Central Park BY HARRY WICKEY
UNTIL HARRY WICKEY, at the age of twenty-two, arrived in New York in 1914,
his life had been as full of incident as Sinbad the Sailor’s. He came from a family of
pioneers who believed thatlabor is a salutary thing, and young
Harry was allowed to work the theory to death. Fortunately,
all this agreed with him, and his desire to be an artist was not to be smothered.
He tried art schools in Detroit and Chicago, but they did not like him-and he did not like them.
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In New York, he got his first real break from Robert Henri, who said of some of his drawings,
”I would be very proud ifl were the author of this work.” Finally he met Harvey Dunn,
who encouraged him to become an illustrator. But the editors did not like his illustrations-he
confesses that Dunn occasionally touched up one of his drawings.
The World War intervened. time thinking, and came back determined
not to know how to result was that his own standards forced him out of the illustrating field.
He began to teach, and was so successful that it was the main source of his livelihood from 1919 to 1933.
In 1920 he began to get interested in etching-a medium he reluctantly abandoned in 1935,
when his eyes began to go back on him. His latest passion is sculpture.
Central Park is one of several etchings Wickey has devoted to that subject.
No special locality is intended, though the artist confesses that he had the lagoon near Fifty-ninth Street in mind.
The incidents and forms are freely selected from that vicinity-their truth is
obvious to anyone who knows the microcosm that is Central Park.
The etching was made in 1931, at a time when the artist had matured his
ideas about presenting the sculptural aspect of his material.