AUGUST 25, 1941
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I returned here before lunch yesterday and we are having a delightful time. His Royal Highness, the Duke of Kent, with his party are perfect guests. They enjoy riding and swimming and being in the country. I hope after all their travels and the constant strain of life in England today, this Sunday will be an island of peace in their memory.
Tonight we have to return to Washington and tomorrow promises to be a very busy day, so we have revelled in the leisure of these two days in the country.
I wonder if you know a little magazine called "Horizon," a review of literature and art. It is an English publication and it was sent me the other day because of an article entitled: "Painting In America," written by John Rothenstein, who is the curator of the Tate Gallery in London.
If you know the Tate Gallery, you will hope that its treasures are safely hidden away during the present period of destruction. You will also be pleased that its curator is so appreciative of the development in art which has come about in the past few years in the United States.
I want to quote some of the things which he says: "It is a melancholy fact that modern democracy, which has to its credit a long and brilliant succession of triumphs in so many spheres of human activity, has as a patron of art, shown less enlightenment, less generosity, less responsibility, than some of the darkest tyrannies of the past."
In speaking of the "Forty-Eight State mural competition," held in the Corcoran Gallery in Washington about two years ago, he has this to say: "Even the least study there, gave utterance, however faltering, to what the best so resoundingly proclaimed; that there was a new spirit abroad in America, a spirit by which artists were also moved and willingly expressed in terms which all could understand. Every shade of the Anglo-Saxon spirit has been reflected in literature, always adequately, often with transcending splendor, but in painting and sculpture, how rarely and faintly in comparison."
He then names a number of painters he thinks are creating an American tradition and style, and he ends with this interesting observation: "It seems likely that in the arts as in other spheres of creation, the American genius, like the medieval genius, is adapted rather to tremendous collective achievements than to studied expression of the individual spirit."