Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt attended a special preview of the Fifteenth Biennial Exhibition of contemporary American oil paintings at the Corcoran Gallery of Art yesterday afternoon.
Accompanied by G. Powell Minnigerode, director of the gallery, the First Lady made a tour of the 14 rooms in which 461 paintings are on display. She paid particular attention to the four prize-winning pictures and voiced special appreciation of the judges' decision in awarding the first W. A. Clark prize of a house in the sunlight, called "Cape Cod Afternoon."
The artist and his wife, as well as the other prize-winning artists, were also present at the preview. Hopper, a resident of New York City, said he considered the landscape the best thing he had ever done so far. He painted it last summer while he and his wife were spending a few months at Cape Cod.Artists Schoolmates
Guy Pène Du Bois, winner of the second prize of $1,500 and the Corcoran Silver Medal, was Hopper's schoolmate for six years and now lives in the same house with him. Both maintain studios at 3 Washington Square, New York. His prize winning painting of a semi-nude figure entitled "Meditation" was done in his studio as he taught classes.
An instructor in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Francis Speight of New Hope, PA, said a chance drive through Buck's County gave him a view of the landscape he portrayed in the painting that won the third W. A. Clark prize of $500 and the Corcoran bronze medal. Entitled "Boxholder No. 27" the scene includes a frame farmhouse at the crossroads, where a rural delivery mailbox stands. A woman is opening the box.
"The richness of color in the scene attracted my attention," Speight said. "I tried to capture it on canvas." A native of North Carolina, the artist has painted many rural scenes, as well as a number of portraits.
The winner of the fourth W. A. Clark prize of $500 and the Corcoran Honorable Mention Certificate, Bernard Keyes (rhymes with please) had rather do a portrait than a landscape any time. His prize-winner is entitled "Snakey," a hard-bitten bartender upon whose face is written an expression of "You can't put anything over on me." That at least is what Keyes said he wanted the portrait to express. His model he added, "was a real bartender who happened to be handy in my studio." Keyes is a native of Boston where he still lives.
All the ranking paintings and many others in the exhibition met with Mrs. Roosevelt's approval; but she declined to comment upon which she preferred above the others. She said in effect, however, that the exhibition proved in her opinion that modern American art can rightly claim rank with the best contemporary art of the world.
Including paintings of 405 artists coming from 28 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, the exhibition was selected from 2,000 canvases submitted from all sections of the United States.
The jury invited by the gallery to select the paintings to install the exhibition and to make "The W. A. Clark Awards," were William J. Glackens, chairman; assisted by John Stewart Curry, Daniel Garber, Richard Lahey and William M. Paxton.
Opening today, and continuing through May 9, the exhibition may be viewed by the public this afternoon from 2 to 6 p.m., and tomorrow and other week days from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
"Mrs. Roosevelt Attends Preview of Art Exhibit," The Washington Post (28 March 1937), n.p.