Page 5, 18th March 1949

18th March 1949
Page 5
Page 5, 18th March 1949 — Ten Statues Start U.S. Controversy

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Locations: Cincinnati, New York


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Ten Statues Start U.S. Controversy

By a Staff Reporter

Ten religious statues have recently caused lively discussion between two schools of opinion in New York.

The statues, sponsored and exhibited by the Liturgical Arts Society " to bridge the gap between clergy seeking statues and artists who might execute them," were modern and distinctly different from the usual repository style. Here is a summary of clerical and critical remarks upon the exhibits taken from a local Catholic newspaper.

An art director, Brother Louis Weber, S.M., Regina! Director of the Catholic Art Association: " Excellent works which far surpass the statues of Barclay Street" (Barclay Street is a centre of religious stores In New York). . " Probably the new figures will not receive a gracious welcome from people who for years have patronised the more ordinary end common ones that have been available."

" This new stuff is our. . . Benedict looks like an Egyptian niummy."

A priest, Mgr. Francis Reardon, parish priest of St. Williams, Cincinnati:

"These new statues may be suitable for a gallery, but they are not suitable for a church." But he made It clew that he deplores " the plaster and sugar images commonly found in church goods houses—dull, monotonous, stereotyped, made in a mould."

A teacher, Sister Elizabeth, art mistress:

" They exemplify the application of the Christian art principles which are being taught to our Catholic art students of to-day. . . As, for tradition, Maurice Lavanoux, of the Liturgical Arts Society, has spoken wisely in pointing out that we mast add our own links to the chain of tradition, and that we should not ' play the sterile game of polishing the links of the past.'"

An artist, Stephen Bridges:

"First-rate stuff, of a perfection we rarely see in church. They arc definitely an hnprovement over the simpering, maudlin statues found in church goods stores."

A business man, York McDonnell, of a Cincinnati parish:

"Fin glad to see something like this, that gets back to the idea of saying something simply and effec tively. These new figures are not covered up with a lot of ornament, but the idea is there." Some of the traditional statues, he said, are what G. K. Chesterton called "candy-box art." " I like to send a statue of the Blessed Mother as a wedding gift," he added," and I can never find one that I really like."

Sculptors whose work appeared in the New York exhibit are Erwin F. Frey, K. George Kratrina, Henry Kreis, Robert Laurent, Oronzio MaIdarelli, Ivan Mestrovic, Charles Umlaut Henry Rex, Miss Janet De Croux, Miss Helene, Sardeau, and Mrs. Josep Nicolas.

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