By Janis Londraville
A biography of 1 of America's missed grand masters.
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Additional resources for Corbino: From Rubens to Ringling (Excelsior Editions)
Deliberately, her son began to withdraw more and more from his family. Gaetano, perhaps inadvertently, exposed Jon to an argument that denigrated women. Another life began for Jon Corbino on the streets of Little Italy. From Madison to Mulberry, the neighborhood had its own form of law and order. Tradition and boyhood morality ruled out absolute anarchy within the group, but improvisation—challenges to what the group would accept in its loose organization—were normal. Like the characters in Golding’s Lord of the Flies, boys found their own hierarchies, but were controlled just enough by the society around them not to become barbarous.
Frank DuMond leaned against the wall and glanced at his watch. His back hurt from being on his feet all day. Another twenty minutes. Then the model would leave, and he could go home. He looked at his students working intently, and wondered who would still be painting in another year or two. How they would react to hungry bellies, critical attacks, or family demands? How long would they stick with it? The Corbino lad might be the best in the group. DuMond took Herbert Kniffin’s opinion seriously, and in this case agreed.
FATHERS Frank DuMond was the third father figure in Corbino’s life and remained so for years. Corbino needed an appropriate model, and although his grandfather had provided that when he was a young boy in Sicily, Gaetano’s example was hardly positive. His son became aware at a young age that no one would finally take care of him. There was little time to be a child. By the time Corbino enrolled in DuMond’s classes at the Art Students League in 1922, ASL was the most important art school in the United States, and it had recently hired additional instructors who were advancing fresh ideas.