Alfred Henry Maurer, An Arrangement, 1901, Oil on cardboard, 36 3/16 x 32 1/8 in., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Hudson D. Walker 50.13, Photography by Geoffrey Clements.

On August 5, 1932, The New York Times reported that on the previous day the artist A. H. Maurer had died. A suicide by hanging, it went on in gruesome detail, from a door-casing on the third floor in his home at 404 West Forty-third Street. It was another episode of an all-too-familiar American story—suicide: Patrick Henry Bruce in 1936, Pollock in 1956, Rothko in 1970; early deaths: Morton Schamberg and Arthur Frost, Jr. in 1918; forced cessation of work: Gerald Murphy by 1930. All were losses that modern American...


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