Sunday, March 12, 2006

Cleve Gray

Cleve Gray (1918–2004) wrote in 1976:
Jacques came to see my first exhibit in New York City in 1947. He may have read that I had studied in Paris with Jacques Villon and André Lhote; Cubist painting was an important part of his childhood environment and continued to be of great interest to him. In 1956 he dedicated to me, as a representative of artistic continuity, his book, The Energies of Art.

     During the years he served as editor or advisor of many publications. I would occasionally receive a request to write about an aspect of contemporary painting. My first piece for him was on Albert Gleizes (Magazine of Art, 1950); there followed one on Villon (Perspectives USA, 1953); an essay on abstract art (The American Scholar, 1959); and so on.

     Jacques owns several of my paintings and prints, and in 1950 he wrote a fine introduction to my fourth exhibit at the Jacques Seligmann Galleries. When a few years later I was asked to paint his portrait, I was delighted. I did a second, more abstract version, less gentle, perhaps, than the first.

     Fortunately, my wife, Francine du Plessix Gray, is always as eager as I am to talk with Jacques. We never see him frequently enough.

—Cleve Gray, in Weiner, Dora B. and William R. Keylor, eds., From Parnassus: Essays in Honor of Jacques Barzun (Harper & Row, 1976).

Francine du Plessix Gray has written most recently Them : A Memoir of Parents (Penguin, 2005).

. . . our own cherished conservative, Jacques Barzun, . . .
— Francine du Plessix Gray, New York Times Book Review, September 23, 2001

See also From a Letter to Philip Johnson, April 10, 1975.