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by [?]

In art as in music I am one who is very easily satisfied. All I ask of a picture is that it shall look like something, and all I expect of music is that it shall sound like something.

In this attitude I feel confident that I am one of a group of about seventy million people in this country, more or less, but only a few of us, a very heroic few of us, have the nerve to come right out and take a firm position and publicly express our true sentiments on these important subjects. Some are under the dominion of strong-minded wives. Some hesitate to reveal their true artistic leanings for fear of being called low-browed vulgarians. Some are plastic posers and so pretend to be something they are not to win the approval of the ultra-intellectuals. There are only a handful of us who are ready and willing to go on record as saying where we stand.

There you have the whole thing, you see, simply, dispassionately and quietly presented. Most of us have seen newspaper reproductions of the best examples of the Futurists’ school. As well as a body can judge from these reproductions, a Futurist’s method of execution must be comparatively simple. After looking at his picture, you would say that he first put on a woolly overcoat and a pair of overshoes; that he then poured a mixture of hearth paint, tomato catsup, liquid bluing, burnt cork, English mustard, Easter dyes and the yolks of a dozen eggs over himself, seasoning to taste with red peppers. Then he spread a large tarpaulin on the floor and lay down on it and had an epileptic fit, the result being a picture which he labeled Revolt, or Collision Between Two Heavenly Bodies, or Premature Explosion of a Custard Pie, or something else equally appropriate. The Futurists ought to make quite a number of converts in this country, especially among those advanced lovers of art who are beginning to realize that the old impressionistic school lacked emphasis and individuality in its work. But I expect to stand firm, and when everybody else nearly is a Futurist and is tearing down Sargent’s pictures and Abbey’s and Whistler’s to make room for immortal Young Messers, I and a few others will still be holding out resolutely to the end.

At such times as these I fain would send my thoughts back longingly to an artist who flourished in the town where I was born and brought up. He was practically the only artist we had, but he was versatile in the extreme. He was several kinds of a painter rolled into one–house, sign, portrait, landscape, marine and wagon. In his lighter hours, when building operations were dull, he specialized in oil paintings of life and motion–mainly pictures of horse races and steamboat races. When he painted a horse race, the horses were always shown running neck and neck with their mouths wide open and their eyes gleaming; and their nostrils were widely extended and painted a deep crimson, and their legs were neatly arranged just so, and not scrambled together in any old fashion, as seems to be the case with the legs of the horses that are being painted nowadays. And when he painted a steamboat race it would always be the Natchez and the Robert E. Lee coming down the river abreast in the middle of the night, with the darkies dancing on the lower decks and heavy black smoke rolling out of the smokestacks in four distinct columns–one column to each smokestack–and showers of sparks belching up into the vault of night.

There was action for you–action and attention to detail. With this man’s paintings you could tell a horse from a steamboat at a glance. He was nothing of an impressionist; he never put smokestacks on the horse nor legs on the steamboat. And his work gave general satisfaction throughout that community.