The Jervis McEntee Diaries - October 24, 1875

Diary Entry:

Whittredge came Oct. 4 and on the 5th we went out to Mt. Pleasant, looked about a little but having seen some things about the Beaverkill Swamp we got Jim Lockwood to drive us down to Shokan where we dined at the hotel and from there walked down to Bishops falls along the creek and around to Brooks' crossing. On a hasty glance were not particularly pleased and concluded to go to Shokan where we engaged board at the hotel where we were very comfortable and remained until yesterday 23rd. I made in all about twenty sketches all done at a sitting. The autumn was not very brilliant except for a short time when the reds faded out and yellow prevailed. The weather was very cold a part of the time with snow on the mountains but yesterday and the day before were fine warm Indian Summer days. It looked more beautiful when we came away than at any time before but it was Saturday, and there was indications of a change of weather. Joe Tubby came out and spent ten days. We all left together Whittredge going to New Hamburgh to visit a friend. Today there is a thick Indian Summer atmosphere with clouds and indications of rain. The leaves are falling rapidly. I hope these three weeks devoted entirely to sketching will freshen my ideas and give me some new thoughts for my pictures. The memory of Nature is generally more available to me than the actual sketches. I shall go to New York soon as there is important work to be done in connection with the Academy and the Centennial and some one will have to develop qualities of wisdom and executive ability to bring us out of this, as I regard it, most critical era in American Art. The Chicago Exposition from which I hoped something has passed by with no results that I have heard of and I doubt if anything has been sold. On the whole the outlook is not encouraging. The artists are poor and divided in their councils. Wilmart the teacher of drawing at the Academy has combined with the students and established a "League" whose prospectus breathes an unconcealed hostility to the Academy because we do not go on incurring debt to educate these ungrateful students. I think the times are decidedly critical and I feel our inability to do anything unless some enthusiasm and unity of action should be developed. Wrote a long letter to Eastman Johnson in the forenoon mostly on Academy and Centennial affairs and begging him to come to town earlier this year. In the afternoon Gertrude and I took a ride back of Steep Rocks to get some ferns.

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