Commentary Magazine


Article Preview

Harold Ross's “New Yorker”:
Life as a Drawing-Room Comedy

- Abstract

A FEW years ago when the art critic for the New Yorker went abroad to report on current art activities in London, Paris, and other European centers, I began receiving regular telephone calls, often several a week, from a zealous young man in that magazine’s Checking Department. I confess that the first time the fellow introduced himself, I thought the Checking Department must be something like the Accounting Office and I couldn’t imagine why he wanted to talk to me. When he made it clear that he was a kind of researcher, I was, as I suppose many people are the first time around, rather flattered to think I could help out such an august body in its scrutiny of the facts, and I cheerfully volunteered a considerable amount of information on the question at hand, namely, the relationship of certain French critics to schools and styles of painting. In the course of the first week’s telephone conversations, I found myself giving a little lecture on the ideological positions of some of the major critics on the Paris art scene. It was the kind of information which anyone following the international art scene with more than passing interest would pick up in the course of his reading and observation. I hadn’t, at that date, even been to Paris myself.



About the Author