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Chicago Art and Artists in the Archives of American Art

The Anti-Modernists

Josephine Hancock Logan was a wealthy benefactor and donor to the Art Institute who became incensed at the Institute’s inclusion of “atrocious” modernist works in their Annual Exhibition of American Painting and Sculpture. She was the founder of the Society for Sanity in Art which fiercely opposed modernism and inspired chapters as far-flung as Boston and Los Angeles. 

Eleanor Jewett was the art critic for the Chicago Tribune from 1917 to 1956. Fiercely anti-modern art, the correspondence in her papers includes many fan letters from those who echoed her rallying cry for a return to traditionalism. In 1929, an article she wrote inspired Dr. James Allmond Day of Springfield, Illinois to write a poem likening modern art to vandalism.

Josephine Hancock Logan, 1940 May 21 / unidentified photographer. Gloria Kolodny Chanenson papers on Josephine Hancock Logan, 1939-1974.
Josephine Hancock Logan, 1940 May 21 / unidentified photographer.
Gloria Kolodny Chanenson papers on Josephine Hancock Logan, 1939-1974.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
James Allmond Day letter to Eleanor Jewett, 1929 December 4. Eleanor Jewett papers, 1892-1955.
James Allmond Day letter to Eleanor Jewett, 1929 December 4.
Eleanor Jewett papers, 1892-1955.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.