APRIL 7, 1941
HYDE PARK, Sunday —Before I left New York City on Friday, I had an opportunity in the morning to go into the gallery of the Associated American Artists, at 711 Fifth Avenue. Two charming little sculptured horses met my gaze as I stepped out of the elevator, reminiscent of some horses carved in pine wood which had been given to me—and I found they were done by the same young artist from St. Louis, Mo. Then the collection of prints and lithographs which are being sold for $5 each attracted my attention, and I found myself moving very slowly through these attractive rooms until I finally reached Raphael Soyer's exhibition. His paintings are most attractive, but as he was born in Russia I think his art shows the Russian influence. These paintings leave me with a sense of repression.
I was shown the room where shortly there is to be an exhibition of WPA children's art and then I had a great thrill.
There is soon to be opened an exhibition of paintings by Thomas Hart Benton. He happened to be there, so I had the great pleasure of meeting him and seeing two or three of his paintings. One head of an old Negro is very beautiful and there is a painting, which is quite delightful, of a little Negro boy sitting with his lessons and looking at the teacher across a table. Mr. Benton said he had to hold the little boy with one hand while he painted with the other and that is probably why the child looks so natural and alive. I can just imagine him slipping through Mr. Benton's fingers, to go fishing in the brook.
I found in my apartment in New York City a gift—a little collection of poems by living English poets. None of the poems is signed. They were chosen because of their contemporary interest and touch with today. One short poem will strike a familiar note with most of us. It is called:
Cool-eyed, confident, lean,
The person I should wish to be,
And never yet have been:
His lips are full of projects done—
Mine only of their name—
How can I be that winning one,
This second that I am?
Whether you are man or woman, young or old, this person you wish to be is always ahead of you.