ILLINOIS HISTORICAL ART PROJECT
BELLA HERMONT SCHNEE
BELLA HERMONT SCHNEE was born in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), Russia, and studied in her native city and in Paris. Her outstanding teachers were Marc Chagall and Raoul Dufy. She has painted in Russia, Germany, France, Italy and Turkey, and in the eastern part of the United States, has exhibited in Russia and the United States, and is represented in private collections in Poland and Russia. Her work has been written about in various American and European newspapers.
It seems to me that an artist cannot very well explain either his work or his tendencies unless they are quite literary. When the artist is working, intuition plays too big a role to permit an explanation. Post factum, it is quite possible, but then a critic can do it much better. When some impression arouses the urge to paint, it is always just as a problem-abstract or otherwise; it does not depend on the subject but rather on the impression itself. Now, how to solve the problem is not in us to judge. The work is most of the time an improvisation-so the use of color purely as a means of bringing out form, distance, and so on, depends upon the problem involved. Is the work a contribution to society? I think every constructive idea behind a work does its share for society-be this idea conscious or not; be it the aim of the artist or not to influence society. An idea has power and potency inherent in itself. Is an artist the expression of his time? Most certainly, but I suppose he cannot judge himself how much of the tendencies of any racial, political, etc., group he is expressing, unless he is doing so consciously. Is there anything peculiarly American in my work? It seems to me that this is unavoidable. I do not think the work done here would be produced the same way in Paris, although I could not tell if this distinctive element is peculiar to Chicago or if it is American in general. Bella Hermont Schnee