BY JOHN STEUART CURRY
JOHN STEUART CURRY is a man whom no transient ambitions and no
will-o’-the-wisp of fame could ever lure away from an essential devotion to
rural America, specifically the Kansas of his birth.
He was born in that state forty-two years ago, and until 1916,
when he had his first taste of art school, first in Kansas City and then in Chicago, he
spent most of his time on the farm, with his eyes always wide open. He came East in 1919, and tried illustrating.
Though his work appeared in The Saturday Evening Post and
The County Gentleman, after several years he retired of his own volition,
saying that he was not He married, went to Paris, and came back painting,
and in 1928 exhibited Baptism one of the landmarks of American painting.
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Since then, always gaining in knowledge and stature,
Curry has proceeded in a straight line.
As his goals are hard by the sources of his fertility, he is assured of a really creative life as long as he can wield a brush.
Ajax is the result of Curry’s observations of Hereford bulls roaming the
Heart Ranch in Barber County, Kansas. He saw an old range bull in 1933
that looked, he says, “like a prehistoric animal compared to the modern streamlined edition.
This is Ajax, a more strenuous retired emperor than any Paul Potter ever painted.