Vol.1 / Issue3


Marcel Duchamp: Armory Show Lecture, 1963

recorded by Richard N. Miller


Now, we go back to the Impressionists. 

                 Monet.  Claude Monet was represented by five canvasses in the Armory Show.  This first one, Boardwalk at Trouville, 1870, when Trouville was the Atlantic City of France, is an early attempt at Impressionism, since the name “Impressionism” was coined only four years later in 1874.  And we have another Monet, entirely different.  This one is a Water Lily Pool, on the contrary, dated 1904, much later, and is one of a series of water lily murals, which link Monet with the birth of abstraction.  The two Monets that you saw were in the 1913 Show. 

click to enlarge
Figure 9
Georges Seurat, Les Poseuses (The Models),1888

                 Seurat.  Georges Seurat, in his too-short life - he died at age 32 - achieved a very important revolution with Pointillism, which was his personal reaction to Impressionism.  This beautiful version of Les Poseuses (Fig. 9) of 1888, shows his very unique contribution to the technique of Neo-Impressionism.  A large canvas of the same subject, Les Poseuses, is in the Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pennsylvania.

              Cross.  Henri-Edmond Cross was with Seurat and Paul Signac at the origins of Pointillism, the art movement that succeeded Impressionism around 1880.  This painting, called Clearing (Fig. 10) of 1906-7, was in the Armory Show, and is a perfect illustration of the theories of Pointillism, based on the scientific studies of Chevreuil. Simultaneous contrast of colors which also influenced Delauney a few years later, around 1912. 

               Toulouse-Lautrec.  (I think we have it upstairs, I think) Toulouse-Lautrec is less known for his oil paintings than for his posters.  Nevertheless, with paintings such as this one, called Red-haired Woman Seated in Garden (Fig. 11) in 1889, he belonged to the Impressionist group.  This painting was in the original show, and is also included in the anniversary show.  (I saw it last night, hmm.)

               Gauguin. Gauguin. Paul Gauguin brought back this oil from his first trip to Tahiti.  It’s called Mata Mua (Fig. 12), which in Tahitian dialect means “in open times.”  It was shown at the important Gauguin exhibition at the Durand-Ruel Gallery in Paris in 1893, when Gauguin was 45, already.  As you know, he died in miserable conditions during his second stay in Tahiti in 1903. 

Figure 10
Figure 11
Figure 12
Henri-Edmond Cross. The Clearing, c. 1906/07
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Red-Haired Woman Sitting in Conservatory, 1889, private collection
Paul Gauguin, Mata Mua, 1892

                And van Gogh.  Van Gogh.  Of the 14 paintings that Van Gogh had in the 1913 show, five important ones are in the anniversary show, upstairs.  This one, called Hills at Arles, from the Thannhauser Collection was painted in 1889 at Arles or at St. Remy, I can’t be sure. When van Gogh was very sick in the hospital at St. Remy.  I show you now another landscape very much like this one.  Olive Trees at St. Remy, painted in the same year, 1889.  Very luminous expression and all - almost the same thing.  In the following year, 1890, van Gogh went to live his last month in Auvers, a small town near Paris, where he painted several portraits of young girls like this one, Mademoiselle Ravoux (Fig. 13), June 1890, which is included in the anniversary show.  Van Gogh died a month later.  Incidentally, this last painting used to belong to Katherine Dreier, who lent it to the Armory Show, and it is now in the Cleveland Museum of Art.

                 And now we come to Cézanne.  Paul Cézanne.  Woman with a Rosary (Fig. 14)It was in the Show of 1913.  Cézanne painted this important portrait at the end of his life in about 1903, probably in Aix [en-Provence].  In 1904-1905, the Salon d’Automne  and the Independents gave him a very important one-man show.  He died in 1906, before he had received a worldwide recognition. 

                 Now we can do Ryder.  Albert Ryder, a great, great painter, who came from an American Cape Cod family, and lived for many years in New York, on Washington Square and later, West 15th Street, in a most modest and bohemian way, completely absorbed in and dedicated to his inner vision.  This Moonlight Marine (Fig. 15) was in the original and is also in the present show.  It’s one of Ryder’s best-known themes, a typical expression of his position as a forerunner of abstract art, as we understand it today.  Very abstract, isn’t it?  You hardly see the boats.  There are some boats.

click images to enlarge
Figure 13
Figure 14
Figure 15
Vincent Van Gogh, Mademoiselle Ravoux, June 1890
Paul Cézanne, An Old Woman with a Rosary, 1900-04
Albert Pinkham Ryder, Moonlight Marine, c. 1908, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Figure 16
James McNeill Whistler, The Little Rose of Lyme Regis, 1895. Oil on canvas. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA.

                 Now, Whistler.  James McNeill Whistler painted this portrait called Little Rose of Lyme Regis (Fig. 16), which is, I suppose, a small town in England.  It was painted in 1895, and it is considered as one of his finest achievements in quality, as compared to most of his life-sized portraits.  As we all know, Whistler lived a great part of his life abroad, and became quite a big international figure around the turn of the century.  

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