Early U.S. Art Exhibition

Among the items I found in my Library was an art poster. It is a huge art poster, postmarked from Philadelphia in April of 1947. This date is not mistaken for two reasons:

*One: it is a printed poster on slick magazine like paper and it bears the
  date April 1, 1947.

*This poster was then folded and mailed. The copy I have was mailed
  to Mr. and Mrs. Al Bereduer at 322 S. Caeuac St. Philadelphia, Pa. It
  has a 1 1/2 cent postage stamp on it, and is cancelled by U.S. post
  office on April 12, 1947.

So, there is no question about the date.


There is a photo of The Waterfall by Rigaud Benoit, pointing out that it is"…among the native Haitian paintings on view at Carlen Galleries."


Later is this entry:



"In the current exhibitions, also, there is the vividness of folk art. The modern art world admires Pippin because it is subconsciously jealous of the natural expression of a crude, simple soul. Pippin had something most of us have lost; something that was trained out of us. Yet the fact that he had it did not make him happy. Although his art remained simple he suffered because he was forced to come with the complex world, and tried to express his revulsion to killing and suffering in the terrible crudity of his battle pictures.
"Strikingly genuine as life patterns are his vivid interiors and flower studies. Subtlety is lacking, but the forthrightness of the expression gives it direct force. There are no hidden meanings. In an age when such meanings pass for genius Pippin's simplicity comes as shock and stimulant. He and the primitive Haitians have a common honesty. The life, only, differs, and with it, the emphasis.
"Until the funding of the Centre d'Art a few years ago that island ignored its painters. They were mehanics, tailors, servants, peasants, coffee workers, Voodoo priests.
"Given a ralying center, their fresh directness and naivete, like Pippin's challenged the art world. Like Pippin they are, for the most part, self-taught and paint a world as distinctive and as primitive as anything out of Africa from which hex symbols and Voodoo rites derive.
"Pippin was also of African descent, but his American background eliminated the weird black-ness symbolism of Dieudonne Cefor's ‘Diabolic Ceremony,’ the Voodoo imagery of Rigaud Benoit's ‘Three Mysterious Women,’ or the Voodoo god of Hector Hyppolite's ‘Moise Dambalah.’ Yet Hyppolite, the Voodoo priest, and Pippin, the American laborer, possess the same instinctive design feeling for fruits and flowers, each pattern gaining strength in ration to its lack of sophisticated art background. In Haiti, as in America, there are genuine primitives who do not know that they do not know. Consequently they have no hesitancy and no inhibition peculiar to many European moderns and their America imitators who, in an effort to graft naivete on sophistication, arrive only at an incommunicable preciousness. The true primitive remains communicable."


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Bob Corbett corbetre@webster.edu