Linton- Life in the Collections
47) The Atlantic Monthly Vol. 43 ,
Linton’s response to the hype of new engraving was vehement and extensive. He felt provoked to unfold his view on in an 11-page article in America’s leading literary magazine. The account of the development of the technique, which he gives in Art in Engraving on Wood, can be conceived as a preliminary stage to his following historiographies. The effect of his partisan attacks against the new wave was, in art-historical respects, a remarkable and far-reaching one. Only in their cohesive endeavour to resist Linton’s arguments and refute them, these rather scattered artisans managed to form up as a group. And moreover, the expansive debate that followed and in which the leading cultural magazines were involved during the next month proved to be the first public discussion on the originality of American art and the challenges of the new media. Linton, with his commitment to an expressive artistic attitude, had to play the role of the die-hard in this heated debate and was labelled Old School. But it has been overlooked that his rejection of graphic substitutes and imitations of photography was connected with an appreciation of photography as an autonomous art form.