Chris Rodie

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Nature is often present in Larry Connatser's paintings, but only rarely as a

subject for imaginative exploration in its own right. Two noteworthy

expressionist works dating from the mid-'60s reach with panache toward

nature's gloomy depths and sublime heights; but those works, unfortunately

not available for this exhibition, represent early experiments with "pure"

landscape that were never repeated. Even in the earliest phase of his

career, Connatser preferred to present nature in the form of a pastoral. The

rolling hills of Appalachia and the marshy coasts of Georgia became motifs

recalled again and again to provide tranquilly animated backgrounds into

which the artifacts and activities of human beings could be harmoniously

blended, and sometimes made to seem merely incidental (Plates 30, 43, 50,

58, 61). The city itself was sometimes treated in this form, and with

considerable success, for example in one of the panoramic views of Atlanta

commissioned for the Peachtree Summit parking garage in 1984 (Plate 51).

Connatser's pastorals present nature not as a symbolic object of

retrospective longing, but as a cosmos that is always present beyond the

perceptual limits within which its human inhabitants are confined by their

everyday cares and desires, and to which they are referred as to an ultimate

situation and source of order. This can be seen most easily just where the

pastoral form is pushed to the breaking point, as in the painting of

Chippewa Square, Savannah (Plate 49), which becomes all the more luminous

with cosmic presence as space folds in upon itself to accommodate an

extension of temporal perspective.

The pastorals are the most consistently satisfying of Connatser's works, not

only because of the specific moral and aesthetic qualities they embody, but

also because of a congruity that is established among the different strata

of feeling they communicate. In the process of their making, the artist's

experience of nature seems to have mediated his experience of the human

condition in a way that was salutary. Indeed, it seems to have been the true

source of the religious convictions that he occasionally acknowledged as

operative in his work. Concerning some paintings in this form that he

completed in the early '80s, the artist himself had this to say:

…one praises God and tries to arrive at the right measure of tension and

harmony and radiance in so doing…I suppose that at best this happens when

one's entire belief system is engaged and working with great immediacy

through a chosen daily routine. As for the particular content of the work, I

can at least say that the subject matter is trying to come in from my

material surroundings in Savannah and at times in the North Carolina

mountains.1

Connatser was not always able to bring an emotional equilibrium to his work

that allowed him to concentrate his imaginative powers with this kind of

immediacy. When he went indoors, as it were, and approached his subjects on

their own terms, he seems often to have encountered obstacles to sympathetic

participation that he was inclined to try to skirt on both sides at once, in

a self-dividing movement of feint and parry. In any case, one sees evidence

in his work of contradictory tendencies, including a tendency to indulge in

Camp, and it must be supposed that this tendency took shape and found

expression in response to psychic trauma.

Something can be campy only if it can be experienced as a sham, a

disappointment of desire; only then can those of its qualities or

characteristics that would make it positively appreciable in the Camp sense

come to the fore. A remark that could be taken as insincere is instead

relished for its cleverness and for the consummate flair with which it is

delivered. An icon of popular culture that could be taken as merely banal is

instead revered, precisely because it is so alien to a cultivated

sensibility. In each case, moral or spiritual qualities are ignored in favor

of certain aesthetic qualities. What is appreciable becomes solely a matter

of style. Thus, as Susan Sontag noted in her seminal essay on this subject,2

what can be campy belongs exclusively to the province of human artifice. But

it must be added that nothing actually becomes campy except through a

process of selection and repression, and this process can find a sufficient

motivation only in specific kinds of human situations. This is why

Connatser's campiness asserted itself most forcefully when he had put

himself "indoors" ("nothing in nature can be campy"3) and in direct

confrontation with the human subject.

The artist's tendency to Camp did not rule completely, even at such times.

It seems always to have been accompanied by a sense of the futility of this

stratagem for the realization of his highest ideals, and by a grim

determination to hold on to them. Connatser struggled with these conflicting

sensibilities throughout his career, as a survey of his output in genres

other than the pastoral shows.

The results of the artist's struggles can at times be quite disconcerting.

Parodies of religious paintings, which are at the same time self-parodies,

as in Plate 19, and travesties of homoerotically charged bedroom scenes, in

which the figures are decked out in the trappings of mythical beasts – or

are simply represented as animals – can be cited as examples (Plates 32,

34). These works embody Camp ideas that one is invited to enjoy as such, but

one's enjoyment is cut short by a sardonic quality that clings to these

images. The historical and psychological content that one is presumably

supposed to ignore in favor of style insists too much, in its

problematicity, upon one's notice.

Problematical works such as these are more often than not products of the

earliest period of Connatser's career, when he was painting in a German

Expressionist manner. Expressionism suited the artist's talent, to the

extent that it provided scope for linear composition (Plate 1). But it seems

that the costs were too great when he tried to meet Expressionism's demand

of an exploration of extreme states of feeling, and that to avoid these

costs he had to make only the smallest adjustment, a reconstitution of

images charged with anxiety into images that are "fantastic" in the Camp

sense.

By 1971, when he moved to Savannah, he had abandoned this form of

Expressionism, and with it, his more egregious experiments in emotional

disorder (Plates 18, 21). However, the Camp tendencies that emerged in the

early work continued to find expression throughout the artist's later

career, even as he gravitated more and more toward Classicism, in Wilhelm

Worringer's sense.4 Yet there is little of the work that can be regarded as

pure Camp. Connatser sometimes succeeded in integrating characteristic Camp

motifs into a composition that transcends its campiness through sheer

exuberance and produces a marvelous and satisfying effect, as he did with

his Chamber Concert (Plate 79). Another noteworthy example in this regard is

Plate 72, which has some of the mystery as well as some of the stylistic

qualities that are associated with the work of Paul Klee.

In these examples, as elsewhere, Connatser's Camp sensibility is expressed

both in his selection of subject matter and in his emphasis on decorative

effects and surface texture. His recurrent use of theatrical motifs (Plates

46, 80), his stereotyping and stylizing of his figures (Plates 23, 25), his

mask-like rendering of the human face (Plate 24), his exaggeration of the

sexual characteristics of his figures (Plates 19, 32), his sentimental

renderings of Southern mansions – all are expressions of this sensibility.

Nevertheless, the real value and interest of Connatser's work does not

originate from his Camp sensibility, but from his struggle with it. What

Sontag said of Jean Genet's books, that their Camp ideas are maintained too

grimly, and the writing itself is too successfully elevated and serious, for

them to be Camp,5 can, with appropriate modification, be said of Connatser's

painting.

There are good reasons why a Camp sensibility has to be regarded rather as a

liability than as a source of creativity for a serious artist. In the first

place, such a sensibility has no access to whole regions of value

experience. Its reduction of the sphere of moral values has already been

noted, but its reduction of persons themselves must also be mentioned here.

Experienced in Camp terms, the person is not a being capable of revealing or

not revealing herself, of developing in one direction or another; rather,

she is always just what she is with more or less intensity. Thus, it becomes

clear, in particular, that a Camp sensibility is completely incompatible

with the requirements of portraiture, which aims to present the character of

an individual as it is revealed. More generally, it is incompatible with a

basic requirement to which the fine arts have always been held – that they

should extend rather than narrow human experience.

In the second place, it brings about a sort of reversal of polarities among

the values that are left to it. The Camp ideas of something "so bad, it's

good" and of a "good taste of bad taste" reflect this reversal, which would

like to pass itself off as a product of creativity. But the artist does not

create values; he only realizes values that have not been realized before;

this is the essence of his creativity. Thus, notwithstanding their value as

pure description, Sontag's "Notes on 'Camp'" do not support her view that

Camp is an autonomous mode of experience equal in validity with other modes

of sensibility that have shaped modern art. It is rather a species of what

Nietzsche called ressentiment.6

Connatser's campiness has sometimes been mistaken for primitivism.7 The

preponderance of decorative and textural effects in his works has been

attributed to "the naïve artist's instinct for filling up a picture,"8 and

the distortions and stylizations of his figures have been attributed to a

lack of training in drawing. Even those who have not applied the

term"primitive" to Connatser's work have insisted on its lack of

seriousness. In this way they have given evidence that they have sensed its

Camp elements. But none has wanted to articulate and confront the critical

problem presented by the presence of these elements.

That Connatser's work is not primitive should be apparent already from the

numerous quotations from the masterworks of European Modernism it contains.

The candle from Picasso's Guernica (Plate 25), Matisse's goldfish bowl and

dancers – these and similar references seem often to be offered up

especially for the purpose of dispelling any doubts about the artist's

sophistication. However well they might be integrated into the compositions,

they rarely have any deeper symbolical significance. Here too, the artist's

Camp sensibility found expression.

What may properly be called primitive is always the product of an artistic

creativity that has remained uninformed by any acquaintance with the high

points of a great tradition. Connatser's work does not fall into this

category, not only because it has the kind of superficial sophistication

just mentioned, but also because it is deeply grounded in Modernist practice

and in a thorough knowledge of the whole history of Western painting,

including first-hand knowledge of the masters gained through travel.

Moreover, Connatser was a very talented draftsman and designer. It is true

that he had no formal studio training, a fact that he often acknowledged and

that perhaps misled some of his early critics. But he has left conclusive

evidence of his ability to produce fine drawings, even in the style of

academic realism. And though he made mistakes, early in his career, that

formal training might have spared him – for example, in his use of Masonite

boards as painting surfaces – he was always concerned about proper

technique. His years of piano study had taught him the importance of

discipline for its development.

The use of the term "primitive" to describe this artist is not only

mistaken; it involves a certain condescension and sentimentality. If

Connatser has his faults, whether technical faults such as those just

mentioned, or lapses of taste, one should not close one's eyes to them in

the name of "primitivism." To do so is to lower one's standards to the point

that one is bound to miss his triumphs. The tendency nowadays is to blur the

distinction between fine art and craft and to replace criticism with one or

another kind of "anthropology." This tendency, which has arisen in

connection with the decline of Modernism into an academic "avant garde," has

lifted primitivism to a new status. A Howard Finster can now appear like a

breath of fresh air alongside the heavy-handed didacticism and empty

posturing of many of today's schooled artists, and it is all too tempting to

classify Connatser with Finster on account of the sheer vitality of the

work. It is as if there were only these two possibilities left for the

artist: to be an academic or a primitive. Of course, one wants to put

Connatser somewhere; but one cannot capture him with these categories. A

broader perspective is needed.

Connatser started painting about 1963. It was a difficult time for an artist

to begin a career. The successors of the Abstract Expressionists were

gravitating towards Minimalism. Other prominent painters were inventing

optical illusions (Op Art) or appropriating icons of mass culture in the

anti-art spirit of Dada (Pop Art). These developments represented the first

stages of what can be seen today as a process of cultural disintegration

that radically changed the artist's relationship to society. Up to that

time, the ideals and monumental examples of high Modernism had constituted a

set of assumptions that linked artists with a cultivated society of gallery

owners, critics, teachers, patrons and other devotees of art in a way that

allowed the artists a certain autonomy, provided they could survive a

strenuous competition for recognition. Thereafter, those ideals, while they

did not disappear altogether, ceased to function as a basis for a common

culture. Alienated from the established gallery system, many artists became

heavily dependent on academic appointments, others formed collectives to

market their own work, and still others labored part-time as craftsmen. No

longer able – and in many cases unwilling – to rely on established critical

authority for recognition, artists had to find their own constituencies, and

they often did so on the basis of narrow ideological appeals. Thus, they

became marginalized in a way their predecessors, leading more or less

bohemian and impoverished existences in New York or Paris, had never been.

Connatser was marginalized more than most, not because he chose to live in

the South (for with the loss of the common culture, New York had lost its

distinctive appeal as the locus of that culture), but because he eschewed

not only academicism, but ideology and collectivism of all sorts, and chose

the life of an artistic entrepreneur.

Yet, for all his isolation, his practices closely resembled the practices of

some of his contemporaries. In her survey of American art from 1968 to

1981,9 Corinne Robins called attention to a number of New York and Chicago

painters, including Joe Zucker and Neil Jenny, whose work "emphasized the

narrative, verbal, and humorous possibilities inherent in figurative

imagery."10 Those particular artists were influenced by Philip Guston, who

had turned to non-realistic representational painting late in his career,

after achieving recognition as an Abstract Expressionist. Others, like

Robert Kushner, Robert Zakanitch, and the feminist painter Miriam Schapiro

were emphasizing pattern and decorative effects in their works. The

appearance of an article titled "Matisse and the Decorative" in the July

1975 issue of Art in America reflected a vigorous interest in color and

pattern that was widely shared at that time. According to Robins, this

interest had been fostered in large part by the sculptor George Sugarman,

whose work had its roots in Cubism.11

If Connatser was not alone in using narrative and decoration in his work,

this was not because of any direct influence or because other artists shared

his peculiar sensibility, but because these practices were encouraged by the

general situation of painting at the time. By the mid-'60s, painting had

lost much of its prestige, and painters were in a general state of confusion

about the sources and legitimacy of their creative authority.12 What was

immediately at stake was the role of pictorial form as a bearer and

organizing principle of meaning. The artist must assume a position of

authority in order to impose meaningful form on his materials and give his

work integrity. This is especially the case for the Modernist artist, who

eschews all conventional symbolism and relies exclusively on the

form-generating power of the material imagination to give his work

meaningful coherence. It is likewise especially the case for the painter (as

opposed to the sculptor, for example), who must take up a point of view that

is, in Baudelaire's words, "exclusive and despotic."13 What, then, was to

become of painting, when the painter's authority was put into question? Two

responses seemed possible. Pictorial form might be retained, but its

authoritativeness would have to be subordinated to the authority of a

narrative brought in from outside, as it were. Otherwise, it would have to

be abandoned in favor of a pure formalism of pattern, incapable of bearing

any authorial meaning.

In themselves, the turns to narrative and decorative pattern were rather

feeble and inadequate responses to the painters' dilemma. When they were

made with cynicism, or represented an abdication of authority on ideological

grounds, their results remained sterile. When, as in Connatser's case, they

merely reflected the artist's doubts about his authority, they did not close

off the possibility of a rediscovery of the power to create meaningful form.

Indeed, one should appreciate the heroic struggle that Connatser made with

the perverse spirit of the time. It was inevitable that he should lose a few

battles (Plate 65), and it was much to his credit that he was able, at each

stage of his career, to rediscover in specific works the true meaning of

painting.

Until 1971, Connatser was based in Chicago, where he had settled following

his graduation in 1961 from Vanderbilt University. The works from the

Chicago years reflect a range of stylistic influences. The artist's interest

in German Expressionism seems to have been aroused through an acquaintance

he formed at Vanderbilt with the Austrian émigré painter Eugene Biel-Bienne

(d.1969), and he pursued that interest vigorously from the beginning, as has

already been noted. However, he was quick to appropriate ideas from the

Surrealists (Plate 12), Van Gogh (Plate 5), Gauguin (Plate 19), and the

Abstract Expressionists (Plate 14) as well. A bit later in this period, Pop

Art influences made an appearance (Plate 17). A less obvious but more

profound and long-lasting influence was Cubism.

The work represented by Plate 14 is surely one of the best things Connatser

did during this early period. It was executed following a visit to the Greek

island of Hydra, and probably presents a distillation of memories and

reflections connected with that visit. Structurally, the painting is

organized around the strong diagonal that connects the red sun in the stark

Abstract Expressionist landscape at the upper left to the head of the seated

figure in the foreground of the larger section. Relative to this axis, the

television set represented at the lower left of this section is balanced by

the bay, with its fanciful Miró-like creatures, and the town beyond at the

upper right. The simple linear rendering of the central figure, in contrast

with the heavy patterning that surrounds it, serves to reinforce an

impression of outward composure maintained in the face of an overabundance

of sensory agitations. The figure appears in an attitude of rapt attention,

but this attention is clearly not directed at anything in the environment.

At what is it directed, then? The cross on the figure's neck might lead one

to identify him as an Orthodox monk such as Connatser would have encountered

on Hydra, and to conclude that his attitude is one of religious transport. A

circumstantial meaning of this sort is surely expressed in the work.

However, its discovery does not make sense of the abstract landscape at the

upper left, or of the television. If the figure is thought as a

representation of the artist contemplating his creation, the presence of the

painting within the painting starts to make sense, and the work becomes a

powerful affirmation of the artist's creative authority. But even this

approach to the painting is not completely satisfactory.

A further possible meaning seems irresistible once it has entered the

mind.14 If the figure is thought to represent the subject of Plato's

allegory of the cave, whose love of the Good motivates his ascent through

various levels of being to that which is most worthy of being known,

everything falls into place. In this case, the images on the television

screen at the lower left take on the sense of mere shadows of appearances of

being, while the television set itself represents the artificial means that

have produced those shadows. The subject has already turned away from them

and has before him the whole panorama of the outer world, bathed in sun and

teeming with life. Yet his gaze does not rest even there, on the actual

appearances themselves, but is directed beyond them toward the source of all

appearing.

Last of all, he would be able to look at the Sun and contemplate its nature,

not as it appears when reflected in water or any alien medium, but as it is

in itself in its own domain.15

The presentation of this ultimate object of contemplation in an Abstract

Expressionist style, and in its own pictorial space, seems completely apt,

since, in accordance with the myth, it belongs to an order of being

discontinuous with the natural world.

It should be noted that these narrative references, which we, the viewers,

supply, and which the painting is capable of supporting, are not the sort of

references that the artist himself might have brought in with the intention

of making them authoritative with respect to pictorial form, had he adopted

a post-Modern attitude. Rather, the formal integrity of the work remains

primary, and it is all the more potent for being able to encompass these

manifold references. The painting represents a major achievement, not only

in this respect, but insofar as it presents a true synthesis of many of the

stylistic influences that occupied the artist during this period.

When Connatser moved to Savannah in 1971 he modified his style considerably.

His palette got quite a bit lighter, the stylization of his figures became

more geometrical, and he began making extensive use of the dot technique

that was to become – for better or worse – a sort of trademark. One can get

a sense of the magnitude of the change by comparing a painting from 1965

(Plate 19), with a painting of the same subject that he completed shortly

after his arrival in Savannah (Plate 24).

Connatser's dots create an interesting problem. At times, they are just "too

much," and give the work a preciousness that undercuts its formal strengths

(Plates 56, 67). At other times, they play an important role in the

composition, helping to define spatial relationships (Plate 43). What the

artist seems to have been after was, above all, luminance. In this respect,

the dots represent a significant technical innovation. Generally, the colors

of the dots are lighter than the underlying colors, and their domed shape

allows them to reflect direct illumination in all directions. When organized

into tight, undulating patterns, they produce variations of luminance levels

across the surface that are effective in giving the impression of movement,

and therefore of depth. Thus, whereas pointillism involved the use of

variations in hue to constitute thing-gestalts, Connatser's technique was

used – when it was used to best effect – to constitute action-gestalts, and

from them, space. The difficulty is that Connatser sometimes let the dots

take over as purely decorative elements. The aim was still luminance, but

not of the painting's represented world; the aim became the luminance of the

painting as such. When a landscape is presented in the guise of a Byzantine

icon (Plate 56), we are being asked to pay reverence to a style, not to

apprehend a world.

Connatser's dots sometimes call attention to themselves so much that they

distract attention from another technical strength that is perhaps even more

important. As has already been pointed out in connection with Plate 1, the

artist was a fine draughtsman with a solid sense of compositional form.

During his last years in Savannah, following a successful exhibition of

paintings at the Savannah College of Art and Design, he reasserted this

strength in a series of works on paper executed with felt-tipped pens. While

these works are not well represented in the present exhibition, some of

their strength can be seen in Plate 45. Connatser would return to this

medium again around 1987 in Atlanta, when he began to produce a number of

extraordinary works.

The artist moved to Atlanta about 1983, mainly, it appears, in search of a

wider market for his work. This change of residence was again accompanied by

a change in style, but this change did not become especially pronounced

until the early '90s. At that time Connatser's gradual movement from a

Northern to a more Classical approach to painting reached a culminating

point. Expression remained his primary concern, but he had learned that the

sense of order that had always governed his expression of feeling for the

natural world could be domesticated, brought "indoors," and made to produce

its harmonies even there. The change can be seen quite readily in his

treatment of "woman." Whereas in earlier phases of his career the artist

generally represented "woman" either as a dominant, sexually avaricious

being, or as the double of the male, in the late period "woman" became at

last beautiful and serene. Serenity, indeed, seems to have become a new

ideal, and it seems to have been adopted from Matisse.16 References to

Matisse's works, and especially to the Still-life with Goldfish of 1911,

began to appear in Connatser's paintings about 1990 or 1991, and they were

surely intended not merely as sophisticated asides, but as sincere

acknowledgments and emblems of a new attitude. However, the change in style

that they signify cannot be explained solely with reference to an encounter

with that great master. Could it have been connected with the fact that the

artist knew by then that he was dying? A late work like Plate 68 somehow

suggests that it might have been; but the symbolism of the work is obscure,

and one cannot be sure.

When Connatser executed his Chamber Concert (Plate 80) in 1987, he was still

in transition toward his late style. But this work is worth pausing over as

these reflections on the artist's career are drawing to a close. In this

painting, as in the best of the pastorals, the chosen point of view allows

surface pattern and texture to emerge from and reinforce rhythms in the

represented space. The viewer's attention is drawn into the auditorium, past

two well-dressed members of the audience who have just turned to see who's

come in, by a pattern of oblique lines that converge upon the stage. As the

viewer's attention turns back from the stage towards those two insistent

gazers, it falls upon a figure that wasn't there before, and indeed isn't

there, since it occupies a completely different space. Perhaps the viewer

recognizes the figure as the clarinetist from Picasso's Three Musicians,17

but he surely recognizes, at this point, that the performance he is

witnessing is no solo, but a duet.

The musical subject matter of this work serves as a reminder of the close

connection between music and Modernist painting. Like Connatser himself,

some of the great Modernist masters, including Klee and Kandinsky, had

considerable musical training. But more importantly, the Modernist painters

understood their art as analogous to the musical art. It was, for them, an

art of pure vision, as music is an art of pure sound, and its spatial forms

were to be constituted by rhythms and harmonies among pure elements of

sensation in the same way that the temporal forms of music were constituted.

Perhaps, then, it was Connatser's musical sense, which included a sense of

discipline and order, and above all an appreciation of form, that helped him

to keep the spirit of Modernism alive in a post-Modern world. In any case,

he could not have sustained a thirty-year career as a painter without at

least occasionally breathing that spirit, for the spirit of his own time was

always there to choke him. If there were such a thing as post-Modern

painting, one would have to say that he was a post-Modernist, for his work

is not simply a throwback to established Modernist styles, and it is not

"pure" in relation to Modernist ideals. But the purveyors of the post-Modern

spirit have not articulated a new aesthetic that is compatible with the art

of painting. Therefore, it seems preferable to think of Connatser as a

Modernist, but a Modernist of a new type, a type that reflects the

significant changes that occurred in the artist's social circumstances and

in the general state of spiritual culture during the last four decades of

the twentieth century.

Chris Rodie, April 6, 2002

1  Undated manuscript draft of a statement that was probably prepared for a

gallery show in the early 1980s.

2  Susan Sontag, "Notes on 'Camp,'" Against Interpretation, New York:

Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 1966. The essay was first published in Partisan

Review, 1964.

3  Sontag, Note 7.

4  In Worringer's conception, the Northern and Classical styles are rooted

in distinct attitudes to the natural world: the Classical artist adopts a

contemplative attitude that is based on a sympathetic connection with

nature, experienced primarily as alive, while the Northern artist adopts an

active attitude that is based on an antipathy to nature, experienced

primarily as dead and therefore as alien and hostile. See Herbert Read's

excellent summary in A Concise History of Modern Painting, New York: Praeger

Publishers, 1959, Chapter Two, especially pp. 52-56.

5  Sontag, Note 40.

6  Nietzsche used the French term ressentiment in The Genealogy of Morals,

not with the ordinary sense of "resentment"' but to signify an abiding

disposition to entertain certain kinds of value delusions. This disposition

originates when expressions of negative emotions and impulses such as

hatred, envy and revenge are blocked by fear or feelings of impotence and

are then repressed. The importance of this concept for an understanding of

the ethos of our society has been demonstrated by Max Scheler in his book

Ressentiment, tr. by William W. Holdheim, ed. by Lewis A. Coser, New York:

Schocken Books, 1972.

7  An anonymous reviewer of Connaster's 1969 exhibition at the Quinlan Art

Gallery, Gainesville, Georgia, was perhaps the first to go on record with a

characterization of the work as primitive. (The Daily Times, Gainesville,

Georgia, March 9, 1969).

8  Harold Haydon used these words in a notice of Connatser's show at the

Black Hawk Restaurant, Chicago, 1969. (unidentified Chicago newspaper)

9  Corinne Robins, The Pluralist Era: American Art 1968-1981, New York:

Harper and Row Publishers, 1984.

10  Robins, p. 173.

11  Robins, p. 133.

12  The line of thought followed here was suggested by Jack Flam's essay,

"The Road to Minimalism," in The New York Review of Books, Vol. XLIX, No. 5,

March 28, 2002, pp. 38-42.

13  Quoted by Flam, pp. 38 and 42. See also Art in Paris 1845-1862: Salons

and other Exhibitions Reviewed by Charles Baudelaire, tr. and ed. by

Jonathan Mayne, Oxford: Paidon, 1965, p. 111.

14  I am indebted to Prof. Angel Medina of Georgia State University

(retired), for the interpretation that follows.

15  Plato, The Republic, tr. by Francis M. Cornford, New York: Oxford U.

Pr., 1967, p. 230 (514a–521b).

16  In his "A Painter's Notes" of 1908, Matisse wrote that he dreamed of "an

art of balance, of purity, and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing

subject matter, an art which might be…like a good armchair in which to rest

from physical fatigue." Quoted by Read, p. 44, with a caution that these

words have been much misunderstood.

17  I am indebted to Joan Cobitz for pointing out, after reading a draft of this

essay, that the artist himself had in mind Mozart's Papageno not Picasso's jazzman.