The Jervis McEntee Diaries - May 7, 1886

Diary Entry:

Friday, May 7, 1886 Started out this morning to go to the Museum of Art to see the 8th Exhibition of the Society of American Artists. Met J. G. Brown in the street. He was very dismal because in a notice in the Herald of the Prize Exhibition at the American Art Galleries there was no mention of his picture, which he said was his most important work and painted especially for this exhibition. I told him he would get no comfort from me. That as an Academician his duty was to send his most important work to the Academy. That the other was only a private business establishment and the Academy was the artists representative institution. He was full of complaint that every body criticised him but admitted that he made from ten to fifteen thousand dollars a year. I told him he ought not to complain. Guy came along and I stopped him but noticed Brown did not speak to him and when he left I asked Brown if they were not friends. He said no and would never speak to him again, because he came to his (Browns) studio once and seeing a picture said it was his subject and that he had painted it years ago. In fact he impressed me as a thoroughly dissatisfied man and reflecting on my own anxieties I saw that money alone could not make me happy. I stopped at Andersons to see about the photograph of dear Gertrudes portrait a proof of which he had sent me. It was not good but he is going to try again. I went up to the Park. It was a grey day. At the Museum there was a carriage waiting with a lady and gentleman. They proved to be Genl & Mrs. Pitcher and Lieut. Pitcher. I had a chat with them and they asked me to take a ride with them but I declined as I wanted to see the pictures. The exhibition had more of interest than I expected, from the comments I had heard. Chase had a picture called Meditation which I liked and there were pastel portraits by Miss Hecker which were excellent. I saw old Prof Weir going about leaning on the arm of his son Robert, but I did not think it advisable to interrupt him to speak with him as he seemed so feeble. From there I walked down to the restaurant and got my lunch and then strolled down to the Menagerie. Then I happened to remember that I would like to see the N. W. Corner of the Park, the filling in of which has been so opposed in the papers and is so entirely against Vaux's idea, so I took the 8th Av. car and rode up there. An examination convinced me Calvert is right and I have since been informed the work has been stopped. I walked down through the Park to near the Museum of Natural History every where struck with the beauty of the Park and the artistic and judicious conception of it. It is a magnificent pleasure ground and will always remain a monument to its designers, Vaux and Olmstead and to Vaux's faithfulness and persistence in defending and protecting it at critical periods in its management. I took the car again and rode down to 55th st. and called on Eastman Johnson remaining there until after 3 oclock talking about the Impressionist Exhibition, which he condemned with all the energy he is master of, and on the way other subjects we always find to talk about. Coming to my room I found a letter from Weir wanting my Academy pictures for an exhibition at New Haven during commencement. He did not say how long he wanted them and I wrote him to find out. After dinner I called on Mrs. Custer but got no response to my ring at the door bell, and came back to Marys where I spent the evening. Mr. Parsons came in to see Calvert and told us the filling in at the N. W. angle of the Park had been ordered discontinued. It began to rain about 6 oclock and still rained when I came to my room tired from my walk on the Park.

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