Art: Underdog Lover

Though most people think they feel sympathy for human wretchedness, it is a remarkable fact that present-day proletarian paintings are in general formalized, strained and snide. Painters like the late George Luks and George Bellows could make an old applewoman look pathetic; young painters nowadays are more likely to make her look depraved. Somewhere between pathos and depravity lies the truth which would arouse fear and pity. For various reasons—preoccupation with design, premature austerity, honorable anger or plain bad draughtsmanship—few modern artists touch that particular truth.

This week, at the Hudson...

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