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42. Class notes on "French Painting"

Insincere rot?

Henry Edwards Scott
Paul Sachs

Harvard University, 1922-1923

Class notes of Henry Edwards Scott, a student of Fogg Museum Associate Director, Paul Sachs. These notes, taken in Fine Arts 5n, “French Painting” (1922-1923) shed light on Sachs’ inconsistent attitude regarding contemporary art. He was an advisor to the student-created Harvard Society for Contemporary Art in the 1920s, although it is questionable whether this role demonstrated actual enthusiasm for the subject. Student leaders of the Society (Lincoln Kirstein, Edward Walberg and John Walker) felt Sachs showed a remarkable lack of support, and that his involvement in the group was merely a way to keep contemporary art out of the Fogg. [See Patron Saints: Five Rebels Who Opened America to a New Art, 1928-1943 (Nicholas Fox Weber, 1992).] In the last meeting of the class, Jan 23, 1923, Scott’s notes indicate that Sachs said:

""Cezanne, Gauguin, ??-- cleared way for all disregard for truth to nature. Gauguin --decorative, rich color. Then came so-called pure creative emotion emotion -- cubists, futurists, etc. insincere rot! A perverse theory of vision! A futurist may keep you up all night trying to make you appreciate some piece of work which is supposed to suggest to the mind what the thought the artist has tried to expose or something like that; but one does not have to take all night to appreciate a real piece of art.”

. Henry Edwards Scott Papers (SC 14); file 4..
HOLLIS Catalog: 012709092
Henry Edwards Scott, Class notes



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