• U.S.

Art: Workers & Wheatfields

2 minute read

From Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, where struggling artists exhibit their pictures, to 57th Street, where successful artists do the same thing, takes 15 minutes in the subway. It has taken many a worthy artist half a lifetime to make that journey. A show last week at the swank uptown Walker Galleries, attended by all the first-string critics of the city, showed that 27-year-old Joe Jones, onetime St. Louis housepainter, could make it in seven months. His first one-man show in Manhattan was held in Greenwich Village’s A. C. A. Gallery last May, promptly won him recognition as an outstanding artistic discovery of 1935 (TIME, June 3).

Joe Jones’s spring exhibition was filled with such bits of class consciousness as We Demand, Garbage Eaters, Demonstration. All summer he spent in the wheatfields near St. Louis, painting the hot sun on the yellow grain, the brawny bodies of the threshers. Eleven of these pictures were the main part of his show last week, again won Artist Jones loud applause from critics.

Most discussed canvas of the lot was Threshing No. 1, showing a straw-hatted farmer hoisting an explosive forkful of wheat from a wagon (see cut). Whether the left arm and the wheat were well or badly painted caused differences of opinion. Critics agreed, though, that the straw hat was a technical masterpiece.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com