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The Human Touch

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He is what you call the type. If the casting director of a moving picture outfit were looking for a person to enact the role of the old, poor and unrecognized artist, he would say of him: There goes my man! Except that, although he may not be rich, he is very far indeed from being unrecognized. His pictures hang on the walls of every leading American museum and are included in some of the finest private collections. It is a matter of regret that the kind of man who looks exactly like the popular conception of a doctor, or painter, or professor or tattooer, or soda fountain clerk is not what he looks like. I have been called “doctor” and “professor” by gentry who couldn’t have known not only that I have no degree, but that I never spent more than two months and twenty-two and a half days in a university. But Jerome Myers is an artist and looks like one—which is not to be taken to imply that either he or his art is arty.

He has a head of wavy white hair, in which respect alone he resembles Einstein, but underneath that head of hair is a gentle, ruddy, somewhat Puckish face, sensitive, intelligent and, despite its Puckish-ness, seamed and lined with thoughtfulness and worry too, perhaps. He speaks quietly but not without authority. He happens to be a Jew, but he is not what we would call a Jewish painter; that is, he does not select his subjects upon the purely racial basis. What interests him is the life of the city streets, of the streets of the lower East Side, where, he says, there is more genuineness and less formality than there is uptown. As an artist, it seems to me, he is most happy when he can draw, or paint, children playing in street or park. He tells me that he used to love to watch the children at play in Hamilton Fish Park, and I believe that he obtained some of his material from Tompkins Square Park too. In the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum, for example, there is such a park scene, on a hot sum-

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