. . . JOSTLING AGAINST OTHERS at openings, or at receptions in artists’ studios—everywhere where the artistic life of New York is heard—one cannot escape the mounting sense of claustrophobia. Ah, it’s now become impossible to see the paintings past the sea of backs of an art-crazed public. We dash out to the streets for a breath of fresh air, but no relief: here, too, we are tossed like tiny pebbles on the waves of the bustling crowd. Stifling! . . .

Van Gogh, of course, fled from the “dwarfish infamies of M. Messonier” to Arles; Cézanne packed it in for Aix-en-Provence. Gauguin, finding no peace in Brittany, sailed to Tahiti. Still earlier, J.F. Millet, hemmed in by the conventional pieties of the salon, took himself thirty miles from Paris to the unspoiled hamlet of Barbizon, and there attracted his artist friends, inviting them to share in living out his artistic credo: “In art it is

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the April 1989 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.