The New Yorker’s First Art Critic: A Portrait of Murdock Pemberton

Saturday, July 20, 2:30 pm

 New Yorker’s First Art Critic:
Portrait of Murdock Pemberton

A talk by Sally Pemberton 
$10 / $5 WAAM members, seniors and students
Murdock Pemberton

Murdock Pemberton

This program is funded by the
Sara and Yasuo Kuniyoshi Family Trust

 The Woodstock Artists Association and Museum presents a talk entitled The New Yorker’s First Art Critic: A Portrait of Murdock Pemberton on Saturday, July 20 at 2:30 pm.

Join us for this in-depth look at the career of a man The New Yorker called, “the most interesting person you’ve never heard of.”

In 1925, no one in New York City was more surprised than Murdock Pemberton – a newspaper reporter, Broadway publicist, playwright, and poet with no formal training in art or connoisseurship-when an upstart magazine The New Yorker named him its first art critic.  Exposés of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, collector Andrew Mellon, and “plush-hung” commercial galleries – written for The New Yorker and other national publications-thrust Mr. Pemberton into the limelight as a “David among the Philistines,” his favorite role.

According to the The New Yorker, “Pemberton co-hosted the luncheon that launched the Algonquin Round Table. He introduced Noguchi, who had sculpted his portrait, to Robert Moses. O’Keeffe wore his old shirt as a painting smock. … Pemberton championed America’s modernist painters Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove, Charles Demuth, John Marin and sculptors Isamu Noguchi, Alexander Calder, but reserved his highest praise for the French painters such as Camille Pissarro and Raoul Dufy, and held a special regard for Matisse.”

MurdockIn 2009, his granddaughter Sally Pemberton stumbled across Murdock’s collection of exhibition catalogs, clippings, playbills, letters, and photographs. Using detective work and original research, she has assembled a compendium of her grandfather’s writings and those of his contemporaries, many of which have never before appeared in print. Her talk will highlight Murdock Pemberton’s associations with and reviews of work by Woodstock artists Peggy Bacon, George Bellows, Louis Bouché, and Yasuo Kuniyoshi.

Sally Pemberton is a marketing and business strategist who became an accidental historian. She lives in Chicago and is the author of a fully-illustrated volume chronicling the career of Murdock Pemberton. Copies of the book will be available for purchase following the talk.

Click for Interview with Sally Pemberton courtesy The NewYorker

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