New York

“Paintings Of The Thirties”

Midtown Galleries

“Paintings of the Thirties” was a kind of class reunion in which pictures that had been originally shown in the Midtown Galleries during that decade returned to celebrate the gallery’s 42nd anniversary. If there was a unifying rubric for the artists themselves it looks like a social urgency that only got regionalistic in order to exercise its deeper and more general populism. The most interesting artists seen here were Isabel Bishop, Paul Cadmus, and William C. Palmer.

I had not before realized the pains to which Bishop must have gone to produce her distinct Old Masterism of facture (even though her antique “underpainting” looks like it’s on top), without compromising her commitment to the nitty-gritty of 1930s life. In fact, in the art of Bishop and others there seems to be an attempt to confer upon even down-on-the-heel everyday life the dignity and honor of bourgeois “Great Art.” That

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