Feb 7–Feb 21, 1932

Fifth Annual Exhibition of Modern French Painting, with African Masks

From the exhibition catalogue:


Pioneers are usually long dead before the trails they blaze become honored high-roads bearing their names. Bur events move with exceptional swiftness in Chicago, and always have; so even now, Mr. Chester Johnson and Mr. Dell Quest can look back and enjoy the credit they deserve as pioneer sponsors of modern art on this prairie.

Running an art gallery is a business like any other and to it they brought sagacity and experience but they also brought an ideal. The statement can be made without prejudice that these two men again and again risked reputation and fortune by recommending canvases so advanced that they were to be seen nowhere else in the community.

With the Arts Club they suffered the early persecutions with fortitude and went on showing modern pictures in the face of artistic fanaticism. Every year they imported more and more of these “mad” canvases from France, every year they uttered their credo in new temples until at last they gained for the new faith a few enlightened worshippers.

Undoubtedly their rewards would have been greater had they provided canvases (or should one say merchandise) for every buyer, but they preferred to stand for the integrity of taste. Now they can look back and feel that a substantial part of the foundation of appreciation of modern art in Chicago is of their building. We who are aware of their achievement cannot fail to offer them recognizance.

Inez Cunningham