Hilton Kramer

  • Charles Sheeler, American Pastoral

    THE CAREER OF CHARLES SHEELER traces a complex course—more complex, in fact, than the art that resulted from it. In his life as an artist, Sheeler touched most of the major points on the compass. He was, first and last, a convert to Cubism. He was deeply responsive to the esthetics of machine technology. Early on, he was in touch with Duchamp and Dada and the whole Arensberg circle. He had a keen appreciation of folk art, particularly folk architecture, and understood their relevance to modern art. He was an accomplished photographer—even more accomplished as a photographer than as a painter—and

  • Soutine and the Problem of Expressionism

    THE LIFE OF CHAIM SOUTINE is a harrowing fable of aspirations impossible to realize, emotions impossible to appease, appetites impossible to satisfy. It is all the more harrowing for being so familiar, not only in the particularities of the artist’s own biography but in the archetype of the suffering Jew which that biography evokes with such intense drama and despair. No matter that this archetype has become a slightly shopworn fixture of our commercial culture. Soutine recalls us to its essential shape and substance—to an adversity of spirit that is unalterable and unremitting even in the face

  • Kandinsky

    EVERYTHING WOULD NOW SEEM to favor a high estimate of the art of Kandinsky. From the historical point of view, he was an innovator of great importance. He was, after all, one of the two or three key figures in the creation of modern non-figurative painting. This in itself is enough to guarantee his oeuvre a permanent place in the modernist canon, for the whole tendency of contemporary criticism and art-historical scholarship has been to identify artistic achievement with stylistic innovation. But in Kandinsky’s case, our interest is not only—or exclusively—historical. It extends to his influence