Why the great sculptor is so exasperating, and other excerpts from our coverage 100, 75, 50, and 25 years ago
100 YEARS AGO
While the honoring of the man’s name by making him an Associate of the National Academy was doubtless well meant, it had the unfortunate result of attracting the attention of sensational newspaper writers to his sad situation, who, with execrable taste, to say the least, it seems to us, and from what we hear to the former associates, friends and relatives of the insane painter, have devoted hysterical pages with lurid illustrations, depicting him raving in his cell, for the delectation of Sunday magazine readers. “Drifting, Dreamy and Broke,” was the unfortunate title chosen by one of these writers for his page on the painter, which not complimentary epithet was repeated throughout the article. Let poor Blakelock alone!
— From “Let Blakelock Alone,” May 10, 1913
75 YEARS AGO
With private patronage destroyed, artists have been thrown into contact with the problems of pauperism and the demoralization of living on relief, and their reaction to a realization of these has been the source of a deep-going change. Mines, mills and factories, and the artists’ reaction to human problems have superseded apples and flowers as material, to a great extent, and this quickened awareness of life outside the studio has had a tremendously vitalizing effect on their work.
— From “The Congressmen of Art in a New York Session,” by Jeannette Lowe, May 14, 1938
50 YEARS AGO
— From “Rodin: Genius with giblets,” by P.M. Grand, May 1963
25 YEARS AGO
“One, it makes better news if the value is high. Two, sometimes it causes confusion for the thieves. Once in a while when I was on the force, I would provide misinformation. It means nothing to the public whether the loot was worth six million or eight million dollars. The thief gets information from the press. When I was a detective and a painting worth a hundred thousand dollars was stolen, I’d say it was worth a hundred and fifty thousand dollars when I announced the theft. When the thief goes to the fence, he’s saying to himself, ‘The fence is not going to outsmart me. I know what it’s worth.’ The fence, however, knows it’s worth only a hundred thousand dollars. So the thief takes it someplace else. For every additional person that the thief speaks to, it raises the possibility that a mistake will be made along the line and an informant will call the police.”
— From “Confessions of an Art Cop,” by Milton Esterow, May 1988