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Warshawsky, Abel G. “Buck” MEMORIAL 1981

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Mary S Taylor

Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 28018
Location: Fresno, CA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:49 am    Post subject: Warshawsky, Abel G. “Buck” MEMORIAL 1981 Reply with quote

Monterey PeninsulaHerald, CA Feb. 15, 1981
Peninsula Remembers Buck Warshawky
Abel G. “Buck” Warshawsky (1883-1952) became an active figure in the Carmel art scene after moving to the Monterey Peninsula in 1941 with his actress wife, the former Ruth Tate of Philadelphia. Previously, Warshawsky had spent the better part of his adult life in France, returning to the United States every so often to visit his family and friends or to build up funds for a continued stay in Europe. Now, 18 years after Warshawsky’s death, the Kent State University Press has published a book of his 1887-1931 memoirs. The manuscript for the book, edited by Ben L. Bassham, a Kent State associate professor of art, arrived at the press as an untitled 432 page typescript written by Warshawky while he was recovering in his Paris studio form a leg injury suffered during a fall off a precipice in Brittany. While he convalesced, he converted his diaries and journals into a narrative of his life in art from its beginnings, circa 1900 at the Cleveland School of Art, to the time of the accident, 1931. Basis for the Book. This narrative, discovered 40 years later at the bottom of a steamer trunk by David Warshawsky of Cleveland, the late artist’s brother, became the basis for the book issued with the title “The Memories of an American Impressionist.” Thirty years ago, during Warshawsky’s lifetime, a large portion of these “memories” appeared in a Carmel newspaper between the dates of Jan. 19, 1949, and Nv. 3, 1950. Aside from being the personal account of a mid-20th century figure in Carmel art history, Warshawsky’s memoris are regarded by Bassham as a documentation of how one particular second-generation American Impressionist painter came of age in France during that revolutionary period when the Fauvista were in full swing and Pablo Picasso had discovered Cubism with Georges Braque. Reactions. Warshawsky recorded his reaction to these momentous events with a pithy statement about “the idiocy” of Fauvist leader Henri Matisse and a characterization of Picasso as a “doodler on a big scale.” He also was of the opion that astigmatism caused Xezanne to paint the way he did. Some comprehension of these viewpoints ensues if one remembers that Warshawsky expoused “classic impressionism” and set the painting of sunny, picturesque landscapes and people as his primary goal. Also important is the fact that Warshawsky began his art career with a study of conventional academic techniques at the Cleveland School of Art shortly after his Polish immigrant parents (Ezekiel and Ida Warshawsky) moved from Sharon, Pa., to Cleveland, Ohio, with their family of nine children. Art School. Abel was the second oldest child. He preferred sketching, boxing and baseball to public school attendance, and so became a student at the Cleveland School of Art in about 1900. This was followed by study at the Art Students League and the Ultra-conservative National Academy of Design in New York from 1905 to 1907. Little wonder that he arrived in France in the fall of 1908 still painting with the brown and gray tones of academic American art. It was louis Rarimer, sculptor-instructor at the Cleveland school, who set Warshawsky off to Euroep with the admonition that the young art student would have to “Make a break” if he hoped to be a painter. Rorimer accompanied his advice with an offer to pay for Warshawsky’s first trip abroad. Expatriates. In France, Warshawky quickly joined the American expatriates in Paris’ Montparnasse area. He shared a studio with Leon Kroll, attended the Academie Julian and, of course, frequented the popular Café du Dome. Although Warshawky reported “great things were going on around me,” he remained unaffected by the Fauvist, Cubist and Futurist movements. He was inspired instead by the French impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters to the point of adjusting his own painting style away from the”dark brown school” of American academic art to a broader and bolder Impressionist palette. In his introduction to Warshawsky’s 1887-1931 memoirs, editor Bassham is of the opinion that the artist sincerely believed he could make a place for himself within the Impressionist tradition by working hard and being dedicated. Moreover, Warshawsky paralled this belief with the summary that early 20th century vanguard painting was the “modern delirium tremens school of painting.” Divided. All of which illustrates how the American expatriate painters working in Paris from 1900 to 1910 were divided into conservative and modern camps, with Warshawsky aligned to the former. Bassham adds that Warshawsky preferred to hold himself to standards of “craftsmanship, soundness and sanity” in art by practicing the traditional role of the artist who discovers, then interprets picturesque nature or people such as the Breton peasants. That observation is substantiated by many paragraphs in Warshawsky’s memoirs which record how he spent time searching for a picturesque country inn, then arranged room and board at the inn for a few months while painting the surrounding French countryside. In Bassham’s estimation, Warshawsky was at his best painting landscapes, since his figure compositions tended to hold on to a sentimental 19th century type of narrative epainting. The Warshawky works in the Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art and the Monterey Public Library collections are of a figurative nature. Paris Home. After Warshawsky made Paris his hoem and established a studio at No. 7 Rue Antoine Chantin in the early ‘20s, he concentrated upon painting the French capital’s picturesque quays and monuments. Occasional visits were made to the United States, either to see his family or to make personal appearances at exhibitions of his work in Cleveland and New York. He financed his expatriate life-style by painting portraits during these visits. In 1938, when the threat of war became very real, Warshawsky returned permanently to the United States and settled on the Monterey Peninsula because its rocky coast reminded him of Brittany. Thereafter, he maintained a studio-residence in Monterey, painted portraits, taught art and became a member of the Carmel Art Association. He held office at various times as the association’s president. In local circles, Warshawsky was known as “Buck,” the nickname he garnered in 1905 while wrestling with friends during rest periods at the Art Students League. In World War I, pacifist Warshawsky put his athletic ability to use by conducting boxing programs for the French military forces. Painted Murals. His artistic talents, meanwhile, were directed to painting murals for the French soldiers’ huts. In appreciation, the French government invited him to exhibit at the Luxembourg Gallery. Later, in 1933, Warshawsky was made a chevalier in the Legion of Honor. But this honor is another story, one which undoubtedly will be brought to light with other discoveries of memories written by a mid-20th century “American Impressionist” whose 82-year art career came to a close on the Monterey Peninsula.
Copyright (c) 2011 The Monterey County Herald
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