“The reason for an interest in modern art is very simple,” Walter Pach once told a Washington audience, “it is the only kind we can produce.”Fifty years ago Walter Pach guided Arthur B. Davies and Walt Kuhn in their selection of European artists for the Armory Show. When that exhibition closed a year later, art-conscious Americans had been set on a new course. As a teacher, writer and lecturer, Walter Pach helped to lead the way. His importance to the development and appreciate of modern art in America during the first half of this century is central.In his catalogue of the Chicago exhibition of the Armory Show, Walter Pach noted that all nine of Villon's paintings had been sold. Villon was a life-long friend of Walter1
and Magda Pach and painted these two portraits of the Pachs in their studio in St.-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, over a fifteen year period.2
The portraits themselves are prime examples of what has been called Villon's “prismatic Cubism,” luminous colors within simplified forms. Yet a descriptive, sensitive line, subtle modelling, a solidity created by color masses, describe the sitters in such a way that they are not merely objects for formalization. These are definite personalities, observed, loved, and appreciatively painted by one of the great artists of our time.Endnotes
Referenced Works of Art
- The portrait of Walter Pach is illustrated on the cover of this Bulletin.
- Raymond Pach, their son who was named for Villon's brother, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, received these paintings as a wedding gift.
- Jacques Villon, French, 1875. Portrait of Magda Pach, 1932-1947. Oil on canvas, 21 3/4” x 18 1/4”. The John R. Van Derlip Fund, 1961. 61.27.2
- Jacques Villon, French, 1875. Portrait of Walter Pach, 1932-1947. Oil on canvas, 21 3/4” x 18 1/4”. The John R. Van Derlip Fund, 1961. 61.27.1.