PRINT December 1968



In his article “Serial Imagery” (October 1968) John Coplans refers to “Noland’s first series of targets (which were done in 1960–62).” He is in error as to the initial date of these paintings. The first Noland paintings done in concentric circles date from 1958. Incidentally, these concentric circles were never called “targets” by the artist himself; that Mr. Coplans italicizes “targets” would imply that this was their accepted designation.

The catalog of Noland’s one-man show at French & Co., in October, 1959, contained close to thirty paintings of this type that were painted from early in 1958 to the middle of 1959. They were dated in the catalog of that show. I saw those paintings in 1959 and purchased Plunge and Luster dated 1958 (Plunge is in the collection of T. Schreiber, Scarsdale, New York). I also purchased Round, Lunar Episode and other paintings dated 1959 at that time (Lunar Episode is in the collection of Carter Burden, New York City). Paintings dated 1958 or 1959 are also in the collections of the Whitney Museum, Joseph H. Hirshhorn, J. P. Lannan, The Marquis of Dufferin and Ava, and others.

The catalog “Serial Imagery” by Mr. Coplans, from which your text is drawn, contains at least one further error; pages 112 and 113 of that catalog reproduce four paintings by Frank Stella which were painted in 1962 and exhibited by me in Paris in 1963. They are dated 1964 by Mr. Coplans.

—Lawrence Rubin
New York City

I do agree that one cannot say which Warhol soup can is best, but for Mr. Coplans (October, 1968) to state that the same condition is true for Monet’s Cathedrals is a very questionable statement indeed. In the event that he has not seen them all, I can assure him that there are distinct qualitative differences within the series.

—C. R. Bechtle
Philadelphia, Pa.

It is my understanding that the point of the Degas monotype exhibit at the Fogg last June was to bring to the public’s attention the very high mastery and range of effects achieved by the French painter in that special mode of expression. Jerrold Lanes’s review (September, 1968) is misleading for it deals far too little with “Degas Monotypes at Harvard” at the expense of his quibble with Mrs. Janis’s written thesis. Consequently what some might consider a major show and a rare one has failed to arouse in your reviewer even a basic enthusiasm, much less a short account of what there was to have been seen.

At one point, and in reference to Degas’ use of pastel, Mr. Lanes says: “ . . . the medium is highly textural and granular, which is to say superficial.” Since when is any medium superficial? This, like other attitudes expressed in his review, I find false and no great help in making us understand Degas’ achievement, easily the most investigatory and searching graphic-minded artist of his period. What new subjects Degas did explore with monotype we are not told. Nothing is said of the interesting relationship between Degas’ landscapes and those of more typical Impressionist painters. Nor of the relationship between Degas’ monotypes and his etchings and lithographs. In short, Degas’ invention, quality, influence, and power are scarcely recognized or discussed. And I fear that Mr. Lanes alone may be talking about “the problems of the New York School” when he should be addressing himself to the visual material at hand.

And why should Degas’ artistry be sacrificed for a critic’s cavil?

—Matt Phillips
Art Department, Bard College
Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.

My congratulations to Manny Farber for his fine article on Godard (October, 1968). It is indeed a welcome relief to find an article of substantial text concerning film-making in Artforum. Your film articles make an otherwise “super-slick” art magazine occasionally worth the subscription fee.

—Bruce Birmelin
Oakland, Calif.