San Francisco

“101 Masterpieces of Primitive Painting”

M. H. de Young Memorial Museum

Some of the best examples of early American primitives selected from the vast collection of Col. Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch of New York and Maryland. The point they make is that in discussions of art we have tended to overlook the fact that the fledgling United States developed a style of painting of its own, prac­ticed by artist-craftsmen of rustic humor and uncompromising candor who owed little to customs and niceties of European art. Their naive style did have roots in English provincial paint­ing, brought to the colonies. by limners, topographers and “face painters,” but they quickly developed new and original modes of expression as hard work erased memories and modified inherited tendencies. Portraits, rich in historic costume and often painted with devas­tating realism, dominate this show, and through them it is easier for us to view these paintings as true art

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