
you have that established, you can move on, but don't 
hurry. This doesn't have to be a highly finished work, 
but it should be right as far as it goes. Do this and 
then go on to this, then to this, and I think if you'll 
do that, you'll find that it's all right." 

In the meantime, I'd be making this drawing. One 
day, I got a shock when a boy who really had a lot of 
natural facility looked at my work after I had gotten 
through and instead of being stimulated as I hoped he 
would be and pleased that this problem had been simpli- 
fied for him, he looked perfectly helpless. "You know," 
he said, "I'll never be able to do that as long as I 
live." By Jove, I don't think he did, and he could have 
done it so easily. It was a psychological block that 
I never could break down. 

Of course, the really important things that I remember 
took place later, because I was always getting surprises 
and interesting problems. One was that sometimes a 
student will have very definite talent, but they can't 
use a method. All this logic that I was giving them 
about drav;ing didn't mean anything. There was one boy. 


especially, who v/as one of my early students at the Layton, 
and I was veiy much concerned about him. His life 
drawing from the model was pitifully poor, and I v;ould 
try to explain things very carefully. It didn't need to 
be that. That difficulty was quite unnecessary. He 
was working v;ith a degree of confusion which could be 
easily straightened out, and I would shov/ it to him. 
"Yes, Mr. Nutting, yes. I see." He'd be so eager and so 
anxious to learn. I'd go away and feel, "Well, now maybe 
he'll catch on, and it won't be so hard for him." And 
I'd go back, and here he would be in the same condition 
that he was before. I knew that he was making quite a 
sacrifice to go to art school (his family was poor), 
that it meant quite a great deal to him. He was so 
earnest. He was trying and working hard. I got quite 
disturbed, and I used to go out in the washroom and 
walk up and down and smoke cigarettes and think, "What 
am I going to do for Al?" For quite a long time nothing 
happened at all. Then one day I was walking across the 
park in Milwaukee, and I sav/ Al coming toward me. He 
had in his hand a sheet of yellow paper — a second type- 
writing sheet, you know — and so I hailed him and said, 
"What have you got there, Al?" He was rather shy about 
it. I could see it was a drawing that he was holding in 
his hand. He gave it to me, and I looked at it. I think 
that he'd been so self-conscious about his drawing up to 

71 ■^ 

that time that he was rather ashamed to show it to me. 
But I was quite astonished when I saw it. It was really 
a very interesting drawing. And I said, "Al, now you're 
getting someplace. This is all right. You just stick 
to that feeling that you have there and push it just as 
far as you can. I think you'll find everything else I 
said to you will clarify itself. You've got your foot on 
'solid ground, and all you've got to do is keep on. How 
did you come to do that drawing?" 

He said, "Well, I'll tell you. I was on my way to 
school this morning" (I met him on his way to school, 
as a matter of fact), "and I started out early, so I sat 
down here in this park and I was thinking about my work. 
I felt very discouraged. I sat down^ sitting on that 
bench there and worrying about my studies, and while I 
was sitting there, I suddenly saw myself sitting on that 
bench looking discouraged. So I kept the pose exactly 
without moving and started to think — how am I sitting? 
Here I am. I'm leaning forward and my chin is in my hand. 
My elbow is on my knee, and I tried to imagine what I 
must look like in this state of mind sitting on this 
bench. And then I made this drawing. '.' 

Well, from that time on, his drawing did improve 
very much, and then he started to paint and developed 
very steadily. I lost track of him after I left Wisconsin; 
but last year I opened my copy of Time magazine, and in 


that column where they have all these notices, I read 
of the death of Alfred Sessler, professor of graphic arts 
at the University of Wisconsin, where he had been for 
quite a long time. Also, I opened an art magazine with 
illustrations of the work of a young fellow, quite a 
promising man from that part of the coiintry, and among 
other things, it mentioned him as "being a pupil of Alfred 
Sessler. So, apparently, he made a considerable success 
of his life and was known not only as a teacher but also 
as a painter and as a printmaker. 

But that was a tremendous eye-opener to me — how to 
treat a student. It wasn't just a matter of laying down 
your knowledge — "_I know all about it, just do as _! say" — 
and that sort of thing. Unless you have some intuition 
of what's in the kid and can succeed in bringing it out, 
you are not very much help. 

Another boy, at the same time, was a Kansas farmer's 
son, and he had so little to spend that they let him 
sleep up in the attic of the building. It was against 
the law, kind of bootlegged, but he was very poor. He 
was very earnest, and we were quite fond of him; so, for 
a while, he had a cot up there and he did Janitor work 
around the school early in the morning to help pay his 
tuition. He also seemed to have a lot of trouble, very 
much like Al. I had the same feeling towards him because 
I liked him very much and also felt that he was really 


trying. That was the same sort of thing. 

I found him one day during lunch hour sitting off by 
himself on the floor in the corner with a little book. 
In those days, we could get at the five-and-dime store 
little blarik: books called "scribblin' books," with pages 
of unruled paper. They were quite serviceable. They 
were pocket-size, and you could get them for only ten 
cents. That sort of thing costs about fifty cents nowadays, 
[laughter] But in those days, they were quite cheap and 
they made good little sketchbooks. He was sitting on the 
floor doodling away in this book, and I said, "What are 
you doing?" He said, "1 was just doing some sketches." 
He handed them to me, and here were a whole lot of little 
urawings m ink ^T think he had some kind of coajrse fountain 
pen that he was working with) , but they were all characters 
that seemed to have to do with the Kansas farm somehow. 
There was real feeling of farm life. Maybe the kid was 
homesick. Anyway, they seemed to be some of the charac- 
ters and people he knew. They were not well drawn in any 
conventional sense, but with the same quality that I 
spoke of in Al Sessler's [drawing]. In all its crude- 
ness, his stuff was based on real feeling and real 
experience. And I felt all you had to do with him was to 
give him faith. Whereas he felt he was doing these things 
on the side, but if I could make him feel that what he 
was doing in that book was an integral part of his work 


in the school, that it wasn't something different, it 
could be made part of his lifework. 

April ^■, 1966 

NUTTING: I spoke about finding Floyd Pauly sitting in 
the corner expressing his homesickness by making strange 
little caricatures and drawings of farm life in Kansas. 
I foimd right away that there v;as something here that 
was analogous to the sort of experience that Al Sessler 
was having. So I looked at the drawings and told him I 
enjoyed them very much, that I wanted him to do a great deal 
of that sort of thing because it would help him greatly 
in the development of his talent. I was right. Instead 
of trying to make him base his drav/ing too much on theory 
and the intellectual, to have him fellow first of all 
his natural feeling and intuition, and gradually lead 
him into solving more difficult problems of figure 
drawing, was more successful. 

Well, Floyd appeared on the scene, I think, the year 
before I left Layton School, but I would drop into the 
school ever once in a while to see what the students v/ere 
doing. One day, I was in the watercolor class — the 
students were out, but their v;ork was around on the 
easels — and I said, "Well, that's rather a stunning thing. 
Who did that?" Miss Partridge said, "Floyd." I was quite 
amazed that the boy v;hose work used to be so timid and 
cramped such a short time before now had freedom and 


vitalit;)' to it. It wasn't too accoinplished, but you 
could see that he had made tremendous progress. 

The end of the story was that later he had a 
watercolor accepted at the watercolor show in Chicago. 
That being a rather important show at the Art Institute, 
it was quite a feather in his cap, and he was very much 
pleased. But still more than that, the Studio Publi- 
cations in London got out a book of watercolor paintings 
in various countries, examples of France and Germany and 
America and Russia and Italy and so forth, and in the 
section on the American painters, here was Floyd's water- 
color as one of the examples of American watercolor painting. 
So we were very happy for the boy, because his life ^vasn't 
easy and he was getting his education iinder difficulty, 
but he was making excellent progress and was such a 
likeable kid. 

The tragic thing was that he got appendicitis towards 
the end of his period in art school. Apparently nobody 
knew what was the matter with him. He didn't complain 
\intil he v/as really quite ill. The operation was 
successful but rather late, and they didn't stave off 
peritonitis. He was very ill for a long time and died. 
So that's one of the sad notes about the boys that I 
knew there and worked with. 

Those two fellows really opened my eyes to some of 
the problems in dealing with talent and how one must have 


sympathy and understanding of various approaches. The 
attitude of one and the method of going at it will be 
quite different from another. In order to be successful, 
you simply cannot lay down a law and say you must do this 
and that problem and expect good results. So teaching 
became more interesting to me, more than [I expected]. 
At first, I thought it would be more or less routine, that 
you'd go in and pass on what knowledge and experience you 
had to individual students, that it could be nothing 
that you could worry much about if you felt sure of what 
you were saying and the value of what you were teaching. 
But there was something deeper than that, and it became 
quite a serious thing. I felt that teaching was a 
creative thing. It was an art in itself as much as the 
other arts. I knew that, of course, before, but I didn't 
realize that in the actual dealings with human beings, 
the ups and downs in feelings and strange behavior, 
made my work not only interesting but very rewarding. 
So from then on, I commenced to take a greatly increased 
interest in my work. 

I can't flatter myself as being too successful except 
with individual cases. I felt that I lacked what the 
directors of the school had, and that was experience, not 
only in teaching but also in theory and practice of 
pedagogy — how to organize work for a large group and to 
get the most out of the group as a whole and all that 


sort of thing. 

The school itself, the Layton School, was started 
by Miriam Friiik: and Charlotte Partridge. The school v;as 
in the Layton Gallery, and the Layton Gallery was next 
to the Milwaukee Art Institute. It was rather amusing 
that the Layton School was run by Miss Partridge, the art 
institute by Mr. Pelican, [laughter] But it made their 
•names easy to remember. Miss Partridge had been an art 
teacher at Downey College, I think it was (I've forgotten 
really), and Miriam Prink was an English teacher. They 
had decided to start an art school on their own, and 
after World War I, they had the advantage of having a 
great many of what were called in World War I, doughboys — 
soldiers, veterans of the army — on government educational 
projects and one thing and another. And the ones that 
took up art there in Milwaukee had this school. So it 
provided them with quite a crov^d of boys just out of 
uniform. The school was started in the basement of the 
Layton Gallery by Miss Prink and Miss Partridge. They 
had it reconditioned with suitable class rooms and 
equipment. They got Garrett Sinclair (who took over my 
studio in Paris when he was there on a year's leave), as 
instructor. Miss Partridge herself did teaching, and 
Garrett Sinclair taught drawing and painting. They had 
quite a good course in painting and composition and art 
history and commercial art. I think they had some local 


people and one or two other instructors, none of whom 
seemed to have stayed very long. 

One was the sculptor, Boris Lorsky, who was there 
for a while and afterwards came out West and became 
successful as a sculptor. He was extremely able and 
seems to have been quite an interesting character. Others 
who taught there for a while and then left, either came 
out to California or went to New York, which most did. 

When I went to Layton School the future seemed to be 
rather rosy. They expected an endowment by a wealthy 
man who had helped them a great deal in starting the Layton 
School, and they expected he would leave a substantial 
sum of money to help them carry on. That didn't 
niaterialize . 

My work there at first was mostly Just drawing, figure 
drawing, which I went there especially for. There was 
not very much painting, but it wasn't long before I had 
other courses; the one in art history I especially liked, 
being a subject that appealed to me, and I enjoyed preparing 
the lectures. 

One or two other courses I taught were some painting, 
and I started a course in industrial design. But I 
realized that although that was an important study I'd 
have to take a course in industrial design myself before 
I could really prepare a course for them. So I didn't 
go very far v/ith that. That, of course, involves a study 


of materials and techniques and modes of manufactiare in 
order to teach it properly. It's like teaching architecture: 
if you don't know building materials and available sub- 
stances for making this, that and the other thing and 
sources and relative costs, how are you going to teach 
architecture? Just to design a building is not nearly 
enough. So I reneged on that course, regretfully, because 
•I wished I knew enough about it to teach it, because it's 
a very interesting thing and related to architecture. 

I haven't been back to Milwaukee. I'd love to pay 
a short visit there. Apparently there's been quite a 
big change. The Layton School was in the Layton Art 
Gallery which was a rather small but rather ambitious 

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number of good galleries and a collection made by Layton. 
I don't remember what his first name was. He was a success- 
ful meat packer, I believe, in Milwaukee, and he seemed to 
have been quite a lover of art. The galleries, of course, 
were full of old-fashioned pictures. Some, though, were 
very good for this sort. They had an excellent one by 
Munkacsy. Unfortiuiately, M-unkacsy, like many nineteenth 
century painters, was either careless or ignorant of 
technical procedure in making a lasting painting, because 
the thing had turned very dark, but there are passages in 
it that are excellent. And there was a very good Abbott 
Thayer — the American painter. There were a number of 


German paintings, quite a good Bouguereau, less annoying 
than most of Bouguereau' s things. It was an example of 
very accomplished academic painting of its period and I 
rather regretted that the students didn't appreciate 
it more. They were, inclined to sniff at it. It all 
looked so old-fashioned and out of date that it was diffi- 
cult to get them to see that there was anything in it. 
There were some passages in the Hunkacsy that were 
reminiscent of Courbet, for example. The man had quite a 
sense of painting. Well, they didn't know who Courbet 
was and so, of course, it was rather a slow business of 
getting them acquainted with it. They'd want to do 
something that was either saleable or else something that 

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too narrow. 

The school was well equipped. It was all artificial 
light but consisted of a good suite of rooms for the 
school. The office was upstairs, but the understanding 
was that only the basement should be used for the school 
rooms. But it wasn't too long before they got very crowded. 
So they Just frankly overflowed into the galleries. Then 
they were all right. The school grew rapidly and really 
was quite a promising school. 

Both of the women were extremely capable. Hiss Frink 
especially from the business point of view and organization 
of the place. Miss Partridge was an excellent director. 


She was herself to a certain degree an artist and also had 
a talent as an executive. It looked as though they were 
going to go places with the school. Then, what happened 
was that the Depression hit, and there was a long period 
of difficult struggle for the school. Attendance naturally 
fell off all of a sudden, and then they had to economize 
and it was with only the greatest difficulty that they 
•survived. It was only the genius of Miss Frink that 
really kept it alive and finally got it onto its feet 

I've forgotten how long I stayed with this school, 
but I could see that I was superfluous in a way. I was 
the last one to he added to the faculty, and they were 
xorccu. uO iCeep cuuuxng niy saxary ratxiSr to increase it 
as they had promised they would and expected to. That 
was very hard on some of the teachers; so I resigned. I 
said, "You don't need me. You can get along very v;ell 
without me and I don't think it's fair to the other 
teachers who have to have their salary cut. What you 
give me can at least put off the evil day of reducing 
theirs. " 

Well, by then, I had teaching in my blood, I guess, 
so I looked around for a place to have an evening life 
class. I thought I'd at least keep that going and have 
some pupils. I had a certain following among the older 
people, some commercial artists and others who used to 


come to a night class that I had at the Layton School. 
I looked around for a place to have a class. First I 
rented a rather small room and had a small group of 
private pupils. That wasn't too satisfactory because they 
were amateurs and society people who wanted to do a little 
drawing and a little painting and that sort of thing, 
which was very pleasant, but it wasn't too interesting. 

While I was teaching that little class, a man came to 
Milwaukee from Chicago by the name of Lanner and opened 
a bookstore. He was a tremendously energetic little 
fellow. (He is out here in Los Angeles now.) He had 
had a bookstore in Chicago, and he moved the one from 
Chicago to Milwaukee. He had a good selection of art 
books, and also he started an idea — and 1 don't know if it 
was very successful or not, but at least it was good 
advertising — and that was that he would rent his art 
books. He used to put covers on them made of brown paper. 
He had a very neat way of doing it. He would rent out 
quite expensive art books to art students and artists 
and they'd get a chance to take them home. That was one 
of his activities I enjoyed. I spoke to him one day and 
said I was looking around for some way I could have room 
enough for a life class. I believe that I could have 
quite a good-sized life class. "Oh," he said, "have it 
here in the bookstore." I said, "Why, good gracious, I 
can't do that. You can't move yoiir things out of the way 


to have a crowd of art students, and besides there's the 
equipment and that sort of thing that would be necessary." 
"Oh, we can furnish that," he said. And by Jove he did. 
He was very capable in all sorts of ways. He could 
do electric wiring or even lay bricks. He built himself 
a brick fireplace which was quite handsome in his own 
home. He could do carpentry, and he was a good printer. 
As a matter of fact, one thing he started there was a 
little publishing business. He had an old press downstairs 
that clanked away and which he ran quite efficiently, and 
he got out some quite nice books. He said, "We'll 
manage perfectly well." So, he, himself , made me a model 
stand and something for benches v;hich was inexpensive. 
lic anu. some Oj. my boys got together one afternoon and we 
made benches, which was simply a matter of cutting an 
eight-foot board into three pieces, putting them together 
with angle irons and a little strip to hold the drawing 
board against the upright in front. It's very practical, 
very simple and very good. So there we were equipped, 
and there was someplace out back where we could stack them 
up in-between times. And, to my amazement, it worked out 
very well. All you had to do was to move not too much 
out of the middle of his store, which was quite a good-sized 
room. He already had a curtain division between the front 
and back, the show part of the store and the storerooms in 
back of this place; so it was Just a matter of the lighting. 


which he also installed. In no time at all, he had some 
excellent light for the model and for illiiminating the 
room. So I spread the news that I was starting this life 
class, and I had quite a large one right away. I was 
quite surprised that the reputation of my night class at 
the Lay ton had spread so much. People seemed to enjoy 
it and got a lot out of it, so that I had my weekly life 

The first night was very funny. I met Lanner out 
here not too long ago, and he still tells the story about 
it. At least he told it to another person who in turn 
said, "Oh, yes. Mr. Lanner told me that story about your 
life class in Milwaiikee and the first night when you 
opened it." what happened was that we got all installed 
with the model, and we started work on time. Everybody 
had their drawing boards and charcoal and paper and the 
model posed, and I was starting my rounds when the proprietor 
of the building came rushing in, in a terrific state of 
excitement. I didn't know what in the world was the matter 
with him. He was all of a dither. Well, what happened 
was, when I had started the pose, I turned on the strong 
lights for the model. There were cotton curtains across 
the front of the store that were drawn, and with the 
ordinary light inside the room, they were adequate, per- 
fectly all right, but once you got this powerful light on 
the nude model in the store, the curtain became abou,t as 


transparent as cheesecloth, [laughter] And there was 
a very enthusiastic and admiring crowd of people outside 
watching our class in progress, [laughter] So we had to 
hastily turn out the light. I've forgotten v;hat we did 
that night, hut I guess we worked with a dim light. I 
don't remember that we broke up the class. I think we 
managed somehow. After that, heavier curtains were pro- 
vided, and the class went on successfully. I've forgotten 
how long I kept up that life class. I was, however, 
rather ambitious to do more than that. 
SCHIPPEES: Did you collect fees for this? 
MJTTIITG: Oh, yes. I've forgotten how much. It was the 
normal price you would pay in an art school for evening 
life classes. It would seem as though I was pulling 
patronage away from, the Layton School, but I don't think I 
did too much. The people that I had were mostly older 
people. There were a number of people who worked on the 
newspapers and wanted to get in some work from a model, 
and commercial artists who wanted to get in more life 
study. They were working during the day as commercial 
artists and illustrators, and in this way, they'd get a 
chance to do some figure study. So I don't think that I 
really hurt Layton very much. I think I had rather of a 
different sort of a following, [tape off] 

I had the idea in mind that I'd like to have a place 
where I could have a broader activity, not just an 


evening drawing class, but a day school as well. I talked 
this over with my friends. I had a friend, Frank Kirk- 
patrick, who had come to Milwaukee from Philadelphia. 
We had become very good friends, and he made and lost a 
fair fortune in the Depression. He had done very well 
in Philadelphia in real estate, and, for awhile, he wanted 
to follow some other career. He lived on very little 
•and started doing some writing for the newspapers. He 
had an idea of entering politics and didn't want to go 
hack to the business world, but, after a v/hile, he 
decided that he would, that he was not going to make a 
great success in politics or that he had no special 
talent as a writer or commentator. At least it was not 
sufficient to look upon those fields as careers. He had 
a natural talent for business, and it was appreciated by 
some well-to-do people in Milwaukee who backed him, 
especially in property and real estate. 

When he started his business, he took an old building 
downtown. He rented the whole building, and, although 
it wasn't very large, there was one floor that he especially 
wanted for his offices. The top floor of the building had 
an old-fashioned photographer's studio. In the days 
before artificial light — it really was rather an ancient 
setup — they had a big skylight and did their portrait 
photography in daylight, using the skylight. Well, this 
big room and its skylight was not being used, and I made 


a deal with him for the use of that for an art school. 
He was interested in what I was trying to do, and he 
didn't have any intention of renting the room anyway, 
so that the amount that I would pay for it all depended 
upon my success. We made some kind of an arrangement by 
which I'd pay rent according to the success of my teaching. 
At first, it was a little discouraging, because although 
it was a huge room, it was used as kind of a lumber room 
and was a dirty and dusty and ratty-looking place. 

Some of my pupils, two or three boys, were quite 
excited about the whole thing, and they wanted to help 
me. There was a girl who had been in my life class who 
was also interested; she was a wonderful worker. We all 

_^ j-ii cuiu. awGjju J. u Ouu, Cxcaneu xu Up. liien wx uii sOffit; 

plywood and a few nails and good will, we partitioned 
off an entrance and made a little office and fixed the 
place up. I already had the benches from my other life 
class. One boy was very clever, and he made an easel very 
cheaply. He had all the specifications for it. The 
material he got from the hardware store, and he made a 
rather ingenious use of certain spring bolts and one thing 
and another. And, in an amazingly short time, we had some 
regular studio easels that worked very well. Then we 
made a number of ordinary easels, the three-legged sort 
of things which you use in drawing classes. The others, 
of course, were more practical for those who wanted to 


paint, because they're more upright and you co^ld raise or 
lower one's work more easily. You don't have the occasion 
to do that quite so often when you're drawing, hut usually 
when you're painting, you want to be able to raise and 
lower the canvas easily. I was really quite surprised 
that I had this enthusiastic support and got so much work 
done in such a short time. 

Dolly Dunn, this girl who was in my life class, 
offered to be my secretary and manager in return for tuition, 
which pleased me very much, and she was very efficient. 
When we got the place cleaned, partitioned and painted, 
I went down .to a wholesale paper place and picked out some 
varieties of paper, and also got a few basic materials. 
(Students are always running out of something they need 
right away; so even in a small class it's a good thing 
to have some material that they can buy on the premises.) 
Dolly looked after that, and she kept the books and she 
took in the money. 

I worked out a rather different system for classes 
than I was used to. As I said, I got quite a jolt when I 
came back and found what had happened to art schools since 
I went to art school. At Layton we had a tardy bell and 
you had to have a bell ring when the class was over and 
all the routine of regular schoolwork, and I decided I 
was going to go to the other extreme — I wouldn't do that. 
I had cards printed with a certain number of spaces on them 


that you could buy for so much, which in turn would give 
you so many evenings. In that way, although they paid 
for, say, twelve evenings, they wouldn't have to be con- 
secutive. If for one reason or another they couldn't 
come, they wouldn't lose anything. So the person coming 
in would have the card and Dolly would punch it. When 
it was filled with punches, they would get another card. 
•It worked out very well. It was a very simple way to 
work it. It was a good place for the class. It was 
quite successful and very well attended. 

I was the principal life teacher for a while in 
Milwaukee, outside of what was being done at the Layton 
School. But so far as the other activities were concerned, 
oj-iere were some people w'lxo coulu. worxc in txj.e daytime anvx 
who, for one reason or other, didn't want to take the 
course at the Layton School or any of the colleges there 
but wanted to go to an art school where they wouldn't 
have the requirements they had at the other places. To 
a certain number of them, most of them as a matter of 
fact, I gave keys to the place. There weren't any special 
hours. They came to work when they could work, and if 
they wanted to come down at night and work, why, they 
could. Each one more or less worked out his own course. 
We'd have long discussions about the problems, and it 
was up to each one to solve it in his way. It was a 
delightful kind of a setup. It wasn't too profitable, but 


it was all right. But it wasn't really a going business 
concern or as well organized as a conventional school 
would be, because I left so much up to the students. But 
I think that they enjoyed it very much. 

I didn't have a very large crowd. The group was gust 
about right to handle properly given the facilities, and 
every Saturday after class, we used to sit around and have 
a little lunch together and everybody would talk about 
their work. A typical thing was a discussion we once 
had about the fionction of anatomy in the artist's work 
and its importance. (Incidentally, that's one thing I 
also taught at Layton; I gave the weekly anatomy lectures.) 
I said that it was up to them to decide that, and if they 
would read the lives of the artists, they'd find how much 
it varied. For one thing, in the days of the Renaissance 
so many of the artists had a marked enthusiasm for all 
scientific subjects. Da Vinci being the outstanding but 
not the unique example of that type of mind. You'd find 
they studied anatomy very seriously. In the case of a 
man like Michelangelo he is said to have practically 
ruined his health by doing it. That study was for a very 
good reason, because works of the figure on a very large 
scale, as in fresco painting, required a knowledge of the 
body that the painter, such as the Dutch painters, would 
not need to have. Rembrandt, for example, I don't imagine 
knew very much about anatomy. 


Well, some seemed to think that anatomy didn't mean 
too much to them, and I said I certainly wouldn't cram it 
down their throats, but if they wanted to know anatomy 
and found it useful, I believed that wherever they find 
anything that's useful, they should go after it, no matter 
what it is. 

There were two or three of the girls who thought that 
it would be an interesting and a valuable study. So, 
again, I had a different idea. Before, I had taught anatomy 
the regular way, with big sheets of paper, beginning with 
the construction and movement of the body, and, bit by 
bit, going down to its anatomical organization. But I 
told them that when I studied anatomy at the school in 
Boston, 1 felt that it was too diagrammatic. I said, "It's 
going to be really interesting and useful to you if you 
feel the function of the forms, the machinery. How does 
it work? It's not so much what the thing i_s. What does 
it do ? Then I think you'll find it interesting. At 
least I did. When I shifted my point of view from simply 
saying, 'This is located there and this muscle has its 
origin here and its insertion there' — to — 'What is it 
doing and why is it there?' — then it took on more life 
and meaning. I commenced to enjoy it." I also said, 
"Anatomy is something that somebody said you learn and 
forget three or four times, and the last time you forget 
it, you know it about right for your purposes." [laughter] 


And I have to confess that I have forgotten. I mean it's 
not easy stuff to keep in your mind, and you really don't 
think about it. Whatever you really need seems to come 
to mind automatically. And I said, "Well, we can't 
dissect a cadaver. That's rather an impractical sort of 
an idea. But there's a very strange thing. In the animal 
world the forms are analogous. You have biceps and triceps 
on the bird and the whale and the horse and the dog and the 
cat, gust as you have in our own arms. When it comes to 
the skeleton, the giraffe has seven cervical vertebrae, 
a mouse has seven cervical vertebrae, and we have seven 
cervical vertebrae. I think it's really very fascinating." 
I said, "If you go to the butcher shop and get a chicken, 
get a rabbit- or some other small animal and dissect it, 
you'll learn more of what a muscle is, what a tendon is, 
what an aponeurosis is and why it's there and what the body 
really is, than by looking at any number of charts in a 

Well, there was one girl who had taken biology in 
college, and she got enthusiastic and she and one or two 
others went to the butcher shop and got a chicken. Well, 
we had that chicken around the place for several weeks in 
formaldehyde, and they did a whale of a good Job [studying 
it]. I was delighted. I was sorry I couldn't give them 
some college credits or some reward. Of course, I didn't 
have anything to offer but the pleasure of accomplishment. 


The others, by association, learned quite a lot. 

Another time they wanted to know if they couldn't 
do some sculpture. I said, "Why, I'd be delighted if 
you'd do some." There was one girl who thought that would 
be wonderful. She had seen some work in stone, and the 
direct cutting in stone, she thought, would be exciting. 
I said, "I'd be very glad to have you do it if you feel 
like doing it. We'll go into this question of sculpture 
and look at sculpture and the history of sculpture and 
what the modern sculptors are doing and the technical 
procedure. I myself haven't done it, but I think v;e can 
get along quite well." So she went off someplace and 
found this stone outside of Milwaukee and nearly killed 
herself getting that stone back to the studio on street- 
cars and up the stairs. But she worked hard and did a 
good job. And that was another thing that was spontaneous 
combustion and worked out very well. 

In the meantime, of course, they were doing some 
steady work; they worked regularly from the model and 
direct painting from life, the study of composition and 
the regular things. Then someone would have a brainstorm 
about something else, and maybe it wouldn't go very far. 
Other times it would. 

That was a period when the enthusiasm for the Mexican 
mural painters was more or less at its height. Orozco and 
Rivera and Siqueiros v;ere doing things that made an impact 


on the yoiing American painter and his desire to do miiral 
painting. So my students decided they v/anted to do mural 
painting. I said, "I don't knov; anything about fresco, 
but if you want to know, I'll see if we can't find out." 

Well, it happened when I first vrent to the Layton 
School, a young fellow from Texas was one of my students. 
After he finished school I didn't see him for a long time, 
but when I started my school, he had come back to Milwaxikee. 
In the meantime, while he had been in Texas, he'd worked 
with a fresco painter. He had been doing murals in true 
fresco and had learned the technique, and so I said to 
him, "Won't you come down and show the kids how you do 
frescoes?" He said, "I'd be delighted." I said, "I can't 
pay you very much for it." V/ell, he wouldn't talce any 
money. He'd be glad to do it. He said, "It's very simple 
to do a demonstration, " and that he would fix up everything. 
What he did was to put chicken wire on a frame, and then 
the plaster in that. The other coat came last. So he 
came down and set up this frame with chicken v;ire, and his 
materials and carried through a small fresco. 

He developed it as it would be done if on a large 
scale — the preparation of the wall, the preparation of the 
plaster, the second coat, the cartoon, then the final coat, 
and the painting of the fresco. It was really quite an 
exciting thing for them to watch. It was for me, too. I 
enjoyed it very much. "Well, now, where are we going to 


paint the walls?" That was their next problem; they just 
had to do something. Frank Kirkpatrick was very cooperative. 
"Oh," he said, "you can have the walls all the way down 
to the street. Why don't you do the hall walls. There 
are three floors. Do anything that you want." I thought 
that was veiy generous of him because they weren't accomplished 
artists or experienced mural painters. They hadn't even 
learned to draw or paint professionally as yet. But they 
pitched in, and each one took a different medium. They 
didn't do any true fresco because that would have been a 
big job to get the old plaster off the wall and putting 
on a proper plaster would require an expert. They did it 
in egg tempera and in oil. I've forgotten what, but there 
were one or two other ways. We parcelled out panels and 
areas on the stairway and the hall all the way down to 
the street, and so they painted up the place fairly well. 
They were very ambitious murals in these various techniques, 
and they worked hard. Goodness, I'd go down there and it 
would be getting so dark I could hardly see, but here 
somebody would be up on a ladder tiying to finish up this 
thing because he or she had an hour to spare and could 
get down there and do a little more work. [ laughter] 
I often wondered what became of those things. I don't 
suppose they lasted very long because they weren't 
masterpieces. Some of the kids were talented, but they 
hadn't arrived as yet at doing anything much worth 


preserving. Anyway, I think that although it wasn't maybe 
too practical, it was a good antidote for some of the art 
education they were having. If it were overbalanced in 
one way, at least I felt that the ordinary courses in 
the art schools were inclined to be overbalanced in 
another way. I sympathized with some of the talented boys 
who [in the art schools] were restless and sometimes 
difficult, which I think was unnecessary if they had had 
a setup that provided for different temperaments. 

I forgot to mention the name of my little school. 
It was called "The Atelier. " Every once in a while I 
still hear echoes of it or get a letter from somebody — 
"those wonderful days in the Atelier." It's still remembered 

: x.i_ _x»x»_ _j_^ 

W-L Oil a.JLXt;C UJ-Ull. 

April 11, 1966 

NUTTING: I was somewhat surprised to find myself in 
Milwaukee, and it was something I didn't anticipate 
because I had never thought of coming West. In the years 
that I lived in Europe, whenever I thought of taking up 
my life in my home co^ontry again, it was with the idea of 
probably going to New York, that being the center of 
things. So going to a place about which I knew nothing, 
though I did have a certain amount of familiarity with the 
Middle West, I didn't know what to anticipate. But I 
found Milwaukee a surprisingly charming city. I say 

" r> In a Tnm' n cr " "hor-cmoo T Viottq crv iriQ-nTT Vicn-v-mT- Tno7noT''i ^ c n f i +- 

Of course, this is some thirty- five years ago now, and 
I've often wondered what has changed in the atmosphere. 
There was change taking place while I was there. You 
felt much of the old spirit of Milwaukee and also something 
of what was happening in the new atmosphere that was 
developing there. 

The first thing that struck me was the spirit of the 
old families of Milwaukee. Miss Erink and Miss Partridge 
had very pleasant social connections in Milwaukee; and we 
immediately met a number of delightful people. There 
were two streams, it seemed to me, of thought and feeling. 
One was from the German atmosphere, the old German families 


who preserved much old world charm. Their homes had the 
atmosphere of Germany of the days of our grandparents, 
something I didn't often see in Germany itself. Also, 
they had a love of good living and an interest in the 
arts. They were a cultivated and intelligent people. 
They loved the theater. They loved music, of course, as 
Germans do; so we always had good music in Milwaukee. 
And the families of English and New England heritage and 
ancestry seemed to form somewhat a complementaiy sort of 
an atmosphere. So, soon I commenced to appreciate my 
good fortune. The life had some reality to it. Also the 
fact was that there seemed to be surprising vitality among 
the young people. 

At the time that I lived in Milwaiikee, although I 
didn't realize it, there was an unusual number of talented 
young artists and musicians, people who have since ac- 
complished things, more so than in almost any other 
community that I have lived in. 

One of the activities there that I took part in was 
with the Wisconsin Players. My interest in the theater 
was strengthened by my friendship with Gordon Craig. 
It's not that I didn't have a real interest before, but 
he was a friend of such charm and erudition in matters of 
the theater and had such a creative mind in his sense not 
only of the drama but also in theater production that I 
began to have a yen to do something in the theater. Also 


that was largely because when I was in Paris, the Russian 
ballet was more or less at its height. The great dancer 
Nijlnsky v/as before my time, but Diaghilev was doing 
remarkable things. I saw rehearsals of his work in Rome, 
and I met Bakst, the famous designer for the Russian 
ballet. Then, when his performances were given in Paris, 
I was quite in attendance there. He also influenced the 
ballet and other companies. There was the Russian ballet 
company called the Kamerny Theatei; which had a very 
modem and interesting approach to the ballet, and the 
Swedish ballet also did some quite remarkable work. The 
fact that the ballet was more a combination of the talents 
of the musician, of the actor, of the dancer, of the 
producer, and of the designer than it had been in olden 
days was to me a fascinating idea. It seemed to me to 
be a wonderful art from which you could look forward, to 
something new and vital. The work that Diaghilev did when 
he was daring enough to get people like Picasso, Leger 
and Derain to do decor for his ballets seemed to me to 
make a field that I would love to be working in. 

When I got to Milwaukee, I found that the Wisconsin 
Players did some quite excellent work. It was a small 
theater which, I think, was really backed by Laura Sherry, 
who had had some renown as an actress. She was then 
married to one of the Milwaukee industrialists. There 
was one young actor in Milwaiikee, Edward Franz, who has 


since been successful. I've seen some excellent work of 
his filmed for TV, though he has also worked in the movies. 
He was in Milwaukee at that time, and I think he was the 
one who on a trip East met a Russian by the name of Boris 
Glagolin. Eddie Franz met him, I think, in New England 
just after he had done some work for Carnegie Tech in the 
production of plays there. He thought it would be great 
to get such a good director for the Wisconsin Players 
and, sure enough, they brought Glagolin out. He gave me 
a great insight into what the talent of a real director 
is like. Hardly without speaking and with occasional 
suggestion, he could bring out the talent of a young 
person surprisingly. 

That activity, of course, didn't take up too much 
time, but the work that I did had repercussions on my own 
ideas of art as a whole. Experience with another art, 
I think, always helps one in understanding what the 
significance of what one's own work may be. I'm dead 
against this idea of an art being isolated, that it's 
something that you have to understand by itself. There 
is such a thing as a creative instinct — whether using 
this form or that form or this material or that material — 
that is common to all the arts. I think the theater is 
an excellent field in which to develop and broaden in. 

What I felt was going to be a great art of the 
future — the combination of the talents of the painter, the 


musician, the actor, the writer, and the dancer in some 
kind of new art form — has not materialized. Those of us 
who were working with the Wisconsin Players had rather 
special feelings for the stage as a visual experience. 
After all, you're looking at a stage performance; you're 
looking at color; you're looking at form, design, and 
movement. The more literary-minded person might not 
feel this. So the poetry and the drama might be emphasized 
in a way that it wouldn't get its full value because it 
was not well related to other aspects of good theater. 

The most ambitious thing that I did was Lope de Vega's 
The Gardener' s Dog . We had to use quite a little 
ingenuity there because the theater had been a little 

not very large. We felt The Gardener' s Dog ought to be 
put on with at least a suggestion of the opulence and 
somewhat the grandeur of the Baroque period. I got over 
part of the difficulty by bringing the decor down into 
the orchestra and partly by the use of what would 
ordinarily, I suppose, be called false perspective by the 
layman. By having the vanishing points of a building on 
the side, it looked as though you saw a long way into the 
distance. If you have the backdrop painted so that your 
horizon is way off there, even though it's only a few 
feet away, it can look like miles away if you can arrange 
your forms properly. Of course, it involves problems for 


the actor, because in moving to the wrong part of the 
stage the actor might suddenly look rather colossal, 
getting into a place where he doesn't fit in the per- 
spective. But that was all worked out nicely, and I 
think that it was a fair success. 

It was a valuable experience in my own field, that 
is to say, composition, design, use of form and color. 
On the strength of that, the president of a club in 
Milwaukee wanted me to do a backdrop for a sketch that 
was going to be given for one of their performances. 
It was an old German club, associated in some way with 
similar societies in Germany. It was a club partly social 
and partly cultural. I was never quite clear as to what 
the function of the club v;as, but the members were mostly 
people of German families in Milwaukee. I said I'd be 
delighted to do a set. He said he'd provide the materials 
for it. I went down to do it, and I was quite horrified. 
He had huge pieces of wrapping paper on the wall and some 
watercolors. I thought from what he said that he'd get 
me some scene painter's material, you know, and have a 
cotton drop and it would be all ready for me, because he 
seemed to know exactly what he wanted. I expostulated 
with him that I couldn't do very much with just some 
ordinary v/atercolors and wrapping paper. I said, "In 
the first place, the wrapping paper is going to get wet 
if I use the watercolor at all freely. It will all get 


buckled up. I don't think I can do anything at all." 
He said, "Of course you can. I'm sure you can." 

Anyway, there wasn't time to do anything else. I 
had to do that or nothing at all. So I said, "Okay, 
I'll try." He told me what the sketch was going to be, 
and we agreed on a suggestion of a landscape. I sketched 
out a small thing that he thought would be a good idea. 
There 'd be a road and a field on one side and some trees 
and then a body of water, and beyond that, some blue hills. 
It was a very simple sort of thing for v;hat I think was a 
musical number. When I got through, I looked at it and 
thought, "Well, this is certainly hopeless. He'll have 
to do something else." But he didn't seem to be at all 
disturbed, which surprised me. It turned out he knew more 
than I did, in spite of my now having had a little 
experience with what can be done with light, because 
when the performance was put on and I was waiting to see 
what in the world he had managed to do at the last moment, 
and expecting some sort of makeshift substitute, the 
curtain went up and to my amazement there was my painting 
and it looked just fine. I just couldn't believe my 
eyes. It looked so good that the audience applauded. 
It was the only set that they applauded. They seemed to 
like this landscape. I couldn't figure out how so much 
was made of it. Afterwards I did, of course. But that's 
one of the delightful things of working with a thing of 


ttiat sort. You can talce such extremely simple materials 
and make them look like a million dollars if they're 
used in the right context and with the right light and 

I would have been very happy to work for the theater 
if I'd had the training and the talent for it. To have 
been something like a Reinhardt or an Appia or a Craig and 
work for the theater would have been a wonderful experience, 
I am sure I would have enjoyed it very much indeed. Well, 
that and my little stabs at various kinds of acting were 
what occupied me at the theater. 

The theater itself, apparently, had always had very 
good direction and had interesting talent. Eddie Franz, 
for example, has since become a successful actor, and 
before my time, Angna Enters, I was told, practically 
began her career in the Wisconsin Players. It v/as an 
intelligent and talented group of people who worked in it 
and who patronized it. 

The other activity which I took part in besides the 
Wisconsin Players was an old society called The Walrus Club. 
In those days, they had quite a tradition for promoting 
things of cultural value — music, art, literature. But 
their principal activity, at least what they were best 
known for, so far as the city at large was concerned, was 
their annual ball, the Walrus Ball. It was one of the 
events in those days in Milwaxokee. They had a big ballroom 


in the Hotel Pfister, and all the artist members of the 
clubs would work for days beforehand on the decoration of 
the place, and they usually did a very good job. I, of 
course, contributed my part to the decoration. For some 
strange reason, I did only one thing, but it v/as rather 
a big job. I seemed to have more nerve in those days 
than I think I would have now. The motif of the ball that 
year was Dante's Inferno, so that gave quite a chance 
for the people to do rather grotesque cutouts and all 
sorts of fantastic things. I had an idea of painting a 
large thing, a sort of descent-into-Hell picture. They 
stretched a piece of cotton for me, the scene painter's 
sort of stuff. I've forgotten how big it was, but it 
must have been at least ten by twelve feet. I thought 
that would be rather nice if I could have a descent-into- 
Hell scene at the end of the ballroom. [ laughter] 
Doggonit, I did the thing, and it came out all right. I 
don't know whether I have a photograph of it or not. But, 
of course, it was a job. I had a number of figures in 
it, and it took quite a lot of time and real work. But 
it was fairly successful and people liked it. 

Ify other contribution that year at the ball was a 
dance that somebody persuaded me to do. I loved to 
dance, although I don't think I ever showed off or any- 
thing, but I always liked to go to dances and loved it. 
So somebody said, "Why don't you do a dance for the Walrus 


Ball?" I said, "Well, I couldn't do anything. > You have 
to have training and ability to perform in public, to 
say nothing of talent, and I have none of these." "Oh, 
I think you'd be wonderful." They buttered me up, and 
so I fell for it. I got a young dancing teacher in 
Milwaukee there to give me some ideas about pantomime 
and steps. 

But the better influence was from a woman who had 
been on the stage with a group of girls that at one time 
had been quite famous. I can't recall the name of it. 
But she had a much better idea I think. She said, "In- 
stead of learning some pat sort of a thing which a dancing 
teacher will teach you, just go ahead and work up your 
own pantomime. It will be much more amusing and much 
better than if you depend on lessons." I finally agreed 
with her. 

Well, the end of that little story is that I had a 
niuQber in which I made myself up as an African and did 
some kind of a voodoo dance effect. I managed to get my 
whole body coal black, put some gold around my middle 
and had a strange kind of thing built up on the top of 
my head. My face was painted in a mask sort of a way 
which made me look rather inhuman. Then I had a little 
partner, one of the members who was rather short, and 
all he had to do was to trot around after me with a big 
umbrella, [laughter] We worked this thing out with a 
couple of these things from a children's playground in 


which they slide down a chute, you know. What do you 
call those things? 

NUTTING: Slides, yes. We set those two things up in 
the middle of the floor, and with beaverboard and one 
thing and another we made a huge mask and the slide came 
out of this huge grotesque mask like a tongue. Here was 
an opening of a mouth, a mask and a slide. There was a 
very good orchestra, and all of a sudden, what the 
audience saw, after the orchestra started playing the 
"St. Louis Blues, " was these two guys shooting out of the 
mouth of these huge masks — one, a coal black, naked 
creature and the other, a little guy with a big umbrella 
made of palm leaves or something. Then I went into my 
routine of the "St. Louis Blues," and believe it or not, 
it was a great success, [much laughter throughout] 
SCHIPEERS: Oh, no! ^e greatest picture. [laughter] 
NUTTING: Our appearance, I think, was very sudden. 
We sort of shot down and up off this slide onto the 
floor and went into all these strange movements. 

Well, my costume wasn't exactly appropriate for 
ballroom dancing^ but I had prepared for that beforehand. 
We took a room in the hotel with a bath. This served a 
double purpose. It not only gave me a chance to get 
washed up and put on another costume, it also gave us a 
place to gather with our friends for drinks. You see, 
these were the days of prohibition, and we had to depend 


on our hip flasks when going out in the evening. It 
turned out that I lost quite a lot of the conviviality 
because I was in the tub trying to get the black off of 
me. I would be afraid to say how many tubfuls of what 
looked like gallons of black ink I emptied before I got 
myself looking anywhere near like a white man. I then 
put on a pseudo-Florentine costume, I've forgotten just 
what, for the rest of the evening. I still remember 
what seemed like hours of struggle with the black paint 
while hearing the laughter and gaiety of our nice friends 
in the next room. 

The following year they put on another ball, and a 
woman who had charge of that sort of thing [laughter] 
bedeviled me so to do something of that sort again. 
SCHIPKIBS: [laughing] Tou could follow a dog act. This 
is too much! 

MJTTIIJG: I'd thought I'd shot my bolt, so what actually 
happened was I happened to get a vacation alon^ about 
that time and went down to Chicago to escape importunities 
from my admirers. 

I did do one once for a smaller gathering. I parodied 
a whole lot of dances, including a Russian dance. The 
way we figured the thing out v/as that a fellow appeared 
at the end from behind the wings and whacked me over the 
head and dragged me off by my heels. That was quite 
successful too, but that was a smaller occasion, [laughter] 


Well, let's pause in our mad career, [tape off] 

I arrived and started my work in Milwaukee in 1929 
and everything was going very smoothly, very happily, 
until the banks were closed and the Depression fell on 
us. It was out of a completely clear sky, though I had 
one friend who, for some days, seemed to have some inkling 
of the closing of the banks and kept urging me to see to 
it that we were financially fixed. She said, "You know, 
the banks are going to be closed and you won't be able to 
get any money from your bank, so be sure that you've got 
enough money." I thought that was very strange and 
I wondered how she knew about it, but she didn't say, 
or wouldn't say. Sure enough, there was this unbelievable 
event and so far as we were all concerned, completely 

One of the first things that happened was that the 
Layton School was extremely hard hit. However, I stayed 
on for some time. There was, in the spirit of the 
artists at that time, understandably, a veiy definite 
change. It wasn't so much a change as an intensification 
of a certain feeling that we had as a sort of a movement 
in painting, that is, more and more emphasis on the 
American scene and more emphasis on the feeling of gaining 
freedom from foreign influences. 

That thing really started with the Ash Can School, 
with people like [George] Bellows and [Robert] Henri and 


[Everett] Shinn and [George] Luks and those painters who 
promoted that sort of a feeling very much up to that 
time. But with the Depression and with the violent 
change in attitude towards life that people v/ere forced 
to adopt, young painters developed a great enthusiasm 
for a "social significance." Well, I don't think that I 
felt that any less than they did, but I didn't interpret 
it in terms of art as they did. It may he that I was 
wrong. As I look back now, maybe I ought to have taken 
more part in it and thought of my function as an artist 
in society more in those tenns. But instead of that, 
I was always arguing against a lot of the ideas that they 
would bring up. Thej would cite a man like Goya, for 
example, or Daumier, but I would try to point out that 
Goya and Daumier were great artists, but not because they 
were commentators, not because their things were propaganda 
or gave comments on the life of the time or the society 
of the time in the same way that a cartoonist's work does, 
for example. With all respect for a cartoonist's work, 
once that period is past, its interest is usually 
historical — the comment that was made at that time. [Sir 
John] Tenniel, for example, had a drawing in Punch called 
"Dropping the Pilot." Emporer Wilhelm is dropping Bismarck. 
He is going down the gangway to his boat, and it epitomizes 
something in history pictorially. But it's not a great 
work of art, though it's well drawn and a classic cartoon. 


But Goya and Daumier were great artists, not because the 
material that they happened to use were the horrors of 
war in Spain or the somewhat drab and melancholy feeling 
of the poor in Paris. That is, it was a sublimation of 
experience. It wasn't simply giving expression to that 
experience. So that may have been, as I look back now, 
a certain rationalization on my part for a more abstract 
feeling in painting, things that I had enjoyed and had 
meant so much to me up to that time in my love of painting. 
I was interested in Michelangelo, for example, not because 
of what he had to say about the Last Judgment. I didn't 
care too much about The Last Judgment, but I foiind much 
of his work very moving. If you could paint something 
because of your experiences with the Depression, that's 
great, but at the time I wasn't going hungry, even though 
it wasn't a very bright prospect. But I wasn't giving 
expression to my sufferings, and to do it vicariously by 
simply illustrating somebody else's experiences wasn't 
something that I felt was true to my concept of art. Well, 
the only thing that resulted from that was that I felt 
out of step with my fellow artists to some extent and 
especially with the ones that I would have enjoyed most 
being more heartily in sympathy v;ith — the yoimger artists. 
Of course, with the older ones, it was rather a different 
matter. So there was a certain sense of isolation that 
I wouldn't have had otherwise, but it wasn't really actually 


so much of one because I took part quite enthusiastically 
in activities. 

I sent to the annual show of the Wisconsin Painters 
and Sculptors, at the Art Institute in Milwaukee, and I 
was quite impressed with the fact that I v;as turned down 
much more frequently than I would he in Paris, [laughter] 
I never could quite understand it. Not long ago, I 
happened to find an old catalog of the Autumn Salon where 
I had four canvases in one year. But I'd send what I 
would think would be my best thing to the Wisconsin 
Painters and Sculptors, and as likely as not, I'd get 
turned down. I didn't feel too badly about that because 
I found that was true of some of the best artists who were 
showing. It's an experience that they have out here in 
California, too. Very well-known and very able and 
undeniably quite successful painters don't feel at all 
put out when their things are turned down because that 
often happens. The general drive [is in favor of] what 
is young, what is a new movement and what is significant. 
It's not altogether the fault of the jury. I've served 
on juries myself and I could see that a certain work might 
be superb of its kind but that it had been done before. 
It's excellent in a gallery where it meets its public, 
but to the person who goes to an exhibition to see what 
is germinating, what's happening, what is alive , it hasn't 
too much meaning. I served on juries a number of times, 


and I learned how difficult their work is. It didn't 
take long. As a matter of fact, I could see it very 
quickly, which is one reason I dislike very much serving 
on art juries. I always took it very seriously and 
worked very hard and was never too happy with my work 
after I had gotten done with it. 

In spite of what I said about being out of step, 
•I must say that I had very sympathetic consideration 
from all of my colleagues in that part of the country 
and was an officer in the Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors. 
For one year I was their president. Something happened 
in a funny sort of way. There was some kooky kind of a 
guy who used to pose at various art schools and he spread 
the idea that I was a Nazi, very much to my amazement. 
I didn't know it until long afterwards when somebody told 
me what it was all about. But there was one group of 
young people, some of whom had been my students when I 
first went to Milwaukee, that formed a club at the Jewish 
Center. One day they got to questioning me quite a lot, 
but I didn't know what they were driving at. As I learned 
afterwards, what really happened was that they became quite 
convinced that I was anything but a Nazi. I mean the fact 
that I was a warm friend of Ludwig Lewisohn, for example, 
and things of that sort, became proof against my being 
anything of the sort. So there was nothing at all 
suspicious about me, and as a result, I was made an 


associate member of an art club in the Jewisla Center. 
They couldn't make me a member because I am not Jewish, 
but some Jewish boys wanted to show their appreciation by 
making me an associate member. I was a former teacher 
of some of them. 

That was in the days of the John Reed Club, and I 
sometimes talked at their meetings. They had a section 
of the club made up of a bunch of yo^ung artists, and they, 
as well as writers and other people who were members of 
the John Reed Club, would get me to talk. But I never 
was able to debate very successfully on the relation of 
art to politics or on the meaning of art and its social 
significance. I was more of a listener than I Mas a 
debater in those things. However, I apparently did find 
material to talk about. They seemed to like to have me 
talk. I found them sympathetic. The fate, of course, 
of the artists was that few of them made any sales or could 
get work during the Depression, and many of them had a 
very difficult time. 

There was one young friend of mine, who was quite a 
good painter and had done quite well, and he knew scene 
painting. In those days they did a great deal of that 
sort of thing; there was a big establishment in Milwaukee 
for the painting of theatrical scenery. But there was 
no work to be had in that field, and he couldn't find any 
other commercial art with which to make a living. He 
tried opening a little grocery store to support his 


family and that didn't work. I was rather impressed by 
him. He told me about the various things he tried to do 
to make a living. He said one of the most successful 
things he did and that kept him going quite a little while 
[was something he did with phonograph records]. One day 
he walked down the street and outside of a secondhand store, 
some kind of a gunk shop, was a great stack of old phono- 
graph records that were worn out. He found he could buy 
them very cheap, and he bought an armload of these records 
and took them home. In the middle of them, he painted 
little landscapes and little scenes so that the outside of 
the record formed a frame for this circular composition 
in the middle of it. He dabbled out these little pictures, 
a whole stack of them, and took them out to a summer resort 
on one of the lakes there and set his records up by the 
roadside. They sold very well, and he went home with some 
money for groceries. That vias just one example of what 
some of the artists had to go through. 

I, of course, saw this atmosphere of trouble and 
difficulties, but fortunately enough did not have to meet 
those problems so closely, [tape off] 

Of course, there were two projects that were inaugu- 
rated very soon. Miss Partridge was the head of the work 
in Milwaiikee. One was the Federal Art Project and the 
other which was related to it (I don't know exactly in 
what way) , was the American Index of Design. They were 


both projects that meant quite a lot to art in this 
coimtry subsequently. The Index of Design was rather an 
iinusual one. It's not the sort of thing that many would 
think of. I don't know exactly who first had the idea. 
I think that the painter Henry Vamum Poor v;as one, but 
I'm not sure about that. The history of it is something 
by itself and worthwhile to study for anyone interested 
in art in this countiy. What it primarily did was to give 
a living, especially to commercial artists who were out 
of work, but it also made a very genuine contribution to 
art history. First of all, somebody had worked up the 
techniques for doing the drawings which were mostly in 
transparent watercolor with maybe some opaque color, 
depending on the motif. Then they searched the country- 
side for tools and all sorts of things that had to do 
especially with the crafts. One very interesting part 
was to run down all the figureheads from old ships (in 
the days of sailing ships, they had a carved figure on 
the bow), and they made watercolor renderings of these 

Ity grandfather, as I have said, was trained as a 
toolmaker, and I have a couple of planes that he made. 
They are beautifully made, and they borrowed one of those 
planes and that was rendered by one of the workers in the 
Index of Design Project. You'd think it would have been 
much simpler to take color photographs of a great many 
things, and, of course, color photographs are invaluable 


and in their way cannot be surpassed, but there was some- 
thing about the work that they did in the Index of Design 
that could not be gotten from the color photograph, very- 
much in the same way that you cannot get from photography 
exactly the documentation that doctors want for a medical 
illustration. By rendering it, they could get into it 
and give you the make of it in a way that you can't get 
even with the best of lighting. Very often you get 
obscured images and things are lost in shadow when you 
have to deal with the effect of light. By rendering in 
watercolor you get the complete make of the object and 
not its effect under a certain light. Now it requires a 
great deal of skill because these things were very highly 
finished. It didn't take them too long. The experienced 
ones could do them fairly rapidly. At the same time, to 
look at them, they had almost the effect of a color 
photograph in the completeness of detail, the grain of 
the wood, the textures. 

One girl was especially good at rendering old 
samplers. In the days of our great-grandparents, little 
girls had to begin learning their needlework right away 
by making a sampler of "God Bless Our Home" or something 
in letters and little flowers on it. They learned to 
use their needle that way. So the people on the project 
got a hold of all of the samplers they could find. They 
had boys out ranging the whole countryside of Wisconsin 


for anything of that sort that would be interesting from 
the point of view of design. They'd borrow them and 
these renderings would be made^ and this girl could do the 
sampler so well that when you saw it on the v;all, it looked 
like the real thing was pinned up there. She did a beautiful 
job with a combination of transparent watercolor and Chinese 
white. Well, offhand you would think that's very interesting 
documentation, but it has rather more than that. 

I don't know how much of the Index of Design has been 
published. I did see a book on the figureheads from the sail- 
ing ships. But it is material that ought to be accessible 
to all designers, because it showed the evolution or the 
changes that took place in certain forms and certain 
designs. It seems to me quite analogous to what's hap'^ened 
to folk music. A tune that's known in one part of the 
country, you'll find in another part of the coiintry v;ith 
a certain difference, and you can trace it back to an 
early version. From that it goes back, and maybe you'll 
find it in England, although it might be barely recognizable. 
In this way, you can trace some of the artistic influences 
in this country that came from the various countries — for 
example, how a Scandinavian design for painted furniture 
will be foiond in some other form in New England. Then 
the family moves West or goes South and some other idea 
is added so there's a certain change of style. The 
history of design in this country is beautifully documented 


by this v/ork. 

Then, of course, the artist was put to work. They 
had paintings, and he simply produced a certain number of 
canvases and got so much a v;eek. Then there were other 
things that were done, but the doing of murals, of course, 
was the most ambitious part of the project. There v;as 
a lot of awfully bad mural painting done. We have to 
confess that. But also it did a great deal to revivify 
the idea of mural painting and to get people to think 
about it very seriously, both the artist and the public. 
There was at that time a strong influence in this country 
from the Mexican artists — Diego Rivera and Orozco and 
Siqueiros. The young fellows who believed in the idea of 
social significance were especially keen on their work 
and were influenced by them. I did some murals, but 
although I began as a boy with the ambition of doing 
mural painting, the thought about that field more or 
less lapsed during my stay in Europe. I hadn't entirely 
forgotten it, but I hadn't given it any very serious 
consideration. The only time that I did sort of think 
of it seriously was when Maurice Denis and Georges 
Desvallieres started their school of religious art, which 
would be painting for church decoration. I had an idea 
that I'd like to join the school, but both Denis and 
Desvallieres seemed to feel that it was a school which 
was really not done primarily for profit. It was really 


a project on their part for the benefit of church art, 
and they wanted students who were Catholic or communicants 
that would really make a career of ecclesiastical art. 
But aside from that, I hadn't thought about it, and when 
all of a sudden I was asked to do a mural for a school, 
I was quite nonplussed. In the first place, with all my 
admiration for Orozco and Rivera, I didn't want to do any 
Orozcos and Riveras, and I didn't know exactly what I 
wanted to do except that I did not like the idea of simply 
making a colored pattern on the wall. What I had felt 
as being great wall painting can be seen even in a fresco 
such as Giotto's. As early as that you can see his talent 
as a painter. And what is most vivid in my memory are 
the great Venetians — the Veronese s, the Tintorettos, the 
Titians. Even on large scale work, they were essentially 
painters. But to make mural painting real painting is a 
difficult problem, and I felt that it had not often been 
solved in modern time. So I didn't enter on the subject 
too enthusiastically, but I was glad to have the chance 
at least of doing something and having it in place. 

A school in Wisconsin wanted a panel of historical 
significance. Well, of course, you know what they wanted. 
They wanted a big illustration which would make a very 
nice background for some part of the auditorium, something 
of that sort, and I'm afraid that that's more or less 
what I did. I tried to give my composition a certain 


monumental quality so that it would not be just an 
illustration, but at the same time, it could be read as 
one with costumes, characters, figures that would be 
plausible to the general public. I did a frieze for a 
high school in Wauwatosa, near Milwaiikee. Then the Museum 
of Natural History in Milwaukee had an idea. The director 
was very keen about having paintings to illustrate histoiy 
and archeology. The idea was not uninteresting; I liked 
the idea. He had a German who had been working there for 
a good many years. He was a little old man who came to 
this country when he was young. In those days, they used 
to do big panoramas, very realistic, huge pictures as in 
cycloramic form, and he stayed in Milwaukee and was 
spending the last years of his life at the museum doing 
these very bad paintings of Indians and Custer's massacre 
and one thing and another. They wanted to know if I 
would do some things for them under the project. Well, 
again, I was pleased with the idea of doing big canvases, 
but it didn't work out too well. I did two or three things, 
and then I had this disagreement with the director of the 
museum. It was not because he criticized my ability, 
but because he always wanted to have something in this or 
that. He wanted to have an exact picture, and after the 
picture was composed, he wanted something else done to it 
so as to make it more informative. In other words, what 
he wanted was a big illustration. 

April 18, 1966 

NUTTING: I didn't get very much satisfaction out of my 
work at the museum. When I first started the project, 
I thought it would be very interesting because it would 
give me a chance to do these big canvases that I had 
always dreamt about. They v/anted to have some rather 
large illustrations, and I didn't mind putting in the 
research to make them illustrative. I thought it would be 
an interesting problem to do something that had some 
decorative value and that would be beyond simply enlarge- 
ments of pictures. But I found that the director had no 
idea of a picture except that it was something that was 
completely documentary. And the fact is, most of their 
stuff had very much the same feeling. An artifact is 
something that must be analyzed from the point of viev; of 
time, certain kinds of culture, things of that sort, and 
was never looked upon from the point of viev/ of the artist, 
So, sometimes, some very beautiful things would be mixed 
up with a lot of junk just because it fitted in solely 
according to their classification, which I thought was 
rather a depressing attitude towards much of the beautiful 
material that they had. 

The people that called themselves anthropologists 
there often had, v;hat seemed to me, an extremely narrow 


attitude towards that sort of thing. When I finally got 
a large canvas going that I really liked, I'd show my 
sketches and work out the composition, and the director 
would think it was very good, but when I got halfway 
through, all of a sudden he had new ideas about it. When 
you take a big canvas that you've worked on, have it all 
laid in, then have to change it and throw in stuff that 
you hadn't counted on, it just wrecks your pictures. I thought 
it wasn't quite fair. If I'd had warning in the first 
place, I wouldn't have minded so much, but this thing had 
been going on, as a matter of fact, on two or three things 
that I did there. So I got rather peevish, and I packed 
up all my things and simply walked out. Miss Partridge, 
who was directing the project for that region, seemed to 
sympathize. She said, "Well, that's all right. We v/ant 
you to keep up the work for the project. Won't you make 
a contribution?" And the result was that I did a few 
portraits. Of course, they were rather difficult things 
to do, official sort of things, more or less the same 
sort of a problem. People would criticize them because 
they weren't finished enough, or they weren't quite the 
exact likeness of what they thought was the man. 

An especially difficult one was of a man that I 
never saw. He was a founder of one of the small colleges 
or a normal school — I've forgotten what it was — and all 
I had was a lot of old photographs and what they could 


tell me about the man's coloring. So it was a discouraging 
kind of a job. But it was all right. I didn't mind. 
It was good discipline in a way. So that was part of my 
work until I left the project. 

I've forgotten how much I was paid. It was a weekly 
sum, and the fact is that it's rather discouraging [to 
recall things] when I don't have any memoranda to refer to. 
I've forgotten so much. After all, it's also rather 
shocking to realize how long ago it was! [laughter] 
So maybe it isn't altogether too surprising that things 
that I haven't thought about for a good many years are 
not clear in my mind in detail. However, I think they 
did some quite excellent work on the project. Some of 
the boys did some very good mural painting, and it's too 
bad that more of that spirit of mural painting hasn't 
been carried on. I suppose, of course, in a way it has. 
It gave us stimulus and brought forth some excellent 
talent that has developed since. 

The other project that I mentioned, the American Index 
of Design, I think was really a magnificent thing. It 
put the whole spirit of American design [before us] and 
made us feel there was such a thing as American design. 
Although it was derivative, it was interesting to see how 
a certain spirit of design in New England might be picked 
up and carried to the South in a different spirit and 
seemed to take on a certain coloring in various things. 


The objects that were used varied from farm tools to 
needlework to all sorts of things which illustrated the 
crafts and the artistic feeling and general expression 
of form and color in American life. The portrait painting, 
of course, was not such an interesting project. I would 
have liked to have worked on the Index of Design, but it 
required an extremely meticulous technique, and it was 
surprising that they foinad so many people who could do 
it really very well, or if they couldn't, many seemed to 
learn very rapidly, especially boys who had been working 
in commercial art and were used to rather meticulous 
derivative sort of work and were familiar v;ith a variety 
of techniques and were very clever at using their skills 
in similar ways, [tape off] 

Veil, during all this time, of course, I was very 
busy with my teaching. I had a very interesting group 
of yoTing people. I pretty well described our activities 
there which, from the point of view of a school where 
you'd have a large number of students, wouldn't be too 
practical. In a way, it was a cooperative thing to the 
extent that they had the responsibility of preparing 
their own projects and making their own decisions as to 
courses of study. Of course, I would gather up all 
sorts of material from my own experience and the experience 
of other people that I would cite: that if you want to do 
this, then this sort of discipline you'd find necessary; or 


for tills, you should improve your skill as a draftsman; 
or for this, there are certain techniques that would be 
required. That worked out usually quite well, because 
when they found a sudden impulse, like they had for the 
mural painting, instead of waiting for more preparation 
they pitched right in and did it. 

I was influenced in advising them to do that sort of 
thing by Robert Henri. Robert Henri is pretty well 
recognized as one of the really great teachers that we had 
in this country because he seemed to have a genius for 
bringing out the personal feelings and talents of his 
student, in contrast to most teachers who left the imprint 
of their own work on their students. A Chase student would 
paint like Chase. A Duveneck student would paint like 
Duveneck and so on. I didn't feel that was essentially 
bad because we find in the history of art, that the yoiing 
painter has usually been obviously a product of a certain 
master, just as Raphael's vrork as a boy looked exactly 
like Perugino, and the young Van Dyck painted as much 
like Rubens as he possibly could and even tried to completely 
imitate Rubens' compositions and did them very well. 
Afterwards, he exploited his own talent and his own 
feeling. A man like Turner, whose exhibition is being 
held at present in New York, seems to be such a huge 
success. (I see they're reproducing him in color in 
several magazines; he's made quite a splash.) As a young 


fellow he spent years playing what Robert Louis Stevenson 
would call "the sedulous ape" to other painters. Stevenson 
said that ' s what he did as a writer, and to many painters 
the same applies. But Henri had this ability to encourage 
a student to be himself, so that there were very few 
students of his whose work shows any obvious Henri in- 
fluence. And a number really have gone places. 

I had a Saturday class. A good many had to work at 
night because of their work, and my life classes were also 
at night. But Saturday we could get together and work in 
the morning and then have a little lunch on the model 
stand, and then we'd discuss all our problems. Each one 
would bring up some idea or some difficulty or some 
question, and we'd throw it around, and give it the works. 

I also had the good fortune to get a hold of a press, 
because some of them wanted to do prints. The old-fashioned 
lithographic press was falling into complete disuse about 
that time. Many of the printing houses still had them 
for pulling proofs. (Milwaukee, incidentally, from early 
days, was a center of lithographic printing.) But they 
weren't using the old processes and had these old proof 
presses which they sold cheaply. So, I got one, and a 
number of the students went to work on lithography. Also 
we found that by using thin metal, we could even print 
from copperplates. We couldn't use the standard sheet that 
is used for engraving, but with thin sheets, they could 


get some fine experience and it often printed quite 

The principle of the lithographic press is not the 
same as that used in other forms of printing but the use 
of thin metal solved the difficulty and quite a lot of 
quite interesting work was done. I don't know how many 
of them kept it up, but they got a good start. 

As I did with other things, such as when they wanted 
to do fresco painting, I had this friend, who had been 
working with the Mexican painters in the Diego Rivera 
entourage and who had learned fresco painting quite well, 
come around to give them a demonstration of the technique 
of fresco; when it came to lithographic printing, I found 
a fellow from one of the companies there who came around 
and spent an evening demonstrating lithographic printing 
and processes — preparing the stone and so forth. He gave 
them professional advice and demonstration, which v/orked 
out quite well because after you know the essentials of 
it, there's not too much to learn. It's just a matter of 
practice and study. So we were doing sculpture and 
painting and mural painting and all sorts of things, 
including this little course of anatomy that I mentioned 
for which the girls got the chicken and dissected it. 
That worked out quite well in a small school, but I could 
see it wasn't a way to really build up the school, to go 
any further in having a real art school. It was more of 


a club than it was an organized school, [tape off] 
I think I would have developed the school if I had stayed 
in Milwaukee, because I felt it was definitely the nucleus 
of something interesting, especially for older students. 
At places like the Layton School, of course, they were 
mostly all young people out of high school who could 
spend their entire time there, but I found that there 
were also many young people who were entering professional 
life who also wanted to learn more. A good many people 
in my night class were professional and commercial artists, 
who came to study for that reason and also because the 
setup there gave them a place to experiment in new 
techniques and materials which they might not have at home. 
I had a little art library there, and I took down quite 
a number of books, so that if any questions came up, we 
could have illustrations and some inspiration from 
collections of prints and documents. 

We held exhibitions of the students' work. We went 
that far towards having a conventional school atmosphere. . 
And, of course, one thing they enjoyed very much were 
things like Christmas parties. Those were always a great 
success, [laughter] Of course, they're bound to be, 
especially if you have a congenial crowd as this one was. 
But as events turned out, we left Milwa;ikee somewhat 
unexpectedly, I mean so far as anticipation was concerned. 
The reasons for it, v;e'll get around to later, [tape off] 


Coming back to my homeland was in its way as thrilling 
an. experience as leaving it in the first place for my life 
in Europe. So much had happened while I was away. Not 
only had life itself changed, but also I myself had 
changed. I didn't know exactly how I would feel. Ve 
never felt that we were expatriates or foreigners in a 
foreign country, partly because we both had a deep sympathy 
for life in the countries we lived in, that is to say, 
Italy and France. We made them really a part of ourselves. 
But, at the same time, [we kept contact with our homeland] , 
a great many of our compatriots, but also because we kept 
up our contact in other ways. My wife, I remember, 
always was a very faithful reader of the Saturday Evening 
Post because she felt that was one of the truly American 
magazines. Of course, in a way, it is. [laughter] 
And so she used to read it, not so much because of its 
literary interest but because it made her feel in touch 
with her own coiintry. 

There were certain things I didn't know exactly how 
I would react to. One thing that I didn't take much 
interest in, for example (never have, unfortunately), 
was sports. I always tried to be interested in what was 
happening with the ball games, with the tennis champions 
and that sort of thing, because I had friends who would 
get very excited and could hardly wait to get the news of 
this or that or the other thing that was happening in the 


world of sports. I wondered if I would get excited if I 
got back into contact with the people who really took 
such things seriously. I was disappointed to find that 
I didn't, and I rather wondered why. Baseball, for 
example — I remember in high school, I used to be quite 
enthusiastic about our efforts in that field. 

This leads me to another thing that I have been thinking 
about in going back over these times: that is, your 
attitude towards the world around you is fonned early and 
it will influence you throughout life, sometimes to your 
advantage and sometimes making it difficult and something 
to be overcome. The playing of games, the competitive 
ideas were something that I did not have too much contact 
with at an age when it would be quite important. 

But what I started to say was that it had the 
advantage that whatever was done I did because that was 
what I enjoyed doing, not because I felt that I was 
getting the better of somebody else, that I was ahead of 
him in this or behind in that, measuring myself with 
somebody else, as you would in a competitive work. That 
is one reason why I never have been too happy with the 
idea of prizes in art, for example, or that a person 
should get a certain award just because a certain group 
of people thinks it's important, for maybe if it were a 
few years later, with a different spirit abroad, why, the 
person would not get any recognition at all. It seems to 


me that is measuring the value of a v;ork. If the Judges 
have understanding and appreciation, that's all right, 
but how are you going to measure it? Giving a medal 
always has puzzled me. It also made me very unhappy 
when I was teaching that I had to give grades, because I 
felt I really didn't know how to grade. Just because 
something fell below a certain standard and a certain 
preconceived idea of what a person ought to do, didn't 
seem to me to be exactly valid. But, of course, that was 
necessaiy in a well-organized school. I suppose a kid 
wants to know where he stands, and in certain fields, like 
a commercial art school, for example, in which I taught 
for a while here in Los Angeles, there is an understanding 
of what the demands are and what the market is for your 
work. Your ability to meet that can be measured to some 
extent. In that case, I think there is something rational, 
something valid about it. 

In the last week, in thinking about that period and 
what happened to me on my return to my own country, [I 
was struck with] the difference between that and this life 
that I had as a boy and an early teenager. So much of 
that time I was thrown upon my own resources and did not 
have too many people to evaluate my situation. It's a 
little bit hard to explain. But one of the most delightful 
aspects of my life in Milwaukee at the Layton School, as 
I look back on it, was when I started giving some talks on 


what you would call art appreciation. I gave these to 
a group that the director, Miss Partridge, got together. 
They would meet in the afternoons, and they were nearly 
all women who wanted to know something about art. There 
would be an art dealer there who dealt in very nice things. 
He had a large collection of big color reproductions of 
masterpieces. They are much more common now than they were 
then. But I found it worked out very well. I'd go down 
to this art dealer, and he seemed to be glad to lend me 
anything I wanted. I would pick out a group of pictures 
and put them upon the wall in one of the schoolrooms, 
have a sort of an exhibition of them, and give a gallery 
tour. That was one of the things I did for the school. 

One of the members of that group turned out later to 
be a very dear friend. Her husband was Dr. [Uno] Nyman, 
a dentist in Milwaukee, and Mrs. [Gyda] Nyman was trying 
to paint. Afterwards, she joined my school. She used to 
come down and paint and do lithographs, and she worked 
there until I left Milwaukee. Dr. Nyman was one of the 
very interesting people of Milwaukee. He had talent 
as a musician. He was Swedish born and Gyda, his wife, 
was from a Danish family. But Uno Nyman had not been able 
to fulfill his ambition to be a musician, and he had to 
take up a profession to earn a living. He would have 
liked to have studied medicine, but he didn't have the 
means to get a medical education, so he took up dentistry 


instead and was one of the best- liked dentists in Milwaiikee, 
But he could play the violin with considerable ability, 
and he was quite successful in his profession. He had a 
beautiful home and a big music room, and he used to have 
a string quartet every Saturday evening. He had a group 
of musical friends, and four of them played quartet music. 
A quartet evening at the Nymans was one of the charms. 
They'd play quartet, and then they'd have a supper that 
also was pleasant. He also entertained the musicians 
who came to Milwaukee, the London Strings and other 
well-known musical people. Usually, if they were in 
Milwaukee for any time at all, they were guests of the 

The I-fymans had up in northern V/isconsin, in Door 
County, a little farm, or what was really a large cherry 
orchard. I suppose in the old days it had been a farm, 
but when he bought it, the only thing it was used for 
was for cherries. Door County being a great cherry coiintry. 
The last time that I really worked on my violin was when 
we stayed up there for the whole summer. We didn't always 
do that. Usually it was only a month or so, but one 
summer we spent the whole summer there and well into 
autumn. Every morning I would get up early and go out 
into the orchard and work on the double concerto of Bach. 
Gyda Nyman had been a music teacher and taught piano, and 
she read music very well. So that whole summer I worked 


quite hard at my high note, [laughter] Ity musical 
accomplishment was finally learning to play it, not too 
well, of course, but at least I could go through it with 
some understanding — and do both parts. Sometimes I would 
take first and Uno would take second, and then we'd change 
and he'd take one part and I'd take the other. Gyda vrould 
play the piano. We did that and a nice selection of trios 
that he had. It was maybe the most delightful time I 
think I ever had with my music. 

Of course, during these periods, I was doing quite 
a lot of painting out-of-doors, sketching, drawing, as 
if I were communing with nature in that way. A lot of 
thought of your attitude towards these things is much more 
of a matter of tradition and culture than v;e realize. 
People have no feeling for nature except its practical 
value, what it means to them in terms of making a living 
or the degree to which the ground is cultivated. If it's 
a farm, that is a measure of its beauty for them. I have 
a whole collection of anecdotes that illustrate that 
point. There's one about an old fellow who saw Yosemite 
for the first time. (It's about one of the things that I 
have noticed, and it could have been true, but it's typical 
of people who look at nature with a tradition of the 
attitude that it should serve only certain definite 
purposes.) The story goes that a woman visited. Yosemite 
and met an old fellow who was one of a party that first 


got into that valley. She was congratulating him and said, 
"What a wonderful thing to have done. Think of it. You 
were the first white man ever to come to all this marvelous, 
beautiful, wonderful country. What an experience it must 
have been for you! What a thrilling thing to have happened!" 
And the old fellow said, "Yes. Yes. If I had known it 
was going to be so famous, I'd have taken another look 
at it." [laughter] 

I think to most people it sounds like an apocryphal 
story, but I'm sure it wasn't. If it wasn't true it could 
have been. [I say that] because when I was a youngster, 
we were in a little town in Washington and my mother and I 
were staying at a hotel while Father had v/ork out in the 
wilds. He would come in weekends, and we stayed at this 
little hotel during that period. It was in a beautiful, 
lush valley, green, with beautiful little farms and two 
streams on each side of the valley that came together at 
the foot of it and hills rising on each side of the 
valley. It was quite delightful. The mother of the 
proprietor of the hotel came out to visit her son, to 
spend the summer with him, and I can remember her standing 
on the porch of this little hotel and looking at this 
countiy that we thought was so delightful. She was 
bom, raised, and had lived her life on the Kansas plains. 
She looked at this, and said, "They tell me this is a 
purty country. I don't see nawthinpurty about it. I just 


feel like I was dovm cellar all the time." [laughter] 

One of the first things that we did a year after we 
got into Milwaukee was the very natural thing to do, [and 
that was to visit] my father. He was retired and was 
living out here in California. I had acquired a second- 
hand Pontiac. It turned out to be a very serviceable, 
excellent car, and we drove out to California. Father was 
then living in San Gabriel. He and his sister, my Aunt 
Anna, had, until he retired, lived in their hometown in 
Ohio, in Kent. Upon my grandmother's death, Anna joined 
my father out here, and he got a little property. He had 
a rather absurd idea, that he had had since I was a child, 
that he thought it would be a wonderful idea to have a 
chicken ranch. I don't know why, but chickens seemed to 
appeal to him. And even in Butte, he built a little 
chicken house on the hill where we lived. When he'd come 
home from work in the evening, he would work on this 
chicken house, and then he got a crate of chickens. They 
were running around and it turned out that apparently 
all of them were roosters except one. Mother was quite 
pleased with that little brood of chickens, because she 
thought they would lay eggs and they vrauld contribute 
something. Well, they didn't lay eggs. This first 
collection of fov;l, except the little brown hen, turned 
out to be roosters, luatil the little brown hen hopped up 
on a woodpile one day and started crowing lustily. 


[laughter] So that required more investment in chickens 
until they got hens. But, I don't know, Father seemed 
to find it quite fascinating, and when he retired, he 
started raising chickens out in San Gabriel. That kept 
him very busy, and he was a man who always wanted to 
have something to do. He was a man of tremendous energy. 
It didn't turn out to be very profitable, and I think he 
lost his taste for it after his house burned. He moved 
into Alhambra then and got another piece of property, but 
he didn't say anything more about raising chickens, or 
even mention it. [laughter] He was tired of them. 

April 25 r 1966 

NUTTING: I think that I said something about my work at 
the Wisconsin Players and mentioned Boris Glagolin. 
Glagolin probably was the most striking character that I 
met in Milwaukee. He was Russian, and I think he had been 
the assistant director of the Imperial Theater of what 
was then St. Petersburg. He also had been a popular 
actor in Russia and a movie director and had written a 
great deal on the theater and the art of the theater. 
His English was very poor, and as long as I knew him it 
didn't improve. He used very few words and very awkv/ardly. 
But the first thing that imprcGsed me was that he had 
almost a Svengali sort of ability to bring something out 
of a young actor or actress. So even when the material 
sometimes seemed impossible, when the play v;as finally 
produced, you'd think that the work was being done by 
somebody who really had talent. In other words, they 
seemed to be able to follow an idea without really iinder- 
standing it and could give quite convincing expression to 
it. And he'd do it in a way that I could not analyze. 
He'd sit back quietly, half wrapped up in his cloak in the 
darkness of the theater, and then all of a sudden, he'd 
go up on the stage and say, "Darling, not so. Not so." 
And then he'd walk across the stage and maybe, with one 


or two gestures of his hand or a turn of his head, indicate 
a mood or a piece of business or something. Then he'd 
go back and disappear in the darkness and sit there and 
just watch what was going on while they rehearsed v/ithout 
bothering them too much. It was quite amazing to me. He 
also got me on the stage and had me do some acting. But 
his life must have been extremely interesting as a director, 
writer and actor in Russia. Not being translated, I 
don't know how good his writing is in the original. He 
also had the experience of going through the Revolution, 
and he was a refugee in this country. He came here with 
nothing. I never did quite make out what became of his 
family. He talked very little, but once in a while, he 
would give just a little description of a scene or some 
experience while he was in Russia and you'd put two and tv/o 
together and get the picture of quite a difficult life. 
He was director of that little theater in Milwaukee until 
not long before I left Milwaukee. Then he came out to 
Los Angeles. I rather imagine his feeling for the theater 
(I don't know exactly how to express it) came from an 
aristocratic attitude towards the art and the things that 
he liked. He wrote on Shakespeare in Russian, I knew that. 
He wrote a little book on Othello . There v;ere other things 
that were not of the eighteenth century, but in many ways 
I think his real feeling was eighteenth century. He liked 
to do things with eighteenth century things or with Italian 


Renaissance things. The play that I did the most 
ambitious set for was Lope de Vega's The Gardener' s Do£. 
So he was very much, I think, a fish out of water. He 
didn't have any sense of the American scene really. The 
idea of directing plays by any of our American playir/rights, 
with a very few exceptions, I think, would be quite out of 
his field. He had quite a hard time, but he was amazingly 
■energetic and very courageous and was always very active. 
And nothing would stop him once he had an idea. But he 
was a charming person, and people liked him. 

He had a few young people who were his pupils, and 
they used to come to his little room and rehearse. In 
his way, I think he gave them some very good education 
in spite of his lack of any facility in English. He could 
get his ideas across, and I think they profited very much 
by him. The fact that he didn't have a theater to work in 
wouldn't stop him from producing something. He would get 
me interested, and he got everybody else interested and 
had everybody helping him. He was a wonder that way. If 
anyone dropped in, he'd find something for them to do, 
to help him out in some of his work. He had the idea of 
having a small troupe and portable scenery, and they would 
put on little one-act performances at a club or a hotel 
or anyplace where there was a room for it. It seemed like 
a very impractical idea and, of course, in a way it was, 
but he persisted and carried through with it. 


I made a big folding screen as a backgroiind, and we 
managed to construct two or three little objects, like 
a bench and one thing and another to make a little set. 
This screen that I made was somewhat eighteenth century in 
design. I remember the one that I did because it v;as 
simply a large folding affair, painted with scene-painter's 
colors and, of course, varying the background according 
•to the subject. The kids made costumes, and I painted the 
scenery; and we had stuff we could put into a couple of 
cars and transport and set up in a few minutes and go 
through a sketch. He had some sketches he'd written 
himself, based on the stories of Boccaccio. He began by 
trying them out in private houses of people who were 
interested. Then he went out to some other places. I've 
forgotten now just where. I didn't go very often. For 
one over in Pasadena, I remember they had quite a crowd. 
They rented a little room there, and it went off quite 
well. It was short and amusing and kept some of our 
Slimmer visitors amused for an hour or so after dinner, 
[laughter] And I think that sort of helped out his income 
a bit. But things got so hard for him that it was pathetic, 
He took a job as gardener for an actor who was quite well 
known in those days. I can't think of his name now, but 
he was a very good one. He worked for him in his garden. 
However, not long after that, somebody managed to get 
some kind of support for him from an actors' guild of 


some sort, some source of help, though he wasn't a naturalized 
American. He lived in a very simple way, but he had that 
same idea — that no matter what idea he had in mind, if 
he wanted to do it, he could do something about it. The 
mere fact that he didn't have a theater didn't keep him 
from producing, even though it was in a microscopic sort 
of way. He'd put on plays and direct; and he v;as constantly 
at work on something from early morning to late at night. 
Even the fact that he didn't know English wouldn't keep 
him from writing things in English. He did this by putting 
down his ideas on paper in his very crude way. If he 
wanted to write a letter to the paper or write a little 
article for a magazine in San Francisco (I remember he 
wanted to write something for them on the theater) , he 
would put down to the best of his ability what he had to 
say. Then, when anybody that came in to see him or call 
on him, he'd get out his manuscript and have them criticize 
it and correct it and put it in right [form]. So you'd 
sit there and work and find out exactly what his idea v/as 
and write and rewrite this sentence. And the next person 
would come in and they'd go over it too, and eventually 
he'd get this thing into readable English and get it 

One of the girls he knew had been an office worker. 
She knew about a mimeograph machine. That would solve 
the problem. He would get a mimeograph machine and 


mimeograph them. Then he would put the books together 
and become his own publisher. In some way, I think 
he persuaded some of his friends, and they foixnd him a 
mimeograph machine, which he set up in his little room 
and away we went. After correcting his manuscript and 
reworking it and arguing about it and disagreeing with 
others on what he was trying to say, he finally got the 
thing ready, and then he would sit and, with one finger, 
patiently, all night long, practically, he'd type this 
out. He couldn't type, but that v;ouldn't stop him. By 
going veiy slowly and very carefully he got it done. Then 
it had to be boimd. One of the girls knew a little something 
about bookbinding, and so his room was in a terrible mess 
for weeks. After he got this stuff mimeographed and 
folded, it had to be sewn [and covered]. He went around 
and discovered that at wallpaper places they had very 
handsome wallpapers. He decided that certain ones 
would make a beautiful cover for a book, and so he'd come 
home with these samples of various kinds of wallpaper. 
Then we had to paste these on the covers and letter the 
title on it. I've forgotten how many there v;ere. I have 
two of them; one I gave away. But he wanted illustration, 
too, in one of his books. This was a book in Russian. I 
guess two of his books were in Russian, and the one that 
I gave to [Zenna] Serrurier is in Russian. I thought it 
would be a little addition to her Russian library, a 


curiosity at least. She was telling me something of its 
contents afterwards. Apparently this little book was 
about his Russian experiences on a railroad train when he 
met the mad monk. What was his name? 
SCHIPEEES: Rasputin. 

NUTTING: Rasputin. He wanted some drawings for it. 
Veil, I said, "Mr. Glagolin, I've never been in Russia. 
All I know about Russia is what I've seen in the movies 
and what you've told me and what I've read and seen from 
illustrations in books. I don't know how I could do any- 
thing that would be of any use to you." He said, "Oh, 
of course you can." He gave me some of this mimeographed 
material, and I sat there and asked what happened. 
"Well, we were in a train and there were berths, and there 
was a man in the berth above, and the berth goes crossways. 
The window is here, and I was sitting here." While he was 
talking, I visualized this and I would sketch with the 
stylus on the paper, you know. It was just a pure 
improvisation of what he was talking about. "Oh, that's 
fine, that's fine." 

I finally got through, and he put this through the 
mimeograph machine. The lines came out pretty well. It 
wasn't at all bad. So he tried them all out and said, 
"Oh, that will be fine." So I supposed, of coiirse, that 
I would take these jottings and try to make something for 
him, but before I knew it, that's what he used for 


illustration. I guess he was wise, too, because they were 
probably better than anything that I could have tried to 
dope up, you know. They had a spontaneity and, apparently, 
they were close to the mood that he had in mind. So he 
got all of his books printed. He got them bound. He got 
them illustrated, [laughter] and he got them out. He had 
quite a serious review in a Russian paper published in 
San Francisco, and he got them in the Library of Congress. 
Though it may not have been what anybody else would 
have thought of, it was simply an example: that if he 
couldn't do what he wanted to do, he, did what he could, and 
he got something accomplished! 

The Wisconsin Players, I believe, was quite an old 
group in Milwaukee. At that time, it was supported by 
Laura Sherry who had been a well-known actress in her day 
and was then married to a well-to-do Milwaukee industrialist. 
Although it wasn't run in any very elaborate way, they had 
a good place to work and managed to do good work and 
produced quite a few talents. I believe that Angna Enters 
was there before my time and began her career in the 
theater with the Wisconsin Players. While I was there, 
there was a youmg fellow, Leroy Kuperstein, who was then 
working in Gimbel's basement in Milwaukee, and all his 
spare time and evenings he worked with the dance. He was 
one of the best members of our troupe because he also was 
an excellent actor. He could learn his part very rapidly 


and act it very well, and he also contributed his talents 
as a dancer and choreographer to the work that was being 
done. He went on from Milwaukee to New York and became 
successful in the ballet and was in Agnes De Mille ' s company. 
He not only distinguished himself as a dancer but also as 
a choreographer. He is now here in Los Angeles and head 
of the American School of Dance. 

When he left Milwaukee and became a professional 
dancer, he took the name of Eugene Loring, and he is known 
by that name in Los Angeles. I saw the work of some of 
his students on TV the other evening. They took part in 
a picture. 

There were not many cases in Milwaukee where my 
contacts from my earlier life were picked up or touched 
upon. The visit of Ludwig Lewisohn, of course was one, 
his coming there to lecture and afterwards spending the 
evening at our house. Another Paris friend, Willy Seabrook, 
also came to Milwaukee to give a lecture, but I didn't 
even know he was coming. I ran into him by accident in 
the Milwaukee museum. He was on his way to see the 
director of the museum about something, and we stopped and 
chatted. And then I saw something of him in the two days 
that he was in Milwaukee, but that's the last I saw of 
him. [tape off] 

Of course, it's very much of a bromide to say what 
a small world it is, but we all have experiences which 


makes one realize in some ways that it is amazingly small, 
that there seems to be some sort of a mysterious attraction 
among the many millions of people v;ho have once knovm each 
other and who somehow drift together in unexpected places. 
I first realized that — or experienced it — early in life 
when I met a young Cuban on shipboard and then many years 
afterv/ards, leaving France, I found that he v;as my cabin- 
mate on shipboard. After being thousands of miles away, 
all of a sudden here we ajre in the same room again, out 
of the millions of people who might have been roommates. 

When I was a boy in St. Paul, one of my artist 
friends was a man by the name of Carl Bohnen. He was 
doing commercial work there and also was very much interested 
in doing portrait drawings. He did rather tight portrait 
drawings, but he had quite a lot of facility in getting a 
good likeness quickly. The actual quality of the drav/ing 
wasn't veiy interesting, but he had some success with them. 
The newspapers used to publish his drawings quite often. 
They seemed to think of him as sort of a local artist of 
repute, and he would make portrait drawings of famous 
people who came to St. Paul and they were used by the 
St . Paul Pioneer Press a great deal. When I left St. Paul 
and I went to Boston, I didn't hear anything more of him. 
Then years passed, and when I was in Germany trying desperately 
to find some way of getting out of Germany and back to Florence 
where I was then staying, I ran into Carl Bohnen at the 
consulate. We were very glad to see each other, and for 


the few days that I had left in Munich, I saw something 
of him. He'd come to Munich to study. He saved up 
money and had come to Munich with his wife and family, 
a couple of boys and a girl. He, too, was caught by the 
war, and I supposed that he v;ouldn't stay in Germany, 
being an American. But he did, as I found out later. 
Some years later in Paris, all of a sudden, I ran into 
Carl in a galleiy. To my surprise I found that he had 
really done rather well in Munich. He had [v/orked out] 
a very good commercial idea. He started it in St. Paul. 
He would make a portrait drawing and then have photo- 
graphic copies made. He took care to have handsome 
copies of the original drawing, somev;hat reduced and on 
handsome paper; so his client vrould have not only the 
original paper but v/ould have these good and attractive 
photographic copies which v;ould make very nice presents 
to the family. They really got their money's worth. So 
when he foxind himself in Munich at a time v;hen artists 
couldn't expect any sort of a living (people were not think- 
ing very much about having pictures or portraits 
painted or anything of that sort in those days), he got 
along quite well by his good business acumen. 

He found a bookstore that had a big window and he 
managed to have a display of his drawings in this window. 
He talked the people into the idea, and he said it worked 
very well. He had this exhibition of these drawings and 


the photographic copies for possible clients and information. 
He said he did a great many of these drawings in Munich, 
and later did some portrait paintings. His portraits 
were very tight and not very well painted, which he 
realized, and one reason he went to Munich was to improve 
his ability as a painter. 

He took a studio in Paris, but he wasn't at all 
happy because I think the movement in modern art distressed 
him very much. He couldn't seem to find any niche 
like the one he had in Gennany, so he came back to this 

Well, again here's Paris and then I find myself in 
Milwaukee — I've forgotten where it was there — but I 

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while doing some portrait drawings. By that time he was 
working for the calendar people in St. Paul , (Brown and 
Bigelovif) , doing quite a lot of work for them. He wasn't 
doing calendar pictures. It was some other project that 
they had in which he did portraits of famous people or 
something in these crayon drawings. He was in Milwaukee 
doing somebody for Brown and Bigelow. 

Well, again years passed and once when I was walking 
down Hollywood Boulevard, I heard my name called. I 
turned around and there was Carl again, [laughter] By that 
time, I think he'd been in a motor accident, and he had 
become quite frail. He was, of course, quite a bit older 


than I, and lie died not too long after that, [tape 

Maybe because I had moved so often in mj life, I 
never really felt that I was a permanent resident of 
Milwaukee, though I liked the city very much and enjoyed 
my work. But things happened that really necessitated 
our leaving. During the first period of our life there, 
my wife's health was quite good, but she gradually 
developed a mysterious difficulty and, on going to the 
doctor for a thorough examination, found that it was 
extremely serious. She had cancer of the thyroid. Of 
course, that was operated on, and it was quite a severe 
operation for her. Her convalescence v;as long, and she 
was in the hospital rather longer than I think was common 
for that sort of an operation. I used to go to see her. 
Any time that I had to spare, I would dash out [to the 
hospital] without any regaid. for the hours. I must say 
the hospital was very generous about my unconventional 
appearances at all hours of the day and sometimes at 
midnight. I'd rush in to see her at all sorts of strange 
times. She gradually recovered and apparently was doing 
quite well. When she got strong enough to really enjoy 
life a little, I got tickets for the theater. It was a 
musical — I've forgotten what it was — it was one of the 
successful ones of the thirties. I remember Fanny Brice 
was in the performance. When I went to get the seats, the 


house was about sold out and the only places I could 
get were in a box. So I got two seats in a box. We 
were going to have a celebration of her getting well 
and getting out and having a little fun. It was in the 
old Pabst Theater, that hadn't been very much improved 
or modified for years, and the passage going down to the 
box was very badly lit. There was a step Just before 
entering the box which wasn't easily seen in the dim 
light, and she stepped off and fell and struck her 
shoulder against the opposite wall. Well, it was hard 
to believe it was anything at all serious, but I found 
that she was not only very badly shaken up but was in 
quite severe pain. It seemed to be rather more than 
simply a bruised shoulder, so I made her as comfortable 
as I could and dashed out to get some help. The curtain 
had gust gone up, and I remember Fanny Brice v;as on the 
stage in some kind of an act. Of course, they didn't 
want to have any commotion, but I wanted an ambulance 
called right away and something done about it. They 
tried to quiet me dovm and wanted to know what was the 
matter. I said she fell, and they said just let her 
rest, and she'd be all right. So I had to threaten to 
make a real scene in the audience before I could get any 
help. When they saw I was going to get rampageous and 
make myself difficult, they did go so far as to get a 
taxi and some people to help. We half-carried her out 


to the taxi and went to the hospital. Well, that fall 
proved to be more serious than we thought because the 
shoulder was badly broken. So here she was, just getting 
over a convalescence, and all of a sudden with a very 
bad shoulder fracture. Again that was a long siege — 
plaster cast, nursing, hospital expenses and so forth. 

The expense, of course, was the most serious thing. 
We sued the theater. It seemed to be gross negligence 
that a dangerous step like that shouldn't have some kind 
of illumination. It would have been so easy to put a 
small electric light under the edge of the step as they 
do so much in theaters. But that had never been done, 
and the wall light was inadequate. We felt that the 
theater was very much to blame for the accident. Apparently 
we weren't the only ones, because we got a couple of 
thousand dollars in damages. But I felt that nov; our 
life in Milwaxikee really had come to an end, and we must 
find a better part of the coTintry to live in because 
there was no prospect of her being really herself again 
and really strong. 

She was a person of tremendous courage and always 
active in some way. She was always interested in things 
and enjoyed life very much in her reading and in her 
activity. But the climate of Wisconsin [was very restrict- 
ing] . There are extremely cold winters and the winds off 
the lake are so biting that they make anything out-of-doors 


not very enjoyable except for people who are husky and 
used to that sort of thing. Then the springs are rather 
raw and muddy and disagreeable. They have a relatively 
short period in the summertime when the weather is 
really delightful and can be enjoyed. 

Well, she was California born, and she was homesick 
for California. The question v/as whether to try to come 
out to California or go to Florida or someplace where 
there was a mild climate so she could get more out of 
life than she could in Wisconsin. 

The first thing we did though was to take a trip to 
New York to see her niece, the one who stayed with us 
for a year in Paris, Helen Kieffer. She had married but 
her husband had died. She had quite a brood of yo^jngsters. 
Also, Helen Kieffer' s sister was a librarian at a place 
near New York, and there were other members of the family 
she could visit before coming out to the coast. So we 
flew to New York and met some of our friends and her 
family, and then we came back to Milwaukee and sold off 
superfluous furniture and one thing and another. We 
packed [what remained] and put it in storage. Then we 
came out to explore California. 

We first went to San Francisco. We both were very 
fond of San Francisco, but again I felt a little bit of 
the same thing [concerning the climate], that there are 
so many days in San Francisco that are foggy and more or 


less inclement. We were rather hesitant about Los Armeies, 
but we decided to explore it before we finally settled 
down. We stopped and visited at San Luis Obispo on the 
way down from San Francisco, where Helen's sister was 
living and also her niece. The niece at San Luis Obispo 
was a cousin of Helen Kief fer in the East. She was also 
Helen, Helen Ballerd. She was named after my wife and 
had been a teacher and librarian in the public schools 
of San Luis Obispo. 

We came on down to Los Angeles, and drove into 
Los Angeles, found a hotel and put up for the night. The 
next morning we were going out to drive aroiond and see 
what we thought of this part of the world as a place to 
settle. As I was paying my bill, the clerk said, "Mr. . 
Nutting, do you mind telling us how you heard of our 
hotel? How did you happen to come here?" Well, I said, 
"To tell the truth, I came in here because I got lost." 
[laughter] And a woman (I think that she was one of the 
owners of the hotel) who was in the back part of the 
office burst out with a peal of laughter. I wouldn't 
have noticed it, except that she was so amused, [laughter] 
But the truth was, neither of us had the slightest idea 
where we were. We couldn't make heads or tails of the 
map of Los Angeles, and so when it was time to stop, we 
saw a hotel and decided to go in and see what it was like. 
It turned out to be a very nice hotel. 


Afterwards we took a room in Hollywood and decided 
that was the region that we would look aroiind for a place 
to live in. We spent about a week hunting, and finally 
on Winona Boulevard in Hollywood, we found a duplex 
apartment that seemed very satisfactory, and it was. 
That's where we lived until my wife died some years later. 
But that was the reason and the way we left Milwaukee, 
[tape off] 

I left my school in Milwaukee going; the fact is 
that they wanted to go on with their work. They didn't 
have any special plans. They seemed to want to pay rent 
on the place and have some kind of a cooperative workshop, 
which seemed to me a fine idea. So I left them the 
lithographic press and also a collection of about a dozen 
reference books of one sort and another on art history 
and techniques and criticism which we had used in our 
talks and discussions and also in practical work. 
Apparently the group held together for quite a long 
time. I don't know what they did about the life classes, 
which were quite important while I was there. Whether 
they did anything in the way of getting instruction, or 
whether it was simply a matter of having a place to 
work, I don't know. But I remember I used to get a 
letter from Milwaukee, and they'd say, "Well, I see the 
name !A.telier' is still on the door." (It used to be on 
the street door.) Apparently it kept going for some time. 


Then I lost track of their activities. If it hadn't 
been for the need of the move — for my wife's health and 
the necessity for an especially good climate, and also 
for the fact that she was very fond of her native state, 
California, and that coming back would mean quite a lot 
to her happiness and peace of mind, I would probably 
have gone to New York or to the East because, much more 
so then than now, we felt that everything really exciting 
happened especially in New York. We still had the old 
idea about Southern California, and I think that was 
one reason why we looked at San Francisco first, because 
those were the days when Los Angeles was still known 
as a rather crazy movie colony, for eccentric cults and 
all sorts of absurd aspects of living. My wife's fondness 
was for northern California. Her native town was San 
Luis Obispo; and Santa Barbara was the toT/vn furthest 
south that she was fond of, and she looked on anything 
south of that as rather ordinary and not for nice people. 
But, of course, we foTind Los Angeles changing very rapidly, 
and as I look back, it's really astonishing what changes 
have taken place since I've lived here. 

Most of the people that I knew that v;ere really 
doing things in the world had gone to New York. It was 
not that Chicago wasn't active in many ways, but even the 
Chicago talent had moved East. Writers who had made the 


Middle West famous, and also had made Chicago famous, 
were not living in Chicago any more. Dreiser was not 
there, for example. Of course, there was Harriet Monroe 
and her magazine Poetry , and there was a very active 
spirit in the arts and music; but you still felt that 
New York was the hub of real excitement. I always had 
rather a yen to go back to New York. I had never spent 
very much time there, but what little time I had spent 
in New York had always been very happy and also very 
profitable. But what with the Depression which made the 
career of the artist a rather desperate one for a while 
and the other reasons that I mentioned, I didn't even 
think of settling in that part of the country, with its 
cold winters and hot summers and so forth. New York, 
in that way, would be no improvement over Milwailkee. 
Further south didn't seem to be a very good idea. The 
most natural thing was to come to California. 

May 2„ 1966 

SCHIPEEES: We were going to insert here your experiences 
with the Milwaukee Art Commission. 

NUTTING: The last years that I was in Milwaukee, I 
served on the Art Commission. There was a vacancy, 
and I was chosen, as an artist, to be on the commission. 
It had the job of passing on designs of mon\aiiients, of 
buildings, and things of that sort. There v;as nothing 
very important that came before us while I was there 
except a monument to Abraham Lincoln. The Civil V/ar 
veterans in some way had raised a substantial sum of 
money for a monument to Lincoln. There was no monument 
to him of any importance in Milwaukee, and they seemed 
to think that that would be a contribution that they 
ought to make. 

There was a competition for a design for the monument. 
That was rather difficult because we had really no authority 
to pick the design in the first place. It was first of 
all to be picked and then approved before the matter came 
to us. Quite a large number of small models were presented 
to the commission, not to pass on, but to criticize, and 
a very interesting thing was done by Carl Milles, the 
Swedish sculptor. The others v/ere rather conventional 
sort of things. Unfortiinately, the Carl Milles, which 


was much the best and most original was a little too 
unconventional for the old boys, the veterans of the 
wars, and they wouldn't consider it at all. They had 
one that they chose, and we finally agreed on it. It 
was a fairly good thing of its sort. There was nothing 
very distinctive about it. But for this kind of thing, 
it wasn't bad. We accepted it. 

Then came the question of a site for it in Milwaukee. 
They were determined that it should be down on the lake 
front, and the commission was unanimous in opposing that 
idea. It wasn't a good place for it. It was too much 
out in the open for this sort of thing. It would have 
no monumental character. There was a certain bend in 
the highway that went down along the lake front, and it 
would have no background except water and sky. What 
little value it might have for any decorative purpose 
or for any monumental feeling, we felt would be destroyed 
in such a situation. We discussed all sorts of places 
and the architect, Mr. Judell, worked very hard. He 
went all about town in the various parks and various 
public places and made some sketches for the possible 
placement of it in various locations-r-giving an idea of 
what the surroundings would be, what sort of a background 
and what scale it would have to its surrovmding material 
to get the most out of it. Well, we couldn't persuade 
the donors of the monument that any of these places were 


really better than the one that they wanted. So finally 
we felt we had to yield if they were determined to have 
it down on the lake front, and if that would make them 
happy, why, that v;as it. 

I never saw it in place. I never heard anybody say 
how it turned out. But we took that job very seriously 
and had a great many meetings, and, as I say, Mr. Judell 
made these drawings, sketches, and plans, and we would 
discuss them and go about town and try to visualize a 
place for it and then go back to some other idea. So 
the commission couldn't be blamed too much for not doing 
the best they could to get the most out of the problem. 
That was a rather important thing in a way, not as much 
so as some of the work the commission would have to do 
but did not have any chance of doing at the time that I 
was on the commission — that is to say, larger buildings 
and styles [ involved in the] architectural buildup of 
Milwaukee. But it was interesting. It was also educational 
to work on a practical gob of that sort and give it 
serious study. We couldn't be blamed for doing the best 
we could with the problem. We had a lot of discussion; 
we had long conversations, pro and con, with all sorts 
of people who became quite interested in our difficulties. 

Well, when I left Milwaukee I resigned from the Art 
Commission. I was quite pleased and quite touched that 
when I announced the fact that we were leaving, the 


people were concerned about it and seemed genuinely sorry 
for us to leave. The Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors 
gave me a delightful dinner, kind of a banquet, and 
presented me with a tvro-volume edition of The Notebooks 
of Leonardo da Vinci , profusely illustrated, v;hich I not 
only treasure as a memento but also because it's a very 
handsome and valuable edition to my library. Very nice 
speeches were made by the members of the Wisconsin Painters 
and Sculptors and also the director of the Art Institute, 
the schools and other people in student art in Milwaukee, 
and that together with quite a number of parties and 
farewell gatherings sent us off on our way. [tape off] 
Not the least touching, of course, was my students 
at the Atelier. They threw quite a party for us; we had 
quite a gathering of not only my students but our friends. 
They decorated the place very nicely and we had a delight- 
ful party. There was a group of the students who thought 
they would like to keep the Atelier as a cooperative 
workshop at least, and do more or less what I had done 
while I was connected with it — that is, to get in people 
for lectures or for special instruction. In the mean- 
time they'd have the place in which to work and carry 
on their projects. Apparently it kept up for some time. 
I'd have letters and people would say, "Well, I see the 
Atelier is still going. I see those gold letters on the 
door downstairs are still there and the place seems active." 


[laughter] Also I left a fev; of my books with the idea 
that when they finally closed up they would box the books 
and send them to me. It's quite Tinders tandable, but they 
never got around to doing that; so I don't know what 
became of some dozen or fifteen nice reference books that 
I had for them because I suppose at the time they finally 
closed it they had forgotten what the situation was. 
Our last days of packing up were ones of great 
confusion, and it was almost the last day before leaving 
Milwa-ukee that, what with the packing and general dis- 
order, we decided to go down to the Hotel Pfister for 
breakfast. We had scarecely ordered our breakfast 
when I looked across the room and saw one of our Paris 
friends, Marvin Lowenthal, who I hadn't seen or really 
heard of since our Paris days. It was quite a surprise 
and quite a pleasant meeting, and he joined us for break- 
fast. It turned out that he was in Milwaukee for a 
lecture, and we told him what we were doing. He said, 
"By all means I v;ant to give you a letter to a friend of 
mine in San itancisco." (I'm sorry I can't think of his 
name at the moment. We'll call him "Mr. X." [His friend] 
was a well-known figure in art and music in San Francisco, 
a man in the insurance business, I believe, and he had 
made some very genuine contributions, partly as a collector 
and partly by his interest in art and young artists and 
by promoting art and music for San Francisco. It seems that 


he was a very warm friend of Marvin Lowenthal.) Lowen- 
thal immediately got some paper from the desk at the hotel 
and wrote a little letter of introduction to him for us. 
So our first acquaintance on coming out to the coast was 
"Mr. Z. " who turned out to be all that Marvin Lowenthal 
had described him as — a very charming, very hospitable 

He invited us to dinner. He had two or three other 
guests, artists whose names I did not know but apparently 
ones that he thought I would be interested in meeting in 
San Francisco. He showed us his apartment, his collection, 
and his guest room. He was very proud of all the famous 
artists and musicians and dancers and various people he 
had had as guests and who had occupied this room. He 
named off some quite important names. It gave him great 
pleasure to have these people in his home. 

Also the art objects of his apartment were very 
interesting. That was really our introduction to the 
art life in California. He died not long afterwards. 
I never saw him again, but I remember him with great 
pleasure and also with considerable gratitude. 

rfy wife's girlhood being spent in California, she 
was very fond of San Francisco, and her family had a 
great many friends and associations with the city. But 
we both felt that in her very frail condition the 
climate there wasn't the best "for her, and we would 


not decide on a place to settle until we had explored a 
little, at least Santa Barbara and maybe Los Angeles, to 
see what sort of a future we might make for ourselves in 
other parts of the state. 

Well, one veiy fortunate thing for us happened. 
Helen's niece had been teaching for years in the schools 
of San Luis Obispo, and at that time I think she was not 
only teaching but she also was the chief librarian for 
the schools, or had some such position. She was going 
to be in San Jose for the summer, taking some courses, 
and she had a very nice cottage at Cambria in the pine 
woods and urged us to come and stay there as long as we 
wanted. We drove down to Cambria, and I made the ac- 
quaintance of m;>' wife's niece Helen Ballerd, who then 
left us with the cabin and went to San Jose. We stayed 
at least three months, if not longer, and it was ideal. 
Helen got her strength back to a surprising degree. It 
was very quiet there, and with the days on the seashore 
and walking in the woods, living a simple, very quiet 
life, it was ideal for her recuperation. 

I think it was in October of 1939 that we then came 
on down to Los Angeles. We stayed at a hotel and drove 
about and finally decided that, everything considered, 
Los Angeles would be the best bet. Santa Barbara, of 
course, is a very charming city and life could be delight- 
ful there, but there would be much more possibility of 


my finding myself in a larger place like Los Angeles 
than in Santa Barbara, which to some extent was true. 
After quite a lot of searching, we found an apartment in 
Hollywood that was within our means. It was in a 
duplex and had the advantage of being so divided that 
we could have a sitting room-bedroom and a room that was 
larger than average. (It was an old house and had 
bigger rooms that you get in most houses nowadays.) 
This would serve as a studio, and it had grounds and a 
garden. The minute we saw it we thought that was about 
the best that we could do; we took it and sent for our 
furniture and started our life in Hollywood. 

My wife had regained a great deal of her strength, 
but she was still frail. She had to economize, to rest 
a great deal, but fortunately she was a person of tre- 
mendous inner resources. Her interest in all sorts of 
things could keep her hours interesting as long as she 
had any strength at all. She was an omnivorous reader, 
from mystery and detective stories to archeology and 
classical reading. I remember one thing that she did 
was to read Dante's Inferno in the original. Everday 
she'd do a bit, till she got through all of Dante's 
Inferno . Then she found a fascinating book on Easter 
Island, which interested her. She had quite a feeling 
for detective stories and was a good critic of such 
writing. It kept me busy getting up armloads of paperbacks 


that she would run through in a hurry. I'm sorry that 
she didn't do more writing. She had her typewriter 
and many notes and did quite a bit, but I'm mystified 
because I don't know how it could have happened, but I 
feel it probably did happen. When I was corresponding 
with Professor Ellmann when he was writing his life of 
James Joyce, I discovered that things that I thought she 
had rather extensively written as material were only 
fragments and little bits of notes and pages torn out of 
small notebooks. During her last illness, I rather 
imagine that she may have inadvertently, in destroying 
papers, destroyed things of value. I don't really know. 
I know that I used to hear the typewriter going quite a 
lot, and she ought to have left much more than I have 
of her writing. She had a definite talent for writing; 
she wrote well. She wrote a novel which didn't get 
accepted, but she wrote a very delightful book on garden-^ 
ing (this v;as before we were married) which had some 
success and even got good reviews in England, and English 
people are very critical of anybody who writes about 
gardens. They have a special love for their gardens 
and a feeling for gardening. 

She wrote a book based on the bridges of the 
Antietam. She met somebody in Italy who accidentally 
picked up that book and said, "Now that's the way that 
history ought to be written." He didn't know that my 


wife had written it. [laughter] I don't know where he 
foiind it, but it interested him. He came from Maryland. 

The book was inspired by a man — a druggist, I 
believe, in Hagerstown, Maryland — who took good photo- 
graphs of all the old bridges crossing the Antietam, the 
old arch bridges over the river. Using those bridges as 
a starting point she wrote her book. 

She also wrote quite good verse. I mentioned the 
fact that she translated the Corsican voceri , the 
improvisations that are recited at funerals in Corsica, 
which was published in The Bookman with some woodcuts 
by someone who did some decorations for it. Some bits were 
published here and there, but she never published very 

Well, she was also very musical, and when she felt 
strong enough for us to go to concerts or musical affairs 
she enjoyed these. So that in spite of her frailty, her 
very active mind and her enthusiasm and appreciation 
prolonged her life, and she foiond that Los Angeles was 
not nearly as unpleasant as she might have anticipated. 

Again, because she was a person of imagination, 
we would drive around our neighborhood in Holly\TOod, and 
she would note, for example, in the smaller streets the 
great variety of industries. The character of the shops 
was not as monotonous as they are in some parts of the 
city. There 'd be strange and unusual things, maybe a 


craftsman or a bookbinder or somebody who was doing 
something not too common. She would spot things of that 
sort and was always appreciative of character, the 
spirit of her surroundings. 

I think that's characteristic of a certain type of 
mind. For example, like my mother, she was a lover of 
Dickens. She knew the stories and characters of Dickens 
more or less by heart, and maybe persons like my mother 
and [my wife] and other people I've known who are very 
fond of Dickens have that sort of feeling about a city. 
Dickens' London is kind of a world of his ov/n, and she 
could make Hollywood also something other than the 
convential conception of the place. If she wrote a novel 
it would have a kind of a Dickens' feeling; it wouldn't 
be the feeling that most of us have for Hollywood as 
being altogether a movie sort of a place. 

We didn't come to California with any introductions 
except that one in San Francisco, but in Los Angeles I 
had been preceded by two Milwaukee friends. One was 
Dolly Duim, who had been my secretary and manager at my 
little school and had taken care of it and had done a 
beautiful job, and she had come out at the same time as 
Boris Glagolin. Dolly was very enthusiastic about my 
idea of starting some teaching here along the lines that 
I had done in Milwaukee. She had a niimber of friends and 
the first thing I knew I had a fair- si zed group. I didn't 


have room for many, but we had a weekly group. We used 
to meet in this room in our apartment, and it went very 

At the time we came out, Dolly married a yoimg 
Russian and with a rather curious result. It made me 
feel how you can live in a city and how the city takes 
on completely the feeling of the people you associate 
with, because of Kolya's — I've forgotten his very diffi- 
cult last name — being a Russian and having a great many 
Russian friends. He was rather a bright fellow and in 
some ways rather talented. He could draw, and he was a 
very good talker. He was doing some writing, but it was 
in Russian so I don't know what it was like. He spoke 
English rather fluently but with very much of an accent. 
Then Glagolin, of course, had a great many Russian 
friends, and for some months I had a feeling that Los 
Angeles was really a Russian town. Everytime I went out 
I seemed to be meeting Russians. 

Glagolin took part in a play, and, of course, I 
was interested to see him in the play and used to go down 
to rehearsals. Here were all these Russian people around 
me. Some of the people Dolly got as my pupils were 
Russians. And an interesting variety — some of them were 
quite brilliant. Others v/ere of aristocratic families 
who were refugees in Los Angeles. One was the chief 
personage of the Russian colony. I don't know what you 


would call her, sort of the queen of the Russian 
entourage. She had a very v/ell-known Russian name, 
Golitsyn, Princess Golitsyn, and then there were some 
others I wouldn't know, but I could gather from the v;ay 
that Glagolin would speak of them or talk to them that 
they were people of high rank. One that he was es- 
pecially deferential to was living in a very simple little 
cottage and taking in sewing. To meet her she seemed 
very nice but she was gust another sewing woman that 
you might get to modify some of your clothes. One 
reason that our circle of acquaintances was rather limited 
to people in more or less the immediate vicinity was that 
Helen's lack of strength necessitated that she should 
live a quiet life. The operation plus her accident had 
left her with a heart condition that had to be considered, 
and that required quiet and as much rest as possible. I 
didn't make any special effort. We had enough to live 
on very simply and decently, and if I had done anything 
that would have taken me away from home too much, I felt 
that I would have to have somebody to be with her because 
I could never tell at what moment she might need some 
help or attention. We couldn't afford to hire help, 
so I resigned myself to being simply active in my studio. 
I wasn't confined really, but I didn't make any effort 
to do much besides that. I sent to exhibitions, and I 
interviewed galleries. 


I met a painter, a landscape painter, Paul Lauritz, 
who lived not too far from where I lived in Hollywood. 
He suggested that I join the Southern California Art 
Society, which I did. In those days it was rather a 
large society and held rather large exhibitions. Also 
there used to be held at the muse\im in Exposition Park 
the Annual Exhibition of Los Angeles and Vicinity. It 
was contributed to by Los Angeles and San Diego and as 
far north as Santa Barbara. (Santa Barbara artists also 
were eligible to show. ) One year I got a prize — I think 
it was third prize — at the Los Angeles and Vicinity show. 
But as usual, for some strange reason, no sooner do I 
get some kind of recognition for some work than I v/onder 
why it was given and decide that I don't like it anyway, 
that I made a mistake. The same thing happened with that 
thing I got a prize for in Paris. I got bored having it 
around and painted it out. 

Another activity I had for some years — I've forgotten 
just what years they were — was writing for Rob Wagner's 
Script . I met — I've forgotten how — Lorser Peitelson, 
who was with S. MacDdnald Wright, head of the Federal Art 
Project for Southern California, and through him I met 
S. MacDonald Wright, and for some time he had been writing 
the art column for Rob Wagner's Script . For some reason 
he wanted to give it up and wanted to pass it on to me. 
So I went with him and called on Mrs. Wagner. The Script 


was then published in a little building over on San 
Vicente. I think it was published twice a month, a very 
delightful little magazine. It had local character and 
very often some very good writing and some quite nice 
drawing in little spots and line drawirgs that were used 
in it, along with other illustrations that were good. 
Well, that was interesting work, and it took me out a 
great deal. Through that occupation I got in touch with 
all of the galleries, and then if I made a trip to 
Santa Barbara or San Francisco, I would have material 
from both places to write my column. Eventually the 
Script was sold by Mrs. Wagner, and they changed its 
character completely. I felt they made a mistake because 
it was just another slick magazine. To pick it up you 
wouldn't know whether it was California or New York. It 
was nondescript in contrast to what it was when Eob Wagner 
had edited it, and Mrs. Wagner had carried on success- 
fully, very ably, until she finally sold it. 

Mrs. Wagner turned out to be a very charming person. 
She used to call me up and wanted to know if I would 
care to go out for evenings at various places. One time 
I went to dinner at Edward G. Robinsons, which turned 
out to be a very pleasant evening. There were quite a 
number of interesting people there, not especially of the 
movie colony. I can't think of his name now, but there 
was a very well-known architect and his wife, and people 


in other walks of life who were distinguished in their 
way. Mrs. Robinson, as I guess we all know, is a rather 
ambitious painter, besides Edward G. Robinson having a 
superb collection. That collection has been dispersed. 
It was really a wonderful one and beautifully shown in 
his house, and seeing those in itself was well worth 
the evening. He also was trying to draw and was very 
much concerned about perspective. I tried to tell him 
that it wasn't too difficult a problem for all practical 
purposes, that you don't have to know too much of the 
theory of it for what use one ordinarily had for it. It 
wound up with our going upstairs to his study and trying 
to get the perspective of his table and furniture from 
all points of view, which v;as one time standing on a 
chair looking down on it and another time it was sitting 
down low on the floor and looking up at it, holding up 
pencils and measuring this way and that way. 

His study was quite an interesting place. He'd 
collected interesting photographs, among others some 
photographs which up to that time I hadn't seen of 
Toulouse-Lautrec. Some sort of trick photographs. 
Some of them have since been published in writings about 
Lautrec. But it was the first time I saw them and they 
were quite fascinating, as were other things of that sort 
on his walls, which had more to do with art maybe than with h:i 

own profession. 


Another time I went with her to a showing at Charlie 
Chaplin's studio. They were showing a private view of a 
film, and the strange thing is I can't remember what that 
film was now. But he was there, and I met him. I 
remember being quite surprised to see what a small man 
he is. In the pictures you don't always feel that he's 
such a little guy. He is a small fellow, but that 
evening I had the feeling that he was much smaller than 
I had pictured him. And on several occasions I went out 
with Mrs. Wagner for things of that sort, which were 

As a matter of fact, I'm way ahead of my story 
because that was really after my wife ' s death that I 
took on this Job of writing. She died in 19^7- In the 
meantime there was the war — Pearl Harbor. Let's see, 
that was about a year after I got here in 19^- I felt — 
I guess as most people did — that I ought to be doing 
something. I knew I was too old to enlist, but what did 
rather give me a little bit of a jolt was when I would 
call various agencies to inquire about things. The first 
thing they would ask me was my age, and I found that I 
was a "forty-plus." [laughter] I wasn't really a forty- 
plus. I was thirty-nine then. I wondered where the 
years had gone. They would say, "I'm sorry, but you're 
too old." I found that my usefulness was more limited 
than I imagined. In some naive way I thought, having 


been through World War I and knowing something of the ropes 
in the various departments of war activity, that I might 
be of value. But that didn't mean a thing. 

In some way I read or heard that the Art Center was 
going to have an intensive course in industrial illustration. 
Well, I thought that was interesting. It would give me a 
chance to do some drawing, of sorts anyway. I decided to 
go down and find out about it. I v;ent down to the Art 
Center, which was then down on Seventh Street, and they 
had a class of maybe about fifteen people of all ages, 
most of them middle-aged, and some rather elderly, who 
were being trained for certain forms of industrial 

It seems that Adams, the director of the school, 
had got this idea and went to Washington; they thought 
that it was a very impractical idea, that you could not 
train people for that sort of work so quickly. They 
seemed to have a sudden need for that sort of thing, 
partly because of the tremendous increase in the air- 
plane industry and in manufacturing for the government, 
also because so many commercial artists and people who 
could do that work professionally were in the anny, and 
draftsmen were scarce. But in some way Adams convinced 
them that he could do something practical about the 

He had this course, which I think was six weeks. It 


was intensive. I've forgotten how many hours a day we 
used to work. I'd go down quite early, with considerable 
qualm because it meant that I left my wife alone really 
all day. However, we then had people downstairs, a 
French family, who were very pleasant and linderstood the 
situation, so it was not too bad. Well, the work wasn't 
too successful so far as I was concerned. What Adams 
did was that one of the companies had given him a set of 
blueprints of an obsolete plane and that was on file in 
the place. The group were to draw a complete plane, the 
inner structure of it, in perspective from these blue- 
prints, which sounds like a terrifying idea to a lot of 
those people who didn't really know any perspective. 
But, curiously enough, they had the perspective lesson 
everyday and little by little they got onto it quite 
well. It seemed to me they did. It shows that you can 
take a subject of that kind and give it concentrated 
attention, and it doesn't take too long to get the 
elements of it. Along with that work was a drawing of 
the mechanical parts. The really difficult thing was 
that nobody there could do really professional work, but 
there was a lot of illustration that could be done by 
people who were not professional commercial artists, 
that didn't take too much skill but more so than you'd 
expect an ordinary person to get in such a short time 
without previous experience. For example, they would 


have to draw some simple piece of mechanism in such a 
way that a person assembling it could tell from this 
illustration how to put it together, because again the 
airplane industry had to rely upon people with no ex- 
perience v;hatsoever and had to start from scratch. They 
had to be trained to have things very simply expressed. 
So this group learned to draw simple objects in perspective, 
freehand, and to ink them in vrLth a ruling pen and com- 
passes and so forth and make a good, clear illustration 
of the object — sometimes, as they v;ould say, "exploded." 
That is to say, the various parts would be illustrated 
as near one another, showing that this entered that and 
this touched that and this joined this and this screwed 
on that, so they could follov; it along by this sequence 
of parts that were drawn. To draw them neatly in good 
perspective and to ink them in is not easy, as anybody 
well knows who tackles it for the first time. But they 
did very well. And it's surprising what some of them 
did with this very complicated thing of the structure 
of the plane. The drawings were not really professional, 
but very clear and suiprisingly good. 

I didn't do too well. In the first place I found that 
the blueprint drawing was terrifically tiring, because 
it's like some kind of very finicky bookkeeping. You had 
to look up a certain number of a certain blueprint and 
that turned out to be a certain part—the inside of a 


plane, a plate — and it had exactly so many bolts on 
certain places on the plate which fitted in a certain 
way, and you counted one, two, three, four, five bolts; 
and so you carefully drew one bolt head with its six 
sides and another bolt head with its six sides and another 
bolt head with its six sides and another bolt head with 
its six sides, until you get rather woozy, [laughter] 
And then you found out that you got one of the bolts in 
the wrong place, or maybe the bolt had five sides and 
not six sides [laughter] and you had to do it again. 
To make matters worse, I had some tooth trouble; I got 
an ulcerated tooth. Well, you seem to be trying to meet 
a deadline, and I felt if I left a day or so to look 
after this tooth I never would catch up on this infernal 
j'ob; so I h-ung on, which wasn't too good for my nerves 
or my health or anything else. 

The fact is I got terribly nervous. I could have 
dynamited that place before I left— with great joy! 
[laughter] I finally got through with it, and I got 
what looks like a skeleton of an airplane v/ith all its 
little bolts and extrusions and various little parts in 
the right place and lettered and titled. They gave me 
some kind of a certificate of accomplishment, and I was 
supposed to go out and get a Job doing that thing. I 
decided nothing doing. I had had enough of that. But 
I thought, "Well, I'll take on some kind of a dob. This 


thing of being a useless person in a period as intensive 
as this isn't too easy. I would like to do mj little 
part, no matter how modest it might be." 

I went down to an emplosnnent agency, and the first 
thing I knew I was out at Lockheed to be a riveter. 
I think that was a much more valuable experience than 
working in a drafting room would have been, because it 
got me acquainted with a side of life that I had not 
known before in my life. 

The only thing at all comparable to being an organi- 
zation man that I had ever known before was my service 
with the Red Cross in Italy, which I didn't especially 
like so far as being in an organization v/as concerned. 
And I think it's rather in a v/ay unfortiinate that my 
life had been so introverted as it had been in lots of 
ways; my work had been done by myself and for myself and 
according to my own ideas. To be a cog in a machine for 
a while, I think, might be rather a wholesome experience 
for anybody. I had had too little of that sort of thing. 

Well, anyway here I found myself getting up early 
in the morning, driving out to Burbank and standing in 
the great crowd of people in front of the gate, which at 
a certain hour was shoved up and then we all streamed 
in, punched the clock and went to a bench in this huge 
place. Of course, the first thing that I found difficult 
to get used to was the noise. I didn't dream that such a 


horrible amount of noise could be lived through, so I 
got earplugs and that helped a little bit. There was a 
noon rest when they played soft music, not soft music 
but sweet and pleasant music, and everything was quiet 
for a little while before this awful hullabaloo started 
again, [laughter] The feeling of being in a crowd of 
workers and the punching of the time clock and being one 
little person in this huge thing was a strange sensation, 
which in a way I found interesting. I was very glad to 
know more about it. 

When the induction was over, which consisted of 
about three or four hours of examination — physical and 
mental and psychological and educational — gosh, what they 
didn't know about me in four hours! Of course, it wasn't 
too long a one, but they crammed an awful lot of my 
private life and condition, it seemed to me, into that 
quiz and examination. Then the training in the use of 
the machinery for riveting, and then given a place to 
work and someone to work with. 

One thing I remember is a Negro girl who had gotten 
as far as the induction and had passed everything; she 
was standing aroimd and nobody would pay any attention 
to her. I couldn't understand it. She seemed to know 
what was the matter, and she tossed her head about it 
and sneered. It was then that I realized what it was, 
that nobody was going to pay any attention to her. She 


finally left, even though she was already trained, but 
nobody would take her on. So she didn't get her job. 
In a way I was up against the same thing that I was with 
this airplane drawing — that is, my dislike of anything 
veiy monotonous and repetitious. I could stand it for 
an hour, two hours, or three hours, but by and by, in a 
long day, it got rather difficult for me. I couldn't 
help noticing that women seemed to do much better than 
men. There were middle-aged, gray-haired women v/ho never 
complained, who never seemed to be bothered by the 
brrrr! brrrr! brrrr! — hour after hour. And it was a 
long day's work, and when it was all over they v/ent home 
quite happily, whereas I'd go home in more or less of a 
stew sometimes. 

I found little ways to break the monotony. Once 
when I got there in the morning and there was nobody to 
work the other side of the plate with me, I foiind by 
my bench a piece that had been damaged by someone on the 
night shift, because if this rivet gun slips it almost 
goes through the aluminum plate; it makes a dent that 
has to be repaired by somebody who knows his Job. I looked 
at this thing and decided that I could do that. I got a 
piece of scrap and worked out a solution, and I went to 
the foreman and said, "I think I could fix this." I 
showed him what I had in mind, and he said, "Well, I 
think your idea is perfectly good. I'd put one more 


rivet in here." (He took out Ms pencil and marked the 
place.) "Otherwise I think it will be all right. See if 
you can do it." And so I did, and it worked out. It 
passed inspection right away — a very good job. So at 
least that was something a little different. 

Then there was a fellow who came around once in a 
while to gather up the drills and took them off to be 
sharpened, and I looked at those drills and decided it 
would be rather interesting to see if I couldn't sharpen 
those myself because the wheel was just a few feet from 
my bench. I walked over and put my drill on the wheel; 
then I examined it closely and it looked pretty good to 
me. I had four or five drills, and I sharpened them all 

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thought those were correctly sharpened drills, and he looked 
at them and said he felt that was really a very good job 
indeed. He said, "Now, if you only had a drill that turned 
anti-clockwise instead of clockwise those would work 
perfectly." [laughter] By mistake, I'd given the bevel 
the wrong way on the drill; so it was kind of a left-handed 
drill. I went back and the next time I did all right. I 
learned to sharpen my drills, and I learned to make simple 
repairs when I made a boo-boo on things. I got a little bit 
of variety into my work instead of the eternal riveting. 

However, one thing that rather concerned me was 
that I had to leave early in the morning, and I left 
Helen alone so much. It made me rather anxious, so I 


looked around for another place to work that would be 
near home. I found one in Hollywood where they were 
making separate parts, and that was the sort of work 
where several had to work together inside a part of a 
plane. I was always cracking my head on some sharp 
point or other. 

Well, I finally decided that there v/ere plenty of 
these fellows doing the war work and doing it quite 
satisfactorily, and I stopped worrying about it too 
much, and went back to my 0T.-m life — to paint, to look 
after my own interests. I am probably getting ahead of 
my story a little, but just to finish up one phase of 
it, my concern about being away was justified. I used 
to dash home from work, partly to get my lunch and partly 
to see that everything was all right. One day I did that 
and I found that in the comparatively short time I had 
been away from home my wife had fallen and had broken 
her hip. She was ill for a long time and didn't recover. 

May 9, 1966 

NUTTING: Besides my efforts at working in the plants 
there were other things that I did for the war effort. 
For one thing I was an air warden, which was very- 
amusing, and I think: it was that work that more than 
anything else made me feel that I was no longer a young 
fellow, [laughter] Up until that time I thought that I 
might be of some value to the v;ar effort as I had been 
before as a younger man. But when you get to forty-plus, 
I discovered that you're not so important, and as an air 
warden, of course, most of the other men v/ere also older 
people. The way they took their work v;as to me quite 
amusing, and it was only the younger people vfho had a 
certain sense of reality about it. The men I worked with 
had all sorts of funny ideas, and they wanted to change 
the cut of their armbands (they thought they were too 
wide), and so they trimmed them down, [laughter] 
In some ways they took it very seriously, but in other 
ways they had a rather childish sort of an attitude 
towards the whole affair. They didn't seem to have as 
good sense as I'd expect mature men to have. The v;ork 
itself was interesting. They had it all worked out. You 
would get calls in the middle of the night, and maybe 
at two o'clock in the night they'd wake you up on the 


phone, that you had to report at a certain place, that a 
bomb had fallen, and a certain disaster had taken place 
and you must act accordingly. So you'd gump out of bed 
and rush off with these guys and mill around this spot 
where nothing had happened and point to the devastation 
and one thing and another and make plans for rescues and 
this sort of thing. These drills were rather frequent, 
and it wasn't too easy when you were working hard and 
had a lot of other matters on your mind. But I didn't 
feel badly about it. As I say, I found it rather an 
interesting experience as well as an amusing one. 

I had one rather narrow escape from being sent to 
the hospital myself one night, because most of the time 
was spent dashing around having people put out their 
lights. You'd see a lighted window and you'd race down 
the street or across vacant lots to get people to put 
out their lights or cover their shades. And all, of 
course, in pitch darkness. Over near HollyTr/ood Boulevard 
at a place where a large apartment house now stands, 
there was a vacant lot with an excavation and a retaining 
wall. Apparently, it was the beginning of a building 
that had been halted by the war. They had gotten as far 
as excavating to a certain extent, a retaining wall 
of around six feet or so, and a cement floor had been 
laid, and that was that. I saw a light in the distance 
and I went tearing across this lot and to my amazement 


and shock — it was dark — I stepped off into thin air, dovm 
six feet onto this cement floor, [laughter] And how 
I escaped injury I don't know, but I wasn't even lame. 
I landed on my feet and was pretty well shaken, but I 
went on and tended to business, and I didn't suffer any 
ill effects. That v/as the nearest I came to being a 
casualty in the war. But this going to certain addresses 
and congregating and spending a good part of the night on 
a hypothetical disaster was quite interesting. 

The other thing I took was a course in first aid, 
and I learned bandaging and took the lectures on the 
treatment of shock and so forth that they give to people 
taking elementary first aid. As a matter of fact, quite 
a bit of it I knew already. I don't know why, but all 
my life I have often had responsibilities to people who 
were ill, either my family or my friends, and I seemed 
to get a reputation of being able to do the right thing. 

I've often thought what profession I would have 
taken if what I had been doing hadn't gripped me so. 
Engineering (my father's profession) was to me interesting, 
but I think that temperamentally it would be either law 
or medicine. Both of them interested me. Ity maternal 
grandfather was a very talented lawyer, and some aspects 
of law appealed to me. Medicine too is a field that I 
would like to have worked in, especially if one could go 
on with a broad education required for a person in the 


field of neurology and psychiatry, because it seemed to 
me that that was a marvelous field, and in spite of the 
fantastic developments in medicine itself, the fields 
of psychology and neurology attracted me. I noticed 
how much among the professions the various fields of 
art appeal to many doctors. A number of writers, for 
example, from Rabelais to Oliver Wendell Holmes to 
Somerset Maugham, have begun their life with the 
study of medicine or have been practicing doctors, which 
is also true of art. Whether Da Vinci had an interest 
I don't know (I never saw anything in his notebooks 
apropos of pathology), but his tremendous interest in 
anatomy suggests that he might have been a very fine 
surgeon — he did such remarkable dissection — if he'd 
followed that field. Also that among the professional 
groups, the businessmen sketch clubs and things of that 
sort, by far the best amateur work in these clubs is from 
the doctors' clubs. And sometimes they're above the 
amateur. We have one doctor here now. Bob Kennicott, a 
heart specialist of considerable renown, who is also an 
excellent painter and exhibits his work in the professional 
shows; it passes quite stiff Juries sometimes. So it has 
rather interested me that there seems to be a relationship 
in the thought and temperament in these various fields. 

However, I concentrated on the idea of being a 
painter, always with some idea of doing writing; probably 


it's a matter of laziness more than anything else that 
I haven't made some effort in writing. A good many- 
painters have been very articulate. The lectures of 
Sir Joshua Reynolds were not classics exactly but were 
examples of a man who not only was very thoughtful but 
also very articulate. Among the European painters, 
one of my teachers, Maurice Denis, was also a serious 
art critic and made some contributions to criticism. 
He is best known for one statement that is very often 
quoted by writers on art — that a painting before it is 
anything else, whether a representation of the crucifixion 
or a still life or what it might be (I'm paraphrasing 
what he said) , is simply an organization of color on a 
plane surface, and that must always be borne in mind. 
It is in those terms that it becomes a painting, not 
because of what it represents. 

And Andre Lhote, another one of my teachers, was 
quite an industrious writer. I always wondered when he 
found time to write because he was so busy. Not only 
was he a very busy teacher but he was a very industrious 
painter. I foxind that he did some of his writings on 
the subway on his way to work, that he carried his book 
with him, and in his spare moments he would write, and 
little by little he would get together serious studies 
which he would publish. 

Another activity that I enjoyed, and v/hich also took 


time and energy, was going to the USO and doing quick 
sketches of the boys in the service. It was one of the 
projects of the USO that they invited artists to do that 
sort of thing, and they would mail these dravri.ngs to the 
families of the hoys who had had sketches made. They 
had mailing tubes and facilities for wrapping, and they 
would take over the sketch, and so all the boy had to do 
was to sit for half an hour and be drawn. Then they'd 
give the drawing to someone in charge who would tend to 
the packing and mailing of it. It was very nice. The 
boys seemed to enjoy it very much; everyone was eager to 
sit. Of course, there weren't too many of us doing that 
sort of thing, but quite a number though. We used to go 
in pairs. It was rather more interesting that way. 
Sometimes we'd go alone. But Ed Biberman and I used to 
go— I've forgotten how often it was— quite often, some- 
times in the daytime, mostly at night though. It's 
rather tiring work; it's quite a strain. You can't 
keep it up very long, because after a certain period the 
boys all commence to look alike, which isn't very good 
when it comes to a likeness. You get a kind of a blur 
from one face and then another face and you remember the 
last face you saw and all of a sudden you find you're 
drawing that face instead of the one you should be 
drawing. So you have to take a rest. But the principal 
thing is that you can't keep it up just one after another 


too long without it being more than you can do well. 

That would have led to one or two other interesting things 

if it weren't that I couldn't leave home. 

Once I got a telephone call, and they were flying a 
small group of artists to do that sort of thing up north, 
someplace where they had landed a b\inch of the fellows 
in a hospital station, and they wanted to send some 
people up to interest and amuse the boys in that v/ay. But 
I couldn't go, and I was rather sorry about that. It 
would have been a rather interesting variation in my 
life. So what with being an air warden and doing some 
work in the aircraft plant, that was my activity during 
the war. [tape off] 

After I left the work in the aircraft plants, I 
commenced to think seriously of trying to get a job in 
teaching. It was not too easy to decide. When I v;orked 
in the aircraft plant, I made it a point to only take 
the graveyard shift, because by working at night I could 
leave my wife, who was doing quite well, but was in too 
delicate condition to leave alone too long at a time, and 
by working at night of course she was in bed and 
asleep and I wouldn't have too much to worry about. The 
idea of going back to teaching would require my being 
away probably all day long, but I decided to do it. 

Two artists that I had become very well acquainted 
with in that period were S. flacDonald-Vright and Lorser 
Feitelson. MacDonald-Wright and Lorser Feitelson had been 


head of the Federal Art Project, and coming from Milwaiikee 
and having been in the Federal Art Project, I v;as interested 
in what they were doing out here. I called at their 
office and met Feitelson and later met Mac Donald- Wright. 
Then a certain amoimt of time intervened, and I v;as doing 
this other v/ork that I've spoken of. In the meantime, I 
saw something of Feitelson; I met him quite frequently. 
And when the Federal Art Project was closed down, he 
took the position of instructor at the Art Center. The 
Art Center was then down on Seventh Street, and it v;as 
there that I did this work for industrial illustration, 
in a big room across the street from the school. When 
I spoke to him about going back to teaching, there were 
some positions offered me. UCLA called me up once, and 
there was another small art school, not too good but I 
guess a fairly successful one, v;ho wanted a teacher and 
wanted to consider my taking the position. But before I 
decided on these places, I was talking to Lorser and he 
said, "Why don't you come to Art Center?" And he arranged 
an appointment with [Charles] Adams, the director, and 
he and I went down. I took a folio of my work, and 
Adams liked my drawings. He thought I had something to 
contribute to their work there. So I took that position. 
It paid much better than the other two offers, and really 
for that reason alone I took it, because I v;as glad to 
have the money. 


The Art Center was getting along very well. It 
seemed to be very well managed in a business way, and it 
was going to be a successful school, which it has in fact 
become. At that time it hadn't been going very long, 
and they were rather cramped in their quarters. But it 
was already getting a reputation, especially its school 
of commercial art. They had a certain amount of training, 
■which was considered fine art, under an excellent teacher 
by the name of Stanley Reckless. Stanley Reckless was 
one of the foimders of the school, along with Adams and 
two or three other people, and had an interest in the 

So I started teaching life drawing in the same room 
where I had been doing my industrial illustration, which 
had been changed over into a life class. At first it 
wasn't too easy. The school was run in much the same 
way as the Layton School had been managed, the instructor 
being there the entire time of the session, but also they 
had rather special ideas of what they wanted the drawing 
course to be. At least Adams did, though he didn't 
interfere at all, but one could feel that he always 
looked through the drawing of the student in its immediate 
application to the other parts of the course, especially 
in advertising layout and that sort of thing. 

For example, I had one class at one time in head 
drawing. Ordinarily, in the drawing of the head in 


most art schools that I had been familiar with, you would 
do a drawing of the head nearly life-size, not over life- 
size but fairly large, the idea being that in doing it 
on a larger scale, as you v;ould have in conventional 
portrait painting, you get more intimate knowledge of the 
structure. For example, you can really get into the 
drawing of an eye and find out how the eye is made. In 
a very small drawing, you can't do it so well unless you 
are very proficient. 

Sometimes, with that idea in mind, remarkable work 
has been done, especially by a Russian school in Paris. 
Students would do a drawing of a head much greater than 
life-size, sometimes quite a colossal drawing of a head. 
In that Way they couldn't cheat on anything, using little 
clever touches, you know. You had to actually make the 
nostril as it is built, and the corner of the mouth, and 
how the eyelid fits over the eyeball, and how the lids 
join at the corners — the exact structure, almost the 
architecture of it — which I thought was an excellent 
idea. In contrast to that, one of the few things that 
Adams suggested about my teaching was not to have them 
do the head so big. He said, "They never do that in 
practical work and we want our work to be always very 
practical, to have its immediate application to what 
the student is doing, and they've got to learn to do 
small heads." So most of our head drawing was a sheet 


of paper with a large number of rather highly finished 
little heads drawn on it, which was all right. I didn't 
feel it was too bad of an idea, although I didn't feel 
I got as much out of my students as I would if I had had 
a chance to. As a matter of fact, I didn't pay too much 
attention to the idea. I had them also do large heads 
as well as small ones. Well, there are a lot of little 
•variations like that in teaching, the demands of a school 
which emphasized commercial art, which I had to get 
accustomed to. It was extremely hard work because my 
classes were very large, and it was quite a problem how 
to do justice to such a big class in one session. If 
you really wanted to do the most you could for them, 
go around to each one individually and give adequate 
explanation and criticism, it v/ould have taken days to 
get through forty or fifty drawings. So that v;as some- 
thing I had to learn, and I never felt that I really did. 
You could do quite a lot by talking, by demonstration, 
by putting drawings on the wall and going down the line, 
comparing one drawing to another, explaining the reason for 
this and that, and something of the theory. I didn't 
mind, as a student, if a teacher would actually work on 
my drawing, and the same way with my painting. If I could 
see him actually take that problem and lick it right there 
on the spot, it would mean much more to me than any amo\int 
of theorizing. 


At the same time, I had the other responsibilities, 
my wife and my father. My father was then out in Alhambra; 
after his house burned, he got a place in Alhambra, and 
he and my aunt were living there. There were certain 
difficulties, as when both my father and my aunt got 
pneumonia at the same time, that kept me quite busy and 
quite worried. But, I was lucky in finding a nurse, a 
woman who was quite practical and good. She had a little 
boy, and she was very glad to live with my father. She 
had a room in his house and took care of the place and 
looked after him. Father pulled through, but my aunt 
died in ^^i^. There were things like that that compli- 
cated life, [tape off] 

The director and founder of the Art Center, Adams, 
was a man of great ability but in some ways very much of 
a martinet. He thought of things that I thought were a 
little excessive. For one thing, it seemed to me that 
he would systematically throw out so many students every 
semester, because he didn't think that they were promising 
material — or that was the idea, that they weren't doing 
well enough to justify their taking the full course. That 
kept the others very much on the qui vive , of course, and 
made them work ^evy^ hard. One of the excellent things 
about the school is that the kids do learn to work. 

After my wife died, the house in which I was living 
was sold. Somebody bought it and was going to remodel 


it into a n-umber of small apartments. So I put all my 
stuff in storage and by that time the Art Center had 
moved out to Third Street in v;hat used to be the Ciimnocks 
Girls School in the old days. It had beautiful big 
grounds, and a big building that had an auditorium, and 
on the second floor, there were many rooms. They did 
much remodeling, which was going on when we moved the 
school. I began teaching down on Seventh Street, and 
then he moved the school before they were really ready 
for it. We had classes in all sorts of odd places, and 
it wasn't too easy at first. Then after my wife died 
and I put my stuff in storage, Adams said that they had 
plenty of room there, and if I wanted to, I could take 
one of the rooms upstairs, which was very nice and worked 
out very well indeed. The building superintendent and 
his wife also had an apartment on the same floor, and she 
used to give me my breakfast. That made it convenient. 
I could go down in the morning and go to my classes; 
they had a cafeteria in the school, where I could have 
lunch and go back to work. For dinner, I xvent out to a 
restaurant. But one thing that I enjoyed very much after 
coming home, if I didn't go out — and I went out very 
little — would be to go dovm and wander around the night 
school. They had night school with life classes, and if 
I saw an interesting model in one of the classes, why, 
I'd go in and sit with the students. And in that way I 


got quite a lot of drawing from life, which is something 
that I had rather missed. 

Unless you make a special effort to get out and go 
to a life class, you don't get it. And, of course, it's 
too expensive to have one ' s own model and do much such 
work at home, especially when you're doing it for study, 
very much as a musician would practice everyday. I 
always felt that I ought to have a certain amount of my 
scale work, like any other student, and also because it's 
the kind of study that I enjoy very much. It would amuse 
me that there were certain times that they would think 
that I was just another student in the class, trying to 
learn to draw like the rest of them. I remember one 
girl who used to work not far from where I would sit. 
She came to the night class, and I got into a conver- 
sation with her and she was tremendously interested in 
her work and said that she was going to enter the school 
full time at the beginning of the following semester. 
The reason that I noticed her was that her work was 
unusually good, very sensitive, and I thought showed 
very definite promise. Also, she seemed to be so 
intensely interested in her drawing that I was sure that 
she would make good. Well, she was one of the ones that 
thought that I was just another student at the night class, 
coming to learn; so when she finally Joined the school 
and came into the life class and found that I was her 


teacher, she was quite flabbergasted, [laughter] And 
I had her in my life class for some time. 

As a comment on the school — and I don't say that I 
blame the school at all for it, but it's one of the 
unfortunate things that happened in this case, and it 
doesn't always happen — the very severe demands of being 
a good commercial artist took completely out of v/hat she 
did most of those qualities that attracted me to her 
drawing in the first place, and she became Just another 
commercial artist. She learned the techniques and all 
the tricks of the trade. I say tricks of the trade, because 
a boy going out to make his living at commercial art, if 
he is going to be at all successful, is supposed to be 

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him, especially lettering. The well-trained commercial 
artist, of course, is at least skillful in lettering, and 
he ought to be very good at layout, because the layout 
is the most important part. But even so, he must be 
able to render a block of lettering proficiently. If 
he can do that, he has a very strong entering wedge in 
a commercial field. After that, it depends on what other 
things he has talents for, which include things like 
fashion drawing and also being able to illustrate 
advertising, which is one reason that their course in 
perspective was quite complete. This was very hard on 
some of the students who weren't mathematically minded 


because they had to know the principles quite thoroughly, 
very much as an architect would learn perspective. A 
good many of the girls, especially, used to get nervous 
prostration over their perspective course. I had more 
students come v;eep on my shoulder, because they were 
afraid of being kicked out of the school at the end of 
the semester. They didn't think their v;ork v;as good 
■enough. They were so afraid they wouldn't be able to 
stay, because this course in perspective v/as simply 
driving them crazy. They couldn't make head nor tail 
of it, which of course was a gross exaggeration. Like 
a lot of things, at the beginning, it ' s a complete mystery. 
You can't see any sense to it, but, little by little, 
things fall into place. I don't think many of them 
failed their perspective course, even though it was 
rather stiff. They had an excellent teacher. He v;as 
a very nice fellov;, and he worked out models and mechani- 
cal devices to illustrate his teaching. I thought he 
was doing a very good Job, and I would have liked to have 
taken the course myself, because although I \inderstand 
it up to a certain point, it's not something that the 
painter makes too much use of. In commercial art they 
have to know it pretty thoroughly, because a good 
illustrator for advertising will sometimes have to make 
a very realistic picture of something that hasn't even 
been manufactured. He must do it from blueprints and 


knowledge of materials and malce a rendering which will 
be convincing, just as an architect will make an 
illustration of a house that hasn't been built and give 
you a good idea of it. Especially in the old days they 
used to do it very realistically; sometimes you'd swear 
that the house had been drawn from nature. Nowadays they 
do it rather more schematically. 

Adams demanded a great deal of the students because 
I think his idea was that when they got out into the 
world and had to meet deadlines, they must know v;hat 
it's like. I imagine when they finally got out and got 
their jobs that they would very often find that the work 
was really easier than it was at Art Center. 

There were quite a number of students that were 
given rooms and lived there at Art Center, and I never 
came home late at night without seeing some of the windows 
with the lights burning as they were working on their 

The only thing that we called the fine arts was the 
classes of Stan Reckless, though there were some other 
courses at the Art Center that were good, especially 
one by a man name of Kaminski. Kaminski had a course 
that 1 thought was excellent; it was called the Logic 
of Drawing. It was one that I would like to teach my- 
self; I would like to use some of his ideas. I never 
have had an opportunity to really do it. You could only 


do it with someone who was taking a regular course and 
doing daily work. But Kaminski's course and Reckless' 
course were excellent for artists, and as I say, the 
discipline that was given at the school wasn't one that 
necessarily killed talent. I felt that it did in this 
girl that I mentioned, but one of my students in life in 
those days is now [acting] head of the Art Institute here 
in Los Angeles. Bentley Schaad not only mastered all the 
Art Center had to give, but he got an excellent start 
in painting and afterwards went to study with Henry McFee, 
and then became a teacher at the Art Institute, now Otis. 
He not only was very accomplished as a painter and in 
his art background but has published a beautiful book on 
the art of still life painting, which isn't Just one of 
these how-to-do-it books. It's really quite a serious and 
excellent book on the subject of still life in art and the 
painting of it. [tape off] 

The work that I saw of Kaminski's at the school 
interested me; one was his course on the logic of drawing, 
which instead of what we used to do in the old days of 
simply setting up a still life and making a drawing of 
it, he would begin right away with a student inventing 
compositions. The first problem they would have was a 
rather good-sized drawing in black crayon. I don't think 
it was charcoal. I think they used a Conte crayon on a 
rather smooth paper. One of his favorite problems (I 


tMnk it was the first he gave in course) used to be to 
take a cigarette and to lay it over a match box. You 
had there a combination of a cylinder and a cubical form, 
and studied the theory of light — the transition of light, 
the reflected light and so forth. At the same time the 
student would do an imaginary composition, using the 
principles, and being as fantastic as they liked. It 
resulted in some of the wildest surrealism you can 
imagine. Some of the kids really did some good illus- 
trations for horror stories. But they were good in the 
way they turned them loose into really using their 
material freely rather than copying the actual appearance, 
as we used to do when I first went to art school and 
made charcoal drawings from still life, but always with 
the reasonable use of those various elements — line, light, 
shade, and characterization of edges, reflected lights 
and all that sort of thing. In the old days, realistic 
rendering was one of the things that architectural students 
would have to study. I don't think they do any more. One 
was the theory of shadows, of cast shadows. Usually 
it would be drawn mathematically onto the rendering, 
in perspective. It wasn't simply an impression of light 
and shade; they had to be able to actually make it. If 
the light of a shadow fell on a curved surface, the 
degree of curvature and the angle of the light, all that 
sort of thing, was mathematically worked out and laid out 


on your drawing and then rendered. 

Well, Kaminski didn't demand this exactly, but he 
demanded understanding . Later, with the knowledge that 
he gave them, plus the mathematics of perspective, they 
were well on their way. After that, it's then only a 
matter of tonal values and of color relationships to make 
a complete pictorial representation of anything. 
•Kaminski was excellent, and also an instructor (whose 
name I can't think of for the moment) had a course in 
color. Usually I found that color courses are rather 
boresome. First, I had an idea that the theory of color 
would be extremely interesting, but from my own efforts, 
I felt, more and more, that color is a very personal 
matter. Its relation to your work is more a matter of 
feeling; beyond certain elements of it, I never found too 
much use for theory. But this course that he gave, with 
its exercises, he made interesting, and the students did 
some rather beautiful things in abstract designs in color. 
They used all of the qualities that we have in color — 
hue and value and so forth, how they could play against 
one another and be modified by texture. 

Incidentally, another part of Kaminski 's work 
contributed a great deal to the success of the department 
of commercial photography which was, and I believe is, 
very good. Kaminski himself was not a photographer, but 
he had classes for the photographic student, in the study 


shapes and of textures in a way that's familiar to us, 
mostly of montages and collages, in v;hich you v/ould take 
various textures — like a smooth piece of paper and a 
rough piece of canvas and this, that, and the other thing — 
cut them up into shapes and arrange them. Sensitivity to 
texture and the rendering of it is, of course, very 
important to the photographer and one thing that you very, 
very seldom see in the work of an amateur photographer. 
They have no sense of texture whatsoever or the possibilities 
it has in making an attractive picture of even an ordinary 
subject. This course would cultivate such feeling and 
would have quick repercussions on the work of the photo- 
graphic student. They took their photography very 
seriously there and had excellent instructors and lecturers; 
some of the most famous photographers taught and lectured 
at the school. Sometimes it seemed to me that they 
weren't too economical in some of their projects. I 
remember one day the whole auditorium was in an uproar. 
You'd have thought that a movie was about to be produced 
there, because of the cameras and effects and models 
working on the auditorium stage and the making of a fog 
effect with dry ice. You felt that something 
really big would come out of all that, because there 
was enough in the way of costumes and build-up and color 
effects and lights and all the boys with their cameras 
to produce a spectacular movie. Finally the picture was 


made, and it seemed to me that almost aiiybody could have 
tricked it up in an ordinary photographer's studio fairly 
easily without all that fuss. But I suppose I do them 
an injustice. Maybe the not impressive results were the 
measure of the value of all this expense and hoopla, 

I can't say that I was very happy at Art Center. I 
spoke of Adams being a martinet. He believed that you 
should demand a great deal of the student, and you should 
not treat them with kid gloves, that they were there to 
learn to do a job and they had to learn it. There was 
a certain military attitude towards doing your job. Well, 
the boys were just back out of service, and one thing that 
contributed to the success of the school in getting started 
(the same thing that aided the Layton School) was the 
fact that they had a lot of fellows right out of service, 
going on with their education and getting it in art. So 
they were used to men like Adams, but I never have been. 
I never liked to make much show of authority. Adams used 
to try to get me to be more demanding and severe in my 
criticism. Also I felt there was an excessive emphasis 
on the purely commercial side of art. I felt, and do 
feel, that in the field of commercial art the important 
contributions are really made by the creative artist. 
What happens is that they may not, as commercial artists, 
contribute too much, but the source of everything that is 


used in commercial art has begun outside of the field of 
commercial art. 

In Europe, you have the magnificent posters of 
Toulouse-Lautrec and [Theophile] Steinlen and [Jules] 
Cheret. The artist, and sometimes the great artist, has 
made the real contribution. It's only on rare occasions 
(not too rare fortunately) that you find superior talent, 
[tape off] 

SCHIPPERS: I asked you to mention some of these other 
personalities you worked with there. 

MTJTTING: Feitelson v;as teaching life drawing at the same 
time that I was at Art Center, and I saw a great deal of 
him. We often went out to lunch together. He is an 
excellent teacher. He's not the conventional teacher of 
life drawing that I was used to, but he was good in the 
sense that he had not only been a serious student of his 
art in a practical way, but one who understood it 
historically aad theoretically as well. He's very articu- 
late, and he has a very good way with his students. 
He interests them; he brings illustrative material and he 
discusses it. He gets excellent results from his students. 
They learned a great deal about the art of drawing as well 
as acquiring skill. 

Reckless' teaching in painting was more academic. 
He was trained in France in the Beaux-Arts' tradition of 
painting. He used to put up still lifes around the room 


with artificial illumination. I hardly ever sav; work 
being done with natural light. They alv;ays had some 
system of electric lights over the subject and v;ould work 
a long time on their paintings, which was fine discipline 
in drawing and in textures and tone and color values. 
Bentley Schaad, incidentally, now teaches at the Otis 
Art Institute and was in my life class. He was also a 
•student of Reckless' and did some excellent things. He 
afterwards worked with Henry McFee. I met S. MacDonald- 
Wright at the same time that I met Lorser Feitelson. 
He is, of course, a very talented painter, not only a 
beautiful draftsman with a fine sense of decoration — 
the murals in the Santa Monica library testify to that — 
but also, he was one of the very first of the painters 
in the modem movement to do so-called "pure abstraction." 
He and another painter [Morgan Russell] founded a 
movement — I say "founded" a movement — they started what 
they called Synchromism, which wasn't too important in 
the history of art, but it was interesting in the fact 
that it was one of the earliest, and may possibly have 
been .the earliest, efforts to do purely nonobjective 
painting. Well, besides being a distinguished painter and 
very articulate person, he is witty and highly cultivated. 
He is an excellent teacher, [tape off] He's a great 
collector of, and an authority on, Oriental art and is 
spending most of his time — or half his time, it seems to 


me — in Japan these days. A lot of his painting has 
definitely the influence of the Orient, especially his 
drawings and watercolors. 







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