Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly — 1913 (Heft 44)

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stronger is the consonance of the white ground or of the color around and
between them. He can increase the vibration of strong charcoal-tones—
say the motif of a muscular back—to a degree that one imagines a thun-
derstorm. His charcoal has often a patina-look of finish. He does not work
by any set methods, of contrast, rhythm, simplification or exaggeration,
but naively, surely, with a sensitive touch for the pulse-beat below the skin.
Tones and lines swell, abate—undulate, contort—strain or relax; they are
sharp or soft, full or crisp. When compared with similar subjects rendered
by photographic artists, Walkowitz’s earlier drawings appear like the freest
naturalism; but when seen side by side with his latest synthetic work after
nature, they themselves almost seem to be realism of life. All is relative.
There is no double in living form. Painting—the most photographic,
mechanical—does not give a substitute for nature, save to those dull of
eye and mind; since painting, physically, is not identical with any part
of nature. But, because we take paint-strokes for symbols of natural effects
and thus agree on a code, by which we read nature from a canvas, we have
gone to making that outer or superficial, and accidental, contingency a
principle; thus realism in painting happened. However, the truth is, that
paint-symbols stand for thought, feeling, in short for idealism. Now, I can
assemble those symbols of painting—like letters, as words or tokens of liter-
ary meaning, describing or illustrating the actual—as a photograph repre-
sents—with the feeling left out, or at best implied; and a mule with some
horse-sense and an asinine temperament, can be trained to do the trick,
without taking the full course of an academy—the Elberfeld horses com-
pute cubical roots. Or one may assemble those symbols—line, tone, color—
in a free way, in any way suited for another purpose than that of copying
nature, such as in ornament, decoration—and the true pictorial way is the
one by which not semblance to life, but expression of an idea, vision of feel-
ing, is conveyed. The symbols may still resemble natural effects; their
assemblage is personal: free painting; or on the other hand they may be
unimitative, wholly invented. Then painting gets to be abstract, as Kan-
dinsky wants it. But the former way is that of Walkowitz’s new work.
And he takes that step as he goes toward a more intense and pure recording "
of his sensations, though they are still derived from reality, as before. Only
he sets them free, pictorially; while formerly they remained in the bondage
of reality. Walkowitz is impelled by the “inner necessity”: Kandinsky,
however, like other radicals, appears not to proceed gradually and inwardly,
but with a mind made up to commit an intellectual feat—which is not art.
Realism suppresses the spiritual in art. Natural truth does not express
pictorial truth. Realistic painting was significant for the age of “conven-
tional lies.” Both still exist, the one in “decorative” disguise, the other bears
the flag “sane and safe.” The faithful imitator-artist burdens his picture
with all those features of reality which, in scale and form, are foreign to
pictorial unity. Art is form organized as beauty, the criterion of which is


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