PRINT December 1970




The following point got edited out of my “Teddy’s Taste: Theodore Roosevelt and the Armory Show,” (November). The original contained the lines: “It is notable that when an occasion arose on which T.R. enumerated Englishmen whom he considered truly great, a painter was among them: ‘Wellington, Nelson, Turner, Wordsworth, and Tennyson’ is his list of British heroes in the essay ‘The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century,’ a review and denunciation of H.S. Chamberlain’s racist book of the same title. Even more noteworthy is the fact that in 1903 Roosevelt called Ernest Fenollosa, the great Boston art historian and Orientalist, to the White House for a command performance lecture. (Lawrence W. Chisolm, Fenollosa: the Far East and American Culture, New Haven and London, 1963, p. 156, using a letter now in the Dartmouth College Library.) And at this time Fenollosa’s lectures drew upon the investigations of Arthur Wesley Dow. Dow, the fascinating man from Massachusetts, who knew Gauguin in Pont-Aven in 1887, had, with his ‘Synthetic’ ideal, more influence on the teaching of art in American schools (through his professorship at Teachers College, Columbia) than anybody else before or since. (Arthur Warren Johnson, Arthur Wesley Dow; Historian, Artist, Teacher, Publications of the Ipswich Historical Society, XXVIII, Ipswich, Mass., 1934, p. 42, mentioning photograph of Dow and Gauguin together.) So what Roosevelt heard at the White House was surely nothing less than a front-rank ‘American post-impressionism,’ expounded by someone at its source.” The article will perhaps read more continuously with this in mind.

—Joseph Masheck
New York City