ILLINOIS HISTORICAL ART PROJECT
MALVIN MARR ALBRIGHT
MALVIN MARR ALBRIGHT was born in Chicago on February 20, 1897, and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Beaux Arts Institute of Design of New York and in Nantes, France. His outstanding teachers were Grafly, McCartan, Nadelman and Polasek. He has painted in Arizona, Alabama, California, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin. He is a member of the National Sculpture Society, the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Chicago Society of Artists, the Chicago Galleries Association and the Laguna Beach Art Association of California, and has exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the National Academy of Design in New York, the Palace Legion of Honor in San Francisco, the Carnegie Institute, the Brooklyn Museum and in Washington, D. C. He has received the following awards: Chicago Fountain Prize, 1922; Robert Rice Jenkins Prize, 1929; Chicago Galleries Prize, 1930; and honorable mention in the Chicago Society of Artists exhibition of 1931. The San Diego Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego, California, owns as part of its permanent collection, a piece of his called ".St. Francis." His work has been written about in various newspapers and magazines.
I am a sculptor. I have been raised on art, have always been surrounded with it, good or bad, and naturally might be supposed to take a lot of it for granted. When I think of art seriously which I do, occasionally, it broadens out into what might be termed a philosophy of life. What little kick I get out of sculpture-- not much-I get out of my study of things and nature rather than out of what I make in clay or stone. What one is able to make is so insignificant that it doesn't much matter whether it is good or bad, because relatively it is always very bad. Technique in sculpture means nothing to me. It is a result and of no importance as a thing to be striven for. I think the greatest thing in art is nothing; therefore if you can make something look like nothing and still be something you will have done what no one has succeeded in doing as yet. It resolves itself into a matter of thought. A sculptor's work can never be greater than his thoughts, no matter how well his hands and eyes may be trained. The great trouble today is that the sculptors do not think. And the very few exceptions among them who do a little thinking are so unskilled as workmen with their hands that their thinking doesn't do them much good. In other words, the sculptors of today have nothing to say and they say it poorly. I do not consider my art an expression of the age. The age has nothing to do with it. As to whether my art is American or Chicagoan; what, pray tell me, have those terms to do with the muscles in a man's stomach? A man may be a Jew from Jerusalem or a Negro from Africa or a Frenchman from Paris, but if his work is Jewish in spirit or Negro or French it is nothing-it is small and narrow and very limited. The only spirit worth striving towards is the spirit of God, the spirit of the universe, the spirit of truth. And this is to be found by observing nature in her infinite yet harmonious forms, not by aping your incoherent fellow beings. When I get tired of sculpture and need a rest I paint. I think sculptors when they have nothing of importance to do should paint. Malvin Marr Albright.