Royal Cortissoz

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Royal Cortissoz, 1920 Royal Cortissoz 2.jpg
Royal Cortissoz, 1920

Royal Cortissoz (February 10, 1869 – October 17, 1948, last name pronounced "Kor-tee-zus" [1] ) was an American art historian and long-time art critic for the New York Herald Tribune from 1891 until his death. During his tenure, he consistently championed traditionalism and decried modernism. [2] Of the latter, he once wrote, "It will someday prove a kind of Victorian 'dud,' with a difference, obviously, but a 'dud' just the same." [3] In addition to his work as a critic, he penned the inscription above the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial: "In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever." [4]

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 18 megadiverse countries.

Art history the academic study of objects of art in their historical development

Art history is the study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts; that is genre, design, format, and style. The study includes painting, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, furniture, and other decorative objects.

Art critic person who specializes in evaluating art

An art critic is a person who is specialized in analyzing, interpreting and evaluating art. Their written critiques or reviews contribute to art criticism and they are published in newspapers, magazines, books, exhibition brochures and catalogues and on web sites. Some of today's art critics use art blogs and other online platforms in order to connect with a wider audience and expand debate about art.

Contents

Early life

Cortissoz was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Francisco Emmanuel Cortissoz, an Englishman of Spanish descent, and Julia da Costa Mauri, from Martinique. He trained as an architect, spending six years working at the firm of McKim, Mead, and White, starting at the age of 16, before joining the staff of the Commercial Advertiser . In 1891, he joined the staff of the New York Tribune , writing on culture, and eventually became the art editor. He had been interested in art as a young child, but never formally studied or practiced it, instead having skill with words, thus leading to career as an art critic, in his own words, "by spontaneous combustion". [5] However, the hectic life of a journalist and the pressure of trying to establish the Tribune as a cultural leader led to a mental breakdown, or neurasthenia as he was diagnosed. Although he soon recovered after a trip around Cape Horn, he suffered from anxiety and psychosomatic ailments for the remainder of his life. [6]

Brooklyn Borough in New York City and county in New York state, United States

Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, with an estimated 2,648,771 residents in 2017. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects Staten Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has been coterminous with Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, often called New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Work as a critic

As a critic, Cortissoz saw his role to be one who fosters an appreciation of art in the common man, and not just paintings. He wrote extensively about jewelry, rare book designs, architecture, furniture, and interior design. He considered art as a whole to be central to society's well-being. He also frequently remarked that beauty could be found anywhere. [7] Cortissoz was so influential that his praise was eagerly sought by artists, [1] and the organizers of the landmark 1913 Armory Show were worried about what he might think. [8]

Architecture both the process and product of planning, designing and construction

Architecture is both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings or any other structures. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural symbols and as works of art. Historical civilizations are often identified with their surviving architectural achievements.

Furniture movable objects intended to support various human activities

Furniture refers to movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating, eating (tables), and sleeping. Furniture is also used to hold objects at a convenient height for work, or to store things. Furniture can be a product of design and is considered a form of decorative art. In addition to furniture's functional role, it can serve a symbolic or religious purpose. It can be made from many materials, including metal, plastic, and wood. Furniture can be made using a variety of woodworking joints which often reflect the local culture.

Interior design art and science of enhancing the interiors, sometimes including the exterior, of a space or building, to achieve a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing environment for the end user

Interior design is the art and science of enhancing the interior of a building to achieve a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing environment for the people using the space. An interior designer is someone who plans, researches, coordinates, and manages such projects. Interior design is a multifaceted profession that includes conceptual development, space planning, site inspections, programming, research, communicating with the stakeholders of a project, construction management, and execution of the design.

Cortissoz argued against modernism on both technical and cultural grounds. He found abstract art to be ugly and rejected modernism's idea that the work did not have to represent reality. In 1923, he drew a comparison between the surge of prominent European modernists arriving on American shores with the hot button issue of immigration, coining the derisive term "Ellis Island art" in an attempt to denigrate the newcomers' rising status in the art world. (The term did not catch on.) [9] He also detested modernists' tendency to be dismissive of the past and of those who disliked their work. This attitude, Cortissoz felt, would cause people to associate art with the irrational and bizarre and thus lose interest. [10] Over the years, Cortissoz criticized in this manner Cubism, German Expressionism, Dada, Surrealism, and abstract expressionism. He felt artists attached to these movements, such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Vincent van Gogh, and Piet Mondrian were egotists. In 1927, he wrote, "Sooner or later these silly egotists will go to the scrap heap. But in the meantime they are ruining the younger generation." [11] He did, however, have praise for American modernists who used traditional techniques, such as Arthur B. Davies, Guy Pène du Bois, and Georgia O'Keeffe.[ citation needed ]

Abstract art art with a degree of independence from visual references in the world

Abstract art uses a visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. Western art had been, from the Renaissance up to the middle of the 19th century, underpinned by the logic of perspective and an attempt to reproduce an illusion of visible reality. The arts of cultures other than the European had become accessible and showed alternative ways of describing visual experience to the artist. By the end of the 19th century many artists felt a need to create a new kind of art which would encompass the fundamental changes taking place in technology, science and philosophy. The sources from which individual artists drew their theoretical arguments were diverse, and reflected the social and intellectual preoccupations in all areas of Western culture at that time.

Ellis Island island in New York Harbor in the United States of America

Ellis Island, in Upper New York Bay, was the gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the U.S. as the United States' busiest immigrant inspection station for over 60 years from 1892 until 1954. Ellis Island was opened January 1, 1892. The island was greatly expanded with land reclamation between 1892 and 1934. Before that, the much smaller original island was the site of Fort Gibson and later a naval magazine. The island was made part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965 and has hosted a museum of immigration since 1990.

Cubism early-20th-century avant-garde art movement

Cubism is an early-20th-century avant-garde art movement that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture. Cubism has been considered the most influential art movement of the 20th century. The term is broadly used in association with a wide variety of art produced in Paris during the 1910s and throughout the 1920s.

Personal life

In 1897, Cortissoz married Ellen MacKay Hutchinson, a literary editor at the Tribune. She died in August 1933, and the couple had no children. Cortissoz died of a heart ailment in Manhattan. [1]

Honors and affiliations

Wesleyan University private liberal arts college in Middletown, Connecticut

Wesleyan University is a private liberal arts college in Middletown, Connecticut. Founded in 1831, Wesleyan is a baccalaureate college that emphasizes undergraduate instruction in the arts and sciences, grants research master's degrees in many academic disciplines, and grants PhD degrees in biology, chemistry, mathematics and computer science, molecular biology and biochemistry, music, and physics.

Order of Leopold (Belgium) Belgian national honorary order of knighthood

The Order of Leopold is one of the three current Belgian national honorary orders of knighthood. It is the oldest and highest order of Belgium and is named in honour of its founder; King Leopold I. It consists of a military, a maritime and a civil division. The maritime division is only awarded to personnel of the merchant navy, and the military division to military personnel. The decoration was established on 11 July 1832 and is awarded by Royal order.

American Academy in Rome Research center , Arts institution in New York City, United States

The American Academy in Rome is a research and arts institution located on the Gianicolo in Rome. The academy is a member of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers.

Partial bibliography

Source: Works by Royal Cortissoz in WorldCat

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References

Citations

  1. 1 2 3 "Royal Cortissoz, Art Critic, 79, Dies". The New York Times . October 18, 1948.
  2. "Milestones". Time . October 25, 1948. Retrieved November 19, 2008.(subscription required)
  3. "Sterile Modernism". Time . March 10, 1930. Retrieved November 19, 2008.(subscription required)
  4. "Lincoln Memorial Builders". National Park Service . Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  5. Morgan 1989, p. 64.
  6. Morgan 1989, p. 65.
  7. Morgan 1989, p. 68.
  8. Morgan 1989, p. 77.
  9. Tom, Wolfe (1976). The Painted Word . Bantam Books. p. 29. ISBN   0553273795. OCLC   2506019.
  10. Morgan 1989, p. 80.
  11. Morgan 1989, p. 84.
  12. Wesleyan University Bulletin. Wesleyan University. 1927. p. 167. Retrieved January 9, 2018. The Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters was conferred on: Royal Cortissoz, New York City.
  13. "Behind the Scenes". Scribner's Magazine. Vol. LXXXII. C. Scribner's sons. December 1927. p. 642c. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  14. "Search Results". The American Academy of Arts and Letters. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  15. "Historical Trustee List" (PDF). American Academy in Rome. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  16. American Architect and Architecture. J. R. Osgood & Company. 1928. p. 722. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  17. "Index to the Bulletin" (PDF). The Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. xx. 1925. p. 6. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  18. "Cortissoz Gets Medal". Los Angeles Times. November 29, 1931. p. 38. Retrieved January 9, 2018. (subscription required)

Sources