Revised July 11, 1996
UJ IDOK (New Times), October 22, 1911
As an artist, in everything and everywhere I was looking for the natural and the healthy and from this point of view a good feeling overtakes me when I think of America, which I have just left for a short time….America is the country of the handsomest men and the most beautiful women. In the case of men, I can see the beauty in the purest sense of health. In women, beyond this. I mean classic beauty.
In New York, in San Francisco and Denver, everywhere I went, on the street or in the drawing rooms, it was as if the most beautiful antique Greek statues had come to life before me as I looked at one or another American beauty. I believe that these "inspiratrice" women create a new poetry, music and art which surpasses all that was hitherto created of this kind. That is, they can realize the new and purified Renaissance. Oh, how much I would like to be twenty years old with a twenty year old soul drink from the springs surrounding them!
But lo, in my fencing for the internal pleasure I became gray; but if I think of these beauties the thousand violins of the youth sound with the same freshness as they did then.
Perhaps only by painting her can one capture the grace of the American woman as she talks or as she sinks into an armchair. I know all the female types of Europe, from the lively left English girl to the high strung Parisienne and the snake bodied Madrilena, and that everything which is good and beautiful can be discovered in them and these elements are brought together in the American woman, but into rejuvenated form. To this ad favorable climatic conditions and the passion for sports. And besides all this, the American woman knows how to be manly and brave, without losing her female quality. Then too, she is graceful.
It is necessary, however, that female grace should always be natural and not artificial, and in this, right down to the finest Nuance, the American woman is feminine.
I am a feminist and it felt good to experience that the American woman plays a part which is quite equal in quality to a man's. And if feminism in politics did not envelope precisely in the same measure everywhere as in some individual American states, this may perhaps result from the lack of exponential forces. But here too the substance is important: in achieving economic success, the American woman has a sound position in society. All this was facilitated by the fact that their men are brought up to be loyal and considerate, as within the family agreement can be imagined only on the basis of mutual understanding.
I would further like to discuss how untrue is all that some European papers write about the vain frivolities of American women. Among these not the last supposition is that among American women it is fashionable to embed diamonds in their teeth. The sober taste of American women would never admit this. Although in Europe fashion can have 1000 surprising outgrows, the American woman does not accept the general European fashion blindly when it comes into conflict with her individual taste.
I did not have a single model who would have given me the slightest instruction as to how I should paint her. This attitude at first tended to embarrass me, as I was not clear about her wishes. In Europe, on the other hand, generally women sitters give the painter 1000 instructions which can confuse the artist in a different way. But the American women are so liberal principled that they gave me as free a hand as they accorded other European artists bring with them the renown of the great national milieus and fame of their own. This trust was uplifting and made me enthusiastic. And it felt especially good to hear from the lips of one or another lady giving me a sitting in answering the "opinions" of their visiting girlfriends, "the master is in charge- it will be good the way he wants it."