Huntly Carter: Abstract Paintings

Huntly Carter Panel

 

In November of 1911, Huntly Carter, then The New Age's in-house art critic, announced that a Picasso Study would be included in that week's issue, the first in a series of ABSTRACT PAINTINGS to be reproduced in the magazine. This series was intended to introduce British readers to the newest developments in continental art, giving them access to paintings that could otherwise not be seen outside of the galleries and salons of Paris.

More than any others printed in the magazine, these works were the subject of fierce debate - critics derided Picasso's failure to represent, or expressed puzzlement about the images' orientation on the page. Only one British contribution appeared in this series, A Study by M. Ben Zies, and it was intended as a spoof. This suggests that British art stood, for Carter, in a highly problematic relation to continental abstraction: French (and Italian) artists produced truly innovative works, but the British were capable only of insincere imitation and parody.

A Study

 

 

1. Pablo Picasso, A Study
(NA 10.4, art supplement, November 23, 1911)

"WE MUST BE OURSELVES. From all the works that count at the Grafton Galleries just now, comes this insistent, exhilarating cry. We must, will be ourselves. We will see with our own eyes, do with our own hands, think and talk in our own language. To be one’s self-completely expressed–that is all that matters in art, all that can ever matter. Complete self-expression is art."

– Huntly Carter, "The Post-Savages."

A Study

 

 

2. Auguste Herbin, A Study
(NA 10.8 art supplement, December 21, 1911)


"We must be ourselves. How the cry alarms and maddens the Philistines. It is an old cry. It has been uttered from age to age by individual painters, uttered by them and heard and misunderstood by the mob. Blake the mystic, Bell-Scott and Rossetti the poet-painters; Havill, a founder of the water-colour school, Madox Brown and the Pre-Raffaelites; Whistler; Monticelli, who hawked his unique pictures from pot-house to pot-house; Chardin and his school; Millet, the peasant painter; Wiertz, the recluse of Brussels who, sworn to art, refused to sell his works–these and scores more of innovators, continuators, and re-innovators, have sought to carry their emotions to their highest point and to give them full expression, only to be reviled, derided and spat at."

 

– Huntly Carter, "The Post-Savages."

Les Boxeurs

 

 

3. A.D. Segonzac, Les Boxeurs
(NA 10.12 art supplement, January 18, 1912)

 

"Look how Manet reaped disaster, suffering and neglect for his devotion to his ideal and his courage in expressing himself. For years he was sneered at and snubbed by the public and the precious French and English Academicians. Yet his only fault was that he wanted to be himself, to look at things with his own eyes, to put them down in his own way. To him the unfolding of his own personality was far more precious than the exploitation of personalities that lay around him."

 

– Huntly Carter, "The Post-Savages."

A Study

 

 

4. Ben Zies, A Study
(NA 10.14 art supplement, February 1, 1912)

La Revolte

 

 

5. Luigi Russolo, La Revolté
(NA 10.16 art supplement, Feb 29, 1912)

Huntly Carter: Abstract Paintings