JAMESON Margaret Storm - Four Letters Signed regarding an article on Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
Margaret Storm JAMESON (1891-1986)Three Typed Letters Signed and one Autograph Letter Signed (“Storm Jameson” or “Margaret Storm Jameson”) to R.A. Scott-James of the London Mercury, regarding an article on Moholy-Nagy’s The New Vision.
In all, four pages small 4to, 68A Shinfield Road, Reading, 21 February 1939 – 2 March 1939.
21 February 1939: “I have almost finished writing what I believe is an interesting and – as these things go – an important criticism of Moholy-Nagy’s “New Vision”. It is an article, rather than a review, and runs to about 2000 words. I must say I should like it to appear in a journal where it would at least be respected for its setting. Would you read it, or is it on a subject of no interest to you? Perhaps I am wrong in thinking it is some good, but it seems to me at this moment to be.”
24 February 1939: “It is very good of you to read this. Although based on Moholy-Nagy’s book it is really a criticism of modern art as a whole, with the implied suggestion that its more vehement admirers are uncritical. It has always seemed to me a pity that one could not criticise modern art freely without being regarded as a reactionary. One ought to keep one’s head.
Also I have one or two theories, which I have suggested in this essay – I can’t do more with them in the space. I think they are a little interesting.
Thank you for reading it,”
28 February 1939: “Even if you like my article please send it back. I have altered the end completely & improved & cleared up other passages. I am sorry I am such an ass.”
2 March 1939: “Here is the revised essay for your consideration.”
The novelist Storm Jameson was a declared socialist, and a prominent member of the International PEN association. However, this did not necessarily make her an admirer of modernism. Her book on Modern Drama in Europe was often critical of much modern work.
In the article in question [not present], Jameson was highly critical of artists whose work has endured, including Picasso, whose Guernica she accuses of “synthetic emotion” and Mondrian, comparing him unfavourably with the Russian artist El Lissitzsky. Her opinion of Moholy-Nagy is predictable, finding him too cerebral.
Laszlo Moholy-Nagy taught at the Bauhaus school from 1923. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, he left Germany, spending time in London before moving to the United States, where he became the director of the New Bauhaus in Chicago in 1937. After Moholy-Nagy’s death, this became the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Jameson’s article evidently did not meet with the approval of the London Mercury; it appeared in the June issue of Scrutiny.
There are pinholes at the top left of the letters, which are otherwise in good condition.
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