By Janis Londraville
A biography of 1 of America's ignored grand masters.
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Additional info for Corbino: From Rubens to Ringling (Excelsior Editions)
During several decades in the early twentieth century, for example, Little Italy elementary schools required the children to repeat daily: “What must we do to be healthy? I must keep my skin clean, wear clean clothes, breathe pure air, and live in the sunlight” (Riis, 91). As newcomers came to America and migrated from the lower class to the middle, the latest greenhorns had to contend with the xenophobia the previous groups had faced, and inherited the standard insults and epithets. During those early years in America, members of every other group in the neighborhood judged the newcomers.
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.
The butcher probably suspected that both residents of the apartment were eating the soup, and so he provided a bit more substance. Those who knew Corbino were sure the dog, his constant companion, received as good a meal as his owner. It was the beginning of his enduring love of animals. Often the people in his life did not receive the same devotion. In the fall, Corbino moved to 156th East 39th Street, and began an association with the Art Students League (15 West 57th Street) that would last for four decades.