Note on Art
With this note, LeRoy Neiman relays an anecdote about his time at the Minneapolis School of Art, studying painting under Clement Haupers. In the story, Neiman tells of a peer being chastised in class for painting a car accident. According to Neiman, Haupers criticized the man not necessarily for the piece's violent content but for its narrative, illustrative quality, saying: “[the] subject [was] unsuitable/unfit for painting that it could be called… an illustration.” Disagreeing with Haupers concerning the work's validity and liking the painting, this was a watershed moment for Neiman. In addition, occurring before his fashion illustration days at SAIC or self-professed interest in “action” and written in preparation for the artist’s memoir, All Told, it is not unreasonable to assume passage's metaphorical character.
Text Item Type Metadata
In Hauper’s class Dr Beneki(from a medical family) did a painting maybe 4 ft sq or 4/5 of a a post automobile [?] collision on a highway much like along the Red Wing river in southern Minn.
It was of a Dr. attending to some prone bloodied up passenger laid out on the ditch (I on the higway another in a ditch a passenger in another car slumped over the wheels) with the 2 cars one upturned car (totaled) beyond repair
Hauper criticized the painting saying in so many words it was a subject (unsuitable) unfit for a painting that it could be (called) more an illustration
The Dr. did the piece with compassion. He felt it. His expression revealed that in this criqiue before the whole class.
violated his sense of purpose (maybe dignity)
Dr Beneki removed my tonsils in his office (a couple weeks later) with me seated for the operation – complimentary.
He believed in my future as an artist. The first St Paulite of any stature to me he encourage[d] me in a quiet thoughtful way. He never mention[ed] the highway painting only inquired about my progress
I was moved by the painting which really was a successful landscape a window highway curving down from a high horizon skid marks on the pavement. And from the Dr and the critically injured passengers on the Dr. Sedan was parked off on the roadside.
(an all white) dairy farm in the muddled distance another (red) farm and silo at the top of the composition. Why was this not a worthy paining to my instructor[?]
It had reality, compassion, a sound landscape
Why was it not praised as an effort for its feeling?
I wished I had something as significant that brought me to paint an experience in which I was effective.