America’s Tallest Tower, Plus Some Temperament

Each brain is a premise. Each sensibility fashions its own universe. There are not only two ways of looking at every object in the world, but there are as many ways as there are eyes. Sometimes what we see is only a question of diet. “Psychic insight” and “point of view” are sometimes conditioned on the kind of beer you drink or that your ancestors drank. Schopenhauer’s famous dictum, “The world is my idea,” should have read “The world is my particular digestion.”

No greater contrast could be imagined than the Woolworth Tower as Fornaro sees it and the same structure as Marin sees it. The first is an Impressionist, the second a Futurist. The mind of Fornaro is precise, mathematical, formal; the mind of Marin is anarchic, dithyrambic, color-struck. Fornaro conveys to us a sense of titanic power working in a milieu of sinister beauty. Marin gives us a sense of luminous humor, a mock danse macabre of triumphant Life.

“What is beauty,” asked a young student of Hammerschlact, the greatest of Bulgarian poets. “Beauty,” replied the latter, “is the phosphorescent smear on the Thing.” This is purely metaphysical, but it proves once again that no one can define beauty. It is evident from these two paintings that Fornaro’s idea of Beauty and Marin’s idea of Beauty are as wide apart as human being from human being; and the distance between any two human beings is interstellar.

Benjamin De Casseres.


Source: Puck, April 25, 1914, p. 11



This writeup was accompanied by a 3/4-page image of the Woolworth Tower.