Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 260

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Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.


Page 260

“Rather unusual,” commented Abbey. “You have nothing in mind at all?”

“Nothing, except to get the best piece of work you have ever done,” was the assurance.

Poor Abbey! His life had been made so tortuous by suggestions, ideas, yes, demands made upon him in the work of the Harrisburg panels upon which he was engaged, that a commission in which he was to have free scope, his brush full leeway, with no one making suggestions but himself and Mrs. Abbey, seemed like a dream. When he explained this, Bok assured him that was exactly what he was offering him: a piece of work, the subject to be his own selection, with the assurance of absolute liberty to carry out his own ideas. Never was an artist more elated.

“Then, I’ll give you the best piece of work of my life,” said Abbey.

“Perhaps there is some subject which you have long wished to paint rather than any other,” asked Bok, “that might fit our purpose admirably?”

There was: a theme that he had started as a fresco for Mrs. Abbey’s bedroom. But it would not answer this purpose at all, although he confessed he would rather paint it than any subject in the realm of all literature and art.

“And the subject?” asked Bok.

“The Grove of Academe,” replied Abbey, and the eyes of the artist and his wife were riveted on the editor.

“With Plato and his disciples?” asked Bok.

“The same,” said Abbey. “But you see it wouldn’t fit.”

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