Art for Heart’s Sake
Reuben Lucius Goldberg (1883—1970), an American sculptor, cartoonist and
writer was born in San Francisco. After graduating from the University of
California in 1904 he worked as a cartoonist for a number of newspapers and
magazines. He produced several series of cartoons all of which were highly
Among his best
works are Is There a Doctor in the
House? (1929), Rube Goldberg's
Guide to Europe (1954) and I Made My Bed (1960).
take your pineapple juice," gently persuaded Koppel, the male nurse.
Collis P.Ellsworth. "But it's good for you, sir." "Nope!"
the front door bell and was glad to leave the room. He found Doctor Caswell in
the hall downstairs. "I can't do a thing with him," he told the
doctor. "He won't take his pineapple juice. He doesn't want me to read to
him. He hates the radio. He doesn't like anything!"
Doctor Caswell received the
information with his usual professional calm. He had done some constructive
thinking since his last visit. This was no ordinary case. The old gentleman was
in pretty good shape for a man of seventy-six. But he had to be kept from
buying things. He had suffered his last heart attack after his disastrous
purchase of that jerkwater 1 railroad 2 out in Iowa. 3
All his purchases of recent years had to be liquidated at a great sacrifice
both to his health and his pocketbook.
The doctor drew up a chair
and sat down close to the old man. "I've got a proposition for you,"
he said quietly.
Old Ellsworth looked suspiciously over his
"How'd you like to
take up art?" The doctor had his stethoscope ready in case the abruptness
of the suggestion proved too much for the patient's heart.
But the old gentleman's answer was a vigorous
"I don't mean
seriously," said the doctor, relieved that disaster had been averted.
"Just fool around with chalk and crayons. It'll be fun."
"All right." The doctor stood up.
"I just suggested it, that's all."
"But, Caswell, how do
I start playing with the chalk — that is, if I'm foolish enough to start?"
"I've thought of that,
too. I can get a student from one erf the art schools to come here once a week
and show you."
Doctor Caswell went to his
friend, Judson Livingston, head of the Atlantic Art Institute, and explained
the situation. Livingston had just the young man — Frank Swain, eighteen years
old and a promising student. He needed the money. Ran an elevator at night to
pay tuition. How much would he get? Five dollars a visit. Fine.
young Swain was shown into the big living room. Collis P. Ellsworth looked at
him appraisingly. "Sir, I'm not an artist yet," answered the young
some paper and crayons on the table. "Let's try and draw that vase over
there on the mantelpiece," he suggested. "Try it, Mister Ellsworth,
"Umph!" The old
man took a piece of crayon in a shaky hand and made a scrawl. He made another
scrawl and connected the two with a couple of crude lines. "There it is,
young man," he snapped with a grunt of satisfaction. "Such
foolishness. Poppycock!" 7
Frank Swain was
patient. He needed the five dollars. "If you want to draw you will have to
look at what you're drawing, sir."
Old Ellsworth squinted and looked.
"By gum, 8 it's kinda 9 pretty, I never noticed it
When the art
student came the following week there was a drawing on the table that had a
slight resemblance to the vase.
The wrinkles deepened at
the corners of the old gentleman's eyes as he asked elfishly, 10
"Well, what do you think of it?"
"Not bad, sir," answered Swain. "But it's a bit
"By gum," Old
Ellsworth chuckled. "I see. The halves don't match." He added a few
lines with a palsied hand and colored 11 the open spaces blue like a
child playing with a picture book. Then he looked towards the door.
"Listen, young man," he whispered, "I want to ask you something
before old pineapple juice comes back."
"Yes, sir," responded Swain respectively.
thinking could you spare the time to come twice a week or perhaps three
times?" "Sure, Mister Ellsworth."
Let's make it Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Four o'clock."
As the weeks
went by Swain's visits grew more frequent. He brought the old man a box of
water-colors and some tubes of oils.
When Doctor Caswell called
Ellsworth would talk about the graceful lines of the andirons. He would dwell
on the rich variety of color in a bowl of fruit. He proudly displayed the
variegated smears of paint on his heavy silk dressing gown. He would not allow
his valet to send it to the cleaner's. He wanted to show the doctor how hard
he'd been working.
was working perfectly. No more trips downtown to become involved in purchases
of enterprises of doubtful solvency.
thought it safe to allow Ellsworth to visit the Metropolitan, 12
the Museum of Modern Art 13 and other exhibits with Swain. An
entirely new world opened up its charming mysteries. The old man displayed an
insatiable curiosity about the galleries and the painters who exhibited in
them. How were the galleries run? Who selected the canvases for the exhibitions?
An idea was forming in his brain.
When the late spring sun
began to cloak the fields and gardens with color, Ellsworth executed a
god-awful smudge which he called "Trees Dressed in White". Then he
made a startling announcement. He was going to exhibit it in the Summer show
at the Lathrop Gallery!
For the Summer show at the
Lathrop Gallery was the biggest art exhibit of the year in quality, if not in
size. The lifetime dream of every mature artist in the United States was a
Lathrop prize. Upon this distinguished group Ellsworth was going to foist his
"Trees Dressed in White", which resembled a gob 14 of
salad dressing thrown violently up against the side of a house!
"If the papers get
hold of this, Mister Ellsworth will become a laughing-stock. We've got to stop
him," groaned Koppel.
"No," admonished 15
the doctor. "We can't interfere with him now and take a chance of spoiling
all the good work that we've accomplished."
To the utter astonishment
of all three — and especially Swain — "Trees Dressed in White" was
accepted for the Lathrop show.
Fortunately, the painting
was hung in an inconspicuous place where it could not excite any noticeable
comment. Young Swain sneaked into the Gallery one afternoon and blushed to the
top of his ears when he saw "Trees Dressed in White", a loud, raucous
splash on the wall. As two giggling students stopped before the strange anomaly
Swain fled in terror. He could not bear to hear what they had to say.
During the course of the
exhibition the old man kept on taking his lessons, seldom mentioning his entry
in the exhibit. He was unusually cheerful.
Two days before the close
of the exhibition a special messenger brought a long official-looking envelope
to Mister Ellsworth while Swain, Koppel and the doctor were in the room.
"Read it to me," requested the old man. "My eyes are tired from
"It gives the Lathrop
Gallery pleasure to announce that the First Landscape Prize of $1,000 has been
awarded to Collis P.Ellsworth ^foj his painting, "Trees Dressed in
Swain and Koppel uttered a
series of inarticulate gurgles. Doctor Caswell, exercising his professional
self-control with a supreme effort, said: "Congratulations, Mister
Ellsworth. Fine, fine ... See, see ... Of course, I didn't expect such great
news. But, but — well, now, you'll have to admit that art is much more
satisfying than business."
nothing," snapped the old man. "I bought the Lathrop Gallery last
jerkwater (Am. colloq.): small,
railroad (Am.): railway.
The lexical differences between the British and American English are not great
in number but they are considerable enough to make the mixture of the two
variants sound strange and unnatural. A student of English should bear in mind
that different words are used for the same objects, such as can, candy, truck, mailbox, subway instead of tin, sweets, lorry, pillar-box (or letter-box), underground.
Iowa ['aiawa]: a north central state of the
USA. The noun is derived from the name of an Indian tribe. Quite a number of
states, towns, rivers and the like in America are named by Indian words, e. g. Massachusetts, Illinois, Ohio, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Michigan.
rot (si): foolish remarks or ideas.
bosh (sL): empty talk, nonsense.
umph: an interjection expressing uncertainty or suspicion.
by gum (dial): by God.
kinda: the spelling
fixes contraction of the preposition 'of and its assimilation with the
preceding noun which is a characteristic trait of American pronunciation.
elfish: (becoming rare)
(of people or behaviour) having the guality or habit of playing tricks on
people like an elf; mischievous.
colored: the American
spelling is somewhat simpler than its British counterpart. The suffix -our is spelled -or.
the Metropolitan Museum of Art: the leading museum in America, was founded in 1870. Its collections
cover a period of 5,000 years, representing the cultures of the Ancient world
and Near and Far East as well as the arts of Europe and America. Among the
collections are the paintings, which include oils, pastels, water-colours,
miniatures and drawings. There are over 5,000 exhibits, among which are the works
of Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Flemish, German, French , English and American
the Museum of Modern Art: a repository of art peculiar to the twentieth century, was opened in
1929. It has several departments among which are the department of architecture
and design, the department of painting and sculpture, the department of
gob (si): a mass of smth. sticky.
admonish: to scold or