Comstock Dooms September Morning

Collection

Newspaper account of Anthony Comstock ordering September Morn to be removed from a store window.

In his capacity as head of New York's Society for the Suppression of Vice. Anthony Comstock has returned a verdict on Paul Chabas's masterpiece "September Morning," that must be entered with the verdicts previously expressed by "Bath House John" Coughlin of Chicago and the French Academy. It is a matter of history that the Art Committe of the French Academy awarded a medal of honor to the canvas in the Spring salon of 1912. It is a matter of fact—although it may not live in history—that Alderman Coughlin announced to Chicago that the picture was shocking and must not be publicly displayed there. Mr. Comstock votes with Mr. Coughlin, even at the risk of offending the French Academy.

Mr. Comstock's opportunity to express himself came by chance as he was sauntering through West Forty-sixth Street on Friday. Glancing in the shop windows, as he advanced, he halted in front of the building occupied by Braun & Co., art dealers. The street number is 12. Right there in the window was the beautiful girl of fourteen or so, made famous by M. Chabas. She seemed not a whit disturbed by Mr. Comstock's scrutiny as she stood in the shallows of her moutain-ribbed lake, quite unconscious that her undraped loveliness was offending. Mr. Comstock entered the store and addressed James Kelley, a salesman.

"Take her out at once."

Kelly looked his surpise.

"The picture of the girl without any clothes on." Mr. Comstock said.

"But that is the famous 'September morning.'" Kelly explained.

"There's too little morning and too much maid." Mr. Comstock said severely. "Take it out."

Kelly refused, saying he did not know what busness it was of the visitor to make the demand. Mr. Comstock threw back the flap of his coat, displayed his badge of office, and identified himself. Kelly then got the picture hook and hauled in the picture. While thus engaged he heard Mr. Comstock snort with indignation.

"What is that?" the Suppression of Vice head demanded, painting to an exhibit on the wall.

"That is Jean Francois Millet's 'Goose Girl,' famous throughout the art world," Kelly replied.

"It's the most indecent picture I ever saw," Mr. Comstock announced after studying the picture long and earnestly to give his judgement full scope. "If you ever put that picture in the window I'll confiscate your whole stock."

Then he departed. When Manager Ortiz returned and learned what had taken place he ordered the "September Morning" put back in the window. It was there yesterday.

"I will keep it on display if I have to spend the value of my entire stock in contesting the point with Mr. Comstock," Mr. Ortiz said.

Dublin Core

Title

Comstock Dooms September Morning

Subject

September Morn
Anthony Comstock

Description

Newspaper account of Anthony Comstock ordering September Morn to be removed from a store window.

Creator

New York Times

Date

1913-05-11

Rights

Public Domain

Language

en

Type

Text

Contribution Form

Online Submission

No

Newspaper Story Item Type Metadata

Headline

Comstock Dooms September Morning

Orders It Out of Art Dealer's Window--Proprietor Puts It Back

Text

In his capacity as head of New York's Society for the Suppression of Vice. Anthony Comstock has returned a verdict on Paul Chabas's masterpiece "September Morning," that must be entered with the verdicts previously expressed by "Bath House John" Coughlin of Chicago and the French Academy. It is a matter of history that the Art Committe of the French Academy awarded a medal of honor to the canvas in the Spring salon of 1912. It is a matter of fact—although it may not live in history—that Alderman Coughlin announced to Chicago that the picture was shocking and must not be publicly displayed there. Mr. Comstock votes with Mr. Coughlin, even at the risk of offending the French Academy.

Mr. Comstock's opportunity to express himself came by chance as he was sauntering through West Forty-sixth Street on Friday. Glancing in the shop windows, as he advanced, he halted in front of the building occupied by Braun & Co., art dealers. The street number is 12. Right there in the window was the beautiful girl of fourteen or so, made famous by M. Chabas. She seemed not a whit disturbed by Mr. Comstock's scrutiny as she stood in the shallows of her moutain-ribbed lake, quite unconscious that her undraped loveliness was offending. Mr. Comstock entered the store and addressed James Kelley, a salesman.

"Take her out at once."

Kelly looked his surpise.

"The picture of the girl without any clothes on." Mr. Comstock said.

"But that is the famous 'September morning.'" Kelly explained.

"There's too little morning and too much maid." Mr. Comstock said severely. "Take it out."

Kelly refused, saying he did not know what busness it was of the visitor to make the demand. Mr. Comstock threw back the flap of his coat, displayed his badge of office, and identified himself. Kelly then got the picture hook and hauled in the picture. While thus engaged he heard Mr. Comstock snort with indignation.

"What is that?" the Suppression of Vice head demanded, painting to an exhibit on the wall.

"That is Jean Francois Millet's 'Goose Girl,' famous throughout the art world," Kelly replied.

"It's the most indecent picture I ever saw," Mr. Comstock announced after studying the picture long and earnestly to give his judgement full scope. "If you ever put that picture in the window I'll confiscate your whole stock."

Then he departed. When Manager Ortiz returned and learned what had taken place he ordered the "September Morning" put back in the window. It was there yesterday.

"I will keep it on display if I have to spend the value of my entire stock in contesting the point with Mr. Comstock," Mr. Ortiz said.

Publication Date

1913-05-11

Newspaper Info

New York Times, pg 1

Citation

New York Times, "Comstock Dooms September Morning," in September Morn Archive, Item #29, http://septembermorn.org/items/show/29 (accessed August 18, 2017).