Of the artists who make Manhattan the biggest U. S. art centre, those who can afford it, depart in summer to rural resorts from Maine to Virginia. Among their most favored summer art colonies are such New England towns as Silvermine, Lyme, Newport, Provincetown, Rockport. Typical is the little town of Mystic, Conn, (east of New London) which opened its 15th annual exhibition last week.
In the colony at Mystic is Robert Brackman, 41, outspoken foe of "modern" art, a National Academy member, who is well off with 53 summer students, gets fat prices for his female nudes, and in his portrait work can afford to turn down women, paint only men whose faces he admires. It includes Guy Pene du Bois whose fame dates back to pre-War I days when he, Davies, Bellows, Luks, Henri were putting modern U. S. painting on the map. Another member is young, happy-go-lucky Galed Gesner (usually willing to let a picture go for the price of a good fishing rod), who last year got an average of $51 a picture but this year is getting up to $350 because somehow his pictures sell. But the larger part of the colony consists of such artists as Walt Killam, Kenneth Bates, Beatrice Cuming and lighthouse-keeper Frank Jo. Raymond, whose best work ranges from $100 to $750. For the mass-market it had water colors, brush drawings, pastels, oils and sculpture from $5 to $100.
There are no WPA artists in Mystic and Willkie-buttoned painters frown on the New Deal for fostering a group which leads the public to believe that modern art is radical. Mystic boosters think the sun, the sea, fresh air and green trees would get a WPA city artist back to "picture principles," away from propaganda, but would hate to see him transplanted at the taxpayers' expense. They know about expense have an annual $2,400 mortgage fee to pay on their $35,000 gallery.