MILTON DOUTHAT (note: married to Rifka Angel)

 

MILTON DOUTHAT was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on February 16, 1905, and studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, the Art Students League of New York and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He has painted in England, France and various parts of the United States, is a member of the Chicago No-Jury Society of Artists, has exhibited in various Chicago galleries and has had a one-man show at the Walden-Palmolive Gallery. His work has been written about in Chicago newspapers.

 

I cannot say in a page, or any number of pages, what my attitude is toward painting, what my work is and what I hope it may become. That is an inquiry on which I hope always to be engaged. As to whether my work is American, Chicagoan, original, a contribution to society-I am an American, living in Chicago, and I know that this must be in some way reflected in my work, but I consider it accidental and of no importance, of no more effect on the worth of the work than the marking of an apple on its taste. Anyhow, national stigmata are always more apparent in tenth-rate work of any kind than they are in first-rate, just as national physiognomy and build is more evident in tenth-rate people. As to originality, it must take a very bold or very foolish person to say, "This is mine, this is new, it originated with me." We are all products of the past, plus the little we can sometimes add to it, and that little perhaps only when we have given form to what others know and feel, but cannot express. I believe what an artist has that is most valuable is not what he has that no one else has, but what he has that everyone else has, felt more deeply, seen more sharply, understood more fully or perhaps simply combined with the faculty of expression. The important thing is not: where did the man get this idea? but: what has he done with it? An idea is the natural property of anyone who can understand it. The folly of the imitator is in copying the results of an idea without understanding the idea itself, and his product naturally is a body without a soul. I believe every human act is in some way a contribution to the movement, not necessarily the progress, of society. I bring to my canvas what the past down to a few minutes ago has made me, and what I produce is the result. Milton Douthat.

 

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