My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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Madame Delgardo-Orth, an American, married and living in Holland, came to see me this morning to talk over the possibility of exhibiting in Holland some of the work of our modern American painters. She says quite often they say to her over there: "Can Americans really paint?", so she decided that it was time for an exchange of pictures between the two countries.

When our Minister to Holland, Mr. Grenville Emmet, was home before Christmas, he spoke to me about this and said Madame Delgardo-Orth would be over here to make the arrangements. She now finds that the Modern Museum of New York City, has been negotiating for an exhibit to go both to London and Paris which is to include American artists who have been painting during the past seventy years. At the same time they will show some sculpture and architectural work. She does not think that either the Museum at Rotterdam or The Hague would want anything but the paintings, but she hopes that arrangements can be made by which these can be taken to Holland. In return an exhibition of Dutch paintings might be brought to the Modern Museum.

I think this will be a splendid thing for our own artists and at the same time add to our knowledge and appreciation of Dutch art.

The Van Gogh exhibition which created such tremendous interest was notable to me because aside from his art as a painter, it dealt with the problems of life as he encountered them and you were therefore interested in the life of the man himself and at the same time in conditions of society as he depicted them. Much of our modern American art to-day springs from the same development in the artists and records their reactions to their environment and for that reason I think it would have double significance and interest in other countries.

TMsd 6 February 1936, AERP, FDRL