MORRIS TOPCHEVSKY

 

MORRIS TOPSCHEVSKY was born in Biealistock, Poland (formerly Russia), on October 15, 1899, and studied at Hull House and the Art Institute of Chicago. His outstanding teachers were Miss Enella Benedict and Albert Krehbiel, and he has learned much also from Aztec and Maya sculpture and the artists of Mexico. He has painted in New York and Texas and in Mexico, is a member of the Chicago Society of Artists and the John Reed Club, and has exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, the John Reed Club of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the Renaissance Society of the University of Chicago and the Witte Museum of .San Antonio, Texas. He was awarded the Art Students League Goodman Prize in 1921 and is represented in the permanent collections of Dr. Moises Saenz, Hubert Herring, the Richmond Museum and the Mexican Ministry of Education. His work has been written about in UniYersal of Mexico City, Excelcior of Mexico City, the Chicago Evening Post, the Chicago Daily News and Survey Graphic, by Eliodoro Valle, Ictioas, Marguerite B. Williams, Robert D. Andrews, J. Z. Jacobson and Paul Kellog.

Subject matter is inseparable from the other elements in art. Form is the structure of painting. As for color, the most vital use of it, to my mind, is its contribution to form. That is, it is essential in the building up of volume and distance. Though work in two dimensions and color for color's sake have their important place, form is the more important aim in painting. I paint pure abstractions at times as experiments. The abstract in art affords the modern artist a means whereby to effectively interpret our industrial and mechanical civilization. It may be made to dominate space seen through our eyes and psychic senses. It is made possible because of mechanical advancement-by virtue of velocity and conquest of space. In a small way my art is a personal expression, but I am indebted to the art works of the past, and, as a citizen of a highly modernized world, where every kind of art expression is available, I feel it is personal as far as an artist can make it that by seeing and absorbing his surroundings. As to the question whether my work is a contribution to society, there are ways of judging a contribution to society. It can be as a contribution in technique, as a social contribution in content, or as an educational force. At the present time of class struggle, danger of war and mass starvation, the artist cannot isolate himself from the problems of the world and the most valuable contribution to society will come from the artists who are social revolutionists. In my student days Miss E. Benedict and Mr. A. Krehbiel had a great influence on my work. Later the work of Mexican primitives and the work of the modern Mexican painters, along with the whole country of Mexico, impressed itself on everything I did. Now as to whether my work is an expression of the age, I would say that it is. My work is American in so far as America is a conglomeration of distinct cultural influences of different races and backgrounds. I don't know how much my work is distinctively Chicagoan. I have worked here most of my life. In all my work I have felt that movement of masses of people is the most important element. At first it was because I was fascinated by the problem it afforded. At the present, and I hope in my future work, it will be a means of helping the revolutionary movement of this country and the liberation of the working masses of the entire world. So far, galleries and the art market have not touched me. I don't sell enough. I take all criticism with a grain of salt. Morris Topchevsky.