Post #1267 • December 15, 2008, 2:48 PM • 9 Comments
The College Art Association named its award for published art criticism, given annually to the variously deserving, for Frank Jewett Mather. I've been looking a bit into Mather's work, and I'm starting to wonder if anyone at the CAA has read him. Although as erudite and credentialed as could be, he had a low opinion of collectors, academia, and theory. He wrote a satirical novel, The Collectors: Being Cases mostly under the Ninth and Tenth Commandments, with some choice passages:
From the mere scraps and hints of Lombard words in Paul the Deacon and other historians anybody but a German would have declined to draw any conclusion whatever. But just as every German citizen however humble, becomes eventually a privy counsellor, a knight of various eagles of diverse classes, an overstationmaster, or a royal postman, so German science for the past hundred years has permitted no fact to languish in its native insignificance. All have been promoted to be the sponsors of imposing theories. And Hauptmann's theory, which got him the degree of Ph.D., maxima cum laude, was that Lombard is an East Germanic tongue. This he simple intuited, needing the degree, for the fifty mangled Lombard words displayed none of those consonants which tending to double or of those vowels which still vexing us as umlauts, mark a language as belonging to the great Eastern or Western group. But Hauptmann was first in the field, and if it was impossible for him to demonstrate that he was right, it was equally impossible for anybody else to prove that he was wrong. So he stood his ground and by dint of continually hitting the same nail on the same head he had so greatly flourished that he was mentioned respectfully as far as the Lombard tongue was known, and at thirty-four had passed from the honourable but unpaid condition of Privat-dozent to that of Professor Extraordinarius.
Remind anyone of anything?