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From the 

Fine Arts Library 

Fogg Art Museum 
Harvard University 



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THE 

HISTORY OF MODERN PAINTING 



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The History 



Modern Painting 



BY 



RICHARD MUTHER 

PROFESSOR OF ART HISTORY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BRESLAU 
LATE KEEPER OF THE PRINTS AT THE MUNICH PINAKOTHEK 



IN THREE VOLUMES 

VOLUME TIIKKE 



NEW YORK 
MACMILLAN AND CO 



MDCCUXCVi 



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FA 3ZS7. 2.1 



HARVARD 

UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 



The translation of this volume 

was entrusted to 

Mr. Arthur Cecil Hillier; 

and the printing to 

Messrs, Hazelly Watson y &* Viney^ Ld. 

of London and Aylesbury. 



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CONTENTS 



PAGE 

INTRODUCTION i 



BOOK IV 
THE PAINTERS OF LIFE 

CHAPTER XXXIV 
FRANCE 

Bastien-Lepage, Lliermitte, Roll, Raffaelli, De Nittis, Ferdinand Heilbuth, 
Albert Aublet, Jean B^iraud, Ulysse Butin, £douard Dantan, Henri 
Gervex, Duez, Friant, Goeneutte, Dagnan-Bouveret. — The Landscape- 
Painters : Seurat, Signac, Anquetin, Angrand, Luden Pissarro, Pointelin, 
Jan Monchablon, Montenard, Dauphin, Rosset-Granget, £mile Barau, 
Damoye, Boudin, Dumoulin, Lebourg, Victor Binet, R6n6 Billotte. — The 
Portrait-Painters: Fantin-Latour, Jacques £mile Blanche, Boldini.— 
The Draughtsmen : Ch€ret, Willette, Forain, Paul Renouard, Daniel 
Vierge • . . . ii 

CHAPTER XXXV 
SPAIN 

From Goya to Fortuny. — Mariano Fortuny. — Official efiforts for the cultivation 
of historical painting. — Influence of Manet inconsiderable. — Even in 
their pictures from modem life the Spaniards remain followers of 
Fortuny: Francisco Pradilla, Casado, Vera, Manuel Ramirez, Moreno 
Carbonero, Ricardo Villodas, Antonio Casanova y Estorach, Benliure y 
Gil, Checa, Francisco Amerigo, Viniegra y Lasso, Mas y Fondevilla, 
Alcazar Tejedor, Jos6 Villegas, Luis Jimenez, Martin Rico, Zamacois, 
Raimundo de Madrazo, Francisco Domingo, Emilio Sala y Frances, 

Antonio Fabr6s 68 

b 



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vi CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XXXVI 
ITALY 

PAGE 

Fortuny's influence on the Italians, especially on the school of Naples. — 
Domenico Morelli and his followers : F. P. Michetti, Edoardo Dalbono, 
Alceste Campriani, Giacomo di Chirico, Rubens Santoro, Edoardo 
ToflFano, Giuseppe de Nigris. — Prominence of the costume-picture. — 
Venice : Favretto, Lonza. — Florence: Andreotti, Conti, Gelli, Vinea. — The 
peculiar position of Segantini. — Otherwise anecdotic painting still 
preponderates.— Chierici, Rotta, Vannuttelli, Monteverde, Tito.— -Reasons 
why the further development of modem art was generally completed 
not so much on Latin as on Germanic soil 90 

CHAPTER XXXVII 
ENGLAND 

General characteristic of English painting. — The offshoots of Qassicism: 
Lord Leighton, Val Prinsep, Poynter, Alma Tadema. — Japanese ten- 
dencies : Albert Moore. — ^The animal picture with antique surroundings : 
Briton-Riviere. — The old^^nr^ painting remodelled in a naturalistic sense 
by George Mason and Frederick Walker. — George H. Boughton, Philip 
H. Calderon, Marcus Stone, G. D. Leslie, P. G. Morris, J. R. Reid, Frank 
HolL — The portrait-painters: Ouless, J. J. Shannon, James Sant, 
Charles W. Furse, Hubert Herkomer. — Landscape-painters.— Zigzag 
development of English landscape-painting. — The school of Fontaine- 
bleau and French Impressionism rose on the shoulders of Constable 
and Turner, whereas England, under the guidance of the Preraphaelites, 
deviated in the opposite direction until prompted by France to return 
to the old path. — Cecil Lawson, James Clarke Hook, Vicat Cole, Colin 
Hunter, John Brett, Inchbold. Leader, Corbett, Ernest Parton, Mark 
Fisher, John White, Alfred East, J. Aumonier. — The sea-painters : Henry 
Moore, W. L. Wyllie. — The importance of Venice for English painting : 
Clara Montalba, Luke Fildes, W. Logsdail, Henry Woods. — French 
influences: Dudley Hardy, Stott of Oldham, Stanhope Forbes . .110 

CHAPTER XXXVIII 
BELGIUM 

As David swayed over Belgian painting from 1800 to 1830, and Delaroche 
from 1830 to 1850, Courbet swayed over it from 1850 to 1870.— Charles 
de Groux, Henri de Braekeleer, Constantin Meunier, Charles Verlat, 
Louis Dubois, Jan Stobbaerts, Leopold Speekaert, Alfred Stevens, De 
Jongh6, Baugniet, the brothers Verhas, Charles Hermans. — The land- 
scape-painters first go upon the lines of the Fontainebleau artists and 



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CONTENTS vii 

PAGE 

the Impressionists. — Sketch of the history of Belgian landscape-painting. 
— ^Van Assche, Verstappeni Marneffe, Lauters, Jacob-Jacobs, Kindermans, 
Fourmois, Schampheleer, Roelofs, Lamorini^re, De Knyff. — Hippolyte 
Boulenger and the Soci^t6 Libre des Beaux- Arts. — Theodore Baron, 
Jacques Rosseels, Joseph Heymans, Coosemans, Asselbergs, Verstraete, 
Frans Courtens.— The painters of animals: Verboeckhoven, Alfred 
Verwee, Parmentier, De Greef, Leemputten, L6on Massaux, Marie 
Collaert — The painters of the sea : Clays, A. Bouvier, Leemans, A. 
Baertsoen, Louis Artan. — ^The portrait-painters : £mile Wauters, Li6vin 
de Winne, Agneesens, Lambrichs. — General characteristic of Belgian 
painting 201 

CHAPTER XXXIX 
HOLLAND 

The difference between Dutch and Belgian painting. — The previous history 
of artistic efforts in Holland. — Koekkoek, Van Schendel, David Bles, 
Hermann ten Kate, Pienemann, Charles Rochussen, Weissenbruch, 
Bosboom, Schelfhout, Taurel, Waldorp, Kuytenbrouwer. — Figure- 
painters : Josef Israels, Christoffel Bisschop, Gerk Henkes, Albert 
Neuhuys, Adolf Artz, Pieter Oyens. — The landscape-painters : Jongkind, 
Jacob and Willem Maris, Anton Mauve, H. W. Mesdag.— Realism and 
Sensitivism: Klinkenberg, Gabriel. — ^The younger generation. — Neo- 
Impressionism : Isaac Israels and Breitner. — Matthew Maris and 
Mysticism. — W. Bauer and Jan Toorop.— Thorn Prikker.—" Expression- 
ism : " Jan Veth and Haverman, Karpen and Tholen . .228 

CHAPTER XL 
DENMARK 

The kinship between Danish and Dutch painting. — Previous history of 
artistic efforts in Denmark.— Christoph Vilhelm Eckersberg and his 
importance.— The Eckersberg school : Rorbye, Bendz, Sonne, Christen 
Kobke, Roed, Kilchler, Vilhelm Marstrand.— Italy and the East : J. A. 
Krafft, Constantin Hansen, Ernst Meyer, Petzholdt, Niels Simonsen. — 
The national movement of the forties brings painting back to native 
soil : influence of Hoyen, Julius Exner, Frederik Vermehren, Christen 
Dalsgaard. — Their intimacy of feeling in opposition to the traditional 
genre painting. — The landscape-painters: Johan Thomas Lundbye, 
Carlo Dalgas, Peter Christian Skovgaard, Vilhelm Kyhn, Gotfred 
Rump.— 'The marine-painters: Emanuel Larsen, Frederik Sdrensen, 
Anton Melbye. — Their importance and technical defects. — Carl Bloch 



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viii CONTENTS 

PAGE 

sets in the place of this awkward painting which had national inde- 
pendence one which was outwardly brilliant but less characteristic. 
— Gertner, Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann, Otto Bache, Vilhelm Rosen- 
stand, Axel Helsted, Christian Zahrtmann. — After the Paris Exhibition 
of 1878 there came into being the young school equipped with rich 
technical means of expression and, at the same time, taking up the 
Eckersberg tradition of intimate and delicate observation: Peter S. 
Kroyer, Laurits Regner Tuxen, August Jerndorfii Viggo Johansen, Carl 
Thomsen, H. N. Hansen, Otto Haslund, Irminger, Engelsted, Lauritz 
Ring, Erik Henningsen, Fritz Syberg. — Painters of the sea and fishing : 
Michael and Anna Ancher, Locher, Thorolf Pedersen. — The landscape- 
painters: Viggo Pedersen, Philipsen, Thorwald Niss, Zacho, Gotfred 
Christensen, Julius Paulsen. — The "free exhibitors:" Joachim and 
Niels Skovgaard, Theodor BindesboU, Agnes Slott-MoUer, Harald Slott- 
Moller, J. F. Willumsen, V. Hammershoy, Johan Rohde, G. Seligmann, 
Karl Jensen 266 

CHAPTER XLI 

SWEDEN 

Previous history of Swedish art.— The Classicists : Per KraflFt, Frederik 
Westin, Elias Martin. — Extension of the range of subject through 
Romanticism : Plageman, Blomm6r, Fahlcrantz, Wilhelm Palm, Egron 
Lundgren. — Beginnings of a national painting of the life of the people : 
Soedermark, Sandberg, Dahlstrom, Per Wickenberg, Karl Wahlbom, 
August Lindholm, Amalia Lindegren, Nils Andersson. — The Dasseldor- 
fiau period : Karl D'Uucker, Bengt Nordenberg, Wilhelm Wallander, 
Anders KoskuU, August Jernberg, Ferdinand Fagerlin.— After the Paris 
World Exhibition of 1867, instead of going to Dusseldorf, the Swedes 
repair to Paris and Munich. — Period of costume-painting and colouring 
after the old masters: Johan KristoflFer Boklund, Johan Frederik 
Hoeckert, Marten Eskil Winge, August Malmstrom, Georg von Rosen, 
Julius Kronberg, Carl Gustav Hellquist, Gustav Cederstrom, Nils 
Forsberg. — ^The landscape-painters : Marcus Larsson, Alfred Wahlberg, 
G. Rydberg, Edvard Bergh.— After the Paris Worid Exhibition of 1878 
the last transition, which led the young Swedish artists to follow the 
lines of Impressionism, took place. — The Parisian Swedes: Hugo 
Salmson, August Hagborg, Vilhelm von Gegerfelt, Karl SkSnberg, 
Hugo Birger. — Those who returned home became the founders of a new 
national Swedish art. — Character of this art compared with the Danish. — 
The landscape-painters : Per Eckstrom, Nils Kreuger, Karl Nordstrom, 
Prince Eugene, Robert Thegerstrom, Olof Arborelius, Axel Lindmann, 
Alfred Thome, John Kindborg, Johan Krouth6n, Adolf Nordling, Johan 



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CONTENTS ix 

PAGE 

Ericson, Edvard Rosenberg, Erast Lundstrdm. — The painters of animals : 
Wennerberg, Brandelius, Georg Arsenius, Bruno Liljefors. — The figure- 
painters: Axel Kulle, Alf Wallander, Axel Borg, Johan Tir^n, Allan 
Oesterlind, Oscar Bjorck, Carl Larsson, Ernst Josephson, Georg Pauli, 
Richard Bergh, Anders Zorn / 337 

CHAPTER XLII 
NORWAY 

Previous history of Norwegian art : J. C. Dahl and his importance ; Fearnley, 
Frich.— The Dusscldorf period : Adolf Tidemand, Hans Gude, Vincent 
Stoltenbei^-Lerche, Hans Dahl, Carl Hansen, Niels Bj6rnson-M611er, 
August Cappelen, Morten-M Oiler, Ludwig Munthe, E. A. Normann, 
Knud Bergslien, Nicolai Arbo. — From the middle of the seventies Munich 
becomes the high-school of Norwegian art, and from 1880 Paris. — 
Norwegians who remained in Germany and Paris: M. Grdnvold, J. 
Ekendes, Carl Frithjof-Smith, Grimelund. — Those who return home 
become the founders of a national Norwegian art : Otto Sinding, Niels 
Gustav Wenzel, Jdrgensen, Kolstoe, Christian Krohg, Christian 
Skredsvig, Eilif Peterssen. — The landscape-painters : Johan Theodor 
Eckersbeig, Amandus Nilson, Fritz Thaulow, Gerhard Munthe, Dissen, 
Skramstadt, Gunnar Berg, Edvard Dircks, Eylof Soot, Carl Uckermann, 
Harriet Backer, Kitty Kielland, Hansteen.—Illustratioa : Erik 
Werenskiold.— Finnish art : Edelfelt 384 

CHAPTER XLIII 

RUSSIA 
(In collaboration with Alexander Benois, St. Petersburg) 

The b^nnings of Russian painting in the eighteenth century: ^evitzky, 
Rokotov, Borovikovsky. — The period of Classicism : Egorov, Ugrttmov, 
Andreas Ivanov, Theodor Tolstoi, Orest Kiprensky. — The first painters 
of soldiers and peasants: Orlovsky, Venezianov. — The historical 
painters: BrOlov, Bassin, Schamschin, Kapkov, Flavitzky, Moller, 
Hendrik Siemiradzky, Bruni, NeflF. — Realistic reaction: Alexander 
Ivanov, Sarjanko. — The genre painters : Sternberg, Stschedrovsky, 
Tschemyschev, Morosov, Ivan Sokolov, Trutovsky, Timm, Popov, 
Shuravlev, Fedotov. — ^The painters with a complaint against society: 
Perov, Pukircv, Korsuchin, Prjanischnikov, Savitzky, Lemoch, 
Verestchagin. — ^The landscape-painters : Stschedrin, Lebedev, Vorobiev, 
Rabus, Lagorio, Horavsky, Bogoliubov, Mestschersky, Aivasovsky, 
TschemezofT, Galaktionov, Schischkin, Baron Klodt, Orlovsky, Fedders. 
Volkov, VassiHev, Levitan, Kuindshi, Savrassov, Sudkovsky, Vassnetzov, 



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Albert Benois, Svjetoslavsky. — ^The naturalistic figure-picture: 
Svertschkov, Peter Sokolov.— The Wanderers: Ivan Kramskoi, 
Constantin and Vladimir Makovsky, Tschistjakov, Schwarz, Gay, 
Surikov, Elias R6pin 407 

CHAPTER XLIV 
AMERICA 

The previous history of American art. — The first Americans who worked 
in England: Benjamin West, John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart 
Newton, Charles Robert Leslie. — ^The first portrait-painters in America 
itself: Gilbert Stuart, Charles Wilson Peale, Joseph Wright, Loring 
Charles Elliot. — The grand painting: John Trumbull, Washington 
Allston, Emanuel Leutze. — Genre painting : William Sydney Mount — 
The landscape-painters: Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt, John B. 
Bristol, Frederick E. Church, J. F. Kensett, Sanford R. GiflFord, James 
Fairman, the Morgans, William Morris Hunt. — The Americans in Paris : 
Henry Mosler, Carl Gutherz, Frederick A. Bridgman, Edwin Weeks, 
Harry Humphrey Moore, Julius L. Stewart, Charles Sprague Pearce, 
William T. Dannat, Alexander Harrison, Walter Gay, Eugene Vail, 
Walter MacEwen. — The Americans in Holland : Gari Melchers, George 
Hitchcock. — The Americans in London: John Singer Sargent, Henry 
Muhrmann. — The Americans in Munich : Carl Marr, Charles Frederick 
Ulrich, Robert Koehler, Sion Weuban, Orrin Peck, Hermann Hartwich. 
— The Americans at home. — The painters of Negro and Indian life : 
Winslow Homer, Alfred Kappes, G. Brush. — The founding of the 
Society of American Artists: Walter Shirlaw, George Fuller, George 
Inness, Wyatt Eaton, Dwight William Tryon, J. Appleton Brown, the 
Morans, L. C. Tififany, John Francis Murphy, Childe Hassam, Julian 
Alden Weir, H. W. Ranger, H. S. Bisbing, Charles H. Davis, George 
Inness, jfinior, J. G. Brown, J. M. C. Hamilton, Ridgway Knight, Robert 
William Vonnoh, Charles Edmund Tarbell. — The influence of Whistler : 
Kenyon Cox, W. Thomas Dewing, Julius Rolshoven, William Merrit 
Chase 454 

CHAPTER XLV 

GERMANY 

Retrospect of the development of German painting since Menzel and Leibl. — 
The landscapists had been the first to make the influence of Fontainebleau 
operative : Adolf Lier, Adolf Staebli, Otto Frohlicher, Josef Wenglein, 
Louis Neubert, Carl HeflFner. — The Munich Exhibition of 1879 brings 
about an acquaintance with Manet and Bastien-Lepage : Max Lieber- 
mann. — The other representatives of the new art in Berlin: Franz 



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CONTENTS xi 

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Skarbioa, Friedrich Stahl, Hans Herrmann, Hugo Vogel, Walter 
Leistikow, Reinhold Lepsius, Curt Herrmann, Lesser Ury, Ludwig 
Dettmann. — ^Vienna. — Dttsseldorf: Arthur Kampf, Kampffer, Oiaf 
Jcmbcrg. — Stuttgart: Otto Reiniger, Robert Haug.— Hamburg : Thomas 
Herbst. — Carlsruhe : Gustav SchSnleber, Herrmann Baisch, Friedrich 
Kallmorgen, Robert Poetzelberger.— Weimar : Theodor Hagen, Baron 
Gieichen-Russwurm, L. Berkemeier, R. Thierbach, P. Baum.— Munich : 
Bruno Piglhein, Albert Keller, Baron von Habermann, Count Leopold 
Kalckreuth, Gotthard Kuehl, Paul Hocker, H. ZOgel, Victor Weishaupt, 
L. Dill, L. Herterich, Waclaw Scymanowski, Hans Olde, A. Lang- 
hammer,^Leo Samberger, W. Firle, H. von Bartels, W. Keller-Reutlingen, 
and others. — The illustrators : Ren6 Reinicke, H. Schlittgen, Hengeler, 
Wahle 494 



BOOK V 
THE NEW IDEALISTS 

CHAPTER XLVI 
THE NATURE OF THE NEW IDEALISM 

After Naturalism had taught artists to work upon the impressions of external 
reality in an independent manner, a transition was made by some who 
embodied the impressions of their inward spirit in a free creative 
fashion, unborrowed from the old masters 541 

CHAPTER XLVn 

ENGLAND 

From William Blake through David Scott to Rossetti. — Rossetti and the New 
Preraphaelites : Edward Burne-Jones, R. Spencer Stanhope, William 
Morris, J. M. Strudwick, Henry Holliday, Marie Spartali-Stillman. — W. 
B. Richmond. Walter Crane, G. F. Watts 561 

CHAPTER XLVin 

WHISTLER AND THE SCOTCH PAINTERS 

Whistler as the creator of a New Idealism of colour.— Adolphe Monticelli. 
— The influence of both upon the Glasgow school. — History of Scotch 
painting from 1729: Allan Ramsay, David Allan, Alexander and John 
Runciman, William Allan, Henry Raebum, David Wilkie, John and 
Thomas Faed, Erskine Nicol, George Harvey, Alexander and Patrick 



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xii CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Nasmyth, E. Crawford, Horatio Maccullocb, John Phillip, Robert Scott 
Lauder, John Pettie, W. Orchardson, William Fettes Douglas, Robert 
Macgregor, Peter and Thomas Graham, Hugh Cameron, Denovan 
Adam, Robert Macbeth, John MacWhirter, George Reid, George Paul 
Chalmers, Hamilton Macallum. — Glasgow brings to perfection what 
was begun in Edinburgh : Arthur Melville, John Lavery, James Guthrie, 
Geoige Henry, Edward Hornell, Alexander Roche, James Paterson, 
Grosvenor Thomas, William Kennedy, Edward A. Walton, David Gauld, 
T. Austen Brown, Joseph Crawhall, Macaulay Stevenson, P. Macgregor 
Wilson, Coventry, Morton, Alexander Frew, Harry Spence, Harrington 
Mann 645 



CHAPTER XLIX 

FRANCE 

Gustave Moreau, Puvis de Chavannes,. Cazin, Madame Cazin, Eugdne 
Carri^re, P. A. Besnard, Agache, Aman-Jean, M. Denis, Gandara, Henri 
Martin, Louis Picard, Ary Renan, Odilon Redon, Carlos Schwabe. — The 
parallel movement in Belgium : F6licien Rops, Femand Khnopff . . 700 

CHAPTER L 

GERMANY 

Arnold Boecklin, Franz Dreber, Hans von Mar6es, Hans Thoma. — The 
resuscitation of biblical painting. — Review of previous efforts from the 
Nazarenes to Munkacsy, E. von Gebhardt, Menzel, and Liebermann. — 
Fritz von Uhde. — Other attempts : W. DQrr, W. Volz. — L. von Hofmann, 
Julius Exter, Franz Stuck, Max Klinger 741 

Bibliography 803 

Index of Artists 831 

List of Illustrations 853 



ERRATUM. 
Pages 228 and 23a For Rochupen read Rochussen. 



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INTRODUCTION 

" "P) EALISM " having led painting from the past to the 
XV present, and "Impressionism" having broken the juris- 
diction of the galleries by establishing an independent conception 
of colour for a new class of subjects, the flood of modern life, 
which had been artificially dammed, began to pour into art in 
all its volume. A whole series of new problems emerged, and a 
vigorous band of modern spirits were ready to lay hold upon 
them and give them artistic shape, each according to his nature, 
his ability, and his individual knowledge and power. After 
nineteenth-century painting had found its proper field of activity, 
they were no longer under the necessity of seeking remote 
subjects. The fresh conquest of a personal impression of nature 
took the place of that retrospective taste which employed the 
ready-made language of form and colour belonging to the old 
masters, as a vocabulary for the preparation of fresh works of 
art Nature herself had become a gallery of splendid pictures. 
Artists were dazzled as if by a new light, overcome as though 
by a revelation of tones and strains, from which the painter 
was to compose his symphonies. They learnt how to find what 
was pictorial and poetic in the narrowest family circle and 
amongst the beds of the simplest vegetable garden ; and for 
the first time they felt mere wonder in the presence of reality, 
the joy of gradual discovery and of a leisurely conquest of 
the world. 

Of course plein^air painting was, at first, the chief object 
of their endeavours. Having painted so long only in brown 
tones, the radiant magic world of free and flowing light was 

VOL. III. I 



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2 INTRODUCTION 

something so ravishingly novel, that for several years all their 
efforts were exclusively directed to possessing themselves once 
more of the sun, and substituting the clear daylight for the 
clare-obscure which had reigned alone, void of atmosphere. 
In this sunny brightness, flooded with light and air, they found 
a crowd of problems, and turned to the perpetual discovery of 
new chords of colour. Sunbeams sparkling as they rippled 
through the leaves, and greyish-green meadows flecked with 
dust and basking under light, were the first and most simple 
themes. 

The complete programme, however, did not consist of 
painting in bright hues, but, generally speaking, in seizing truth 
of colour and altogether renouncing artificial harmony in a 
received tone. Thus, after the painting of daylight and sun- 
light was learnt, a further claim had still to be asserted : the 
ideal of truth in painting had to be made the keynote in every 
other task. For in the sun light is no doubt white, but in the 
recesses of the forest, in the moonshine, or in a dim place, it 
shines and is at the same time charged with colour. Night, or 
mist, with its hovering and pervasive secrets, is quite as rich in 
beauties as the radiant world of glistening sunshine. After 
seeing the summer sun on wood and water, it was a relief for 
the eye to behold the subdued, soft, and quiet light of a room. 
Upon the older and rougher painting of free light there followed 
a preference for dusk, which has a softness more picturesque, a 
more tender harmony of colours, and more geniality than the 
broad light of day. Artists studied clare-obscure, and sought 
for an enhancement of colour in it ; they looked into the veil of 
night, and addressed themselves to a painting of darkness such 
as could only have proceeded from the plein-air school. For this 
darkness of theirs is likewise full of atmosphere, a darkness in 
which there is life and breath and palpitation. In earlier days, 
when a night was painted, everything was thick and opaque, 
c >vered with black verging into yellow; to which latter error 
aitists were seduced by the crusts of varnish upon old pictures. 
Now they learnt to interpret the mysterious life of the night, and 
to render the bluish-grey atmosphere of twilight. Or if figures 



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INTRODUCTION 3 

were to be painted in a room, artists rendered the circulation of 
the air amid groups of people, which Correggio called "the 
ambient ** and Velasquez " respiration." And there came also the 
study of artificial illumination— of the delicate coloured charm of 
motley lanterns, of the flaring gas or lamp-light which streams 
through the glass windows of shops, flaring and radiating 
through the night and reflected in a blazing glow upon the 
faces of men and women. Under these purely pictorial points 
of view the gradual widening of the range of subject was 
completed. 

So long as the acquisition of sunlight was the point in 
question, representations from the life of artisans in town and 
country stood at the centre itself of artistic efforts, because the 
conception and technical methods of the new art could be 
tested upon them with peculiar success. And through these 
pictures painting came into closer sympathy with the heart-beat 
of the age. At an epoch when the labouring man as such, 
and the political and social movement in civilization, had become 
matters of absorbing interest, the picture of artisans necessarily 
claimed an important place in art ; and one of the best sides 
of the moral value of modern painting lies in its no longer 
holding itself in indifference aloof from these themes. When 
the century began. Hector and Agamemnon alone were qualified 
for artistic treatment, but in the natural course of development 
the disinherited, the weary and heavily-laden likewise acquired 
rights of citizenship. In the passage where Vasari speaks of 
the Madonnas of Cimabue, comparing them with the older 
Byzantine Virgins, he says finely that the Florentine master 
brought more " goodness of heart " into painting. And perhaps 
the historians of the future will say the same about the art of 
the present 

The predilection for the disinherited was in the beginning 
to such an extent identified with the plain, straightforward 
painting of the proletariat that Naturalism could not be con- 
ceived at all except in so far as it dealt with poverty : in making 
its first great successes it had sought after the miserable and 
the outcast, and serious critics recognized its chief importance 



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4 INTRODUCTION 

in the discovery of the fourth estate. Of course the painting 
of paupers, as a sole field of activity for the new art, would 
have been an exceedingly one-sided acquisition. It is not 
merely the working-man who should be painted, because the age 
must strive to compass in a large and full spirit the purport 
of its own complicated conditions of life. So there began, in 
general, the representation, so long needed, of the man of to-day 
and of society agitated, as it is, by the stream of existence. As 
Zola wrote in the very beginning of the movement : " Naturalism 
does not depend upon the choice of subject. The whole of 
society is its domain, from the drawing-room to the drinking- 
booth. It is only idiots who would make Naturalism the rhetoric 
of the gutter. We claim for ourselves the whole world." Every- 
thing is to be painted, forges, railway-stations, machine-rooms, the 
workrooms of manual labourers, the glowing ovens of smelting- 
works, official f^tes, drawing-roOms, scenes of domestic life, cafh^ 
storehouses and markets, the races and the Exchange, the clubs 
and the watering-places, the expensive restaurants and the dismal 
eating-houses for the people, the cabinets particuliers and cJUc des 
premikreSy the return from the Bois and the promenades on the 
seashore, the banks and the gambling-hells, casinoes, boudoirs, 
studios, and sleeping-cars, overcoats, eyeglasses, and red dress- 
coats, balls, soir^es^ sport, Monte Carlo and Trouville, the 
lecture-rooms of universities and the fascination of the crowded 
streets in the evening, the whole of humanity in all classes of 
society and following every occupation, at home and in the 
hospitals, at the theatre, upon the squares, in poverty-stricken 
slums and upon the broad boulevards lit with electric light. 
Thus the new art flung aside the blouse, and soon displayed 
itself in the most various costumes, down to the frock-coat and 
the smoking-jacket. The rude and remorseless traits which it 
had at first, and which found expression in numbers of peasant, 
artisan, and hospital pictures, were subdued and softened until 
they even became idyllic. Moreover the scale of painting over 
life-size, favoured in the early years of the movement, could be 
abandoned, since it arose essentially from competition with the 
works of the historical school. So long as those huge pictures 



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INTRODUCTION 5 

covered the walls at exhibitions, artists who obeyed a new ten- 
dency were forced from the beginning — if they wished to 
prevail — to produce pictures of the same size. But since his- 
torical painting was finally dead and buried, there was no need 
to set up such a standard any longer, and a transition could be 
made to a smaller scale, better fitted for works of an intimate 
character. The dazzling tones in which the Impressionists 
revelled were replaced by those which were dim and soft, energy 
and force by subdued and tender treatment, largeness of size 
by a scale which was small and intimate. 

That was more or less the course of evolution run through 
in all European countries in a similar way between the years 
1875 and 18S5. Nor was it possible to talk of "imitation of the 
French." For "resemblance, and even uniformity of style and 
taste, is not necessarily the same thing as subserviency. In 
every age certain tendencies and forms of representation, like 
germs in the air, may be found in quarters divided from each 
other by space or national sentiment ; they are lit upon by 
more than one person, and arise without outward communication, 
just as discoveries in science and inventions in mechanics are 
often independently made by several persons. Every age leaves 
its successor a heritage of latent f>owers, forms in need of 
development, and disturbing questions. Thus the dissimilarity 
of artists belonging to different generations, though natives of 
the same place and closely related, is materially greater than 
the distinction between contemporaries belonging to different 
places and completely unknown to each other. As soon as 
they have found their feet, the work of pupils has a very different 
appearance from that of the master under whose roof they have 
worked for years together ; yet masters of the same period, who 
have never heard of each other and are of distinct nationalities, 
are often so much alike that they could be taken one for the 
other." These words from Justi's Velasquez are sufficient to in- 
validate the patriotic fears which inferred a renunciation of the 
principle of nationality, and the intrusion of a nugatory VolapQk 
into art, from the outward parity of the strivings of modern 
times. 



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6 INTRODUCTION 

The history of art knows nothing of jnational distinctions in 
technique and subjects. Subjects rise according to the general 
atmosphere of civilization. Technical acquirements, like all other 
newly discovered truths, are the property of the whole world. In 
fact it is the teaching of every manual of art, that since the 
introduction of Christianity all the greater and more powerful 
movements amongst the Latin and German races, taken together, 
were not permanently localized ; they were not confined to one 
people, but spread over the whole civilized world. Since the age 
of the old Christian basilica and the Gothic cathedral, styles have 
never been the product of single nations. And in this sense 
"the new art" which has flooded Europe for twenty years is 
not an invention of the French, but a free and independent 
expression of the new spirit It was not in France, it was not 
scattered here and there in particular countries, that this spirit 
appeared ; it was a single stream of new blood pouring through 
arteries to the East and the West, to the North and the South, 
in painting as in all other departments of intellectual life. In 
all literatures the same battles had' been raging long. What 
Zola was to Parisians, Dostoievski was in Russia, Ibsen in 
Norway, Echegaray in Spain, and Verga in Italy. It is probably 
only because the French are people with a gift for the initiative 
in art, because they so eminently possess the talent for cutting 
the facets of a jewel, and for first giving an idea or a subject 
an intelligible, attractive, and generally valid form, that the 
revolution in painting proceeded from them, whilst in literature 
they share that glory with the Norwegians and the Russians. 

But, as a matter of fact, the main principle of modern art 
had the effect of turning national distinctions to account far 
more than had been the case in earlier times. In the first half 
of the century there had been a tendency to suppress what is 
individual and peculiar, subordinating it to a universal rule. 
Painters of all countries moved at the command of the old 
masters with all the evenness of soldiers on parade. Then, in 
accordance with Courbet's doctrine, the artist became the slave 
of nature. Painters opposed historical art and imitation with all 
their power, and began to see nature with their own eyes, though 



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Il^TRODUCTION 7 

they worked, it must be owned, as objectively as if the medium 
of the human soul were of evil inspiration and man capable of 
beholding the world like a photographic apparatus, leaving his 
inner self at home whilst the process was going on. Compared 
with this kind of realism, Naturalism meant the liberation of 
individual temperament. The Impressionists also dispensed with 
all recipes and relied upon nature, though not, as Courbet, at 
the expense of their artistic personality. On the contrary, they 
demanded practically everything from this element. Instead of 
copying nature pedantically in its stale reality, they endeavoured 
to seize her in fleeting moments, beaming with colour, and in 
all the sheer poetry of her essential life ; they sought her in 
moments when she had a special quickening power upon the 
spirit of the artist who abandoned himself to his personal vision. 
The temperament of the painter, which had been a necessary 
evil in the tyts of the realist, a danger to objectivity of repre- 
sentation, and a hindrance to the effort at attaining complete 
truth, now became the determining element in a work of art. 
But temperament is an affair of blood. It is only a man of 
feeble talent, such as could be dispensed with altogether, who 
will be a mere imitator. The individuality of the true artist is 
a thing which never loses the mark of race. The more completely 
he abandons himself to his own temperament, the more distinctly 
will he give expression to national individuality also. From 
these differences of temperament amongst various peoples, 
national distinctiveness in art can alone be said to spring. To 
bring them under this point of view, assigning to every country 
its place in the general chart of modern painting, will be the 
task of the following section of this work. 



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BOOK IV 

THE PAINTERS OF LIFE 



VOL. III. 



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CHAPTER XXXIV 
FRANCE 

Bastien- Lepage, Vhermitte, Roll, Raffaelli, deNitiis^ Ferdinand Heilbuth^ 
Albert AubUt, Jean Beraud, Ulysse Bulin, ^douard Dantan, Henti 
Gervex, Duez, Friant, Goeneutte, Dagnan-Boaveret, — The Landscape- 
Painters: Seurat, Signac, Anquetin, Angrand, Lucien Pissafrro, 
Pointelin, Jan Monchablon, Montenard, Dauphin, Rosset-Granget, 
Entile Barau, Damoye, Boudin, Dumouliny Lebourg, Victor Binet, 
Rjhte Billotte, — The Portrait - Painters : Fantin - Latour, Jacques 
Entile Blanche, Boldini, — The Draughtsmen : Cheret, Willette, 
Forain, Paul Renouard, Daniel Vierge. 

PARIS, which for a hundred years had given the signal for 
all novel tactics in European art, still remained at the head 
of the movement ; the artistic temperament of the French people 
themselves, and the superlatively excellent training which the 
painter enjoys in Paris, enable him at once to follow every 
change of taste with confidence and ease. In 1883 Manet died, 
on the varnishing day of the Salon, and in the preface which 
Zola wrote to the catalogue of the exhibition held after the 
death of the master, he was well able to say : " His influence is 
an accomplished fact, undeniable, and making itself more deeply 
felt with every fresh Salon. Look back for twenty years, recall 
those black Salons, in which even studies from the nude seemed 
as dark as if they had been covered with mouldering dust. In 
huge frames history and mythology were smothered in layers 
of bitumen ; never was there an excursion into the province of 
the real world, into life and into perfect light ; scarcely here or 
there a tiny landscape, where a patch of blue sky ventured 
bashfully to shine down. But little by little the Salons were 



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12 MODERN PAINTING 

seen to brighten, and the Romans and Greeks of mahogany to 
vanish in company with the nymphs of porcelain, whilst the 
stream of modern representations taken from ordinary life in- 
creased year by year, and flooded the walls, bathing them with 
vivid tones in the fullest sunlight. It was not merely a new 
period ; it was a new painting bent upon reaching the perfect 
light, respecting the law of colour values, setting every figure 
in full light and in its proper place, instead of adapting it in 
an ideal fashion according to established tradition." 

When the way had been paved for this change, when the 
new principles had been transferred from the chamber of experi- 
ments to full publicity, from the Salon des Refuses to the Saloa 
which was official, it was chiefly the merit of Bastien-Lepage 
to have gained the first adherents to them amongst the public. 
What was experimental in Manet ripened in him to easy 
mastery. He is the first who overcame, in himself, the defiant 
hostility of vehement youth, and attained truth and beauty. For 
him the new technique was a matter of course, a natural 
language, without which he could not have expressed himself 
without constraint, and in a full, ripe, mature, unconscious, 
and straightforward manner. But because he does not belong 
to the pioneers of art, and merely adapted for the great public 
elements that had been won by Manet, the immoderate praise 
which was accorded him in earlier days has been recently 
brought within more legitimate limits. It has been urged, by 
way of restriction, that he stands in relation to Manet as 
Breton to Millet, and that, admitting all differences, he has 
nevertheless a certain resemblance to his teacher, Cabanel. As 
the latter rendered Classicism elegant, Bastien-Lepage, it has 
been said, softened the ruggedness of Naturalism, cut and 
polished the- nails of his peasants, and made their rusticity a 
pretty thing, qualifying it for the drawing-room. Degas was in 
the habit of calling him the Bouguereau of Naturalism. But 
such critics forget that it was just these amiable concessions 
which helped the principles of Manet to prevail more swiftly 
than would have been otherwise possible. All the forms and 
ideas of the Impressionists, with which no one, outside the ring 



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FRANCE 




Paris : Bascktt.] 

Jules Bastien- Lepage. 



of artists, had been able 
to reconcile himself, were 
to be found in Bastien- 
Lepage, purified, miti- 
gated, and set in a golden 
style. He followed the 
iclaireurs^ as the leader 
of the main body of the 
army which has gained 
the decisive battle, and 
in this way he has ful- 
filled an important mis- 
sion in the history of 
art. 

\ Bastien - Lepage was 
bom in ancient Damvil- 
lers — once a small strong- 
hold of Lorraine — in a 
pleasant, roomy house that told a tale of even prosperity rather 
than of wealth. As a boy he played amongst the venerable 
moats which had been converted into orchards. Thus in his 
youth he received the freshest impressions, being brought up in 
the heart of nature. His father drew a good deal himself, and 
kept his son at work with the pencil, without any aesthetic 
theories, without any vague ideal, and without ever uttering the 
word " academy " or " museum." Having left school in Verdun, 
Bastien-Lepage went to Paris to become an official in the post- 
office. Of an afternoon, however, he drew and painted with 
Cabanel. But he was Cabanel's pupil much as Voltaire was a 
pupil of the Jesuits. " My handicraft," as he said afterwards. ** I 
learnt at the Academy, but not my art. You want to paint 
what exists, and you are invited to represent the unknown ideal, 
and to dish up the pictures of the old masters. In old days 
I scrawled drawings of gods and goddesses, Greeks and Romans, 
beings I didn't know, and didn't understand, and regarded with 
supreme indifference. To keep up my courage, I repeated to 
myself that this was possibly * grand art,* and I ask myself 



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14 



MODERN PAINTING 




sometimes whether any- 
thing academical still re- 
mains in my composition. 
I do not say that one 
should only paint everyday 
life ; but I do assert that 
when one paints the past 
it should, at any rate, be 
made to look like some- 
thing human, and corre- 
spond with what one sees 
around one. It would be 
so easy to teach the mere 
craft of painting at the 
academies, without in- 
cessantly talking about 
Michael Angelo, and 
Raphael and Murillo and 
Domenichino. Then one 
would go home afterwards 
to Brittany, Gascony, Lor- 
raine, or Normandy, and paint what lies around ; and any morning, 
after reading, if one had a fancy to represent the Prodigal Son, 
or Priam at the feet of Achilles, or anything of the kind, one 
would paint such scenes in one's own fashion, without remini- 
scences of the galleries — paint them in the surroundings of the 
country, with the models that one has at hand, just as if the 
old drama had taken place yesterday evening. It is only in 
that way that art can be living and beautiful." 

The outbreak of the war fortunately prevented him from 
remaining long at the Academy. He entered a company of 
Franc-Tireurs, took part in the defence of Paris, and returned 
ill to Damvillers. Here he came to know himself and his 
peculiar talent. At once a poet and a realist, he looked at 
nature with that simple frankness which those alone possess 
who have learnt from youth upwards to see with their own 
eyes instead of trusting those of other people. His friends 



Pai-iB : Baachti.} 
Bastien- Lepage : Portrait of his Grand- 
father. 
{Bv perfMission of Mons. E, Basf/eft'Lepag^f the owner 
of th€ picture.) 



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FRANCE 




Gaz. dts Bgaux-jifis.} 

Bastien-Lepage : Sarah Bernhardt. 



called him " primitive," and 
there was some truth in' 
what they said, for Bastien- 
Lepage came to art free 
from all trace of manner- 
ism ; he knew nothing 
of academical rules, and 
merely relied upon his 
eyes, which were » always. 
open and trustworthy. 

Looking back as far as 
he could, he was able to 
remember nothing except 
gleaners bowed over the 
stubble - fields, vintagers 
scattered amid the furrows 
of the vineyards, mowers 
whose robust figures rose 
brightly from the green 

meadows, shepherdesses seeking shelter beneath tall trees from 
the blazing rays of the midday sun, shepherds shivering in their 
ragged cloaks in winter, peddlers hurrying with great strides 
across the plain raked by a storm, laundresses laughing as they 
stood at their tubs beneath the blossoming apple-trees. He 
was impressionable to everything : the dangerous-looking tramp 
who hung about one day near his father's house ; the wood- 
cutter groaning beneath the weight of his burden ; the passer-by 
trampling the fresh grass of the meadows and leaving his trace 
behind him ; the little sickly girl minding her lean cow upon 
a wretched field ; the fire which broke out in the night and set 
the whole village in commotion. That was what he wanted to 
paint, and that is what he has painted. The life of the peasants 
of Lorraine is the theme of all his pictures, the landscape of 
Lorraine is their setting. He painted what he loved, and he 
loved what he painted. 

It was in Damvillers that he felt at home as an artist. He 
had his studio in the second story of his father's house, though 



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i6 



MODERN PAINTING 



he usually painted in the 
open air, either in the field 
or the orchard, whilst his 
grandfather, an old man of 
eighty, was near him clip- 
ping the trees, watering the 
flowers, and weeding the 
grass. His mother, a 
genuine peasant, was always 
busy with the thousand 
cares of housekeeping. Of 
an evening the whole family 
sat together round the lamp, 
his mother sewing, his father 
reading the paper, his grand- 
father with the great cat on 
his lap, and Jules working. 
At this time it was that 
he produced those familiar 
domestic scenes, thrown off 
with a few strokes, which 
were to be seen at the 
exhibition of the works 
which he left behind him. 
He knew no greater pleasure 
than that of drawing again 
and again the portraits of 
his father and mother, the old lamp, or the velvet cap of his 
grandfather. At ten o'clock sharp his father gave the signal for 
going to bed. 

In Paris, indeed, other demands were made. In 1872 he 
painted, with the object of being represented in the Salon, that 
remarkable picture "In the Spring," the only one of his works 
which is slightly hampered by conventionality in conception. 
The pupil of Cabanel is making an effort at truth, and has 
not yet the courage to be true altogether. Here, as in the 
"Spring Song" which followed, there is a mixture of borrowed 




Pari% : Baschet.] 
Bastien-Lepage : *• The Flower-Girl." 



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FRANCE 



17 




ParU : Btischei.} 

Bastien-Lepage : Madame Drouet. 



sentiment, work in the 
old style and fresh Natur- 
alism. The landscape is 
painted from nature, and 
the peasant woman is real, 
but the Cupids are taken 
from the old masters. 

The next years were 
devoted to competitive 
labours. To please his 
father and mother Bastien- 
Lepage twice contested 
the Prix de Rome, In 
1873 he painted as a 
prize exercise a " Priam 
before Achilles," and in 
1875 an "Annunciation 
of the Angel to the 

Shepherds," that now famous picture which received the medal at 
the World Exhibition of 1878. And he who afterwards revelled 
in the clearest plein-air painting here celebrates the secret 
wonders of the night, though the influences of Impressionism 
are here already visible. In his picture the night is as dark as 
in Rembrandt's visions ; yet the colours are not harmonized in 
gold-brown, but in a cool grey silver tone. And how simple 
the effect of the heavenly appearance upon the shepherds lying 
round the fire of coals! The place of the curly ideal heads of 
the old sacred painting has been taken by those of bristly, 
unwashed men who, nurtured amid the wind and the weather, 
know nothing of those arts of toilette so much in favour with 
the imitators of Raphael, and they receive the miracle with the 
simplicity of elementary natures. Fear and abashed astonish- 
ment at the angelic appearance are reflected in their faces, and 
the plain and homely gestures of their hands are in correspond- 
ence with their inward excitement. Even the angel turning 
towards the shepherds was conceived in an entirely human and 
simple way. In spite of this, or just because of it, Bastien failed 



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i8 



MODERN PAINTING 




GajB. dta Beanx'Arts.} 

Bastien-Lepage : " The Hay Harvest." 

with his " Annunciation to the Shepherds,'* as he had done 
previously with his " Priam." Once the prize was taken by 
L^on Comerre, a pupil of Cabanel, and on the other occasion 
by Josef Wencker, the pupil of Gdrdme. It was written in the 
stars that Bastien-Lepage was not to go to Rome, and it did 
him as little harm as it had done to Watteau a hundred and 
sixty years before. In Italy Bastien-Lepage would only have 
been spoilt for art. The model profitable for him was not 
one of the old Classic painters, but nature as she is in Damvillers, 
great maternal nature. When the works sent in for the com- 
petition were exhibited, a sensation was made when one day 
a branch of laurel was laid on the frame of Bastien-Lepage's 
" Annunciation to the Shepherds " by Sarah Bernhardt. And 



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FRANCE 




Bastien-Lepage : ••Joan of Arc' 



[BruHM photo. 



Sarah Bernhardt's portrait became the most celebrated of the 
small likenesses which soon laid the foundation of the painter's 
fame. 

The portrait of his grandfather, that marvellous work of a 
young man of five-and-twenty, is the first picture in which he 
was completely himself. The old man sits in a corner of the 
garden, just as usual, in a brown cap, his spectacles upon his 
nose, his arms crossed upon his lap, with a horn snuff-box and 
a check handkerchief lying upon his knees. How perfectly 
easy and natural is the pose, how thoughtful the physiognomy, 
what a personal note there is in the dress ! Xor are there in 
that garden, bathed in light, any of those black shadows which 
only fall in the studio. Everything bore witness to a simplicity 
and sincerity which justified the greatest hopes. After that first 



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20 



MODERN PAINTING 




Paris : BtucM.] 

Bastien-Lepage : " PkRE Jacques." 



work the world knew 
that Bastien-Lepage 
was a pre-eminent 
portrait-painter, and 
he did not betray 
the promise of his 
youth. His succeed- 
ing pictures showed 
that he had not 
merely rusticity and 
nature to rely upon, 
but that he was a 
charmeur in the best 
sense of the word. 

This ingenuous 
artist, who knew 
nothing of the his- 
tory of painting and 
felt more at home 
in the open air than in museums, was not ignorant, at any 
rate, of the portraits of the sixteenth century, and had chosen • 
for his likenesses a scale as small as that which Clouet and his 
school preferred. The representation here reaches a depth of 
characterization which recalls Jan van Eyck*s little pearls of 
portrait-painting. In these works also he mostly confined him- 
self to bright lights. Portraits of this type are those of his 
brother, of Madame Drouet, the aged friend of Victor Hugo, 
with her weary, gentle, benevolent face — a masterpiece of intimate 
feeling and refinement — of his friend and biographer Andr^ 
Theuriet, of Andfieux the prefect of the police, and above all 
the famous and signal work of inexorable truth and marvellous 
delicacy, Sarah Bernhardt in profile, with her tangled chestnut 
hair, sitting upon a white fur, arrayed in a white China-silk 
dress with yellowish lights in it, and carefully examining a 
Japanese bronze. The bizarre grace of the tragic actress, her 
slender figure, fashioned, as it were, for Donatello, the nervous 
intensity with which she sits there, her wild Chinese method 



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FRANCE 




Paris: BaschttJl 

Bastien-Lepage : "The Beggar." 



of wearing the hair, 
and the profile of 
which she is so proud, 
have been rendered 
in none of her many 
likenesses with such 
an irresistible force 
of attraction as in 
this little masterpiece. 
In some of his other 
portraits Bastien- 
Lepage has not dis- 
dained the charm of 
obscure light ; he 
has not done so, for 
example, in the little 
portrait of Albert 
Wolff, the art-critic, 
as he sits at his 

writing-desk amongst his artistic treasures, with a cigarette in 
his hand. Only Clouet and Holbein painted miniature portraits 
of such refinement. Amongst moderns, probably Ingres alone 
has reached such a depth of characterization upon the smallest 
scale, and in general he is the most closely allied to Bastien- 
Lepage as a portrait-painter in profound study of physiognomy, 
and in the broad and, one might say, chased technique of his 
little drawings. Comparison with Gaillard would be greatly to 
the disadvantage of this great engraver, for Bastien-Lepage is 
at once more seductive and many-sided. It is curious how 
seldom his portraits have that family likeness which is else- 
where to be found amongst almost all portrait-painters. In his 
effort at penetrative characterization he alters, on every occasion, 
his entire method of painting according to the personality, so 
that it leaves at one time an effect that is bizarre, coquettish, 
and full of intellectual power and spirit, at another one which 
is plain and large, at another one which is bashful, sparing, and 
bourgeois. 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Faris: Baschet.^ 



Bastien-Lepage : "The Pond at Damvillers." 



As a painter of peasant life he made his first appearance 
in 1878. 

In the Salon of this year a sensation was made by a work 
of such truth and poetry as had not been seen since Millet ; 
this was the " Hay Harvest." It is noon. The June sun throws 
its heavy beams over the mown meadows. The ground rises 
slowly to a boundless horizon, where a tree emerges here and 
there, standing motionless against the brilliant sky. The grey 
and the green of these great plains — it is as if the weariness 
of many toilsome miles rose out of them — weighed heavily upon 
one, and created a sense of forsaken loneliness. Only two beings, 
a pair of day-labourers, break the wide level scorched by a 
quivering, continuous blaze of light. They have had their 
midday meal, and their basket is lying near them upon the 
ground. The man has now lain down to sleep upon a heap of 



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FRANCE 



23 





:sirv;.jA«f7^""=l 


^^^r 


7 .^^^^T^HnE^/aA^H 


^ i.JM2'^ 


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^ ^ ^ ^ 



hay, with his hat 
tilted over his eyes. 
But the woman 
sits dreaming, tired 
with the long hours 
of work, dazzled 
with the glare of 
the sun, and over- 
powered by the 
odour of the hay 
and the sultriness 
of noon. She does 
not know the drift 
of her thoughts ; 
nature is working 
upon her, and she 
has feelings which 
she scarcely under- 
stands herself. She 
is sunburnt and 

ugly, and her head is square and heavy, and yet there lies a 
world of sublime and mystical poetry in her dull, dreamy eyes 
gazing into a mysterious horizon. By this picture and "The 
Potato Harvest," which succeeded it in 1879, Bastien-Lepage, 
the splendid, placed himself in the first line of modern French 
painters. This time he renders the sentiment of October. The 
sandy fields, impregnated with dust, rest in a white, subdued 
light of noon ; pale brown are the potato stalks, pale brown the 
blades of grass, and the roads are bright with dust ; and through 
this landscape, with its wide horizon, where the tree-tops, half 
despoiled already, shiver in the wind, there blows /e grand air, 
a breeze strong as only Millet in his water-colours had the 
secret of painting it. With Millet he shares likewise the breath 
of tender melancholy which broods so sadly over his pictures. 
"The Girl with the Cow," the little Fauvette, that child of 
social misery — misery that lies sorrowful and despairing in the 
gaze of her eyes — is, perhaps, the most touching example of his 



\,BraHH photo, 
Bastien-Lepage : " Love in the Village." 



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24 



MODERN PAINTING 









brooding devotion to 
truth. Her brown 
dress is torn and 
dirty, while a grey 
kerchief borders her 
famished, sickly face. 
A waste, disconso- 
late landscape, with 
a frozen tree and 
withered thistles, 
stretches round like 
a boundless Nir- 
vana. Above there 
is a whitish, clear, 
tremulous sky, 
making everything 
paler, more arid 
and wearily bright ; 
there is no gleam of 
rich luxuriant tints, 
but only dry, stinted 
colours ; and not a 
sound is there in the air, not a scythe driving through the grass, 
not a cart clattering over the road. There is something over- 
whelming in this union between man and nature. One thinks 
of the famous words of Taine : " Man is as little to be divided 
from the earth as an animal or a plant Body and soul are 
influenced in the same way by the environment of nature, and 
from this influence the destinies of men arise." As an insect 
draws its entire nature, even its form and colour, from the plant 
on which it lives, so is the child the natural product of the 
earth upon which it stands, and all the impulses of its spirit are 
reflected in the landscape. 

In 1879 Bastien-Lepage went a step further. In that year 
appeared "Joan of Arc," his masterpiece in point of spiritual 
expression. Here he has realized the method of treating his- 
torical pictures which floated before him as an idea at the 




Paris: Baschei.} 

Bastien-Lepage : 



•The Haymaker." 



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FRANCE 



«5 




Maga»in§ of Art.] 
Bastien-Lepage on his Sick-Bed. 
(By permission of Moms. E. Bastien-Lepagtt 
th§ ovontr of the copyright.) 



Academy, and has, at the same 
time, solved a problem which 
beset him from his youth — the 
penetration of mysticism and the 
world of dreams into the reality 
of life. *' The Annunciation to 
the Shepherds," "In Spring," 
and "The Spring Song "were 
merely stages on a course of 
which he reached the destination 
in "Joan of Arc." His ideal 
was " to paint historical themes 
without reminiscences of the 
galleries^ — paint them in the sur- 
roundings of the country, with 
the models that one has at hand, 
just as if the old drama had 
taken place yesterday evening." 

The scene of the picture is a garden of Damvillers painted 
exactly from nature, with its grey soil, its apple- and pear-trees 
clothed with small leaves, its vegetable beds, and its flowers 
growing wild. Joan herself is a pious, careworn, dreamy country 
girl. Every Sunday she has been to church, lost herself in long 
mystic reveries before the old sacred pictures, heard the misery 
of France spoken of; and the painted statues of the parish 
church and its tutelary saints pursue her thoughts. And just 
to-day, as she sat winding yarn in the shadow of the apple-trees, 
murmuring a prayer, she heard of a sudden the heavenly 
voices speaking. The spirits of St. Michael, St. Margaret, 
and St. Catharine, before whose statues she has prayed so 
often, have freed themselves from the wooden images and float 
as light phantoms, as pallid shapes of mist, which will as sud- 
denly vanish into air before the eyes of the dreaming girl. 
Joan rises trembling, throwing her stool over, and steps forward. 
She stands in motionless ecstasy stretching out her left arm, 
and gazing into vacancy with her pupils morbidly dilated. Of 
all human phases of expression which painting can approach, 

VOL. III. 3 



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26 



MODERN PAINTING 



such mystical de- 
lirium is perhaps the 
hardest to render ; 
and probably it was 
only by the aid of 
hypnotism, to which 
the attention of the 
painter was directed 
just then by the ex- 
periments of Charcot, 
that Bast ien- Lepage 
was enabled to pro- 
duce in his model 
that look of religious 
rapture, oblivious to 
the whole world, 
which is expressed 
in the vague glance 
of her eyes, blue as 
the sea. 

"Joan of Arc" 
was succeeded by " The Beggar," that life-size figure of the haggard 
old tramp, who, with a thick stick under his arm — of which he 
would make use upon any suitable occasion — picks up what he 
can in the villages, saying a paternoster before the doors while 
he begs. This time he has been ringing at the porch of an 
ordinary middle-class dwelling, and he is sulkily thrusting into 
the wallet slung round his shoulders a great hunch of bread 
which a little girl has just given to him. There is a mixture of 
spite and contempt in his eyes as he goes off in his heavy 
wooden shoes with a shuffling gait. And behind the doorpost 
the little girl, who, in her pretty blue frock, has such a trim air 
of wearing her Sunday best, glances at the mysterious old man, 
rather scared. 

" Un brave Homme," or " Le P^re Jacques," as the master 
afterwards called the picture, was to some extent a pendant to 
" The Beggar." , He comes out of the wood wheezing, with a 




Marie Baskirtscheff : "A Meeting." 



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FRANCE 



27 




UArt,^ 



iBelltnger sc. 
Leon L'hermitte. 



pointed cap upon his head and 

a heavy bundle of wood upon 

his shoulders, whilst at his side 

his little grandchild is plucking 

the last flowers. It is November ; 

the leaves have turned yellow and 

cover the ground. Pire Jacques 

is providing against the Winter. 

And the Winter is drawing near 

— death. 

Bastien-Lepage's health had 

never been good, nor was Parisian 

life calculated to make it better. 
Slender and delicate, blond with 

blue eyes and a sharply chiselled 

profile — toui petit, tout blond, les 
-cluveux a la bretonne, le nez re- 
iroussi et une barbe d' adolescent, as Marie Baskirtscheff describes 
him — he was just the type which Parisiennes adore. His studio 
Avas besieged ; there was no entertainment to which he was not 
invited, no committee, no meeting to hold judgment over pictures 
at which he was not present Amateurs fought for his works and 
asked for his advice when they made purchases. Pupils flocked 
to him in numbers. He was intoxicated with the Parisian world, 
enchanted with its modern elegance ; he loved the vibration of 
life, and rejoiced in masked balls like a child. Consumptive 
people are invariably sensuous, drinking in the pleasures of 
life with more swift and hasty draughts. He then left Paris 
and plunged into the whirlpool of other great cities. From 
Switzerland, Venice, and London he came back with pictures 
and landscapes. In London, indeed, he painted that beautiful 
picture " The Flower-Girl," the pale, delicate child upon whose 
faded countenance love and hunger have so early left their traces. 
Through the whole summer of 1882 he worked incessantly in 
Damvillers., Once more he painted his native place in a land- 
scape of the utmost refinement Here, as in his portraits, every- 
thing has been rendered with a positive tren chancy, with a 



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28 MODERN PAINTING 

severe, scientific effort after truth, in which there lies what is 
almost a touch of aridness. And yet an indescribable magic 
is thrown over the fragrant green of the meadows, the young,, 
quivering trees, and the still pond which stretches rippling in 
the cloudless summer sun. 

In 1883 there appeared in the Salon that wonderful picture 
" Love in the Village." The girl has hung up her washing on 
the paling, and the neighbour's son has run down with a flower 
in his hand ; she has taken the flower, and in confusion they 
have suddenly turned their backs upon each other and stand 
there without saying a word. They love each other, and wish 
to marry, but how hard is the first confession. Note how the 
lad is turning his fingers about in his embarrassment ; note the 
confusion of the girl, which may be seen, although she is look- 
ing towards the background of the picture ; note the spring 
landscape, which is as fair as the figures it surrounds. 

It is a tender dreamer who gives himself expression here — 
and love came to him also. 

Enthusiastically adored by the women in his school of paint- 
ing, he had found a dear friend in Marie Baskirtscheff^ the dis- 
tinguished young Russian girl who had become his pupil just as- 
his fame began to rise. It is charming to see the enthusiasm 
with which Marie speaks of him in her diary. ''Je peins sur la 
propre palette du vrai Bastien^ avec des couleurs d ////, son pinceau^ 
son atelier^ et son frere pour viodkle!^ And how the others envy 
her because of it ! " La petite Suidoise voulait toucher d sa palette^ 
With Marie he sketched his plans for the future, and in the midst 
of this restless activity he was summoned hence together with 
her, for she also died young, at the age of twenty-four, just as 
her pictures beg^n to create a sensation. A touching idyll in 
her diary tells how the girl learnt, when she was dying of con- 
sumption, that young Bastien had also fallen ill, and been given 
up as hopeless. So long as Marie could go out of doors she 
went with her mother and her aunt to visit her sick friend ; 
and when she was no longer allowed to leave the house he had 
himself carried up the steps to her drawing-room by his brother,^ 
and there they both sat beside each other in armchairs, and saw 



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FRANCE • 29 

the end draw near, merciless and inevitable, the end of their 
young lives, their talents, their ambition, and their hopes. "At 
last ! Here it is then, the end of all my sufferings ! So many 

efforts, so many wishes, so many plans, so many , 

and then to die at four-and-twenty upon the threshold of them 
all!" 

Her last picture was one of six schoolboys, sons of the 
people, who are standing at a street corner chattering ; and it 
makes a curiously virile impression, when one considers that it 
was painted by a blonde young girl, who slept under dull blue 
silken bed-curtains, dressed almost entirely in white, was rubbed 
with perfumes after a walk in hard weather, and wore on her 
shoulders furs which cost two thousand francs. It hangs in the 
Luxembourg, and for a long time a lady dressed in mourning 
used to come there every week and cry before the picture painted 
by the daughter whom she had lost so early. [Marie died on 
October 31st, 1884, and Bastien barely a month afterwards. " The 
Funeral of a Young Girl,** in which he wished to immortalize the 
funeral of Marie, was his last sketch, his farewell to the world, 
to the living, alluring, ever splendid nature which he loved so 
much, grasped and comprehended so intimately, and to the hopes 
which built up their deceptive castles in the air before his dying 
gaze. He died before he reached Raphael's age, for he was 
barely thirty-six. The final collapse came on December loth, 
1884, upon a sad, rainy evening, after he had lain several months 
upon a bed of sickness. His frame was emaciated, and as light 
as that of a child ; his face was shrivelled — the eyes alone had 
their old brilliancy. 

On December 14th his body was brought to the Eastern 
railway-station. The coffin was covered with roses, white elder 
blossoms, and immortelles. And now he lies buried in Lorraine, in 
the little churchyard of Damvillers, where his father and grand- 
father rest beneath an old apple-tree. Red apple-blossoms he 
loved himself so dearly. His importance Marie Baskirtscheff 
has summarized simply and gracefully in the words : " Cest un 
artiste puissanty originel^ dest un pokte^ dest un philosophe ; les 
autres ne sont que des fabricants de n'importe quoi d c6ti de lui. 



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MODERN PAINTING 




i'f'if/ijh 



L'hermitte: "Paying the Reapers.' 



. . . On ne peut plus rien regarder quand on voit sa peinturCy 
parce que (fest beau comme la nature^ comme la vie, . . ." 

This tender poetic trait which runs through his works 
is what principally distingfuishes him from Uhermitte^ the 
most sterling representative of the picture of peasant life at 
the present time. I/hermitte, also, like most of these painters 
of peasants, was himself the son of a peasant He came from 
Mont- Saint- P6re, near Chftteau-Thierry, a quiet old town, where 
from the great " Hill of Calvary " one sees a dilapidated Gothic 
church and the moss-grown roofs of thatched houses. His 
grandfather was a vine-grower and his father a schoolmaster. 
He worked in the field himself, and, like Millet, he painted after- 
wards the things which he had done himself in youth. His 
principal works were pictures of reapers in the field, peasant 
women in church, young wives nursing their children, rustics at 
work, here and there masterly water-colours, pastels and char- 
coal drawings, in 1888 the pretty illustrations to Andr6 Theuriet's 



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ifOtriiif>t St\ 



L'hermitts: ''Resting from Work." 
{By ptrmistum of Messrs. BoHSSoei, Valadon <S* Co.t the owners of the copyright.) 



Vie RustiquCy the decoration ol a hall at the Sorbonne with repre- 
sentations of rustic life, in his later period occasionally pictures 
from other circles of life, such as " The Fish-market of St. 
Malo," " The Lecture in the Sorbonne," " The Musical Soiree," and 
finally, as a concession to the religious tendency of recent years, 
a " Christ visiting the House of a Peasant" He has his studio 
in the Rue Vaquelin in Paris, though he spends most of his time 
in the village where he was born, and where he now lives quietly 
and simply with the peasants. Most of his works, which are 
to be ranked throughout amongst the most robust productions 
of modern Naturalism, are painted in the great glass studio 
which he built here in the garden of his father's house. Whilst 
Bastien- Lepage, through a certain softness of temperament, was 
moved to paint the weak rather than the strong, and less often 
men in the prime of life than patriarchs, women, and children. 



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M 


41 








^ :^^.r*^Jv; 


wv<9M^- 


^^W 












b^ 




--■■ :'^^,^V-1^^ 


m^^''\ 



Roll: "The Strike.*' 
(By ptrmiBsion of th€ Arttsi.) 

Uhermitte displays the peasant in all his rusticity. He knows the 
country and the labours of the field which make the hands homy 
and the face brown, and he has rendered them in a strictly 
objective manner, in a great sculptural style. Bastien-Lepage 
is inclined to refinement and poetic tenderness ; in Uhermitte 
everything is clear, precise, and sober as pale, bright daylight. 

Alfred Roll was born in Paris, and the artisan of the Parisian 
streets is the chief hero of his pictures. Like Zola in his 
Rougon-Macquart series, he set before himself the aim of de- 
picting the social life of the present age in a great sequence of 
pictures — the workman's strike, war, and toil. His pictures 
give one the impression that one is looking down from the 
window upon an agitated scene in the street And his broad, 
plebeian workmanship is in keeping with his rough and demo- 
cratic subjects. He made a beginning in 1875 with the colossal 
picture of the " Flood at Toulouse." The roofs of little peasants' 



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FRANCE 



33 



houses rise out of the ex- 
panse of water. Upon one 
of them a group of country 
people have taken refuge, 
and are awaiting a boat 
which is coming from far. 
A young mother summons 
her last remnant of strength 
to save her trembling child. 
Beside her an old woman 
is sitting, sunk in the stupor 
of indifference, while in 
front a bull is swimming, j^ 
bellowing wildly from the 
water. The influence of 
G^ricault's "Raft of the 
Medusa" is indeed ob- 
vious ; but how much more 
plainly and actually has 
the struggle for existence 
been represented here, than 

by the great Romanticist, still hampered by Classicism. The 
devastating effect of the masses of water in all their elemental 
force could not have been more impressively rendered than has 
been done through this bull struggling for life with all its 
enormous strength. 

In technique this picture belongs to the painter's earlier 
phase. Even in the colouring of the naked figures it has still 
the dirty heaviness of the Bolognese. This bond which united 
him to the school of Courbet was broken when— probably under 
the influence of Zola*s Germinal— \it. painted "The Strike," in 
1880. The stern reality which goes through Zola's accounts of 
the life of pit-men is likewise to be found in these ragged and 
starving figur,cs, clotted with coal dust, assembling in savage 
desperation before the manufactory walls, prepared for a rising. 
The dull grey of a rainy November morning spreads above. In 
1887 he painted war, war in the new age, in which one man is 




Ga«. dt9 B€a9tX'Ati3.] [DHJardin Mio. 

Roll; "Manda LamItrie, Fermiere." 



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MODERN PAINTING 




GoM. tUs B€aMx-Arts.\ 



Roll: "The Woman with a Bull." 
{By permission of the Artist.) 



iDujardin helio. 



not pitted against another, but great masses of men, who kill 
without seeing one another, are made to manoeuvre with scien- 
tific accuracy — war in which the balloon, distant signalling, and 
all the discoveries of science are turned to account. " Work " 
was the last picture of the series. There are men toiling in the 
hot, dusty air of Paris with sandstones of all sizes. Life-size, 
upon life-size figures, the drops of sweat were seen upon the 
apathetic faces, and the patches upon the blouses and breeches. 
Any one who only reckons as art what is fine and delicate 
will necessarily find these pictures brutal ; but whoever delights 
in seeing art in close connection with the age, as it really is, 
cannot deny to Alfred Roll's great epics of labour the value of 
artistic documents of the first rank. 

He devoted himself to the more delicate problems of light, 



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FRANCE 



35 




especially in certain 
idyllic summer 
scenes, in which he 
delighted in painting 
life-size bulls and 
cows upon the 
meadow, and beside 
them a girl, some- 
times intended as a 
milkmaid and some- 
times as a nymph. 
Of this type was the 
picture of 1888, "A 
Woman who has 
milked a Cow'* 
{Manda Lamitriey 
Fermiere). With a 
full pail she is going 
home across the 
sunny meadow. 
Around there is a 
gentle play of light, a soft atmosphere transmitting faint reflec- 
tions, lightly resting upon all forms, and mildly shed around them. 
A yet more subtile study of light in 1889 was named "The 
Woman with a Bull." Pale sunbeams are rippling through the 
fluttering leaves, causing a delicious play of fine tones upon 
the nude body of a young woman and the shining hide of a bull. 
In a strip of ground in the suburbs of Paris, where the 
town has come to an end and the country has not yet begun, 
Raffaelliy perhaps the most spirited of the Naturalists, has taken 
up his abode. He has painted the workman, the vagabond, 
the restlessness of the man who does not know where he is 
going to eat and sleep ; the small householder, who has all 
he wants ; the ruined man, overtaken by misfortune, whose 
only remaining passion is the brandy-bottle, — he has painted 
them all amid the melancholy landscape around Paris, with its 
meagre region still in embryo, and its great straight roads losing 



Paris: Boussod-Valadon."] 

Rafeaelli : " The Grandfather." 
(By permission of the Ariisi.) 



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MODERN PAINTING 




themselves disconsolately 
in the horizon. Th^ophile 
Gautier has written some- 
where that the geometri- 
cians are the ruination of 
landscapes. If he lived in 
these days he would find, 
on the contrary, that those 
monotonous roads running 
straight as a die give land- 
scape a strange and melan- 
choly grandeur. One 
thinks of the passage in 
Zola's Germincdy where the 
two socialists, Etienne and 
Suwarin, walk in the even- 
ing silently along the edge 
of a canal, which, with the 
perpendicular stems of 
trees at its side, stretches 
for miles, as if measured with a pair, of compasses, through a 
monotonous flat landscape. Only a few low houses standing 
apart break the straight line of the horizon ; only here and there, 
in the distance, does there emei^e a human being, whose 
diminished figure is scarcely perceptible above the ground. 
RafTaelli was the first to understand the virginal beauty of these 
localities, the dumb complaining language of poverty-stricken 
regions spreading languidly beneath a dreary sky. He is the 
painter of poor people and of wide horizons, the poet and 
historian of humanity living in the neighbourhood of great 
cities. There sits a house-owner, or the proprietor of a shop, 
in front of his own door; there a peddler, or a man delivering 
parcels, hurries across the field ; there a rag-picker's dog strays 
hungry about a lonely farmyard. Sometimes the wide land- 
scapes are relieved by the manufactories, water- and gas-works 
which feed the huge crater of Paris. At other times the snow 
lies on the ground, the skeletons of trees stand along the 



Paris: BascheL] 

Raffaelli : " Paris 4* I." 
(By permission of tks Artist.) 



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FRANCE 



37 




high-road, and a 
driver shouts to his 
team ; the heavy 
working nags, 
covered with worsted 
cloths, shiver, and 
an impression of in- 
tense cold goes 
through you to your 
very bones. Indeed 
Raffaelli's austerity 
was first subdued 
a little when he 
came to make a 
lengthy residence in 
England. Then he 
acquired a prefer- 
ence for the light- 
coloured atmosphere 
and the gracious 
verdure of nature in 
England. He began 
to take pleasure in 
tender spring landscapes, in place of rigid scenes of snow. The 
poor soil no longer seems so hard and inhospitable, but becomes 
attractive beneath the soft, peaceful, bluish atmosphere. Even 
the uncivilized beings, with famine in their eyes, who wandered 
about in his earliest pictures, become milder and more resigned. 
The grandfather, in his blouse and wooden shoes, leads his 
grandchild by the hand amid the first shyly budding verdure. 
Old men sit quietly in the grounds of the almshouse, with the 
sun shining upon them. People no longer stand in the mist 
of November evenings with their teeth chattering from the 
frost, but breathe with delight the soft air of bright spring 
mornings. 

Raffaelli has been for fifteen years the master of this narrowly 
circumscribed region, and has recorded his impressions of it in 



Paris: Bous^od-ValadoH.] 

Raffaelli : " The Old Convalescents." 
{By ptrmitsioH oftht Artist.) 



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38 



MODERN PAINTING 




an entirely personal manner, 
in a style which in one of 
his brochures he has himself 
designated " caracterisme." 
And by comparing the cos- 
tumed models in the pictures 
of the previous generation 
with the figures of Raffaelli, 
the happiness of this phrase 
is at once understood. In 
fact Raffaelli is a great 
master of characterization, 
and perhaps nowhere more 
trenchant than in the 
illustrations which he drew 
for the Revue Illustrie, 
Spirited caricatures of 
theatrical representations al- 
ternate with the grotesque 
figures of the Salvation 
Army. Yet he feels most 
in his element when he dives into the horrors of Paris by night 
The types which he has created live ; they meet you at every 
step, wander about the boulevards, in the caf6s and outside 
the barriers, and they haunt you with their looks of misery, vice, 
and menace. 

Giuseppe de Ntttis, an Italian who has become a Parisian, 
a bold, searching, nervously excitable spirit, was the first 
gentiifiomfne of Impressionism, the first who made a transition 
from the rugged painting of the proletariat to coquettish pictures 
from the fashionable quarters of the city, and reconciled even 
the wider public to the principles of Impressionism by the delicate 
flavouring of his works. 

"It was a cold November morning. Cold it was certainly, 
but in compensation the morning vapour was as fine as snow 
turned into mist. Yonder in the crowded, populous, sooty 
quarters of the city, in Paris busy with trade and industry. 



GoM. dts Bta%iX'Art&.\ [Artist tc* 

Raffaelu : " The Midday Soup.** 

(By permission of the Artiste) 



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FRANCE 



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^^ 




CojB. d«9 Beaux- Arts.] 

Giuseppe de Nittis. 



this early vapour which settles in 
the broad streets is not to be 
found ; the hurry of awakening 
life, and the confused movement 
of country carts, omnibuses, and 
heavy, rattling freight - waggons, 
have scattered, divided, and dis- 
persed it too quickly. Every 
passer-by bears it away on his 
shabby overcoat, on his threadbare 
comforter, or disperses it with his 
baggy gloves. It drizzles in the 
shivering blouses and the water- 
proofs of toiling poverty, it dissolves 
before the hot breath of the many 

who have passed a sleepless or dissipated night, it is absorbed 
by the hungry, it penetrates into shops which have just been 
opened, into gloomy backyards, and it floats up the staircases, 
dripping on the walls and banisters, right up to the frozen 
attics. And that is the reason why so little of it remains out- 
side. But in the spacious and stately quarter of Paris, upon the 
broad boulevards planted with trees and the empty quays, the 
mist lay undisturbed, section over section, like an undulating 
mass of transparent wool in which one felt isolated, hidden, 
almost imbedded in splendour, for the sun rising lazily on the 
distant horizon already shed a mild purple glow, and in this light 
the mist level with the tops of the houses shone like a piece of 
muslin spread over scarlet." 

This opening passage in Daudet's Le Naiad most readily 
gives the mood awakened by Giuseppe de Nittis* Parisian land- 
scapes. De Nittis was born in 1846 at Barletta, near Naples, 
in poor circumstances. In 1868, when he was two-and-twenty 
years of age, he came to Paris, where G6r6me and Meissonier 
interested themselves in him. Intercourse with Manet led him 
to his range of subject. He became the painter of Parisian 
street-life as it is to be seen in the neighbourhood of the quays, 
the painter of mist, smoke, and air. The Salons of 1875 ^ind 1876 



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contained his first pictures, 
the "Place des Pyra- 
mides " and the view of the 
Pont Royal, fine studies 
of mist with a tremulous 
grey atmosphere, out of 
which graceful little figures 
raise their faint, vanishing 
outlines. From that time 
he has stood at the centre 
of artistic life in Paris. 
He observed everything, 
saw everything, painted 
everything — a strip of the 
boulevards, the Place du 
Carrousel, the Bois de 
Boulogne, the races, the 
Champs Elys^es, in the 
daytime with the budding 
chestnuts, the flower-beds 
blooming in all colours, 
the playing fountains, the 
women of grace and 
beauty, and the light 
carriages which crowd 
between the Arc de 
Triomphe, the Obelisk, and the Gardens of the Tuileries, and in 
the evening when chains of white and coloured lights flash 
through the dark trees. De Nittis has interpreted all atmospheric 
phases. He seized the intangible, the vibration of vapour, the 
dust of summer and the rains of December days. He breathed 
the atmosphere, as it were, with his eyes, and felt with accuracy 
its greater or diminished density. The great public he gained 
by his exquisite sense of feminine elegance. Of marvellous 
charm are the figures which give animation to the Place des 
Pyramides, the Place du Carrousel, the Quai du Pont Neuf— 
women in the most coquettish toilettes, men chatting together 




Gan, d98 Beaux-Arts.] 
De Nittis: 



[Dujardin htlio. 
"Paris Races." 



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De Nittis: "The Place du Carrousel." 

as they lean against a newspaper kiosk, flower-girls offering 
bouquets, loiterers carelessly turning over the books exposed 
for sale upon a stall, bonnes with short petticoats and broad 
ribbons, smart-looking boys with hoops, and little girls with 
the air of great ladies. Since Gabriel de Saint Aubin, Paris 
has had no more faithful observer. " De Nittis," said Claretie 
in 1 876, " paints modern French life for us as that brilliant 
Italian, the Abb^ Galliani, spoke the French language — that is 
to say, better than we do it ourselves." 

The summit of his ability was reached in his last pictures 
from England. One knows the London fogs of November, 
which hover over the town as black as night, so that the gas 
has to be lit at noon, fogs which are suffocating and shroud 
the nearest houses in a veil of crape. Scenes like this were 
made for De Nittis' brush. He roamed about in the smoke of 
the city, observed the fashion of the season, the confusion of 
cabs and drays upon London Bridge, the surge and hurry 
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42 



MODERN PAINTING 




Paris: Boussod-Valadon.'^ 



Heilbuth : " In the Grass/ 



of the human stream in Cannon Street, the vast panorama of 
the port of London veiled with smoke and fog, the fashionable 
West End with its magnificent clubs, the green, quiet squares 
and great plainly built mansions ; he studied the dense, smoky 
atmosphere of fog compressed into floating phantom shapes, 
the remarkable effects of light seen when a fresh breeze 
suddenly drives the black clouds away. And again his eye 
adapted itself at once to the novel environment. It was not 
merely the blithe splendour of Paris that found an incomparable 
painter in Giuseppe de Nittis, but London also with its thick 
atmosphere and that mixture of damp, tawny fog and grey 
smoke. Piccadilly, the National Gallery, the railway arch at 
Charing Cross, the Green Park, the Bank, and Trafalgar Square 
are varied samples of these English studies, which showed British 
painters themselves that not one of them had understood the 
foggy atmosphere of London as this tourist who was merely 
travelling through the town. "Westminster" and "Cannon Street," 



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43 




a pair of dreary, 
sombre symphonies 
in ash-grey, perhaps 
display the highest 
of what De Nittis 
has achieved in the 
painting of air. 

Born in Ham- 
burg, though a natur- 
alized Frenchman, 
Ferdinand Heilbuth 
took up again the 
cult of the Paris- 
ienne in the wake of 
Stevens, and as he 
turned the acqui- 
sitions of Impres- 
sionism to account 
in an exceedingly 
pleasing manner, 
he seems, in com- 
parison with Stevens, lighter and more vaporous and gracious. 
He painted water-scenes, scenes on the greensward or in the 
entrance squares of chiteaux, placing in these landscapes girls 
in fashionable summer toilette. He was particularly fond of 
representing them in a white hat, a white or pearl-grey dress 
with a black belt and long black gloves, in front of a bright 
grey stream, seated upon a fallen trunk, against which their 
parasol is resting. The bloom of the atmosphere is harmonized 
in the very finest chords with the virginal white of their dresses 
and the fresh verdure of the landscapes. His pictures are little 
Watteaus of the nineteenth century, as discreet in effect as they 
are piquant. 

After Heilbuth's death Albert Aublet, who in earlier days 
depicted sanguinary historical pieces, became the popular painter 
of girls, whose beauties are gracefully interpreted in his pictures. 
When he paints the composer Massenet, sitting at the piano 



Paris: BoHssod-Vala^oH,Z 

' Aublet: "Studying the Score.* 
. (By permissiOM of- tht Artist) 



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MODERN PAINTING 




UArt.-\ 



\E. ChampoUion sc» 



BuTiN : " The Departure/ 



surrounded by flowers and beautiful women — when he represents 
the doings of the fashionable world on the shore at a popular 
watering-place, or young ladies plucking roses, or wandering 
meditatively in bright dresses amid green shrubs and yellow 
flowers, or going into the sea in white bathing-gowns, there 
may be nothing profound or particularly artistic in it all, but it 
is none the less charming, attractive, bright, joyous, and fresh. 

/ean B/raud, another interpreter of Parisian elegance, has 
found material for numerous pictures in the blaze of the theatres, 
the naked shoulders of ballet-girls, the dress-coats of old gentle- 
men, the evening humour of the boulevards, the mysteries of the 
Caf6 Anglais, the bustle of Monte Carlo, and the footlights of 
the Cafe-Concert. But absolute painter he is not. One would 
prefer to have a less oily heaviness in his works, a bolder and 
freer execution more in keeping with the lightness of the subject, 
and for this one would willingly surrender the touches of ^enre 
which B6raud cannot let alone even in these days. But his 
illustrations are exceedingly spirited. 

It would be impossible to classify painters according to 



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FRANCE 



45 




L'Art.] 



[DufMpxt.. 



Ulysse Butin. 



further specialities. In fact it 
is as little possible to bring 
individuals into categories as it 
was at the time of the Renais- 
sance, when the painter busied 
himself at the same time with 
sculpture, architecture, and the 
artistic crafts. Great artists do 
not wall themselves up in a 
narrow space to be studied. 
Liberated from the studio and 
restored to nature, they en- 
deavour, as in the best periods 
of art, to encompass life as 
widely as possible. A mere 
enumeration, such as chance offers, and such as will preserve 
a sense for the individuality of every man's talent without at- 
tempting comparisons, seems therefore a better method to pursue 
than a systematic grouping which could only be attained 
artificially and by ambiguities. 

The late Ulysse Butin settled down on the shore of the 
Channel and painted the life of the fishermen of Villerville, a 
little spot upon the coast near Honfleur. Sturdy, large-boned 
fellows drag their nets across the strand, carry heavy anchors 
home, or lie smoking upon the dunes. The rays of the evening 
sun play upon their clothes ; the night sinks, and a {>rofound 
silence rests upon the landscape. 

By preference Edouard Dantan has painted the interiors of 
sculptors' studios — men turning pots, casting plaster, or working 
on marble, with grey blouses, contrasting delicately with the 
light grey walls of workrooms which are themselves flooded with 
bright and tender light Very charming was "A Plaster-Cast 
from Nature," painted in 1887 : in the centre was a nude 
feminine figure most naturally posed, whilst a fine, even atmo- 
sphere, which lay softly upon the girl's form, streaming gently 
over it, was shed around 

Having cultivated in the beginning the province of feminine 



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46 



MODERN FAINTING 



nudity with little 
success, in such 
pictures as " The 
Bacchante ** of the 
Luxembourg, " The 
Woman with the 
Mask," and "Rolla," 
Henri Gervex^ the 
spoilt child of con- 
temporary French 
painting, turned to 
the lecture-rooms of 
the universities, and 
by his picture of 
Dr. P6an at La 
Salp^tri^re gave the 
impulse to the many 
hospital pictures, sur- 
gical operations, and 
so forth which have 
since inundated the 
Salon. With the upper part of her body laid bare and her 
lips half-opened, the patient lies under the influence of narcotics, 
whilst Plan's assistant is counting her pulse. His audience have 
gathered round. The light falls clear and peacefully into the 
room. Everything is rendered simply, without diffidence, and 
with confidence and quietude. 

Duez^ when he had had his first success in 1879 with a 
large religious picture— the triptych in the Luxembourg of Saint 
Cuthbert — appeared with animal pictures, landscapes, portraits, or 
fashionable representations of life in the streets and caf6s. In 
the hands of such mild and complacent spirits as Friant and 
Goeneutte, Naturalism fell into a mincing, lachrymose condition ; 
but in a series of quiet, unpretentious pictures Dagnan-Bauveret 
was more successful in meeting the growing inclination of 
recent years for contemplative repose, just as in the province 
of literature Ohnet, Malot, and Claretie, with their spirit of 




Paris: Boussod-Valadon."] 

Dantan : " A Plaster-Cast from Nature.' 



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compromise, came 
after those stern 
naturalists Flaubert 
and Zola. Accord- 
ing to the drawing 
of Paul Renouard, 
Dagnan-Bouveret is 
a little, black-haired 
man with a dark 
complexion and 
deep - set eyes, a 
short blunt nose, 
and a black pointed 
beard. There is 
nothing in him 
which betrays spirit, 
caprice, and audac- 
ity, but everything 
which is an indica- 
tion of patience and 
endurance ; and, as 
a matter of fact, such 
are the qualities by 
which he has gained his high position. He is a man of poetic 
talent, though rather tame, and stands to Bastien-Lepage and Roll 
as Breton to Millet. One often fancies that it is possible to 
observe in him that German Gemiith^ that genial temper, for the 
satisfaction of which Frau Marlitt provided in fiction. A pupil 
of Gerdme, he made his first great success in the Salon of 1879 
with the picture " A Wedding at the Photographer's." This 
was succeeded in 1882 by "The Nuptial Benediction;" in i88j 
by "The Vaccination;" in 1884 by "The Horse-pond" of the 
Mus^e Luxembourg; in 1885 by a "Blessed Virgin," a homely,, 
thoughtful, and delicately coloured picture which gained him 
many admirers in Germany; and in 1886 by "The Consecrated 
Bread," in which he was one of the first to take up the study 
of light in interiors. In a Catholic church there are sitting 



Ga». d€s B§aMx-Arts.] [Du/ardut Mio. 

Gervex : " Dr. Pean at La SALpiTRiBRE.** 
(By permission oj ikt Ariisl.) 



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MODERN PAINTING 




devout women — most of 
them old, but also one 
who is young — and chil- 
dren, while a chorister 
is handing them conse- 
crated bread. This simple 
scene in the damp village 
church, filled with a tender 
gloom, is rendered with a 
winning homely plainness, 
and with that touch of 
compassionate sentiment- 
ality which is the peculiar 
note of Ds^nan-Bouveret. 
The " Bretonnes au Par- 
don " of 1889 thoroughly 
displayed this definitive 
Dagnan : a soft, peaceful 
picture, full of simple and 
cordial poetry. In the 
grass behind the church, the plain spire of which rises at the 
end of a wall, women are sitting, both young and old, in black 
dresses and white caps. One of them is reading a prayer from 
a devotional book. The rest are listening. Two men stand at 
the side. Everything is at peace ; the scheme of colour is soft 
and quiet, while in the execution there is something recalling 
Holbein, and the effect is idyllically moving, like the chime of 
a village bell when the sun is going down. 

The zeal with which painters took up the study of contem- 
porary life, so long neglected, did not, however, prevent the 
quality of French landscape-painting from being exceedingly 
high. New parts of the world were no longer to be conquered. 
For fifteen years none of the nobler, nor of the less noble, 
landscapes of France had been neglected, nor any strip of field ; 
there were no flowers that were not plucked, whether they were 
cultivated in forcing-houses or had sprung pallid in a dark 
garden of old Paris. It was only the joy in brightness and the 



LAri.^ 



DuEz: 



[£. Champolliwt sc, 
'Om the Cuff." 



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49 




UAri,^ 



DuEz: "The End of October." 
{By permistiion of the Artist,) 



[F. Miliua se. 



newly discovered beauty of sunshine that brought with them 
any change of material. Following the Impressionists, the land- 
scape-painters deserted their forests. Those "woodland depths/' 
such as Diaz and Rousseau painted, seldom appear in the works 
of the most modern artists. In opposition the severest to such 
once popular scenes, there lies the plain, the wide expanse 
stretching forth like a carpet in bright, shining tones under the 
play of tremulous sunbeams, and scarcely do a few trees break 
the quiet line of the distant horizon. At first the poorest and 
most humble comers were preferred The painting of the poor 
brought even the most forlorn regions into fashion. Later, in 
landscape also, a bent towards the most tender lyricism corre- 
sponded with that inclination to idyllic sentiment which was on 
the increase in figure-painting. These painters have a peculiar 
joy in the fresh mood of morning, when a light vapour wavers 
over the meadows and the waters, before it is dissolved into 
shining dew. They love the blooming fruit-trees and the first 
smile of spring, or revel in the gradations of the dusk, rich as 
they are in shades of tint, mistily wan and grey, pale lilac, 
delicate- green, and milky blue. The perspective is broad and 



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fine ; objects are entirely 
absorbed by the harmony 
of colour, and the older 
and coarser treatment of 
free light heightened to 
the most refined play 
by the most delicate 
shades of hue. And these 
colourists deriving from 
Corot, with their soft grey 
enveloping all, are opposed 
by others who strike novel 
and higher chords upon 
the keyboard of Manet- 
landscape-painters whom 
such simple and intimate 
things do not satisfy, 
but who search after un- 
expected, fleeting, and 
extraordinary impressions, 
analyzing fantastically combined effects of light 

A group of New-Impressionists> who might be called 
prismatic painters, stand in this respect at the extreme left 
Starting from the conviction that the traditional mixing of 
colours upon the pallet results after all only in pallet-tones, and 
can never fully express the intensity and pulsating vividness of 
tone values, they founded the theory of the resolution of tones — 
in other words, they break up all compound colours into their 
primary hues, set these directly upon the canvas, and leave it 
to the eye of the spectator to undertake the mixture for itself. 
In particular George Seurat was an energetic disseminator of 
this painting in points which excited new discussions amongst 
artists and new polemics in the newspapers. His pictures were 
entirely composed of flaming, glowing, and shining patches. 
Close to these pictures nothing was to be seen but a confusion 
of blotches, but at the proper distance they took shape as wild 
sea-studies in the brilliant hues of noon, with rocks and stones 



LAfi.\ {Salmon ac. 

Dagnan-Bouveret : '* Consecrated Bread." 



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franx:e 



sr 




LAH.^ [J. Pttyplat sc. 

Dagnan-Bouveret : " Bretonnes au Pardon." 

(By penntasiott of tht Artisf„) 



' Standing out in relief, 
orgies of blue, red, 
and violet Such 
was Seurat's manner 
of seeing nature. 
That such a course 
brings with it a good 
deal of monotony, 
that it will hardly 
ever be possible to 
quicken art to this 
extent with science, 
is incontestable. 
But it is just as cer- 
tain that Seurat was 
a painter of distinc- 
tion who shows in many of his pictures a fine sense for delicate, 
pale atmosphere. Many of his landscapes, which at close quarters 
look like mosaics of small, smooth, variously coloured stones, 
acquire a vibrating light such as Monet himself did not attain 
when looked at . from a proper distance. Signac^ Anquetitty 
Angrandy and Lucien Pissarro are the names of the other repre- 
sentatives of this scientific painting, and their method has not 
seldom enabled them to give expression in an overpowering 
manner to the quiet of water and sky, the green of the meadows 
and the softness of tender light shifting over the sea. 

Amongst the younger painters exhibiting in the Salon, 
/^^/«/^//«— without any trace of imitation — perhaps comes nearest 
to the tender poetry of Corot, and has with most subtilty 
interpreted the delicate charm of cold moods of morning, the 
deep feeling of still solitude in a wide expanse. Jan Monchablon 
views the meadow and the grass, the blades and variegated 
flowers of the field, with the eyes of a primitive artist Wide 
stretches of rolling ground upon radiant spring days are usually 
to be seen in his pictures. The sun shines, the grass sparkles, 
and the horizon spreads boundless around. In the background 
cows are grazing, or there move small figures bathed in air. 



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MODERN PAINTING 




GoM. diM Btaux-Arta.l {F. Miliu» sc, 

Dagnan-Bouveret : " The Nuptial BENEDicribN.** 

iBy permission of Messrs, Boussod, Vuladon cS* Co., ths owners of iht copyright.) 

whilst a dreamy rivulet murmurs in the foreground. The 
bright, soft light of Provence is the delight of Montenard, and 
he depicts with delicacy this landscape with its bright, rosy 
hills, its azure sky, and its pale underwood. Light, as he sees 
it, has neither motes nor shadows ; its vibration is so intense 
and fine that it fills the air with liquid gold, and absorbs the 
tints of objects, wrapping them in a soft and mystic golden veil. 

Dauphin^ who is nearly allied with him, always remains a 
colourist His painting is more animated, provocative, and 
blooming, especially in those sea-pieces with their bright har- 
bours, glittering waves, and rocking ships, whose sails have a 
coquettish sparkle in the sunshine. The name of Rosset-Granget 
recalls festal evenings, bright houses vivid with the glow of 
lights and fireworks, or the gleam of red lanterns illuminating 
the dark blue firmament, and reflected by a thousand fine tints 
in the sea. 

The melancholy art of Entile Barau^ a thoroughly rustic 



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FRANCE 53 

painter, who renders picturesque corners of little villages with 
an extremely personal accent, stands in contrast with the blithe 
painting of the devotees of light ; it is not the splendour of 
colour that attracts him, but the dun hues of dying nature. He 
has come to a halt immediately in front of Paris, in the square 
before the church of Creile. He knows the loneliness of village 
streets when the people are at work in the fields, and the houses 
give a feeling that their inhabitants are not far off and may 
return at any moment. His pictures are harmonies in grey. The 
leading elements in his works are the pale light lying upon 
colourless autumn sward, the mournful outlines of leafless trees 
stretching their naked boughs into the air as though complaining, 
small still ponds where ducks are paddling, the scanty green 
of meagre gardens, the muddy water of old canals, reddish-grey 
roofs and narrow little streets amid moss-covered hills, tall 
poplars and willows by the side of swampy ditches, and in 
the background the old village steeple, which is scarcely ever 
absent. Danioye^ likewise, is fond of twilight, and autumn 
and winter evenings. He is the poet of the great plains and 
dunes and the sombre heaven, where isolated sunbeams break 
shyly from behind white clouds. A fine sea-painter, Boudifty 
studies in Etretat, Trouville, Saint Valery, Crotoy, and Berck 
the dunes and the misty sky, spreading in cold northern grey 
across the silent sea. Dumoulin paints night landscapes with 
deep blue shadows and bright blue lights, while Albert Lebourg 
has a passion for the grey of rain and the glittering snow 
which gleams in the light, blue in one place, violet and rosy in 
another. Victor Binet and Rirti Billotte have devoted themselves 
to the study of that poor region, still in embryo, which lies 
around Paris, a region where a delicate observer finds so much 
that is pictorial and so much hidden poetry. Binet is so 
delicate that everything grows nobler beneath his brush. He 
specially loves to paint the poetry of twilight, which softens 
forms and tinges the trees with a greyish green, the quiet, 
monotonous plains, where tiny field-paths lose themselves in 
mysterious horizons, expiring light of the autumn sun playing 
with the fallen yellow leaves upon dusty highways. R6n6 



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Billotte's life' is exceed- 
ingly many-sided. In 
the forenoon he is an 
important ministerial 
official, in the evening 
the polished man of 
society in dress-clothes 
and white tie whom 
Carolus Duran painted. 
Of an afternoon, in 
the hours of dusk and 
moonrise, he roams as 
a landscape-painter in 
the suburbs of Paris : 
he is an exceedingly 
accomplished man of 
the world, who only 
speaks in a low tone, 
and what he specially 
loves in nature, too, is 
the hour when moonlight lies gently and delicately over all 
forms. The scenes he usually chooses are a quarry with light 
mist settling over it, a light-coloured cornfield in a bluish dusk, 
a meadow bathed in pale light, or a strip of the seashore where 
the delicate air is impregnated with moisture. 

To be at once refined and true is the aim which portrait- 
painting in recent years has also specially set itself to reach. 
In the years of chic it started with the endeavour to win 
from every personality its beauties, to paint men and women 
" to advantage ; " but , later, when the Naturalism of Bastien- 
Lepage stood at its zenith, it strove at all costs to seize the 
actual human being, to catch, as it were, the workaday char- 
acter of the personality, as it is in involuntary moments when 
people believe themselves to be unobserved and give up posing. 
The place of those pompous arrangements of the painters of 
material was taken by a soul, and temperament interpreted by 
an intelligence. And corresponding with the universal principle 



LuciEN PissARRO : "Soutude" (Woodcut). 

(fly permission of ths proprigtors of th$ Dial, ths ovmers of 
ths copyright.) 



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FRANCE 



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LuciEN PissARRo: "Ruth" (Woodcut). 

(By permission of Messrs, Hacon and Rickgt/s, tht 

owners of the copyright.) 



of conceiving man and 
nature as an indivisible 
whole, it became im- 
perative in portrait- 
painting no longer to 
place persons before an 
arbitrary background, 
but in their real sur- 
roundings — to paint 
the man of science 
in his laboratory, the 
painter in his studio, 
the author at his work- 
table — and to observe 
with accuracy the at- 
mospheric influences of 
this environment. 

The ready master- 
worker of this plain 
and sincere naturalism in portrait-painting was peculiarly Fantin" 
Laiour, who ought not merely to be judged by his latest paintings, 
which have something petrified, rigid, gloomy, and professorial. 
In his younger days he was a solid and powerful artist, one 
of the soundest and simplest of whom France could boast His 
pictures were dark in tone and harmonious, and had a puritanic 
charm. The portrait of Manet, and the double likeness of the 
engraver Edwin Edwards and his wife, in particular, will always 
preserve their historical value. 

Later, when the whole bias of art was to turn away from the 
poorer classes and once more approach this fashionable world, 
portrait-painting also tended to become exquisite and over-refined 
and to show a preference for symphonic arrangements of colour 
and subtilized effects of light White, light yellow, and light 
blue silks were harmonized upon very delicate scales with pearly- 
grey backgrounds. Ladies in mantles of light grey fur and 
rosy dresses stand amid dark-green shrubs, in which rose-coloured 
lanterns are burning, or they sit in a ball-dress near a lamp. 



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MODERN FAINTING 



«r^"-— 




BouDiN : •' The Port of Trouvillk.'* 
iBy p^rmistion of Mona, Durand-Rutlf tht onmtrofiht copyright.) 



[Laus€t sc. 



which produces the most tender and manifold transformations 
of light upon the white of the silk. 

The work of Jacques Emile Blanche^ the son of the celebrated 
doctor for the mad, is peculiarly characteristic of these new 
tendencies of French portrait-painting. It is well known that 
English fashion was at this time regarded in Paris as the height 
of elegance, while Anglicisms were entering more and more 
into the French language ; and this tendency of taste gave Blanche 
the occasion for most aesthetic pictures. The English miss, in 
her attractive mixture of affectation and natvet^, in all her slim 
and long-footed grace, has found a delicate interpreter in him. 
Tall ladies clad in white, bitten with the Anglo-mania, drink 
tea most aesthetically and sit there bored, or are grouped 
round the piano ; gommeux, neat, straight, chic^ from their tall 



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hats to their shining leather 
boots, look wearily about 
the world, with an eyeglass 
fixed, a yellow rose in their 
buttonhole, and a thick 
stick in the gloved hand. 
Amongst his likenesses of 
well - known personalities, 
much notice was attracted 
by that of his father in 
1890 — a modern Bertinthe 
Elder— and in 1891 by that 
of Maurice Barres, a por- 
trait in which he has 
analyzed the author of Le 
Jardin de BMnice in a 
very simple and convincing 
fashion. 

The brilliant Italian 
Boldini brought to this 
English chic the manual volubility of a Southerner : sometimes 
he was microscopic d la Meissonier, sometimes a juggler of 
the brush a la Fortuny, and sometimes he gave the most 
seductive mannerism and the most diverting elegance to his 
portraits of ladies. Bora in 1845, the son of a painter of 
saints, Boldini had b^un as a Romanticist with pictures for 
Scott's Ivanho^, From Ferrara he went to Florence, where he 
remained six years. At the end of the sixties he emerged in 
London, and, after he had painted Lady Holland and the 
Duchess of Westminster there, he soon became a popular por- 
trait-painter. But since 1872 his home has been Paris, where 
the fine Anglo-Saxon aroma, the "aei^thetic" originality of his 
pictures, soon became an object of universal admiration. In his 
portraits of women Boldini always renders what is most noveL 
It is as if he knew in advance the new fashion which the coming 
season would bring. His trenchantly cut figures of ladies in 
white dresses and with black gloves have a defiant and insolent 

VOL. III. 5 



Paris : Boussod-Valadon,] [Carolus Duranfixi. 

Rini. BiLLOTTE. 



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MODERN PAINTING 




efifect, and yet one 
which is captivating 
through their ultra- 
modern chic. The 
portraits of Carolus 
Duran have nothing 
of that charm which 
makes such an appeal 
to the nerves, nothing 
of that discomposJHg 
indefinable quality 
which lies in the 
expression and ges- 
tures of a fashionable 
woman, whose eccen- 
tricity reveals every 
day fresh nuances of 
beauty. He had not 
the faculty of seizing 
movement, the most 
difficult element in the world. But Boldini's pictures seem like 
bold and sudden fetches which clench thq conception with spirit 
and swiftness in liberal, pointed crayon strokes controlled by keen 
observation. There is no ornament, no bracelet, no pillars and 
drapery. One hears the silken bodies rustle over the tightly 
laced corset, sees the mobile foot, and the long train swept to 
the side with a bold movement. Sometimes his creations are 
full and luxuriant, nude even in their clothes, excited and full 
of movement ; sometimes they are bodiless, as if compact of the 
air, pallid and half-dead with the exertion caused by nights of 
festivity, "living with hardly any blood in their veins where the 
pulse beats almost entirely out of complaisance." 

His pictures of children are just as subtile: there is an elasticity 
in these little girls, with their widely opened velvet eyes, their 
rosy young lips, and their poses calculated with so much coquetry. 
Boldini has an indescribable method of seizing a motion of the 
head, a mien, or a passing flash of the eyes, of arranging the 



L'Art franfais,\ 

BiLLOTTE : " Paris Twilight." 
{By permission of iht Artist.) 



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FRANCE 



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VArt.'\ \Paul Lafond ac. 

BoLDiNi : Giuseppe Verdi. 



hair, of indicating coquettish 
lace underclothing beneath 
bright silk dresses, or of show- 
ing the grace and fineness of 
the slender leg of a girl, encased 
in a black silk stocking, and 
dangling in delicate lines from 
a light grey sofa. There is 
French esprit^ something piquant 
and with a double meaning in 
his art, which borders on the 
indecorous and is yet charming. 
These portraits of ladies, how- 
ever, form but a small portion 
of his work. He paints in oils, 
in water-colour, and pastel, and 

is equally marvellous in handling the portraits of men, the street 
picture, and the landscape. His portrait of the painter John 
Lewis Brown, crossing the street with his wife and daughter, 
looked as though it had been painted in one jet In his little 
pictures of horses there is an astonishing animation and nervous 
energy. M. Faure, the singer, possesses some small Rococo 
pictures from his brush, scenes in the Garden of the Tuilerics, 
which might have come from Fortuny. His pictures from the 
street-life of Paris — the Place Pigalle, the Place Clichy — recall 
De Nittis, and some illustrations — scenes from the great Paris 
races — might have been drawn by Caran D'Ache. 

There is no need to treat illustration in greater detail, because, 
naturally, it could no longer play the initiative part which fell 
to it in earlier days, now that the whole of life had been drawn 
within the compass of pictorial representation. Besides, in an 
epoch like our own, which is determined to know, and see, and feel 
everything, illustration has been so extended that it would be 
quite impossible even to select the most important work. En- 
tirely apart from the many painters who occasionally illustrated 
novels or other books, such as Bastien- Lepage, Gervex, Dantan, 
D^taille, Dagnan-Bouveret, Ribot, Benjamin Constant, Jean 



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Paul Laurens, and others, 
there are a number of 
professional draughtsmen 
in Paris, most of whom are 
really distinguished artists. 
In particular, Cli^ret, 
one of the most original 
artists of our time— Ch^ret, 
the great king of posters, 
the monarch of a fabu- 
lously charming world, in 
which everything gleams 
in blue and red and 
orange, cannot be passed 
over in a history of paints 
ing. The flowers which 
he carelessly strews on all 
sides with his spendthrift 
hand are not destined for 
preservation in an his- 
torical herbarium ; his 
works are transient flashes 
of spirit, brilliantly shining 
ephemeras, but a bold and 
subtile Parisian art is con- 
cealed amid this improvi- 
sation. Settled for many 
years in London, Jules Ch6ret had there already drawn admirable 
placards, which are now much sought after by collectors. 

In 1866 he introduced this novel branch of industry into 
I ranee, and gave it — thanks to the invention of machines which 
admit of the employment of the largest lithographical blocks — 
an artistic development which could not have been anticipated. 
He has created many thousands of placards. The book-lrade, 
the great shops, and almost all branches of industry owe their 
success to him. His theatrical posters alone are amongst the 
most graceful products of modern art : La Fete des Mitrons, 




Paris: Goupii.} 

BoLDiNi : Portrait of a Boy. 



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FRANCE 



61 



La Salle de Frascati, Les 
MongoHs, Le Chat Bott^, 
L'Ath^n^e Comique, Fan- 
taisies Music-Hail, La F^e 
Cocotte, Les Tsiganes, Les 
Folies-Bergferes en Voy- 
age, Spectacle Concert de 
VHorloge, Skating Rink, 
Les Pillules du Diable, La 
Chatte Blanche, Le Petit 
Faust, La Vie Parisienne, 
Le Droit du Seigneur, 
Cendrillon, Orph^e aux 
Enfers, Eden Theitre, etc. 
These are mere placards, 
destined to hang for a. few 
days on the street pillars, 
and yet in graceful ease, 
sparkling life, and coquet- 
tish bloom of colour they 
surpass many oil-paintings 
which flaunt upon the walls 
of the Mus6e Luxembourg. 
Amongst the illustra- 
tors WiUette is perhaps the 
most charming, the most 
brilliant in grace, fancy, 
and spirit. A drawing by 
him is something living, light, and fresh. Only amongst the 
Japanese, or the great draughtsmen of the Rococo period, does 
one find plates of a charm similar to Willette's tender poems 
of the " Chevalier Printemps " or the " Baiser de la Rose." At 
the same time there is something curiously innocent, something 
primitive, naive, something like the song of a bird, in his 
charming art. No one can laugh with such youthful freshness. 
No one has such a childlike fancy. WiUette possesses the 
curious gift of looking at the world like a boy of sixteen, with 




L'Art franfais.] 

BoLDiNi : Portrait of a Little Girl. 



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MODERN PAINTING 



eyes that are not jaded for 
all the beauty of things, 
with the eyes of a school- 
boy in love for the first 
time. He has drawn 
angels for Gothic windows, 
battles, and everything 
imaginable ; nevertheless 
woman is supreme over 
his whole work, ruined 
and pure as an angel, 
cursed and adored, and 
yet always enchanting. 
She is Manon Lescaut, 
with her soft eyes and 
angelically pure sins. She 
has something of the 
lovely piquancy of the 
woman of Brantdme, 
when she disdainfully 
laughs out of countenance 
poor Pierrot, who sings 
his serenades to her plain- 
tively in the moonshine* 
One might say that Wil- 
lette is himself his Pierrot^ 
dazzled by the young 
bosoms and rosy lips : at 
one time graceful and 
laughing, wild as a young fellow who has just escaped from 
school ; at another earnest and angry, like an archangel 
driving away the sinful ; to-day fiery, and to-morrow melan- 
choly; now in love, teasing, blithe and tender, now gloomy 
and in mortal trouble. He laughs amid tears and weeps amid 
laughter, singing the Dies Irce after a couplet of Offenbach ; 
himself wears a black-and-white garment, and is, at the same 
time, mystic and sensuous. His plates are as exhilarating as 




L'Art franfaisJ] 
BOLDINI : 



Portrait of a Lady. 



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FRANCE 



63 







Willette: "The Golden Age. 



sparkling champagne, and breathe the soft, plaintive spirit of 
old ballads. 

Beside this amiable Pierrot Forain is like the modern Satyr, 
the true outcome of the Goncourts and Gavarni, the product of 
the most modern decadence. All the vice and grace of Paris, 
all the luxury of the world, and all the chic of the demi-monde 



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64 MODERN PAINTING 

he has drawn with spirit, with bold stenographical execution, 
and the elegance of a sure-handed expert Every stroke is 
made with trenchant energy and ultimate grace. Adultery, 
gambling, chambres siparieSy carriages, horses, villas in the Bois 
de Boulogne ; and then the reverse side — degradation, theft, 
hunger, the filth of the streets, pistols, suicide, — such are the 
principal stages of the modern epic which Forain composed ; 
and over all the Parisienne, the dancing-girl, floats with smiling 
grace like a breath of beauty. His chief field of study is the 
promenade of the Folies-Bergferes — the delicate profiles of 
anaemic girls singing, the heavy masses of flesh of gluttonizing 
gourmets^ the impudent laughter and lifeless eyes of prosti- 
tutes, the thin waists, lean arms, and demon hips of fading 
bodies laced in silk. Little dancing-girls and fat rou^s, snobs 
with short, wide overcoats, huge collars, and long, pointed shoes 
—they all move, live, and exhale the odour of their own 
peculiar atmosphere. There is spirit in the line of an overcoat 
which Forain draws, in the furniture of a room, in the hang of 
a fur or a silk dress. He is the master of the light, fleeting 
seizure of the definitive line. Every one of his plates is like a 
spirited causericy which is to be understood through hints and 
the twinkling of the eyes. 

The name of Paul Renouard is inseparable from the opera. 
Degas had already painted the opera and the ballet-dancers 
with wonderful reality, fine irony, or in the weird humour of a 
dance of death. But Renouard did not imitate Degas. As a 
pupil of Pils he was one of the many who, in 1871, were 
occupied with the decoration of the staircase of the new opera 
house, and through this opportunity he obtained his first glance 
into this capricious and mysterious world made up of contrasts 
— a world which henceforward became his domain. All his 
ballet-dancers are accurately drawn at their rehearsals, but the 
charm of their smile, of their figures, their silk tights, their 
gracious movements, has something which almost goes beyond 
nature. Renouard is a realist with very great taste. The 
practising of girls standing on the tips of their toes, dancing, 
curtseying, and throwing the public a kiss with their hands is 



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FoRAiN : " At the Folies-BergIres." 
{By permission oj Moms. Durand-Rtul, tht owner of the copyright.) 



[Lau9et sc. 



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FRANCE 67 

broadly and surely drawn with a few strokes. The opera is for 
him a universe in a nutshell — a rhumi of Paris, where all the 
oddities, all the wildness, and all the sadness of modern life arc 
to be found. 

At the close mention must be made of Daniel Vierge, torn 
prematurely from his art by a cruel disease, but not before he 
had been able to complete his masterpiece, the edition of Don 
Pablo de Segovia. By birth he was a Spaniard, his proper 
name being Daniel Vierge Urrabieta. He, too, showed himself 
a man of audacious, delicate talent of nervous fibre ; and his 
illustrations in the Paris journals are uncommonly Parisian, 
spirited, delicate, and piquant. Without striving after a "style," 
like Dor^, he expressed everything with a boldness and natural- 
ness which lie miles apart from any kind of pedantry. He 
cared chiefly to devote himself to the courtly eighteenth century, 
the epoch of silk shoes, powder, and Brussels lace. Certain 
of his plates almost recall Goya, or the exhilarating verve of 
Fortuny. 



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CHAPTER XXXV 

SPAIN 

From Goya to For tuny. —Mariano For tuny, —Official efforts for the cul- 
tivation of historical fainting, — Influence of Manet inconsiderable,— 
Even in their pictures front modern life the Spaniards remain 
followers of Fortuny : Francisco Pradilla, Casado, Vera^ Manuel 
Ramirez, Moreno CarbonerOy Ricardo VillodaSy Antonio Casanova 
y Estorachy Benliure y Gily Checa, Francisco Amerigo, Viniegra y 
Lasso, Mas y Fondevillay Alcazar Tejedor, Josi VillegaSy Luis 
Jimenez, Martin Rico, Zamacois, Raimundo de Madrazo, Francisco 
Domingo, Emilio Salay Francis, Antonio Fabris. 

IT was in the spring of 1870 that a little picture called 
" La Vicaria " was exhibited in Paris at the dealer Goupirs. 
A marriage is taking place in the sacristy of a Rococo church 
in Madrid. The walls are covered with faded Cordova leather 
hangings figured in gold and dull colours, and a magnificent 
Rococo screen separates the sacristy from the middle aisle. 
Venetian lustres are suspended from the ceiling. And pictures 
of martyrs, Venetian glasses in carved oval frames, richly orna- 
mented wooden benches, and a library of missals and gospels 
in sparkling silver clasps at the wall, form part of the scene 
where the marriage contract is being signed ; shining marble 
tables and glistening brasiers are around. The costumes are 
those of the time of Goya. As a matter of fact an old beau 
is marrying a young and beautiful girl. With affected grace 
and in a skipping minuet step, holding a modish three-cornered 
hat under his arm, he approaches the table to put his signature 
in the place which the escribano points out with a submissive 
bow. He is arrayed in delicate lilac, while the bride is wearing 
a white silk dress trimmed with flowered lace, and has a wreath 

68 



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SPAIN 69 

of orange blossoms in her luxuriant black hair. As a girl- 
friend is talking to her she examines with abstracted attention 
the pretty little pictures upon her fan, the finest which she has 
ever possessed. A very piquant little head she has, with her 
long lashes and her black eyes. Then, in the background, follow 
the witnesses, and first of all a young lady in a swelling silk 
dress of the brightest rose-colour. Beside her is one of the 
bridegroom's friends in a cabbage-green coat with long flaps, 
and a shining belt from which a gleaming sabre hangs. The 
whole picture is a marvellous assemblage of colours, where tones 
of Venetian glow and strength beside tender pearly grey, like 
that of the Japanese, and a melting neutral brown, stand 
scintillating together. 

The painter, who was barely thirty, bore the name of Mariano 
Fortuny, and was born in Reus, a little town in the province of 
Tarragonia, on June nth, 1838. Five years after he had com- 
pleted this work he died, at the age of thirty-six, on November 21st, 
1874. Short as his career was, it was, nevertheless, so brilliant, 
his success so immense, his influence so great, that his place in 
the history of modern painting remains assured to him. 

Like French art, Spanish art, after Goya's death, had borne 
the yoke of Classicism, Romanticism, and academical influence 
by turns. In the grave of Goya there was buried for ever, 
as it seemed, the world of torreros, majas, manolas, monks, 
smugglers, knaves, and witches, and all the local colour of the 
Spanish Peninsula. As late as the Paris World Exhibition of 
1867, Spain was merely represented by a few carefully composed, 
and just as carefully painted, but tame and tedious, historical 
pictures of the David or the Delaroche stamp — works such as 
had been painted for whole decades by Jos^ Madrazo, J. Ribera 
y Fernandez, Federigo Madrazo, Carlo Luis Ribera, Eduardo 
Rosales, and many others whose names there is no reason for 
rescuing from oblivion. They laboured, meditating an art which 
was not their own, and could not waken any echo in them- 
selves. Their painting was body without soul, empty histrionic 
skill. As complete darkness had rested for a century over 
Spanish art, from the death of Claudio Coellos in 1693 to the 



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LArU-\ 



Mariano Fortuny. 



appearance of Goya, rising like 
a meteor, so the first half of 
the nineteenth century produced 
no single original artist until 
Fortuny came forward in the 
sixties. 

He grew up amid poor sur- 
roundings, and when he was 
twelve years of age he lost his 
father and mother. His grand- 
father, an enterprising and 
adventurous joiner, had made 
for himself a cabinet of wax 
figures, which he exhibited 
from town to town in the 
province of Tarragonia. With his grandson he went on foot 
through all the towns of Catalonia, the old man showing the 
wax figures which the boy painted. Whenever he had a 
moment free the latter was drawing, carving in wood, and 
modelling in wax. It chanced, however, that a sculptor saw his 
attempts, spoke of them in Fortuny's birthplace, and succeeded 
in inducing the town to make an allowance of forty-two francs 
a month to a lad whose talent had so much promise. By these 
means Fortuny was enabled to attend the Academy of Barcelona 
during four years. In 1857, when he was nineteen years of age, 
he received the Prix de Rome^ and set out for Rome itself in 
the same year. But whilst he was copying the pictures of the 
old masters there, a circumstance occurred which set him upon 
another course. The war between Spain and the Emperor of 
Morocco determined his future career. Fortuny was then a 
young man of three-and-twenty, very strong, rather thickset, 
quick to resent an injury, taciturn, resolute, and habituated to 
exertion. His residence in the East, which lasted from five to 
six months, was a discovery for him — a feast of delight. He 
found the opportunity of studying in the immediate neighbour- 
hood a people whose life was opulent in colour and wild in 
movement ; and he beheld with wonder the gleaming pictorial 



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SPAIN 



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J 




\ 


^ *^.w ^ . - 




w. 


III . >^' 


^ 


T{ 


^j4 ; 


.vll^ 






^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^T^^^^^p ■Fi^^^ ' 



Paris: Boussod-Valadon.'] 

Fortuny: "The Spanish Marriage." 
(By permission of Messrs, BoMSSod, Valachn cS* Co., the owners of the copyright,) 

episodes so variously enacted before him, and the rich costumes 
upon which the radiance of the South glanced in a hundred 
reflections. And, in particular, when the Emperor of Morocco 
came with his brilliant suite to sign the treaty of peace, Fortuny 
developed a feverish activity. The great battle-piece which he 
should have executed on the commission of the Academy of 
Barcelona remained unfinished. On the other hand, he painted 
a series of Oriental pictures, in which his astonishing dexterity 
and his marvellously sensitive eye were already to be clearly 
discerned : the stalls of Moorish carpet-sellers, with little figures 
swarming about them, and the rich display of woven stuffs of the 
East ; the weary attitude of old Arabs sitting in the sun ; the 
sombre, brooding faces of strange snake-charmers and magicians. 
This is no Parisian East, like Fromentin's ; every one here is 
speaking Arabic. It is only Guillaumet who afterwards inter- 
preted the fakir world of the East, dreamy and contemplative in 
the sunshine, in a manner equally convincing. 

Yet Fortuny first discovered his peculiar province when he 
began, after his return, to paint those brilliant kaleidoscopic 
Rococo pictures with their charming play of colour, the pictures 



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MODERN PAINTING 




VArt,] 



Fortuny: '< Moors playing with a Vulture.' 



[Champollion i 



which founded his reputation in Paris. Even in the earliest, 
representing gentlemen of the Rococo period examining engrav- 
ings in a richly appointed interior, the Japanese weapons, Renais- 
sance chests, gilded frames of carved wood, and all the delightful 
petit-riens from the treasury of the past which he had heaped 
in it together, were so wonderfully painted that Goupil began 
a connection with him and ordered further works. This commis- 
sion occasioned his journey, in the autumn of 1866, to Paris, 
where he entered into Meissonier's circle, and worked sometimes 
at G6r6me*s. Yet neither of them exerted any influence upon 
him at all worth mentioning. The French painter in miniature 
is, probably, the father of the department of art to which 
F^ortuny belongs ; but the latter united to the delicate execution 
of the Frenchman the flashing, gleaming spirit of the Latin 
races of the South. He is a Meissonier with esprit recalling 
Goya. In his picture " The Spanish Marriage " (La Vicaria), all 
the vivid, throbbing. Rococo world, buried with Goya, revived 
once more. While in his Oriental pieces— -"The Praying Arab,'' 



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SPAIN 



73 




Qnm., d^ Bta>a^Atti.\ 



IHntft'm if- 



FoRTUNY : •• The Snake-Charmers.'^ 



"The Arabian Fantasia," and **The Snake-Charmers " — he still 
aimed at concentration and unity of effect, this picture had 
something gleaming, iridescent, and pearly which soon became 
the delight of all collectors. Fortuny's successes, his celebrity, 
and his fortune dated from that time. His name went up like 
a meteor. After fighting long years in vain, not for recognition, 
but for his very bread, he suddenly became the most honoured 
painter of the day, and began to exert upon a whole generation 
of young artists that powerful influence which survives even at 
this very day. 

The studio which he built for himself after his marriage 
with the daughter of Federigo Madrazo in Rome was a little 
museum of the most exquisite products of the artistic crafts of 
the West and the East: the walls were decorated with brilliant 
Oriental stuffs, and great glass cabinets with Moorish and 
Arabian weapons, and old tankards and glasses from Murano 
stood around. He sought and collected everything that shines 
and gleams in varying colour. That was his world, and the 
basis of his art. 

Pillars of marble and porphyry, groups of ivory and bronze, 
lustres of Venetian glass, gilded consoles with small busts, great 
tables supported by gilded satyrs and inlaid with variegated 
mosaics, form the surroundings of that astonishing work "The 
Trial of the Model." Upon a marble table a young girl is 

VOL. III. 6 



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MODERN PAINTING 




[Champoiiion sc, 
FoRTUNY : " The Trial of the Model." 
(By permission of Messrs. Boussod, Valadon <S» Co., the owners of the copyright,) 

Standing naked, posing before a row of academicians in the 
costume of the Louis XV. period, while each one of them gives 
his judgment by a movement or an expression of the face. One 
of them has approached quite close and is examining the little 
woman through his lorgnette. All the costumes gleam in a 
thousand hues which the marble reflects. By his picture "The 
Poet" or "The Rehearsal," he reached his highest point in the 
capricious analysis of light. In an old Rococo garden, with 
the brilliant facade of the Alhambra as its background, there is 
a gathering of gentlemen assembled to witness the rehearsal of 
a tragedy. The heroine, a tall, charming, luxuriant beauty, has 
just fallen into a faint. On the other hand the hero, holding 
the lady on his right arm, is reading the verses of his part 
from a large manuscript. The gentlemen are listening and 
exchanging remarks with the air of connoisseurs ; one of them 
closes his eyes to listen with thorough attention. Here the 
entire painting flashes like a rocket, and is iridescent and bril- 
liant like a peacock^s tail. Fortuny splits the rays of the sun 
into endless nuances which are scarcely perceptible to the eye, 



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IS 




Paris: Boussod-Valadon.\ 



FoRTUNY : •* The Rehearsal." 



and gives expression to their flashing glitter with astonishing 
delicacy. Henri Regnault, who visited him at that time in 
Rome, wrote to a Parisian friend : " The time I spent with 
Fortuny yesterday is haunting me still. What a magnificent 
fellow he is! He paints the most marvellous things and is the 
master of us all. I wish I could show you the two or three 
pictures that he has in hand, or his etchings and water-colours. 
They inspired me with a real disgust of my own. Ah ! Fortuny, 
you spoil my sleep." 

Even as an etcher he caught all the technical finesses and 
appetizing piquancies of his great forerunner Goya. It is 
only with very light and spirited strokes that the outlines of 
his figures are drawn ; then, as in Goya, comes the aquatint, the 
colour which covers the background and gives locality, depth, 
and light. A few scratches with a needle, a black spot, a light 
made by a judiciously inserted patch of white, and he gives his 
figures life and character, causing them to emerge from the 
black depth of the background like mysterious visions. "The 
Dead Arab," covered with his black cloak, and lying on the 
ground with his musket on his arm, " The Shepherd " on the 
stump of a pillar, " The Serenade," " The Reader," " The Tam- 
bourine Player," "The Pensioner," the picture of the gentleman 



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MODERN PAINTING ^ 




UAri.^ 



with a pig-tail bending 
over his flowers, " The 
Anchorite," and " The 
Arab mourning over the 
Body of his Friend," are 
the most important of his 
plates, which are some- 
times pungent and spirited, 
and sometimes sombre and 
fantastic. 

In the picture "The 
Strand of Portici " he at- 
tempted to strike out a 
new path. He was tired 
of the gay rags of the 
eighteenth century, as he 
said himself, and meant to 
paint for the future only 
subjects from surrounding 
life in an entirely modern 
manner like that of Manet. But he was not destined to carry 
out this change any further. He passed away in Rome on 
November 2 1st, 1874. When the unsold works which he left 
were put up to auction the smallest sketches fetched high figures, 
and even his etchings were bought at marvellous prices. 

In these days the enthusiasm for Fortuny is no longer so 
glowing. The capacity to paint became so ordinary in the 
course of years that it was presupposed as a matter of course ; 
it was a necessary acquirement for an artist to have before 
approaching his pictures in a psychological fashion. And in 
this latter respect there is a deficiency in Fortuny. He is a 
channeur who dazzles the eyes, but rather creates a sense 
of astonishment than holds the spectator in his grip. Beneath 
his hands painting has become a matter of pure virtuosity, a 
marvellous, flaring firework that amazes and — leaves us cold 
after all. With enchanting delicacy he runs through the 
brilliant gamut of radiant colours upon the small keyboard 



Fortuny : 



[Waltnersc. 
'The China Vase/' 



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SPAIN 77 

of his little pictures painted with a pocket-lens, and everything 
glitters golden, like the dress of a fairy. To the patience of 
Meissonier he united a delicacy of colour, a wealth of pictorial 
point, and a crowd of delightful trifles, which combine to 
make him the most exquisite and fascinating juggler of the 
pallet — an amazing colourist, a wonderful clown, an original 
and subtile painter with vibrating nerves, but not a truly great 
and moving artist. His pictures are dainties in gold frames, 
jewels delicately set, astonishing efforts of patience, broken by 
a flashing, rocket-like esprit ; but beneath the glittering surface 
one is conscious of there being neither heart nor soul. His 
art might have been French or Italian, just as appropriately as 
Spanish. It is the art of virtuosos of the brush, and Fortuny 
himself is the initiator of a religion which found its enthusiastic 
followers, not in Madrid alone, but in Naples, Paris, and Rome. 
Yet Spanish painting, so far as it is individual, works even 
now upon the lines of Fortuny. After his death it divided 
into two streams. The official endeavour of the academies was 
to keep the grand historical painting in flower, in accord with 
the proud programme announced by Francisco Tubino in his 
brochure The Renaissance of Spanish Art. "Our contem- 
porary artists," he writes, " fill all civilized Europe with their 
fame, and are the object of admiration on the far side of the 
Atlantic. We have a peculiar school of our own with a 
hundred teachers, and it shuns comparison with no school in 
any other country. At home the Academy of the Fine Arts 
watches over the progress of painting ; it has perfected the 
laws by which our Academy in Rome is guided, the Academy 
in the proud possession of Spain and situated so splendidly 
upon the Janiculum. In Madrid there is a succession of biennial 
exhibitions, and there is no deficiency in prizes nor in purchases. 
Spanish painting does not merely adorn the citizen's house or the 
boudoir of the fair sex with easel-pieces; by its productions it 
recalls the great episodes of popular history, which are able to 
excite men to glorious deeds. Austere, like our national character, 
it forbids fine taste to descend to the painting of anything 
indecorous. Before everything we want grand paintings for our 



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78 MODERN PAINTING 

galleries ; the commercial spirit is no master of ours. In such 
a way the glory of Zurburan, Murillo, and Velasquez lives once 
more in a new sense." 

The results of such efforts were those historical pictures which 
at the Paris World Exhibition of 1878, the Munich International 
Exhibition of 1883, and at every larger exhibition since became 
so exceedingly refreshing to all admirers of the illustration of 
history upon ground that was genuinely Spanish. At the Paris 
World Exhibition of 1878, Pradilla's "Joan .the Mad" received 
the large gold medal, and was indeed a good picture in the 
manner of Laurens. Philip the Fair is dead. The funereal 
train, paying him the last honours, has come to a halt upon a 
high-road, and the unhappy princess rushes up with floating hair 
and staring eyes fixed upon the bier which hides the remains 
of her husband. The priests and women kneeling around regard 
the unfortunate mad woman with mournful pity. To the right 
the members of the Court are grouped near a little chapel where 
a priest is celebrating a mass for the dead; to the left the peasantry 
are crowding round to witness the ceremony. Great wax candles 
are burning, and the chapel is lit up with the sombre glow of 
torches. This was all exceedingly well painted, carefully balanced 
in composition, and graceful in drawing. At the Munich Ex- 
hibition of 1883 he received the gold medal for his "Surrender 
of Granada, 1492," a picture which made a great impression at 
the time upon the German historical painters, as Pradilla had 
made a transition from the brown bituminous painting of Laurens 
to a " modern " painting in grey, which did more justice to the 
illumination of objects beneath the open sky. In the same year 
Casadds large painting " The Bells of Huesca," with the ground 
streaming with blood, fifteen decapitated bodies and as many 
bodiless heads, was a creation which was widely admired. Vera 
had exhibited his picture, filled with wild fire and pathos, " The 
Defence of Numantia," and Manuel Ramirez his " Execution of 
Don Alvaro de Luna," with the pallid head which has rolled 
from the steps and stares at the spectator in such a ghastly 
manner. In his " Conversion of the Duke of Gandia," Moreno 
Carbonero displayed an open coffin d la Laurens : as Grand 



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Equerry to the Empress 
Isabella at the Court of 
Charles V., the Duke of 
Gandia, after the death 
of his mistress, has to 
superintend the burial of 
her corpse in the vault at 
Granada, and as the coffin 
is opened there, to confirm 
the identity of the person, 
the distorted features of 
the dead make such a 
powerful impression upon 
the careless noble that 
he takes a vow to devote 
himself to God. Ricardo 
VUlodas in his picture 
" Victoribus Gloria " re- 
presents the beginning ol 
one of those sea-battles 

which Augustus made gladiators fight for the amusement of the 
Roman people. By Antonio Casanova y Estorach there was 
a picture of King Ferdinand the Holy, who upon Maundy 
Thursday is washing the feet of eleven poor old men and 
giving them food. And a special sensation was made by the 
great ghost picture of Benliure y Gil, which he named "A 
Vision in the Colosseum." Saint Almaquio, who was slain, 
according to tradition, by gladiators in the Colosseum, is seen 
floating in the air, as he swings in fanatical ecstasy a crucifix 
from which light is streaming. Upon one side men who have 
borne witness to Christianity with their blood chant their 
hymns of praise ; upon the other troops of female martyrs 
clothed in white and holding tapers in their hands move by ; 
but below the earth has opened and the dead rise for 
the celebration of this midnight service, praying from their 
graves, while the full moon shines through the windows of the 
ruins and pours its pale light upon the phantom congregation. 



Pradilla: a Fresco at the Murga Palace. 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Anftai UHMftt Z4i/,] 



Fradilla: "On the Beach.*^ 



Ha»^/>taH^i htJitt, 



There was exhibited by CAeca "A Barbarian Onset," a Gallic 
horde of riders thundering past a Roman temple, from which 
the priestesses are flying in desperation. Francisco Amerigo 
treated upon a huge canvas a scene from the sacking of Rome 
in 1527, when the despoiling troops of Charles V. plundered 
the Eternal City. " Soldiers intoxicated with wine and lust, 
tricked out with bishops* mitres and wrapped in the robes of 
priests, are desecrating the temples of God. Nunneries are 
violated, and fathers kill their daughters to save them from 
shame." So ran the historical explanation set upon the broad 
gold frame. 

But, after all, these historical pictures, in spite of their great 
spaces of canvas, are of no consequence when one comes to 
characterize the efforts of modern art. Explanations could be 
given showing that in the land of bull-fights this painting of 
horrors maintained itself longer than elsewhere, but the hopes 
of those who prophesied from it a new golden period for 
historical painting were entirely disappointed. For Spanish art, 
as in earlier days for French art, the historical picture has 
merely the importance implied by the Prix de Rome, A 



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SPAIN 83 

method of colouring which is often dazzling in result, and 
a vigorous study of nature, preserved from the danger of 
"beautiful" tinting, make the Spanish works different from the 
older ones. Their very passion often has an effect which is 
genuine, brutal, and of telling power. In the best of these 
pictures one believes that a wild temperament really does burst 
in flame through the accepted convention that the painters 
have delight in the horrible, which the older French artists 
resorted to merely for the purpose of preparing veritable tableaux. 
But in the rank and file, in place of the Southern vividness of 
expression which has been sincerely felt, histrionic pose is the 
predominant element, the petty situation of the stage set upon 
a gigantic canvas, and in addition to this a straining after effect 
which grazes the boundary line where the horrible degenerates 
into the ridiculous. Through their extraordinary ability they 
all compel respect, but they have not enriched the treasury of 
modem emotion, nor have they transformed the older historical 
painting in the essence of its being. And the man who handles 
again and again motives derived from what happens to be the 
mode in colours renders no service to art. Delaroche is dead ; 
but though he may be disinterred he cannot be brought to 
life, and the Spaniards merely dug out of the earth mummies 
in which the breath of life was wanting. Their works are 
not guide-posts to the future, but the last revenants of that 
histrionic spirit which wandered like a ghost through the art 
of all nations. Even the composition, the shining colours, the 
settles and carpets picturesquely spread upon the ground, are 
the same as in Gallait. How often have these precious stage- 
properties done duty in tragic funereal service since Delaroche's 
" Murder of the Duke of Guise " and Piloty's " Seni " ! 

And these conceptions nourished upon historical painting had 
an injurious influence upon the handling of the modern picture 
of the period. Even here there is an endeavour to make a 
compromise with the traditional historic picture, since artists 
painted scenes from modern popular life upon great spaces of 
canvas, transforming them into pageants or pictures of tragical 
ceremonies, and sought too much after subjects with which 



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MODERN PAINTING 




ViLi.EGAs: "The Death or the Matador. 



the splendid and motley colours of historical painting would 
accord. Viniegra y Lasso and Mas y Fondevilla execute great 
processions filing past, with bishops, monks, priests, and choristers. 
All the figures stand beaming in brightness against the sky, but 
the light glances from the oily mantles of the figures without 
real effect. Alcazar Tejedor paints a young priest reading his 
" First Mass " in the presence of his parents, and merely renders 
a theatrical scene in modem costume, merely transfers to an 
event of the present that familiar " moment of highest excite- 
ment" so popular since the time of Delaroche. By his "Death 
of the Matador," and " The Christening," bought by Vanderbilt 
for a hundred and fifty thousand francs, Josi Villegas, in ability 
the most striking of them all, acquired a European name ; 
whilst a hospital scene by Luis Jimenez of Seville is the 
Sringle picture in which something of the seriousness of French 
Naturalism is perceptible, but it is an isolated example from a 
province of interest which is otherwise not to be found in 
Spain. 

Indeed the Spaniards are by no means most attractive in 
gravely ceremonial and stiffly dignified pictures, but rather 
when they indulge in unpretentious " little painting " in the 



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SPAIN 85 

manner of Fortuny. Yet even these wayward " little painters/* 
with their varied glancing colour, are not to be properly reckoned 
amongst the moderns. Their painting is an art dependent on 
deftness of hand, and knows no higher aim than to bring 
together in a picture as many brilliant things as possible, to 
make a charming bouquet with glancing effects of costume, 
and the play, the reflections, and the caprices of sunbeams. 
The earnest modern art which sprang from Manet and the 
Fontainebleau painters avoids this kaleidoscopic sport with varied 
spots of colour. All these little folds and mouldings, these 
prismatic arts of blending, and these curious reflections are 
what the moderns have no desire to see : they blink their eyes 
to gain a clearer conception of the chief values ; they simplify ; 
they refuse to be led from the main point by a thousand trifles. 
Their pictures are works of art, while those of the disciples of 
Fortuny are sleights of artifice. In all this bric-d-brac art there 
is no question of any earnest analysis of light. The motley 
spots of colour yield, no doubt, a certain concord of their own ; 
but there is a want of tone and air, a want of all finer senti- 
ment : everything seems to have been dyed, instead of giving 
the effect of colour. Nevertheless those who were independent 
enough not to let themselves be entirely bewitched by the de- 
ceptive adroitness of a conjurer have painted little pictures of 
talent and refinement; taking Fortuny's Rococo works as their 
starting-point, they have represented the fashionable world and 
the highly coloured and warm-blooded life of the people of 
modem Spain with a bold and spirited facility. But they have 
not gone beyond the observation of the external sides of life. 
They can show guitarreros clattering with castanets and pan- 
darets, majas dancing, and ribboned heroes conquering bulls 
instead of Jews and Moors. Yet their pictures are at an) rate 
blithe, full of colour, flashing with sensuous brilliancy, and at 
times they are executed with stupendous skill. 

Martin Rico was for the longest period in Italy with Fortuny,. 
and his pictures also have the glitter of a casket of jewels, the 
pungency of sparkling champagne. Some of his sea-pieces, 
in particular — for instance, those of the canal in Venice and 



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86 MODERN PAINTING 

the Bay of Fontarabia — might have been painted by Fortuny. 
In others he seems quieter and more harmonious than the 
latter. His execution is more powerful, less marked by spirited 
stippling, and his light gains in intensity and atmospheric 
refinement what it loses in mocking caprices, while his little 
figures have a more animated effect, notwithstanding the less 
piquant manner in which they are painted. Their outlines are 
scarcely perceptible, and yet they are seen walking, jostling, 
and pressing against each other, whereas those of Fortuny, 
precisely through the more subtile and microscopic method in 
which they have been executed, often seem as though they 
were benumbed in movement. Certain market scenes, with a 
dense crowd of buyers and sellers, are peculiarly spirited, rapid 
sketches, with a gleaming charm of colour. 

Zamacois, Casanova^ and Raimundo de Madrazo^ Fortuny's 
brother-in-law, show no less virtuosity of the pallet Sea-pieces 
and little landscapes alternate with scenes from Spanish popular 
life, where they revel, like Fortuny, in a scintillating motleyness 
of colour. Later, in Paris, Madrazo was likewise much sought 
after as a painter of ladies' portraits, as he lavished on his 
pictures sometimes a fine haut goUt of fragrant Rococo grace 
d la Chaplin, and sometimes devoted himself with taste and 
deftness to symphonic tours de force d la Carolus Duran. 
Particularly memorable is the portrait of a graceful young girl 
in red, exhibited in the Munich Exhibition of 1883. She is 
seated upon a sofa of crimson silk, and her feet rest upon 
a dark red carpet. And equally memorable was a pierrette 
in the Paris World Exhibition of 1889, whose costume ran 
through the whole gamut from white to rose-colour. Her skirt 
was of a darker, her bodice of a brighter red, and a light 
rose-coloured stocking peeped from beneath a grey silk petti- 
coat; over her shoulders lay a white swansdown cape, and 
white gloves and white silk shoes with rose-coloured bows 
completed her toilette. His greatest picture represented "The 
End of a Mask Ball." Before the Paris Opera cabs are waiting 
with coachmen sleeping or smoking, whilst a troop of pierrots 
and Pierrettes, harlequins, Japanese girls, Rococo gentlemen, and 



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SPAIN 



87 




iHanfstdngl htlio, 
Bknuurk y Gil : *' A Vision in the Colosseum." 

Turkish women are streaming out, sparkling with the most 
glittering colours in the grey winter morning, into which the 
gas of the lamps casts a paling yellow light. 

Even those who made their chief success as historical 
painters became new beings when they came forward with such 
piquant " little paintings." Francisco Domingo in Valencia is 
the Spanish Meissonier, who has painted little horsemen before 
an inn, mercenary soldiers, newspaper-readers, and philosophers 
of the time of Louis XV., with all the daintiness in colour 
associated with the French patriarch — although a huge canvas, 
"The Last Day of Sagunt," has the reputation of being his 
chief performance. In the year in which he exhibited his 
** Vision in the Colosseum," Benliure y Gil had success with two 
little pictures stippled in varied colours, the " Month of Mary " 
and the "Distribution of Prizes in Valencia," in which children, 
smartened and dressed in white frocks, are moving in the 



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Casado: "The Bells of Huesca." 

ante-chambers of a church, which are festally adorned. Casado^ 
painter of the sanguinary tragedy of Huesca, showed himself an 
admirable little master full of elegance and grace in " The 
Bull-fighter's Reward," a small eighteenth-century picture. The 
master of the great hospital picture, Jimenez^ took the world by 
surprise at the very same time by a "Capuchin Friar's Sermon 
before the Cathedral of Seville," which flashed with colour. 
Emilio Sola y Frances, whose historical masterpiece was the 
" Expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1493," delights elsewhere 
in spring. Southern gardens with luxuriant vegetation, and 
delicate Rococo ladies, holding up their skirts filled with blooming 
roses, or bending to the grass to pick field-flowers. Antonio 
Fabris was led to the East by the influence of Regnault, and 
excited attention by his aquarelles and studies in pen and ink, in 
which he represented Oriental and Roman street figures with 
astonishing adroitness. But the ne plus ultra is attained by the 
bold and winning art of Pradilla^ which is like a thing shot out of 



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SPAIN 89 

a pistol. He is the greatest product of contemporary Spain, 
a man of ingenious and improvizing talent, moving with ease 
in the most varied fields. In the bold and spirited decorations 
with which he embellished Spanish palaces, he sported with 
nymphs and Loves and floating genii d la Tiepolo. All the 
grace of the Rococo period is cast over his works in the Palais 
Murga in Madrid. The figures join each other with ease — 
cbquettish nymphs swaying upon boughs, and audacious ** Putti " 
tumbling over backwards in quaint games. Nowhere is there 
academic sobriety, and everywhere life, pictorial inspiration, the 
intoxicating joyousness of a fancy creating without effort and 
revelling in the festal delight of the senses. In the accom- 
panying wall-pictures he revived the age of the troubadours, 
of languishing love-song and knightly romance free from the 
burden of thought, in tenderly graceful and fluent figures. And 
this same painter, who filled these huge spaces of wall, lightly 
dallying with subjects from the world of fable, seems another 
man when he grasps fragments from the life of our own age in 
pithy inspirations sure in achievement. His historical pictures 
are works which compel respect ; but those paintings of the 
most diminutive scale, where he represented scenes from the 
Roman carnival and the life in Spanish camps, the shore of 
the sea and the joy of a popular merry-making, with countless 
figures of the most intense vividness, carried out with an un- 
rivalled execution of detail which is yet free from anything 
laboured, and full of splendour and glowing colour, these indeed 
are performances of painting beside which as a musical counter- 
part at best Paganini's variations on the G string are com- 
parable — sleights of art of which only Pradilla is capable in 
these days, and such as only Fortuny painted thirty years ago. 
In this marvellous acrobat of the pallet the strength of the 
Romance genius is embodied. He not only prescribes subject, 
technique, and colour for the Spaniards of the present, but 
he is also the spiritual ancestor to whom modern Italian 
painting may be traced. 



VOL. m. 



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CHAPTER XXXVI 

ITALY 

Fortunes influence on the Italians, especially on the school of Naples, — 
Domenico Morelli and his followers: F, P. Michetti, Edoardo 
Dalbono^ Alceste Camfriani, Giacomo di ChiricOy Rubens Santoro, 
Edoardo Toffano. — Prominence of the costume-picture, — Venice : 
Favrettoy Lonza, — Florence: Andreotti, Conti, Gelli, Vinea, — The 
peculiar position of Segantini, — OtheT^wise anecdotic painting still 
preponderates.— Chiericit Rotta^ Vannuttelli, Monteverde, Tito, — 
Reasons why the further development of modern art was generally 
completed not so much on Latin as on Germanic soil, 

THE sun of Italy has not grown paler ; the Gulf of Baiae 
shines with its old brightness ; the mighty oaks of Lerici 
still grow luxuriantly ; the marvels of Michael Angelo and Titian 
still hang in the galleries ; and it is only the painting of Italy 
that has nothing any longer of that lofty majesty in the shadow 
of which the world lay in the sixteenth century : it has become 
petty, worldly, and frivolous. This reflection runs through most 
discussions on modern Italian pictures as a burden of complaint, 
whereas it would be more just to make it a matter of praise 
for the moderns that they should differ from the old masters. 
To compare living Italy with the past, to hold up for ever the 
great geniuses of old time as figures of warning before the 
painters of the present, were to condemn the latter to a stationary 
condition, to the activity of mere copyists. It is a sign of power 
and self- consciousness that, instead of copying their great 
masters, they have founded a new and original school by their 
own efforts— that, even in this country, where the artist is 
oppressed by the wealth of old masterpieces, painting has 



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ITALY 91 

created for itself a style of its own. Italy is no longer eccle- 
siastical, no longer papal, but has become a modem and 
mundane country, a new nation. This is reflected in Italian 
pictures. They are vivid and joyous like the Italian people. 
And to have won this freedom is the merit of the living genera- 
tion. Even at the World Exhibition of 1855 Edmond About 
called Italy "the grave of painting" in his Voyage a travers 
r Exposition des Beaux-Arts, He mentions a few Piedmontesc 
professors, but about Florence, Naples, and Rome he found 
nothing to say. "And Venice?" he queries at the end. "Venice 
is situated in Austria." The Great Exhibition of 1862 in England 
was productive of no more favourable criticism, for W. Burger's 
account is as little consolatory as About *s. '* Renowned Italy 
and proud Spain," writes Burger, "have no longer any painters 
who can rival those of other schools. There is nothing to be 
said about the rooms where the Italians, Spanish, and Swiss 
are exhibited." It was only at the World Exhibition of 1867, 
after the young kingdom had been founded, that tendencies 
towards a certain elevation were displayed, and now Italy has 
a throng of vigorous painters. In Angelo de Gubernati's lexicon 
of artists there are over two thousand names, some of which 
are favourably known in other countries also. Italia fard da sc 
has likewise become a saying in art. 

Whether it be from direct influence or similarity of origin, 
Fortuny has found his ablest successors amongst the Neapolitan 
artists. As early as the seventeenth century the school of 
painting there was very different from those in the rest of Italy ; 
the Greek blood of the population and the wild, romantic 
scenery of the Abruzzi gave it a peculiar stamp. Southern brio, 
the joy of life, colour, and warmth, in contrast with the noble 
Roman ideal of form, were the qualities of Salvator Rosa, Luca 
Giordano, and Ribera, bold and fiery spirits. And a breath of 
such power seems to live in their descendants still. Even now- 
Neapolitan painting sings, dances, and laughs in a bacchanal of 
colour, pleasure, delight in life, and glowing sunshine. 

A wild and restless spirit, Domenico Morelli, whose biograph>' 
is like a chapter from Rinaldo Rinaldini, is the head of this 



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MODERN PAINTING 




KuHst fur All*.] 



MoRELLi: "The Temptation of St. Anthony." 



Neapolitan school. He was born on August 4th, 1826, and in 
his youth he is said to have been, first a pupil in a seminary of 
priests, then an apprentice with a mechanician, and for some 
time even facchino. He never saw such a thing as an academy. 
Indeed it was a Bohemian life that he led, taking his meals on 
bread and cheese, wandering for weeks together with Byron's 
poems in his pocket upon the seashore between Posilippo and 
Baiae. In 1848 he fought against King Ferdinand, and was left 
severely wounded on the battle-field. After these episodes of 
youth he first became a painter, beginning his career in 1855 
with the large picture "The Iconoclasts," followed in 1857 by 
a "Tasso," and in 1858 by a "Saul and David." Biblical 
pictures remained his province even later, and he was the only 
artist in Italy who handled these subjects from an entirely 
novel point of view, pouring into them a peculiarly exalted and 
imaginative spirit A Madonna rocking her sleeping Child, 
whilst her song is accompanied by a legion of cherubs playing 
upon instruments, "The Reviling of Christ," "The Ascension/' 
"The Descent from the Cross," "Christ walking on the Sea," 
"The Raising of the Daughter of Jairus," "The Expulsion of 



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ITALY 



93 



the Money-Changers from 
the Temple," "The Marys 
at the Grave," " Salve 
Regina," and " Mary 
Magdalen meeting Christ 
Risen from the Grave," 
are the principal stages of 
his great Christian epic, 
and in their imaginative 
naturalism a new revo- 
lutionary language finds 
utterance through all these 
pictures. There is in them 
at times something of the 
mystical quietude of the 
East, and at times some- 
thing of the passionate 
breath of Eugene Dela- 
croix. In these pictures 
he revealed himself as a 
true child of the land of 
the sun, a lover of paint- 
ing which scintillates and 
flickers. As yet hard, pon- 
derous, dark, and plastic 
in " The Iconoclasts," he 
was a worshipper of light 
and resplendent in colour 
in the "Mary Magdalen." 

"The Temptation of St. Anthony" probably marks the summit 
of his creative power in the matter of colour. Morelli has con- 
ceived the whole temptation as an hallucination. The saint 
squats upon the ground, claws with his fingers, and closes his 
eyes to protect himself from the thoughts, full of craving sen- 
suality, which are flaming in him. Yet they throng ever more 
thickly, take shape ever more distinctly, are transformed into 
red-haired women who detach themselves from corners upon all 




Kunsifiir AiU.} 

MicHETTi: "The Corpus Domini Procession 
AT Chieti." 



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94 MODERN PAINTING 




iUan/stangl helio, 
MicHETTX : " Going to Church." 



sides. They rise from beneath the matting, wind nearer from 
the depth of the cavern, even the breeze caressing the fevered 
brow of the tormented man changes into the head of a kissing 
girl. Only Naples could produce an artist at once so bizarre, 
so many-sided and incoherent, so opulent and strange. Younger 
men of talent trooped around him. A fiery spirit, haughty and 
independent, he became the teacher of all the younger genera- 
tion. He led them to behold the sun and the sea, to marvel 
at nature in her radiant brightness. Through him the joy in 
light and colour came into Neapolitan painting, that rejoicing 
in colour which touches such laughing concords in the works of 
his pupil Pao/o Michetti, 

A man of bold and magnificent talent, the genuine product 
of the wild Abruzzi, Michetti was the son of a day-labourer, 
like Morelli. However, a man of position became the protector 
of the boy, who was early left an orphan. But neither at the 
Academy at Naples, nor in Paris and London, did this continue 
long. As early as 1876 he was back in Naples, and settled 
amid the Abruzzi, close to the Adriatic, in Francavilla a Mare, 
near Ostona, a little nest passed just before the traveller goes 
on board the Oriental steamer in Brindisi. Here he lives out 
of touch with old pictures, in the thick of the vigorous life of 
the Italian people. In 1877 he painted the work which laid 
the foundation of his celebrity, " The Corpus Domini Procession 
at Chieti," a picture which rose like a firework in its boisterous, 
rejoicing, and glaring motleyness of colour. The procession is 



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ITALY 95 

seen just coming out of church : men, women, naked children, 
monks, priests, a canopy, choristers with censers, old men and 
youths, people who kneel and people who laugh, the mist of 
incense, the beams of the sun, flowers scattered on the ground, 
a band of musicians, and a church facade with rich and many- 
coloured ornaments. There is the play of variously hued silk, 
and colours sparkle in all the tints of the prism. Everything 
laughs, the faces and the costumes, the flowers and the sun- 
beams. Following upon this came a picture which he called 
"Spring and the Loves." It represented a desolate promontory 
in the blue sea, and upon it a troop of Cupids, playing round 
a blooming hedge of hawthorn, are scuffling, buffeting each 
other, and leaping more riotously than the Neapolitan street- 
boys. Some were arrayed like little Japanese, some like Grecian 
terra-cotta figures, whilst a marble bridge in the neighbourhood 
was shining in indigo blue. The whole picture gleamed with 
red, blue, green, and yellow patches of colour : a serpentine dance 
painted twelve years before the appearance of Loie Fuller. Then 
he painted the sea again. It is noon, and the sultry heat broods 
over the azure tide. Naked fishermen are standing in it, and 
on the shore gaily dressed women are searching for muscles ; 
whilst in the background vessels, with the sun playing on their 
sails, are mirrored brightly in the water. Or the moon is rising 
and casts greenish reflections upon the body of Christ, which 
shines like phosphorus as it is being taken from the cross : or 
there is a flowery landscape upon a summer evening ; birds are 
making their nest for the night, and little angels are kissing 
each other and laughing. In all these pictures Michetti showed 
himself an improviser of astonishing dexterity, solving every 
difficulty as though it were child's play, and shedding a brilliant 
colour over everything — a man to whom " painting " was as 
much a matter of course as orthography is to ourselves. Even 
the Paris World Exhibition of 1878 made him celebrated as an 
artist, and from that time his name was to the Italian ear a 
symbol for something new, unexpected, wild, and extravagant 
The word "Michetti" means splendid materials,' dazzling flesh- 
tones, conflicting hues set with intention beside each other, the 



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96 MODERN PAINTING 

luxuriant bodies of women basking in heat and sun, fantastic 
landscapes created in the mad brain of the artist, strange and 
curious frames, and village idylls in the glowing blaze of the 
sun. There are no lifeless spots in his works; every whim of 
his takes shape, as if by sorcery, in splendid figures. 

Another pupil of Morelli, Edoardo Dalbono^ completed his 
duty to history by a scene of horror a la Laurens, "The 
Excommunication of King Manfred," and then became the 
painter of the Bay of Naples. "The Isle of Sirens*' was the 
first production of his able, appetizing, and nervously vibrating 
brush. There is a steep cliff dropping sheer into the blue sea. 
Two antique craft are drawing near, the crews taking no heed 
of the reefs and sandbanks. With phantom-like gesture the 
naked women stretch out their arms beckoning, embodiments 
as they are of the deadly beautiful and voluptuously cruel 
ocean. By degrees the sea betrayed to him all its secrets — its 
strangest combinations of colour and atmospheric effects, its 
transparency, and its eternally shifting phases of ebb and flow. 
He has painted the Bay of Naples under bright, hot noon and 
the gloom of night, in the purple light of the sinking sun, and 
in the strange and many-coloured mood of twilight. At one 
moment it shines and plays variegated and joyous in blue, 
grass-green, and violet tones ; at another it seems to glitter 
with millions of phosphorescent sparks : and the rosy clouds of 
the sky are glassed in it, and the lights of the hou.ses irregularly 
dotted over abrupt mountain-chains, or the dark-red glow of 
lava luridly shining from Vesuvius. Now and then he painted 
scenes from Neapolitan street-life — old, weather-beaten seamen, 
young sailors with features as sharply cut as if cast in bronze, 
beautiful, fiery, brown women, shooting the hot Southern flame 
from their eyes, houses painted white or orange-yellow, in 
the windows of which the sun is glittering. The "Voto alia 
Madonna der Carmine" was the most comprehensive of these 
Southern pictures. Everything shines in joyous blue, yellowish- 
green, and red colours. Warmth, life, light, brilliancy, and 
laughter are the elements on which his art is based. 

Alceste Campriani, Giacamo di Chirico^ Rubens SantorOy Federigo 



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ITALY 97 

Cortese^ Francesco Nettiy Edoardo 
Toffano^ Giuseppe de NigriSy have, 
all of them, this kaleidoscopic 
sparkle, this method of painting 
which gives pictures the appear- 
ance of being mosaics of precious 
stones. As in the days of the 
Renaissance, the Church is usually 
the scene of action, though not 
any longer as the house of God, 
but as the background of a 
coloured throng. As a rule these 
pictures contain a crowd of cano- 
pies, priests and choristers, and Giacomo FAVRErto. 
country-folk, bowing or kneeling 

when the host is carried by, or weddings, horse-races, and country 
festivals ; and everything is vivid and joyous in colour, saturated 
with the glowing sun of Naples. Alceste Campriani's chief work 
was entitled "The Return from Montevergine." Carriages and 
open rack-waggons are dashing along, the horses snorting and 
the drivers smacking their whips, while the peasants, who have 
had their fill of sweet wine, are shouting and singing, and the 
orange-sellers in the street are crying their goods at a cheap price. 
A coquettish, glancing light plays over the gay costumes, and 
the white dust sparkles like fluid silver, as it rises beneath the 
hoofs of the horses wildly plunging forward. The leading work 
of Giacomo di Chirico, who became mad in 1883, was "A 
Wedding in the Basilicata." It represents a motley crowd. The 
entire village has set out to see the ceremony. The wedding- 
guests are descending the church steps to the square, which is 
decked out with coloured carpets and strewn with flowers. 
Triumphal arches have been built, and the pictures of the 
Madonna are hung with garlands. Meanwhile the sindaco 
gives his arm to the bride, beneath whose gay costume a charm- 
ingly graceful little foot is peeping out. Then the bridegroom 
follows with the sindaco's wife. With curiosity all the village 
girls are looking on, and the musicians are playing. Winter has 



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98 



MODERN PAINTING 




Favretto: "On the Piazzetta." 



IHan/itaHgi hclw. 



covered the square with a white cloak of snow ; yet the 
sunbeams sport over it, making it shine vividly with a thousand 
reflections. 

Of course the derivation of all these pictures is easily recog- 
nizable. Almost all the Neapolitan painters studied at Fortuny's 
in the seventies in Rome, and when they came home again they 
perceived that the life of the people offered themes which had a 
coquettish fitness in Fortuny's scale of tones. From the variously 
coloured magnificence of old churches, the red robes of eccle- 
siastics, the gaudy splendour of the country-people's clothes, and 
the gay glory of rags amongst the Neapolitan children, they 
composed a modern Rococo, rejoicing in colour, whilst the 
Spaniard had fled to the past to attain his gleaming eflfects. 

A great number of the Italians do the same even now. In 
numerous costume-pictures from the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries, flashing with silk and velvet, the Southerner's bright 
pleasure in colour still loves to celebrate its orgies. Gay trains 
rustle, rosy Loves laugh down from the walls, Venetian chandeliers 
shed their radiance ; no other epoch in history enables the painter 
with so much ease to produce juicily blooming, full-toned chords 
of colour. With his shining glow of hue, the appetizing and 
spirited Favretto (who, like Fortuny, entered the world of art as 
a victor, and, like him again, was snatched from it! when barely 



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Favretto: *' Susanna and the Elders." 



iHanfstdMgi helio^ 



thirty-seven, after a brief and brilliant career) stands at the head 
of this group. The child of poor parents, indeed the son of a 
joiner, he was born in Venice in 1849, and, like the Spaniard, 
passed a youth which was full of privations. But all the cares 
of existence, even the loss of an eye, did not hinder him from 
seeing objects under a laughing brightness of colour. Through 
his studies and the bent of his fancy he had come to be no less at 
home in the Venice of the eighteenth century than in that of his 
own time. This Venice of Francesco Guardi, this city of en- 
chantment surrounded with the gleam of olden splendour, the 
scene of rich and brilliantly coloured banquets and a graceful 
and modish society, rose once more under Favretto*s hands in 
fabulous beauty. What brio of technique, what harmony of 
colours, were to be found in the picture " Un Incontro," the 
charming scene upon the Rialto Bridge, with the bowing cavalier 
and the lady coquettishly making her acknowledgments ! This 
was the first picture which gave him a name in the world. What 
fanfares of colour were in the two next pictures, " Banco Lotto " 
and " Erbajuolo Veneziano " ! At the exhibition in Turin in 
1883 he was represented by "The Bath" and "Susanna and 



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mcnt of the Piazzetta at the hour of the promenade, from the Doge's 
palace to the h'brary, and from the Square of St Mark to the 
pillar of the lions and Theodore, to and fro in surging life. Men 
put up their glasses and chivalrously greeted the queens of 
beauty. The enchanting magic building of Sansovino, the loggetta 
with their bright marble pillars, bronze statues of blackish grey, 
and magnificent lattice doors, formed the background of the 
standing and sauntering groups, whose variegated costumes 
united with the tones of marble and bronze to make a most 
beautiful assemblage of colours. Favretto had a manner of his 
own, and, although a member of the school of Fortuny, he was 
stronger and healthier than the latter. He drew like a genuine 
painter, without having too much of the Fortuny fireworks. His 
soft, rich painting was that of a colourist of distinction, always 
tasteful, exquisite in tone, and light and appetizing in technique. 



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lOI 




Munich Phoiographic Union.] 

CoNTi: "The Lutk-Player.'* 



By the other 
Italian cos- 
tume - painters 
the scale run 
through by 
Fortuny was 
not enriched 
by new notea 
Most of their 
pictures are 
nugatory, co- 
quettishly 
sportive toys, 
masterly in 
technique no 

doubt, but so empty of substance that they vanish from memory 
like novels read upon a railway journey. Many have no greater 
import than dresses, cloaks, and hats worn by ladies during 
a few weeks of the season. Sometimes their significance is not 
even so great, since there are modistes and dressmakers who 
have more skill in making ruches and giving the right nuance 
to colours. Some small part of Favretto's refined taste seems 
to have been communicated to the Venetian Antonio Lonza^ who 
delights in mingling the gleaming splendour of Oriental carpets, 
fans, and screens amid the motley, picturesque costumes of the 
Rococo period — Japanese who perform as jugglers and knife- 
throwers in quaint Rococo gardens before the old Venetian 
nobility. But the centre of this costume-painting is Florence, 
and the great mart for it the Societh artistica^ where there are 
yearly exhibitions. 

Francesco Vinea, Tito Conti, Federigo Andreotti, and Edoardo 
Gelli are in Italy the special manufacturers who have devoted 
themselves, with the assistance of Meissonier, G6r6me, and For- 
tuny, to scenes from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, 
to plumed hats, Wallenstein boots, and horsemen's capes, to 
Renaissance lords and laughing Renaissance ladies, and they 
have thereby won great recognition in Germany. Pretty, Ian- 



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MODERN PAINTING 



guishing women in richly 
coloured costumes, tippling 
soldiers and gallant cava- 
liers, laughing peasant 
women and trim serving- 
girls drawing wine in the 
cellar-vaults and setting 
it before a trooper, who 
in gratitude affectionately 
puts his arm round their 
waist, beautiful and still 
more languishing noble 
ladies, who laugh with a 
parrot or a dog instead of 
the trooper in apartments 
richly furnished with Gobe- 
lins — such for the most 
part are the subjects 
treated by Francesco Vinea 
with great virtuosity bor- 
dering on the routine of a typewriter. His technique is neither 
refined nor fascinating ; the colours are so crude that they 
affect the eye as a false note the ear. But the mechanical 
power of his painting is great. He has much ability, far more 
indeed than Sichel, and possesses the secret of painting, in an 
astonishing manner, the famous lace kerchiefs wound round the 
heads of his fair ones. Andreotti and Tito Conti work in the 
same fashion, except that the ballad-singers and rustic idylls 
of Andreotti are the smoother and more mawkish, whereas the 
pictures of Conti make a somewhat more refined and artistic 
effect. His colour is superior and more transparent, and his 
tapestry backgrounds are warmer. 

And, so far as one can judge from their pictures, life runs 
as merrily for the Italians of the present as it did for those 
Rococo cavaliers. Hanging here and there beside the serious 
art of other nations, these little picture-people enjoy their care- 
less tinsel pomp ; art is a gay thing for them, as gay as a 




Tito: "The Slipper-Seller.' 



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ITALY 



103 




Brothers sc. 



Segantini : " The Punishment of Luxury." 



Sunday afterncK>n with a procession and fireworks, walks and 
sips of sherbet, to an Italian woman. By the side of the blue- 
plush and red-velvet costume-picture comic £'enre still holds its 
sway : barbaric in colour and with materials which are merrier 
than is appropriate in tasteful pictures, Gcetano Chierici repre- 
sents children, both good and naughty, making their appearance 
upon a tiny theatre. Antonio Rotta renders comic episodes from 
the life of Venetian cobblers and the menders of nets. Scipione 
Vannuttellt paints young girls in white dresses arrayed as nuns 
or being confirmed in church. Francesco Monteverde rejoices in 
comical intermezzi in the style of Griitzner— for instance, an 
ecclesiastical gentleman observing, to his horror, that his pretty 
young servant-girl is being kissed by a smart lad in the yard. This 
is more or less his style of subject Ettore Tito paints the pretty 
Venetian laundresses whom Passini, Cecil van Haanen, Charles 
Ulrich, Eugene Blaas, and others introduced into art. Some also 
struck deeper notes. Luigi Nono, in Venice, painted his beautiful 
picture " Refugium Peccatorum ; " Ferragutti, the Milanese, his 
** Workers in the Turnip Field," a vivid study of sunlight of serious 
veracity ; and more recently Giovanni Segantini has come forward 



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I04 MODERN FAINTING 

with some very uncommon pieces, in which he demonstrated that 
it is possible for a man to be an Italian and yet a serious artist 

Segantini's biography is like a novel. Born the child of poor 
parents, in Arco, in 1858, he was left, after the death of his 
parents, to the care of a relative in Milan, with whom he passed 
a most unhappy time. He then wanted to make his fortune in 
France, and set out upon foot ; but he did not get very far, and, 
indeed, took a situation as a swine-herd beneath a land-steward. 
After this he lived for a whole year alone in the wild mountains, 
worked in the field, the stable, the barn. Then came the well- 
known discovery, which one could not believe were it not to be 
read in Gubernati. One day he drew the finest of his pigs with 
a piece of charcoal upon a mass of rock. The peasants ran in a 
crowd and took the block of stone, together with the young 
Giotto, in triumph to the village. He was given assistance, 
visited the School of Art in Milan, and now paints the things 
he did in his youth. A thousand metres across the sea, in a 
secluded village of the Alps, Val d'Albola in Switzerland, amid 
the grand and lofty mountains, he settled down, surrounded 
only by the peasants who extort their livelihood from the soil. 
Out of touch with the world of artists the whole year round, 
observing great nature at every season and every hour of the 
day, fresh and straightforward in character, he is one of those 
natures of the type of Millet, in whom heart and hand, man 
and artist, are one and the same thing. His shepherd and 
peasant scenes from the valleys of the high Alps are free from 
all flavour of genre. The life of these poor and humble beings 
passes without contrasts and passions, being spent altogether 
in work, which fills the long course of the day in monotonous 
regularity. The sky sparkles with a sharp brilliancy. The 
spiky yellow and tender green of the fields forces its way 
modestly from the rocky ground. In front is something like 
a hedge where a cow is grazing, or there is a shepherdess 
giving pasture to her sheep. Something majestic there is in 
this cold nature, where the sunshine is so sharp, the air so thin. 
And the primitive, it might almost be said antique, execution 
of these pictures is in accord with the primitive simplicity of 



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ITALY . los 

the subjects. In fact Segantini's pictures, with their cold silvery- 
colours, and their contours so sharp in outlines, standing out 
hard against the rarified air, make an impression like encaustic 
paintings in wax, or mosaics. They have nothing alluring or 
pleasing, and there is, perhaps, even a touch of mannerism in 
this mosaic painting ; but they are nevertheless exceedingly true, 
rugged, austere, and yet sunny, and as soon as one has seen 
them one begins to admire an artist who pursues untrodden 
paths alone. There is something Northern and virginal, some- 
thing earnest and grandiose, which stands in strange contrast 
with the joyful, conventional smile which is otherwise spread 
over the countenance of Italian painting. 

With the exception of Segantini, not one of these painters 
will own that there are poverty-stricken and miserable people 
in his native land. An everlasting blue sky still laughs over 
Italy, merely sunshine and the joy of life rule still over 
Italian pictures. There is no work in sunny Italy, and in spite 
of that there is no hunger. Even where work is being done, 
there are assembled only the fairest girls of Lombardy, who 
kneel laughing and jesting on the strand, while the wind dallies 
with their clothes. They have a special delight for showing 
themselves while engaged at their toilette, in a bodice, their little 
feet in neat little slippers, their naked arms raised to arrange 
their red-gold hair. As a rule, however, they do nothing what- 
ever but smile at you with their most seductive smile, which 
shows their pearl-white teeth, and ensnares every poor devil 
who does not suspect that they have smiled for years in the 
same way, and most of all with him who pays highest : '^faime 
les kontmes parce que faime les truffesr These pictures are almost 
throughout works which are well able to give pleasure to their 
possessor, only they seldom suggest discussion on the course 
of art. Trop de marchandise is the phrase generally used in 
the Paris Salon when the Italians come under consideration. 
Few there are amongst them who are real pioneers, spirits 
pressing seriously forward and having a quickening influence 
for others. The vital questions of the painting of free light. 
Impressionism, and Naturalism do not interest them in the 

VOL. III. 8 



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io6 MODERN PAINTING 

least. A naYve, pleasant, lively, and self-complacent technique 
is in most cases the solitary charm of their works. One feels 
scarcely any inclination to search the catalogue for the painters 
name, and whether the beauty — for she is not the first of her 
kind — who was called Ninetta last year has now become Lisa. 
Most of these modern Italians execute their pictures in the 
way in which gold pieces are minted, or in the way in which 
plastic works, which run through so many editions, are produced 
in Italy. Nowhere are more beautiful laces chiselled, and in 
the same manner painters render the shining splendour of satin 
and velvet, the glittering brilliancy of ornaments, and the starry 
radiance of the beautiful tyt:& of women. Only as soon as one 
has once seen them one knows the pictures by heart as one 
knows the works in marble, and this is so because the painters 
had them by heart first Everywhere there are the evidences 
of talent, industry, ability, and spirit, but there is no soul in 
the spirit and no life in the colours. So many brilliant tones 
stand beside each other, and yet there is neither a refined tone 
nor the impression of truth to nature. 

In all this art of theirs there is scarcely a question of any 
serious landscape. Apart from the works of some of the 
younger men — for instance, Belloniy Serra^ Gola^ Filippini^ and 
others, who display an intimacy of observation which is worthy 
of honour — a really close connection with the efforts m^de 
across the Alps is not achieved in these days. As a rule the 
landscapes are mere products of handicraft, which are striking 
for the moment by their technical routine, but seldom waken 
any finer feelings, whether the Milanese paint the dazzling 
effects of the Alps, or the Venetians lagunes steeped in light, 
with gondolas and gondola-poles glowing in the sunshine, or 
the Neapolitans, set glittering upon the canvas their beautiful 
bay like a brilliant firework. Most of them continue to pursue 
with complete self-satisfaction the flagged gondola of Ziem ; the 
conquests of the Fontainebleau painters and of the Impressionists 
are unnoticed by them. 

And this industrial characteristic of Italian painting is 
sufficiently explained by the entire character of the country. 



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ITALY 107 

The Italian painter is not properly in a position to seek effects 
of his own and to make experiments. Hardly anything is 
bought for the galleries, and there are few collectors of superior 
taste. He labours chiefly for the traveller, and this gives his 
performances the stamp of attractive mercantile wares. The 
Italian is too much a man of business to undertake great trials 
of strength pour le rot de Prusse, He paints no great pictures, 
which would be still-born children in his home, nor does he 
paint severe studies of plein-air^ preferring a specious, exuberant, 
flickering, and glaring revel in colour. In general he produces 
nothing which will not easily sell, and has a fine instinct for 
the taste of the rich travelling public, who wish to see nothing 
which does not excite cheerful and superficial emotions. 

But it is possible that this decline of the Latin races is 
connected with the nature of modern art itself. Of late the 
words "Germanic" and "Latin" have been much abused. It has 
been proclaimed that the new art meant the victory of the 
German depth of feeling over the Latin sense of form, the 
onset of German cordiality against the empty exaggeration in 
which the imitation of the Cinquecento resulted. Such assertions 
are always hard to maintain, because every century shows similar 
reactions of truth to nature against mannerism. Nevertheless is 
it true that modern art, with its heartfelt devotion to every- 
day life and the mysteries of light, has an essentially Germanic 
character, finding its ancestors not in Raphael, Michael Angelo, 
and Titian, but in the English of the eighteenth, the Dutch of 
the seventeenth, and the Germans of the sixteenth century. The 
Italians and Spaniards, whose entire intellectual culture rests upon 
a Latin foundation, may therefore find it difficult to follow this 
change of taste. They either adhere to the old bombastic and 
theatrical painting of history, or they recast the new painting 
in an external drawing-room art draped with gaudy , tinsel. 
Even in France the rise of the new art meant, as it were, the 
virtory of the Prankish element over the Gallic. Millet the 
Norman, Courbet the Frank, Bastien-Lepage of Lorraine, drove 
back the Latins Ingres and Couture, Cabanel and Bouguereau, 
just as in the eighteenth century the Netherlander Watteau 



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io8 MODERN FAINTING 

broke the yoke of the rigid Latin Classicism. And as in those 
days Watteau was followed by Francois Boucher, who was more 
touched by the Latin spirit, so in these it must be recognized 
that the youngest generation have clothed the spirit of Germanic 
efforts in art once more in a Latin formula In external 
respects French art is still the most imposing in the world. 

What esprit^ what greatness of movement, what sovereign 
sureness runs through their works ; and how provincial, how 
painfully embarrassed, and how uncertain seem those of other 
nations in comparison! The French artist, therefore, moves 
upon the floor of exhibitions with the self-possession of a man 
of the world, who has grown up in high-bred circles, in whom 
all the finesses of social life are part and parcel of his very 
being, and who is, therefore, always a model in matters of good 
taste. The greater number of French artists are interesting^ 
exuberant in talent, novel, and piquant. In the improvement 
of technique — technique absolute and as a thing in itself— lies 
the historical mission of the French. In a certain sense they 
are almost all c/tercheurs. They grapple with the problems 
of colour, of the reflections of light, of the phases of atmo- 
sphere; and in putting out all their strength to master these 
most difficult elements of the phenomenal world and to paint 
them with the utmost illusion of reality, they have, as a matter 
of fact, brought painting — and not merely that of the nineteenth 
century — forward by some degrees as regards the observation of 
nature. Upon its technical side they have taken up the problem 
stated by Millet and Bastien-Lepage : they have established a 
kind of general bass of modern painting, and polished and 
refined its technical instruments in a manner hardly to be 
surpassed. 

But where is the spirit of the new art to be found ? As a 
spurious historical genre came in the wake of Delacroix, the 
initiators Courbet, Manet, and Degas have been multifariously 
succeeded by a spurious modern genre. Since Dagnan-Bouveret 
an element has once more forced its way into painting which 
brings realism and mawkishness into a most unpleasant com- 
bination. Even anecdotic painting is emerging again upon all 



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ITALY 109 

sides. The very being of Naturalism has in many respects 
vanished in company with the ruggedness peculiar to it some 
years ago, while of all that movement of the past decades, with 
its effort after truth, the brightening of the pallet is the only 
thing that has been essentially retained. Everywhere one comes 
across that fascination for the mind which is always given by a 
surprise, something which creates astonishment at the boldness, 
be it greater or less, with which difficult tasks connected with 
the rendering of nature have been solved in painting. But the 
most recent French painting — like the Spanish and Italian — 
has few impressions to offer for the inmost spirit 

These threads of the Germanic aim in art were drawn out 
only by the Germanic nations. Whilst the French are still 
formalists as they were in the times of David, the Teutons have 
used the better technical equipment of the present day as the 
means for expressing the deeper emotions of life. The highest 
art is once more identical with simple nature. In one case 
there is the form of art bearing the impress of pictorial point 
and understanding; in the other it is endowed with substance 
and a soul. In one case a striking effect is made by brilliant 
technique, mastery of the manual art of painting, and careless 
sway over all the enchantments of the craft; in the other one 
stands in the presence of an art which is so natural and simple 
that one scarcely thinks of the means by which it was called 
into being. In one case there is virtuosity, ductility, and grace ; 
in the other health, intrinsic feeling, and temperament. 



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CHAPTER XXXVII 

ENGLAND 

General characteristic of English fainting. — The offshoots of Classicism : 
Lord Leighton, Val Prinstp, Poynter, Alma Tadema. — Japanese ten- 
dencies : Albert Moore. — The animal picture with antique surround- 
ings : Briton-Riviire. — The old genre fainting remodelled in a 
naturalistic sense by George Mason and Frederick Walker.— George 
H, Boughton^ Philip H. Calderon, Marcus Stone, G. D. Leslie, P. G. 
Morris, J. R. Reid, Frank Holl.^The ^trait-painters: OulesSr 
J. % Shannon, James Sant, Charles TV. Furse, Hubert Herkomer.— 
Landscape-painters. — Zigzag development of English landscape- 
painting. — The School of Fontainebleau and the French Impres- 
sionism rose on the shoulders of Constable and Turner, whereas 
England, under the guidance of the Preraphaelites, deviated in the 
opposite direction until prompted by France to return to the old path, — 
Cecil Lawson, James Clarke Hook, Vicat Cole, Colin Hunter, John 
Brett, Inchbold, Leader, Corbett^ Ernest Parton, Mark Fisher, John 
White, Alfred East, J. Aumonier.—The sea-painters : Henry Moore ^ 
W.L. Wyllic—The importance of Venice for English painting: Clara 
Montalba, Luke Fildes, W, Logsdail, Henry Woods.— French in- 
fluences : Dudley Hardy, Stott of Oldham, Stanhope Forbes. 

TO English painting the acquisitions of the French could 
now give little that was radically novel, for the epoch- 
making labours of the Preraphaelites were already in existence. 
Apart from certain cases of direct borrowing, it has either 
completely preserved its autonomy, or recast everything assimi- 
lated from France in a specifically English fashion. It is in 
art indeed as it is with men themselves. The English travel 
more than any other people, for travel is a part of their 
education. They are to be met in every quarter of the globe, 
in Africa, Asia, America, or the European Continent, and they 
scarcely need to open their mouths— even from a distance — to 



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ENGLAND iii 

betray that they are English. In the same way there is no 
need of a catalogue at exhibitions to recognize all English 
pictures at the first glance. English painting is too English 
not to be fond of travel. The painter delights in reconnoitring 
all other schools and studying all styles ; he is as much at 
home in the past as in the present. But as the English 
tourist, let him go to the world's end, retains everywhere his 
own customs, taste, and habits, so English painting, even on 
its most adventurous journeys, remains unwaveringly true to its 
national spirit, and returns from all its wanderings more English 
than before ; it adapts what is alien with the same delicious 
abnegation of all scruple with which the English tongue brings 
foreign words into harmony with its own sense of convenience. 
A certain softness of feeling and tenderness of spirit induce the 
English even in these days to avoid hard contact with reality. 
Their art rejects everything in nature which is harsh, rude^ 
and brutal ; it is an art which polishes and renders the reality 
poetic at the risk of debilitating its power. It considers 
matters from the standpoint of what is pretty, touching, or 
intelligible, and by no means holds that everything true is 
necessarily beautiful. And just as little does the English eye 
—so much occupied with detail — see light in its most exquisite 
subtilties. Indeed it rather sees the isolated fact than the 
total harmony, and is clearer than it is fine. 

For this reason pkin-air painting has very few adepts, and 
the atmospheric influences which blunt the lines of objects, 
efface colours, and bring them nearer to each other, meet with 
no consideration. Things are given all the sharpness of their 
outlines, and the harmony, which in the French follows 
naturally from the observation of light and air saturating form 
and colour, is the *more artificially attained by everything 
being brought into concord in a bright and delicate tone, 
which is almost too fine. The audacities of Impressionism are 
excluded, because painting which starts from a masterly seizure 
of total effect would seem too sketchy to English taste, which 
has been formed by Ruskin. Painting must be highly finished 
and highly elaborated ; that is a conditio sine qua non which 



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Lord Leighton, P.R.A. 



English taste refuses to re- 
nounce in oil-painting as 
little as in water-colour, and 
in England they are more 
narrowly related than else- 
where, and have mutually 
influenced each other in the 
matter of technique. In 
fact English water-colours 
seek to rival oil-painting 
in force and precision, and 
have therefore forfeited the 
charm of improvization, the 
verve of the first jet, and 
the freshness and ease which 
they should have by their 
very character. Through a 
curious change of parts oil- 
painting has a fancy for 
borrowing from water-colours their effects and their processes. 
English pictures have no longer anything heavy or oily, but 
they likewise .show nothing of the manipulation of the brush, 
rather resembling large water-colours, perhaps even pastels or 
wax-painting. The colours are chosen with reserve, and every- 
thing is subdued and softened like the quiet step of the footman 
in the mansion of a nobleman. The special quality in all 
English pictures — putting aside a preference for bright yellow 
and vivid red in the older period — consists in a bluish or 
greenish luminous general tone, to which every English painter 
seems to conform as though it were a binding social convention, 
and it even recurs in English landscapes. In fact English 
painting differs from French as England from France. 

France is a great city, and the name of this city is Paris. 
Here, and not in the provinces, lives that fashionable, thinking 
world which has become the guide of the nation and the 
censor of beauty, by the refinement of its taste and its pre- 
eminent intelkct. The ideas which fly throughout the land upon 



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ENGLAND 



"3 




Portfofio,'] iFlamtng sc, 

Leighton: Sir Richard Burton. 



invisible wires are born in 
Paris. Painting, likewise, 
receives them at first 
hand. It stands amid 
the seething whirlpool of 
the age, the heart's-blood 
of the present streams 
through all its veins, and 
there is nothing human 
that is alien to it, neither 
the filth nor the splendour 
of life, its laughter nor its 
misery. All the nerves of 
the great city are vibrat- 
ing in it Paris has made 
her people refined and, at 
the same time, insatiate 
in enjoyment. Every day 

they have need of new impressions and new theories to ward 
off tedium. And thus is explained the universally compre- 
hensive sphere of subject in French painting, and its feverish 
versatility in technique. 

But London has, in no sense, the importance for England 
which Paris has for France. It is a centre of attraction for 
business ; but the more refined classes of society live in the 
country. As soon as one is off in the Dover express country- 
houses fly past on either side of the train. They are all over 
England — upon the shores of the lakes, upon the strand of the 
.sea, upon the tops of the hills. And how pleasant they are, 
how well appointed, how delightful to look at, with their gabled 
roofs and their gleaming brickwork overgrown with ivy ! Around 
them stretches a fresh lawn which is rolled every morning, as 
soft as velvet. Fat oxen, and sheep as white as if they had 
just had a washing, lie upon the grass. Thus all rustic England 
is like a great summer resort, where there is heard no sound 
of the ringing [and throbbing strokes of life. Nor is painting 
allowed to disturb this idyllic harmony. No one wishes that 



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MODEMS PAISTISG 




LoGHTox: The Acts or Peace.* 
iBy p€rmnuum of Om Amkiijpe C4mipmmy, At ammtn of tkt oopyr^kL) 

anything should remind him of the prose of life when his work 
is done and the town has vanished Schiller's assertion, "Life 
is earnest, blithe is art," is here the first law of aesthetics. 

English painting is exclusively an art based on luxur>% 
optimism, and aristocracy ; in its neatness, cleanliness, and good- 
breeding it is exclusively designed to ingratiate itself with 
English ideas of comfort. Yet the pictures have to satisfy very 
different tastes — ^the taste of a wealthy middle-class which 
wishes to have substantial nourishment, and the aesthetic taste 
of an ilite class, the readers of George Eliot and Swinburne, 
which will only tolerate the quintessence of art, the most subtile 
art that can be given. But all these works are not created for 
galleries, but for the drawing-room of a private house, and in 
subject and treatment they have all to reckon with the ascendant 
view that a picture ought in the first place to be an attractive 
article of furniture for the sitting-room. The traveller, the lover 
of antiquity, is pleased by imitation of the ancient style ; the 
sportsman, the lover of country life, has a delight in little rustic 
scenes ; and the women are enchanted with feminine types. 
And everything must be kept within the bounds of what is 
charming, temperate, and prosperous, without in any degree 
suggesting the struggle for existence. The pictures have 
themselves the grace of that mundane refinement from the midst 
of which they are beheld. 



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ENGLAND 

England is the country 
of the sculptures of the 
Parthenon, the country 
where Bulwer Lytton 
wrote his Last Days of 
Pompeiiy and where the 
most Grecian female 
figures in the world may 
be seen to move. Thus 
painters of antique sub- 
jects still play an im- 
portant part in the pursuit 
of English art — probably 
the pursuit of art rather 
than its development. For 
they have never enriched 
the treasury of modern 
sentiment Trained, all of 
them, in Paris or Belgium, 
they are equipped with 
finer taste, and have ac- 
quired abroad a more solid 
ability than James Barry, 
Haydon, and Hinton, the 
half-barbaric English Clas- 
sicists of the beginning 
of the century. But at 
bottom — like Cabanel and 
Bouguereau — they repre- 
sent rigid conservatism in 
opposition to progress, 
and the way in which 
they set about the re- 
construction of an august 
or domestic antiquity is 
only distinguished by an 
English nuance of race 




Leighton : " Psyche's Bath, 



{.By permission of tkt Berlin Photographic Company^ 
thg owners of the copyright.) 



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MODERN PAINTING 




from that of Couture and 
G^r6me. 

Lord Leighton^ the late 
highly cultured President 
of, the Royal Academy, 
was the most dignified 
representative of this ten- 
dency. He was a Classicist 
through and through — in 
the balance of composi- 
tion, the rhythmical flow 
of lines, and the confession 
of faith that the highest 
aim of art is the repre- 
sentation of men and 
women of immaculate 
build. In the picture- 
galleries of Paris, Rome, 
Dresden, and Berlin he 
received his youthful im- 
pressions ; his artistic dis- 
cipline he received under 
Zanetti in Florence, under 
VViertz and Gallait in 
Brussels, under Steinle 

{By permission of tht Corporation of Manchester^ tht jj^ Frankfort and Undcr 
owners of the picture.) * 

Ingres and Ary Scheffcr 
in Paris. Back in England once more, he translated Couture 
into English as Anselm Feuerbach translated him into German 
with greater independence. Undoubtedly there has never been 
anything upon his canvas which could be supposed ungentle- 
manlike. And as a nation is usually apt to prize most the 
very thing which has been denied it and for which it has no 
talent, Leighton was soon an object of admiration to the 
refined world. As early as 1864 he became an associate, and in 
November 1879 President of the Royal Academy. For sixteen 
years he sat like a Jupiter upon his throne in London. An 



Leighton: "The Last Watch of Hero," 



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Broiken photo.} 



Poynter: "The Ides of March." 
iBy ptrmiaaion of tkg Corporatioh of Mancktster^ the owners of the copyright.) 



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ENGLAND 



121 



accomplished man of 
the world and a good 
speaker, a scholar who 
spoke all languages and 
had seen all countries, 
he possessed every 
quality which the pre- 
sident of an academy 
needs to have ; he had 
an exceedingly impos- 
ing presence in his red 
gown, and did the 
honours of his house 
with admirable tact. 

But one stands be- 
fore his works with a 
certain feeling of indif- 
ference. There are few 
artists with so little 
temperament as Lord 
Leighton, few in the 
same degree wanting in 
the magic of individu- 
ality. The purest academical art, as the phrase is understood 
of Ingres, together with academical severity of form, is united 
with a softness of feeling recalling Hofmann of Dresden ; and 
the result is a placid classicality adapted ad usum Delphini, a 
classicality foregoing the applause of artists, but all the more in 
accordance with the taste of a refined circle of ladies. His 
chief works, " The Star of Bethlehem," " Orpheus and Eurydice,*' 
" Jonathan's Token to David," " Electra at the Tomb of 
Agamemnon," " The Daphnephoria," " Venus disrobing for the 
Bath," and the like, are amongst the most refined although the 
most frigid creations of contemporary English art. 

Perhaps the " Captive Andromache *' of 1888 is the quintessence 
of what he aimed at. The background is the court of an ancient 
palace, where female slaves are gathered together fetching water. 

VOL. III. 9 




Dixon photo. \ 

Poynter: "Idle Fears." 
(By permission of Lord HHiingdon, thg owner of the picture. y 



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122 



MODERN PAINTING 




Poynter: "A Visit to ^Esculapius." 
(By permission of the Berlin Photographic Company , the owners of the copyright,"^ 



\ Ati^errr plmiu i»Ct 



In the centre of the stage, as the leading actress, stands 
Andromache, who has placed her pitcher on the ground before 
her,, and waits with dignity until the slaves have finished their 
work. This business of water-drawing has given Leighton an 
opportunity for combining an assemblage of beautiful poses. The 
widow of Hector expresses a queenly sorrow with decorum, 
while the amphora-bearers are standing or walking hither and 
thither, in the manner demanded by the pictures upon Grecian 
vases, but without that sureness of line which comes of the real 
observation of life. In its dignity of style, in the noble com- 
position and purity of the lines which circumscribe the forms 
with so much distinction and in so impersonal a manner, the 
picture is an arid and measured work, cold as marble and smooth 
as porcelain. " Hercules wrestling with Death for the Body of 
Alcestis" might be a Grecian relief upon a sarcophagus, so 
carefully balanced are the masses and the lines. The pose of 
Alcestis is that of the nymphs of the Parthenon ; only it would 



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ENGLAND 



123 




VArt'\ 



Alma Tadema: ** Sappho.'* 



{JBy p€rmisiion of the Berlin Photographic Company ^ the owners of the copyright.) 

not have been so fine were these not in existence. His " Music 
Lesson *' of 1877 is charming, and his "Elijah in the Wilderness" 
is a work of style. And in his frescoes in the South Kensington 
Museum there is a perfect compendium of beautiful motives of 
gesture. The eye delights to linger over these feminine forms, 
half nude, half enveloped with drapery, yet it notes, too, that 
these creations are composed out of the painter's knowledge and 
artistic reminiscences ; there is a want of life in them, because 
the master has surrendered himself to feeling with the organs of 
a dead Greek. Leighton's colour is always carefully considered, 
scrupulously polished, and endowed with the utmost finish, but it 
never has the magical charm by which one recognizes the work 
of a true colourist. It is rather the result of painstaking study 
and cultivated taste than of personal feeling. The grace of form 
is always carefully prepared — a thing which has the consciousness 
of its own existence. Beautiful and spontaneous as the move- 
ments undoubtedly are, one has always a sense that the artist 
is present, anxiously watching lest any of his actors offend against 
a law of art 

Lord Leighton's pupils, Poynter and Prinsep, followed him 
with a good deal of determination. Val Prinsep shares with 



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124 



MODERN PAINTING 




\,LAiwftn^tain sc. 



Alma Tadema: "The Apodvterium." 
iBy permission of Mr. T. McLtan^ the owner of the copyright.) 

Leighton the smooth forms of a polished painting, whereas 
Edward Poynter by his more earnest severity and metallic 
precision verges more on that union of aridness and style charac- 
teristic of Ingres. His masterpiece, " A Visit to ^sculapius," is 
in point of technique one of the best products of English 
Classicism. To the left ^Esculapius is sitting beneath a pillared 
porch overgrown with foliage, while, like Raphael's Jupiter in the 
Farnesina, he supports his bearded chin thoughtfully with his left 
hand. A nymph who has hurt her foot appears, accompanied 
by three companions, before the throne of the god, begging him 
for a remedy. To say nothing of many other nude or nobly 
draped female figures, numerous decorative paintings in the 
Houses of Parliament, St. Paul's, and St. Stephen's Church in 
Dulwich owe their existence to this most industrious artist. 

Alma Tadema, the famous Dutchman who has called to life 
amid the London fog the sacrifices of Pompeii and Herculaneum, 
stands to this grave academical group as G^rdme to Couture. 



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ENGLAND 



"5 




Alma Tadema: "Pleading." 
(By permisaion oj Mr, £. H. Lt/hnrt, thg owntr of th* copyright.) 



[Lou>tttsiam stv 



As Bulwer Lytton, in the field of literature, created a picture of 
ancient civilization so successful that it has not been surpassed 
by his followers, Alma Tadema has solved the problem of the 
picture of antique manners in the most authentic fashion in 
the province of painting. He has peopled the past, rebuilt its 
towns and refurnished its houses, rekindled the flame upon the 
sacrificial altars and awakened the echo of the dithyrambs to 
new life. Poynter tells old fables, while Alma Tadema takes 
us in his company, and, like the best-informed cicerone, leads us 
through the streets of old Athens, reconstmcting the temples, 
altars, and dwellings, the shops of the butchers, bakers, and fish- 
mongers, just as they once were. 

This power of making himself believed Alma Tadema owes in 
the first place to his great archaeological learning. By Leys in 
Brussels this side of his talent was first awakened, and in 1863, 
when he went to Italy for the first time, he discovered his 
archaeological mission. How the old Romans dressed, how their 
army was equipped and attired, became as well known to him 
as the appearance of the citizens' houses, the artisans* workshops. 



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126 MODERN PAINTING 

the market and the bath. He explored the ruins of temples, and 
he grew familiar with the privileges of the priests, the method of 
worship, of the sacrifices, and of the festal processions. There was 
no monument of br^ss or marble, no wall-painting, no pictured 
vase nor mosaic, no sample of ancient arts, of pottery, stone- 
cutting, or work in gold, that he did not study. His brain soon 
became a complete encyclopaedia of antiquity. He knew the 
forms of architecture as well as he knew the old myths, and all 
the domestic appointments and robes as exactly as the usages 
of ritual. In Brussels, as early as the sixties, this complete 
power of living in the period he chose to represent gave Alma 
Tadema's pictures from antiquity their remarkable cachet of 
striking truthfulness to life. And London, whither he migrated 
in 1870, offered even a more favourable soil for his art. Whereas 
the French painters of the antique picture of manners often fell 
into a diluted idealism and a lifeless traffic with old curiosities,, 
with Alma Tadema one stands in the presence of a veritable 
fragment of life ; he simply paints the people amongst whom he 
lives and their world. The Pompeian house which he has built 
in London, with its dreamy vividarium, its great golden hall, its 
Egyptian decorations, its Ionic pillars, its mosaic floor, and its 
Oriental carpets, contains everything one needs to conjure up 
the times of Nero and the Byzantine emperors. It is surrounded 
by a garden in the old Roman style, and a large conservatory 
adjoining is planted with plane-trees and cypresses. All the 
celebrated marble benches and basins, the figures of stone and 
bronze, the tiger-skins and antique vessels and garments of his 
pictures, may be found in this notable house in the midst of 
London. Whether he paints the baths, the amphitheatre, or the 
atrium, the scenes of his pictures are no other than parts of his 
own house which he has faithfully painted. 

And the figures moving in them are Englishwomen. Among 
all the beautiful things in the world there are few so beautiful 
as English girls. Those tall, slender, vigorous figures that one 
sees upon the beach at Brighton are really like Greek women, 
and even the garb which they wear in playing tennis is a^ free 
and graceful as that of the Grecian people. Alma Tadema was 



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ENGLAND 



127 




Albert Moore. 



able to introduce into his works 
these women of lofty and noble 
figure with golden hair, these 
forms made for sculpture — to 
use the phrase of Winckelmann 
— without any kind of beautify- 
ing idealism. In their still-life 
his pictures are the fruit of 
enormous archaeological learning 
which has become intuitive vision, 
but his figures are the result of 
a healthy rendering of life. In 
this way the unrivalled classical 
local colour of his interiors is to 
be explained, as well as the 
lifelike character of his figures. 
By his works a remarkable problem is solved : an intense feeling 
for modern reality has called the ancient world into being in 
a credible fashion, whilst it has remained barricaded against all 
others who have approached it by the road of idealism. 

It is only in his method of execution that he still stands 
upon the same ground as Gerdme, with whom he shares a taste 
for anecdote, and a pedantic, neat, and correct style of painting. 
His ancient comedies played by English actors are an excellent 
archaeological lecture; they rise above the older picture of 
antique manners by a more striking fidelity to nature, very 
different from the generalization of the Classicists' ideal ; yet as 
a painter he is wanting in every quality. His marble shines, 
his bronze gleams, and everything is harmonized with the green 
of the cypresses and delicate rose-colour of the oleander blossoms 
in a cool marble tone; but there is also something marble in 
the figures themselves. He draws and stipples, .works like a 
copper engraver, and goes over his work again and again with 
a fine and feeble brush. His pictures have the effect of 
porcelain, his colours are hard and lifeless. One remembers the 
anecdotes, but one cannot speak of any idea of colour. 

Albert Moore is to be noted as the solitary "painter" of the 



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128 



MODERN PAINTING 




group : a very delicate 
artist, with a style peculiar 
to himself; one who is not 
so well known upon the 
Continent as he deserves 
to be. His province, also, 
is ancient Greece, yet he 
never attempted to recon- 
struct classical antiquity 
as a learned archaeologist. 
Merely as a painter did 
he love to dream amid 
the imperishable world of 
beauty known to ancient 
times. His figures are 
ethereal visions, and move 
in dreamland. He was 
influenced, indeed, by the 
sculptures of the Parthe- 
non, but the Japanese 
have also penetrated his 
spirit From the Greeks he learnt the combination of noble 
lines, the charm of dignity and quietude, while the Japanese 
gave him the feeling for harmonies of colour, for soft, delicate, 
blended tones. By a capricious union of both these elements 
he formed his refined and exquisite style. The world which 
he has called into being is made up of white marble pillars ; in 
its gardens are cool fountains and marble pavements ; but it is 
also full of white birds, soft colours, and rosy blossoms from 
Kioto. And it is peopled with graceful and mysterious maidens, 
clothed in ideal draperies, who love rest, enjoy an eternal youth, 
and are altogether contented with themselves and with one 
another. It might be said that the old figures of Tanagra had 
received new life, were it not felt, at the same time, that these 
beings must have drunk a good deal of tea. Not that they are 
entirely modern, for their figures are more plastic and sym- 
metrical than those of the actual daughters of Albion ; but in 



SaribiurB MagOMint.] 

Albert Moore: "Yellow Daffodils.** 

(By ptrmissum of IV. Connal^ Esq., the onnur of tht 
piciutm*) 



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C. Henischgl rtpr.^ [ tioussod- Valadon sc. 

Albert Moore: ''Companions." 

(By ptrmission o/Missra. DowdeswtU 6* DowtUsweilSf tht own4ra of tht copyright,) 



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131 




Albert Moore: "Midsummer." 

(By permission 0/ Messrs. Cadbury, Jones ^ Co.^ 
the owners of the copyright.) 



all their movements they 
have a certain chicy and in 
all their shades of expres- 
sion a weary modernity, 
through which they deviate 
from the conventional 
woman of Classicism. 
Otherwise the pictures of 
Albert Moore are inde- 
scribable. Frail, ethereal 
beings, blond as corn, 
lounge in aesthetically 
graduated grey and blue, 
salmon - coloured, or pale 
purple draperies upon 
bright - hued couches de- 
corated by Japanese artists 
with most aesthetic materials ; or they stand in a violet robe 
with a white mantle embroidered with gold by a grey-blue sea, 
which has a play of greenish tones at the spot where it breaks 
upon the shore. They stand out with their rosy garments 
from the light grey background and the delicate arabesques of 
a gleaming silvery gobelin, or in a graceful pose occupy 
themselves with their rich draperies. They do as little as 
they possibly can, but they are living and seductive, and the 
stuffs which they wear and have around them are delicately 
and charmingly painted. It is harmonies of tone and colour 
that exclusively form the subject of every work. The figures, 
accessories, and detail first take shape when the scale of colour 
has been found ; and then Albert Moore takes a delight in 
naming his pictures " Apricots," " Oranges," " Shells," etc., accord- 
ing as the robes arc apricot or orange colour or adorned with 
light ornaments of shell. Everything which comes from his 
hands is delightful in the charm of delicate simplicity, and for 
any one who loves painting as painting it has something soothing 
in the midst of the surrounding art, which still confuses painting 
with poetry more than is fitting. 



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132 MODERN PAINTING 




Scribntr's MagaMtng.} 

Albert Moore: ** Reading Aloud." 

{By ptrmission of fV, Connai, Esq., ihg owntr of tht picture,) 

Such a painter-poet of the specifically English type is Briton^ 
Riviere, He is a painter of animals, and as such one of the 
greatest of the century. Lions and geese, royal tigers and golden 
eagles, stags, dogs, foxes, and Highland cattle, he has painted 
them all, and with a mastery which has nothing like it except in 
Landseer. Amongst the painters of animals he stands alone 
through his power of conception and his fine poetic vein, while in 
all his pictures he unites the greatest simplicity with enormous 
dramatic force. Accessory work is everywhere kept within the 
narrowest limits, and everywhere the character of the animals 
is magnificently grasped. He does not alone paint great tragic 
scenes as Barye chiselled them, for he knows that beasts of prey 
are usually quiet and peaceable, and only now and then obey 
their savage nature. Moreover he never attempts to represent 
animals performing a masquerade of humanity in their gestures 
and expression, as Landseer did, nor does he transform them 
into comic actors. He paints them as what they are, a symbol 
of what humanity was once itself, with its elementary passions 
and its natural virtues and failings. Amongst all animal painters 
he is almost alone in resisting the temptation to give the lion a 
consciousness of his own dignity, the tiger a consciousness of 
his own savageness, the dog a consciousness of his own under- 



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ENGLAND 



133 



standing. They neither 
pose nor think about 
themselves. In addition 
to this he has a powerful 
and impressive method, 
and a deep and earnest 
scheme of colour. In the 
beginning of his career he 
learnt most from James 
Ward. Later he felt the 
influence of the refined, 
chivalrous, and piquant 
Scotchmen Orchardson 
and Pettie. But the point 
in which Briton-Riviere is 
altogether peculiar is that 
in which he joins issue 
with the painters in- 
fluenced by Greece : he 
introduces his animals into 
a scene where there are 
men of the ancient world. 
Briton - Riviere is de- 




Scribntr's Magaaint.} 
Albert Moore : " Waiting to Cross." 
{By permission of Lord Davey*Jhe owntr oftht picturt.) \ 



scended from a French family which found its way into England 
after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and he is one of 
those painters — so frequent in English art — whose nature has 
developed early : when he was fourteen he left school, exhibited 
in the Academy when he was eighteen, painted as a Pre- 
raphaelite between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two, and 
graduated at Oxford at seven-and- twenty. In his youth he 
divided his time between art and scholarship — painting pictures 
and studying Greek and Latin literature. Thus he became a 
painter of animals having also an enthusiasm for the Greek 
poets, and he has stood for a generation as an uncontested 
lord and master on his own peculiar ground. In his first 
important picture, of 1871, the comrades of Ulysse.s, changed into 
swine, troop grunting round the enchantress Circe. In the 



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134 MODERN PAINTING 

masterpiece .'of 1872 the Prophet Daniel stands unmoved and 
submissive to the will of God amid the lions roaring and showing 
their teeth, ready to spring upon him in their hunger, yet re- 
garding him with a mysterious fear, spellbound by the power 
of his eye. While his great picture " Persepolis " makes the 
appeal of a page from the philosophy of history, with its lions 
roaming majestically amid the ruins of human grandeur and human 
civilization, which are flooded with moonlight The picture "In 
Manus Tuas, Domine," showed St. George riding solitary through 
the lonely and silent recesses of a primitive forest upon a pale 
white horse. He is armed in mail and has a mighty sword ; a 
deep seriousness is imprinted on his features, for he has gone 
forth to slay the dragon. In yet another picture, "An Old- 
World Wanderer," a man of the early ages has come ashore upon 
an untrodden island, and is encompassed by flocks of great white 
birds, fluttering round him with curiosity and confidence, as yet 
ignorant of the fear of human beings. The picture of 1891, 
" A Mighty Hunter before the Lord," is one of his most poetic 
night-pieces : Nimrod is returning home, and beneath the silvery 
silence of the moon the dead and dying creatures which he has 
laid low upon the wide Assyrian plain are tended and bemoaned 
by their mates. 

Between whiles he painted subjects which were not borrowed 
from ancient history, illustrating the friendship between man and 
dog, as Landseer had done before him. For instance, in " His 
Only Friend " there is a poor lad who has broken down at the 
last milestone before the town and is guarded by his dog. In 
" Old Playfellows " again one of the playmates is a child, who is 
sick and leans back quietly in an armchair covered with cushions. 
His friend the great dog has one paw resting on the child's lap, 
and looks up with a pensive expression, such as Landseer alone 
has painted in previous times. But in this style he reached 
his highest point in "Sympathy." No work of Briton-Riviere's 
has become more popular than this picture of the little maiden 
who has forgotten her key and is sitting helpless before the 
house-door, consoled by the dog who has laid his head upon her 
shoulder. 



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ENGLAND 137 

Since the days of Reynolds English art has shown a most 
vivid originality in such representations of children. English 
picture-books for children are in these days the most beautiful 
in the world, and the marvellous fairy-tales and fireside stories 
of Randolph Caldecott and Kate Greenaway have made their way 
throughout the whole Continent. How well these English 
draughtsmen know the secret of combining truth with the most 
exquisite grace ! How touching are these pretty babies, how 
angelically innocent these little maidens ! Frank eyes, blue as 
the flowers of the periwinkle, gaze at you with no thought of 
their being looked at in return. The naYve astonishment of the 
little ones, their frightened mien, their earnest look absently 
fixed upon the sky, the first tottering steps of a tiny child 
and the mobile grace of a schoolgirl, all are rendered in these 
prints with the most tender intimacy of feeling. And united 
with this there is a delicate and entirely modern sentiment for 
scenery, for the fascination of bare autumn landscapes robbed 
of their foliage, for sunbeams and the budding fragrance of 
spring. Everything is idyllic, poetic, and touched by a congenial 
breath of tender melancholy. 

And this aerial quality, this delicacy and innocent grace and 
tenderness, is not confined alone to such representations of children, 
but is peculiar to English painting. Even when perfectly 
ordinary subjects from modern life are in question, the basis 
of this art is, as in the first half of the century, by no means 
the sense for what is purely pictorial, by no means that naturalistic 
pantheism which inspires the modern French, but rather a sense 
for what is moral or ethical. The painter seldom paints merely 
for the joy of painting, and the numberless technical questions 
which play such an important part in French art are here only 
of secondary importance. It accords with the character and 
taste of the people that their artists have rather a poetic design 
than one which is properly pictorial. The conception is some- 
times allegorical and subtile to the most exquisite fineness of 
point, sometimes it is vitiated by sentimentality, but it is never 
purely naturalistic ; and this qualified realism, this realism with 
a poetic strain to keep it ladylike, set English art, especially in 

VOL. III. 10 



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138 MODERN PAINTING 

the years when Bastien-Lepage and Roll were at their zenith, 
in sharp opposition to the art of France. In those days the 
life-size artisan picture, the prose of life, and the struggle for 
existence reigned almost exclusively in the Parisian Salon, 
whereas in the Royal Academy everything was quiet and cordial ; 
an intimate, inoffensive, and heartfelt cheerfulness was to be 
found in the pictures upon its walls, as if none of these painters 
knew of the existence of such a place as Whitechapel. A con- 
nection between pictures and poems is still popular, and some 
touching trait, some tender episode, some expression of softness, 
is given to subjects drawn from the ordinary life of the people. 
Painters seek in every direction after pretty rustic scenes, moving 
incidents, or pure emotions. Instead of being harsh and rugged 
in their sense of truth and passion, they glide lightly away from 
anything ugly, bringing together the loveliest and most beautiful 
things in nature, and creating elegies, pastorals, and idylls from 
the passing events of life. Their method of expression is 
fastidious and finished to a nicety ; their vision of life is smiling 
and kindly, though it must not be supposed that their optimism 
has now anything in common with the genre picture of 1850. 
The genre painters from Wilkie to Collins epitomized the actual 
manners of the present in prosaic compositions. But here the 
most splendid poetry breaks out, as indeed it actually does in 
the midst of ordinary life. If in that earlier period English 
painting was awkward in narration, vulgar, and didactic, it is 
now tasteful, refined, beautiful, and of distinction. The philis- 
tinism of the pictures of those days has been finally stripped 
away, and the humorously anecdotic genre entirely overcome. 
The generation of tiresome narrative artists has been followed 
by painter-poets of delicacy and exquisite tenderness of feeling. 
Two masters who died young and have a peculiarly captivat- 
ing individuality, George Mason and Fred Walker, stand at 
the head of this, • the most novel phase of English painting. 
Alike in the misfortune of premature death, they are also united 
by a bond of sympathy in their taste and sentiment If there 
be truth in what Theophile Gautier once said in a beautiful 
poem, " Tout passe, Tart robuste seul a V^temiti'' neither of 



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ENGLAND 



141 



them will enter the 
kingdom of immor- 
tality. That might 
be applied to them 
which Heine said 
of Leopold Robert : 
they have purified 
the peasant in the 
purgatory of their 
art so that nothing 
but a glorified body 
remains. As the 
Preraphaelites 
wished to give ex- 
quisite precision to 
the world of dream, 
Walker and Mason 
have taken this 
precision from the 
world of reality, 
•endowing it with 
a refined subtilty 
which in truth it 
has not got. Their 
pictures breathe' 
only of the bloom 
and essence of 
things, and in them 
nature is deprived 
of her strength and 
marrow, and paint- 
ing of her peculiar 
<iualities, which are 
changed in to 
coloured breath and tinted dream. They may be reproached 
with an excess of nervous sensibility, an effort after style by 
which modern truth is recast, a morbid tendency to suave 




U.D.MUltrsc, 
Mason; "The Milkmaid." 

(By permission of Mtssrs. P. <S* D. Colnaghi^ tfu owners oj 
the copyright.) 



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MODERN PAINTING 




[R. Macbeth sc. 
Mason : " The Unwilling Playmate.'* 

(By ptrmission of Mr. Robert Dunlhome, tht owmer of tht copyright,) 

mysticism. Nevertheless their works are the most original 
products of English painting during the last twenty years, and 
by a strange union of realism and poetic feeling they have 
exercised a deeply penetrative influence upon Continental art 

" ^quam semper in rebus arduis servare mentem ** might be 
chosen as a motto for George Mason's biography. Brought up 
in prosperous circumstances, he first became a doctor, but when 
he was seven-and-twenty he went to Italy to devote himself to 
painting; here he received the news that he was ruined. His 
father had lost everything, and he found himself entirely deprived 
of means, so that his life became a long struggle against hunger. 
He bound himself to dealers, and provided animal pieces by 
the dozen for the smallest sums. In a freezing room he sat 
with his pockets empty, worked until it was dark, and crept 
into bed when Rome went to feast. After two years, however, 
he had at last saved the money necessary for taking him back 
to England, and he settled with his young wife in Wetley 
Abbey. This little village, where he lived his simple life in the 
deepest seclusion, became for him what Barbizon had been for 
Millet He wandered by himself amongst the fields, and painted 
the valleys of Wetley with the tenderness of feeling with which 
Corot painted the outskirts of Fontainebleau. He saw the 



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ENGLAND 145 

ghostly mists lying upon the moors, saw the peasants returning 
from the plough and the reapers from the field, noted the 
children, in their life so closely connected with the change of 
nature. And yet his peasant pictures more resemble the works 
of Perugino than those of Bastien-Lepage. The character of 
their landscape is to some extent responsible for this. For 
the region he paints, in its lyrical charm, has kinship with 
the hills in the pictures of Perugino. Here there grow the 
same slender trees upon a delicate, undulating soil. But the 
silent, peaceful, and resigned human beings who move across 
it have also the tender melancholy of Umbrian Madonnas. 
Mason's realism is merely specious ; it consists in the external 
point of costume. There are really no peasants of such slender 
growth, no English village maidens with such rosy faces and 
such coquettish Holland caps. Mason divests them of all the 
heaviness of earth, takes, as it were, only the flower-dust from 
reality. The poetic grace of Jules Breton might be recalled, 
were it not that Mason works with more refinement and 
subtilty, for his idealism was unconscious, and never resulted 
in an empty, professional painting of beauty. 

When he painted his finest pictures he suffered from very 
bad health, and his works have themselves the witchery of 
disease, the fascinating beauty of consumption. . He painted 
with such delicacy and refinement because sickness had made 
him weak and delicate ; he divested his peasant men and women 
of everything fleshly, so that nothing but a shadow of them 
remained, a spirit vibrating in fine, dying, and elusive chords. 
In his " Evening Hymn " girls are singing in the meadow ; to 
judge from their dresses they should be the daughters of the 
peasantry, but one fancies them religious enthusiasts, brought 
together upon this mysterious and sequestered corner of the 
earth by a melancholy world-weariness, by a yearning after the 
mystical. Fragile as glass, sensitive to the ends of their fingers, 
and, one might say, morbidly spiritual, they breathe out their 
souls in song, encompassed by the soft shadows of the evening 
twilight, and uttering all the exquisite tenderness of their subtile 
temperament in the hymn they chant. Another of his pastoral 



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iti. Macbeth #c. 



Walker: "Marlow Ferry." 
{By ptrmission of Mr, Robert Dunthomtf tht owner 0/ the copyright,) 

symphonies is " The Harvest Moon." Some labourers are 
stepping homewards after their day's work. The moon is rising, 
and casts its soft, subdued hght upon the dark hills and the 
slender trees, in the silvery leaves of which the evening wind is 
playing. " The Gander," " The Young Anglers," and. " The Cast 
Shoe " are captivating through the same delicacy and the same 
mood of peaceful resignation. George Mason is an astonishing 
artist, almost always guilty of exaggeration, but always seductive. 
Life passes in his pictures like a beautiful summer's day, and 
with the accompaniment of soft music. A peaceful, delicate 
feeling, something mystical, bitter-sweet, and suffering, lives 
beneath the light and tender veil of his pictures. They affect 
the nerves like a harmonica, and lull one with low and softly 
veiled harmonies. Many of the melancholy works of Israels 
have a similar eflfect, only Israels is less refined, has less of 
distinction and — more of truth. 

This suavity of feeling is characteristic in an almost higher 
degree of Fred Walker, an artist sensitive and never satisfied 
with himself. Every one of his pictures gives the impression 



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ENGLAND 147 

of deep and quiet reverie ; everywhere a kind of mood, like 
that in a fairy tale, colours the ordinary events of life in his 
works, an effect produced by his refined composition of forms 
and colours. In his classically simple art Mason was influenced 
by the Italians, and especially the Umbrians. Walker drew a 
similar inspiration from the works of Millet. Both the English- 
man and the Frenchman died in the same year, the former on 
January 20th, 1875, in Barbizon, the latter on June sth, in 
Scotland ; and yet in a certain sense they stand at the very 
opposite poles of art. Walker is graceful, delicate, and tender; 
Millet forceful, healthy, and powerful. ** To draw sublimity 
from what is trivial " was the aim of both, and they both reached 
it by the same path. All their predecessors had held truth as 
the foe of beauty, and had qualified shepherds and shepherdesses, 
ploughmen and labourers, for artistic treatment by forcing upon 
them the smiling grace and the strained humour of genre 
painting. Millet and Fred Walker broke with the frivolity 
of this elder school of painting, which had seen matter for 
jesting, and only that, in the life of the rustic ; they asserted 
that in the life of the toiler nothing was more deserving of 
artistic representation than his toil. They always began by 
reproducing life as they saw it, and by disdaining, in their effort 
after truth, all artificial embellishment ; they came to recognize, 
both of them at the same time, a dignity in the human frame, 
and grandiose forms and classic lines in human movement, which 
no one had discovered before. With the most pious reverence 
for the exact facts of life, there was united that greatness of 
conception which is known as style. 

Fred Walker, the Tennyson of painting, was born in 
London in 1840, and had scarcely left school before the galleries 
of ancient art in the British Museum became his favourite place 
of resort. Drawings for wood-engraving were his first works, 
and with Millet in France he has the chief merit of having 
put fresh life into the traditional style of English wood-cut 
engraving, so that he is honoured by the young school of 
engravers in wood-cut as their lord and master. His first, and 
as yet unimportant, drawings appeared in i860 in a periodica 



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MODERN FAINTING 




[/?. Macb€tk 8C. 



Walker: "A Flood in the Fens." 
(fiy permission of Mr, Robert Dunthonu, the owner of the copyright.) 

called Once a Week, for which Leech, Millais, and others also 
made drawings. Shortly after this d^but he was introduced 
to Thackeray, then the editor of Comhill, and he undertook 
the illustrations with Millais. In these plates he is already 
seen in his charm, grace, and simplicity. His favourite season 
is the tender spring, when the earth is clothed with young 
verdure, and the sunlight glances over the naked branches, and 
the children pluck the first flowers which have shot up beneath 
their covering of snow. 

His pictures give pleasure by virtue of the same qualities — 
delicacy of drawing, bloom of colouring, and a grace which is not 
affected in spite of its Grecian rhythm. 

Walker was the first to introduce that delicate rosy red which 
has since been popular in English painting. His method of 
vision is as widely removed from that of Manet as from Couture's 
brown sauce. The surface of every one of his pictures resembles 
a rare jewel in its delicate finish : it is soft, and gives the 
sense of colour and of refined and soothing harmony. His first 
important work, *' Bathers,'* was exhibited in 1867 at the 
Royal Academy, where works of his appeared regularly during 
the next five years. About a score of young people are standing 
on the verge of a deep and quiet English river, and are just 
about to refresh themselves in the tide after a hot August day. 



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149 




i^AwiA 



Jitiopfr m. 



Walker: "The Bathers." 
{By permission of Messrs. Thomas Agrnw cJ* 5om5, the owners oj the copyright.) 

Some, indeed, are already in the water, while others are sitting 
upon the grass and others undressing. The frieze of the 
Parthenon is recalled, so plastic is the grace of these young 
frames, and the style and repose of the treatment of lines, 
which are such as may only be found in Puvis de Chavannes. 
In his next picture, " The Vagrants," he represented a group 
of gipsies camping round a fire in the midst of an English 
landscape. A mother is nursing her child, while to the left a 
woman is standing plunged in thought, and to the right a lad is 
throwing wood upon the faintly blazing fire. Here, too, the figures 
are all drawn severely after nature and yet have the air of Greek 
statues. There is no modern artist who has united in so un- 
forced a manner actuality and fidelity to nature with " the noble 
simplicity and quiet grandeur" of the antique. In a succeeding 
picture of 1870, "The Plough," a labourer is striding over the 
ground ploughing. The long day is approaching its end, and the 
moon stands silvery in the sky. Far into the distance the field 
stretches away, and the heavy tread of the horses mingles in the 
stillness of evening with the murmur of the stream which flows 
round the grassy ridge, making its soft complaint. "Man 
goeth forth to his work and to his labour until the evening" 
is its thoroughly English motto. The same still mournfulness 
of sunset he painted in that work of marvellous tenderness " The 
Old Gate." The peace of dusk is resting upon a soft and gentle 



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landscape. A lady who is the owner of a country mansion and 
is dressed like a widow has just stepped out from the garden gate, 
accompanied by her maid, who is in the act of shutting it ; 
children are playing on the steps, and a couple of labourers are 
going past in front and look towards the lady of the house. It is 
nothing except the meeting of certain persons, a scene such as 
takes place every day, and yet even here there is a subtilty and 
tenderness which raise the event from the prose of ordinary life 
into a mysterious world of poetry. 

In his later period he deviated more and more towards a 
fragrant lyricism. In his great picture of 1872, "The Harbour 
of Refuge," the background is formed by one of those peaceful 
buildings where the aged poor pass the remainder of their 
days in meditative rest. The sun is sinking and there is a 
rising moon. The red-tiled roof stands out clear against the 
quiet evening sky, while upon the terrace in front, over which 
the tremulous yellow rays of the setting sun are shed, an old 
woman with a bowed figure is walking, guided by a graceful 
girl who steps lightly forward. It is the old contrast between 
day and night, youth and age, strength and decay. Yet in 
Walker there is no opposition after all. For as light mingles 
with the shadows in the twilight, this young and vigorous 
woman who paces in the evening, holding the arm of the aged 
in mysterious silence, has at the moment no sense of her youth, 
but is rather filled with that melancholy thought underlying 
Goethe's ''Warte nur baldel' "Wait awhile and thou shalt rest 
too." Her eyes have a strange gaze, as though she were looking 
into vacancy in mere absence of mind. And upon the other side 
of the picture this theme of the transient life of humanity is still 
further developed. Upon a bench in the midst of a verdant 
lawn covered with daisies a group of old men are sitting 
meditatively near a hedge of hawthorn luxuriant in blossom. 
Above the bench there stands an old statue casting a clearly 
defined shadow upon the golden sand, as if to point to the 
contrast between imperishable stone and the unstable race of 
men, fading away like the autumn leaves. Well in the fore- 
ground a labourer is mowing down the tender spring grass 



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ENGLAND 153 

with a scythe — a strange, wild, and rugged figure, a reaper 
whose name is Death. 

It was not long before evening drew on for the painter, and 
Death, the mighty reaper, laid him low. 

Of a nervous and sensitive temperament, Walker had one of 
those natures which find their way with difficulty through this 
rude world of fact Those little things which he had the art 
of painting so beautifully, and which occupy such an important 
place in his work, had, in another sense, more influence upon 
his life than ought to have been the case. While Mason faced 
all unpleasantnesses with stoical indifference. Walker allowed 
himself to be disturbed and hindered in his work by every 
failure and every sharp wind of criticism. In addition to that 
he was, like Mason, a consumptive subject. A residence in 
Algiers merely banished the insidious disease for a short time. 
Amongst the last works, which he exhibited in 1875, a con- 
siderable stir was made by a drawing called "The Unknown 
Land : " a vessel with naked men is drawing near the shores 
of a wide and peaceful island bathed in a magical light. Soon 
afterwards Walker had himself departed to that unknown land : 
he died in Scotland when he was five-and-thirty. His body 
was brought to the little churchyard at Cookham on the 
banks of the Thames. In this village Fred Walker is buried 
amid the fair river landscape which he so loved and so often 
painted. 

After the Preraphaelite revolution, the foundation of the 
school of Walker indicated the last stage of English art. His 
influence was far greater than might be supposed from the small 
number of his works, and fifty per cent, of the English pictures 
in every exhibition would perhaps never have been painted if 
he had not been born. A national element long renounced, that 
old English sentiment which once inspired the landscapes of 
Gainsborough and the scenes of Morland, and was lost in the 
hands of Wilkie and the genre painters, lives once more in 
Fred Walker. He adapted it to the age by adding some- 
thing of Tennyson's passion for nature. There is a touch of 
symbolism in that old gate which he painted in the beautiful 

VOL. III. 1 1 



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154 



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picture of 1870. He 
and Mason opened 
it so that English 
art might pass into 
this new domain, 
where musical sen- 
timent is everything, 
where one is buried 
in sweet reveries at 
the sight of a flock 
of geese driven by 
a young girl, or 
a labourer stepping 
behind his plough, 
or a child playing 
free from care with 
pebbles at the 
water's edge. Their 
disciples are perhaps 
healthier, or, should 
one say, ** less re- 
fined " — in other 
words, not quite so sensitive and hyper-aesthetic as those who 
opened the old gate. They seem physically more robust, and 
can better face the sharp air of reality. They no longer dissolve 
painting altogether into music and poetry; they live more in 
the world at every hour, and not merely when the sun is 
setting, but also when the prosaic daylight exposes objects in 
their material heaviness. But the tender ground-tone, the effort 
to seize nature in soft phases, is the same in all. Like bees, 
they suck from reality only its sweets. The earnest, tender, 
and deeply heartfelt art of Walker has influenced them all. 

Evening when work is over, the end of summer, twilight, 
autumn, the pale and golden sky, and the dead leaves are the 
things which have probably made the most profound impression 
on the English spirit. The hour when toil is laid aside, and 
rest begins and people seek their homes, and the season when 





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BouGHTON : " Snow in Spring.' 
(By ptrmisswM of ihg Artist.) 



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ENGLAND 



'55 



fires are first lighted are 
the hour and the season 
most beloved by this 
people, which, with all its 
nide energy, is yet so 
tender and full of feeling. 
Repose to the point of 
enervation and the stage 
where it passes into gentle 
melancholy is the theme 
of their pictures — this, and 
not toil. 

How many have been 
painted in the last thirty 
years in which people are 
returning from their work 
of an evening across the 
country ! The people in 
the big towns look upon 
the country with the eyes 
of a lover, especially those 
parts of it which lie near 
the town ; not the scenes painted by Raffaelli, but the parks 
and public gardens. Soft, undulating valleys and gently swelling 
hills are spread around, the flowers are in bloom, and the 
leaves glance in the sunshine. And over this country, with its 
trim gravel paths and its green, luxuriant lawns, there comes 
a well-to-do people. Even the labourers seem in good ease 
as they go home across the flowery meadows. 

George H. Boughton is one of the most graceful and refined 
amongst Walker's followers. By birth and descent a country- 
man of Crome and Cotman, he passed his youth in America, 
worked several years in Paris from 1853, and in 1863 settled 
in London, where he is exceedingly active as a draughtsman, a 
writer, and a painter. His charming illustrations for Harpet^s 
Magazine, where he also published his delicate story The 
Return of the Mayflower, are well known. As a painter, too, 




- VArtJ] iSwainsc, 

Boughton : " Green Leaves among the Sere." 
{By permission of thg Artist,) 



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156 



MODERN PAINTING 




VAfLk 



Boughton: "The Bearers of the Burden."* 
(fiy ptrmission of tht Artist.) 



his brush was only occupied by pleasant things, whether be- 
longing to the past or the present There is something in him 
both of the delicacy of Gainsborough and of the poetry of 
Memlinc. He delights in the murmur of brooks and the rustle of 
leaves, in fresh children and pretty young women in aesthetically 
fantastic costume ; he loves everything delicate, quiet, and 
fragrant. And for this reason he also takes delight in old 
legends entwined with blossoms, and attains a most harmonious 
effect when he places shepherds and kings' daughters of story 
and steel-clad knights and squires in his charming and entirely 
modern landscapes. Almost always it is autumn, winter, or 
at most the early spring in his pictures. The boughs of the 
trees are generally bare, though sometimes a tender, pointed 
yellowish verdure is budding upon them. At times the mist 
of November hovers over the country like a delicate veil ; at 
times the snowflakes fall softly, or the October sun gleams 
through the leafless branches. 

Moreover a feeling for the articulation of lines, for a balance 



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ENGLAND 



157 




VAri:\ 



Houghton : " A Breath of Wind." 
iBy permission of tht Artist.) 



[Artist sc. 



of composition, unforced, and yet giving a character of dis- 
tinction, is peculiar to him in a high degree. In 1877 he 
had in the Royal Academy the charming picture "A Breath 
of Wind." Amid a soft landscape with slender trees move 
the thoroughly Grecian figures of the more shapely English 
peasants, whilst the tender evening light is shed over the 
gently rising hills. His picture of 1878 he named "Green 
Leaves among the Sere : " a group of children, in the midst of 
whom the young mother herself looks like a child, are seated 
amid an autumn landscape, where the leaves fall, and the sky 
is shrouded in wintry grey. In the picture "Snow in Spring" 
may be seen a party of charming girls — little modern Tanagra 
figures — whom the sun has tempted into the air to search for 
the earliest woodland snowdrops under the guidance of a damsel 
still in her 'teens. Having just reached a secret corner of the 
wood, they are standing with their flowers in their hands 
surrounded by tremulous boughs, when a sudden snowstorm 



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158 MODERN FAINTING 

overtakes them. Thick white flakes alight upon the slender 
boughs, and combine with the light green leaves and pale 
reddish dresses of 'the children in making a delicate harmony 
of colour. Among his legendary pictures the poetic "Love 
Conquers all Things " in particular is known in Germany : a 
wild shepherd's daughter sits near her flock, and the son of a 
king gazes into her eyes lost in dream. 

Boughton is not the only painter of budding girlhood. All 
English literature has a tender feminine trait. Tennyson is the 
poet most widely read, and he has won all hearts chiefly through 
his portraits of women : Adeline, Eleanore, Lilian, and the May 
Queen — that delightful gallery of pure and noble figures. In 
English painting, too, it is seldom men who are represented, but 
more frequently women and children, especially little maidens 
in their fresh pure witchery. 

Belonging still to the older period there is Philip H. Calderon^ 
an exceedingly fertile although lukewarm and academical artist^ 
in whose blood is a good deal of eff'eminate Classicism. When 
his name appears in a catalogue it means that the spectator 
will be led into an artificial region peopled with pretty girls- 
beings who are neither sad nor gay, and who belong neither to 
the present nor to ancient times, to no age in particular and to 
no clime. Whenever such ethereal girlish figures wear the costume 
of the Directoire period, Marcus Stone is their father. He is like- 
wise one of the older men whose first appearance was made 
before the time of Walker. His young ladies part with broken 
hearts from a beloved suitor, turned away by their father, and 
save the honour of their family by giving their hand to a wealthy 
but unloved aspirant, or else they are solitary and lost in tender 
reveries. In his earliest period Marcus Stone had a preference 
for interiors ; rich Directoire furniture and objects of art indicate 
the year in which the narrative takes place with exactness. 
Later, he took a delight in placing his Rococo ladies and 
gentlemen in the open air, upon the terraces of old gardens or 
in sheltered alleys. All his pictures are pretty, the faces, the 
figures, and the accessories ; in relation to them one may 
use the adjective " pretty " in its positive, comparative, or 



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ENGLAND i6i 

superlative degree. In England Marcus Stone is the favourite 
painter of "sweethearts," and it cannot be easy to go so near 
the boundaries of candied genre painting and yet always to 
preserve a certain noblesse. 

Amongst the younger men G. D. Leslie, the son of Charles 
Leslie, has specially the secret of interpreting innocent feminine 
beauty, that somewhat predetermined but charming grace derived 
from Gainsborough and the eighteenth century. A young lady 
who has lately been married is paying a visit to her earlier 
school friends, and is gazed upon as though she were an angel 
by these charming girls. Or his pretty maidens have ensconced 
themselves beneath the trees, or stand on the shore watching a 
boat at sunset, or amuse themselves from a bridge in a park by 
throwing flowers into the water and looking dreamily after them 
as they float away. Leslie's pictures, too, are very pretty and 
poetic, and have much silk in them and much sun, while the 
soft, pale method of painting, so highly aesthetic in its delicate 
attenuation of colour, corresponds with the delicacy of their 
purport 

P. G, Morris, not less delicate in feeling and execution, be- 
came specially known by a "Communion in Dieppe." Directly 
facing the spectator a train of pretty communicants move upon 
the seashore, assuming an air of dignified superiority, like young 
ladies from Brighton or Folkestone. A bluish light plays over 
the white dresses of the girls and over the blue jackets of the 
sailors lounging about the quay ; it fills the pale blue sky with 
a misty vibration and glances sportively upon the green waves 
of the sea. " The Reaper and the Flowers " was a thoroughly 
English picture, a graceful allegory after the fashion of Fred 
Walker. On their way from school a party of children meet 
at the verge of a meadow an old peasant going home from 
his day's work with a scythe upon his shoulder. In the 
dancing step of the little ones may be seen the influence 
of Greek statues; they float along as if borne by the zephyr, 
with a rhythmical motion which real school-children do not 
usually have. But the old peasant coming towards them is 
intended to recall the contrast between youth and age, as 



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i62 MODERN PAINTING 

in Fred Walker's "Harbour of Refuge;" while the scythe 
glittering in the last rays of the setting sun signifies the 
scythe of Fate, the scythe of death which does not even spare 
the child. 

And thus the limits of English painting are defined. It 
always reveals a certain conflict between fact and poetry, reverie 
and life. For whenever the scene does not admit of a directly 
ethical interpretation, refuge is invariably taken in lyricism. The 
wide field which lies between, where powerful works are nourished, 
works which have their roots in reality, and derive their life 
from it alone, has not been definitely conquered by English 
art. England is the greatest producer and consumer of the 
earth, and her people press the marrow out of things as no 
other have ever done: and yet this land of industry knows 
nothing of pictures in which work is being accomplished ; 
this country, which is a network of railway lines, has never 
seen a railway painted. Even horses are less and less fre- 
quently represented in English art, and sport finds no re- 
pression there whatever. Much as the Englishman loves it 
from a sense of its wholesomeness, he does not consider it 
sufficiently aesthetic to be painted, a matter upon which Wilkie 
Collins enlarges in an amusing way in his book Man and Wife, 

And in English pictures there are no poor, or, at any rate, 
none who are wretched in the extreme. For although the 
Chelsea Pensioners were a favoured theme in painting, there 
were none of them miserable and heavy-laden ; they were 
rather types of the happy poor who were carefully tended; 
If English painters are otherwise induced to represent the 
poor, they depict a room kept in exemplary order, and 
endeavour to display some touching or admirable trait in 
honest and admirable people. In fact people seem to be good 
and honourable wherever they are found. Everywhere there is 
content and humility, even in misfortune. Even where actual 
need is represented, it is only done in the effort to give 
expression to what is moving in certain dispensations of fate, 
and to create a lofty and conciliating effect by the contrast 
between misfortune and man's noble trust in God. 



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ENGLAND 165 

John R. Retd, a Scotchman by birth, but residing in London, 
has treated scenes from life upon the seacoast in this manner. 
How different his works are from the tragedies of Joseph 
Israels, or the grim naturalism of Michael Ancher ! He occu- 
pies himself only with the bright side of life, with its colour 
and sunshine, not with the dark side, with its toils. He paints 
the inhabitants of the country in their Sunday best, as they sit 
telling stories, or as they go a-hunting, or regale themselves in 
the garden of an inn. The old rustics who sit happy with 
their pipes and beer in his "Cricket Match" are typical of 
everything that he has painted. 

And even when, once in a way, a more gloomy trait appears 
in his pictures, it is there only that the light may shine the 
more brightly. The poor old flute-player who sits homeless 
upon a bench near the house is placed there merely to show 
how well off are the children who are hurrying merrily home 
after school. His picture of 1890, indeed, treated a scene of 
shipwreck, but a passage from a poet stood beneath ; there 
was not a lost sailor to be seen, and all the tenderness of the 
artist is devoted to the pretty children and the young women 
gazing with anxiety and compassion across the sea. 

Frank Holl was in the habit of giving his pictures a more 
lachrymose touch, together with a more sombre and ascetic 
harmony of colour. He borrowed his subjects from the life of 
the humble classes, always searching moreover for melancholy 
features ; he took delight in representing human virtue in mis- 
fortune, and for the sake of greater effect he frequently chose a 
verse from the Bible as the title. Thus the work with which 
he first won the English public was a picture exhibited in 1869: 
" The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away ; blessed be the 
name of the Lord." A family of five brothers and sisters, who 
have just lost their mother, are assembled round the breakfast- 
table in a poorly furnished room. One sister is crying, another 
is sadly looking straight before her, whilst a third is praying 
with folded hands. The younger brother, a sailor, has just 
reached home from a voyage, to close his dying mother's eyes, 
and the eldest of all, a young and earnest curate, is endeavouring 



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1 66 



MODERN FAINTING 



to console his brother 
and sisters with the 
words of Job. 

The next picture, 
exhibited in 1 87 1, he 
called " No Tidings 
from the Sea," and 
represented in it a 
fisherman's family — 
grandmother, mother, 
and child—who in a 
cheerless room are 
anxiously expecting 
the return of a sailor. 
"Leaving Home" 
showed four people 
sitting on a bench 
outside a waiting- 
room at a railway 
station. To awaken 
the spectator's pity 
"Third Class" is writ- 
ten in large letters 
upon the window just above their heads. The principal figure 
is a lady dressed in black, who is counting, in a somewhat 
obtrusive manner, the little money which she still has left 

In the picture " Necessity knows no Law " a poor woman 
with a child in her arms has entered a pawnshop to borrow 
money on her wedding-ring ; in another, women of the poorer 
class are to be seen walking along with their soldier sons 
and husbands who have been called out on active service. 
One of them clasps tightly to her breast her little <:hild, the 
only one still remaining to her in life, whilst an aged widow 
presses the hand of her son with the sad presentiment that, 
even if he comes back to her, she will probably not have 
long to live after his return. Not only did Frank Holl paint 
stories for his countrymen, but he also painted them big in 



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Ltipzig: iie§mattM.] 

Reid: "The Rival Grandfathers." 

{.By ptrmissioM of ttu Corporation of Liverpool^ the owners 
of the picture.) 



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ENGLAND 



169 




L'j4rt.} 



Holl: "Leaving Home." 



IRamus bc. 



majuscule characters which were legible without spectacles, 
and he partially owed his splendid successes to this cheap 
sentimentality. 

Almost everywhere the interest of subject still plays the 
first part, and this slightly lachrymose trait bordering on genre^ 
this lyrically tender or allegorically subtile element, which runs 
through English figure pictures, would easily degenerate into 
vaporous enervation in another country. In England portrait- 
painting, which now, as in the days of Reynolds, is the greatest 
title of honour possessed by English art, invariably maintains 
its union with direct reality. By acknowledgment portrait- 
painting in the present day is exceedingly earnest: it admits 
of no decorative luxuriousness, no sport with hangings and 
draperies, no pose; and English likenesses have this severe 
actuality in the highest degree. Stiff-necked obstinacy, sanguine 
resolution, and muscular force of will are often spoken of as 
an Englishman's national characteristics, and a trace of these 
qualities is also betrayed in English portrait-painting. The 
self-reliance of the English is far too great to suffer or demand 



VOL. III. 



12 



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1 70 MODERN FAINTING 

any servile habit of flattery : everything is free from pose, 
plain, and simple. Let the subject be the weather-beaten figure 
of an old sailor or the dazzling freshness of English youth, there 
is a remarkable energy and force of life in all their works, even 
in the pictures of children with their broad open brow, finely 
chiselled nose, and assured and penetrative glance. And as 
portrait-painting in England, to its own advantage and the 
benefit of all art, has never been considered as an isolated 
province, such pictures may be specified among the works of 
the most frigid academician as well as amongst those of the 
most vigorous naturalist. Frank Holl, who had such a Dussel- 
dorfian tinge in his more elaborate pictures, showed at the 
close of his life, in his likenesses of the engraver Samuel Cousins, 
Lord Duflferin, Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, Lord Wolseley, Mr. 
Gladstone, the Duke of Cleveland, Sir George Trevelyan, and 
Lord Spencer, a simple virility altogether wanting in his earlier 
works. They had a trenchant characterization and an unforced 
pose which were striking even in England. It is scarcely possible 
to exhibit people more naturally, or more completely to banish 
from their expression that concentrated air of attentiveness 
which suggests photography and so easily intrudes into a portrait. 
Even Leighton, so devoid of temperament, so entirely devoted 
to the measured art of the ancients, became at once nervous 
and almost brutal in his power when he painted a likeness in 
place of ideal Grecian figures. His vivid and forcible portrait 
of Sir Richard Burton, the celebrated African traveller, would 
do honour to the greatest portrait-painter of the Continent. 

Amongst portrait-painters by profession Walter Ouless will 
probably merit the place of honour immediately after Watts as 
an impressive exponent of character. He has assimilated much 
from his master Millais — not merely the heaviness of colour, 
which often has a disturbing effect in the latter, but also Millais' 
powerful flight of style, always so free from false rhetoric The 
chemical expert Pochin, as Ouless painted him in 1865, does 
not pose in the picture nor allow himself to be disturbed in his 
researches. It is a thoroughly contemporary portrait, one of 
those brilliant successes which later arose in France also. The 



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[C. Hnttschel 8c. 



Sant: "A Floral Offering.** 
(By permission of Messrs, Dowde^weU <S* DotudeswellSf the owners of the copyright,) 



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ENGLAND 



173 



Recorder of London, Mr. Russell Gurney, he likewise painted 
in his professional character and in his robes of office. In its 
inflexible graveness and earnest dignity the likeness is almost 
more than the portrait of an individual ; it seems the embodi- 
ment of the proud English Bench resting upon the most ancient 
traditions. His portrait of Cardinal Manning had the same con- 
vincing power of observation, the same large and sure technique. 
The soft light plays upon the ermine and the red stole, and 
falls full upon the fine, austere, and noble face. 

Besides Ouless mention may be made from among the great 
number of portrait-painters of/. /. Shannon with his powerful 
and firmly-painted likenesses, of James Sant with his sincere 
and energetic portraits of women, of Mouat Loudan with his 
pretty pictures of children, and of the many-sided Charles W. 
Furse. Hubert Herkomer was the most celebrated in Germany, 
and is probably the most skilful of the young men whom The 
Graphic brought into eminence in the seventies. 

The career of Hubert Herkomer is amongst those adventurous 
ones which become less and less frequent in the nineteenth 
century ; there are not many who have risen so rapidly to fame 
and fortune from such modest circumstances. His father was a 
carver of sacred images in the little Bavarian village of Waal, 
where Hubert was born in 1849. In 1851 the enterprising 
Bavarian tried his fortune in the New World. But there he 
-did not succeed in making progress, and in 1857 the family 
appeared in England, at Southampton. Here he fought his 
way honestly at the bench where he carved and as a journey- 
man worker, whilst his wife gave lessons in music. A commission 
to carve Peter Vischer's four evangelists in wood brought him 
with his son to Munich, where they occupied a room in the 
back buildings of a master-carpenter's house, in which they slept, 
cooked, and worked. In the preparatory class of the Munich 
Academy the younger Herkomer received his first teaching, and 
began to draw from the nude, the antique serving as model. 
At a frame-maker's in Southampton he gave his first exhibition, 
and drew illustrations for a comic paper. With the few pence 
which he saved from these earnings he went to London, where 



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174 MODERN PAINTING 

he lived from hand to mouth with a companion as poor as him- 
self. He cooked, and his friend scoured the pans ; meanwhile 
he worked as a mason on the frieze of the South Kensington- 
Museum, and hired himself out for the evenings as a zither- 
player. Then The Grapliic became his salvation, and after his- 
drawings had made him known he soon had success with his- 
paintings. "After the Toil of the Day," a picture which he 
exhibited in the Royal Academy of 1873— a thoughtful scene 
from the village life of Bavaria, carried out after the manner 
of Fred Walker — found a purchaser immediately. He was 
then able to make a home for his parents in the village of 
Bushey, which he afterwards glorified in the picture " Our 
Village," and he began his masterpiece "The Last Muster,'*^ 
which obtained in 1878 the great medal at the World Exhibition^ 
in Paris. Since then he found the eyes of the English public 
fixed upon him. There followed at first a series of pictures 
in which he proceeded upon the lines of Fred Walker's poetic 
realism : " Eventide," a scene in the Westminster Union ; " The 
Gloom of Idwal," a romantic mountain picture from North Wales ; 
"God's Shrine," a lonely Bavarian hill-side path, with a shrine 
and peasants praying ; " Der Bittgang," a group of country" 
people praying for harvest ; " Contrasts," a picture of English 
ladies surrounded by school-children in the Bavarian mountains. 
At the same time he became celebrated as a portrait-painter,, 
his first successes in this field being the likenesses of Wagner 
and Tennyson, Archibald Forbes, his own father, John Ruskin,. 
Stanley, and the conductor Hans Richter. And he reached the 
summit of his international fame when his portrait of Miss 
Grant, "The Lady in White," appeared in 1886; all Europe- 
spoke of it at the time, and it called forth entire bundles of: 
poems, anecdotes, biographies, and romances. From that time 
he advanced in his career with rapid strides. 

The University of Oxford appointed him Professor of the 
Fine Arts. He opened a School of Art and had etchings, 
copper engravings, and engravings in mezzotint produced by his 
pupils under his guidance. He wrote articles in the London 
papers upon the social question, and political economy, and 



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FuRSE Frontispiece to "Stories and Interludes." 



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ENGLAND 



177 




Magaziiu of Art. '\ 

Herkomer : John Ruskin. 
(.By permission of the Artist,) 



all manner of subjects, an article 
signed with Herkomer's name 
being always capable of creating 
interest He has his own theatre, 
and produces in it operas of 
which he writes the text and 
the music, and manages the re- 
hearsals and the scenery, beside 
playing the leading parts. 

Yet it is just his likenesses 
of women, the foundations of 
his fame, which do not seem in 
general entirely to justify the 
painter s great reputation. Miss 
Grant was certainly a captiva- 
ting woman, and she broke 
men's hearts wherever she made 
her appearance. People looked 
again and again into the brilliant brown eyes with which 
she looked so composedly before her ; they were overwhelmed 
by her austere and lofty virginal beauty. " The Lady in Black 
(An American Lady) " made a yet more piquant and spiritualized 
eflfect. Here was the unopened bud, and there the woman who 
has had experience of the delights and disappointments of life. 
Here was unapproachable pride, and there a trait of distinction 
and of suffering, an almost weary carriage of the body. There 
will certainly be an interesting gallery of beauty if Herkomer 
unites these " types of women " in a series. But even in the 
first picture how much of all the admiration excited was due 
to the painter and how much to the model? At bottom. 
Miss Grant made a success because she was such a pretty 
girL The arrangement of white against white was nothing new : 
Whistler, a far greater artist, had already painted a " White 
Girl" in 1863, and it was a much greater work of art, though 
on account of the attractiveness of the model being less 
powerful it triumphed only in the narrower circles of artists. 
Bastien-Lepage, who set himself the same problem in his 



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178 MODERN PAINTING 

"Sara Bernhardt," had also run through the scale ot white with 
greater sureness. And Herkomer's later pictures of women— 
"The Lady in Yellow," Lady Helen Fergusson, and others — are 
even less alluring considered as works of art The reserve 
and evenness of the execution give his portraits a somewhat 
clotted and stiff appearance. Good modelling and exceedingly 
vigorous drawing may perhaps ensure great correctness in the 
counterfeit of the originals, but the life of the picture vanishes 
beneath the greasy technique, the soapy painting through which 
materials of drapery and flesh-tints assume quite the same values. 
There is nothing in it of the transparency, the rosy delicacy, 
freshness, and flower-like bloom of Gainsborough's women and 
girls. Herkomer appears in these pictures as a salon painter in 
whom a tame but tastefully cultivated temperament is expressed 
with charm. Even his landscapes with their trim peasants* 
cottages and their soft moods of sunset have not enriched with 
new notes the scale executed by Walker. 

All the more astonishing is the earnest certainty of touch 
and the robust energy which are visible in his other works. 
His portraits of men, especially the one of his father, that kingly 
old man with the long, white beard and the furrowed brow, take 
their place beside the best productions of English portraiture, 
which are chiselled, as it were, in stone. In "The Last Muster " 
he showed that it is possible to be simple and yet strike a pro- 
found note and even attain greatness. For there is something 
great in these old warriors, who at the end of their days are 
praying, having never troubled themselves over prayer during 
all their lives, who have travelled so far and staked their lives 
dozens of times, and are now drawing their last breath softly 
upon the seats of a church. Even his more recent groups — 
" The Assemblage of the Curators of the Charterhouse " and 
" The Session of the Magistrates of Landsberg " — are magnificent 
examples of realistic art, full of imposing strength and soundness. 
In the representation of these citizens the genius of the master 
who in his " Chelsea Pensioners " created one of the " Doelen 
pieces" of the nineteenth century revealed itself afresh in all its 
greatness. 



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ENGLAND i8i 

Beside portrait-painting the painting of landscape stands 
now as ever in full blossom amongst the English ; not that the 
artists of to-day are more consistently faithful to truth than 
their predecessors, or that they seem more modern in the study 
of light In the province of landscape as in that of figure- 
painting far more weight is laid upon subject than on the moods 
of atmosphere. If one compares the modern English painters 
with Crome and Constable, one finds them wanting in boldness 
and creative force ; and placed beside Monet they seem to 
be diffident altogether. But a touching reverence for nature 
gives almost all their pictures a singularly chaste and fragrant 
charm. 

Of course all the influences which have affected English art 
in other respects are likewise reflected in landscape-painting. 
The epoch-making activity of the Preraphaelites, the passionate 
earnestness of Ruskin*s love for nature, as well as the influence 
of foreign art, have all left their traces. In his own manner 
Constable had spoken the last word. The principal thing in him 
as in Cox was the study of atmospheric effects and of the dramatic 
life of air. They neither of them troubled themselves about local 
colour, but sought to render the tones which are formed under 
atmospheric and meteorological influences ; they altogether sacri- 
ficed the completion of the details of subject to seizing the 
momentary impression. In Turner, generally speaking, it was only 
the air that lived Trees and buildings, rocks and water, are 
merely repoussoirs for the atmosphere ; they, are exclusively or- 
dained to lead the eye through the mysterious depths of light 
and shadow. The intangible absorbed what could be touched 
and handled. As a natural reaction there came this Preraphaelite 
landscape, and by a curious irony of chance the writer who had 
done most for Turner's fame was also he who first welcomed 
this Preraphaelite landscape school. Everything which the old 
school had neglected now became the essential object of painting. 
The landscape-painters fell in love with the earth, with the 
woods and the fields ; and the more autumn resolved the wide 
green harmony of nature into a sport of colours multiplied a 
thousand times, the more did they love it. Thousands of 



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l82 



MODERN PAINTING 




BroUura photu,\ 

Herkomer: "Hard Times." 
(By permission of the Mancheiter Art GaUery, the owners of the picture.) 

things were there to be seen. First, how the foliage turned 
yellow and red and brown, and then how it fell away : how 
it was scattered upon a windy day, whirling in a yellow drift 
of leaves ; how in still weather leaf after leaf lightly rustled to 
the ground from between the wavering brown boughs. And 
then when the foliage fell from the leaves and bushes the most 
inviolate secrets of summer came to light ; there lay around 
quantities of bright seeds and berries rich in colour, brown nuts, 
smooth acorns, black and glossy sloes, and scarlet haws. In 
the leafless beeches there clustered pointed beechmast, the mug- 
wort bent beneath its heavy red bunches, late blackberries lay 
black and brown amid the damp foliage upon the road, bil- 
berries grew amid the heather, and wild raspberries bore their 
dull red fruit once again. The dying ferns took a hundred 
colours ; the moss shgt up like the ears of a miniature cornfield. 



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MagoMm* of Art,] 



Herkomer: **The L\st Muster." 
{By ^trmiMioH oj Messrs. Bouasod, Valadon <S> Co., tkt owners o; the picture.) 



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ENGLAND 



T85 



Eager as children 
the landscape- 
painters roamed 
here and there 
across the wood- 
land, to discover 
its treasures and its 
curiosities. They 
understood how to 
paint a bundle of 
hay with such exact- 
ness that a botanist 
could decide upon 
the species of every 
blade. One of 
them lived for three 
months under can- 
vas, so as thoroughly 
to know a landscape 
of heath. Confused 
through detail, they 
lost their view of 
the whole, and only 
made a return to modernity when they came to study the 
Parisian landscape-painters. Thus English art in this matter 
made a curious circuit, giving and taking. First, the English 
fertilized French art ; but at the time when French artists stood 
under the influence of the English, the latter swerved in the 
opposite direction, until they ultimately received from France 
the impulse which led them back into the old way. 

In accordance with these different influences, several currents 
which cross each other and mingle are to be found flowing 
side by side in English landscape-painting : upon one side a 
spirit of prosaic reasonableness, a striving after clearness and 
precision, which does not know how to sacrifice detail, and is 
therefore in want of pictorial totality of effect ; on the other 
side an artistic pantheism which rises at times to high lyrical 
VOL. III. 13 




{.Artist 8c, 
Herkomer: Miss Grant. 
{By p€rmts8iOH of Messrs. Obetch <S> Co., thg owners oj thg 
copyright.) 



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i86 



MODERN PAINTING 



poetry in spite of 
many dissonances. 

The pictures of 
Cedl Lawson lead to 
the point where the 
Preraphaelites begin. 
The elder painters, 
with their powerful 
treatment and the 
freedom and bold- 
ness of their exe- 
cution, still keep 
altogether on the 
lines of Constable, 
whereas in later 
painters, with their 
minute elaboration 
of all particularities, 
the influence of 
the Preraphaelites 
becomes more and 
more apparent. 

Here, where Cecil Lawson ended, James Clarke Hook began, 
the great patriarch who has even now lost nothing of the 
strength with which he opened the eyes of the world forty 
years ago to the depth of colouring and the enchanting life of 
nature, even in its individual details. His pictures, especially 
those sunsets which he paints with such delight, have something 
devout and religious in them ; they have the effect of a prayer 
or a hymn, and often possess a solemnity which is entirely 
biblical, in spite of their brusque, pungent colours. In his later 
period he principally devoted himself to sea-pieces, and in doing 
so receded from the Preraphaelite painting of detail characteristic 
of his youthful period. His pictures give one the breath of the 
sea, and his sailors are old sea-wolves. All that remains from 
his Preraphaelite period is that, as a rule, they carry a certain 
burden of ideas. 




iArtUtu, 
Herkomer : <* An American Lady." 
{By permission of Mr, T, McLean, the owner of the copyright.) 



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ENGLAND 189 

Vicat Cole, likewise one of the older school, is unequal and 
less important. From many of his pictures one receives the 
impression that he has directly copied Constable, and others 
are bathed in dull yellow tones ; nevertheless he has sometimes 
painted autumn pictures, felicitous and noble landscapes, in 
which there is really a reflection of the sun of Claude Lorrain. 

With much greater freedom does Colin Hunter approach 
nature, and he has the secret of seizing her boldly in her most 
impressive moments. The twilight, with its mysterious, inter- 
penetrating tremor of colours of a thousand shades, its shine 
and glimmer of water, with the sky brooding heavily above, is 
what fascinates him most of all. Sometimes he represents the 
dawn, as in " The Herring Market at Sea ; " sometimes the pale 
tawny sunset, as in " The Gatherers of Seaweed," in the South 
Kensington Museum. His men are always in a state of restless 
activity, whether they are making the most of the last moments 
of light or facing the daybreak with renewed energies. 

Although resident in London, he and Hook are the true 
-standard-bearers of the forcible Scotch school of landscape. 
MacCallunty MacWhirter, and James Macbeth, with whom John 
Brett, the landscape-painter of Cornwall, may be associated, are. 
all gnarled, Northern personalities. Their strong, dark tones 
stand often beside each other with a little hardness, but they 
sum up the great glimpses of nature admirably. Their brush 
has no tenderness, their spirit does not lightly yield to dreami- 
ness, but they stand with both feet firmly planted on the earth, 
and they clasp reality in a sound and manly fashion with both 
arms. Their deeply toned pictures, with red wooden houses, 
darkly painted vessels, veiled skies, and rude fishermen with all 
their heart in their work, waken strong and intimate emotions. 
The difference between these Scots and the tentative spirits of 
the younger generation of the following of Walker and Mason 
is like that between Rousseau and Dupr^ as opposed to 
Chintreuil and Daubigny. The Scotch painters are sombre and 
virile; they have an accent of depth and truth, and a dark, 
ascetic harmony of colour. Even as landscape-painters the 
English love what is delicate in nature, what is refined and 



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J90 MODERN PAINTING 

tender, familiar and modest : the blooming apple-trees and the 
budding birches, the odour of the cowshed and the scent of hay, 
the chime of sheep-bells and the hum of gnats. They seek no 
great emotions, but are merely amiable and kindly, and their 
pictures give one the feeling of standing at the window upon a 
country excursion, and looking out at the laughing and budding 
spring. In her novel North and South Mrs. Gaskell has given 
charming expression to the glow of this feeling of having fled 
from the smoke and dirt of industrial towns to breathe the 
fresh air and see the sun go down in the prosperous country, 
where the meadows are fresh and well-kept, and where the 
flowers are fragrant and the leaves glance in the sunshine. In 
the pictures of the Scotch artists toiling men are moving busily ; 
for the English, nature merely exists that man may have his 
pleasure in her. Not only is everything which renders her the 
prosaic handmaiden of mankind scrupulously avoided, but all 
abruptnesses of landscape, all the chance incidents of mountain 
scenery ; and, indeed, they are not of frequent occurrence in 
nature as she is in England. A familiar corner of the country 
is preferred to wide prospects, and some quiet phase to nature 
in agitation. Soft, undulating valleys, gently spreading hills con- 
forming to the Hogarthian line of beauty, are especially favoured. 
And should the rainbow, the biblical symbol of atonement, 
stand in the sky, the landscape is for English eyes in the 
zenith of its beauty. 

There is Birket Forster^ one of the first and most energetic 
followers of Walker — Birket Forster, whose charming woodcuts 
became known in Germany likewise ; Inchbold^ who with a light 
hand combines the tender green of the grasses upon the dunes 
and the bright blue of the sea into a whole pervaded with light 
and of great refinement ; Leader, whose bright evening land- 
scapes, and Corbety whose delicate moods of morning, are so 
beautiful. Mark Fis/ier, who in the matter of tones closely 
follows the French landscape school, though he remains entirely 
English in sentiment, has painted with great artistic power the 
dreamy peace of solitary regions as well as the noisy and busy 
life of the purlieus of the town. John Whitey in 1882, signalized 



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ENGLAND 193 

himself with a landscape, "Gold and Silver," which was bathed 
in light and air. The gold was a waving cornfield threaded 
by a sandy little yellow path ; the silver was the sea glittering 
and sparkling in the background. Moved by Birket Forster, 
Ernest Parton seeks to combine refinement of tone with incisive- 
ncss in the painting of detail. His motives are usually quite 
simple — a stream and a birch wood in the dusk, a range of 
poplars stretching dreamily along the side of a ditch. Marshall 
painted gloomy London streets enveloped in mist ; Docharty 
blossoming hawthorn bushes and autumn evening with russet- 
leaved oaks ; while Alfred East became the painter of spring in 
all its fragrance, when the meadows are resplendent in their earliest 
verdure, and the leaves of the trees which have just unfolded 
stand out against the firmament in light green patches of colour, 
when the limes are blossoming and the crops begin to sprout. 
J/. /. Aumonier appears in the harmony of colouring, and in the 
softness of his fine, light-hued tones, as the true heir of Walker 
and Mason. A discreet and intimate sense of poetry pervades 
his valleys with their veiled and golden light, a fertile odour of 
the earth streams from his rich meadows, and from all the 
luxuriant, cultivated, and peacefully idyllic tracts which he has 
painted so lovingly and so well. Gregory^ Knighty Alfred Parsons^ 
David Fulton^ A. R, Brown ^ and St. Clair Simmons have all 
something personal in their work, a bashful tenderness beneath 
what is seemingly arid. The study of water-colour would alone 
claim a chapter for itself. Since water-colour allows of more 
breadth and unity than oil-painting, it is precisely here that 
there may be found exceedingly charming and discreet concords, 
softly chiming tones of delicate blue, greenish, and rosy light, 
giving the most refined sensations produced by English colouring. 
Of course England has a great part to play in the painting 
of the sea. It is not for nothing that a nation occupies an 
insular and maritime position, above all with such a sea and 
upon such coasts, and the English painter knows well how to 
give an heroic and poetic cast to the weather-beaten features 
of the sailor. For thirty years Henry Moore, the elder brother 
of Albert Moore, has been the undisputed monarch of this 



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194 MODERN PAINTING 

province of art. Moore began as a landscape-painter. From 
1853 to 1857 he painted the glistening cliffs and secluded nooks 
of Cumberland, and then the green valleys of Switzerland flooded 
with the summer air and the clear morning light — quiet scenes 
of rustic life, the toil of the wood-cutter and the haymaker, 
somewhat as Julien Duprd handles such matters at the present 
time in Paris. From 1858 he began his conquest of the sea, 
and in the succeeding interval he has painted it in all the 
phases of its changing life, — at times in grey and sombre morning, 
at other times when the sun stands high ; at times in quietude, 
at other times when the wind sweeps heavily across the waves, 
when the storm rises or subsides, when the sky is clouded or 
when it brightens. It is a joy to follow him in all quarters of 
the world, to see how he constantly studies the waves of every 
zone on fair or stormy days, amid the clearness and brilliancy 
of the mirror of the sea, as amid the strife of the elements ; 
as a painter he is, at the same time, always a student 
of nature, and treats the sea as though he had to paint 
its portrait. In the presence of his sea-pieces one has the 
impression of a window opening suddenly upon the ocean. 
Henry Moore measures the boundless expanse quite calmly, 
like a captain calculating the chances of being able to make a 
crossing. Nowhere else does there live any painter who regards 
the sea so much with the ^yts of a sailor, and who combines 
such eminent qualities with this objective and cool, attentive 
observation, which seems to behold in the sea merely its navigable 
capacity. 

The painter of the river-port of London and the arm of the 
Thames is William L. Wyllie^ whose pictures unite so much 
bizarre grandeur with so much precision. One knows the port 
life of the Thames, with its accumulation of work, which has not 
its like upon the whole planet. Everything is colossal. From 
Greenwich up to London both sides of the river are a continuous 
quay : everywhere there are goods being piled, sacks being raised 
on pulleys, ships being laid at anchor ; everywhere are fresh 
storehouses for copper, beer, sails, tar, and chemicals. The 
river is a mile broad and is like a street populated with ships. 



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ENGLAND 



197 




\Brothtrs photo sc. 



Henry Moore: "Mounts Bay." 
iBy permission of the CorporcUion 0/ Manchester, the owners of the picture.) 

a workshop winding again and again. The steamers and sailing 
vessels move up and down stream, or lie in masses, close beside 
one another, at anchor. Upon the bank the docks lie athwart 
like so many streets of water, sending out ships or taking them 
in. The ranks of masts and the slender rigging form a spider's 
web spreading across the whole horizon ; and a vaporous haze, 
penetrated by the sun, envelops it with a reddish veil. 
Every dock is like a town, filled with huge vats and populated 
with a swarm of human beings, that moves hither and thither 
amid fluttering shadows. This vast panorama, veiled with smoke 
and mist, only now and then broken by a ray of sunlight, is the 
theme of Wyllie's pictures. Even as a child he ran about in 
the port of London, clambered on to the ships, noted the play 
of the waves, and wandered about the docks, and so he painted 
his pictures afterwards with all the technical knowledge of a 
sailor. There is no one who knows so well how ships stand 
in the water ; no one has such an understanding of their details : 
the heavy sailing-vessels and the great steamers, which lie in 
the brown water of the port like mighty monsters, the sailors 
and the movements of the dock labourers, the dizzy tide of men, 
the confusion of cabs and drays upon the bridges spanning the 



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198 



MODERN PAINTING 



k /-i: 






arm of the Thames; only 
VoUon in Paris is to be 
compared with him as 
painter of a river-port. 

Apart from him, Clara 
Montalba specially has 
painted the Lxjndon port 
in delicate water-colours. 
Yet she is almost more 
at home in Venice, the 
Venice of Francesco 
Guardi, with its magic 
gleam, its canals, regattas, 
and palaces, the Oriental 
and dazzling splendour of 
San Marco, the austere 
grace of San Giorgio 
Maggiore, the spirited 
and fantastic cUcadence of 
Santa Maria della Salute. 
Elsewhere English water- 
colour often enters into a fruitless rivalry with oil-painting, but 
Clara Montalba cleaves to the old form which in other days 
under Bonington, David Cox, and Turner was the chief glory 
of the English school. She throws lightly upon paper notes 
and effects which have struck her, and the memory of which 
she wishes to retain. 

For the English painters of the day, so far as they do not 
remain in the country, Venice has become what the East was for 
the earlier generations. They no longer study the romantic Venice 
which Turner painted and Byron sang in CAilde Harold, they 
do not paint the noble beauty of Venetian architecture or its 
canals glowing in the sun, but the Venice of the day, with its 
narrow alleys and pretty girls, Venice with its marvellous effects 
of light and the picturesque figures of its streets. Nor are 
they at pains to discover " ideal " traits in the character of the 
Italian people. They paint true, everyday scenes from popular 



^im- 



-1^ 



Magazme of Art.] 

Luke Fildes: "Venetian Women." 

{By ptrmisaioH of tht Berlin Photographic Companyt 

tht owners of the copyright.) 



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ENGLAND 



199 



life, but these are 
glorified by the magic 
of light After Zezzos, 
Ludwig Passini, Cecil 
van Haanen, Tito, and 
Eugene Blaas, the Eng- 
lishmen Luke Fildes, 
W. Logsdail, and Henry 
Woods are the most 
skilful painters of 
Venetian street scenes. 
In the pictures of Luke 
Fildes and W. Logsdail 
there are usually to be 
seen in the foreground 
beautiful women, painted 
full-size, washing linen 
in the canal or seated 
knitting at the house 
door ; the heads are 
bright and animated, 
the colours almost 
glaringly vivid. Henry 

IVoodSy the brother-in-law of Luke Fildes, rather followed the 
paths prescribed by Favretto in such pictures as " Venetian 
Trade in the Streets," " The Sale of an Old Master," " Pre- 
paration for the First Communion," " Back from the Rialto," 
and the like ; of all the English he has carried out the study 
of bright daylight most consistently. The little glass house 
which he built in 1879 at the back of the Palazzo Vendramin 
became the model of all the glass studios now disseminated 
over the city of the lagunes. 

And these labours in Venice contributed in no unessential 
manner to lead English painting, in general, away from its 
one-sided aesthetics and rather more into the mud of the streets, 
causing it to break with its finely accorded tones, and bringing 
it to a more earnest study of light. Beside his idealized 




iBfothirs photo sc. 

Stanhope Forbes: "The Lighthouse." 

(By penmiaaioH oj thg Corporation of Manchester^ the 
owners of the picture.^ 



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200 MODERN PAINTING 

Venetian women, Luke Fildes also painted large pictures from 
the life of the English people, such as " The Return of the 
Lost One," "The Widower," and the like, which struck tones 
more earnest than English painting does elsewhere; and in his 
picture of 1878, "The Poor of London," he even recalled 
certain sketches which Gavarni drew during his rambles 
through the poverty-stricken quarter of London. The poor 
starving figures in this work were rendered quite realistically 
and without embellishment; the general tone was a greenish 
grey, making a forcible change from the customary light blue 
of English pictures. Dudley Hardy's huge picture " Homeless," 
where a crowd of human beings are sleeping at night in the 
open air at the foot of a monument in London, and Jacomb 
Hoods plain scenes from London street life, are other works 
which in recent years were striking from having a character 
rather French than English. Stott of Oldham listens in rapture 
to the symphonic harmonies of the great magician Whistler, 
and by his pretty pictures of the dunes with children playing, 
powerful portraits, and delicate, vaporous moonlight landscapes 
he has won many admirers on the Continent also. Stanhope 
Forbes painted " A Philharmonic Society in the Country," a 
representation of an auction, and scenes from the career of the 
Salvation Army, in which he restrained himself from all sub- 
ordinate ideas of a poetic turn, and approached the Danes by 
the bonhomie of his method of observation. In English art 
these are the few painters par exceUencCy the solitary artists who 
aim more in the French sense at the naturalistic transcript of 
a fragment of reality, and combine with it a more direct study 
of light than is elsewhere usual in the English school. 



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CHAPTER XXXVIII 

BELGIUM 

As David swayed over Belgian fainting from 1800 to 1830, and Delaroche 
from 1830 to 1850, Courbet swayed over it from 1850 to 1870. — Charles 
de Grouxy Henri de Braekeleer, Constantin Meunier, Charles Verlat, 
Louis Dubois, Jan Stobbaerts, Leopold Speekaert, Alfred Stevens^ De 
yonghe, Baugniet, the brothers Verhas, Charles Hermans. — The land- 
scape-painters first go upon the lines of the Fontainebleau artists 
and the Impressionists, — Sketch of the history of Belgian landscape- 
painting. — Van Assche, Verstappen, Marneffe^ Lauters, Jacob-Jacobs, 
Kinder mans y Fourmois^ Schampheleer, Roekfs, ' Lamoriniere, De 
Knyff,—Hippolyte Boulenger and. the Sociite Libre des Beaux- Arts, 
— Thiodore Baron^ Jacques Rosseels, Joseph Heymans, CoosemanSt 
AsselbergSt Verstraete^ Frans Courtens, — The painters of animals c 
Verboeckhovent Alfred Verwee, Parmeniier^ De Greef Leemputten, 
LSon Massaux, Marie Collaert, — The painters of the sea : Clays, 
A. Bouvier, Leemans, A. Baertsoen, Louis Artan, — The portrait- 
Painters : Emile Wauters, Liivin de Winne, Agneesens, Lambrichs, 
— General characteristic of Belgian painting. 

BELGIAN painting differs from English as a fat Flemish 
matron from an ethereal young lady. In England refuge is 
taken in grace and poetry, objects are divested of their earthy 
heaviness, everything is subtile and mysterious and of a 
melancholy tenderness; even the painting of peasants is a 
bucolical art, which only breathes the spirit of rustic life without 
having any of its rude materiality. Painters wander through 
nature like sensitive poets, finding flowers everywhere, and it is 
pleasant to breathe the perfume of the charming bouquets into 
which they have the secret of binding them with so much skill. 
But the Belgians are true Flemish masters, exceedingly material, 
not in the least refined, and sacrificing nothing to grace. They 
go their way like animals at the plough, without growing weary, 
VOL, III. ^^ 14 



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202 MODERN PAINTING 

but without any traces of poetry; they are exclusively in- 
terested in reality — in poor folks and in rich and prosperous 
interiors, in scenes from peasant life and from the streets, in 
fat, heavy women, land and sea, in everything that has life, 
colour, and character. A somewhat material weight and a 
prosaic sincerity, an unctuous Flemish health, is expressed in 
everything. It is as if Jacob Jordaens were again upon his 
walks in Flanders. 

This revolution of Belgian painting dates from 1850. As 
David was at the head of Belgian painting from 1800, and 
Delaroche from 1830, Courbet swayed over it from 1850 to 1870. 
The historical picture, along with everything mythological and 
religious, allegorical and fantastic, was forsaken. The rosy 
insipidity, the conventional, blooming pallet-tone of Wappers 
and Gallait made way for a ruthless truth of colouring. 
Courbet, who himself descended from Jacob Jordaens, helped 
the Belgians to become conscious of their old Flemish stock 
once more. When his " Stonebreakers ** was exhibited in 
Brussels in 1852, it was at first greeted with the same cry of 
indignation by which it had been received in France. But this 
howl of indignation did not hinder Courbet's realism from 
triumphing a few years afterwards with De Groux, who reflected 
it in a species of brutal sentimentalism. 

Charles de Groux is a remarkable artist. Hendrik Leys 
had already painted poverty. Yet he did not see it in the 
reality, but only in old pictures. The wealthy and refined 
painter had a long way to go from his own princely mansion 
to the narrow alleys of old Antwerp where these modern 
dramas were played Charles de Groux himself passed an 
indigent life in an out-of-the-way quarter, always surrounded by 
the pallid and famished faces of the poor. A deep compas- 
sion led him to the world of the miserable and heavy-laden. 
He transferred to them the melancholy from which he suffered 
himself, lived their life with them, and his heart bled when he 
saw them suffer. Artist and man were identical with each other 
in him. He became the painter of the unfortunate because he 
was himself a poor, unfortunate, and hard-featured man ; it was 



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BELGIUM 203 

ihrough the same necessity of nature by which handsome and 
fortunate artists have been the poets of laughter and grace in 
every age. He mingles with his painting neither sarcasm nor 
complaints, but simply paints the reality as he feels it, with his 
whole heart, though without dogmatizing or preaching as a 
social democrat. The strife between labour and capital does not 
affect him ; he does not trouble himself about the relation 
between workmen and employers ; he never utters the war-cry 
of the popular tribune, like Eugene de Block. In a real and 
earnest spirit he introduced the democracy into art, and gave it 
that baptismal certificate which it received in France through 
Courbet In other respects he does not resemble the French- 
man. Courbet was a robust painter with a broad bravura, an 
artist who harmonized everything in the brown tones of the 
[Bolognese. De Groux seems meagre and tortured beside him ; 
sfhrill tones break through the sooty harmony of his pictures. 
Courbet regarded humanity with a broad and healthy Rabe- 
laisian laugh, whereas poor De Groux, who suffered himself and 
was weak and sickly, has always introduced into his dramas the 
profound sentiment of death. In Courbet there are healthy 
human beings standing out in all their rusticity, while in De 
Groux there are spare figures with hollow cheeks and weak 
lungs, consumptive beings who in their very birth have already 
fallen the victims of mortality. This preference for disease, 
unsightliness, and human decay gives a terrible uniformity to 
the works of De Groux. His pictures are disconsolate and 
cheerless. The leaden gloom of rainy weather, the melancholy 
of low houses with their roofs buried under dirty snow, 
and the heavy atmosphere of sad autumnal days are what 
he most loves. In his pictures one does not see the 
spring, nor song-birds, nor sportive butterflies; scarcely does 
a strip of green enliven the sooty uniformity of his colour- 
ing, which is as gloomy - as the life of the poor. Mournful 
reality sways over everything in his work. It is like a 
hospital filled with sick people, pre-ordained in their cradles 
to a famished and shivering existence. As mercilessly as a 
surgeon operating upon a diseased limb has De Groux drawn 



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204 



MODERN PAIIfTING 




De Groux: "The Deathbed." 

his art from the hospital, and it is often brutal where he 
touches the deepest sores of modern civilization. His ideal 
never goes beyond the threshold of cellars and attics. There 
are in his pictures nothing but poor, broken furniture, stitched 
rags, and pale faces, where famine and toil have early left their 
traces. He paints the sorrows and the wretchedness of the 
artisan, the utter degeneration of men in need of light and air, 
with a terrible sincerity known to none before him. Even 
Tassaert, the Biranger of the garret, only depicted little grisettes 
destroying themselves by the fumes of charcoal with a pallid 
smile upon their lips. He never displayed the barren nudity of 
the attic where old men die of starvation beneath their filthy 
bedclothes. A thoroughly French grace softened the mournful- 
ness of his works. De Groux went to the bitter end ; he 
painted I'assommqir before it was made a subject for fiction : 
the drunkard reeling heavily to his house, ruined men lingering 



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BELGIUM 



ioi 






Dk Groux: "GraOc before Meat." 

over the brandy-glass in grimy taverns, and, as a [lugubrious 
reverse to the picture, shivering children crouching Gold and 
hungry in a fireless room, pale women who hslve cried their 
eyes out sewing in the dingy light penetrating through dirty 
windows, and broken old cradlefi where little children are lying 
dead. Even where he touches a softer note he recognizes only 
the regularity of toil or the bitter distress of life : poor women 
darning upon a gloomy afternoon the torn clothes of their 
husbands or their children, beggars who stand shivering at the 
street corner, the half- frozen poor passing with a faint heart by 
the brasier of a man Celling coffee, vagabonds drawing a 
brandy-flask from their pockets at the street corner, little 
children slinking pale and bare-footed over the rough stones, 
mothers praying for a dying baby. De Groux knew what a 
close bond unites the outcasts of society with religion, arrd 
therefore he sometimes represented — and it is the only variation 
in his work — the priest at the altar amid the smoke bf the 

-candles. Or upon the high-road bearing the last consolatiofi to 
the dying. He painted the poor as if he had lived amongst them 
himself, and shared their want, their renunciation, and their 

' superstition ; and the jiriest and religious worship he pkinted 

like a man 6f the humble class who himself believed in them. 

Charies de Groux Ief\ hd school behind him'; but the 



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2oe MODERN PAINTING 

principle of his art survived. A heightened feeling for reality 
came into the Belgian school with him, and determined its 
further development. Painters looked no longer backwards but 
around them, as did their great predecessors in the seventeenth 
century. And by painting the men who lived about them, as 
these older masters had done, they revelled once more in the 
warm juicy colour which was characteristic of Flemish painting 
in the days of Jordaens. 

Henri de Braekeleer^ nephew of Leys and son of Ferdinand 
de Braekeleer, whose genre pictures had such a great reputation 
sixty years agOj became the Belgian Pieter de Hoogh of the 
nineteenth century. To some extent he closed the tradition of 
Leys, and clothed his efforts, with a rational and definite 
formula. Leys, who did not stand independent of the old 
masters, painted the people of Antwerp who lived in their 
time ; Henri de Braekeleer painted those whom he saw himself. 
Like all towns which have a past, Antwerp falls into two 
sharply divided districts. One of these is formed by the new 
town, with its straight and broad streets and stone mansions, 
through the high windows of which a clear grey light falls upon 
fine and comfortable apartments ; the other is formed by the 
old quarter of the town, with its dingy little houses, its pic- 
turesque courts, its tortuous alleys illuminated only by a scanty 
strip of grey sky, and its old Flemish population, who live now 
exactly as their forefathers two hundred years ago. A painter, 
brought up in the school of Leys, and, like him, paying honour 
to the old Dutch colourists, would necessarily feel himself 
drawn towards these old nooks, with beams of light stealing into 
sequestered chambers through little windows and playing upon 
brightly polished pewter and copper vessels. Here it was still 
possible to revel in the Dutch clare-obscure, and that was what 
De Braekeleer did. He did not paint the noisy life of the 
streets of Antwerp, the heavy tread of the horses dragging 
wains laden high over the rough pavement, nor the smoke and 
steam of flues and manufactories. But he painted the quiet 
and loneliness of a sleeping town, the red roofs of little houses 
bathed dreamily in the dull light of the sky, little courts where 



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BELGIUM 207 

old people sat and sunned themselves upon a bench. He 
painted men who were vegetating — men whose life flowed by 
with a somnolent monotony, or men in the regular business 
of their calling : cordwainers, tailors, and shoemakers, old men 
reading or geographers bending over their maps, meagre gardens 
with sooty flowers and dim interiors with little leaded windows. 
He is himself described as a quiet, dreamy man, and he felt 
himself as much at home amid these quiet people and quiet 
houses as Groux did amongst the poor. In the matter of 
technique he soon deserted the old German lines of Leys, 
approaching all the nearer to Van der Meer of Delft and Pieter 
de Hoogh. De Hoogh gave him the warm red general tone ; 
in that painter he saw the sunbeams glancing sportively over 
table-covers, boards, chests, and copper vessels, the light which 
from a brighter opening at the side penetrates a dark ante- 
chamber like a golden column of dust. From De Hoogh he 
learnt to seize boldly many charming problems of light, solving 
them with the refinement of an old Dutch master. Claus Meyer 
is, more or less, his parallel in Germany. 

After Charles de Groux had painted the poor and Henri de 
Braekeleer the people of Antwerp, Constantin Meunier went into 
the forges and represented great virile bodies, naked to the 
waist, in heroic attitudes. Meunier lives in the little town of 
Louvain, the capital of the Belgian colliery district. From his 
studio he looks over a wide, black country, like a huge, solitary 
block of coal — a terrible battle-field for industry. All the air is 
darkened with smoke ; the plain is covered with chimneys, high 
as obelisks, and long rows of lofty buildings of red, monotonous 
brick stand there like busy beehives. Glowing blast furnaces 
flare through the fog — those iron-foundries where the machines 
of the kingdom are formed, rollers and fly-wheels, the pillars of 
bridges and the axles of steam-engines. Workmen — a species 
of peaceable giants — bestir themselves at the iron hammer with 
red glowing shafts. Meunier himself joined in this battle at the 
side of the artisan. At first a sculptor, he applied the gloomy 
naturalism of Zola's Germinal to plastic art. As a painter he 
is convincing and austere, a little brutal indeed, but sincere and 



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208 



MODERN PAINTING 




Meunier: "The Peasants* Rebellion." 

simple. His landscapes reek of coal and iron, and his pit-men 
are terrible, sooty figures, bearing the stamp of great truth- 
fulness, whether they stare into the fire of the blast furnace 
with a dull gaze, or rest brooding gloomily, tired out with their 
work. At times, too, he exhibits scenes of martyrdom which 
are Belgian counterparts to those painted in France by Ribot 
under the influence of the Spanish naturalists. In place of the 
boudoir saints of the earlier generation one sees nude figures 
which have been marvellously painted, half-mouldered corpses 
with sanguinary wounds. A smack of the butcher's shop was 
introduced into Flemish art by Meunier's pictures. 

On account of this attempt to place religious painting upon 
a realistic basis, Charles Verlat ought not to be passed over. 
During a residence in Palestine he had prepared numerous 
figure and landscape studies, which he put together in religious 
pictures after his return. The result was a trivial though 
massive realism, as it is in most of the biblical Eastern painters, 
but in Verlat it has the more crude effect as he had no eye 



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BELGIUM 209 

for landscape whatever. Everything is petrified, the persons, the 
air, and the light He did nothing for the progress of religious 
painting, but his primitive realism was so far stimulating that 
it enabled him to put an end to conventional sacred painting 
in Belgium ; and by a fresher study of nature he attached 
himself to the general movement. By his Eastern pictures, as 
well as his landscapes and animals, many a younger artist had 
his eyes opened for the life of nature. 

Louis Dubois is, perhaps, the most exuberant in power of 
all this group influenced by Courbet His first broad and 
juicily painted likenesses recall old Pourbus. Later he turned, 
with the large bravura and oily red-brown method of painting 
characteristic of Courbet, to the figure-picture, still-life, and 
landscape. When he painted nude women they were exuberant 
in health and strength. He delighted in fat shoulders and 
sinewy necks, the gleam of the skin under lamplight, the 
coats of roes and hares, the iridescent glitter of carp and cod ; 
in fact he was a robust workman like Gustave Courbet, and 
clasped matter in all its unctuous and luxuriant health with 
a voluptuous satisfaction. 

Equally full-blooded, Jan Stobbaerts painted artisan pictures, 
landscapes, and still-life in dark-brown studio tones, and with 
brutal force. He peculiarly sought out subjects of a repellent 
triviality : cowhouses in warm yellow-greenish light alternate 
with dark and dirty interiors, kitchens where decaying vege- 
tables are strewn about with barbers' rooms where old men are 
being shaved Jan Stobbaerts, in fact, is an unwieldy Flemish 
bear, robust, of a healthy human understanding and colossal 
hideousness. 

At the time when he began to paint in Antwerp, an artist 
made his appearance in Brussels who was not quite so exuberant 
in power, but also had a virile and energetic talent — Leopola 
Speekaert. His first picture, in i860, was a nymph taken by 
surprise, a healthy piece of naked flesh, painted with that broad 
and robust technique by which Courbet's nude women impressed 
the Belgians. After that he also turned to the painting of the 
poor, depicting beggars, drunkards, women of the people — pictures 



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210 MODERN PAINTING 

from which later generations will receive a terrifying repre- 
sentation of Brussels in the sixties. 

Alfred Stevens^ who also began with beggarwomen and 
vagabonds, introduced a certain nervous restlessness — even if it 
was not profound— into Flemish healthiness. Women, seas and 
flowers, silk and satin, everything rich in nuances and rendering 
delicate reflections possible, busied his dexterous brush. His 
pictures are at once refined and solid, graceful and strong, 
healthy and yet full of nervous vibration, Flemish and Parisian- 
It almost seems, indeed, as though they were too Flemish to 
count as true representations of the Parisienne, Stevens is now 
nearly sixty-eight years of age, and looks like the retired colonel 
of a cavalry regiment Even the rude blows of fate have failed 
to bow his broad-shouldered and gigantic frame with its massive 
back and great muscular hands. And these muscular hands 
have given something of their own strength to the tender lines 
of Parisiennes, and made such beings healthier and more full- 
blooded than they really are. The heaviness of Jordaens lies 
in his blood. Like all these Flemish artists, he is a painter of 
still-life. His pretty women, who are bathing or regarding 
bouquets, Japanese masques and statuettes, in an attitude which 
permits the spectator to study their rich toilettes and their 
tasteful household surroundings, seem themselves like puppets 
set amid these knickknacks. The capacity for grasping the 
atmosphere of life in its quivering movement, the poetry of 
what is psychical, evaporated from this art. 

The successes of Stevens led De Jonghe, Baugniet, and the 
brothers Verhas into the same course. Beneath the hands of 
De Jonghe the Parisienne becomes a tender, languishing being, 
stretching at full length upon a soft velvet sofa. He, too, knows 
nothing of passion and spiritual life. All the interest lies in the 
coquetry of the toilette, which, however, is always confined within 
the limits of conventional decency. All De Jonghe*s women 
look as innocent as if they had just left a boarding-school. 
They sit over their work-basket or have a novel resting upon 
their knees. A slight fit of sulks or an impatient expectancy 
is the only thing that, now and then, disturbs the sunny clearness 



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BELGIUM 



211 



^K /^Ki ^HflBiHlJUjliA:n!ni _ 


1 


BnrS fe^Hi^?^^^^Hiv^ 


fSH^Sb. < 


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ii«^si!p^*V^X 



Verhas: "The Schoolgirls' Review." 

of their foreheads. Baugniet and the brothers Jan and Frans 
Verhas opened the gate upon the world of childhood in painting 
their women, and thus the part played by women became 
different The modern Eve of Stevens and the beautiful, in- 
different being of De Jonghe were transformed into quiet and 
happy mothers, blissfully watching the little one playing upon 
their lap. Frans and Jan Verhas have painted a whole series of 
such family scenes, in which the fresh ring of children's voices 
may be heard. They are the first Belgians who have seized 
the grace of well-bred children with a fine comprehension. A 
mixture of English graciousness and Parisian refinement under- 
lies their pictures. 

Charles Hermans brought art into the streets. His great 
picture of 1875, " In the Dawn," was certainly by no means a 
delicate work, and it has an old-fashioned look in the Mus6e 
Moderne of Brussels. A profligate is reeling from a fashionable 
restaurant with his hat set far back on his head and a smart- 
looking girl upon each arm, whilst workpeople, who are just 
setting forth to their day's toil, are passing down the street. 
There was a trace of Hogarth in this forced opposition between 
vice and virtue, pleasure and duty, luxury and poverty. There 
was a far-fetched, vulgar antithesis, suggesjtive of genre, in this 



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212 • MODERN PAINTING 

division of the picture into two groups : on the one side creatures 
of pleasure, a frou-frou of silken clothes and a loud tipsy cry ; 
upon the other artisans, earnest and melancholy, with the 
tesigned mien of martyrs. And for the painter himself the 
above work was the only 4«cky hit. Even his ''Conscripts" of 
1878 and the "Masked Ball'' of 1880 did not achieve anything 
like the same success, and later he only painted smaller pictures 
of women in the style of Alfred Stevens, which are not far 
removed from what is now produced in Paris of the same 
description. Nevertheless Hermans' "In the Dawn" gives a 
date in the history of Belgian painting. It was in Belgium the 
first modem picture with life-size figures, the first representing 
a street scene upon the scale of an historical picture, and it 
communicated to the Belgians the principles of Manet's view 
of colour. 

All those elder painters who gathered round Dubois and 
Braekeleer were rich, oily, and Flemish, or else quiet, phlegmatic, 
and Dutch. They all loved sauce, the dark-brown backgrounds, 
the brown flesh-tint and red shadows. In the history of 
Belgian painting they occupy a position similar to that of 
Courbet and Ribot in French. When Hermans exhibited his 
picture in the middle of the seventies, Belgian art issued from 
this Courbet phase, and, like the French, sacrificed warm, bitu- 
minous tones to a painting which set the exact study of tone 
values in the first place. And here also the revolution was 
begun by the landscape-painters. By their unbroken intercourse 
with nature they first remarked how little this unctuous fashion 
of painting after the manner of Courbet was really adapted for 
grasping the bloom and tenderness of the physical world. 

The gradual development of this landscape-painting, in which 
Belgian art so far shows its chief power, dates from 1830. At 
that time Ruysdael had been first discovered. Artists were in 
a melancholy frame of mind, and produced a mass of waterfalls 
and rocks, and Alpine views and cascades, the elegiac moiim- 
fulness of which belonged to the past as much as did their bad 
colouring. Van Assche, Verstappen^ arid Mameffe had a pre- 
ference for the "sublime" — that is to say, for the exact opposite 



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' BELGIUM \v 213 

of the simple districts which they saw arpund them. Frequent 
journeys to Italy had created in them a sickly enthusiasm for 
lai^e, imposing lines. It wa§ only after the forties that painters 
made a gradual return to Belgium, and no longer toiled to seek 
at a distance after materials for the preparation of artificially 
composed stage-scenes. Landscape then became as accurate a 
rendering as was possible of the woods and waters of their 
native land, though it needed yet another generation to reach 
the simplicity and refinement of modern feeling for nature. The 
panoramic prospects froni the Ardennes of De Jonghcy the ruins 
of LauterSy and the lakes and fjords of Jacob-Jacobs are a 
parallel to that arid painting of views from mountain districts 
which was carried on in Germany by Kameke, old Count 
Kalkreuth, and others. 

Kindermans, who made his first appearance in the Salon 
of 1854, indicated an advance beyond this prosaic or falsely 
tempered sobriety. He painted wide green meadows with an 
elevated horizon, isolated groups of trees, windmills, and the 
little huts of peasants. As yet he did not love nature in all 
her revelations, but only when the season was beautiful and 
gave an opportunity for artistic compositions. Nevertheless he 
forgot the town and the studio, lived amid the Walloon hills, 
heard the leaves rustle and the wind sigh, and was filled with 
the consciousness of nature. A moist air began to blow through 
landscapes, and announced, although diffidently, the progress 
which was made by the next generation. 

FourmoiSy who laboured at the same time, painted, like 
Hobbema, large and fine groups of trees, behind which a 
windmill or a peasant's cottage may be seen emerging, and little 
footpaths leading to the skirts of a forest. He stood upon the 
shoulders of the old Dutchman, had no delicate eye for the 
subtilties of atmosphere, never yielded to dreaminess, and yet he 
was a good worker and a forcible painter. 

For his representations of Belgian flat landscape Edmond de 
SchampheUer became well known. Having lived a long time in 
Munich during the fifties, he enjoyed a special fame in Germany 
also. From 1856 the chief elements of his pictures, which have 



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214 MODERN PAINTING 

been felt in a fresh and healthy if also in an uninteresting 
manner, are meadows covered with luxuriant grass or fields 
ovei^own with waving grain, straight canals, where the water 
is smooth and quiet like a mirror, or still streams bounded by 
low banks and ruffled by the wind that brings the rain; alleys 
of willow, isolated strips of wood, windmills, church spires, or the 
chimneys of manufactories here and there rise above these plains, 
the broad pastures are animated by majestic cattle grazing 
over them, and a dull sky, covered by grey rain-clouds, rests 
over alL RoelofSy a Dutchman living in Brussels, made an 
attentive study of the play of light upon the lush Flemidi 
meadows. Lamoriniere made an appearance with his tall tree- 
stems, carefully and smoothly painted. He had a pious venera- 
tion for nature, and believed that he could compass her most 
readily by a petty stippling, through which he painted every 
strip of bark with exactness — a process which certainly would 
not fail in its effect, if the forest really made the impression 
that it was the first and most necessary duty of the beholder 
to verify the number of trees which it possessed at the given 
moment, counting one there, and there another, and there a 
third. Artists were still diffident and timid in the presence of 
mighty nature ; painting had a leaning towards what was petty, 
pretty, and pleasing, a strained poetry made up of artificially 
harmonized tones. Alfred de Knyff, trained in the school of 
Rousseau, Dupr6, Paul Huet, and Cabat, seems to have first 
brought the genuine programme of the masters of Fontainebleau 
into Belgium, and the Belgian critics shook their heads over 
him in disapprobation because he painted " green," as the French 
critics had done over Rousseau. In the succeeding years, however, 
the conscientious landscape of the studio gave way, more and 
more, to the fresh picture from nature. The miracles of light and 
atmosphere became in Belgium likewise the object of principal 
study to the landscape-painters. 

In the history of art Hippolyte Boulenger is to be honoured as 
the Belgian Corot He also had served in the ranks, and been 
a painter of household decoration before he devoted himself to 
landscape. He lived in those days in an attic immediately 



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BELGIUM 215 

below the roof; every morning when he rose, and every evening 
when he returned home, he looked straight into the sky. He 
noted with curiosity the earliest rays of the sun which streamed 
into his room, and observed the last quivering of the evening 
light. In this way there were born in him thoughts and emotions 
to which he felt the need of giving pictorial expression. Being 
too poor, he was unable to go to the Academy, and was forced 
to content himself with selling, when he could, one of the copies 
of the old masters which he made in the Brussels Museum. 
But one Sunday morning the sunbeams glanced in his attic in 
a manner which was too enticing. He seized his canvas and his 
brush and went into the town, took the old coach-road fringed 
with great limes, and passed by the meadows, cultivated fields, 
and woodlands until he came to the field of Waterloo. In an 
old village inn behind the Bois de la Cambre he took lodgings, 
and from that moment he found his true calling. He began 
to study light, different as it is at every hour of the day, and 
shedding different nuances of colour upon the green of the leaves, 
the grey of the earth, and the blue of the sky — apparently 
capricious in its workings, yet obedient to a logical regularity 
of action. He sought to fathom the mystery of the eternal 
changes of light, to trace, as it were, the hourly course of the 
sunbeams. Millet, the mighty herald of the great Pan, was at 
that time his ideal. He, too, wished to paint man and the soil, 
and to devote himself, like Millet, to the worship of old Cybele. 
So he soon left the Bois de la Cambre, which was already 
becoming something too much of a park, and beginning to 
resemble the Bois de Boulogne ; first he went to Ruysbroeck, 
the Dachau of Brussels, and then to Anderghem, on the road 
to Tervueren. Tervueren was his last halting-place, and through 
him it has become the cradle of Belgian landscape-painting. All 
the day long he roamed about in the wood, and sat of an evening 
with the peasants in the smoky tavern. 

The Brussels Salon of 1863 contained his first picture, that 
of 1866 was the birthplace of his celebrity, and from 1866 to 
1873 one masterpiece followed the other. Tervueren became 
his Barbizon. Here he busied himself, and was never weary 



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2i6 MODERN PAINTING 

of painting the silence of the wood, the clear light resting upon 
the rich meadows of Brabant, and the fine rain falling upon the 
thirsty cornfields. No one before him had shown so much 
power in painting the monotony of the heath, with the dull 
grey wintry clouds lowering above it ; no one had hearkened 
with. more attention to the wind moaning its complaint amid 
the melancholy thickets of the forest. These pictures directly 
recall Millet with their broad surfaces and the great and boldly 
simplified outline of the Flemish peasant standing out so gravely 
against the evening sky. But after no long time Boulenger's 
manner underwent a transformation, and when "The View of 
Basti^re" appeared in the Brussels Salon of 1870, this Millet 
reeking of the earth had acquired the sentiment of Elysium 
like a Corot. A rainbow softly spans the sky ; a thin, drizzling 
rain comes dripping down, changed into fluid gold by the rays 
of the sun. Rosy as mystical flowers stand the clouds in the 
sky, and below they are reflected in the azure of the ocean. 
What was at first heavy, hard, and material became more and 
more delicate and refined. A golden bloom lies glittering in 
the latest pictures of Boulenger. Now he sought only the most 
judicious harmonies, only a veiled clarity of tones. He fluttered 
more boldly around the light, as if with a presentiment that he 
would soon see it no more. And he was but seven-and-thirty 
when he died in Brussels in the July of 1874. His death was 
the greatest blow to Belgian painting. But, short as his life was, 
he left behind him traces not to be forgotten. Not " the school 
of Tervueren " alone, that forcible Ecole en pletn vent, but all the 
newest art in Belgium may be traced to him who was so suddenly 
smitten by death. The Flemish heaviness, the intelligent 
practice of the studio, made way for a delicate system of ob- 
servation, calculated to meet particular cases, a system which 
endeavoured to note with fine exactness the impressions made 
by the season and the hour. 

At the. suggestion of Boulenger, a circle of artists was 
formed in 1868, the Socidt^ Libre des Beaux-Arts, which gradually 
came to include all the young Belgians of talent. The most 
notable French and Dutch artists— Corot, Millet, Daumier, 



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BELGIUM 217 

Courbet, Daubigny, Alfred Stevens, Bonvin, Willem Maris, and 
others — accepted honorary membership. In 1870 the first exhi- 
bition of the society was arranged; in 1871 was founded the 
journal Art Libre, where the young painters themselves defended 
their ideas with the pen : they wanted to paint nature as they 
saw it, with all possible renunciation of arrangement and forced 
system. They wanted to study the relations of tone values, and 
to look rather to the rightness than to the brilliancy of colour. 
Manet and the Fontainebleau masters had shown the way which 
Belgian painting had to follow. And before long the doors of 
museums and private galleries were thrown open to admit their 
works, as a short time before they had been opened to the 
Parisian Indipendants. 

Of them all Thiodore Baron had most the stuff in him to 
replace Boulenger, who had died so young. He introduced a 
grave and sombre note into Belgian landscape. His woodlands 
dream beneath a heavy and rainy sky, withered autumn leaves 
whirl around, frost and rime cover the ground. The localities 
themselves are usually very simple : a strip of heath, a patch of 
field, a straight road, a boulder of cliff beneath a sad sky ; no 
more than these are needed to create an impression of great 
loneliness, an earnest and austere phase of thought For Baron 
there was no mild lisping breeze, no fresh budding spring and 
brooding summer. Cold winter, the melancholy of gloomy 
November days, and the earth in widow's weeds were what 
most attracted him. He discovered such moods of nature in the 
Ardennes. The heath of Coudroy, the steep banks of the Meuse, 
little mountain villages upon parched moorland, he likewise took 
delight in painting. But most of all he loved the Walloon soil — 
not its wide plains and far horizons, but its deep valleys and 
the gnarled lines of isolated trees, rising ghostlike from a lonely 
heath. As Boulenger might be compared with Corot, Baron 
might be compared with Rousseau. His method is broad, solid, 
robust, and sound. He has none of the fragrant . grace of 
Boulenger; he does not seek after tender moods of light, but, 
like Rousseau, loves cold day, builds up his landscape in a 
geological fashion, and would give a sense of the structure and 
VOL. III. 15 



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aiS MODERN PAINTING 

stratification of the earth ; and finally he went aground upon 
the same reef on which Rousseau foundered. He went into 
pai'ticularities more and more. He wished to render everything 
plastically in its full bodily shape, the levels of the earth as 
well as the clouds and the leaves. And thus his pictures 
received an appearance of something laboured and built up. 
In his effort to catch the common tone of day with all possible 
fidelity he fell into a hard and cold grey. Like Rousseau, 
Baron was, in truth, a spirit ever searching and never contented. 
His art is the very opposite to what is facile, spirited, and ready 
in improvization. It has something heavy, severe, and tough 
a Flemish honesty and a rich odour of the earth. 

Jacques Rosseels, who had great influence as a teacher, 
worked upon the same principles, although a brighter and paler 
light is diffused over the sky of his landscapes. His art is freer 
and more cheerful, his colouring softer and more flattering. The 
red roofs, green meadows, and rich yellow Flemish cornfields 
have a blither note. Great plains, with little villages and 
clattering windmills, he had also a joy in painting; and his 
works would have a yet more cordial effect had he not, like 
his predecessors of the seventeenth century, had such a love for 
the great scale of size. 

To Boulenger, the Belgian Corot, and Baron, the Belgian 
Rousseau, Joseph Heymans must be added as the Belgian Millet, 
and his first appearance was likewise made in the year i860. 
His field of observation is the whole Flemish land. Besides the 
sandy dunes and broad cultivated fields, he painted the forests, 
meadows, and slumbering pools, the heath, the long straight 
avenues, horizons stretching into boundless space, and tiny 
footpaths leading through idyllic woodlands. He loves light 
though he also paints dark thunderclouds, dusk shed over the 
fields, and night wrapping everything in its mystical veil. And 
with him nature is ever the seat of human toil. Like Millet, he 
places in his landscapes the rustic moving behind his plough, 
weeding, mowing, or striding across the field scattering seed with 
a grandeur of movement ; the day-labourer going to his work in 
the early morning with a heavy tread ; the shepherd in his blue 



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BELGIUM 2T9 

•cloak standing motionless beside his grazing flocks. Like Millet, 
too, he has a fine feeling for quiet, rhythmical movement. The 
ploughman^ the shepherd, the sower, have in his pictures also 
something gravely sacerdotal in their large gestures. The silence 
of the heath in the heart of the night, with the great figure of 
the shepherd leaning on his staff and the white sheep melting 
into the darkness, he has rendered entirely in Millet's spirit. It 
is only the softness and the aerial . appearance of Millet's pastels 
that he has not reached. His solid, pasty handling deprived 
objects of lightness. His water has a congealed look, and his 
leaves hang motionless upon the boughs. In the presence of 
his pictures one receives the notion of a region where no wind 
-can ever blow and no bird dwell. His sincere and serious 
art was unable to arrest the tremor of life, the heart-beat of 
nature. 

; Contemporaneously with Boulenger, Coosemans and Asselbergs 
settled in the forest of Tervueren, whence they often turned their 
-gaze towards Fontainebleau. Jules Goethals^ who appeared some- 
what later, in 1866, with his phases of rainy weather, inclines 
rather to the minute painting of De la Berge; he regarded 
landscape with the eyes of a primitive artist, seeking to render 
trees, fields, and blades of grass in all their details. 

As in Fontainebleau, animal painting came to flourish hand- 
in-hand with landscape, though, until i860, it, too, had stood 
vpon a very modest level. The respectable and inexhaustible 
Verboeckhoven at that time enjoyed especial celebrity, although 
Jiis animals had only a distant resemblance to those of real 
iife. They were always in an elegiac frame of mind, and seemed, 
in their melancholy, like fallen angels, to have remembrance 
of a better and more human condition, and still to preserve, 
even as animals, a decent behaviour and cleanliness. His little 
lambs were always as pretty as the Lamb of God, and beneath 
their broad foreheads his oxen revolved profound philosophical 
ideas. Thin little trees and white little clouds he loved like his 
predecessor Ommeganck^ and like him, too, he was long the 
favourite of all collectors who value mathematical conscientious- 
jiess of drawing and sniioothness of execution. His pupils Louis 



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I 130 MODERN PAINTING 

I 

j Robbe and Charles Tschaggeny devoted themselves also to paint- 

I ing sheep, and in Belgian painting occupy the place held by 

! Brascassat in France. Landscapes were filled up with animals, 

or else animal pictures were provided with an arbitral y back- 
ground of landscape. But animals and landscapes were never 
united in any complete representation of natural life. It was only 
after a new kind of study of nature had been rendered possible 
by the landscape-painters of the Tervueren school that animal 
painters entered on a novel course, Alfred Verwee^ who first 
distinguished himself with his "Oxen Grazing" of 1863, stands to 
the followers of Ommeganck as Troyon to those of Brascassat. 
He is the specialist of rich Flemish meadows, upon which sound 
and powerful animals are grazing, and over which there arches 
a soft and misty sky. All his pictures are treated with a heavy 
and pasty handling, and the air and clouds are usually of a dull 
and mournful grey. His works are wanting in lightness and 
transparency, but they have an inborn strength. His oxen seem 
quite at home in the luxuriant meadows where they sink deep 
in the high ripe grass ; and in their dull, brooding ponderousness 
they aim at being no more than animals, whether they lie 
chewing the cud upon the meadows or clumsily tread the ground 
beneath the yoke. Artiongst his pupils Pannentier^ Lambrichs, 
De Greef Frans van Leemputten^ and Lion Massaux became 
known. Marie Collaert, the Flemish Rosa Bonheur, and from 
1866 the muse of Belgian landscape, has a position to herself 
with her intimate pictures of country life, works in which a 
masculine and powerful handling is united with discreet and 
tender feminine sentiment In Verwee there may be found yokes 
of oxen at their labour, the odour of fertile earth steaming from 
the broken soil, and grey clouds heavily shifting across the 
firmament ; in Marie Collaert quiet nooks beneath a clear sky, 
green stretches of grass, where the cows are at pasture in idyllic 
peace. In the one there is the battle with the soil, and in the 
other the cheery freshness of country life. 

The painting of the sea began with Paul Jean Clays— \n 
external matters, at least — to enter upon the stage of intimate 
art He broke with the tradition of depicting great storms (the 



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BELGIUM 231 

golden age of which coincided with the raptures of the historical 
picture), and painted quiet expanses of water, the regular move- 
ment of the tide, the normal condition of the sea. Whereas the 
earlier generation loved what was exaggerated and tempestuous,. 
Clays sought — though in later years he may have done so very 
artificially and by routine — to grasp the simple, mysterious poetry 
of the peaceful sea, and to render with faithfulness the tones of 
the waves, just as the landscape-painters, when they had once 
overcome the temptation to rhetorical exaggeration, searched 
out still and quiet comers, which receive their " mood " from the . 
atmosphere alone. The magical charm of morning, the golden 
brilliancy of the evening twilight, the infinite variety of tones 
which light produces upon the waves, became the ideal of 
sea-painters after Clays. 

A. Bouviery over whose pictures there hovers, as a rule, a 
monotonous grey, took more delight in the splashing of the waves 
and rainy sky than in the glittering and sparkling repose of the 
sea. In Leemans there is still a certain echo of Romanticism 
and a weak reminiscence of the moonlight nights of Van der 
Necr. And in recent exhibitions A. Bctertsoen has attracted 
notice by seas of impressive breadth and a grave and sombre 
character. Louis Artan, who made his appearance in 1866 with 
" Dunes upon the Shores of the North Sea," was probably the 
most refined and subtile colourist amongst the Belgian sea- 
painters. Like Clays, he scarcely leaves the shore, or, at any 
rate, does not forget, when he goes upon the high sea, to render 
the faint line of the dunes fringing the far horizon. His colouring 
is very delicate: he seeks pale, blended tones, light blue, soft 
green, pallid rose-colour. His pictures have something tender 
and caressing. Like Boulenger, as a landscape-painter he is 
more sensitive to the fleeting tender play of light than is com- 
monly the case with Belgian painters. Both had in their veins 
a mixture of Flemish and French blood, and it gives their 
paintings a peculiar physiognomy, an attractive mingling of 
strength and grace, of Flemish heaviness and French ease. 

For even now, when Belgian painting has got beyond the 
Courbet phase, there is no doubt that a certain earthy 



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MagoMint of Art.} 

Wauters: "The Madness of Hugo van der Goes." 

ponderousness, and an unctuous compactness, the very opposite 
of Impressionism, still remain, despite the acceptance of bright 
tone. There are in Belgium at present many, indeed very many, 
good painters ; and Belgian art is a conscientious and honest 
art Wherever it appears it makes a striking effect by its 
soundness, its robust strength, and its animal warmth. But its 
essential importance lies in a rather external and workmanlike 
bravura. To use colour as the expression of a subtile emotion, 
to pursue the study of light to its most refined results, is not 
the business of the Belgian artists. Their painting is rich and 
broad, and they work without effort, but they have few surprises. 
Blamelessly good as are their productions, their scenes from 
popular life, portraits, landscapes, and still-life, they seldom give 
occasion for discussion in reference to their position in the 
history of art. . 

/. de la HoesCy Meerts^ and Ravet represented the street- 
life of Brussels. Josse Iinpens, faithful to old Flemish habits, 
entered the workshops of tailors and shoemakers. In Paris Jan 
van Beers paints matters which verge on the indecorous. At 



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BELGIUM 



223 



first his pungent and adroitly 
painted pictures are seductive 
and piquant, and then one sees 
their intention and is put out of 
humour. Alfred Hubert handles 
military scenes and scenes from 
society, and Hoeteriks the 
picturesque thronging of great 
masses of people. Xavier Mel- 
lery discovered much that is 
pretty in interiors upon the 
island of Marken. At first a 
pupil of G6r6me and Bouguereau, 
Carl NySy in such pictures as 
"The Orphans," "The Lady with 
the Parasol," " The Lady with 
the Monkey," followed the path 
prescribed by Alfred Stevens. 
In his triptych "A Day from 
the Life of Chalk-Sellers," Lhn 
Fridiric appeared as a repre- 
sentative of the painting of the 
poor, which amongst Belgians at 
that time frequently assumed the 
character of art with a revolu- 
tionary purpose. And Felix Ter 
Linden was probably the most a pupil of the French, and 
rose above the heavy grey painting of the others, as a genuine 
Impressionist and refined charmeury by a rapid and animated 
treatment, and a touch of improvization and subtilty. 

Entile Wauters, also a thoroughly Flemish painter, is to be 
highly respected on all points, although it is impossible to feel 
enthusiasm for him. He was barely thirty when he received 
the medal of honour at the Paris World Exhibition of 1878 
for a couple of historical pictures from the life of Mary of 
Bui^undy and of Hugo van der Goes. The admirers of 
historical painting at that time believed that they could welcome 




Mag, ofArt,\ ItarUr te. 

Wautkrs : Lieutenant-General 

goffinet. 



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224 MODERN PAINTING 

in him the Messiah of a grand art resuscitated, one who would 
continue the old traditions of Wappers and Gallait His works 
were, as a matter of fact, good historical pictures, very 
judiciously composed, and containing characters developed in a 
convincing fashion. Moreover Wauters was entirely free from 
the washed-out and hollow exaggeration of the ideal of beauty 
favoured by the older school, and he rendered with simplicity 
the portraits of living men who seemed to him to have a 
resemblance to heroes of the episodes he would represent. 
The monk endeavouring to soothe poor Hugo van der Goes 
by music is an exceedingly vivid likeness, while the children, 
choristers, and singers are painted very naturally and well, and 
altogether to the purpose. Even the mad painter is not posing. 
Wauters has thoroughly studied the symptoms of madness in 
an insane person, and at the same time he has tactfully 
observed the distinction between painting and medical analysis. 
Even now the picture makes the effect of a forcible work in 
the Brussels Museum, and after the lapse of twenty years there 
are not many historical works which will bear scrutiny. 

His Eastern pictures are equally good and judicious. Having 
set out in 1870 to witness the opening of the Suez Canal, he 
visited Alexandria, Port Said, Ismailia, and Cairo ; and he 
repeated this Egyptian journey in 1880, accompanying the 
Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, while in connection with it 
he executed various North African scenes, in which he noted 
the kaleidoscopic motley ness of Oriental towns, the vibrating 
life of the streets of Cairo and Boulac, with the con- 
scientiousness of an ethnographical student. One takes him at 
his word when he puts upon canvas a strip of African ground 
in large dimensions in his panorama " Cairo and the Banks 
of the Nile." Nor does one doubt that his portraits, which 
in recent years achieved for him his greatest successes, are 
uncommonly like their originals : Madame Somz6e in a dark -blue 
silk dress, standing in a fashionable room with dark decorations ; 
young M. Cosme Somz^e, also dressed in blue, and riding on 
his pony through the dunes ; and Lieutenant-General Goffinet, 
a portrait which won the gold medal at the Munich Exhibition 



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BELGIUM 225 

of 1890. Emile Wauters rises above the vigorous group of 
Belgian portrait-painters, LUvin de Winner AgneesenSy LambrichSy 
De Gonckely Nisen, and others, as the most natural and energetic. 
All his likenesses are powerful in characterization, colour, and 
exposition ; they have been seen in an unusually impressive 
manner, and placed before the spectator in a broad, manly, 
and full-blooded style of painting. Wauters knew all that was 
to be known, and in his judicious loyalty he is one of the 
soundest painters of the present time. Only temperament and 
warmth of feeling are not to be sought for in his works. That 
is what distinguishes him from Lenbach, for instance, though 
in other respects he shares with the latter the oiliness of his 
pictures an,d their want of atmosphere. Lenbach allows the eyes 
alone to shme from a dark scale of tone artistically imitated 
from the old masters, and out of this he elaborates intellectual 
character. Wauters places his figures in all their massive 
corporeality against a light grey background. In the one there 
is a spiritual individuality, a momentary impression of quivering 
psychical life ; in the other a robust counterpart of nature, 
colour and canvas, phlegmatic constitution, and Flemish heavi- 
ness. 

Verstraete may probably be reckoned the most refined of 
the Belgian landscape-painters who have made an impression 
in the exhibitions of recent years. There were to be seen by 
him summer-pieces with bright green, luminous, and luxuriant 
stretches of grass, girlish figfures dressed in bluish-white, and 
gaily blooming fruit-trees touched by the sunbeams. Also he 
paints night-pieces : peasant couples, who stand of an evening 
by a hedge in the village. The sky sparkles with stars, and 
the magic of silent night reposes over this poetic idyll which 
has been felt in such a homely way. There is expressed in 
his works a creative faculty, joyous and spontaneous, sympathetic 
and replete with the freshness of youth. Potato harvests, with 
buxom girls, are painted by Claus in a fine and delicate grey 
which recalls Emile Barau. And Frans Courtens is specially at 
his ease in the autumnal woods, when the leaves fall from the 
tree-tops, yellow, red, and grey, and a thin rain drips through 



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226 



MODERN PAINTING 




the open network 
of foliage. Or else 
he seats himself 
before the sombre 
and majestic sea in 
the evening, when 
the moon rises and 
touches the waves 
with glittering lines 
of silver. Both in 
the autumn pictures 
and in the seascapes 
the confusion of 
yellow and green 
colours is dazzling, 
and is only felt to 
be a little theatrical 
when one thinks 
how much more 
profoundly Jacob 
Maris would have 
penetrated into the same scenes. Like the Flemish landscapists 
of the seventeenth century, Courtens loves great spaces of 
canvas and great gold frames, but he likewise shares with them 
the qualities of a bravura painter, somewhat addicted to outward 
show. His pictures are more the result of technical refinement 
than of intimate emotion. He renders the materiality of forms, 
as also the phenomena of light, with astonishing sureness, and 
he has a large and strong-handed method of treatment, much 
local truth, brilliant colour and great sincerity, but he never 
rids himself of a certain prosaic manner of conception, which 
is wanting in the deeper kind of intimate sympathy. His 
painting is solid, but not suggestive prose, the very opposite of 
that lyric painting, so rich in feeling, which was peculiar to the 
French painter-poets. And here, too, he proclaims himself a 
true son of his country. 

Belgian naturalism is like a vigorous body fed upon solid 



IHdnJstdngt photo sc, 
Courtens: "Golden Laburnum.*' 



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BELGIUM 227 

nourishment ; but in this physical contentment the capacity 
for enthusiasm and tenderness of feeling have been lost in some 
d^ree. The pictures look as though they had been painted 
throughout, painted in oil, and painted in a peculiarly Belgian 
way. The painters rejoice in their fertile tracts of land, their 
fat herds, and the healthy smell of the cowhouse, yet about 
finer feelings they trouble themselves but little. Everywhere 
there predominates a firm and even technique, and but little 
peculiar intimacy and freshness. They have not yet come to 
paint the fine perfume of things, nor to render the softness of 
their tone values ; they have no feeling for the light tremor 
of the atmosphere and the tender poetic dallying of light. 
Material heaviness and prosaic sobriety are expressed in every- 
thing' — the racial characteristics by which Flemish painting, even 
in the seventeenth century, so far as it was autochthonous, was 
distinguished from the contemporary painting of the Dutch. 



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CHAPTER XXXIX 

HOLLAND 

The difference between Dutch and Belgian Minting, — The previous history 
of artistic efforts in Holland, — Koekkoek, Van Schendel, David Bles, 
Hermann ten ICate, Pienemann, Charles Rochupen, Weissenbruch, 
Bosboonty Schelfhout, Taurel, Wdldorfi, Kuytenbroumer. — Figure- 
painters: yosef Israels, Christoffel Bisschopy Gerk Henkes^ Albert 
Neuhuys, Adolf Artt, Pieter Oyens, — The landscape-painters: 
Jongkind, Jacob and Willem Maris ^ Anton Mauve, H, W, Mesdag, 
^Realism and Sensitivism: Klinkenberg^ Gabriel, — The younger 
genet'ation, — Neo* Impressionism : Isaac Israels and Breitner, — 
Matthew Maris and Mysticism, — W. Bauer and Jan Toorop, — Thorn 
Prikker,^** Expressionism : ** Jan Veth and Haver man, Karpen and 
Tholen. 

IF Belgium is the land of technique, the intimacy of the 
modem sentiment for nature has perhaps found the most 
delicate interpreters in the painters of Holland. What is 
external predominates in the one country— oils and brush; in 
the other heart and hand are united, sentiment and technique. 
The ancestor of modern Belgian painting is Courbet; the birth 
of modern Dutch painting is contemporaneous with that|great 
historical moment when the French landscape-painters took up 
their abode in the forest of Fontainebleau, after they [had 
acquired an understanding for the old Dutch masters in the 
Louvre. What had been a revolution in other countries was 
here no more than a process of evolution. For the influence 
of the French upon the Dutch merely consisted in giving them 
once more the comprehension for the beautiful works of their 
own compatriots in the past. A succession of great and 
delicate spirits merely took again the old, unbroken tradition, 
and continued it in the present without effort. 

aa8 



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HOLLAND 229 

Until the middle of the century the Dutch had made but 
little profit out of this heritage. The spirit had fled, even that 
of Dow and Mieris, and only the phlegm remained. As a 
matter of fact the Dutch painters of the eighteenth century 
sought to outbid the minute little painting of Netscher by 
paltry imitation, and had as a motto inscribed upon their 
banner purity of line as it is understood by the bourgeoisie 
and technique as it is understood by the drawing-master. In 
the beginning of the nineteenth century, so far as anything 
was produced at all, they had fallen into heavy and laboured 
imitation of French Classicism, and in addition to this they 
were slightly touched with a trace of Romanticism, which 
entered into a really comical misalliance with the Dutch phlegm. 
And the representatives of the Dutch school of 1830, arid, 
inartistic, and tinged with false idealism, turned out in land- 
scape nothing but scenical pieces, void of atmosphere, and in 
the figure-picture historical or burlesque anecdotes, romantic 
melodramas, or peasant pieces from the comic opera — cold, 
inanimate, and conventional paintings, such as all Europe pro- 
duced at that time. 

The next generation endeavoured with great labour to raise 
itself somewhat, being specially incited by contact with the 
Belgians. Yet even these good intentions and most praise- 
worthy efforts were crowned with but little success. Certain 
landscapes and intimate studies from life show that the spirit 
which had lived in the great men of the seventeenth century 
was not entirely extinct, although it had become exceedingly 
debilitated. Koekkoek and Van Schendel painted their land- 
scapes, which are exceedingly judicious in manner and in a 
petty way correct David Bles remembered Teniers, and 
mingled with the technique of that master something of the 
genre humour of Wilkie. " An Audience easily Pleased," 
" Family Friends," and the like, are the characteristic titles of 
his pictures. But if Bles was the Madou of Holland, Hermann 
ten Kate aimed at being the Dutch Meissonier. He was one 
of those who cannot imagine painting without theatrical 
costumes, broad-brimmed grey felt hats, large collars, and 



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230 MODERN PAINTING 

graceful cloaks. The historical painter Plenemann painted in 
the style of Gros, and some of his portraits are not without 
merit » 

The only man of superior merit whom the '* historical school " : 
has produced in Holland is Charles Rochupen, To take him as: 
a painter is to take him from his weakest side, for his colour; 
scheme is "conventional** — a convention of his own, no doubt;; 
but in any case absolutely without regard to truth and nature,, 
or even to the requirements of his subject. But his drawing has 
a charm and character of its own ; his groupings are lively and* 
fanciful, his use of old costume shows a regard for picturesqueness, 
and his touch is both easy and aristocratic. He is the chosen* 
illustrator of the Dutch historical novel, and at a time when' 
book-illustration was at its lowest in Holland and everywhere, 
Charles Rochupen knew how to render a scene in black-and- 
white with impressiveness and artistic decency. Vulgarity had 
never a greater enemy than he. This same quality of innate' 
aristocracy characterizes the work of Johannes Bosboom, the 
painter of architecture. Under. th^ gfuidance of Rembrandt and 
Pieter de Hoogh, he rendered very delicately in oils and water-' 
colours the play of sunbeams in the interior of picturesque 
churches, and warm effects of light in large halls and dusky 
corners. As a rule the light streams in broken yellow tones 
over the masonry from a great window in the background^ and 
rests broadly upon the walling of the vault ; the dark mass of 
the great Renaissance screen is thrown out sharply, while 
choristers move with candles in the depths of the nave. 

Bosboom, like /. W. Weissenbruch, was one of the painters 
of the old school who not only helped to prepare the ground 
to be maintained by a new generation, but who allowed them- 
selves to be influenced by the new conception of art. Whilst 
Schelfhouty Taurel, WcUdarp, and Kuytenbrouwer, though Knights 
of the Dutch Order of the Lion and of the Oaken Crown, only 
lived to be forgotten for all their painstaking work, both- 
Bosboom and Weissenbruch have won fame in the later period, 
when they had taught themselves to express a great deal with 
very little means. There are drawings and water-colours by 



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HOLLAND 



231 




yittAmboa photo.] 



BosBOOM : " A Church Interior.'* 



Bosboom which, with a few lines and just a bit of colour, open 
up wide visions to the imagination. 

And thus, when the younger artists came upon the scene, 
they were not obliged to drive back any hostile and opposing 
tendencies. The battle which had to be fought elsewhere 
before truth and sincerity could be placed upon the throne 
usurped by theatrical rhetoric was certainly spared to Israels 
and his comrades. It was merely a question of sowing with 
greater energy and vigour than these older artists the ground 
which had lain fallow since the seventeenth century. The 
argument was put, more or less, in the following way : " Our 
ancestors had an . enthusiasm for their own country and their 
own period. If we have not their genius, let us, at any rate, 
attempt to pursue their path. Instead of seeking inspiration 
in their times and their country ' let us seek it in our own. 
As regards the country there is no difficulty, for we are their 



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232 MODERN PAINTING 

compatriots, and apart from a few hectares won from the 
ocean Holland has little altered in appearance during the last 
two hundred years. It is only in the matter of period that 
every idea of outward imitation must be given up. Let us, 
then, imitate our great masters with no intention of doing over 
again what they did in their own time, but with the aim of 
doing what they would have done had they lived in our 
century." 

After the end of the fifties the influence of French exhibitions 
confirmed the Dutch in these efforts. Through the pictures of 
Millet and Daubigny the young Dutch artists learnt that they had 
no need of bringing historical pictures into the world, but that 
it was their business to win the secrets of the seashore, the 
strand, the dunes, and the canals of the old towns, if they would 
become modem painters. And admitting they had made a great 
mistake in imitating from the old masters antiquated dress and 
the manners of bygone times, their task was now to follow them 
in what was essential. For the old pictures had shown the men 
of their day neither far-fetched nor long-forgotten curiosities, 
but appealed to them simply and cordially as Millet's paintings 
had done to his own countrymen. It was quite peacefully 
therefore, and without any battle, that modem art came into life 
in Holland In fact it seemed as if Pieter de Hoogh, Van Goyen, 
and Ruysdael had merely awaited the time when they would be 
understood once more to set themselves before the easel. This 
direct derivation from classic masters gives a classic stamp to 
the modem artists of Holland. 

As soon as the Dutch are seen in any exhibition, its rooms 
are impregnated with a sense of peaceful clarity and of a quiet 
sureness of effect recalling the old masters. The spectator is 
conscious of the soft, even, and continuous warmth of the great 
faience stoves which stand in prosperous Dutch houses. There 
is no noise, no unrest, no struggling. Softer than ever, yielding 
and almost melancholy, though not so universally comprehensive 
as the old art which compassed the whole life of reality and 
dreamland, from the magnificent conceptions of Rembrandt to 
the most burlesque scenes of Ostade, the new art of Holland 



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HOLLAND 233 

handles the scenes of life and the life of nature with a dignified 
simplicity, the charm of profound intimacy and cordial tenderness. 
Holland is the most harmonious country in the world, the country 
of dim rooms and pleasant inner chambers, wide plains and 
melancholy dunes, magnificent forms of cloud and skies subdued 
in colour. There is nowhere broad light, nowhere broad shadow, 
no crystal clearness and but seldom heavy mist A softly 
hovering light of diminished strength envelops everything. 
Vaporous grey clouds cover the sky. The air is impregnated 
with moisture. Few colours are to be seen, and yet everything 
is colour. And to this spot of the earth the Dutch painters are 
united by a tender sentiment of home. Their art is marked 
by a touching and cordial provincialism, the patriotism of the 
church spire. They remain quietly in the country, and confine 
themselves to the representation of their birthplace — the stately 
ports of its sea-board towns, the beach of its watering-places, 
the peaceful dignity of its life, the heaviness of its cattle, and 
the rich soil of its fields. The harsh sincerity of the French 
naturalists becomes softer and more tender in the hands of the 
Dutch ; the audacity of the French " luminists," ever seeking the 
light, has become more dusky and sombre under the influence 
of the Dutch atmosphere. Drawing from the soil of home its 
entire strength, they have made for themselves, in art as in 
politics, a peaceful little land where the noises of the day find 
no disturbing echo. 

The decisive year which led the stream of Dutch painting 
back into its old course once more was 1857, the very year 
when a new movement in Dutch literature was begun with 
Multatuli. In 1855 one Josef Israels was represented at the 
World Exhibition in Paris by an historical picture : " The Prince 
of Orange for the first time opposing the Execution of the Orders 
of the King of Spain." And in the catalogue of the Paris Salon 
of 1857 the same name appeared opposite the titles "Children 
by the Sea " and an " Evening on the Beach," a couple of simple 
pictures representing the neighbourhood of Katwijk. Thus 
Israels' life embodies a period in modern art, that which led from 
the academical hierarchy, from conventionality, inflexibility of 

VOL. III. 16 



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234 



MODERN PAINTING 




Magazine of Art.] 

Josef Israels and his Son Isaac. 



line, and poverty of colour^ 
to the intimate, sensitive, 
subtile, and entirely per- 
sonal emotion which 
characterizes the great 
works of art belonging to 
the end of this century. 

Josef Israels, the Dutch 
Millet, was born on 
January 27th, 1824, in 
Groningen, a little com- 
mercial town in the north 
of Holland. He wanted to be a rabbi, studied Hebrew in his 
youth, and buried himself in the Talmud. When he left school 
he entered the small banking business of his father, and often 
went with a money-bag under his arm to the neighbouring 
banking house of Mr. Mesdag, whose son, H. W. Mesdag, the 
painter of seascapes, had little idea at the time that ever a 
sea-piece of his would hang in the studio of this poor Jewish 
lad. But in 1844 Israels went to Amsterdam to the studio 
of Jan Kruseman, who was then a fashionable painter. His 
parents had sent him to lodge with a pious Jewish family, 
who lived in the " Joden-bre^straat," the Ghetto of Amsterdam. 
He was enchanted with the narrow little streets where the 
inhabitants could shake hands from one window to another, 
and with the old market-places where there gathered a swarm 
of Oriental-looking men. Like Rembrandt, he roamed about 
the out-of-the-way alleys, noted the general dealers, the fish- 
wives, the fruit-shops with apples and oranges, the pretty and 
picturesque Jewesses, and all this mass of life condensed into 
such a little space, without at first contemplating the possi- 
bility of drawing the figures which he saw around him. On 
the contrary, like a diligent pupil, he followed the academical 
instructions of Kruseman, under whose guidance he produced 
a series of grand historical pictures and Italian scenes of 
peasant life. 

A journey to Paris which he undertook in 1845, moved by 



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Vinkntbos photo.} 



Israels: ''A Son of God's People." 



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HOLLAND 



237 




Gam, eUs Btaux-Arts.'] 



Israels : " The Toilers of the Sea." 



[Deaboutm sc. 



the exhibition of certain Gretchen pictures of the Frenchified 
Dutchman and elegiac Romanticist Ary Scheffer, did not 
in any way cause him to alter his ideas. He betook himself, 
as a matter of fact, to the studio of Picot, an old pupil of 
David, where in those days over a hundred and fifty young 
students were at work, and there the first rules of the French 
historical painting were communicated to him. Then he pre- 
sented himself for entrance into the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, 
showing " Achilles and Patroclus " as his probationary drawing, 
and he came to Paul Delaroche just after Millet had left 
Delaroche's studio. Pils and Lenepveu are said to have been 
the only fellow-students with whom he made much acquaintance, 
for he was diffident and awkward in society. And when he 
returned home in 1848, the year of the revolution, the result of 
his residence in Paris was exactly the same as that of Millet's: 
he had starved himself, studied in the Louvre, and seen in the 
Salon how "grand painting" was carried on in France. Now 



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238 



MODERN PAINTING 




Magaaine of Art.^ 



Israels: "Weary." 



\M. Haider se. 



he took a room in Amsterdam and tried to paint as Delaroche 
had taught him. " Aaron discovers in his Tent the Corpses of 
his Two Sons," '' Hamlet and his Mother," " William the Silent 
and Margaret of Parma," " Prince Maurice of Nassau beside 
the Body of his Father" — these were the first works which 
he sent to Dutch exhibitions ; knights in moonlight and 
Calabrian brigands were the first which he sold — for from fifteen 
to twenty guilders— to patrons of art in Amsterdam. Such 
names as Pienemann, Kruseman, Scheffer, Picot, and Delaroche 
cannot explain what Israels became afterwards for Dutch art. 
As with Millet, it was an accident, a severe trial in life, which 
decided the future of Israels. 

Some time after he had settled in Amsterdam he became 
exceedingly ill, and went to Zandvoort, a small fishing village 
near Haarlem, for his health. In this spot, hidden amongst 
the dunes, he lived solitary and alone, far from the bustle of 
exhibitions, artistic influences, and the discussions of the studio. 



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HOLLAND 



239 




Israels: "A Mother's Care.** 



[Hanfstangl photo. 



He lodged with a ship's carpenter, took part in all the usages 
of his house-mates, and began to perceive amid these new 
surroundings, as Millet had done in Barbizon, that the events 
of the present are capable of being painted, that the sorrows 
of the poor are as deep as the tragical fate of ancient heroes, 
that everyday life is as poetic as any historical subject, and 
that nothing suggests richer moods of feeling than the interior 
of a fishing-hut, bathed in tender light and harmonious in 
•colour. This residence of several months in a distant little 
village led him to discover his calling, and determined his further 
career. Incessantly did he make studies of nature, and of full- 
toned interiors, simple costumes, and the dunes with their pale 
grass and yellow sand. For the first time he was carried away 
by the intimate beauty of these simple things steeped in ever- 
lasting poetry. Like Millet, he conceived an enthusiasm for 



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240 



MODERN PAINTING 




Amsttrdam : Schalekamp.] 

Israels: "Alone in the World." 

the life of peasants, for the rudeness of their outline, for their 
large forms which have become typical from going through 
ever the same movements and repeating ever the same work. 
Zandvoort was a revelation for him. Entirely saturated as he 
was with academical traditions, he became here the artist who 
represented dramas in the life of seafaring folk, the painter 
of peaceful, poetic deathbeds, and dim, familiar interiors, the 
painter of lonely meadows in the misty dawn. Here he came 
to understand the mysteries of light as it is in Holland, and 
here he witnessed the sad dramas of the suffering life and 
death of the poor, and lived all those pictures, the full harmonies 
of which, never seen before, soon outshone in Dutch exhibitions 
the loud, motley exaggeration of the historical pieces of 
Kruseman. 

At the time when De Groux in Brussels revelled in harsh 
representations of misery, Israels appeared in Holland with his 
lyrical, sympathetic art, which was entirely free from didactic 
intention. Back once more in Amsterdam, he settled in the 
Rozengracht, and passed seven years in the city of Rembrandt, 



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HOLLAND 



241 



in close friendship 
with Burger-Thor6 
and Mouilleron, the 
engraver of Rem- 
brandt's " Night- 
Watch." The first 
works which he 
painted here, com- 
pared with his later 
works, have still a 
slight touch oi genre 
in them, betraying 
too openly a design 
to set the spectator 
smiling or weeping. 
** First Love " was 
the picture of a girl 
at a window with a 
young man placing 
an engagement ring 
upon her finger. 
His first celebrated 
picture, " By the Mother's Grave," which was bought by the 
Amsterdam Academy of Arts and now hangs in the National 
Museum, represents a weather-beaten fisherman visiting the 
graveyard where his wife reposes after a toilsome life, and 
carrying as he goes his youngest child on his arm, whilst he 
leads an elder one by the hand. 

In 1862 he exhibited in London "The Cradle" and "The 
Shipwrecked Man," that great dramatic, and perhaps somewhat 
theatrical, picture which made his fjame abroad. The storm has 
passed, the waves have subsided, the greyish-black thunderclouds 
have vanished, and greenish, pallid sky smiles upon the earth 
once more. But upon the waves a shattered boat still rocks. 
Men, women, and children have come down to see who the 
unfortunate wretch may be, lying dead upon the strand, cast 
up by the tide. A couple of fishermen are carrying him off. 




Paris : Boussod- halation.] 

Israels: "Returning from Work." 



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242 MODERN PAINTING 

whilst the rest follow upon the strand in a melancholy train. 
In this picture there was still something violent and melo 
dramatic, nor were the means of pictorial expression as yet so 
simple as they became in the later works of the master. 
Nevertheless it made a great sensation in London, and The 
AthencBum wrote of it as the most moving picture in the 
exhibition. English collectors began to valfie Israels and 
to buy his pictures. Mr. Forbes alone possesses forty of his 
works, amongst them the great painting " Through Darkness 
to Light," and that beautiful smaller picture in which may 
be found for the first time all the quiet and sad simplicity 
of Israels' later works, " The Evening before Parting." There 
is a little peasant's chamber, half in shadow, and illuminated 
only by dull, meagre light. After a life of struggles and priva- 
tions, lit up by few beams of light, the great peace has come 
for the poor fisherman who lies upon his deathbed. He suffers 
no more, and is no more conscious. His eyes are closed, his lips 
motionless, his features rigid. Underlying the whole there is a 
profound personal feeling, a great human poetry, and the sombre 
tones of the picture correspond to it, for despising all finesses 
they are content to be the expression of a mood. In this 
picture Israels had found his true self. Appreciated and recog- 
nized, he married in 1863 the daughter of an advocate in 
Groningen, and settled down, first in Scheveningen and then in 
the Hague. And here he became in the course of the last 
generation the artist whom the world has delighted to honour. 
Here he has painted one masterpiece after the other, with that 
indefatigable power of work still peculiar to the veteran of 
seventy years and upwards. 

Josef Israels lives entirely according to rule. Every morning 
at nine he may be seen walking, and by ten o'clock punctually he 
is at his easel. In the Koninginnengracht, that quiet, thoroughly 
Dutch canal leading to the Park, his house is situated. Little 
red-roofed houses are passed, houses standing out with some 
piquancy against the misty sky, and the canal is fringed by trees, 
which cast a bright reflection on the water. Close by may be 
heard the whistle of a steam tram which goes its rounds between 



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HOLLAND 243 

the Hague and Scheveningen. In Israels* house quietude prevails 
without a sound. Noble Gobelins subdue the voice, and thick 
carpets the footsteps. Here and there upon the walls, in a finely 
outlined black frame, there hangs an etching by Rembrandt. 
Everything has an air of intimacy, and is kept in delicate and quiet 
tones; the very thoughts of a man cannot fail to grow subtile 
in the fine silence of this home made for an artist. Behind the 
dwelling there lies a garden with a large glass house. The man 
who works here is very small in stature, and has a high treble 
voice, a puckered face, a white beard, and two sparkling black 
eyes which flash out upon you from behind a large pair of 
spectacles. Everything about him has a nervous mobility like 
quicksilver. Always talking and gesticulating, he fetches out 
old pictures when a visitor comes, and looks at them inclining 
his head to the right and then to the left ; then he puts him- 
self into the attitude of his net-menders or his potato-gatherers 
for the sake of verification, draws great landscapes in the air 
with his arms, sits down so that he may get up again imme- 
diately, searches for something or other, and at the same time 
recalls a remark which he has read in the newspaper. Even 
when engaged in painting, he paces thoughtfully between whiles 
up and down the studio with great, hasty strides, bending 
forward with his hands clasped behind his back. 

One part of this studio is separated from the rest by a great 
screen, and behind this screen one catches sight of a very striking 
picture. Suddenly one stands in the room of a Dutch fisherman's 
family. Through a window composed of dull panes there falls, 
subdued by a muslin curtain, a grey, dreamy light, which tones 
the whole room with mysterious atmospheric harmonies. In it 
there stands an ordinary table of brown wood, a few straw- 
bottomed chairs, a bed, a cradle, and one of those wheel-chairs 
with the help of which little children attempt their first toddling 
steps. Everything melts in dim shadows, everything white passes 
into grey and black. Familiar peace and lyrical melancholy rest 
over all. Here it is possible to paint the air as Israels paints it 
Here the phantoms of the dusk take shape and misty forms grow 
solid. Here are created those simple scenes from the daily life 



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244 MODERN PAINTING 

of the poor. Here sit those old women with their hard folded 
hands, their serviceable ty^Sy and wrinkled, weather-stained faces ; 
here the poor peasant's child learns to run in his rolling-chair, 
and here the fisher's family assemble round a dish of smoking 
potatoes. Few have made such a study of the milieu in which 
their figures, move as Israels has done ; few have felt in the same 
degree that every object in nature, as in life, has its peculiar 
atmosphere out of which it cannot exist In his pictures the 
subject and the atmosphere are in perfect harmony. For in reality 
the existence of these poor folks is passed in dim twilight, only 
now and then irradiated by a fleeting sunbeam, until it gradually 
becomes entirely dark, and death throws its mysterious shadow 
across their life. 

Yet here one makes the acquaintance of only one Israels. 
This same melancholy lyric poet is an innately forcible artist in 
his pictures of fishermen. With what a grand simplicity did he 
paint in his " Toilers of the Sea " this grey, boundless element 
beneath a leaden sky, and these huge, weather-beaten seamen 
with a heavy anchor upon their shoulders, wading through the 
water and spattered by the waves ! And what simple joyousness 
there is in his pictures of children ! Duranty has said finely of 
one picture from the master's hand that it was painted with 
" pain and shadow ; " but these others has he painted with " sun 
and joy." As he tells of death with its dark grey shadows, he 
celebrates young life in all the laughing liberty of nature. His 
fishermen's children aire sound and fair, and have rosy cheeks. 
They move beside the blithe fresh sea, where the tremulous 
waves heave with delight beneath the caressing sunbeams and 
beneath the blue sky, where the little white clouds are passing,, 
as it looks down in its clearness upon the green luxuriant fields. 

Amongst the modems Israels is one of the greatest and most 
powerful of painters, whilst he is, at the same time, a profound 
and tender poet Surrounded by all the deft painters of technique 
and virtuosity, he stands out as an artist whose sentiment is 
deep enough to make a great impression without conjuring tricks. 
No one understands so well how to subordinate the work of the 
brush to the general mood of the picture. He is a simple poetr 



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HOLLAND 245 

great in rendering humble people and little things — an artist 
who moves in a narrow circle, but one who has penetrated his 
material until it has yielded to him its most intimate emotion — a 
man who has not passed through life unmoved, and has therefore 
an entirely personal utterance as a painter also. Certain of his 
etchings almost touch Rembrandt in depth of sentiment for 
nature, classical simplicity, and suggestive power. They reveal 
a painter who observes the least things — a strip of washed linen, 
the grass in the sun, the pale yellow sand of the sea — with a 
kindling eye and a well-nigh religious fervour. How charming 
are these little ones at play with a paper boat by the sea ! What 
a mild and peaceful element the dangerous ocean has become 
upon this morning ! And by what simple means has the impres- 
sion of a limitless expanse been reached ! With a few strokes he 
has the secret of rendering the moist atmosphere and the tender 
tones of the sky. Parts of the beach with the sun shining over 
them alternate with shadowy chambers, the powerful outlines 
of raw-boned seamen with delicately sketched fisher-children. 
A peasant woman sits on the seashore before the smooth waves, 
another works in her hut, where the dusk is drawing on ; a child 
lies in the cradle, a quiet, wrinkled old woman, enveloped in the 
soft twilight, warms her wearied hands at the stove. All these 
plates are exceedingly spirited, sometimes lightly improvized, 
capricious, and wayward, sometimes polished, rounded, and fully 
worked out, but always free, pictorial, and having a personal 
accent, and rendering gesture and expression with absolute 
sureness. Josef Israels has never made a retrograde step, has 
never been ensnared by the commercial instinct, but has grown 
greater continuously ; and it is due to his power of self-criticism 
and force of character that he now stands as the recognized head 
of Dutch painting. 

In him is embodied the strength of modem Holland. He has 
been a pioneer not merely in subject, technique, and colour ; for 
in many-sidedness also there is not one of the younger genera- 
tion who can touch him. Each one of them has his own small 
field which he indefatigably cultivates. One paints only girls by 
the seashore ; another merely dim interiors ; this man town-scenes 



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246 MODERN PAINTING 

with a misty sky ; another greyish-brown landscapes beneath a 
melancholy and rainy firmament ; another the rich, luxuriant, 
green, and heavy soil of Holland ; another level banks with wind- 
mills and red-roofed houses, detaching themselves from the dull, 
glimmering hues of monotonous grey clouds, — ^but every one 
paints a fragment of Israels. 

That painter who has such a joy in colour, Christoffel Btssckop, 
in these days also lives at the Hague ; he is only four years 
younger than Israels, and he, too, laboured with power to effect 
the revolution of Dutch painting. His teachers in Paris were 
Gleyre and Comte, the latter of whom has exerted a peculiarly 
strong influence upon him, little as Bisschop has followed him 
in subject The sole historical picture of his, contributed to 
the exhibition of 1855, was " Rembrandt going to the Anatomical 
Lecture." Born in Leuwarden, in Friesland, as a painter he 
settled in later years in his birthplace, where so many old 
costumes with gold chains, lace caps, and gay gowns falling in 
heavy folds are still preserved in use ; and here he became the 
painter of Friesland as the Belgian Adolf Dillens was that of 
Zealand. Those great old painters of interiors, De Hoogh and 
Van der Meer, were his guides in the matter of technique. Sun- 
light falling into an enclosed space could scarcely be painted 
more luminously warm. Like a great column of dust tinged 
with dim colours of the rainbow, it pours in through the ground 
window, falls full upon the opened leaf of the folding door, upon 
the boards, and the deep red cover spread over the table and 
embellished with a large-patterned border upon a white ground, 
while in this golden sunshine which floods the whole room there 
are usually seen to move a couple of quiet and peaceful figures. 
A little old woman, perhaps, steps into the room to beg the young 
wife for a crust of bread, or a husband and wife sit of an evening 
by the cradle of their youngest child, or a girl in a white cap 
stands at the window absorbed in a letter which she has just 
received from her lover. 

Gerk Menkes loved to paint the mist upon canals, where 
the trekschuiten (general passenger boats drawn by horses) 
glide quietly along crowded with busy people. Homely 



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HOLLAND 



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Dutch family scenes, 

young mothers with 

children in dim 

chambers — deep and 

genial works of the 

finest tone — were 

painted by Albert 

Neuhuys, A pupil of 

Israels, Adolf Artz, 

delights in the 

delicate bloom of 

autumn : pale grey 

meadows with thin 

grass, over which 

there arches a grey, 

pallid sky, tremulous 

with light; noon-day 

stillness and paths 

losing themselves in 

the wide grey-green 

plains through which 

they wind lazily with 

a long-drawn curve ; 

loamy ditches, where 

silvery spotted thistles 

and faint yellow autumn flowers raise up their heads arid and 

athirst Potato-gatherers, shepherd girls, and children at play 

enliven these wide, sad levels. Cafi and studio scenes are 

usually the work of Pieter Oyens, who, before his migration to 

Amsterdam, was a pupil of Portaels in Brussels, where he 

acquired a richer, more energetic and incisive style of painting 

than is usually to be met with in Dutch art 

Performances as fine and charming as these figure-pictures 
are the Dutch landscapes. Here, likewise, the flower of Dutch 
painting is not so luxuriant and does not catch the eye so much 
as that of other nations, though it is well-nigh more tender and 
fragrant The Dutch have been the cause of no novel sensations. 




iHan/sttuigt pnoto. 

Bisschop: "Sunshine in Home and Heart." 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Neuhuys: "A Rustic Interior.*' 



[HanfstdHgl photo. 



and troubled themselves little about those technical problems 
which have busied the more searching spirits amongst the French 
Impressionists, yet in discreet and delicate feeling for nature 
no artists amongst the classic and contemporary painters of 
modern landscape have so nearly approached the fine masters 
of Fontainebleau. The atmosphere, almost always charged with 
moisture, which broods over the flat and watery land in Holland, 
subdues and veils the sunlight softly, and gives succulent fresh- 
ness to the vegetation ; and Dutch painters have the secret of 
rendering in most refreshing pictures all this native landscape, 
which has no charm for a dull eye, though it is so rich in the finest 
magic. There a windmill is whirring on the hill, there the cows 
are pasturing in the meadow, and there the labourers go down of 
an evening to the shore of the sea ; and the soft air impregnated 
with damp, and the delicate bloom of silvery grey tones en- 
veloping everything, produce of themselves "the great harmony" 
which is so difficult of attainment in clear and sunny lands. 



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HOLLAND 



249 




In the first place 
let mention be made 
of Jongkindy that 
fresh and healthy 
Dutch Parisian, who 
only became known 
in wider circles after 
his death in 1891. 
Born in Latrop in 
1 819, Jongkind left 
his native land early, 
and was for some 
time in Dusseldorf, 
and then went for 
•good to France, 
where his import- 
ance was at once 
recognized by some 
of the fine spirits in 
that country. In 
1864 a critic of the 
Figaro wrote : "In 
the matter of colour 
there is nothing 
more delicate to be seen than the landscapes of Jongkind, or 
if there is it must be the delicious works of Corot. One 
finds the same naYvet^ in both, the same bright, pearly grey 
sky, the same fluid, silvery light. Only Jongkind is some- 
what more energetic and corporeal, making fewer concessions 
for the sake of charm. A few energetic accentuations, thrown 
in as if by chance and always in the right place, give 
his pictures an extraordinary effect of vibration." Jongkind, 
indeed, by his whole nature, belongs to the group of Fontaine- 
bleau artists, and it would be impossible to write a history 
of French landscape-painting without remembering the exquisite 
and charming pictures of this Dutchman. Diaz interested 
himself in him from the first, and, without exercising any 

VOL. III. 1 7 



Artz: 



[Hatifsmngl photo, 
•The Goatherd." 



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250 MODERN PAINTING 

positive influence, Daubigny was very closely connected with 
him. 

Jongkind is a personality in himself, and followed the general 
movement in his own fashion. He delighted in water and dewy 
morning, moist verdure, and the night sky, with a moon shining 
with pallid rays and shadowed by silvery clouds. What he has 
to give is always a direct rendering of personal impres- 
sions. Although broader and more impressionistic, he some- 
times recalls old Van der Neer, who also felt the witchery 
of the moon, and loved so much to roam of a night in the 
neighbourhood of Amsterdam and Utrecht Like the old 
Netherlandish painters, Jongkind is nlost at ease in regions^ 
connected with humanfty. Houses, ships, windmills, streets, and 
village market-places, and all spots that have any trace of human 
U^our, are dear to him. In Paris he painted life on the Pont 
Neqf, the houses on the banks of the Seine, lit up by the pale 
light of the moon and a thousand gas-lamps, the old churches- 
find out-of-the-way alleys of the Quartier Latin, the barren 
ground of suburbs just rising into existence, the activity of 
crossjng-sweepers in the ^arly morning. He knew, as no other 
man, the buried corners of grey old Paris, and their population^ 
which still has a tinge of something like provinciality. In 
Norm^ipdy he was charmed by the primitive character of life 
on the seaboard. And from Holland, whither he is often led 
by the force of early reminiscences, he brings back momentary 
sketches of the canals, where the murky water splashes against 
dark barges ; of villages in mist, where the sun plays coyly upoa 
the red roofs ; of windmills upon green meadows ; of moist 
pastures, dim moonrise, and fresh phases of morning such as 
Goyen loved. In Nivernois, about i860, he painted the faint 
grey paths of sand, white cottages in the glare of dazzling light, 
and the quiver of sunbeams in the dry leaves of the autuma 
trees ; and in Brussels and Toulon the narrow tortuous lanes,, 
swarming vividly with street-life. His technique is at once broad 
and delicate, piquant and powerful. Everything has the throbbing 
life of a sketch. 

Jongkind was a pupil of laabey, and as early as 1852 received 



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2S3 




Mauve : •* A Flock of Sheep." 



[Lathui ac. 



a third medal in the Salon. But after that his pictures were 
rejected by the committees, and it was only at the Paris 
Exhibition of 1889 that he came out in his full importance. As 
a rule, he still laid weight on the construction of his landscapes ; 
from the old Dutch masters he derived his pleasure from an 
architectonic building up, and he took pains to " compose *' 
his pictures, placing trees, ships, houses, and people in such a 
way as to ensure, as far as possible, a rounded whole. Never- 
theless he was a modern through his feeling for transparent 
air; he was one of the first to give a serious study to 
atmosphere, to the play of reflections, and to the fleeting 
alteration of tones. This makes him an important link between 
the landscape of 1830 and contemporary Impressionism. 

Both Jacoi and IVillem Marts worked in Holland upon 
parallel lines — Jacob being a very delicate artist, striking the 
most notable chords, whilst Willem is warmer, a thorough easy- 
going and phlegmatic Dutchman. The earth in the latter's 
pictures is a plump nurse caressed and wooed by the sunbeams. 
Best of all he loves the hour when the sky becomes blue once 
more after a storm, and the first rays of the sun glance upon 
the rich turf and the rushes of the pond. Leaves, boughs, and 



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^54 



MODERN PAINTING 



trunks all glisten 
with moisture. The 
wind shakes the last 
raindrops from the 
branches, and they 
fall, scattering the 
earth with a thou- 
sand little pearls. 
The grey moss 
spreads itself out 
luxuriantly, and is 
once more soft, rich, 
and verdant. The 
large black snails 
move upon the 
ground rejoicing in 
the damp, and the 
cows which are 
resting breathe with 
satisfaction the 
damp air of the lush 
meadows drenched 
with rain. Jacob 
MariSy whose eye has been educated by Daubigny, is softer in 
feeling, and more graceful, poetic, and dreamy. By preference 
he paints pictures of Dutch canals in the neighbourhood of 
Amsterdam and Rotterdam, pictures which show great refinement 
in their brownish-grey, their breadth and clearness of vision, and 
quiet harmony, or else he paints parts of the beach in the 
Scheveningen district, or windmills soaring like great towers 
in the foreground high above the flat land, or little low houses 
rising into the dull, grey, rainy air. The delicacy of modern 
plein-air painting is united in his pictures with- the tender 
softness of the traditional clare-obscure. And often a spot of 
vivid red or dark violet has a piquant effect in the ashen-grey 
harmony, a thing which is at once dim and luminous, soft and 
precise, simple and subtile. 




lAibert phoio. 
Mesdag : " Evening." 

{By permission of th* Berlin Photographic Company^ ih« 
owners of th4 copyright.) 



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HOLLAND 



25s 




De Haas: "Cows in a Meadow.** 



[Hanfstdngl photo. 



Mauve^ that admirable master of harmony who is so vivid 
and spontaneous in his water-colours, has also this tender, melan- 
choly poetry of nature, this underlying mood of depth and sadness, 
which renders him so sympathetic in the present age. Daubign/s 
simple, idyllic, rustic joy in nature has in him become tinged 
with a sense of suffering which allies him with Cazin. A dreamy 
mist, a thoughtful silence, rests over his Dutch landscapes, and 
the wind seems to utter its complaint among the leaves. The 
dusk, and damp, rainy days, and all the minor keys of nature 
has he especially loved. 

In H, W. Mesdagy who paints the sea in all moods, Holland 
possesses one of the first marine painters of the world. Since 
Courbet, few representations of the life of the sea have been 
rendered with such fidelity and strength of impression. Whereas 
the Belgians, Clays and Artan, never leave the shore, in Mesdag 
one beholds the sea from the sea itself and not from the land ; 
one is really on the water alone with the ship, the sky, and the 



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256 



MODERN PAINTING 



waves. And whilst 
the Belgians take 
special joy in the 
smiling ocean, the 
prismatic iridescence 
of sunbeams upon 
the quiet mirror of 
the waters, Mesdag 
chiefly renders the 
moment of uneasy 
suspense before the 
storm. As a rule 
in his pictures the 
sea lies heavy as 
lead in a threaten- 
ing lull ; only a few 
lightly quivering 
waves seem to be 
preparing for the 
battle that they will 
fight amongst them- 
selves. Overhead 
stretches a grey, 
monotonous, and 
gloomy sky, where 
sometimes, although rarely, the sun, glowing like the crater of 
a volcano, may be seen to stand. Yet it may be admitted that 
a certain want of flexibility in his nature is the cause of his 
repeating his most forcible note with too much obstinacy, and 
at certain points he is outmatched by others. For example, 
the seascapes of Israels surpass Mesdag's in freshness of vision 
and lightness of touch, those of Mauve have the advantage in 
dreamy tenderness of conception, and Jacob Maris commands 
the expression of lonely grandeur in a fashion which is 
peculiarly his own. Compare Mesdag's seascapes with those of 
his fellow Dutch artists, and we find the best clue to the charac- 
terization of his art. His power, like Bisschop's, is essentially a 




Oelrichs pho/o.] 
Breitner : " Horse Artillery in the Downs." 



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C. H9Hi9chtl rtpr.^ 



Matthew Maris: ''He is coming.'* 
{By ptrmiasion of Messrs. Dowdeswell <^ DowdeswellSf th$ owners oj the copyright.) 



[Hole sc. 



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HOLLAND 259 

material one — ix. he is a real realist. Israels, Maris, Mauve 
paint things as vehicles interpreting personal and emotional 
moods. They try to express sadness, grandeur, tenderness ; 
nature's reality is to them only a means, not an end in itself, 
as it is to Mesdag, the broad, steady-^oing Dutchman of the 
North. 

Speaking of him it has been necessary to emphasize the dis- 
tinction between his realism and the more spiritual endowment 
of others. Let this distinction be borne in mind ; for though 
Dutch pictures would seem to have a remarkable family re- 
semblance it is a firm and sharp line of classification. True it 
is that all Dutch art of the seventies is characterized by a 
dignity resulting from good traditions, a quiet mood of con- 
templation occasionally verging on narrowness, a dark, warm, 
and almost sombre tone, singular taste and purity, and a certain 
repose and kindliness of feeling. But for those who enter deeply 
into this intimate art it is easy to draw a line dividing the Realists 
from the sensitive Impressionists. Amongst the former with 
Mesdag and Bisschop we find Bisschop*s pupil Klinkenbergy 
who from his master learnt how to paint sunshine. The light 
of clear March days generally rests upon his pictures, brightening 
the fronts of neat brick houses, which are reflected in the still 
water of canals. De Haas paints the Dutch and Belgian lowland 
landscape, its cloudy, dull-blue, Northern summer skies, and the 
cattle or donkeys grazing amongst the grass of the dunes. Then 
there is Lodewijk Apol, who delights in wintry woodlands, where 
the leafless boughs are covered with a sparkling mantle of snow, 
frozen waters, and whitish-grey clumps of trees vanishing softly 
in the misty air. A more subtile hand and eye are revealed in 
the work of Paul Josef Gahrtely the painter of the polders, the flat 
landscape of which assists the impression of air and light and 
boundless distance. All these names belong to the older 
generation. But within the last ten years a number of younger 
artists have sprung up, and, as might have been anticipated, more 
novel tendencies have been displayed. Some of these men indeed 
have merely advanc e d upon the old lines. There are Breitner and 
Isaac Israels, who have created, under Manet's influence, wha 



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26o MODERN PAINTING 

might be called the New Impressionism, an art more passionate, 
agitated, energetic, and daring than the old art of intimate emotion. 
They abandon themselves to the full tide of life, endeavouring 
to arrest the fleeting revelation of a single moment. Their 
technique also is broader than that of the elder men : form is 
not sacrificed to intimacy of feeling ; it seems almost swept away 
in nervous energy of movement and the massing of colour. Such 
artists as these could not but break the subtile quietude that had 
rested so long over Dutch art. They longed to come to the 
free use of their senses and their limbs, like the young husband 
in Bjornson*s comedy NygiftCy who was mastered by an irresistible 
impulse to uplift his voice and dash himself about lest he should 
lose the use of both voice and limbs in the silent, antiquated 
mansion of his father-in-law. 

Still the younger school of Dutch painting had no need to 
struggle against academic art, and hardly the need to fight for 
their own hand against the great masters who had preceded them. 
Where both the older and the younger generation are of genuine 
metal all that the latter need is the liberty to follow their own 
way when their turn has come. And so in Holland there was 
no cry^ raised against established reputations. On the contrary, 
the younger artists of Holland have never ceased to do honour 
to such men as Israels, Maris, Mauve, and Bosboom ; and it might 
almost be urged that these masters have never been so well or 
so highly appreciated as they arc now by their juniors. Yet 
these juniors were no followers. Theirs was an entirely different 
turn of mind and genius. Next to the above-named Neo-Im- 
pressionists we find, on the one hand, those who were influenced 
by the wave of mysticism sweeping over the world of literature 
and art at the end of this century. And on the other we find 
the men of brain-power rather than of sentiment, the analysts 
and psychologists, the acute observers and distinct expressionists. 
In mysticism it was Matthew Marisy a brother of the two land- 
scape-painters already mentioned, who had first of all shown the 
way. 

Both Jacob and Willem Maris bore witness to the invincible 
power of Dutch art which made two essentially Dutch masters 



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HOLLAND 



263 




AmU9rdamm$r.'\ 



Veth: Josef Israels. 



[Hentschel photo se. 



of men who were the sons of an Austrian father, but in Matthew 
the hereditary Teutonic passion for mediaeval mysticism broke out 
again. Yet the influence of Holland, his father's adopted country, 
was not wasted upon him : his mystical tendencies were controlled 
by the faculty of observation. His early pictures have an ex- 
ceeding great charm of their own, a direct simplicity of motive 
and a poetic purity of expression both in line and colour. His 
Gretchen, for example, is a mediaeval maiden under the spell of 
a mystical love that gives her a look of fairy unreality. Indeed 
she more nearly resembles the devoted Katchen von Heilbronn 
of Heinrich von Kleist than the more robust heroine of Goethe. 
By degrees reality lost its grip on the painter, and his visions 
grew mistier, gaining at the same time in lonely grandeur. 
Yet the more he tries to evade reality the stronger a certain 
sensuousness seems to hold him in its grasp. The forms hidden 
under the veil of his dreamy visions assert themselves, rise and 
grow, as if they were to burst forth after all. This wrestle 



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264 MODERN PAINTING 

between the animal and the mystical life in the painter's spirit 
to some extent mars the unity of his art, yet makes it appeal 
to us with a deeper emotional force and a grander imaginative 
power. The hermit-painter, living near Lx)ndon in utter solitude> 
is, after all, a human being with latent passion. 

Travels in the East and the love of mediaeval legend have 
quickened the same tendency to mystical contemplation in 
W. Bauer, His water-colours, his lithographs, and his etchings 
are all of them filled with the vibration of very subtile emotions, 
expressed in the lithographs and etchings with a curious nervous- 
ness of intercrossing fibrous lines. In some of his etchings again 
there is an amplitude of vision, a grandeur of mass, and a halo 
of light which recall the work of Rembrandt in this field of art. 
fan Toorop was the first to bring a tribute from the Dutch Indies 
to the art of the mother-country. He worked his way through 
impressionism and " pointellism " to a mystical symbolism which, 
however, emanates from Villiers-de-rislerAdam and Odilon Redon 
rather than from the Indies. This symbolist art of Toorop's is 
as remarkable for its high power of expression and its delicacy 
of handling as for versatility and facility of imagination. But, 
after all, symbolism, which by sheer force of reaction against 
the national tendency to realism had at one moment become, 
the cry of the new art-movement in Holland and had won 
another true and subtile adept in young Thorn Prikker, could not 
long hold its own among a people which, although sometimes 
approaching in its art to the symbolical through simplicity and 
grandeur, had always derived it instinctively from reality, with- 
out-seeking it in abstract forms — the domain of philosophy, not 
of art. 

Of the other tendency in modern Dutch art — to return to 
more directness of expression, and to arrive at a greater intensity 
of psychological power than the great Impressionists had aimed 
at — we find examples in the portraits hy Jan Veth and Haverman, 
They are entirely different from such powerful creations as Josef 
Israels has lately shown in this line. Those by Israels are freely 
subjective; the painter will treat the features and expression of 
his sitter with considerable freedom, making the portrait speak 



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HOLLAND 265 

of his own moods, and giving it the character with which it 
looms in his imagination. But these younger men take great 
pains to penetrate into the actual mind and spirit of the person, 
rendering them with the utmost directness. Neither their im- 
agination nor their sentiment is allowed to run away with 
them, and they aim at the subjection of all their powers to the 
guiding and analyzing brain. As a matter of course, this attitude 
influences their technique and makes it rigid and strict, until 
they feel so sure of their handling that they can allow them- 
selves enough freedom to devote some attention to charm of line 
and unrestrained simplicity. Somewhat the same difference from 
the older school, although hardly so pronounced, we find in 
the landscapes of Tholen -and Karpen, whose attitude towards 
nature is indeed more reserved, and who aim at a pure and 
-direct expression of forms and atmosphere rather than at the 
free impressionism of Jacob Maris. And although too much 
may be made of these distinctions, yet they are real enough to 
show that Dutch art has more variety than a superficial observer 
might suppose. At the first glance the pictures of modem 
Holland seem to have one great family resemblance, as has 
already been noted, yet a constant current of evolution, often 
influenced by movements abroad, of which Dutch artists have 
been keen students, has been flowing forwards ; and so far from 
stagnating, Dutch art is now as fresh and varied as in the old 
<Iays of its glory. 



-VOL. 111. 18 



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CHAPTER XL 

DENMARK 

The kinship between Danish and Dutch ^inting.^Previous history 
of artistic efforts in Denmark. — Christoph Vilhelm Eckersherg 
and his importance,— The Eckersberg school : Eorbye, Bendz, Sonne, 
Christen Kdbke^ Roed, KOchler^ Vilhelm Mar strand, — Italy .and the 
East: J, A. Krafft^ Constantin Hansen, Ernst Meyer, Petzholdt, 
Niels Simonsen, — The national movement of the forties brings 
painting back to native soil: influence of Hoy en, Julius Exner, 
Frederik Vermehren^ Christen Dalsgaard. — T?ieir intimacy of feeling 
in opposition to the traditional genre painting, — The landscape- 
painters : Johan Thomas Lundbye, Carlo Dalgas, Peter Christian 
Skovgaardf Vilhelm Kyhn, Gotfred Rump, — The marine-painters : 
Emanuel Larsen, Frederik Sorensen, Anton Melbye.— Their import- 
ance and technical defects,— Carl Block sets in the place of this 
awkward painting which had national independence one which was 
outwardly brilliant but less characteristic, — Gertner, Elisabeth 
Jerichau-Baumann^ Otto BachCy Vilhelm Rosenstand, Axel Helsted, 
Christian Zahrtmann,— After the Paris Exhibition of 1878 there 
came into being the young school equipped with rich technical means 
of expression and, at the same time, taking up the Eckersberg tradition 
of intimate and delicate observation : Peter S, JCroyer, Laurits Regner 
Tuxen, August Jerndorff, Viggo Johansen, Carl Thomsen, H, N, 
Hansen y Otto Haslund, Irminger, Engelstedy Lauritz Ring, Erik 
Henningsen, Fritz Syberg.-^ Painters of the sea and fishing : Michael 
and Anna Ancher^ Locher, Thorolf Pedersen, — The landscape- 
painters : Viggo Pedersen, Philipsen, Thorwald Niss, Zacho, Gotfred 
Christensen, Julius Paulsen,— The **free exhibitors :*^ Joachim and 
Niels iikovgaard, Theodor Bindesboll, Agnes Slott-Mdller, HarakT 
Slott-Moller, J F. Willumsen, V, Hammershoy, Johan Rohde^ 
G, Seligmann^ Karl Jensen, 

DENMARK IS a new Holland, should any one be pleased 
to call it so, only it is Holland with a purer atmosphere 
and a clearer sky, Holland less rich in soil and less luxuriant ;. 
it is a country more thinly populated and one where the 



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DENMARK 267- 

inhabitants are more dreamy. In accordance with this likeness 
in the character of nature, the transition from the one school 
to the other is almost imperceptible in art As painters of 
interiors and landscape, the Danes join issue with the Dutch 
by the touching delicacy of feeling with which they paint the 
likeness of their beautiful country, its domestic life, its woodlands^ 
and its lakes. And, successful as they have been in acquiring 
technique in Paris, they, too, avoid making experiments in pUin 
air and in the last results of Impressionism. They are almost 
fonder than the Dutch of swathing themselves in soft dusk and 
floating haze. Indeed what distinguishes them from the latter 
is that they have less phlegm and more nervous vibration, a 
softer taste for elegiac sadness, that tender breath of dreamy 
melancholy which is in the old Danish ballads. What they 
have to express seems almost Dutch, but it is whispered less 
distinctly and with more of mystery, with that dim, approximative,, 
hazarded utterance which betrays that it is Danish. 

Do you know the park near Copenhagen, that lovely pleasure- 
ground where the old Danish beeches bend their heads together 
rustling and fill the air with drowsy fragrance ? From the 
Sound there comes a faint, subdued murmur which echoes low 
and tremulous through the forest. Across the earth flit the 
soft shadows of the beeches, and the warm sunlight plays 
between them. Everything is gathered into a large, peacefully 
dreamy uniformity, which has a hidden melancholy. A nation 
which grows up amid such surroundings will become more 
sensitive in its feelings and more delicate in organization than 
one which lives amongst mountains and rough crags. The- 
fragrance and ringing echo of this strange, soft nature render 
the nerves finer and quicker in vibration. Have you read 
Jacobsen? Can you recall the figures of Niels Lyhne and 
Mogens and Marie Grubbe, filled as they are with gentle and 
dreamy devotion, so unsubstantiaj that they live half in reality 
and half dissolve in misty visions, possessing so much tender 
sentiment — sentiment which is indeed tender to excess — and 
crumbling away the moment a rude hand draws them from the 
world in which they live? Do you recollect the verses which- 



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Ji68 MODERN PAINTING 

Mogens hums softly to himself, " In Sehnen kb ich^ in Sehnen "— 
**I live in my longing, in my longing"? 

The same mysterious fragrance which breathes from the 
works of Jacobsen, the dreamy disposition to lose consciousness 
of self, that melting away and vanishing in mist, suggesting the 
soft outlines of the coasts of Zealand, is likewise peculiar 
to Danish art. It, too, has something abashed in spirit, an 
infinite need for what is delicate and refined, introspective, 
diffident, irresolute, fainting and despondent, youthful and in- 
nocent, and yet glimmering with tears, a yearning that is like 
sadness, a renunciation that finds vent in elegies that are still 
and keenly sweet. It also avoids the cold, clear day, and the 
sun, so indiscreet in its revelations. Everything is covered with 
soft, subdued light ; everything is silent, mysterious, luxuriating 
in pleasant and yet mournful reveries. Melting landscapes are 
represented in lines that vanish in mist, and with indecisive 
<lepths and low tones. Or there are dark rooms, where tea is 
upon the table and quiet people are leaning back in their 
chairs. The fire is burning in the stove with a subdued and 
pleasant noise. On the table stands the petroleum lamp, shed- 
•ding a mild dim light through the room. And the blue smoke 
of cigars mingles with the reddish glow from the fireplace, 
which casts a reflection upon the carpet, whilst the soft rain 
outside is drumming on the window-panes. And what an old- 
fashioned grace the furniture has, the great mahogany tables 
and little secritaires resting upon slender voluted legsl It is 
not mere blockish, indifferent furniture, for it has been in- 
herited and cared for, and it is narrowly allied with the lives 
-of men. With what a genial, confiding air does it seem to 
regard the proceedings when the family are assembled at table, 
when the water boils and there is a clatter of tea-things ! And 
when there is society, how bashfully it presses against the wall, 
as though it were shy before company ! On the boards upon 
the window-sill old-fashioned flowers bloom in pots spotted with 
green, and old-fashioned family portraits hang upon the walls 
with a slightly bourgeois air of complacency. 

Amongst ourselves, where there is a general inclination to 



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DENMARK 269. 

regard distant regions as half-barbaric — merely because nothing 
is known about them — people for a long time looked down 
upon this modest, but essentially healthy Danish painting. It 
was only at the last great exhibitions that the epoch-making 
appearance of the young Danish school showed what a fresh 
artistic life was stirring within the limits of this little Northern 
kingdom* Through the works of the young painters attention^ 
was directed to their elders, for it was not to be assumed that 
such blossom of art had grown up in the night 

As is well known, Denmark is not a site of ancient civiliza- 
tion. Before the period of Thorwaldsen every artistic tradition 
was wanting, and the country was never the stage of a con- 
tinuous and historically important development of art. From 
the Middle Ages it can only point to traces of feeble artistic 
activity in a few Gothic buildings which are massively mono- 
tonous. It was not till late, in fact in the beginning of the 
seventeenth century, that the cultivation of artistic interests was 
pursued with greater animation under the government of 
Christian IV. Christian V. (1670 — 1699) endeavoured to catch 
a few beams from the sun of Louis XIV., and sent for numbers 
of French artists who enriched the country with manifold imita- 
tions of Lebrun and Coustou. Under Frederik V. (1746 — 1766) 
an Academy of Art was founded at the Castle of Charlottenborg 
and organized according to the French model by the sculptor 
Saly, from Valenciennes. The new quarter of the town which 
rose about this time in Copenhagen — Frederiktown, as it is 
called — gives in its palaces, and in the equestrian statue of 
Frederik V. executed by Saly, a tolerably complete picture 
of the Danish Rococo period, and it was not particularly rich. 
A generation later, Danish artists, indeed, headed the school,, 
but its tradition remained predominantly French or German,, 
and of the Classical type. Jens fuel distinguished himself as 
a graceful portrait -painter, and the animal -painter Gebauer 
executed little pictures in the style of Esaias van der Velde. 
Through the sculptor Wiedewelt, Winckelmann's theories were 
made known in Copenhagen. The painter Abildgaardy an 
academician of sound learning and many-sided culture, found 



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^7o MODERN PAINTING 

his ideals in the Italian masters of the Renaissance, especially 
Michael Angelo. Amongst such men Asmus Carstens and 
Bcrtel Thorwaldsen, who made such an important contribution 
to the artistic development of Europe, were destined to receive 
their schooling. 

If this first period of Danish art was either French or Classical, 
and in any case imported and without individuality, it must be 
owned that the national epoch of Danish painting was introduced 
with Eckersberg, and formed by a group of men who stood on 
their own ground, representing only Danish life and nature as 
it is in Denmark. The consideration of their pictures affords 
little aesthetic pleasure to the eye. The execution in almost all 
cases is angular and diffidently careful, the representation of forms 
paltry, and the colour arid and without anything luminous. But 
the substratum of sentiment makes atonement for the inadequacy 
of the technique. At a period when a spiritless reproduction of 
old ideas and old forms of civilization went by the name of 
idealism, the Danes were the first independent naturalists ; at 
a time when artists saw things almost exclusively through the 
medium of literature, they proved themselves, in the special 
sense of the word, to be painters, and therefore they had no need 
afterwards to wage the great war of liberation which had to be 
gone through in all other places. They had no need to learn 
■gradually that nature may be artistically rendered without con- 
ventional composition, nor was there any necessity for them to 
be taught that there was a world better than that of commonplace 
^enre humour. For, from the very first, they plunged into reality 
instead of treating it with playful condescension, and were pro- 
tected from the inflated sentimentality of the "village tale" by 
having a practised eye for what was properly pictorial. Like 
the Dutch of the seventeenth century, the Danes had worked 
faithfully to nature, and in their deep and honourable devotion 
they merely wished to paint nature itself according to their own 
true and personal conception ; and whilst the falsely idealistic or 
narrative works of the rest of the Continent vanished, at a later 
time, from painting, these Danish works, which contained in 
themselves fresh and natural germs, are not yet antiquated, 



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DENMARK 271 

although they may be old-fashioned ; to some extent, indeed, 
and in their essential conception, they may still be said to hold 
sway over living Danish art 

Christoph Vilhelm Eckersberg was, in many ways, a remark- 
able artist In the matter of technique he is almost antediluvian ; 
he is old-fashioned in his hard and sharp portraits, old-fashioned 
in his large historical pictures, old-fashioned in his petty land- 
scapes and carefully drawn and leaden sea-pieces. Nevertheless 
his pictures have remained more classical than those of his 
contemporaries, who donned the classic garb as if for eternity. 
He has a simpler and more familiar expression for the things we 
know ; he gives warmth by his purity of feeling : everything he 
does bears the impress of a peculiar sincerity, as if he went bail 
in his person for the truth of what he painted. 

Eckersberg belongs to those modest but meritorious artists 
-who have been little honoured in the earlier period, artists who 
have given something novel in place of reminiscences from other 
-centuries and the classical imitation popular in their time. He 
had, like Carstens, studied under Abildgaard, and after that he 
£nished his course of training under David from 1810 to 181 3. 
From 1813 to 1816 he was in Rome, where his friend Thorwaldsen 
-was, at that time, high-priest of art And just as he was at pains 
to follow the turbulent painter of the Revolutiori in his Parisian 
studies, so his pictures from Rome, which are to be seen in the 
Thorwaldsen Museum, are under the sway of Roman Classicism. 
But when he returned home in 18 16, and as a man of tough 
•energy undertook the guidance of Danish art, it was soon seen 
where his talent actually lay. He executed about this time a 
portrait of himself in which he is painted looking into the world 
with honest, dark-blue eyes, a massive, sensible, and judiciously 
observant man. This likeness shows him, indeed, both as a man 
and as an artist, and supplies a curious commentary on the 
tedious historical pictures which he composed in Paris and Rome. 
In outward respects these same pictures are concerned with the 
system of ideas everywhere in favour at the period, and they 
borrow their subjects from the Bible or classical antiquity. 
■"Bacchus and Ariadne," "The Spartan Lads," "Ulysses slaying 



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27« MODERN PAINTING 

the Suitors," all painted before 1816, are amongst the most 
jejune works produced at the time. But compared with earlier 
Danish pictures, and compared with the classical productions of 
contemporaries, they are true to nature. Eckersberg supplanted 
the tall, flabby, mannered, swaying figures of Abildgaard, with 
their swollen muscles and generalized faces, by stiff frames which 
have no flow of line, and earnest faces which know nothing of 
the Cinquecento ideal of beauty. There is nothing antique about 
them except the title, for the basis of his art was an absolutely 
accurate study of the model. Even where he arranged human 
beings in tableaux vivants^ illustrating a story provided by ancient 
authors, direct study of nature was the corrective he applied to the 
mannerism of his time. And this sound and thorough observation 
of nature, however unattractive it might be in technique, is yet 
more characteristic of his landscapes. Even in Rome this quiet 
Jutlander had produced a series of little pictures sharply to be 
distinguished from the classical views and drj' architectural pieces 
of his contemporaries. For it was not the beauty of architecture 
as such that had any charm for him. The backyard of a modem 
Roman hut gave him as much pleasure as a classical ruin, and 
a meadow in spring with blossoming flowers was as dear to him 
as the colonnades of St. Peter's. Here, too, were colour and 
the play of light. His pictures owed their existence less to an 
antiquarian than to a pictorial interest, which is saying a goo<} 
deal considering their period. 

And after Eckersbei^ returned home he remained the same,, 
both in his outward many-sidedness and in the essential principle 
of his art. Biblical pictures and altar-paintings were ordered 
from him, and he painted " The Passage of the Israelites through 
the Red Sea" in a very sensible fashion, and gave a thoroughly 
prosaic paraphrase of Raphael in his " Madonna as Queen of 
Heaven." From the Court he received a commission to decorate 
the throne-room of the Castle of Christiansborg with representa- 
tions from Danish history, and accomplished this task also in 
an honourable and conscientious manner. Everybody came to 
him to have portraits taken, and he satisfied everybody by 
making an accurate likeness. Over and above this there is 



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DENMARK 273 

an important class of pictures which were not ordered, and 
show the more clearly what he was aiming at himself: scenes 
from everyday life, landscapes and seascapes. He is the first 
who, in that age, which limited its enthusiasm to gods and 
heroes, carried out the maxim that everything may be painted, 
historical or present, sacred or profane. All his life he maintained 
his love of light and air, land and sea. Sea-pieces, which had 
been neglected since Joseph Vernet, were introduced by him into 
art once more. What distinguished him, indeed, was an extra- 
ordinarily pure, fine, and inwardly felt conception of what he 
saw in reality in the life of men, upon land or water ; and 
however dry and prosaic his pictures may be, they are none 
the less sincere, honest, and sound. He will have nothing to 
do with meaningless poses and empty phrases. Honest and 
thoroughly deliberate observation, combined with severe restraint 
from everything merely dazzling to the eye, is of the essence 
of his art. 

Even Ihis colouring is in this respect characteristic. The 
older painters, Juel and Abildgaard, strove to effect an artistic 
harmony. They used cloying colours which soothed the eye, 
and endeavoured to give their pictures the tone of the old 
masters, or that metallic brilliancy which accorded with the 
gilded decorations of the Rococo period. And Eckersberg had 
also proceeded in this fashion in his "Bacchus with Ariadne." 
But afterwards these soothing colours, aiming at decorative 
effiect, vanished from his works. . He then endeavoured to 
render local colours as faithfully as possible ; if they were also 
brusque and harsh, he at least rescued objects from the bath 
of sauce, from the pictorial tone, in which Abildgaard had 
steeped them, and he placed them in the open light of day. 
In him everything receives its healthy, natural illumination, and 
that is principally what gives his pictures a plebeian effect 
beside those of delicate Rococo painters. In the proximity of 
the portraits of Juel, harmonized in a golden tone, the figures 
of Eckersberg in the Copenhagen Gallery looked as if they had 
just washed, with such ingenuousness and sincerity did he 
place the healthy red in the cheeks of his girls boldly against 



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274 MODERN PAINTING 

the white skin. No doubt there is a good* deal which is 
prosaic and material in this method of creation. For the poetry 
of colour he had but little feeling. But when, after looking at 
the pictures of Eckersberg in the Thorwaldsen Museum, one's 
gaze wanders to the " Sleeping Girl *' of Rtedel hanging opposite, 
there can be no doubt that outward prettiness and sugary 
coquetry are on the side of the German, and health and veracity 
on that of the Dane. 

Every one notices with facility that Eckersberg's activity fell 
in a time when plastic art was set above painting, and the 
plastic element in pictures was specially accentuated. This 
draughtsmanlike treatment, which knows little of the pictorial 
conception, is what chiefly gives his works their antiquated Mr. 
Eckersberg paints things much as they are in themselves, and 
too little does he paint the impression received of them. His 
observation is positive, solid, firm, but it is not light enough 
with what is light, nor fleeting enough with what is fleeting. 
His strong point is the rendering of objects with opaque 
surfaces in hard daylight when everything is distinctly visibla 
Dusk and clare-obscure, which dissolve the outlines of things, 
are no affair of his. Optical phenomena, like rainbows, have 
a heavy and material appearance in his works. What the 
moderns leave to be indistinctly divined he paints substantially 
and palpably. He is too careful of outline. What a hard and 
disagreeable effect is made by the contours in his picture of the 
interior of the Colosseum ! In his effort to attain outline and 
local colour he even gives them to objects which have none. 
The clouds look like masonry; the water, which in its endless 
variety is almost more wayward than the air, and plays, at the 
same time, in bluish, greenish, and whitish tones, has only one 
hard, monotonous colour in Eckersberg, and no transparency, 
no brilliancy nor glitter. It is only when one overlooks these 
defects that one can enjoy the incomparable study of the 
movement of the waves, and the admirable drawing of ships; 
one may remember, indeed, many more effective seascapes, but 
few so satisfactory in the consideration of details. 

In Eckersberg everything has been quietly, logically, and 



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DENMARK 



275 




EcKERSBERG : The Nathanson Family. 



i i flt£r phota. 



deliberately thought out and seen before being painted ; every 
point stands where it should ; he has his perspective and anatomy 
at his fingers* ends. His sea-pieces, with their little ships rocking 
upon waves of porcelain, are frigidly and aridly painted, but very 
delicately observed, and drawn with great confidence. And his 
portraits, limited as they are from the pictorial standpoint, must 
be reckoned amongst the best of their period as regards sincerity 
in the study of nature. In the group of the family of the 
merchant Nathanson, in the Copenhagen Gallery, he does not 
attempt to embellish his models, but attacks them, roughly no 
doubt, but straightforwardly. Certain of his pictures of children 
have a winning innocence, and some of his portraits of women are 
worthy of being named beside those of David. In particular, he 
has painted with a careful brush and much delicacy of feeling Anne 
Marie Magnani, the friend of Thorwaldsen, and also the master 
himself, whom he revered as a god. Here he has a real touch of 
greatness in spite of his minutely fine work of detail. The head 
and hands are drawn with laboured diffidence, as in all his pictures, 



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276 



MODERN PAINTING 



\X i 



/: 




ECKERSBERG : A SeASCAPE. 



(.i Ul^€ /tnu$0» 



and the stiff shirt painted with such refinement is unpictorial. 
But all the more moving is the infinite, and thoroughly Pre- 
raphaelitish, devotion with which he gave himself up to rendering 
this head, the religious piety with which he reproduced every 
little hair and every furrow in the face ; and by these fresh, 
naturalistic qualities Eckersberg has become the ancestor of 
modern Danish art. Positive and realistic, too honest to make 
a pretence of raising himself to the level of the great old masters 
by superficial imitation, but all the more zealously bent on 
penetrating the spirit of nature, and loving everything to the 
minutest detail, weak in imagination but profound in his feeling 
for nature — such was Eckersberg himself, and such was the 
painting developed from the groundwork of his intuition of 
nature. 

All his pupils — Rorbycy Kiichler^ Eddelien^ Bendz^ Christen Kobke, 
Roedy and others— were, like their master, undiluted naturalists, 
healthy and virile, like Peter Hess, Biirkel, Franz Kriiger, and 



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DENMARK 



^77 




L Tili^r phfitii. 



Hermann Kauflf- 
mann. Scenes from 
the studios of 
painters, sculptors, 
and engravers, and 
from the life of 
peasants and 
soldiers, were their 
oisual subjects, and 
all their pictures 
show that, under 
the influence of Eck- 
^rsberg, a homely 
spirit of observation 
had entered into 
Danish artists. At 
a time when all 
Denmark was wild 
over Oehlenschlager 
and soft moonlit 

nights, they brought to all their work an entirely honest and 
objective veracity which had no trace of romantic sentimentality; 
they never dreamed of beautifying their figures, but handled 
forms honestly as they found them. Still less did they feel 
any temptation to treat life humorously, like the contemporary 
£enre painters, for they had no higher aim than to grasp 
seriously and with unfeigned feeling what was familiar and 
<iirect Sonne^ who is specially esteemed in Denmark as a 
battle-painter, was one of the first to devote himself to the 
representation of the life of the Danish people. He had little 
technical equipment, but deep and fine feeling, and his touching 
picture in the National Gallery, "The Sick at the Grave of 
St Helen," is one of the most valuable works of his generation. 
He creates astonishment by the manner in which he shows 
himself an epic painter upon the grand scale in his admirable 
sgrafittos — alas! almost destroyed — upon the walls of the 
Thorwaldsen Museum, where he represented the return of the 



Bbndz : " In the Studio." 



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278 



MODERN PAINTING 




Sonne : " The Sick at the Grave of St. Helen." 



ITiligt photo. 



master to Copenhagen, and his enthusiastic reception by his 
countrymen. Eckersberg's successor as teacher in the Academy 
was Jdrgen Roed^ and as such he maintained Eckersberg's 
traditions ; he proved himself specially eminent as a portrait-^ 
painter, but has also painted, quite in the manner of his teacher^ 
good architectural pictures, scenes from popular and ordinary life,, 
and several religious works. He had Eckersberg's confident 
draughtsmanship, and, like Eckersberg too, he had little imagina- 
tion or feeling for colour, albeit his colours are more discreet and 
refined. 

It is only Vilhelm Marstrand who occupies a peculiar position. 
Whereas Eckersberg looked at nature with the quietly observant 
eye of a painter, Marstrand is a genre painter in the full sense of 
the word — the only man in Denmark who had " ideas ; " and he 
is the Danish Wilkie and Schroedter, Madou and Biard, in one. 
His contemporaries did him honour as the most spirited painter^ 
the most gifted master of characterization in Denmark, on the 
score of this " broad and healthy humour." And, strangely 



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DENMARK 



279 




Marstrand: "Sunday on the SiljaNsee." 



enough, even those who are living now cannot shake this opinion. 
What a strange thing humour is in painting! In general it is 
as much discredited in these days as the dramatic exaggeration 
of the historical picture. But as there is always a true distinction 
between wild and genuine passion and histrionic gesticulation, so 
true humour should be distinguished from affected. Delaroche's 
historical pictures fail in their effect, because, being of a tame 
and peaceable spirit, he painted sanguinary deeds with the 
sf^vageness of Mieris ; and Adolf Schroedter's whimsicalities are 
equally lukewarm, because, being a home-made and sober per- 
sonage, he produced them with an insipid, self-complacent smile. 
The theme was not in accordance with their species of talent. But 
Delacroix sweeps one on with him through the whole gamut 
of the passions ; it is not a deft stage-manager, but a bold spirit 
of flame that is here displayed. And in his narrower field 
Marstrand has likewise remained fresh. The delights of colour 
are not demanded from him ; his whole art is directed to the 
observation of the spirit The crooked nose, the blotches of a 
toper's face, the heavy gesture of a dissolute and brutalized man^ 
wrinkled features and vulgar figures, merely serve to make the 



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Marstrand: "Erasmus Montanus.** 



\jaig9 photo. 



nature, trade, mania, and habits the more distinctly salient. 
Here we have not forms and colours, but dissipation, intem- 
perance, brutality, cunning, avarice, hebetude. It is astonishing 
how he brings out of every figure the essence of its being ; the 
realistic force with which he sharpens characteristic traits to 
make a character-piece is amazing. To press more deeply into 
the forge where his spirit works, one passes from his pictures 
to his masterly sketches with the pen, and one pursues his 
sparkling point and humour with still greater interest where 
colour makes no disturbing effect. Marstrand is never weari- 
some, for he sets one tingling with eagerness, and, as he fully 
accomplishes his purpose, his art is justified ; in fact Marstrand 
offers a parallel in art to the broad comedy of Holberg, Baggesen's 
graceful whim, and Heiberg's extravagant waywardness. 

From 1829, when he exhibited his first pictures, as a pupil 
of Eckersberg, he entered at once uf)on this humorously satirical 
•course. He painted the people of Copenhagen and the Philistine 



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DENMARK 



281 




Marstrand: "The Visit." 



{Tiligt photo. 



class in their domestic occupations, or the vagaries of tavern life, 
men shaving and making comical faces over the process, 
miserable rejected suitors, or family parties with gay interludes. 
And with his eye for humour he saw matters which were just 
as droll in Italy, where he stayed for the first time from 1836 
to 1843. His "Festival of St Anthony in Rome" is a pyro- 
technical display of wit and humour, and his Italian vintage 
scenes are full of waggish fun and comical resource. 

He was, therefore, altogether in his element when he painted 
the celebrated pictures on Holberg's comedies after his return^ 
and these occupied him during several years. Whereas Lorentzen 
and Eckersberg attempted the illustration of the Danish Molifere 
without much felicity, Marstrand struck the popular tone quite 
admirably. In 1844 he executed the "finery scene*' from 
Erasmus Montanus, the following year the " Visit to the Woman 

VOL. III. 19 



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^8^ MODERN PAINTING 

Lying-in/' in 1852 the "Collegium Politicum/' and in 1859 the^ 
*' coffee scene " from the Would-be Politicians and the ^* court 
scene" from The Fortunate Shipwreck. Marstrand had, indeed, 
a spiritual affinity with Holberg, and thus moved with the 
greater freedom in this field. His " Visit to the Woman Lying- 
in " would do honour to Hogarth, with such satirical keenness are 
the characters brought out The illustrations to Holberg drawn, 
not so long since, by Hans Tegner, and with a spirited and 
graceful pen, have not thrown these Marstrand pictures into the 
shade. In addition to Holberg, Don Quixote was a constant 
inspiration to him, and one should place the tedious illustrations 
of Adolf Schroedter beside his to see the high flight of 
Marstrand's fancy. 

Indeed Marstrand was a most various painter. His com- 
prehensive work, "Sunday on the Siljansee," executed in 1853, 
without having any of the "points" of genre painting, has 
been kept more or less in the style of Teniers' great picture 
of the fair. And in another picture, " The Visit." of 1 857, 
the satirist has become a tender, idyllic poet A peaceful 
atmosphere of Sunday rests upon an old room with solid furni- 
ture, where one perceives that throughout generations the same 
family has lived in easy prosperity. It is this very interior 
alone which gives the whole its homely Sunday air. And here 
we have the familiar visage of a young man who is courting a 
girl. A handsome naval officer has entered the room, and laid 
upon the table a little bouquet neatly tied up. The young lady 
has given him her thanks in a subdued voice, and her aged 
mother casts meaning glances at her, while an embarrassing 
pause has interrupted conversation. Thus it is a genre picture, 
though one which has been rendered with great charm. 

Meanwhile he had made repeated journeys to the South, to 
Venice and Rome, and painted, as a result, a series of life-size 
Italian pictures in the fashion of Riedel: girls at the doors of 
inns, children playing with cats, hunters languishing in love, and 
the like. His treatment, which was at first ornamental and 
smooth, seems broader in these later works, and aims more at 
magnitude ; the colouring, which was at first cold, is warmer 



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DENMARK 283 

and deeper, but at the same time darker and more suggestive 
.of sauce. The evil influence of these journeys was that the 
liumourist of earlier days, in his last period became solemn, and 
painted Church pictures. " Christ with His Disciples in Emmaus " 
was executed in 1856, and his "Feast of Christ," which was 
crowded with figures, in 1869: as a piece of composition this 
latter has striking beauty, but it is of little pictorial value. The 
best work of his last years is a series of portraits, amongst 
which are those of Madame Heiberg, the painter Constantin 
Hansen, and Professor Hoyen. But here also Marstrand's 
strength does not lie in the loving observation of detail, though 
the old satirist possessed a keen eye for soul and character, and 
had the secret of giving his pictures something remarkably 
spontaneous, living, and spirited. 

Yet his influence was a danger to the further development 
of Danish painting. His life was divided between Italy and 
Denmark, and by him, if for a short time only, Danish painting 
was alienated from the soil of home. The rage for travelling to 
Italy and the East came into vogue. 

A large Danish colony was active in Rome about 1840, and 
a halting place was often made in the Munich of Ludwig I. 
Here it was that Bendz painted that fine picture of Finck's Cafe 
which may be found in the Thorwaldsen Museum. Ernst Meyery 
who studied long under Cornelius, threw himself with great 
2cal into the representation of Roman and Neapolitan street- 
life. KiUhler, who afterwards became a monk in Italy, painted, 
to say nothing of representations of street-life, religious pictures 
— "Joseph and his Brethren," and the like — Diisseldorfian in 
-colour, but free from sentimentalism. Constantin Hansen^ in his 
mythological frescoes in the entrance hall of the University of 
Copenhagen — where Hilker painted the ornamental decorations — 
endeavoured, after the example of sculptors, to introduce the 
world of Northern gods into Danish painting, and he is also 
lepresented, in the Copenhagen Gallery, by scenes from Naples 
and prospects of Roman ruins. The pictures of /. A, Krafft^ 
who was several years senior, and of the landscape-painter 
Fetzholdty are more or less of a parallel to the little Italian 



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a84 • MODERN PAINTING 

pictures of Biirkel. Niels Sintonsen, the battle-painter, made 
a journey to Africa and returned with pictures of the desert 
And Rorbye, also, set himself to satisfy the demand for Eastern 
pictures. 

In his novel Only a Fiddler Andersen has given a delightful 
account of the life of Danish artists at that time in Rome, 
their strenuous work and their jovial meetings, when the 
" Pontemolle " was celebrated in the Caf6 Greco. " The walls," 
writes Andersen, "were hung with crowns, and in the centre 
a garland of oak-leaves formed an O and a T, indicating the 
names Overbeck and Thorwaldsen. On the benches round 
the tables artists were seated, both old and young, most of 
them being Germans, with whom tavern life has its origin. 
They had all of them moustaches, beards, and whiskers, and 
certain of them wore their hair in long locks. Some sat in their 
shirt-sleeves, and others in blouses. Here the famous old 
Reinhart was to be seen in his buff waistcoat, with a red cap 
on his head. His dog was tied to the leg of his chair, and 
yelped lustily in company with another dog close by. There 
sat Koch, the Tyrolese, the old artist with a jovial face. There 
sat Overbeck with bare neck and long locks streaming over his 
white collar, dressed like Raphael." And Emil Hannover in his 
subtile and thoughtful book on Kobke justly points out of 
what importance Italy and intercourse with the Nazarenes really 
were for Danish artists at the time. They learnt to accomplish 
with skill the monumental tasks set them in Denmark during 
the thirties, and acquired a feeling for beauty of form and 
rounded composition. But they were drawn aside from the 
sound course of Eckersberg. What they achieved in the way^ 
of decorative paintings rested purely upon study of the old 
masters. And Italian representation of popular life led to the 
same ethnographical painting of costume, and sentimental 
romanticism in dealing with robbers, which flourished everywhere 
else at the time. Even the German principles of instruction, 
communicated to them by Ernst Meyer, brought half-measures- 
into Eckersberg's naturalism. A visit to the Copenhagen col- 
lection of engravings on copper proves that, during those years,. 



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DENMARK 285 

work was scarcely ever done after painted studies, but simply 
from drawings. There was a general "theory of colours"— of 
which Ludwig Richter has also written in his Lebenserinnerungen 
— and artists noted rapidly with a pencil upon the leaves of 
sketches the colours which were to be employed later. Many 
lent such drawings to each other to be used for pictures 
reciprocally. And plaster heads and the ideal of beauty likewise 
exercised their influence, which was deadly to the spirit 

It was the great national movement resulting in the democratic 
constitution and the war with Germany, the period from 1848 
to 1850, which first threw Danish painting back upon its own 
resources. This mood found its earliest expression in the 
writings of the able historian of art N. HOyen, who fought 
through a long life with all the power of unusual eloquence to 
bind the practice of art more narrowly than before with the 
life of the nation. A land which had given Thorwaldsen to 
the world, he urged in a lecture on March 23rd, 1844, On the 
Conditions for the Development of a National Scandinavian Art, 
should not perish by the imitation of alien methods, but ought 
to have the pride to secure for itself a peculiar position in 
European painting. What, he went on, was only possible upon the 
path indicated by Eckersberg, was to portray what lived in the 
spirit of the people. The Danish artist had in the first place 
to learn to feel at home in his own country. Here were the 
tough roots of his strength. Only in this way could Danish 
art, like the Danish language and poetry, find a peculiar. 
Northern method of expression. Upon the Danish islands it 
was that painters should study the people, not for the sake of 
bringing home pictures of costume, but to become familiar, on 
all sides, with the bluff, serious life of nature, and the rough- 
grained fisher-folk. When they once succeeded in marking the 
original peculiarities of race in the people itself, and seizing 
the character of the inhabitants of the North in all its in- 
dividuality, it would, perhaps, be possible for a grand art, with 
a special seal of its own, to be developed in Denmark. After 
this lecture of Hoyen, a new impulse is to be noted in Danish 
painting of landscape and popular life. Italy and Rome were 



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Exner: "The Little Convalescent." 

no longer a meeting-place for artists. The generation of painters 
which had grown up amid the ideas of freedom and nationality 
which shook the country before the war of 1848 had no higher 
ambition than to depict Danish life, and that no longer in a 
mocking fashion like Marstrand, but with cordiality and devotion. 

Neither Vermehren, nor Dalsgaard, nor Exner, know anything 
of the forced humour of genrCy which existed at that time upon 
the Continent. Nor do they take pains to instruct an international 
public as to customs and usages in Denmark. They painted 
simply what had for them pictorial attraction, and, despite their 
angular and detailed treatment, and their monotonous style, so- 
void of charm, they, in this way, make some approach to the 
quiet poetry which is delightful in the old Dutch masters. 

The least refined of the trio \s Julius Exner ^ and he often comes 
perilously near the line where what is child-like becomes childish 
and what is sweet becomes sugary. Generally speaking Exner 
revolves in a prescribed circle of subjects : old men in night-caps 
sealing letters by candle-light, village inns where there is dancing 



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' • DENMARK, . iSt 

and people are drinking punch, fish- women with a red kercKief 
before a cup of coffee, lads and lasses telling each other's fortunes 
by cards, children going to see their grandfather on Sunday, old 
men offering little girls flowers to smell, little cousins playing with 
a baby who has just been christened, young peasant mothers 
putting their children to bed, musicians playing at a wedding, 
baptisms, blind-man's-buff, and children sharing their breakfast 
with cats and ravens or watching their father puffing clouds of 
smoke for their edification. In him preponderates the ethno- 
graphical element — old-world chambers and gaudy national 
costumes which have held their ground upon the islands of 
Amager and Fano. The figures are sometimes life-size, which 
makes the vulgar colouring all the more obvious, and the faces 
are often contorted like masks. Nevertheless several of his 
earlier pictures of children are not yet antiquated. They have 
something of the homely simplicity of Ludwig Richter. In an 
age when German painters merely turned children to account for 
comic situations, or showed off their precocious humour, Exner 
portrayed the inward life of little people without mawkishness or 
deliberate comicality. His rosy-cheeked girls are all scrubbed 
and combed and prettily dressed up, yet they are far more human 
than the little angels of Meyer of Bremen. Even in the simple' 
picture of the little convalescent receiving a visit from her friends 
every species of cheap humour has been avoided. The girl has 
the sense of having gone through something serious ; and seriously 
and with diffidence do the others advance towards her. 

In Frederik Vert^ehren Danish reality becomes something 
almost arid. His pictures have no substratum of genre that can 
be set down in so many words. An old man who delivers bread 
for a baker at distant farms, tired with walking in the noonday 
sun which broods over the heath, has sat down upon a milestone, 
and is looking mildly and vacantly before him. In the poor and 
wretched heath tract of Jutland a shepherd is standing, a strange 
figure, the living product of this rude soil, one accustomed to live 
with no other companions than his lonely thoughts, his sheep, 
and his dog. He neither whistles nor. does anything funny, as 
he certainly must have done in German genre pictures. As a 



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Vermehren : " A Farmyard/ 



[Tiltgt photo. 



matter of fact he is knitting socks. A strange air of sadness is 
in his gaze. It is as if he himself felt the contrast between the 
boundless horizon and the limited ideas of his own brain, which 
rise no higher than the stunted bushes of the heath. Or else 
there is the strand of the fishing village of Hellebaek on a bright 
summer evening without a breath of wind. Ships pass far out 
upon the smooth, glassy sea. And a pair of children are playing 
by the water's edge, and an old fisher sits upon a stone with a 
great basket of muscles. He is doing nothing interesting, and 
contents himself with quietly breathing the pure salt air and 
gazing without a thought in his mind upon the sea. Or, again, 
there is a poor peasant's room with a cosy old tiled stove. Warm 
light streams in through the open door and mingles with the 
dull atmosphere of the chamber. Everything is quite still inside. 
Upon a bench by the stove a little old woman is sitting, shelling 
peas^ while a girl of ten years old is at her feet entirely occupied 
with her book. Each of them has her own ideas. The little one 



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289 



is reading in Bible history about 
Abraham and Joseph, while the 
old woman sits in quiet com- 
merce with far-off memories. 
And time goes by unmarked 
by them both. Or there are 
a pair of poor orphan children, 
the girl with a large canvas 
wallet and the boy with an old 
basket : they are going on their 
usual morning round, begging 
alms, and have just entered a 
peasant's kitchen ; the carefully 
burnished pots and pans giving 
no evidence of prosperity, but 
much of cleanliness and the 
sense for order. A German 
genre painter would have set 
the housewife and the children 
into some relation with the 
public. In bestowing a piece 
of bread-and-butter the woman 
would have assuredly said to 
the spectator, " See what a good 
heart I have." The children 
in receiving it would have said, 
'*See how ashamed we feel to 
be begging." In Vermehren the old woman has cut the hunch 
of bread without any sentimentality simply because it is 
customary, and the childi'en take it quite as quietly and without 
affected gratitude. They are accustomed to waiting and begging. 
Even when cavalry soldiers are burnishing their sabres, they are 
altogether quiet and serious about it in Vermehren, and do not 
indulge in laughter, song, or humorous behaviour. 

Christen Dcdsgaard is far more important than either, and 
fascinates the beholder by the fine manner in which he analyzes 
the inward life of men and women^not so much the obvious 




Coptnhagtn: :^tocAhoim.j 
Vermehren: *'The Shepherd on the 
Heath." 



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external emotions 
of joy and sor- 
row, as the more 
refined shades of 
reflection, consi- 
deration, quietude, 
deliberate thought 
Like Vermehren, 
he paints exclu- 
sively the peasants 
of his home, and, 
being a peasant's 
son himself, he 
does so simply, 
and from the 
standpoint of the 
peasant. Women 
mending nets, the 
workshop of a vil- 
lage carpenter, an 
old fisher jesting 
with girls, the gunner on furlough, the shepherd distrained for 
rent, and the churching of a young wife are the subjects of 
pictures which represent him in the Copenhagen Gallery — ^works 
of simple cordiality and fine psychological depth. 

In characterization Dalsgaard is the very opposite of 
Knaus, discreetly indicating what the latter would obtrusively 
mark in italics. This delicate pictorial observation, which 
preserves him from all false ingenuity, and from narrative and 
humorous tendency, renders him congenial even in these days. 
His pictures are not produced through any stitching together of 
separate pictorial notes, but through an inward unity of the 
whole. Nor does he seek those catastrophes and complications 
without which, in the days of historical painting, the picture of 
manners could not exist in other countries ; on the contrary, he 
has a preference for quiet life in nature and in the world of men. 
Just as he delights in the serene and peaceful sky, so does he takfe 




Vermehren: "The Peasant's Cottage,'* 



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«9^i 



delight in the life 
of men in its repose, 
and shows this in 
his pictures as in a 
clear mirror. There 
are no hasty move- 
ments, and none 
of that transitory 
play of countenance 
which is so often 
forced. The lyrical 
character and the 
charm of tempera- 
ment in his pictures 
rise from the depth 
and earnestness with 
which he loses him- 
self in the quiet 
poetry of ordinary 
life. Thanks to the 
seclusion • of their 
country, the Danes- 
were not tempted to 

prepare their works for the picture market Thus they avoid the 
painting of anecdote, all significant moments, and the celebration 
of interesting festivities. They depict the silent life of customary 
behaviour, and, even here, only the subdued and more reserved 
feelings : they have no care for agitated action, no dramatic inter- 
play of characters ; but merely the life of every day, in its con- 
sistent, regular course, the poetry of habitual existence. Nothing 
extraordinary is represented in their pictures, and having no 
desire to seem ingenious they do not go to pieces on the danger- 
ous reef of triviality. In an age when the genre painters of the 
Continent placed models in costume in some arbitrary situation 
and against some arbitrary background, and there set them acting 
in a little theatre for marionnettes, the essential principle of art 
in Denmark was *^fnettre Fhomme vrai dans son milieu vraiJ* 




[Tillgt photo, 
Verhehren: "Visiting the Sick." 



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The landscape- 
painters went hand- 
in-hand with these 
painters of peasants. 
It was precisely here 
that Eckersberg's 
strict observation 
of nature, although 
he neither painted 
many nor great 
landscapes, created 
a firm basis. Once 
when a pupil laid 
before him a picture 
" of his own compo- 
sition " for criticism, 
Eckersberg said to 
him : ** My good 
pupils always wish 
to do better than 
God Almighty ; they ought to be glad if they could only do as 
well.'* These words were not forgotten by his successors. True, 
the older Danish landscapes were called " Boredom painted gjreen 
on green" by a German critic in 1871. But since we have ad- 
vanced so far as to be out of charity with the forced sentiment 
of the German " pictures of mood " of that period, the temperate 
charm of these Danish works finds a more responsive eye. This 
painting of landscape is not the result of any backward glance 
cast upon that of the past nor of any side-glance upon that of 
contemporaries. In an epoch when only the clamorous splendours 
of nature in alien parts were elsewhere held worthy of pictorial 
representation, the Danes buried themselves with tender devotion 
in the peculiar character of their island country ; they have 
not wearied of faithfully portraying its heaths and forests, its 
level regions along the coast, and its grass-green beech-woods. 
Everywhere a discreet homeliness and an absence of painting 
for effect is the rule. The delicate intimacy of nature in 



\Tillgt photo. 
Dalsgaard: ''Children on the Doorstep." 



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«93 




Denmark has the 
purely original fresh- 
ness of something 
newly discovered. 

Christen KobkCy 
who died young, 
one of the most 
talented pupils of 
Eckersberg, and an 
admirable portrait- 
painter beside, 
painted the poor 
and still growing 
tracts environing 
the great town — 
strips from those 
districts which are 
almost as much 
town as country, 
those smooth, placid 
regions, so melan- 
choly in their poverty, which were brought into art at a far later 
date in France and Germany. 

An excellent painter of animals and a powerful and attractive 
master was Johann Thomas Lundbye, who set his models straight 
in front of him and transferred them to canvas with a thoroughly 
Northern keenness of eye. His pictures — cowsheds, grazing 
cattle, and forest landscapes — are perhaps wanting, like all of 
their period, in the features of greatness, but they rarely fail 
in charm. Lundbye observed the somnolent temperament of 
cows with remarkable energy before Troyon, and without seeking 
droll and entertaining points like Landseer. As a landscape- 
painter he has, at times, bright tender notes, skies of fine 
silvery blue, which evince an exceedingly delicate eye for colour. 
And his pen-and-ink drawings and clear, spirited water-colours 
are entirely charming, almost French in their grace, and of a bold 
simplicity ; and the simpler the medium the more eloquent he is. 



Copenhagen : Stockholm.] 

Dalsgaard : ** Waiting." 



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MODERN PAINTING 




LUNDBYE : *' Cows IN A MeADOW.'* 



ITUt^ photo. 



But Lundbye did not quite live through one human generation, 
for he perished as a volunteer in the war of 1848, which also 
robbed Denmark of another gifted painter of animals in Carlo 
Dalgas. Yet a number of others, who were accorded a longer 
period for their labours, followed him upon his course. 

The gifted interpreter of the beauty of Danish beech-woods, 
Peter Christian Skovgaard^ was the son of a peasant belonging 
to the north coast of Zealand. His mother travelled every 
year with the children to her parents in Copenhagen y and 
the lad was driven in a tilt-cart along the Kattegut by the 
steel-blue sea, and through the luxuriant forests of Frederiksborg. 
Here the austere grandeur of Northern landscape was revealed 
to him. The long bridge in Copenhagen with its old toll-house 
in moonlight was the subject of the first small picture which 
he sent to the exhibition of the Copenhagen Academy in 1836 ; 
and it is the only moonlight picture which exists by him. 
All lyrical vagueness indeed was foreign to him ; he was a 
portrait-painter, precise, analytical, and severe, one who saw 



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295 




Copnthagm : Stockholm. "l 

Skovgaard : " Sunday Morning at the Thiergarten.'* 

what was distant with a keen eye, and saw it as distinctly as 
what was near. His pervasive characteristic is^ absohite reality 
and plainness; his. favourite light was the cold, pale d^y, the 
sober blue of the Northern sky. His earliest picture— one of 
1839— which represents him in the gallery of Christiansboi^, is 
"A Part of the Tidsvilder Forest." From the high hills, over- 
grown with brushwood, where a family of foxes are lurking 
in front, there is a wide prospect of the sea, above which 
arches a clear, silver-grey sky ; gravel paths lead through the 
wood, and the grass is mown. At a period when the German 
Romanticists regarded "civilized nature" as wanting in beauty, 
and only felt at home in mediaeval landscapes, Skovgaard painted 
without a moment's reflection Danish scenes as they were 
in the neighbourhood, with their cultivation, their canals and 
paths. Sometimes these are parts of the strand, sometimes 
woodland clearings from the southern point of Zealand ; every- 



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Cop4nhagtus UtockholmJ] 



Kyhn : Landscape. 



where there was the clear grey sky and the fresh sea air 
which he loved. After 1847 he settled himself in the park 
at Copenhagen, and no one has explored its secrets with the 
same zeaL The pleasant clearings in the forest, with roes, 
fallow-deer, and storks, the still sheets of water amid young 
verdant wood, the little leaves of which, glancing in the sun, 
cast greenish reflections of themselves in the water — these have 
been felt with much subtilty and intimacy. With his steel- 
coloured tones and his cold, clear air, Skovgaard, who seems 
such a sober master, and so fond of the broad daylight, has 
the secret of creating effects which are altogether seductive. 

Vilhelm Kyhn, who is still living, and appears to grow 
better and more young and vigorous with years, is the poet 
amongst these Danes— a man of virile artistic nature, of great 
truthfulness, and, at the same time, of rich and deep inward 
feeling, one who sees in nature the mirror of his own restless 
spirit He has a sentiment for wide plains and great lines, for 
nature's austere and earnest rhythm of form. The poetry of 
his pictures has kinship with the old Danish ballads : their 
technique is rough and angular, their mood serious and 
melancholy. Great thunderclouds roll over endless plains 



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Copenhagen: Stoekholm.l 



Rump: A Spring Landscape. 



overgrown with low brushwood. Or a fresh breeze blows the 
light clouds swiftly over the blue sky. The air rises clear and 
high over the forest trees, and allows the eye to range over 
bright . distances, bounded by hills. 

Spring is what attracts Got/red Rump, those clear March 
days when the snow melts on the fields, and a fresh, fine, 
yellowish verdure breaks forth. The Copenhagen Gallery 
possesses a spring landscape by him of the park of Frederiks- 
borg, which makes an exceedingly delicate and intimate effect 
in its intense bright green tones, in spite of the want of air. 
Other masters command more forcible tones, higher imaginative 
power, and more dramatic chords, but few had such moving 
tenderness, such sincerity, such simplicity, such freshness. 

At the same time Anton Melbye, Emanuel Larsen, and 
Frederik Sorensen appeared with their sea-pieces, in which they 
•depicted for the expert merchant circles of Copenhagen the sea, 
and did this with an unsurpassable technical knowledge of 
3hips, navigation, waves, and wind. Melbye especially is one 
VOL. iiL 20 



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Coptnhagtn : Stockholm.^ 



Melbye: "The Lighthouse." 



of the most admirable sea-painters of all times ; even during 
his life he was highly esteemed in foreign countries, and his 
pictures are most readily to be found in Hamburg and St. 
Petersburg. He had a more masculine temperament than other 
Danish painters, and has often portrayed the powerful dramas 
of the sea with magnificent force of conception. 

The old Danish painting is healthy nutriment, a painting 
strong in substance. It is striking in all productions by its 
loving and sympathetic understanding for nature, and by giving 
that sense of the artist having lost himself in a little world, a 
thing which also gives its imperishable charm to old Dutch 
painting. And so, at a later time, when, after the victory over 
stereotyped Classicism, over the exaggeration of historical 
painting, over middle-class genre humour, and over the loud 
effects of illustrative landscape-painting, delicacy and the 
poetry of nature, truth and sincerity, healthy feeling and 
simplicity forced their way everywhere into European art once 
more, the Danes had nothing to learn over again, as was the 
case with most other nations. 



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DENMARK 299 

But if they had nothing to learn over again they had to 
make very great additions to their knowledge in the matter of 
technique. 

Since all these painters had been practically thrown upon 
their own resources, their technique was always crude and la- 
boriously childish. There is, in all their pictures, a circumspect, 
diffident manner of seeing nature, while the painting is frequently 
suggestive of an oil print, and thin and arid ; the intimate warmth 
of their feeling suffers under the smooth varnish of the treat- 
ment And any removal of these defects seemed all the less 
possible since a diffident system of isolation predominated down 
to the sixties. Dreading alien influences, artists were deter- 
mined to be thrown upon their own resources, and cherished 
the childish fancy that Denmark was the whole world. So the 
great movement which was then accomplished in France did 
not penetrate at all into this quiet corner of the earth ; nothing 
'was known of the delicate and veiled harmonies of Corot, nor 
of the powerful solidity of Courbet. Hoyen desired an art 
drawing inspiration from the soil of home, and in this he was 
not wrong ; only he forgot that technical improvements — like 
all newly discovered truths — belong to the whole world, and 
that the most various matters may be expressed by the same 
method. The consequence of this Wall of China was, that 
Denmark, in the sixties, had at its disposal merely a backward 
technique which had stiffened in old forms, one which had 
grown stale by resisting renovation. In reference to the World 
Exhibition of 1867, it was said in the Gazette des Beaux- Arts : 
"Amongst all the rooms of the Champs de Mars the little 
Danish room is certainly the coldest and most melancholy.*' 
Julius Lange had written the introduction to the Danish cata- 
logue, in which he expatiated eloquently upon the national 
principles of the Danish school. But the critic of the Gazette 
made a remark upon it which was quite as much to the point. 
" This is all very fine," said the critic. " Mais il ne suffit pas 
que la peinture soit nationale^ ni mime qu'elle soit vraie ; il faut 
aussi qu'elle soit artiste'' Contact with other countries, which 
from this time became more frequent, gradually induced a 



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300 MODERN PAINTING 

change. The Danes began to grow ashamed of their older 
and childishly awkward colouring, and they set themselves from 
the close of the sixties to learn to paint. 

At first the fears of Hoyen certainly appeared to be valid. 
In the place of an awkward, but independent, national painting, 
there came, in the sixties and seventies, one which had external 
brilliancy, but was cosmopolitan and without character. For 
acquaintance with foreign countries had all the effect of a sur- 
prise, just as a bend of the road suddenly brings a far horizon 
into view : the charming woodland corner which was an entire 
world in itself suddenly becomes a mere nook in the landscape, 
and its fine, irregular lines appear small and insignificant in 
comparison with the majestic features of the distant mountains. 
In the effort to choose subjects treated in other countries the 
stamp of individuality was lost, as well as that tender feeling 
for home sinking to the most inward chambers of an artist's 
nature, the feeling those older masters had possessed in so high 
a degree. 

Carl Block is the leading representative of this group. The 
son of a Copenhagen merchant, after leaving the Academy of 
Art he had first worked simply, like Vermehren and Exner, 
amongst the Zealand peasants and upon the west coast of 
Jutland; there he had painted a number of pictures dealing 
with the life of the people, pictures which, in their poverty of 
colour and plain intimacy of feeling, shared all the merits and 
defects of the older Danish paintings. It was a residence in 
Rome, from 1859 to 1865, which first made of him the many- 
sided artist and great master of technique whom Danes of the 
older generation delight to honour, but who gives little know- 
ledge of Danish art to any one not a Dane. 

In the first place there is in his pictures from life an un- 
pleasant genre element, that forced "humour" which the older 
painters were so discreet in keeping at arm's length. " An Old 
Bachelor," forced to undertake the repair of his trousers, and 
displaying a droll clumsiness the while, and " A Roman Street- 
Barber," in the midst of his work ogling a pretty woman who is 
looking out of a window, were his first hits. Soon afterwards- 



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Leipzig: SeemanH.] 

Carl Block. 



at the same time as Griitzner — 
he discovered the comic side of 
monastic life, and was never 
tired of enlivening the public 
with monks plucking geese or 
applying medicated bags to 
alleviate toothache, monks who 
are deaf and nevertheless tell 
each other scandalous narratives, 
and the like. And, of course, in 
Italy he could not rest till he 
had won the laurels of the his- 
torical painter. " Sampson in the 
Mill amongst the Philistines," 
" The Daughter of Jairus," 

"Sampson and Delilah," and "The Liberation of Prometheus" 
were pictures of technical virtuosity such as Danish painters 
had not previously displayed, and they made all the more sen- 
sation in Bloch's native land since there had not previously 
been any "grand art" there. But a foreigner passes Bloch's 
works in the gallery of Christiansborg with a good deal of in- 
difference : the attractive qualities of the older Danish painting, 
the simple poetry and inward depth, are just what they do not 
possess, and what they have is a mere reflection of that which 
France and Germany have produced likewise. The two-and- 
twenty pictures on the history of Christ which he painted in 
1865, on the order of Jacobsen, for a chapel in the Castle of 
Frederiksborg which had been built again after the fire, might 
have been executed by Gustav Richter. His "Chancellor Niels 
Kaas, upon his Deathbed, giving his Young Ward, Prince Christian, 
the Keys to the Vault where the Crown Jewels are preserved," 
and "King Christian as Prisoner in the Castle of Sonderborg," 
stand — even as regards their aniline sort of colour — to older 
Danish pictures as a Piloty stands to a Spitzweg. They are 
the works of a cultivated and intelligent artist, who has seen 
much in foreign parts and has now himself learnt to paint. 
On the other hand, they are completely wanting in artistic 



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temperament and all 
individuality. Like 
those of Piloty, the 
heads of his figures 
are painted with a 
strong regard for the 
beautiful, and the 
ideas harboured by 
their mighty brows 
are such as Columbus 
on the discovery of 
America or the dying 
Milton are wont to 
have in all this 
kind of historical 
painting. His " In- 
terior from the Age 
of Christian IV."— a 
young lady getting 
out of bed, whilst a 
dog runs away with 
her slipper— would, very probably, do honour to Schrader. But 
that he really was a fine artist when he left oflf imitating others 
is proved by his etchings — especially the landscapes — which, in 
spite of a certain awkwardness, are amongst the most delicate 
and charming which have been executed since Daubigny. 

A certain routine of luxuriant painting was moreover acquired 
by the portrait-painter Gertner^ the dexterous portrait and animal 
painter Otto Bache^ who had little of the personal note, and 
Mrs, Elisabeth Jericliau-Baumann^ who was trained in Diisseldorf 
and called by Cornelius the one man in the Diisseldorf school, 
on account of her " brusque " style. Axel Helsted, who was 
first a pupil of Bonnat in Paris, and then worked in England 
and Italy, is with Vilhelm Rosenstand, the pupil of Marstrand, the 
last representative in Denmark of that more or less well-painted 
genre, principally concerned with humorous or dramatic points, 
as Knaus is its leading representative in Germany. He has 



Bloch: "A Roman Street-Barber." 



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Helsted: "The Deputation." 



\TiUg9 photo. 



spirit and trenchant observation, and to these qualities" he owes 
the success which many of his pictures achieved as copper 
engravings and as members* plates for the Society of Art. In 
one of his works, "In the Villa Borghese," he shows an abbot 
engaged in learned conversation with his pupil, the latter fur- 
tively looking at a lizard and the old man at a pretty nursery- 
maid. A schoolboy going home in "After Lessons" has more 
books than he can carry, which is meant to be funny. And in 
"The Lecture for Ladies" one of the audience has, of course, to 
be yawning, another laughing, and a third, casting enamoured 
eyes on the professor. Or else an old gentleman is sitting 
bashfully upon a sofa, twirling his hat in his embarrassment, and 
unable to screw up his courage to make a declaration of love — 
carefully considered at home — to a pretty widow, who is looking 
at him with amusement In another picture the town council 
are holding a meeting, where one member is making a patriotic 
oration, while another has fallen asleep, and a third is laughing, 



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MODERN PAINTING 




IT Ulgt photo. 



Helsted: "The Timid Lover." 



and a fourth making notes ; one lounges back in his chair, 
another is resting both elbows on the table, and a third aflfects 
the pose of a thinker, while the servant, the representative of 
low comedy, sneaks out of the room with the brandy bottle. 
All this is by no means badly painted, only it is very ordinary ; 
by little tricks of caricature, by giving his figures noses which 
are too long, or by displaying them when they are making £aces^ 
Helsted tries to win a laugh. Such a painter has certainly none 
of the nalvet^ of Kobke and Lundbye, nor has he the subtilty 
of the moderns. 

Schooled from 1862 to 1868 at the Copenhagen Academy 
under Marstrand and Vermehren, Christian Zahrtmann is now a 
man of fifty years and upwards. Compared with the group of 
painters whose art in so many ways degenerated into a dexterous 
calligraphy, a superficial routine, Zahrtmann marks a reaction like 
that of the English Preraphaelites when they set themselves 
against the theatrical beauty of the historical picture and the 



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DENMARK 



305 



Philistinism of 
petty genre 
painting. He 
is an historical 
painter, but in 
a manner en- 
tirely his own, 
an historical 
painter re- 
sembling no 
one else, and 
rend e r i n g 
things which 
are not banal 
in an expres- 
sive manner 
and with a 
strong dash of 
paradox. He 
is a man of 
tough will, 
who troubles 

himself with no other motives than those which allure him, a fine 
and bold spirit with whom the unusual is a matter of course; 
speaking more generally, he is one of the most knotty and 
obstinate personalities who have ever touched a brush, and he 
has refused to see with another's eyes or think with another's 
brain, or tp allow himself to be influenced by existing opinion, 
in a degree which is altogether curious. In a picture called 
" Solomon and the Queen of Sheba " he has painted the splendid 
and luxurious king as an earnest and pedantic young rabbi, with 
lean cheeks and hollow eyes, the seductive queen as a prosy and 
learned dame of sedate age and understanding ; and so, frigid to 
their very hearts, they are sitting face to face, each in a Persian 
gown, and carrying on a serious discussion over the Talmud, 
while thin clouds of incense rise from the primitive and meagre 
apparatus at their feet Of the beautiful Aspasia he makes a 




Copenhagen : IVinkel,] 

Zahrtmann: "The Death of Queen Sophia Amelia/ 



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majestic and 
corpulent 
matron, who, 
with a look 
of deep - set 
pain on her 
broad, mascu- 
line features, 
is regarding 
the bust of 
her dead son. 
During his 
residence in 
Italy from 
1875 to 1878 
he repre- 
sented fruit- 
shops, girls 
bearing loads 
of lime, Sa- 
bine women 
rocking their children, fruit-carriers of Amalfi and flower-sellers 
of Florence, and later in Denmark **The Wise and the Foolish 
Virgins," "Juliet and the Nurse," and "The Death of Queen 
Sophia Amelia ; " but in either case what marks him invariably 
is sharp opposition to that false ideality which had at that time 
found a home in Danish painting. As a man of reflective spirit, 
he disdains, in his pictures of women, to be taken captive by 
that beauty of form which is so easily seized; what he chiefly 
searches for in a woman is personality and spiritual expression, 
rendering the latter as it has come to exist in and through life, 
with all the defects of decaying form, with features marked by 
suffering or hardened by strife. 

Thus he was led to the subject which has been nearest his 
heart during more recent years, the subject which he is never weary 
of studying, and in which he perpetually discovers new moments. 
This is the history of the imprisonment for twenty years of 




Lop9nnag€n^ IVinkel.] 
Zahrtmann ; " Eleokora Christina reading the Bible.*' 



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DENMARK 



307 



El eon o r a 
Christina, 
daughter of 
Christian IV., 
and ihe wife 
of Uhlfeldt. 
She has dc- 
scribed it 
herself in her 
Lamentable 
Recollections, 
This heroine, 
whose me- 
moirs arc 
classic, and 
who is dear to 
every Dane 
this daughter 
of a king 
thrown into 
a dungeon 

through the jealousy of a queen, aqd there mocked by her very 
servants, is one who nevertheless preserved to the end the pride 
of a royal princess and the resignation of a Christian ; for 
Zahrtmann she is a kind of incarnation of humanity in the 
person of a woman. In a corner of his studio hangs the life- 
size original portrait of Eleonora Christina, and opposite a 
painting by himself, representing this corner, with two huge 
candles burning upon a table beneath this picture and illu- 
minating the lofty womanly figure, as though it were an altar- 
piece. She is his patron saint, and he has depicted her life in 
all its details, as Menzel did that of Frederick the Great. 

For long years he buried himself in the history of this 
unfortunate princess, made himself familiar with her personality 
and her writings, and endeavoured to put upon canvas a credible 
picture of her, which should be great in conception and sound 
in form, upon the basis of these historical studies. He painted 




Copenhagen: IVinM.] 

Zahrtmann : '' Eleonora Christina in Prison.* 



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Cop€nhagin: lVink9l.\ 



Zahrtmann : "Eleonora Christina." 



her as a young wife by the side of Uhlfeldt, in the cloister and 
in prison, as she was when searched by the jailer upon her 
entry, as she prayed and as she wrote her memoirs ; he called 
her to life once more in such a fashion that through his pictures 
there was begun in Denmark a veritable cult of Eleonora 
Christina. And to this figure he has given an intense life. 
With her large, masculine features, her dignified and benevolent 
face, Eleonora seems to have risen from the grave in flesh and 
blood, just as she once existed. One feels that the artist has 
lived her life through with her, and learnt to love his model. 
The expression in these pictures has an air of veracity ; the play 
of light is occasionally hard and glittering, but often exceedingly 
delicate and full of feeling. As Zahrtmann emancipated himself 
from conventional "beauty," so he set himself free from the 
dominant idea of colouring. At a time when the brown tone 



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DENMARK 309 

of galleries held sway, almost throughout, in other places, he 
painted in colours as little blended and as sharply accentuated 
as possible, and he sometimes attains an effect — especially in 
the rendering of artificial light — which almost resembles the 
latest experiments of Besnard. His most beautiful picture of 
this princess — one replete with a full fusion of soft brownish 
tones — represents her in prison, sitting in bed by night, with 
her look fixed upon the light that burns on the table, subdued 
by a shade. An infinite warmth and a deep peace rest over 
the picture ; the white bed, the variously coloured covering, and 
the dark walls are under a yellowish-red light, and between the 
light and the shadow the figure of the old woman is seen — 
a full-bodied matron, sitting quiet and motionless with large, 
composed, and thoughtful features, as though she had sat in 
this way during many a long night It is certainly not a figure 
owing its origin to the traditional sentiments of historical 
painting, but a personality with sharply defined features and 
spiritual expression. Here is a painter who has dived into the 
past without losing his breath ; one who has produced pictures 
which are sincere and free from pose, and as earnest and full 
of conviction as the life of the heroine they celebrate. Not 
the inspiration of the footlights, but the most tender intimacy 
of feeling is his essential principle ; and in this sense Zahrtmann 
makes the transition to the last and specially modern phase of 
Danish art — that which came into being from 1878, the year 
of the third Paris Exhibition. 

Danish art was national in its first period, although awkward 
in technique; in its second period it was more fully developed 
in technique, though compromised by an outward imitation of 
foreign methods ; but now it appears to have reached a climax 
of achievement in point of technique and to have a thoroughly 
individual stamp. Millet, Bastien-Lepage, and the other more 
modern Frenchmen were a revelation to the young generation 
of Danes, and gave them the determining impulses. From these 
artists they learnt that there was a broader, truer, and more 
living method of understanding nature and expressing light 
than the paltry, stippling style of painting in which Eckersbcrg 



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3IO MODERN PAINTING 

and his pupils were hard-bound. And, at the same time, these 
masters announced to others the doctrine that to be an artist 
there was no necessity to become international, like Bloch and 
his contemporaries — that it was better, like those older Danes, 
to draw the most fitting nourishment from the soil of one's 
own land. From this epoch we have to reckon with a novel 
and most animated Danish art, combining the merits of the 
modern French with those of the elder Danes. It attached 
itself to the young French school through the attentive study 
of tone-values and atmosphere. All the modern seekers and 
guides, Besnard, Roll, Carri^re, Cazin, Raflfaelli, and above all 
Claude Monet, are still fervently admired and much followed 
in the Denmark of these days. But this art has, at the same 
time, its deep roots in race and in the Danish land. Equipped 
with richer and more complex means of expression, it does 
not in any way renounce its tradition of intimate feeling and 
refined and tenderly delicate observation. The older artists had 
been true ; the younger sought to be true and delicate at the 
same time. The painting in Copenhagen and Skagen in these 
days is quite different and much better than that of Eckersberg 
and Lundbye, but their intimate sentiment for nature is also 
possessed by the young generation of artists. 

The merit of having paved the way for this fresh develop- 
ment chiefly belongs to Peter S, Kroyer, one of the greatest 
and most attractive individualities of his nation. Born in 
Stavanger on June 24th, 1851, he was left an orphan early 
in life and went to Copenhagen, where he was received in the 
house of his adoptive father Hendrik Nicolai KrOyer, the 
ichthyologist; and he was barely nine years old before his 
capacity for drawing was utilized for practical purposes. In 
Hendrik Nicolai Kr5yer*s monograph upon parasite crabs the 
first drawings of young Kroyer may be found published in 
copper-engraving. Various representations of the fishing village 
Hornbaek (" A Forge in Hombaek," " Fishers catching Herrings," 
" Fishers on the Stocken," and " Children on the Strand ") 
were the first pictures hung in the Exhibition of Charlottenborg 
in 1874. In the same year a large cartoon, "David presenting 



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DENMARK 311 

himself to Saul after slaying Goliath," obtained for him the 
travelling exhibition of the Copenhagen Academy, and during 
four years of study abroad KrOyer went through that remark- 
able course of development which soon placed him at the head 
of Danish art as a master of technique. In the older pictures 
painting had been harsh and diffident, thin, meagre, and motley 
in colour; but, through contact with the French, KrOyer 
acquired that refinement in tone and that power of handling 
which have since become his distinguishing characteristics. L^on 
Bonnat was his first mentor, and a picture belonging to the 
year 1878, "Daphnis and Chloe," was his first attempt to 
embody in a large painting the new lights which he had re- 
ceived in Bonnat's studio. A lengthy residence in Brittany, 
where he painted field-labourers in company with the landscape- 
painter Pelouse, and collected opulent material for studies, 
marked the second stage in his development; and a journey 
to Spain and Italy, to which he may have been incited by 
Bonnat, the portrayer of Italian popular life, marked the third. 
The chief result of his work in Brittany was "The Sardine 
Packers," an interior with women cleaning sardines and fitting 
them for being packed. In Spain and Italy he painted the 
"Women binding Bouquets in Granada," which may be found 
in the Copenhagen Gallery, and " The Italian Village Hatmaker," 
which won for him the first medal in the Paris Salon of 1881. 
Naked to the waist, and covered with shining drops of perspira- 
tion, a powerful masculine figure, by the side of a glowing brasier, 
is twisting his felt with his hands over a huge block. Both 
his children, likewise half naked, are working in the same way. 
An oppressive heat fills the dark room, through the little window 
of which a sunbeam is vainly endeavouring to penetrate. 

This picture was of the same importance for Danish paint- 
ing as Courbet's " Stonebreakers " had been for French and 
Menzel's " Smithy " for German. Realism was introduced by it ; 
and KrOyer returned home with a foreign sanction upon his 
art, and as an accomplished master he took up his old theme, 
the representation of Danish life in town and upon the sea- 
shore, with fresh brilliancy and renewed vigour. 



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CoptHkagtn: Stockholm,] 

Kr(5yer : ** The Sardine Packers." 

Kroyer, indeed, is one of those rare personalities who can 
do almost anything they wish. Pictures in the open air and 
interiors, flashing effects of sun upon the strand, mysterious 
phases of dusk and artificial light, he treats them all with that 
even sureness which makes light of every difficulty. Nothing 
short of astonishing in improvization, he has likewise the genius 
of a draughtsman. With his pencil in his hand he is in- 
defatigable in dashing in a likeness, a pose, or an attitude, and 
with an aptitude that is almost invariable; with a couple 
of strokes he evokes a physiognomy. " Skagen Fishers at 
Sunset " and " Fishermen setting out by Night " were the first 
pictures which he sent from Denmark to the Salon. One repre- 
sents a number of raw-boned seamen dragging a net over the 
tawny sand at sunset. The beams of the setting sun play upon 
their clothes, and the night draws on apace. A great silence rests 
over the sea, and the large outlines of the fishermen stand out 
sharply defined against the obscure sky. In the other picture 



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DENMARK 



313 




Gas. d9S B^attx-Arts.] 



[Guirard mc. 



Kr3yer : ** Skagen Fishers at Sunset.** 



there is the plain of Skagen in the dusk. Two or three white 
clouds stand silvery upon the horizon ; the lighthouse has just 
begun to show its lights, and a group of fishermen are seated 
smoking upon the fine sea-sand. One of them lies upon his 
stomach looking seaward. Here and there a sailor emerges in 
the vaporous dusk. This exhalation from the sea rests like a 
thin violet breath over the whole landscape, and the strange 
intermingling of the illumination of moonlight and of the radiance 
of the beacons is cast over the figures with an indistinct bright- 
ness. In a third most charming and entirely Impressionistic 
picture of 188 1, he represented the artists in Skagen at breakfast 
There they sit, eight or ten, blond and cheery comrades, glad of 
their own existence in the world. The remnants of a frugal 
breakfast are still upon the table. And the fresh harmonies 
of animated tones play round the physiognomies, which have 
been rapidly seized. The following years were occupied with 
portrait-painting : to them belong the large family group of the 
Hirschsprungks, which was not very successful, and the por- 
traits of Krohn, Sorensen, and Georg Brandes, which, in their 

VOL. III. 21 



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314 MODERN PAINTING 

characterization, ease, and freedom from pose, announced the 
great pictures of social life with which he made an appearance 
in the exhibitions from the year 1887. The earliest of these, the 
"Soiree in Karlsberg," represented a number of Copenhagen 
artists and scholars assembled at Jacobsen's the brewer's ; and it 
is scarcely possible to compose a group with more spirited ease,, 
to set guests conversing, and to display them listening or bored 
by the entertainment, with less constraint of manner. In 
another picture he ventured to paint a party of men, where the 
guests are listening to a quartette, enveloped in dense clouds of 
smoke — so dense that the flames of the candles are reduced 
to a dull spot, while the smoke hangs like a greenish-grey veil 
between the spectator and the characteristic heads upon the 
canvas. The latter are also portraits of well-known personages 
in Copenhagen. The third picture of this year, " A Summer 
Day upon the Beach at Skagen," is saturated in the light of 
noon. Naked lads are bathing on the strand, and their outlines 
have a bluish tinge set against the sky, beaming in Northern 
brightness. By an exceedingly slight device — in fact merely by 
the various delicate shades of blue and yellow — the idea of 
intense heat was produced with peculiar effect. " The Musical 
Soiree" in the Copenhagen Gallery belongs to the year 1888, 
and is another picture of dim, dusky light, with great natural- 
ness in the poses of the company and astonishing intimacy of 
feeling in the expression of the listening faces. How soft and 
dreamy in this work is the powerful realist who painted "The 
Italian Hatmaker" and "The Fishermen setting out by Night "f 
Kroyer is a light and mobile artist, always receptive, always 
productive, influenced by the French and yet independent, naive 
and refined ; he has made his name early in Scandinavia and 
Europe, has an eye which nothing escapes, and a hand which 
is felicitous in everything. As various as he is bold, graceful 
and facile, he solves every difficulty as though it were child's 
play, and hazards those very things which are most beset with 
peril for the artist. 

When the Danish National Exhibition was set on foot in 
Copenhagen to celebrate the twenty-fifth year of the reign of 



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DENMARK 317 

Christian IX,, Jacobsen, who had also made arrangements for the 
representation of French art, sent an invitation to Parisian artists, 
and had a pavilion built for their works. Pasteur had the honorary 
presidency of the committee formed in Paris, while Antonin Proust 
actually presided ; and Jacobsen commissioned Kroyer to paint 
a group introducing the members. This gave him the oppor- 
tunity of showing his cogent force as a master of characteriza- 
tion in connection with a problem of light of such a difficult and 
artificial character that only a master could have ventured upon 
it The proceedings have lasted until late in the afternoon. 
Through lofty windows falls the pale, declining wintry light, 
whilst in the room two oil-lamps burn with an intense radiance, 
illuminating the plans upon the table. The opposition of 
this double light, natural and artificial, the struggle of white 
and yellowish tones tremulously uniting and falling upon the 
faces of the men, has been rendered with astonishing subtilty. 
Pasteur, sitting in the middle, is following upon a plan the ex- 
planations of the Danish architect Klein. Behind him stands 
Jacobsen with Charles Gamier, and Paul Dubois is sitting ta 
the right, turning round towards Jacobsen. Antonin Proust, 
who is standing, presides over the assembly. And around there 
may be recognized the figures of Puvis de Chavannes, taking 
hotes, and quite in the front Falguifere, and behind Chaplin^ 
Barrias, and G^rdme ; upon the other side, from the left, are 
Bonnat, Cazin, Roll, Besnard, Gervex, Antonin Merci6, Chapu^ 
Carolus Duran, Delaplanche, and others. A momentary sketch 
could not have a more natural effect, and yet it is just such an 
impression as this which can only be rendered by. the most 
assured technique in all that regards composition. 

Laurits Regner Tuxen, who is standing to the right, in the 
corner of the picture, beside Kroyer, is a couple of years junior 
to the latter, and came in the same year, in the autumn of 
1875, to Bonnat's studio in Paris. By a "Susanna," several 
portraits of women a la Carolus Duran, and a large picture,. 
"The Boiling of Train-oil upon the West Coast of Jutland," he 
showed the Danish public in 1879 how much he had learnt 
in the high school of modern technique ; and after renewed 



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MODERN PAINTING 



residence in Cayeux, 
Paris, and Italy, he 
settled for good in 
Copenhagen in 1883, 
where he has now 
become the official 
court painter, and is 
entrusted with those 
many " great " com- 
missions which the 
little country has at 
its disposal. Beside 
the huge and well- 
known picture of 
the Danish royal 
family, consisting of 
no less than thirt>'^- 
two figures, he 
painted a certain 
number of ceiling- 
pieces for the Castle 
of Frederiksborg : 
^* Denmark receiving the Homage of the Estates of the Realm,'* 
"The Triumph of Venus," and the like. He is a man of the 
world even with his brush, and his ability, which can adapt 
itself to everything, has made him an excellent teacher, who has 
exercised great influence over the development of Danish painting 
through the private school which he founded in Copenhagen, 
and who has quickly raised it to a level — especially after Kroyer 
had shown the way — which it would otherwise have probably 
taken a longer time to reach. Nevertheless, like Bloch, he has 
given one more evidence that it is not easy to become cosmo- 
politan without losing national peculiarities. So far as I am 
acquainted with his works, he does not so much make the 
impression of an artist of conviction and individuality as of a 
man who has the capacity of doing well whatever may be 
demanded from him. 




CoptnhagiH : Stockholm.'] 

TuxEN : '' Susanna and the Elders.*' 



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DENMARK 319 

A man of deeper and far more genuine character is August 
Jemdorff^ originally a pupil of P. C. Skovgaard, and at first 
chiefly notable as a landscape-painter working in the spirit of 
his teacher. Afterwards he produced several biblical pictures 
of great ability, and in particular several portraits, which may 
probably be reckoned as his best performances. He has an 
incisive and masterly gift of characterization, models with a 
precision rare, in our days, and has likewise shown an eminent 
<lecorative talent as an illustrator. 

What principally marks the present Danish painting is not, 
however, the gifted variety, grace, and ease peculiar to these 
painters. It has rather an honest, familiar, provincial trait 
which has something of tender melancholy. It is like a good 
mistress who makes her home comfortable and enjoys sitting 
by her own hearth, having, ajt the same time, an interest in 
music, poetry, and art. In fact the Dane has really nothing 
besides the comfort of his domestic life. His country, which 
was once so powerful, has gradually become smaller in its 
geographical boundaries and politically insignificant. Since the 
time of Christian IV. — in other words, since the Thirty Years' 
War — Denmark, which once held sway over Sweden and com- 
manded all the Baltic, has steadily declined. She lost the 
provinces of Southern Sweden in 1658, Norway in 18 14, and 
in 1864 the duchies which were her pedestal. Such a people 
must necessarily cling with all the deeper devotion to what has 
been left it, its soil and its home. Thus it is that no great 
features and no imposing themes are to be found in Danish 
painting. When their painters attempt anything of the kind 
it is as though their warmth of feeling had passed away and 
they were themselves out of sorts, as if they were borrowing 
from others and what they did were not their own. But where 
Danish painting is entirely itself, entirely the expression of 
the spirit of the nation, it broods quietly over a perfectly 
simple, ordinary motive, a motive which is almost indigent in 
-character. Spreading plants, old-fashioned velvet furniture, 
loudly ticking clocks, and petroleum lamps, pleasant talk round 
the family table in the twilight, reveries at the piano, or 



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320 



MODERN PAINTING 




half familiar and commonplace 
and half ceremonious musical 
soiries — such are the materials 
of Danish art. Besides things 
like these, the Dane paints 
with loving devotion the like- 
ness of his little country, and 
the gracious melancholy of 
its soft scenes lives in his 
landscapes. 

Viggo Johansen is, perhaps,, 
the artist who at the present 
best represents in a moral 
sense this Danish art with all 
its inherent qualities. No one 

has so combined the old tra- 
ViGGo Johansen. ,.^. e • ^- ^ i_ 

dition of intimate observation 

with the most modern study of the effects of light. He is,. 
par excellence, the artist of intimate emotion, which, however^ 
'v& not the same thing as being a genre painter. Painters who- 
represent domestic scenes in rooms after the fashion of genre 
are to be found in every school; but few there are since 
Chardin who have portrayed faithfully and without affectation 
and banality the poetry of family life. For this something 
more than mere dexterity \s wanting ; the whole spirit of the 
artist must be in his work, and art and life must be fused in to- 
each other. Johansen creates the feeling that he really believes 
in what he is doing. Not only is he an artist with a rare 
capacity for pictorial expression, but he is also a delicate and 
sensitive spirit His pictures have been lived and seen, and are 
not merely the result of design and skilful make. For him« 
there is a charm in the fine, curling cloud of steam escaping 
from the tea-kettle, something delightful in the unity of the 
family gathered round the table, something cordial in the 
bubbling water and the fire crackling in the stove. Were a 
Frenchman to handle such themes one would be lost in ad- 
miration of the finely studied effects of light. But Johansen's 



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DENMARK 



321 



works are like a 
moment of life 
itself, like the 
memory of some- 
thing dear and 
familiar appealing 
to the heart in 
plain accents. 

In one of his 
pictures in the 
Copenhagen Ex- 
hibition he repre- 
sented a cosy 
room, with spread- 
ing, leafy plants, 
copper plates, 
flower - stands, a 
cottage - piano, a 
round table, and 




JOHANSEN 



\,1 lU^€ plUfiO, 

"The Morning Sleep." 



an old-fashioned sofa, where six Danish painters were comfortably 
seated together. The subdued light of the lamp fell upon their 
persons, leaving the rest of the room in faint obscurity. There 
is not a Dutch " little master " who could have more accurately 
rendered the reflections of the lamplight playing upon bottles 
and glasses, and not one who could have better attained the refine- 
ments of physiognomy which are in this work. In the way in 
which they sit talking and listening to the conversation, the 
figures have an intense vividness such as Impressionism first 
gave the secret of arresting in its direct, momentary effect. 
Johansen introduced himself into Germany for the first time, in 
1890, with one of those supper-pieces so characteristic of Danish 
painting. The men in their old-fashioned smart coats, and the 
women with their provincial, overladen toilettes, are grouped in 
the drawing-room after supper, listening to a stout gentleman at 
the piano, who is obliging the company with a song. They are 
none of them taking pains to be brilliant, but seem quite at 
home in the picture, being simple, reflective, and rather limited 



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322 



MODERN PAINTING 




Johansen: "At the Piano." 

in their mental horizon. And that mild, warm air, somewhat 
impregnated with tobacco, that air in which Johansen so much 
delights, circulates in the room, a soft veil of reddish-grey dusk, 
from which the figures detach themselves slowly. 

Domestic life, the quiet comfort of the Danish home, has 
found its representative in Johansen, who has glorified every- 
thing with the magic of his poetry : the familiar talks beneath 
the lamp in the long winter evening, the little events of the 
day, children getting up and going to bed, and their games 
or their work beneath their mother's eyes. It is Saturday 
evening. In the old wooden bath the water is steaming, and 
the tiled stove is glowing as if it must burst, so that the little 



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DENMARK 



323 




Johamsen: a Landscape. 

ones cannot catch cold when they have had their bath. Or 
boys and girls have both put on their Sunday finery betimes, 
and march into their grandmother's room, where she is lying 
in bed, not from being ill, but because it is the warmest 
place in which to celebrate her birthday. Again, it is dusk, 
and the glimmering coals in the oven alone light up the pleasant 
room where a young mother is just beginning to tell stories. 
And four great, shining, childish eyes look up at her full of 
inquiry. 

But this same master who has created these unadorned and 
intimate interiors, which have been felt with such manly tender- 
ness, is, at the same time, one of the finest landscape-painters 
in Denmark. With marvellous finish Johansen can paint the 
silvery air of the little island country, where autumn is so 
mild and the sunlight so soft — the vaporous atmosphere which, 
like a light veil of gauze, tones down all contours and rounds 
all lines ; and yet here, too, the highest art has been resolved 



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3*4 MODERN PAINTING 

into simple nature, so that one has no sense of beholding a 
picture, but can feel the poetry of the landscape, with its melan- 
choly, its solitude, and its mysterious stillness. Perhaps the 
picture is one of a peasant cot, standing lonely in the sunshine, 
upon the wide green meadow, and surrounded by the warm 
blue autumn evening. In front there graze a couple of cows, 
one seeming to sleep as it stands, the other chewing the cud. 
And from the whole picture there escapes that half-somnolent 
sense of reverie that overcomes one upon a warm summer 
evening. Or there are a couple of men, thorough Danes of 
the country parts, with great red beards and meditative eyes, 
sauntering along a village path, whidh leads past a wooden 
fence to a small creek. The sun is going down, the mists from 
land and sea rise like a silvery veil over the landscape, the 
air is still and not a leaf stirring, but the wooden shoes of the 
men grate upon the sand. 

In this delicate and moving feeling for nature, Johansen's 
art is, as it were, the expression of the collective efforts of the 
younger Danes. As a painter of interiors and of landscapes, 
he unites both the leading tendencies which others represent 
separately : some confine themselves by preference to the country 
and the coast, amid the people and amid nature, whence 
they have themselves proceeded, whereas others with unusual 
pictorial softness of effect give expression to the genial life of the 
bourgeoisie in Copenhagen. Holsoe delights in painting interiors 
in the dusk, and transparent light falling through the leafy, 
spreading plants on to the broad windows, and greenish-white 
twilight hovering in the room, where are green velvet sofas» 
shining mahogany furniture, pianos, brackets, and quiet girls 
reading letters at the window or playing the piano by candle- 
light. Carl Thomsen, H. N'. Hansen, Otto Haslund, Irtninger, 
Engelstedy have all set themselves free from those trivial drolleries 
into which genre painting degenerated with Helsted. Johansen 
caused them to reflect that a genre picture should not be a piquant 
little story narrated with more or less spirit, but a fragment of 
household life simply rendered. The figures which fill their 
plain, sympathetic pictures are those of people with graceful, 



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DENMARK 325 

indolent, careless, and gentle movements, sitting opposite 
each other thoughtfully, and lost in silence ; solitary women 
gazing in the evening with longing across the brown heath ; old 
people with the look of being alienated from the world, with 
the air of having sat in little rooms day after day forgotten of 
everybody ; girls of a still and touching beauty, reading stories 
in the corner by the stove, dreaming in an arbour, or accompany- 
ing their sad songs on the piano. Thoroughly Danish and 
sombre is Lauritz Ringy who has painted good pictures from 
peasant life. Erik Henningsen^ who has executed — rather in the 
style of Jean B^raud — animated street-scenes, arrests, popular 
merry-makings, and the like, is a little superficial and vulgar in 
the French sense. A tinge of sadness, such as runs through 
Danish novels, underlies a deathbed scene by Fritz Sybergy who 
has felt the influence of that tough and knotty master of 
characterization Zahrtmann. In Copenhagen this school of 
Zahrtmann forms a little circle of its own and seems to have 
beneficial elements for the future. 

The resort of the painters of the sea and of fishers is Skagen, 
the little fishing village at the extreme end of Jutland. The 
pioneers of the new renaissance came into touch at once with 
pletn air and the life of the people in this Danish Dachau ; here 
they learnt to love the wide strand and the melancholy dunes, 
and the harmony of the cold, bright light, and here have they 
studied the customs of the dwellers on the shores, their rude 
physiognomy, and the strong, healthy poetry of their life, so full 
of changes. Michael Anchcr and his wife discovered Skagen 
in the interests of Danish painting. 

According to the portrait which her husband has painted of 
her, Mrs. Anna Ancher is a pretty little woman of thirty. She 
was born in Skagen, and there on the strand near her native 
village she learnt to see nature, and afterwards worked from 
1875 to 1878 under Kyhn in Copenhagen. Since then she has 
settled with her husband in Skagen, far off at the world's end. 
There is no need for giving the titles of pictures by Madame 
Ancher. " A Mother with her Child " was her first charming idyll. 
Then followed a picture " Coffee is Ready." It is afternoon : an 



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326 MODERN PAINTING 

old fisher is resting on the bench by the stove, and a young woman 
wakes him gently. After this work Madame Ancher delighted 
the public every year by some charming picture, in which an ener- 
getic grasp of fact was combined with sympathetic feminine 
insight for men and things. The Copenhagen Gallery possesses a 
funeral scene by her. The coffin hung with green wreaths, the 
room with its red-stained walls, and the people standing around 
with so serious an air, how simple it all is, and at the same time 
how plain and homely! At the Munich Exhibition of 1892 she 
was represented by a study, " Morning Sunlight : " a room with 
walls stained blue, and bright sunbeams pouring in through 
the window and playing, as though they were a light shower of 
gold, upon the walls, the yellow planks, and the blond hair of a 
girl. All her pictures are works softly tender and full of fresh 
light But the execution is downright and virile. It is only in 
little touches, in fine and delicate traits of observation which 
would probably have escaped a man, that these paintings are 
recognized to be the works of a feminine artist. 

Michael Ancher is ten years older than his wife. Peculiarly 
is he the painter of the race of large-boned and rough-grained 
fishers who on the northern coast of the island kingdom extort 
a meagre livelihood from the sea by hard toil. "Fishers 
watching a Ship sailing by in a Storm" was the title of the 
first large picture with which he made his appearance in 1876. 
Upon a sea-dune falling abruptly, a number of fishers have 
gathered to mark the vessel, scourged by the gale out at sea. 
Some of them, dressed only in oilskin trousers and woollen 
jersey, stand upright, their great outlines standing sharply defined 
against the gloomy sky, which is swept by heavy black clouds ; 
others have lain down upon the soft drifts of sand. The colour 
is still rather poor and sober; but the conception of nature, 
sincere, impressively simple, and almost ascetically energetic,, 
already announced the forceful master who stands forth to-day 
as the Ulysse Butin of Denmark, a distant kinsman of those 
strong-handed, honest, and simple painters of the proletariat 
who gather round Alfred Roll in Paris. Michael Ancher knows 
the sea and that toil of fishermen which tans the face and 



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DENMARK 



327 




Anna Ancher: "A Funeral." 



ITtllge photo. 



makes the hands hard, and in his pictures he renders it with 
the plainness of an old seaman. With him all is clear, 
precise, and as matter-of-fact as open daylight. His broad 
plebeian treatment, which courts no pictorial graces, but repre- 
sents the fact sincerely and in accordance with reality, suits his 
coarse-handed, raw-boned subjects. Ancher*s men are actual 
fishermen ; every figure has an extraordinary intensity of life, 
and the atmospheric mood is always true and unforced ; every- 
thing manufactured and suggestive of the tableau is avoided in 
his composition throughout. Here is a lay-preacher upon the 
strand hemmed in by a throng of pious listeners, and there, 
of a Sunday evening, a pair of fishers are making their way 
home across the dunes. Here a heavy boat for carrying 
freightage is being dragged over the sand by sturdy nags, and 
there another shoots through the murky green tide landwards, 
rowed by three men in oilskin ; and there, again, are weather- 



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328 



MODERN PAINTING 




UiUg9 photo 
Michael Ancher: ''Fishers watching a Ship sailing by in a Storm." 

beaten seamen, lolling upon the shore in heavy, dirty weather, 
debating the destiny of a ship labouring by at sea. Even 
when he renders, as he docs at times, the familiar events in 
the household life of Skagen fishermen, his art retains its 
rude and earnest note. His " Boys' School in Skagen " was, 
for example, the very opposite of a genre picture by Emanuel 
Spitzer : there was no medley of good and naughty boys 
practising jokes on a comic schoolmaster. The old man sitting 
at the desk in his shirt-sleeves, with large spectacles, is a 
Northern giant who does not allow joking, and there is some- 
thing downcast and resigned about the children. Life amid this 
earnest landscape, and between the blank whitewashed walls of 
this schoolroom flooded with the hard Northern daylight, has 
made them staid and serious. 

Beside Ancher, Locher is the principal painter of the sea. 
It was a bold stroke to name a waste of sea " January," as he 



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DENMARK 329 

did in a picture at the Munich Exhibition of 1890; and yet 
one really felt the cold, wintry sunshine in this seascape, where 
everything was bright, fluid, and transparent In the works of 
Thorolf Pedersetiy also, the sea is usually an earnest and sombre 
element Nothing is to be seen in his pictures except the sea 
and the sky — not a boat, nor a bird. Long, vaporous strips 
of cloud shift on the leaden-grey firmament, and the silvery 
blue transparent sea rolls out in long billows, plunging against 
one another monotonously to the far horizon, and in the fore- 
ground streaming wearily over the level bluish-yellow sand and 
the pale green oat-tufts of the dunes. Whereas in the pictures 
of the Belgian marine-painters the sea gleams in all colours of 
the rainbow, laughs coquettishly, or gives curtain-lectures like a 
pretty woman, the Danes paint the sea in its limitless and 
desolate solitude. 

And this same melancholy trait is peculiar to the majority 
of Danish landscapes. Pictures like those of Viggo Pedersen, 
who, amongst all the younger Danes, is most in harmony with 
the latest Frenchmen, and sometimes, in his rainbow pictures, 
with Rubens also, are in their fine, clear harmonies and their 
bright, laughing notes less characteristic of the Danish sentiment 
for nature. Moreover his field of work was not so much 
Denmark as Italy. He lingered long in Paris, and then in 
Rome and Sora di Campagna, and learnt there to see nature 
with the eyes of the most modern Impressionists. Otherwise the 
painting of Italy is under an interdict amongst the living 
Danes, as is well known ; yet men like Pedersen are able to 
bring it into honour once more. His pictures have been seen 
in such an interesting way that they mirror the landscape of 
Italy in an entirely different fashion from that which may be 
seen in the arid, motley, and unpictorial productions of the 
generation which is vanishing. They have no majestic mountain 
lines, but combine the grey landscape, the pale green of the 
olives, and the tender blue of the sky with the silvery lii;ht 
which pervades everything — combine them in absolutely charm- 
ing concords, vibrating through the whole atmosphere in delicate 
gradations. 

VOL. III. 22 



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330 MODERN PAINTING 

The same is more or less true of Philipseris Italian pictures : 
he is, likewise, one of the most eminent of the modern plein-air 
artists, a landscapist of note, and an excellent painter of animals ; 
as such he has taken his motives of late years from the islands 
Saltholm and Amager, near Copenhagen. In no way is he behind 
the generation born ten years later ; on the contrary he has gone 
in advance of it and levelled the way. Thorwald Niss may also 
be considered as a path-finder in the Danish art of landscape,, 
although his work is characteristic of a somewhat earlier stage 
than Philipsen's. Beside powerful seascapes he takes delight in 
painting the moods of the forest in autumn, and has a broad and 
a luxuriant brush. Together with Zacho and Gotfred Christensen^ 
the gifted painter of the Jutland fjords, he has long exercised 
an unquestionable influence on Danish painting of landscape, 
leading it to adopt a more forcible scheme of colour than it had 
in earlier days. 

Otherwise there rests over the works of the younger group of 
Danish landscapists all the still, absorbed melancholy natural 
to the Danish soil. The charm of Danish scenery does not 
consist in splendid colour and large contours. All the lines are 
gradual in their curves, soft in all their forms, and without great 
changes or surprises. Even in the beautiful woodlands round 
Copenhagen the huge beeches are so harmoniously rounded that 
they leave the impression of suavity rather than of strength. In 
a certain sense Danish nature corresponds with the Danish tongue, 
which is just as mild, as discreet, as delicate, and as free of 
emphasis as the outlines of the country. The Dane does not give 
way to broad laughter, but only to a smile ; he knows nothing of 
wild life, but has the sense of quiet enjoyment. Noisy demeanour 
he would regard as vulgarity. Indeed in the great pleasure- 
gardens of Tivoli there are thousands of people moving with a 
decorum and quietude which almost seem unnatural. There is 
not a cry to be heard, and when any one talks with his neighbour 
it is in an inaudible whisper. Everywhere conversation is carried 
on in a whisper — in the street, the public promenades, the res- 
taurants. And so the Danish landscape whispers to you and 
cannot cry aloud, smiles and will not laugh. It has nothing 



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DENMARK 33 ► 

savage, nor rugged, nor indeed too large, no brusque transitions,, 
no sudden interruptions, but only wide plains with indeterminate, 
vanishing, almost intangible lines, soft rolling country that ceases- 
imperceptibly at the shore of the sea or embraces still forest meres 
with gentle declivities. Except in Jutland, there are no really 
austere, rough, and virgin districts, for everything is subdued,, 
lonely, and peaceful. Sometimes the tourist catches sight of a 
humble cottage painted white, with a thatched roof glancing in. 
the sunlight or showing itself with a tender bluish glimmer in the 
dusk. 'The atmosphere of Holland is damp and misty, but in 
Denmark it is fresh and cool ; the vegetation in one country is 
rich and luxuriant, in the other of a soft, subdued, and rather 
pallid green. The very sunrise and sunset are not, as in Norway,, 
gorgeous and opulent in effect, but indecisive, soothing, mysterious. 
And the artist surrounded by nature in this humour easily 
becomes meditative and dreamy ; his pictures receive the same 
subdued and but faintly rhythmical character. As a matter of 
fact, a tinge of that gentle melancholy recalling Cazin rests upon 
the majority of Danish pictures. It is not reminiscence or 
plagiarism, but a natural affinity of spirit with the painter who- 
in France rendered best the character of Northern plains, their 
. moist, soft nature, the fading blue and the grey of tender night,, 
everything that is quiet, still, and veiled. Faint colours, mist and 
sadness, grey weather, storm and rainy air, a short spring which 
is almost winter, with fine yellowish verdure which looks as though 
it were still budding, such is the character of Danish landscape, 
the ground-tone which goes, tender and discreet, through the 
pictures of the younger Danes. Each one of them is an in- 
dividuality, and yet in all they do there is this same soft, melting 
trait, and this same low and yearning burden. Each one of them 
looks at nature with his own* eyes, but all their works invariably 
bear this same scrupulously exact mark of kinship ; one recog- 
nizes at once that these pictures are from the same little native 
land, the same quiet corner hidden between the hills. 

Julius Paulsen may be regarded as one of the best repre- 
sentatives of this painting of "mood" in the landscapes of the 
younger generation. It is not possible to characterize his 



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332 



MODERN PAINTING 




Paulsen: "Adam and Eve/ 



L TUlg9 photo. 



pictures with any of the current phrases, nor to describe 
them by the stringing together of words, but one becomes 
absorbed in them when one meets them in exhibitions, because 
they have such depth, a dreamy depth which does not clamour 
for recognition, but reveals itself by degrees. Peasants' houses, 
with wild vines gleaming red and green, rest beneath soft 
spreading beech-trees, while the shadows creep slowly along 
the walls. In the sky a faint moon casts a tremulous 
band of silver upon the grey-green meadows, upon the still 
vessels in the harbour, upon the wan shores lying in the 
vaporous bluish dusk. Evening draws on. The leaves seem 
asleep upon the trees, and nothing stirs except the lady-birds 
«pon the nettles, and a few shrivelled leaves upon the grass, 



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DENMARK 



333 




Mnnich : Hanfstangl.} 



Peterson Mols : ** October.' 



contracting slightly beneath the rays of the setting sun. Or 
there is rain, a dull October evening, when the damp mist 
clings to the brown boughs. Often he does not paint actual 
things at all, but only their reflection : lonely forest meres 
imaging the forms and colours of nature in uncertain, rippling, 
tremulous outlines. And this same man, who is one of the 
most various artists in Denmark, renders in his portraits, 
charged as they are with character, the peculiarities of a head 
no less well than he seizes the secret of a phase of nature in 
his landscapes. This same man is in Denmark, the land of 
shame-faced prudery, one of the few who occasionally venture 
upon painting the nude. One recalls his picture "The Waiting 
Models," and particularly his " Adam and Eve," those two nude 
figures in the misty shades of the forest : Adam stretching 
his limbs as he wakes from a dull slumber, and Eve standing 
in her dazzling beauty, and looking down upon him with a 



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334 MODERN PAINTING 

Tialf-sensuous, half-disdainful glance. For the present Paulsen 
would seem to have reached a climax in his " Cain," that 
expressive figure turning over in pain before the eye of God — 
one of the most eminent performances of the young Danes. 

Knowledge of these men may be most readily acquired in 
Copenhagen at " The Free Exhibition," as it is called, a rival 
of the official Salon near Charlottenborg. This Art Union was 
founded in 1891 by some of the youngest painters, with whom 
were joined, in addition to Zahrtmann, Philipsen, Engelsted, 
Viggo Pedersen, and Paulsen, the brothers Joachim and Niels 
Skovgaardy sons of that admirable landscape-painter Peter 
Christian Skovgaard, and both born artists. They began as 
landscape-painters, influenced by their father, and executed 
pictures in which the naturalistic traditions of the old Danish 
art were continued. After that they were both in Italy, and 
brought from thence beautiful Italian landscapes and charming 
pictures of the life of the people. Moreover they visited Greece, 
where they made pictorial studies after antique architecture ; and 
thus they have both abundantly studied ancient art upon classic 
ground. After their return they fell once more to painting 
naturalistic landscapes, and paint them still, deriving their 
motives more especially from Halland in the south of Sweden. 
But incidentally they are following more and more a decorative 
style, novel in the history of Danish painting. Experiments in 
pottery which they have made together with many other artists, 
such as the gifted T/ieodor Bindesboll, awakened their feeling for 
the charm of simple mediums, and, in particular, the elder 
brother Joachim Skovgaard has since then aimed more often 
at decorative than at naturalistic effects in his figure-pieces. 
Several of his biblical compositions have made a considerable 
sensation — for instance, "The Angel at the Pool of Bethesda," 
a picture in which the rushing movement of masses achieved 
a peculiarly telling effect. In " Christ as the Warder of Paradise" 
he showed the influence of the early Italian Renaissance, more 
or less indeed of Gozzoli, though without a trace of actual 
imitation. And the landscape especially, with the majestic 
walls of Paradise, bore witness to a rare power of invention. 



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DENMARK 335 

Both he and his younger brother have drawn many illustrations, 
amongst which Niels Skovgaard*s drawings to the old Danish 
ballads are particularly worthy of note, and show an admirable 
sense of style. Both these artists are characteristic of the 
fermentation which has taken place in the Danish art of recent 
years, for which the "Free Exhibition" has become the inde- 
pendent stage. An anti-naturalistic movement is to be clearly 
traced in all directions, and receives new adherents every year. 
The attack is made in various ways, but all have the same 
object in view : the attainment of a larger method of conception 
than that of the older Danish painters of the naturalistic school 
Everywhere they seek the means for carrying out this new 
style. Skovgaard is under the influence of the Italians, others 
under that of the most modern French, and even an artist 
like Viggo Pedersen, who would appear to stand so much apart, 
seems bent on breaking with his earlier manner. 

A dozen years ago plein-air painting was the Alpha and 
Omega of young Danish artists, but amongst the youngest it 
has already lost its authority. They hold that art has greater 
aims than that of approaching nature as closely as possible, and 
they admit other subjects than those of the naturalists. After 
Niels Skovgaard and the veteran Lorens Frohlich — one of the 
most gifted illustrators of the present, whose children's books 
are familiar throughout the world — had illustrated the old Danish 
ballads in their drawings, Mrs, Agnes Slott^Moller for the first 
time attempted to treat them in painting, and she has shown 
in her pictures an exceedingly modern comprehension of the 
old legends. Her husband, Harold Slott-MoUer, is a man of 
eminent talent as a colourist, and his pictures, "The Doctor's 
Waiting-Room " and the " Portrait of my Wife," early assured 
him a place amongst promising artists of the younger genera- 
tion. Later he turned to decorative painting, though without 
achieving in it anything so deservedly successful as the two 
works which have been named. But the most singular amongst 
all who appear in " The Free Exhibition " is /. F. WtUumsen, 
^ho seems to be gaining the importance of an initiator in 
Danish art. He too — though he is little more than thirty — 



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336 MODERN PAINTING 

began as a naturalistic painter, and at first modelled himself 
upon Viggo Johansen. A journey to Paris, where he now lives, 
gave him new impulses. From the most modern French artists 
he borrowed many a mysterious formula, but they had no power 
to kill his own strong and peculiar personality. Willumsen is- 
still in the experimental stage; he works in all mediums — paints 
and carves in wood, etches, and makes attempts in terra-cotta. 
And in all that he does there is the effort to be simple, and to- 
create an art which, in opposition to Naturalism, shall be purely 
suggestive in effect 

Another man of singular temperament is F. Hamnurshoyy 
a very refined artist in the matter of tone-values, one who 
envelops everything in a soft grey-brown and sheds around his 
figures a mysterious, transparent gloom. Like Whistler, he is 
hyper-sensitive in colour. In one of his pictures a matron is 
represented sitting quietly before a silver-grey wall ; in another a 
large round table covered with white, and without any accessories 
of still-life, stands in a silver-grey room. He has also painted 
dreamy, earnest portraits, which are full of soul ; and highly 
notable was his mysterious representation of "Job." Amongst 
the other contributors to *'The Free Exhibition," honourable 
mention must be made of Johan RoJide^ who paints beautiful 
and moving landscapes from lonely regions in Jutland ; Selig- 
mantiy who has an excellent talent for narration ; and Karl Jensetiy. 
a refined painter of architecture. Together with some of the 
younger members of the official Salon and several of the pupils of 
Zahrtmann, these "Free Exhibitors" form the advance guard 
of Danish art, a guard which, as it seems, will assure their 
little country in the future an important voice in the European 
alliance of art. 



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CHAPTER XLI 

SWEDEN 

Previous history of Swedish art. — The Classicists : Per Krafft, Frederik 
Westin, Elias Martin.— Extension of the range of subject through 
Romanticism: Plageman, BlomnUr, Fahlcrantz, Wilhelm Palm, 
Egron Lundgren, — Beginnings of a national painting of the life 
of the people: Soedermark, Sandberg, Dahlstrom, Per Wickenberg, 
Karl Wahlbom, August Lindholm, Amalia Lindegren, Nils 
Andersson.—The DUsseldorfian period: Karl D' Uncker, Bengt 
Nordenberg, Wilhelm Wallander, Anders Koskull, August 
'fern berg, Ferdinand Eager lin. — After the Paris World Exhibition 
of 1867, instead of going to DUsseldorf the Swedes repair to Paris 
and Munich. — Period of costume-painting and colouring after the 
old masters: Johan Kristoffer Boklund, Johan Frederik Hoeckert, 
Marten Eskil Winge, August Malmstrdm, Georg von Rosen, Julius 
Kronberg, Carl Gustav Hellquist, Gustav Cederstrom, Nils Forsberg. 
— The landscape-painters: Marcus Larsson, Alfred Wahlberg, 
G, Rydberg, Edvard Bergh,— After the Paris World Exhibition of 
1878 the last transition y which led the young Swedish artists to follow 
the lines of Impressionism, took place. — The Parisian Swedes : Hugo 
Salmson, August Hagborg, Vilhelm van Gegerfelt, Karl Sk&nberg, 
Hugo Birger. — Those who returned home became the founders of a 
new national Swedish art. — Character of this art compared with 
the Danish. — The landscape-painters : Per Eckstrom, Nils Kreuger, 
Karl Nordstrom, Prince Eugene, Robert ThegerstrOm, Olof Arbor elius, 
Axel Lindmann, Alfred Ihdrne, John Kindborg, Johan Krouthin, 
Adolf Nordling, Johan Ericson, Edvard Rosenberg, Ernst 
Lundstrdm, — The painters of animals : Wennerberg, Brandelius, 
Georg Arsenius, Bruno Liljefors. — The figure-painters: Axel 
Kulle, A If Wallander, Axel Borg, Johan Tirin, Allan Oesterlind^ 
Oscar Bj&rck, Carl Lars son, Ernst Josephson, Georg Pauli^ 
Richard Bergh, Anders Zorn. 



SWEDEN is a land of more fashionable tastes than Denmark, 
and with a more decided leaning towards France. In 
Copenhagen cordiality and provincial simplicity are in the 
ascendant ; in Stockholm frivolity and brilliancy, greater luxury. 



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338 MODERN PAINTING 

■elegance of toilette, refined and graceful social life. In Denmark 
one finds an island of silence, a land of idylls, where nothing ever 
happens. The inhabitants are thoughtful, dreamy, bourgeois. 
They talk with a soft voice and in a low key. But the Swedes 
are children of the great world, always slender, elastic, and mobile 
in their pilgrimage through life. Their language rings bright and 
•emphatic ; it is the French of the North. All their sympathies 
are proper to France. And they are the Parisians of the North 
in their art also. 

Where it is genuine, Danish painting has something provincial, 
familiar, homely. The new technique is only a medium by which 
painters give expression to their delicate, discreet observation, and 
their subdued and tender feelings. Like the old Dutch masters 
Pieter de Hoogh and Van der Meer, they paint pleasant and 
-comfortable chambers, with old sofas and slowly striking clocks, 
and the soft atmosphere of the sitting-room, and the dim light of 
the lamp. The husband sits with his book at the table, the 
-children are doing their exercises, the girls are playing the piano 
and singing, and the coals glimmer in the little iron stove. 

But Swedish painting is like a polished man of the world who 
has travelled much. It is more elegant and gleaming, more 
subtile and sensuous, more capricious and experimental. The 
young Stockholm painters who went to Paris chiefly sought to 
become adepts in technique, and addressed themselves with 
astonishing boldness to the most novel problems in open-air 
painting. They have not the loving tenderness, the touching 
sentiment of home peculiar to the Danes, but are less characteristic 
and more cosmopolitan. Yet they march in the advance guard 
of modernity beside the most subtile Parisians. Both in their 
colour and their subjects there is a more fluent and supple magic, 
a graceful and nervously vibrating sweep which takes the eye 
captive. They are French in their alluring method ; they have a 
longer tradition in art than have the Danes, and are more fully 
citizens of the world. 

Whereas the Danish painters rarely left their little country 
before the middle of the present century, the Swedes took their 
part in the history of European art even in the eighteenth century. 



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SWEDEN 339 

In those days a number of enterprising artists, with the love of 
travel in their blood, settled down abroad, divided their time 
between different courts, and finally abided where they had the 
greatest success. Hedlinger was famous as an engraver ; Georg 
de Maries is well known to students of the history of Bavarian 
art ; Meytens painted in Berlin ; Gustav Lundberg was valued as 
a painter of pastels in Paris ; Hillestroni^ a pupil of Boucher, is 
mentioned with praise in Diderot's notices of the Salon for his 
•** Triumph of Galatea ; " Lafrensen^ known as Lavreince in France* 
occupies an important place in the history of the French Rococo 
period. More than one became a member of the French Academy 
and bore the title Peintre du Rot, Amongst them all the artist 
possessed of most virti\osity was Alexander Roslin, who went 
<t2s\y abroad, dividing his time between the courts of Baireuth, 
Parma, and Paris, where he was immediately elected to the 
Academy, and in several competitions even triumphed over 
-Greuze. He had the art of arranging his pictures of ceremonies, 
and his solemn state canvases, with great aplomb ; of these the 
Stockholm collection possesses the great gala portrait of Marie 
Antoinette and the group of Gustav III. and his brothers. The 
faces, indeed, are occasionally lifeless. But with all the more 
virtuosity could he reproduce the mingled sheen of silks and 
velvet, embroidery and golden ornaments, so that a verse was 
-current in Paris : 

** Qui a figure de satin 
Doit bien itre peint far Roslin.** 

He built a princely house there, and is said to have left behind 
him a fortune of eight hundred thousand francs. 

The period of Classicism was chiefly represented by certain 
sculptors, and whoever delights in Thorwaldsen in Copenhagen 
should not withhold his admiration from the Swedes, Erik Gustav 
Gothe, Johan Nikolas Bystrom, and, more particularly, their 
teacher Johan Tobias Sei^el, who was seventeen years senior 
to Canova and thirty years senior to Thorwaldsen ; he was 
in Stockholm the real founder of the classical plastic art, and 
for this reason alone deserves a more important place in the 



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340 MODERN PAINTING 

general history of art than has, as a rule, been yet accorded 
to him. 

In the province of painting the transition from the eighteenth 
to the nineteenth century was, as elsewhere, a period of decline. 
On the exertions made earlier there followed debility, and a 
stiff and monotonous school of painting. The animated colour- 
ing of the age of Gustav grew pallid, and the ascetic colouring 
of David threw its grey shadow even into Sweden. Priam 
before Achilles, Adonis between Diana and Venus, Endymion, 
and Phaedra and Electra, took possession of all canvases even 
in the North. The artist most prolific in preparing such ideal 
figures was Per Krafft, who, having acquired in the beginning 
of the century a severe style of drawing and indifferent 
colouring under David, made an imposing effect in his native 
country on the score of his "grand style." Frederik Westin, 
the academician incarnate, who could not conceive any picture 
which had not yellowish-brown, leather-coloured bodies, goes 
upon lines more or less parallel with Gerard and Girodet, to 
whose suave ornamentation he gave a barbaric turn, though he 
has also executed shiny portraits in the style of Josef Stieler. 
The gospel of stiff, Classical landscape-painting was announced 
by Elias Martin, And if the portrait-painter Karl Frederik 
von Breda is painter in a far higher degree, he owes this to 
having worked for a long time under Reynolds and Lawrence, 
to whose principles he adhered to the end of his life. 

Here, as elsewhere. Romanticism extended the range of 
subject, and led to a restoration in the matter of colour. Artists 
sought to put life into the Northern mythology ; they set landscape 
free from the Classical scheme, attempted to give their work a 
religious tinge like the Nazarenes, or hurried through Italy and 
the East in search of pictorial themes. 

The Swedish Nazarene was Karl Plageman, A dreamy 
man, with large visionary eyes, he lived by emotion, and in 
Italy, which became his home from 183 1, he was to such a degree 
intoxicated with the mysticism of Catholic churches, and the 
splendour of altar-pieces, that from sheer reverence for the old 
masters he never succeeded in producing anything that he could 



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SWEDEN 341 

really call his own. *• The dead," said he, " have kindled my 
emotions, and it is the dead who shall be my teachers." Like 
Overbeck, he reckoned the period from Cimabue to Perugino 
as the flourishing age of art, and, indeed, his religious pictures 
are by no means inept imitations of the old models. 

Nils Johan Blommir stands to Plageman as Schwind to 
Overbeck. Since he died, as early as 1853, ^^ the age of six- 
and-thirty, he has left but few pictures to bear witness to his 
dreamy spirit and his wealth of feeling, but, like those of Schwind, 
they are certain of immortality. Blommdr's works proceeded 
from a soft, poetic, and thoroughly Northern sentiment. "The 
chief thing in a work of art,'* he writes, "is soul. I want to 
represent what lives in the poetry of our people, all the figures 
which belong neither to definite ages nor definite poets, but 
rather constitute the natural expression of our nation, standing, 
as such, in the closest union with the character of our Swedish 
race." So, like Schwind, he peopled the landscape of his native 
country with the creatures of Northern folk-songs. But he had 
not the strength to find the cogent form for the misty visions 
of his imagination, or to give new bodies to the figures of the 
Northern sagas, which had never yet been represented. And 
in this he resembled the contemporary sculptor Fogelberg. But 
it is an evidence of fine tact that he did not follow Fogelberg 
in merely reproducing the antique, but attempted a more romantic 
treatment of these myths in the style of the Midsummer Nights 
Dreamy in the style of Cranach, Francia, or the old Umbrians ; 
and in this way he preserved the childlike spirit which is in the 
youthful visions of the Northern nationalities. Like Schwind 
again, Blomm^r had a thoughtful, meditative, artistic temperament 
to which everything dramatic and violent was alien. Even when he 
handled the myths of the gods, the gloomy fancies of the Northern 
sagas made no appeal to his mild and yielding disposition. It 
was not with the mighty Thor that he was occupied, not with 
the tempest raging across the sea, nor with the desolation of 
great and wild mountains. But in Freia and Sigyn he glorified 
love and beauty, the devotion and patience of woman, as Schwind 
4id in Aschenbrodel and " The Faithful Sister," and pictures 



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342 MODERN PAINTING 

like "The Youth and the Elves" or "Neckan's Sport with the 
Mermaids ** echo so tenderly the simple, cordial tone of the old 
folk-song that for the sake of this touching and homely charm, 
the inadequate and nugatory painting is forgotten. 

The Swedish Lessing was Karl Johan Fahkrantz, As a land- 
scapist he gave typical expression to the enthusiasm for nature 
introduced by Romanticism, and rendered in an exaggerated 
fashion its glory and splendour or its minatory gloom, the 
melancholy sadness of the Northern winter or the peaceful 
mildness of the spring. At times hie displays valleys with old 
oaks, between which the light falls in broad bands upon the 
soft grass, at times steel-blue lakes in a clear golden atmosphere 
and with vessels whose sails gleam in all the hues of the prism^ 
at times shadowy groves and rocky dunes overgrown with huge 
immemorial trees. Fahlcrantz idealized nature, intensified effects- 
of light, and arranged fragments of Ruysdael and Everdingen 
in fantastic compositions. Under his hands the Stockholm Park 
is populated with fabulous animals and deep hollows, which 
give it the appearance of a "Wolf's Glen." His trees are of 
an undetermined species, his sky rosy, his colours warm and 
toned to an excessively dark shade. Yet, at times, when he 
forgot the necessity for a most arbitrary romantic exaggera- 
tion, his pictures have really a dreamy poetry, and fully 
render the sentiment intended by the painter. 

Gustav Wilhelni Palm^ in his later years called Palma 
Vecchio^ might be most readily compared with the French 
Michallon or with Paul Flandrin. Italy was almost exclusively 
his field of study. To a strained method of composition and 
arrangement he united a certain realistic capacity for painting 
detail, which did not solely aim at representing " the tree in itself" 
after the fashion of the Classicists proper, but differentiated the 
character of vegetation with scientific accuracy. His olives, 
pines, flowers, and grasses are painted thoroughly with a fine 
brush and are true to botany ; and thus, fifty years ago, they 
enjoyed a fame which it is now difficult to understand. And 
this careful, loving regard for nature, scrupulous to the point 
of Philistinism though it was, in combination with a harsh,. 



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SWEDEN 345 

motley scale of colour, which was nevertheless selected with an 
eye to truth, was still peculiar to him when, after an absence of 
sixteen years, he returned home, and, besides Italian motives,, 
sometimes painted little Northern landscapes, architectural frag- 
ments from the old Stockholm port and the cloisters of Wisby. 

Egron Lundgren was the Swedish Fromentin — a cosmopolitan 
who extended his field of study as far as India, an artist 
spirited in improvization, and a gourmet in colour, one whose 
coquettish art, like that of the Frenchman, was half an affair 
of reality, half of mannerism. His pictures of the life of the 
Italian people, such as the ** Corpus Domini Procession " of 
1847, might, with their piquant effects of colour, have been 
painted by the side of Decamp. But his peculiar province he 
first discovered when he came to Barcelona and was there 
attracted by the life of the Spanish people. His aquarelles 
from Spain — he was a member of the Society of Painters in 
Water-Colours — are exceedingly spirited fantasies, which have 
always the air of lightness and improvization. As he had the 
secret of giving the sentiment of a landscape with a few strokes,, 
so he could catch the character and movement of a figure 
with an impressionistic aptitude. A highly bred and wealthy 
man, he made London his headquarters throughout his life, 
turning up sometimes in Italy, sometimes in Spain or India,, 
upon pilgrimages of study. 

National and domestic life was turned to account as gradu^ 
ally and diffidently in Swedish art as in that of other countries. 
Here also it was military painting that made a beginning. A 
few artists, who had at one time been officers, had exercised 
upon the drill-ground a keener eye for the characteristic 
phenomena of modern life than the professional painters had 
done in the plaster-cast class of the Academy ; and they were 
the first to draw, with a plain and dry realism, scenes from the 
world of soldiers or comic anecdotes dealing with the people. 
Some of them, like Wetterling and Moemer, did not get beyond 
the stage of dilettantism. On the other hand, Olof Soedemiarky 
who pursued his studies in Munich and Rome, reached a 
creditable level. The pictures from Swedish history — battles 



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344 MODERN PAINTING 

and parades, the victories of Carl Johan and the doings of 
Bernadotte — which these men painted in concert in the Castle 
of Stockholm, are rather military bulletins than works of art, 
and stand, artistically considered, more or less on an equality 
with the battle-pieces with which Peter Hess and Albrecht 
Adam embellished the Castle at Munich : Soedermark, however, 
displayed real merits in a series of excellent portraits — those, for 
instance, of Frederika Bremen and Jenny Lind — and his portraits 
drove out the classic wax dolls of Westin, which had been 
hitherto in favour. 

Two others, Johan Gustav Sandberg and K, A. Dahlstrom, 
who also contributed to the cycle of battle-pieces and historical 
pictures, in the further course of their labours went from the 
uniform to the peasant's blouse. Their works, like those of old 
Meyerheim, are not so much pictures of peasants as costume- 
pictures. Sandberg especially was occupied far less frequently 
witji human beings than with their Sunday clothes, and confined 
himself — when, for example, he painted the unveiling of • the 
statue to Gustav Vasa — simply to a coloured memorandum of 
all the Swedish provincial costumes from Skouen to Lapland. 
Dahlstrom, who only died in 1869, seems plainer and more 
animated in his pictures of children, fishermen, and beggars. 
It was chiefly owing to his influence that the heroic range ot 
subjects was abandoned, and that Swedish painting was made 
familiar with its own period and with Swedish people. 

Per Wickenberg^ who received an impulse from him, goes, 
more or less, upon parallel lines with Hermann Kauffmann and 
Biirkel. His misty winter landscapes, filled in with peasants or 
fishermen, are good, honest works, simple, sound, and fresh, 
although, like the pictures of BUrkel, they are not so much based 
upon direct observation as upon a thorough study of the old 
Dutch masters Isaias van der Velde and Isaak Ostade. 

The Swedish Steffeck was Karl Wahlbom, He painted 
peasant-pictures in the manner of Teniers, pictures from Swedish 
history, and especially horses, which he placed boldly and vividly 
in actual movement But the most attractive effect is produced 
by Lorenz August Lindholm^ who made an intelligent study of 



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SWEDEN 345 

Cerard Dow and Metsu, during a long residence in Holland. 
From the one he learnt his conscientious work of detail, and 
from the other he gradually acquired full and vigorous colour, 
his own having been brown and arid in the beginning. His 
interiors are simple, quiet pictures, sympathetic in observation 
and conscientious in the minuteness of the painting, the subjects 
being grandmothers* birthdays, peasants smoking or playing 
-cards, boys reading, or little girls holding a skein for their 
mothers. 

With her unpretentious representations of the joy of children, 
the smiling happiness of parents, sorrow resigned, and childish 
stubbornness, Amalia Lindegren attained great national popu- 
larity, for without being a connoisseur it is possible to take 
pleasure in the fresh children's faces in her pictures. 

Nils Andersson took up the theme where Dahlstrom had 
•dropped it, and carried it further with better equipment Barren^ 
stony hills, with low, scanty bushes, fir-woods, and desolate, snowy 
landscapes form the background of his works, in which men 
and animals are seen at their labours. He painted nature and 
the folk of his home without humour or poetic varnish, not the 
people on Sunday, but their ordinary work-a-day life. In this 
unforced and natural homeliness lies his strength. The colouring 
of his pictures is thin and clumsy, the execution tortured and 
laborious. 

Such essentially was the result of the evolution of Swedish 
art up to 1850. Sweden had individual painters, but no trained 
school. Sounds were to be heard, but as yet there was no full 
•chime. But the ambition to do as other nations was growing 
•stronger, and to attain this end systematic study abroad was a 
necessity. Dusseldorf, whither the Norwegian Tidemand had 
already shown the way, had a special fame, and became from 
1850 the high-school for Swedish art. In 1855 no l^ss than thirty 
Swedes were entered at the Dusseldorf Academy, and the 
'" Northern Society " which they founded soon became a factor 
in the artistic life of the place. 

Yet these painters have nothing specifically Swedish. Their 
art is Dusseldorf art with Swedish landscapes and costumes, and 

VOL. III. 23 



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346 MODERN PAINTING 

thus they differ to their disadvantage from contemporary Danes, 
Vermehren, Exner, and Dalsgaard based their art upon an 
intimate knowledge of their own country ; the heart of the 
people is throbbing there, the pulse of vigorous national life. 
But Karl HUncker, Bengt Nordenberg, Wilhelm Wallanderr 
Anders Koskull, Kilian Zoll, Peter Eskilson, August Jemberg, 
and Ferdinand Fagerlin contented themselves with translating 
Knaus and Vautier into Swedish. The Danes were tender and 
cordial poets, but these men merely gave a dry course of in- 
struction on habits and customs in Swedish villages. The former 
rendered plain, naive, and direct fragments of everyday life ; the 
latter studiously composed pictures for the best sitting-room. 
Foreign patrons of art did not exact intimacy of feeling, but 
understood types all the better the more general they were. 
They were indifferent to the poetry of daily life in the North ^ 
it was only anecdote and the ethnographical element which met 
with their approbation. And as the art of every country must 
use its own language, and a painting of national life presupposes- 
intimate union between the painter and the nation, it can only 
be said that, at this period, the scales had not yet fallen from- 
men's eyes. 

In the matter of technique the results were likewise paltry. 
All these painters were anecdotists and novel-writers. Their 
compositions, indeed, are well balanced and studiously calculated. 
Every figure has something special to express, and, as in Hogarth^ 
a multitude of small attributes serve to throw light upon each 
character ; and this character, needless to say, must always be 
that of a nicely brought up person, and incapable of giving 
offence in the drawing-room. So wherever a little tale was told 
in a pleasant, intelligible fashion adapted for the sitting-room,, 
the painter's aim was attained, and the method of colour was 
a matter of subsidiary importance. The painting of a portion 
of nature with the mere intention of expressing a harmony of 
colour was a thing which did not lie within the programme of 
these painters. All their pictures are stronger in anecdote than 
in painting. The drawing has no character, and the work of the 
brush is amateurish. And here, as elsewhere, the same reaction* 



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SWEDEN 347 

took place : the fund of ideas was exhausted, and the painting 
did not improve. But the Paris International Exhibition of 
1867 signed the death-sentence of the old Dusseldorf school. 
Through Piloty the Munich school began to influence the 
handling of colours in Germany. Knaus had gone to Paris to- 
acquire in that city what Dusseldorf could not give him. And 
from that time Sweden likewise became conscious that the 
academy on the Rhine was no longer its proper ground. In the 
letters of the academy exhibitioners complaints of the antiquated 
principles of teaching began to be made, and what Dusseldorf 
had been for the earlier generation Paris and Munich became 
for that which followed. 

The reign of Karl XV. — who invariably advanced the interests 
of art and artists, with thorough good-will and an open purse — 
was for Swedish painting what the period from Piloty to 
Makart, from Diez to Lofftz, had been for the people of 
Munich. The old masters were studied, and an attempt was 
made to acquire an artistic style of painting by their aid. And 
as the sleights of the pallet are practised most effectively upon 
the variegated costumes of the past, historical and costume- 
pictures were at first placed in the foreground. By the painting 
of hose, mantles, and cloaks the artist came to liberate himself 
from anecdotic subject and to gain a sense of the pictorial. 

The man who acted as a medium for these principles was 
the Swedish Piloty, Johan Kristoffer Boklund, a pupil of the 
Munich Academy and of Couture. The subjects treated in his 
pictures were German, and the style of painting, which was 
French, was admired by the younger generation in the same 
way as Piloty's style in " Seni " was regarded with wondering^ 
admiration by Munich people. Boklund painted costume- 
pictures: Gustavus Adolphus taking leave of Maria Eleonora,. 
Doctor Faust amid globes and folios, pale choristers with censers, 
antiquaries surrounded by dusty books. There were also 
picturesque architectural motives from Tyrol ; he delighted in 
churches, cloisters, and farms, peopling them with mercenaries^ 
plundering soldiers, outposts, and marauders. But in everything 
he did he laboured to attain a picturesque harmony, a graceful 



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348 



MODERN PAINTING 




L'Art,] 



HoECKERT : " Divine Service in Lapland." 



[Milita »c. 



Style of treatment, and he exerted from 1855 a wide influence 
on the younger generation as teacher at the academy. 

These efforts in colouring found their most notable expression 
in Johan Frederik Hoeckert. He was a genuine painter, the 
first in Sweden who saw the world with the eyes of an artist 
As a restless, searching spirit, never contented with himself, he 
had run through all schools and beheld all countries. From 
1846 he was with Boklund in Munich, from 1851 with Knaus 
in Paris. In Holland a great effect upon him was made by 
Rembrandt, and the letters which he wrote from Italy and 
Spain are those of a real painter. Tunis, where he went in 
1862, he calls the most marvellous magical kaleidoscope in the 
world, and Naples an inexhaustible treasury of art both in 
painted and in unpainted pictures. 

And though Hoeckert has not produced much, every one of 
his pictures is good. His " Divine Service in Lapland " — 
eighteen men and women listening to the words of a preacher 
in a bare village chapel — won the first medal at the Paris 



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SWEDEN 34^ 

World Exhibition of 1857, and was acquired for the museum 
in Lille. Some of the critics went so far as to compare him 
with Delacroix. But such comparison is certainly to be 
understood with considerable qualification. Hoeckert has none 
of the glowing violent passion of the revolutionary ; he is a 
lyric poet and no dramatist, and knows nothing of ecstasy^ 
nothing of tension. Nevertheless his pictures were the boldest 
that had been yet painted in Sweden. The " Interior of a 
Lapland Hut" — exhibited in 1857 ^"^ the Paris Salon, and 
obtained for the Stockholm National Museum in 1858— in its 
fine golden tone might have been painted by Ostade. Certain 
of bis interiors, with their glancing sunlight, their open doors, 
and the warm daylight flooding into the dim room, are evidence 
of the fervent study he had made of Pieter de Hoogh. And 
all the motives of genre painting are scrupulously excluded. 
Hoeckert*s "golden colour" steeps everything in the sentiment 
of an old-world tale. That charming costume-picture, " Bellman 
in Sergei's Studio," in its full, deep tones has a dash of the 
good youthful works of Roybet. And his last picture, exhibited 
shortly before his death in 1866, "The Burning of the Castle 
of Stockholm," was not painted as an historical document^ 
but only for the sake of the vivid reflections which the 
blaze had cast upon the old costumes. Hoeckert, in fact^ 
was the first in Sweden who was neither a genre nor an 
historical painter, but painter absolute. That is what assures 
him an important place in the history of art. 

Marten Eskil Winge attempted more than it was given 
him to attain : in Swedish painting he is the man of large 
figures and large canvases. Settled in Rome up to 1865, he 
held in chief honour Giulio Romano, Daniele da Volterra, 
Caravaggio, and other muscular Italians of the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries, and he sought to adapt their superhuman 
forms to the figures in the Northern sagas. One of these 
gigantic pictures, for the preparation of which he hired the 
biggest studio in Stockholm, repesents Loke and Sigyn — in 
other words, a black-haired Titan a la Caravaggio and a blond 
woman a la Riedel. As he portrayed in this picture love and 



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3SO MODERN PAINTING 

patience facing wickedness and cunning, in "Thor's Combat 
with the Giants" he wished to set forth the power of light 
struggling against the powers of darkness. Flashes of lightning 
dart forth, while the thunder-god raging lays about him with 
his battle-hammer, smiting the giants to the earth. Giulio 
Romano was his model, but the result he attained was a cross 
between Wiertz and Hendrih. 

A further representative of this Northern tendency, August 
Malmstrom, has more of a leaning towards the milder manner of 
Blommdr. His very first picture, painted in Dusseldorf in 1856, 
"King Heimer and Aslog" (a bardic harper with a boy in a 
spring landscape), was the work of a tender, dreamy Romanticist ; 
and, after a long residence in Paris under Couture, he continued 
to paint such subjects, and with greater technical aptitude. His 
^' Sport of the Elves " is a delicate summer-night's dream. Every- 
thing in nature is still, the sky is veiled, and the horizon alone 
is flooded with the glow of a warm sunset A light mist rises 
from the meadow enveloping the elves, who are romping in airy 
gambols. As was shown by his illustrations to the Frithjof's 
Saga, made in 1868, Malmstrbm moved with great ease in the 
province of Northern legend, and from these mythical pictures 
he was finally led to breezy representations of the life of 
children, which will probably do most to preserve his name. 

The importance of Georg von Rosen lies in his bringing the 
Swedes to a knowledge of the archaic finesses of Hendrik Leys, 
after they had made acquaintance with Couture and Piloty. 
The son of a rich man, who had an influential position in 
Stockholm as the builder of the Swedish railways, Georg von 
Rosen had early an opportunity of visiting all the leading 
studios of the world. From Paris, where he passed his child- 
hood, he went to Stockholm, and thence to Weimar and 
Brussels. Even in the beginning of the sixties, when he ex- 
hibited his earliest pictures—" Sten Sture's Entry in Stockholm," 
" Wine-tasting at the Monastery Gate," and " A Swedish Marriage 
in the Sixteenth Century" — every one was delighted by the 
refinement and authenticity of his portrayal of archaic civiliza- 
tion. And after he had painted his " King Eric," under Piloty 



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SWEDEN 



351 




Sioekkolm : Bonnur.] 

Rosen : " King Eric in Prison visited by Karin Mansdotter.** 

in Munich in 1870, he was made professor at the Stockholm 
Academy, undertaking the direction of it after Boklund*s death 
in 1 88 1. 

Rosen seems very unequal in his works. "King Eric in the 
Chamber of his Beloved, Karin Mansdotter," is one of the most 
thorough products of the school of Piloty, and might just as 
well be a representation of Egmont with Clarchen. The pendant 
to it in the Copenhagen Gallery, " King Eric in Prison visited by 
Karin Mansdotter," has in its tender melancholy a certain trace 
-of Fritz August . Kaulbach. On the other hand, his etchings 
and water-colours from the sixteenth century are entirely archaic 
in the manner of Leys ; these have caught most admirably the 
stiff and angular character of the period, its rude exterior and 
its patriarchal cordiality, following the Bauembrueghels, Lucas 
Aran Leyden, Cranach, and the German "little masters." Here 
Death is embracing a girl, as in Baldung's woodcut There Faust 



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352 



MODERN PAINTING 




[HanfsMngl Mio, 
Rosen : Nordenskjold. 



and Wagner are walking 
outside the town with 
the poodle making circles 
round them, or Luther is 
translating the Bible upon 
the Wartburg. " The 
Bridal Train," that makes 
its way through the nar- 
row alley of an old town 
of the Empire, with drums 
beating in the van, and 
the banners of the old 
guilds, and children strew- 
ing flowers; "The Flower 
Market" before the old 
Gothic town-hall ; " Grand- 
father's Birthday," with the 
pretty Nuremberg girls of 
gentle birth adorning the 
great Renaissance table 



with flowers ; " The Christmas Market," with the wedded couple 
who have bought their Christmas-tree — they seem to have 
stepped out of the poems of Julius Wolff — the snowy gables, 
and the atmosphere fragrant with pine-needles and Christmas 
cakes, — they are, one and all, winning and genuine pictures of 
the "good old time." In his Eastern studies, to which he 
was prompted by a journey through Egypt, Palestine, Turkey^ 
and Greece, he appears as a sober realist, who addresses him- 
self to the motley orgies of colour known to the South with 
deftness and energy ; and this realism has found its most vivid 
and powerful expression in his likenesses. That of his father 
reveals an old cavalier full of character such as Herkomer might 
have painted ; his portrait of himself in the Florentine Ufiizi 
galleries recalls Erdtelt. In his state pictures of Karl XV. and 
King Oscar he avoids everything official, giving a sturdy and 
honest likeness of the man. But his best portrait is probably 
that of Nordenskjold, the discoverer of the North-East Passage. 



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SWEDEN 



353 



Beneath a gloomy, clouded sky, 
amid the great wastes of ice of 
the Siberian Sea, gleaming white 
and green, there stands a robust 
masculine figure, enveloped in 
dark fur, with a telescope in 
his hand, gazing with keen, 
earnest eyes into the distance, 
which reveals to him nothing 
except endless plains of ever- 
Icisting ice. 

In Julius Kronberg Swedish 
painting does honour to its 
Makart. He had learnt to 
love the old Venetians in Diis- 
seldorf, Paris, and Munich, 
and under their guidance he 
became a powerful master revel- 
ling in colour. His "Nymph," 
painted in 1879 in Munich, 
lying asleep by a forest pool 
weary with the chase, and 
there spied upon by fauns, 
was a vigorous bravura piece 
a la Benczur, executed with a gorgeous, brownish-red, lustrous, 
bituminous painting. The voluptuous body of the red-haired 
huntress rests upon a yellow drapery. Her spoils, peacocks 
with metallic blue breasts and pheasants with iridescent 
brownish-red plumage, lie at her feet ; luxuriant Southern 
vegetation gleams around, and above there shines a strip of 
deep blue Venetian sky. 

Later in Rome he painted the seasons, blooming women 
hastening through the air borne along by swans and accom- 
panied by rejoicing Loves ; smiling they strew roses and fruits 
upon the earth. The " Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King 
Solomon " he worked up into a gorgeous scenical piece in the 
style of Meininger. A journey to Egypt brought the beautiful 




Stockholm: BoMtiur,] 

Kronberg: "A Nymph." 



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354 MODERN PAINTING 

serpent Cleopatra to his mind, and prompted him to paint his 
picture "The Death of Cleopatra," which, in its half romantic, 
half classical conception, might be the work of Rochegrosse. In 
the house which Kronberg built for himself, splendour of colour, 
pleasure, and sportive exuberance were everywhere predominant 
Like Makart, he has summoned the world of Loves and Bacchantes 
into life once more; nor are they pale and bloodless, but fresh, 
robust, and clothed in brilliant colours and the sumptuous beauty 
of youth. As in the Viennese master, the historical subject is 
merely an excuse for encompassing a great pictorial whole. And, 
like Makart, he has done his best in decorative pictures. His 
large ceiling-pieces in the Castle of Stockholm — an Aurora and 
a Svea amid the allegorical figures of Agriculture, Industry, and 
Art — are blithe and festal decorations, only distinguishable from 
those of Makart through Kronberg making a gradual transition, 
in accordance with the tendency of the time, from the .brown 
tone of his Munich period to brighter notes of colour. 

Carl Gustav Hellquist^ who was somewhat younger than the 
foregoing painters, belongs altogether to German art ; he re- 
ceived his training in Munich, and he lies buried by the Isar. 
His melancholy fate excites compassion : he died mad just as 
he was beginning to be famous. His works, which are partly 
large representations from the history of Sweden and the Refor- 
mation, partly genre pictures with monks like those of Griitzner, 
and peasants like those of Defregger, are not such as have 
interest, thoroughly able as they are. After being in the be- 
ginning affected by Rosen, Piloty, and Munkacsy, Pradilla's 
** Surrender of Granada" caused him in 1883 to abandon brown 
bituminous painting in favour of a " modern " grey painting, 
which did more justice to the illumination of objects in open 
air. He likewise got the better of histrionic gesticulation. He 
represents events without any design of outward brilliancy and 
with the greatest possible fidelity to nature — represents them 
honestly and straightforwardly, and avoids all straining after 
effect. Bronzed and weather-beaten figures have supplanted 
the fair regulation heads of Piloty, truth of sentiment and ex- 
pression have taken the place of the traditional histrionic 



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SWEDEN 355 

-exaggeration. All his works result from an inflexible con- 
scientiousness. But from an artistic standpoint this praise is 
-equivalent to calling a man an honest fellow. 

Hellquist's solidity may also be found in Gustav Cederstrdm, 
likewise an exceedingly sound historical painter, who from his 
soundness hardly gets the better of being tiresome. His first large 
composition, which won him the second medal at the World 
Exhibition of 1878, represented the "Death of Charles XII.," 
the episode of November 30th, 17 18, when the Swedish officers 
carried home the body of their fallen master across the 
Norwegian snowfields. Through its national subject it became 
one of the most popular pictures in Sweden, and the Govern- 
ment believed that they had found in CederstrOm the right man 
for the loyal discharge of all state orders which might be in 
question. He painted well, and to the satisfaction of his 
patrons, accounts of "The Death of Nils Stur" and "The Intro- 
duction of Christianity into Sweden through Saint Ansgarius." 
And when he occasionally found time to execute pictures on 
contemporary subjects — burial and baptism scenes, etc. — they, 
too, were merely good "historical pictures" with dramatic op- 
position of character and forced contrasts. Gustav Cederstrom 
has, in fact, a prosy, realistic talent ; he is a reporter who avoids 
nugatory phrases, commanding a firm, compact style germane 
to the subject. Nevertheless his art is descriptive ; it renders 
an account of the subject, is better in portrayal than in painting, 
more enei^etic than refined, more sturdy than spiritual. 

Nils Forsberg became the Swedish Bonnat His " Family of 
Acrobats before the Circus Director" contained nude, virile 
figures of so much energy that Bonnat could have painted them 
no better. His last picture, which was awarded the first medal 
in the Paris Salon of 1888, "The Death of a Hero," was one of 
those attempts, in the manner of Hugo Vogel or Arthur Kampf, 
to bring the traditional historical picture into the province of 
modern painting of the time. 

Through competition with the productions of historical paint- 
ing, Swedish landscape was brought into the same peril as land- 
scape in Germany. Painters only represented the great dramas 



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Paris : Bousaod-Vaiadon.] 

FoRSBERG : 



*The Death of a Hero." 



of nature, and merely emphasized what was strikingly effective 
in them. Red mountains, green cascades, tblue rocks, black 
suns, all the physical, geological, and meteorological phenomena 
of nature in Northern lands, were painted upon great spaces of 
canvas, which are valuable as descriptive accounts, but are seldom 
so in any artistic sense. The midnight sun plays a particularly 
prominent part in the picture market. And it was only dis- 
covered afterwards that even in the most Northern parts these 
phenomena of nature do not take place in quite such a decorative 
manner as in the pictures of this period. 

In Marcus Larsson Sweden had her Eduard Hildebrandt — a 
man whose reputation went up like a meteor and vanished as 
swiftly into the night. A peasant lad, a saddler's apprentice, an 
opera-singer, and a fashionable painter, he made himself talked 
about as much through his eccentric art as through his eccentric 
life, and finally died in poverty and want in 1864 in London. He 
had naturally a great deal of talent. Exceedingly enterprising, and 
gifted with great imagination, he received the most various im- 
pressions of nature, took up the most various technical methods, 



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SWEDEN 357 

saw things in a large way and endeavoured to render their total 
impression. But he did not possess the love of truth or the 
strength of character to develop his talent. As soon as he dis- 
covered what people admired in his work, he became a bold 
virtuoso whose only object was to paint more vehemently and 
showily than his contemporaries. Ruysdael, intensified in all 
that is fantastically scenical and then embellished with Gudin's 
effects of light, would result in something more or less like Marcus 
Larsson. In his pictures he heaps together the stage-properties 
of agitated Swedish scenery — waterfalls, huge cliffs casting re- 
flections of themselves upon steel-blue lakes. And he boasts in 
his letters of having outstripped Ruysdael whenever he succeeded 
in making a composition " more opulent." The most insane 
effects of light, white and red mountains, waterfalls in the sunset, 
burning steamers, lighthouses, comets, and houses aflame by night 
had all to be introduced to cover his want of intimate emotion, 
with their decorative effects on the big drum. 

Alfred Wahlberg is to Larsson more or less what Lier is to 
Eduard Hildebrandt He had made in Paris a very thorough 
study of the masters of Fontainebleau, especially Dupr^, and he 
communicated to his countrymen the principles of the French 
paysage inHme^ but only in an elegantly adapted and diluted 
form. His range indeed is wide : it extends from the Northern 
landscapes of snow to the brilliant summer splendour of Italy. 
Like Lier, he had a special love of dreamily glowing evening 
lights, and understood the means of soothing the eye by a ragoUt 
of finely graduated tones. He delighted in searching for diflSculties 
and showing off" his technique. His art is rich in change, full 
of surprises, pliant, elegant, and superficially brilliant, but too 
merely intelligent and mannered, too calculated in its effects, 
for him to be brought into close relationship with the masters 
of Fontainebleau. The landscapes of those classic artists were 
the offspring of the most cordial devotion to nature, those of 
Wahlberg are the products of chic. The vigour of directness 
is wanting in his feeling for nature, his method of expression is 
the reverse of simple. His strength does not rest upon rapid 
sketching, but upon the pointing and rounding of an impression. 



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3S8 MODERN PAINTING 

He was, like Larsson, merely a painter of effective points, though 
he was less crude ; his mood is not so forced, but his artificiality 
of sentiment is the same. 

The living generation is far more disposed to award the palm 
to two other painters who were held in less honour by their 
contemporaries, two who never came into contact with the school 
of Fontainebleau, though they are more nearly allied to it in the 
fundamental principle of their work. 

Gustav Rydberg never got beyond a meagre style of painting,, 
for he had no experience derived from foreign countries. All 
his details are worked out with diffidence. His pictorial method 
savours of the studio, his scale of colour frequently makes a trite 
effect, his handling is circumscribed in expedients. Nevertheless 
his pictures are preferable to those of Wahlberg, for they are 
delicate and full of intimate feeling, whereas those of the latter 
are glittering. Like the Dutch landscape-painters of the seven- 
teenth century, he did not go far to find his motives. He buried 
himself in the meagre scenery of his home at Skon, and was at 
no pains to render it interesting by adorning it. Misty winter 
landscapes and summer moonlight pictures, with thatched 
cottages, mills in the mood of an autumnal afternoon, huge hay- 
stacks, green pastures, ploughed land, fields and forests, village 
streets, horses and waggons, such are the idyllic passages of nature 
which he has a preference for rendering. And his works are 
those of a man who followed his own way, consistently cleaving 
to his native land with a tender spirit. 

But the most sympathetic and personal effect is made by 
Edvard Bergh. When he returned home at the same time as 
Larsson in 1857, the course of the one was that of a waterfall 
foaming and raging and breaking its way with forceful vehemence 
between the rocks, to lose itself sadly in the sand ; the course of 
the other that of a quiet rivulet swelling to a stream, and at last 
discharging itself into a woodland lake, where the birches are 
mirrored and pale water-lilies flush in the beams of the setting 
sun. Marcus Larsson, a celebrity in his lifetime, is now for- 
gotten, and Edvard Bergh, almost unknown in his lifetime, is 
now held to have been a forerunner of more recent workers. 



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Before he became a 
painter Bergh had 
finished his Uni- 
versity studies. As 
a young official he 
sauntered through 
the rustic villages, 
seeing nature as 
much with the eyes 
of a botanist as with 
those of a landscape- 
painter. After he 
had painted a little in 
a dilettante fashion 
in Upsala, the works 
of the Diisseldorfers 
made him decide in 
1850 to go to the 
Academy of the 
Rhineland. In 1855, 
the year of the 
World Exhibition, 

he was in Paris, and travelled thence to Geneva to Calame, 
who then stood at the zenith of his fame. But these foreign 
influences were soon overcome. The "View of Uri," in the 
Berlin National Gallery, is one of the few pictures in which 
Bergh followed Calame in aiming at the grand style. Home 
once more in 1857, he became the earliest representative of 
intimate landscape-painting in Sweden. Bergh was, in fact, a 
man of harmonious temperament, happy and contented with his 
work, a quiet, thoughtful, dreamy man, whose blood never boiled 
and raged. 

Thus he had no passion for nature in her majesty and 
dramatic wrath, but loved her soft smile and her still, dreamy 
solitude. There are no storm-clouds in his pictures, no motives 
of cliffs with hoary, foaming waterfalls, no grey quarries and 
mossy, primaeval pines — no complicated problems of light and 




E. Bergh: "A Pond in the Forest." 



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MODERN PAINTING 




£. Bergh : " Under the Birches." 

vehement tours de force of the brush. He delighted in the fir- 
woods and glassy rivers of his home, the delicate birch-groves 
and the dreamy shores of its lakes, the bright summer sky of 
Sweden, the quiet pastures and grazing cattle, white clouds 
slowly shifting onwards, and lonely paths leading between the 
spreading roots of trees to out-of-the-way and sheltered valleys. 
And his delicate painting, which is full of sentiment, corresponds 
with the soft intimate character of this landscape. Ever)rthing 
which afterwards became characteristic of the new tendency, 
the efforts to arrest the transitory and momentary moods of 
nature, the first direct impression, was also the note of Bergh's 
latest works. Some of his birch-forests with water and cattle 
are so fresh and fragrant in their scheme of colour that they 
might belong to the most modern art Always following his 
own taste, and as much a naturalist as an artist in colours, as 
much an analyst as an emotional artist, Bergh showed Swedish 
landscape the way which led to its present prime. 

The turning-points in Swedish art coincide more or less yA^ 



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SWEDEN 



361 




Stockholm : BoMMiVr.] 

Hugo Salmson. 



the years of the Paris Exhibi- 
tions: in 1856 it was swayed by 
Diisseldorf, in 1867 by Couture 
and Piloty; in 1878 it began 
to enter on the lines of Manet 
and Bastien-Lepage. Some of 
the Swedes who had been long 
resident in Paris early commu- 
nicated the new principles to 
their compatriots. 

Many experiments had been 
already made by Hug^o Salmson, 
who is now a man upwards of 
fifty, before he entered the pro- 
vince which has been his speciality 
since 1 878. Under Charles Comte, 
whose studio he entered after 
his removal to Paris, he painted ornamental historical pictures 
of manners. Benjamin Constant incited him to his life-size 
•** Odalisque," painted with a sleek brush. And Meissonier was 
his inspiration when he exhibited his "Rehearsal of Tartuffe," a 
spirited and pliant Rococo illustration, where the variegated cos- 
tumes of modish courtiers stood out daintily in an elegant old- 
world interior. But, as soon as the earliest open-air pictures of 
Bastien-Lepage appeared, he immediately followed this new 
tendency. His "Labourers in the Turnip Field" of 1878, now 
in the possession of the Goteborg Art Union, had an importance 
for Sweden similar to that which Liebermann's " Women 
mending Nets" had for Germany. The modern period for 
Swedish art had begun — the period when a more austerely 
truthful painting followed an art of variegated and gorgeous 
•colours. Even in France Salmson had made his mark with 
this work, and his "Arrest" — a village street in Picardy where 
a couple of gendarmes have taken a young woman in charge 
— was the first Swedish picture obtained for the Mus^e 
Luxembourg. This was in 1879. And in 1883 his "Little 
Gleaners" was admitted into the Stockholm National Museum. 
VOL. III. 24 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Stockholm : Bonmer.] 

August Hagborg. 



Yet this rapid success suggests that 
Salmson is not a master of haughty- 
individuality, whom it takes time 
to comprehend. Beneath his hands 
Manet's hard, virile art has become 
a thing made for popularity. His 
peasant girls are graceful, his land- 
scapes charming, and his problems 
of light meet with a solution which 
is rather piquant than sincere. His 
last pastel portraits and pictures 
of children are often completely 
mawkish. He is not a robust and 
original artist, but one who has gone 
tamely with the stream. However^ 
he is a good painter, who acquired 
greater technical readiness in Paris 
than any of his countrymen. His representations of the life 
of the people in Picardy appeal to the great public by their 
confident and noble drawing, their refined treatment of colour,, 
their dainty handling of the brush, and their characterization,, 
which is spirited if it is not profound. Through this treatment^ 
adapted to the requirements of the Salon, he won a more rapid 
popularity for the new principles than would have been otherwise 
possible. 

And August Hagborg^ whose success dates from the same- 
years, and whose ductile talent ran through the same course 
of development, is his twin brother in the history of Swedish 
art Having begun in Paris with little hard but carefully 
painted costume-pictures from the Directoire period, he after- 
wards found his vocation in representing the sea-coasts and 
fisher-folk of Northern France. "The Ebb-tide on the English 
Channel" — a number of oyster-fishers coming home with their 
booty over the fresh, clear sea, and a bright sky with bluish 
strips of cloud — was bought by the Mus6e Luxembourg in 
1879, and from that time he was a popular painter. A low^ 
yellowish strand, spreading broadly in the foreground, fishing 



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ZH 



skiffs, the peaceful 
sea, and a clear, 
bluish -white ' sky, 
beaming in the 
mild light of a 
warm noonday sun, 
or in the chill gleam 
of a dull morning, 
such are the phases 
of nature which 
Hagborg has chosen 
and repeated in all 
his pictures with 
various accessory 
figures. 

Here there are 
fishers making for 
the shore, here a 
priest blessing a 
newly built skiff, 
here nothing but the 
strand with a row 
of boats in shining, 
silvery morning 
mist, here the dwellers of the strand talking together before 
setting out. The veracity and roughness of Michael Ancher is. 
not to be asked from him. His people are of a cleanly, bloom- 
ing race, a people who are innocent of laxity, and know nothing 
of the wearisomeness of life. They are the types of the fine 
lad and the brave lass which may be found in the novels of 
Pierre Loti, a little more refined than they are in reality, and 
artificially polished and freshened up. Trim fisher-girls and 
young men are knotting together nets. Girls go merrily laugh- 
ing homewards from the strand; talking, jesting, or silent and 
embarrassed couples sit on the grass or make a rendez-vous with 
each other by a boat-side. Hagborg has often repeated him- 
self, varied the types and moods which once made him popular,. 




Hagborg: "The Return Home.' 



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364 MODERN PAINTING 

until they have grown tiresome ; but besides many pictures 
turned out for the market, and striking rather through their chic 
than any personal emotion, he has produced several works in 
recent years, such as "The Potato-Gatherers," "The Church- 
yard of Tourvilleu," and the like, which show a vigorous 
striving in an onward direction. 

Wilheltn van Gegerfelt, the landscape-painter, is the third 
of these Parisian Swedes. Since 1872 he has lived in Paris, 
and there he has become a thoroughbred Frenchman. At 
present, too, he seems a somewhat old-fashioned painter, whose 
Venetian lagunes and deep blue summer nights of Naples have 
more in common with Oswald Achenbach and Clays than 
with Billotte and Monet Like Wahlberg, he had a greater 
regard for chic and "beautiful tone" than was favourable to the 
sincerity of his landscapes. But when he appeared he excited 
a great deal of notice by his bright scale of colour and his 
refined taste. In his works the moonlight rests upon the 
Canal Grande, or a delicate grey is spread over some district 
on the French coast The sun glitters on the snowfields of 
Upsala; bright, shining rain comes hissing down in a Swedish 
village ; or skaters in the silvery dusk of a winter evening hum 
swiftly over the crystal surface of the frozen lake. 

After 187s the young Swedes studying in Paris banded 
round these three painters. As early as the winter of 1877-8 
this Swedish colony could boast of eighteen names. Most of 
their owners lived at Montmartre, where Hagborg had his 
studio. Their general place of reunion was the Restaurant 
Hoerman in the Boulevard de Clichy, which was christened 
" The Swedish General Credit Company " in Paris, with reference 
to the kindly consideration of the proprietor in money-matters. 
In the evening the company went across to the Cafe de 
THermitage and played billiards. From the principal table 
reserved every evening for the blond and blue-eyed guests 
there rose Swedish quartettes. Amongst these "knights of the 
stew-pan," of whom many a one did not know how he was 
to live upon the following day, there reigned a wild spirit of 
youth, an audacious levity, but there was also a sincere and 



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SWEDEN 365 

fervent love of work which resulted in a sustained exertion of 
all their powers. 

To two of the most talented it was not accorded to reap 
at home, in later days, the fruits of their labour. The wag of 
the Parisian clique, Karl Skdnberg — a droll, little, hump-backed 
man, whom August Strindberg used as prototype for the painter 
in his charming sketch The Little Being's— died in 1883, just 
after he had come back to Stockholm, when he was scarcely 
three-and-thirty. And Swedish art was robbed of Hugo Birger 
at the same youthful age four years afterwards. The former 
was a fine landscape-painter, who, making Paris his head- 
quarters, searched for pictorial motives in Holland and Italy. 
In Holland he painted the harbour of Dort, in Italy the 
glowing blaze of Etna and the olive-groves of Naples, the 
blooming fruit-trees of the Villa Albani or the golden skies 
and rocking skiffs of Venice. He is most effective when he 
renders with large strokes a part of the harbour with 
glittering water, the little figures of fishermen, and glowing sails, 
or when he steeps his pictures in a grey dusk impregnated with 
colour. In Venice he is peculiarly at home, not only the sunny 
joyous Venice of spring, glowing with colour, but Venice in 
rainy autumn in her widow's weeds. Sailing through the 
lagunes in a skiff, he sketched the wharves and canals with their 
black ships and deep red sails, and the diversified masses of 
the Giudecca. 

A virtuoso who often displays great audacity, Hugo Birger, 
extended his field of study to Spain and Africa. The ideal 
which he pursued with feverish activity throughout his brief 
life was to meet with curious costumes, to paint with novel 
colours, to experience novel moods, and to stand upon the soil 
of a strange and distant land. The blue sky of Spain glares 
upon white walls, the glowing sun of North Africa glances 
upon the forms of negroes and gaudy turbans. One of his 
most luxuriant feasts of colour was called " Breakfast in Granada : " 
a party of ladies and gentlemen in light, white, and blue are 
breakfasting out of doors ; the noonday sun ripples, falling 
white through the foliage, and playing upon the bottles and 



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.aW. 



•»**■ 



,liMi ttUtt*'!' 



Stockholm : Bonnier.] 

Kreuger : 



** Twiught/ 



fruits. Right in 
the sun stands a 
peacock, unfolding 
all the iridescent 
splendour of his 
tail. Having re- 
turned home for 
a short time, he 
painted the Stock- 
holm theatres lit up 
by electricity, and 
the glowing colour- 
symphonies of the 
fjords. His last 
great picture repre- 
sented the Swedish 
artists breakfasting in the Restaurant Ledoyer on the varnishing 
■day of the Salon. But when it hung in the Salon of 1887 he 
had ended his career. In him and Skanberg Swedish painting 
lost two men of forcible talent ; they were not great artists of 
fine individual sentiment, but they were two bold and vigorous 
painters, who loved painting for its varied colour, and rejoiced in 
being painters with their whole heart 

The others who, at that time, were members of the Swedish 
colony in Paris, now work in their native land. Like the Danes 
Tuxen and Kroyer, they regarded Paris merely as a high-school, 
to be gone through before they could begin a fresh course of 
activity in Stockholm. Those who came to Paris first adapted 
themselves almost more to French than to Swedish painting, 
for through their place of residence they were led to paint tlie 
life of the French and not that of the Swedish people. Fishers 
from Brittany and peasants from Picardy alternate with views 
of Fontainebleau and the French coasts. Even when a picture 
now and then seems to be Swedish, this Swedish aspect is merely 
an aff*air of costumes brought from the mother-country, and fitted 
on to Parisian models. 

But the artists who returned to Stockholm gradually made 



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Stockholm: BonnitrJl 
Prince Eugene of Sweden : A Landscape. 



Swedish art out of the 
Parisian art of Hagborg 
and Salmson. Neverthe- 
less the cosmopolitan 
character still remains. 
In Denmark that curiously 
emancipated artist Kroyer 
is perhaps the only one 
who acquired a certain 
elegance, boldness, and 
nervous vibration through 
contact with French paint- 
ing. Otherwise Danish 
painting has a virgin bash- 
fulness, something self-con- 
tained and homely in its 
preference for quiet corners 
and cosy rooms in lamp- 
light. All those emotions 

which elsewhere find their way into outward life are turned 
inwards with the Danes, and live in their spirit in a sharpened, 
subtilized, and concentrated form. Swedish art is more mun- 
dane, more graceful and gleaming : it regards what is simple 
as bourgeois \ it loves extremes, caprices, a bright, tingling 
Impressionism, the piquant, bizarre effects of light, vibrating 
chords. Swedish painters have a less national accent than the 
Danes, a less personal method of seeing things, but all the 
more taste and flexibility. It does one good to look at 
Johansen's pictures ; they are so cordial in sentiment that one 
forgets the artist, while in the presence of Swedish works one 
thinks only of the dexterous technique. They are rather ex- 
amples of technical artifice than works of art, rather graceful 
bravura paintings than intimate confessions ; they originate rather 
from manual adroitness than from the painter's heart. More- 
over the Swedish painters are not to be found amongst those 
men of rough, forceful nature who are ridiculed and scoffed 
at by the great public at exhibitions. They are never austere 



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Stockholm : BonnUr.} 

LiLjEFORs: ''Blackcocks at Pairing-time." 

and puritanical, but rather piquant, pleasing, charming, and 
gracious. What is cAtc has mastered what is natural in their 
pretty fantasies of colour, and has even made a sort of knickknacks 
out of the very peasants. Exceedingly quick in assimilation,, 
they have made themselves more familiar than any other nation 
with all the sleights of art that may be learnt in Paris, and by 
these have created works which are exceedingly refined and 
modern. 

In the province of landscape-painting R6n6 Billotte would 
offer the most ready parallel to the works of the youngest Swedes. 
Nature in Sweden has not the idyllic coyness of Danish scenery,, 
nor has it the rude air of desolation and wildness which gives 
the Norwegian its sombre and melancholy stamp. It is more 
coquettish. Southern, and French, and the Swedish painters see 
it with French eyes. Their works have nothing mystical, elegiac,, 
and shrouded, like those of the Danes. Everything is clear and 
dazzling. In the one school there is a naturalness, a simplicity 
which almost causes the spectator to forget the work of the 



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Stockholm : Bonnie.] 

Bruno Liljepors. 



brush ; the other gives, in the 
first place, the impression of 
a problem deftly solved. In 
the one is the most extreme 
reserve in colour, a soft grey 
enveloping everything; in the 
other a cunning play with 
delicate gradations of tone, 
an effort to analyze the most 
fleeting moods of nature and 
the most complicated effects 
of light. There are bright 
meadows and woodland clear- 
ings under the most varied phases of light : when the dazzling 
whiteness of the sun vibrates delicately through silvery gradations 
of the atmosphere, or " rosy-fingered dawn " dallies with the little 
white clouds, or the violet reflections of the deep red setting sun 
fade wearily over a pool filled with lilies. There are woodlands 
with graceful birches, the yellow autumnal leaves of which sparkle 
in the slanting rays of the light, and still forest lakes with white 
flowers Which flush in the radiance of the sinking sun. More- 
over the wonders of the Malar See, with the magical mazes ot 
its glittering arteries of water, give an opportunity for the solution 
of difficult problems of light. The marvellous port of Stockholm 
is painted with its splendid bridges, palaces, and shining rows of 
houses, and creeks of the sea with the silvery reflections of the 
moonlight upon their curling waves, and the turrets of lighthouses 
rising solemnly over the ocean like great moons, and the windows 
of houses, which have been lit up, blazing like flickering will-o'-the 
wisps in the blue misty veil of twilight ; little skiffs and graceful 
sailing vessels, which, in the dying sunset, glide across the blue 
waters as lightly as nutshells ; shores against which the waves 
chafe foaming and dazzlingly white, scourged by the fresh morning 
wind, or rockbound coasts, which lie, black and misty, beneath 
the dark starry sky. Parts of the streets are painted in that 
vague illumination which is neither bright nor dark, neither day 
nor night ; bridges crowded with a fluctuating throng, and lighted 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Paris: Boussod-Valadon.'] 

Oesterund : 



'A Baptism in Brittany.** 



by flickering lamps. Even when winter is celebrated, it is not its 
melancholy and its sad mists that are painted, but its glittering 
gladness and its bright, invigorating cold, bouquets and wreaths 
of snow, a fairy architecture of white snow with the bluest sky 
as background. 

Per Eckstrom, one of the older artists, paints the poetry of 
•desolation : the silence of the heath, when all its outlines are 
dissolved in the dusk and all its colours are extinguished ; the 
new moon over a clear lake, with groups of trees reflected 
tremulously in the water; the silvery tone of afternoon lying 
-dreamily over half dim plains ; still, sequestered pools, sown 
with luxuriant water-plants in the blood-red sunset, or the vague 
light of moonrise. A quiet part of the heath in Oeland, in the 
subdued, tender, silvery tone of dusk ; a glittering forest lake, 
in which the deadened sunshine plays in a thousand reflections ; 
and the study " Sun and Snow," a mingled play of red and white 
colours, making the most intense effect, were the pictures by which 
he introduced himself in Germany, at the Munich Exhibition of 
1892, as one of the finest landscape-painters of the present. 

The painter of winter twilight and autumn evenings in the 
North was Nils Kreuger, who had already in Paris shown a 



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Munich : HanfsidngL] 



BjOrck : " In the Cowshed." 



preference for phases of winter and rain, dusk and vapour. In 
his delicate little pictures he rendered desolate village streets, with 
the soft twilight sinking over their poverty-stricken houses and 
gardens, pallid moonshine lying ghostly over solitary buildings 
and deserted paths losing themselves in the darkness, phases of 
wintry afternoon, and skaters whose fleeting outlines speed lightly 
like vague shadows across the glassy lake. 

Karl Nordstrdnty more uneven and less delicate, though always 
captivating through his bold experiments, chiefly celebrates the 
Northern winter with its cold splendour of colour, its rarefied, 
transparent air, its dazzling sunshine, and its soft snow resting 
like sugar upon the branches of the leafless trees. He has 
likewise worked much and successfully upon motives from 
Skargard under sombre phases of night and animated by the 
varied lights of steamers slowly gliding past the hilly coasts, 
upon harbour views with glowing rocket-lights, yellowish-red 
pennons, and little steamboats running from shore to shore with 
arrowy swiftness. 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Stockholm : Bonnier. '\ 

Carl Larsson, 



Scarcely thirty years 
^T\ i^^^^^^^^ ^^ ^S^' ^"^ already one 

^^ « m^ t 3^^^ amongst the best, Prince 

^ @fc(tiitatf^\ /<^^^K Eugene arrested melo- 

dious moods of nature 
in Skon and Soederman- 
land : in his pictures a 
still forest, with delicate 
birches and plashing 
streamlets, is touched by 
the violet mists around 
the evening sun ; little 
golden clouds hang over 
the sea; or- the sun 
shines with dazzling 
light upon a glad, green meadow-land ; or else the moon 
trembles in long shining lines upon a bluish lake. 

Robert Thegerstrdm travelled much, and, in addition to 
delicate French harmonies in grey, exhibited pretty studies 
from Egypt and Algiers. A sturdy artist, Olof Arborelius, has 
produced Swiss and Italian landscapes, painted during his 
years of pilgrimage, and, in his later period, Swedish landscapes, 
true and powerful in their local accent, and of rich and 
luxuriant colouring. The dazzling rays of the summer sun 
and the glittering effects of winter snow have principally inspired 
his dexterous brush. Axel Lindmann paints honest, clear grey 
landscapes enlivened with delicate green, and they show that 
he has more than once looked at Damoye. In Alfred Thome 
the mountain and Malar scenery has found an interpreter, in 
John Kindborg the environs of Stockholm, and in Carl Johannson 
the world in its wintry charms. Johan Krouthin painted 
quarries, forcible summer-pieces from Skagen, arable fields 
in autumn in the sunshine, pictures of spring with powerful, 
chalky effects of light, or garden pictures in which he united 
all kinds of gay flowers in joyous combinations of colour. The 
sea-painter Adolf Nordling attaches himself to the great 
Danish sea-painters by the confident manner in which he 



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SWEDEN 



373 



places his vessels in the 
waves. His air is fresh 
and clear ; light and fluent 
his water. Victor Forssell, 
Johan Ertcsofiy Edvard 
Rosenberg,2XiA Ernst Lund- 
Strom are other painters 
who devote themselves to 
the port of Stockholm. 

In the province of 
animal painting the men 
of the older generation, 
Wennerberg, Brandelius, 
and others, have been re- 
placed by Georg Arsenius 
and Bruno Liljefors. 
Arsenius has been known 
for many years by his 
bright, sunny, and dashing 
renderings of the Paris 
races, and by numerous 
rapid and confident draw- 
ings from the world of 

sport, published in the French journals. After making frequent 
contributions to the Paris Salon without exciting any special 
attention, Bruno Liljefors introduced himself to the German 
public, for the first time, in 1892, in Munich. Removed from 
the Stockholm Academy on account of unfitness, he withdrew 
himself and his models — tame and wild animals, birds and four- 
footed beasts— to an out-of-the-way village in the north of 
Sweden, and here became one of the most individual personalities 
of modern art. The barren, commonplace scenery of Uppland, 
with its hills clothed with meagre woods and its sparse fir-forests 
and its green fields"^ and meadows in the winter snow, usually 
forms the background for his representations of animal life : they 
are the works of a man who, without having been in Paris, 
worked out by himself all the inspiring principles of foreign 




Stockholm : Bonnur.] 
Carl Larsson : "Tmr Wm op th« Viking." 



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374 



MODERN PAINTING 




Stockholm : Bonnitr.^ 

Richard Bergh. 



painting. In his earliest 
years Liljefors devoted him- 
self with zeal and earnest 
purpose to open-air painting, 
painted woods and meadows 
in that most intense sunlight 
loved by Manet ; then he 
studied the Japanese, and 
assimilated their spirited 
sureness in seizing transient 
movements. But, in these 
days, this technical bravura 
is only used as a vehicle 
for his fresh and healthy 
observation and intimate 
feeling. Liljefors knows his 
models. He has learnt to 
arrest the most instantaneous 
movements of animals ; he has made himself familiar with their 
way of life, their characteristics and their habits. He represents 
the spoit of birds in the sunshine, the hare sitting solitary 
upon a snowy field of a grey winter afternoon, the hound, the 
household of foxes, quails, magpies, and reed-sparrows as they 
hide shivering in the snow. 

And just as he represents these animals with the essential 
accuracy of an old sportsman, he paints his men with the 
good-humour of a head-ranger, living in the country and 
playing cards with peasants in the tavern. His landscapes 
have been seen with the fresh, bright eyos of one accustomed 
to live out of doors, one who can go about without having 
numbed and frozen fingers. When he paints boys taking nests 
or getting over the palings to steal apples he does it with a 
boy's sense of enjoyment, as though he would like to be of the 
party himself. When he paints the sunny corners of a peasant 
garden, where diapered butterflies poise on the flowers and 
sparrows scratch merrily till they cover themselves with sand, 
one would take Liljefors himself for the old gardener who had 



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SWEDEN 



375 



laid out and planted this 
plot of land. Whether he 
represents the darkness 
of a summer night, or 
blackcocks pairing in a 
dark green valley, or the 
solitude of the forest, 
where the poacher is 
awaiting his victim with 
strained attention, or the 
sombre humour of after- 
noon upon the heath, where 
the sportsman is plodding 
wearily home, followed by 
his panting dogs, there 
runs through his picture 
a deep and unforced sen- 
timent, a reverence for the 
mysticism of nature and 
the majestical sublimity of 
solitude. Living in a far- 
off village, out of touch with the artist world throughout the whole 
year, surrounded only by his animals, and observing nature at all 
seasons and at all hours, Liljefors is one of those men who have 
something of Millet's nature, one of those in whom heart and 
hand, man and artist, are united. It is only through living so 
intimately with the theme of his studies that he has seen Swedish 
landscape with such largeness and quietude, and learnt to overhear 
the language of the birds and the whisper of the pines. 

Beyond this it is impossible to divide Swedish painters 
according to "subjects" or provinces. The more "Swedish" 
they are, and the more deftly they have learnt to play with 
technique, the more they are cosmopolitans who take a pleasure 
in venturing upon everything. Axel Kulle represents peasant 
life in South Sweden in a very authentic manner with regard to 
costume and furniture, yet with a humorous accent which is a 
relic of his Dusseldorf period. A sturdy, prosaic realist, Alf 



K M.:±m 








1^ 




vi# -... 


Iv :: 


% 


1 ; 


,v \ '^ .. ■ 



Stockholm: Bonnitr,} 

R. Bergh : •' At Evenfall." 



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376 



MODERN PAINTING 




Go*, <Us Bgaux-Atis.} 

R. Bergh : Portrait of his Wipe. 



WallaneUr, is the leading 
representative of natural- 
ism in the treatment of the 
proletariat. Old men and 
women in the street, the 
inn, or the market-place, 
he places upon canvas as 
large as life, and his works 
are energetic, fresh, and 
full of colour, though with- 
out delicacy or the play 
of feeling. Axel Borg 
paints peasant life in 
Orebro: street-scenes and 
fairs, or farms of a Sunday 
forenoon, when the waggon 
stands ready for an ex- 
cursion to the neighbour- 
ing village. The snowy landscape of Lapland, with its moun- 
tains, pines, and waterfalls, has a forcible and fearless interpreter 
in Johan Tir^n, who is a robust and pithy painter. AUan 
Oesterlind, an artist who tells his tale with delicacy, has now 
settled in Brittany, where he paints rustic life in the field and 
at home, by daylight and firelight, in the market-square and 
the churchyard, with Parisian flexibility. In him the child-world 
in particular, has a fine observer : he surprises children in their 
games and their griefs, simply, and without mixing in them 
himself; they are all absorbed in their employment, and not 
one of them steps out of his surroundings to coquet with the 
spectator. And Ivar Nyberg delights in family scenes round the 
lamp of an evening, young ladies sitting at the piano by candle- 
light, or old women telling girls their fortunes by cards ; those 
twilight motives and those indeterminate effects of light in an 
interior which are so dear to the Danes. 

There is something a little German about Oscar BJorck^ which 
is quite in accordance with his Munich training. He can neither 
be called particularly spirited nor particularly intimate, but he 



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SWEDEN 377 

}ias a sound and sincere naturalism, a quiet and graceful style, 
and an even methcwi of creation, which is free from all nervous 
intensity. In Skagen, where he worked for some time, he was 
affected by Danish influences which prompted him to pictures 
from the life of seamen — " The Signal of Distress " and so forth 
— in the manner of Michael Ancher. Intercourse with Julius 
Kronberg in Rome led him to paint a " Susanna," an adroit 
studio study in the style of French Classicism. The leading 
work of his Roman period was a representation of a forge, an 
exceedingly sound picture, in which he analyzed correctly and 
with adherence to fact the play of sunbeams on the smoke- 
grimed walls of the smithy, their blending with the fire on the 
hearth, and the strife of this double illumination of sun and fire 
upon the upper part of the tanned bodies of the workmen. In 
Venice he painted the Piazza d'Erbe flooded with sunshine, and 
the interiors of old Renaissance churches, on the gleaming mosaics 
of which dim daylight plays, broken by the many-coloured glass 
windows. A "Stable," upon the walls and planks of which the 
•early sun fell in large, sparkling patches, a " Sewing-Room " 
with the broad daylight glancing tremulously over the white 
figures of girls, and, occasionally, able portraits, were his later 
works, which were sterling and powerful, though they were not 
particularly spirited. 

Carl Larsson is amusing, coquettish, and mobile, one of those 
capricious, facile men of talent to whom everything is easy. He 
first made a name as an illustrator, and his piquant representa- 
tions of fashionable life as well as his grotesquely bizarre 
caricatures are the most spirited work which has arisen in Sweden 
in the department of illustration during the century. This 
facility in production remained with him later. Always attempt- 
ing something novel and mastering novel spheres of art, he went 
from oil-painting to pastels and water-colours, and from sculpture 
to etching. The refined water-colours which he painted in 
Prance — pictures of little gardens with young fruit-trees, gay 
flowers, old men, and beehives — were followed by delicate 
landscapes from the neighbourhood of Stockholm and Dalame, 
interiors bathed in sunlight, and amusing portraits of his family 
VOL. III. 25 



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378 



MODERN PAINTING 



and his feminine pupils. 
But this was merely a 
transitional stage to " grand 
art," the decorative painting 
which had been the aim of 
his youthful dreams. Even 
in the days when he worked 
at a Stockholm photogra- 
pher's, and was employed 
in retouching, he painted 
in an audacious effervescent 
humour pictures like "The 
Sinner's Transit to Hell," or 
old bards singing their last 
ballad to the sinking sun. 
Even then the motley old 
wooden figures of the 
Stockholm churches had 
bewitched him, and the fan- 
tastic woodcuts of Martin 
Schongauer and Diirer. 
In his decorative works he 
sports with all these elements like a spirited tattler who has 
seen much and babbles about it in a way that is witty and 
stimulating, if not novel. In the three allegorical wall-paintings^ 
Renaissance, Rococo, and Modern, which he designed for the 
Fiirstenberg Gallery in Stockholm, Tiepolo, Goltzius, Schwind,. 
and modern French plastic art are boldly and directly inter- 
mingled. In the series of wall-paintings for the staircase of the 
girls' school in Goteborg, where he represented the life of 
Swedish women in different ages, the technique of open-air 
painting, naturalistic force, curious yearning for the magic of 
the Rococo period, daring of thought suggesting Cornelius, and 
the pale grey hue of Puvis de Chavannes are mixed so as to 
form a strange result It all has something of the manner of 
a poster, with but little that is monumental or, indeed, inde- 
pendent. But Larsson plays with all his reminiscences with. 




\Arii8i sc] 

Zorn: Portrait of Himself. 



^^^ 



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SWEDEN 



379 



such an attractive and 
sovereign talent, the total 
effect is so fresh and 
delightful, so vivid and 
full of fantastic point, so 
effective in colour and in 
substance, so far removed 
from all dry didacticism, 
that he raises himself to 
a position beside the 
finest decorators of the 
present age. 

In Ernst Josephson, 
another spirited impro- 
viser, bold portraits and 
motley scenes from the 
life of the Spanish people 
alternate with robust, life- 
size pictures of forges, 
millers' men, and Swedish 
village witches. Georg 
Pau/t pdAnitd little Italian 

landscapes with a fine, natural lyricism of feeling, sea and bridge 
pictures with gas-lamps, spring evenings when the setting sun 
casts a red light into the room, or bright moonlight nights when 
the air seems transformed into chill light. In some of his- 
expressive pictures of sick-rooms there was an echo of H. von 
Habermann, and in his last work, "The Norns," he followed,, 
like the latter, a monumental and allegorical tendency in the 
manner of Agache. As a pupil at the Academy, Richard Bergh 
was called by his comrades the Swedish Bastien-Lepage. The 
tender absorption in nature and the quiet, contemplative method 
of his father, Edvard Bergh, is peculiar to him too. "The 
Hypnotic Stance," which made him first known in the Paris 
Salon, was rather a transient concession to the style of Gervex 
than the expression of Bergh's own temperament. He paints 
best when he represents the people whom he best knows, and 




Stockholm : BonnurJ] 
ZoRN : Portrait of his Mother and Sister. 



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38o 



MODERN PAINTING 



his intimate portraits of 
members of his family and 
of particular friends only 
find their counterpart in 
corresponding likenesses 
by Bastien-Lepage, Spe- 
cially charming was the 
simple picture of his wife 
which he sent in 1886 to 
the Paris Salon : a young 
woman with a bright and 
yet thoughtful look, who 
is sitting with a piece of 
white material upon her 
knees and her arms crossed 
in her lap ; she has just 
left off sewing, and is 
looking dreamily before 
her. The pretty studio 
picture " After the Sitting," 
with the young model 
dressing with a tired air ; the landscape " Towards Evening," 
Tiarmonized entirely in yellow, and slightly tinged by qualities of 
the Scotch school, with a fair peasant girl sitting upon a hill 
with the evening sun pouring over her ; and several other land- 
scapes with young ladies dreaming in a lonely park, themselves 
bright and tender like the Northern summer, were further 
•evidences of his refined and sympathetic art 

The most deft and ultra-modern of these men is Anders Zom, 
From the first day his whole career was one continuous triumph. 
He was a peasant boy from Dalame, and he had left the school 
at Einkoping, when he came in 1875 to Stockholm, at first with 
the intention of becoming a sculptor. Even as a boy he had 
•carved animals in wood while out in the pastures, and then 
coloured them with fruit-juice. At school he painted portraits 
from nature, without having ever worked on the usual drawing 
models for copying. Thus he acquired early a keen eye for form 




Stockholm: Bonnier, "l 

Zorn: "The Omnibus." 



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SWEDEN 



381 




and character, and adhered 
to this vivifying principle 
when in later years he 
began at the Academy to 
paint little scenes from 
the life of the people 
around his home. An 
exhibition for the work of 
pupils brought him his 
earliest success. He 
painted the portrait of a 
girl in mourning, a little 
picture full of delicate 
feeling, in which the 
piquant black veil specially 
roused the admiration of 
all ladies. From that 
time he had quantities of 
orders for portraits. He 
painted children and 
ladies with or without 

veils, and was the lion of the Academy. With the sums which 
he was enabled to save through these commissions he left home,, 
and, after a circular tour through Italy and Spain, he landed 
in London in 1885, and took a studio there in the most 
fashionable part of the town. And purchasers and visitors 
anxious to order pictures came quickly. Making London his 
headquarters, he led a life of constant movement, emerging now 
in Spain or Morocco, now in Constantinople or at home. His 
field of work was changed just as often, and the development of 
his power was rapid. He painted quantities of pictures in water- 
colours — old Spanish beggars and gipsy women, Swedish children 
and English girls. And he touched them all in a manner that 
was fresh, wayward, piquant, and full of charm, and with a 
dexterity quite worthy of Boldini. In his next period Swedish 
open-air motives were what principally occupied this painter, who 
was always seeking some new thing. Having busied himself 



Stockholm : Bonnier.} 
Zorn: "The Ripple of the Waves.'* 



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382 MODERN PAINTING 

with river motives in England, he now began at Dalaro to study 
^aves. The large water-colour picture called "The Ripple of 
the Waves" represented a quiet lake, the clear mirror of which 
rippled lightly beneath the soft evening wind. A pair of summer 
visitors, a lady and gentleman, are sitting upon a jetty, and in 
front a washerwoman is talking with a boatman who is passing 
T>y. A quick eye and a sure hand are requisites for painting 
tiie sea. In its eternal alternation of ebb and flow it leaves the 
painter no time for deliberate study. Zom attacked the problem 
again and again, until he finally solved it. His first oil 
picture, exhibited in Paris and acquired by the Mus6e Luxem- 
bourg, rendered the peaceful hour when daylight yields softly to 
the radiance of the moon : an old seaman and a young girl are 
looking thoughtfully from a bridge down into a river. His next 
picture he called "Oiit of Doors." Three girls are standing 
naked on the shore after bathing, whilst a fourth is still merrily 
splashing in the water. After this picture he became famous in 
France. Everything in it had been boldly delineated. The water 
lived, and rocked, and rippled. The reflections of the light and 
the thousand rosy tints of evening were rendered with extreme 
:sensitiveness of feeling, and played tenderly and lightly on the 
water and the nude bodies of the women. And how natural 
were the women themselves, how unconsciously graceful, as if 
they had no idea that a painter's eye was resting upon them ! 

Zom has painted much of the same kind since : women 
before or after bathing, sometimes enveloped in the grey 
atmosphere, sometimes covered by the waves or the gleaming 
light of the sky. 

The most refined picture of all was a sketch exhibited in 
Munich in 1892, and now in the possession of Edelfelt It 
made such a bright and light effect, it was so simple and 
entirely natural, that one quite forgot what sovereign mastery 
was requisite to produce such an impression. The same bold 
<:onfidence which knows no difficulties makes his interiors and 
likenesses an object of admiration to the eye of every painter. 
As he stood on a level with Cazin in his bathing scenes, he 
•stands here on a level with Besnard. In his picture of 1892 



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SWEDEN 383 

the spectator looked into the interior of an omnibus. Through 
the windows fell the dim light of a grey afternoon in Paris, 
and carried on a vivid combat with the light of the gas-lamps 
upon the faces of the men and women inside. The study of 
light in the treatment of a woman asleep beneath the lamp 
almost excelled similar efforts of the French in its delicate 
effect of illumination. A ball scene made a fine and animated 
impression elsewhere only to be found in the works of the 
American Stewart. His portraits give the feeling that they 
must have been painted at a stroke : they have a sureness in 
characterization and a simple nobility of colour which admit 
of a manifold play of tones within the very simplest scale. 
Even his etchings, although they are summary and merely 
indications, find their like in spirit and piquancy only in those 
of Legros. Zorn is the most dexterous of the dexterous, a 
conjurer whose hand follows every glance of his marvellously 
organized eye, as if by some logical law of reflex action — a 
man who can do everything he wishes, who rejoices in experiment 
for its own sake, one who never ceases conquering new 
difficulties in mere play, in every new work. He is a Frenchman 
in his bravura and bold technique, and in this mundane grace 
he is as typical of the Swedish art of the present as Johansen is 
of Danish art in his simple, provincial intimacy of emotion. 



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CHAPTER XLII 

NORWAY 

Previous history of Norwegian art: J. C Dahl and his import- 
ance; Fearnley^ Frich, — The DUsseldorf period: Adolf Tidemand, 
Hans Gude^ Vincent Stoltenberg-Lerche, Hans Dahl, Carl Hansen, 
Niels Bj&rnson-Mdller , August Cafpelen, Morten- MUller, Ludwig 
Munthe, E. A, Normann, Knud Bergs lien, Nicolai Arbo, — 
From the middle of the seventies Munich becomes the high-school 
of Norwegian art, and from. 1880 Paris. — Norwegians who 
remained in Germany and Paris: M* Grdnvold, J, Ekendes, 
Carl Frithjof- Smith, Grimelund. — Those who return home be- 
come the founders of a national Norwegian art: Otto Sinding, 
Niels Gustav Wenzel, Jdrgensen, Kolstoe, Christian Krohg, 
Christian Skredsvig, Eilif Peterssen. — The landscape - ^inters : 
Johan Theodor Eckersberg, Amandus Nilson, Fritz Thaulam, 
Ge^'hard Munthe, Dissen, Skramstadt, Gunnar Berg, Edvard^ 
Dircks, Eylof Soot, Carl Uckermann, Harriet Backer, Kitty 
Kielland, Hansteen, — Illustration : Erik Werenskiold, — Finnish 
art: EdelfelL 

THE Norwegians made their entry into modern art with 
almost greater freedom and boldness. 
What a powerful reserve modern art possesses in nationalities 
which are not as yet broken in by civilization — nationalities 
which approach art free from aesthetic prejudice, with the youngs 
bright eyes of the children of nature — is most plainly shown 
in the case of the Norwegians. That which is an acquired 
innocence, a naivete intelligente in nations which have been long 
civilized, is with them natural and unconscious. They had no 
necessity to free themselves with pains from the yoke of false 
principles of training which pressed in other countries upon all 
the moderns. They were not immured for long years in the 
cells of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, they did not need to fight 

384 



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NOJRWAY 385 

the battles which the strongest had to wage elsewhere, before 
they could find nature and themselves. As beings who had 
never had a share in any artistic phase of the past, and who* 
had grown up without much academical instruction, they began 
to represent the soil and the people of their home with a 
clearness of vision peculiar to races in direct contact with 
nature, and with a technique as primitive as if brush and 
pigments had been invented for themselves. For this reason,, 
of course, the barbarism of the uneducated nature which enters 
the world of art as a stranger is often betrayed in their works 
even now. As yet they have not had time to refine their 
ideas, to adorn and embellish them : they display them entirely 
naked ; they are unable to subdue their strong sense of reality,, 
breaking vehemently forth, to a cogent harmony. Their art 
is sturdy and sanguine, and occasionally crude; even in colour 
it is hard and brusque, and peculiarly notable for a cold red 
and a dull violet — those hues so popular even in the painting 
of Norwegian houses. The taste of an amateur formed on 
the old masters would be infallibly shocked with their glaring 
light, and those offensive tones which recur in their interiors,, 
in their costumes and furniture. Indeed Norwegian painting 
is still in leading strings. But it will cast them aside. The 
inherent individuality which it has already developed makes 
that a certainty. 

Norway can look back to a great past in art even less 
than Denmark. What was produced in earlier times has only 
an architectonic interest. The history of painting begins for 
them with the nineteenth century, and even then it has na 
quiet course of development For the student the earliest name 
of importance in that history is Johann Christian Dahl, who in 
the twenties opened the eyes of German painters to the charm, 
which nature has even in her simplicity. He was followed in 
the mother-country by Feamley and Frichy who depicted with 
a loving self-abandonment, not alone the romantic element in 
Northern scenery, huge blue-black cliflTs, dark and silent fjords,, 
and dazzling glaciers, but the gentle valleys and soft unobtrusive 
hills of Ostland. The first figure-painter, the Leopold Robert 



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386 MODERN PAINTING 

of the North, was Adolf Tidemand, with whom began the 
Diisseldorfian period of Norwegian art. The younger men oi 
talent gathered round him and Gude, who came to Diisseldorf 
in 1 84 1, four years later. Vincent Stoltenberg-Lerche painted 
the interiors of monasteries and churches, which he utilized for 
genre pictures, filling them in with suitable accessory figures 
,d la Griitzner. Hans Dakl produced village idylls A la Meyerheim, 
and survived into times when something more true and forcible 
was demanded from art. Carl Hansen, who has now settled 
in Copenhagen, began with genre scenes under the influence 
•of Vautier, and afterwards acquired a prepossessing distinction 
of colour in such pictures as " The Salmon-Fishers," " Sentence 
of Death," "The Lay Preacher," and others of the same type. 
Niels Bjomson-M oiler ^ August Cappelen, Morten-MuUer, Ludwig 
Munthe, and Normann glorified the majestic configurations of 
the fjords, the emerald-green walls of cliff, the cloven dingles 
of the higher mountains, the fir-woods and the splendour of 
the Lofoten. With the sleights of art which they had acquired 
at Diisseldorf there were some who even attempted to work 
upon scenes from the Northern mythology. Knud Bergslien 
represented people in armour flying across the whitened plains 
in huge snowshoes, giving as the titles of his pictures names 
ohosen from the Viking period. Trained from 1851 under 
Sohn and Hunten, Nicolai Arbo became the Rudolf Henneberg 
of the North. The National Gallery of Christiania possesses an 
" Ingeborg " from his hand, and a " Wild Hunt," in which the 
traditional heroic types are transformed into Harold, Olaf, Odin, 
and Thor, by a change in their attributes. 

All these painters betrayed no marks of race. Schooled abroad, 
and, to some extent, working away from Norway throughout 
their lives, they merely reflect tendencies which were dominant 
in foreign parts. In fact Norwegian art only existed because 
a corner was conceded to it in public and private galleries in 
alien countries. " National " it first became twenty years 2^0, 
like Swedish art, and its development proceeded in a similar 
fashion. 

Like the Swedes, the Norwegians had, from the close of the 



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NORWAY 387 

sixties, a suspicion that Diisseldorf was no longer the proper 
place for their studies ; and when Gude was called thence to 
Carlsruhe, the Academy of the Rhineland was no longer a gather- 
ing-place for Norwegian students. Some followed him to Baden, 
but the majority repaired to Munich, where Makart had just 
painted his earliest marvels of colour, where Lenbach and Defregger 
had begun their career, and Piloty, Lindenschmit, and Diez were 
famous teachers. But their sojourn by the Isar was not of long 
duration either. While they were working there Liebermann 
came back with new views of art from Paris. Through the 
brilliant appearance made by the French at the Munich Ex- 
hibition of 1878, their gaze was turned in a yet more westerly 
direction. So they deserted the studios of Lindenschmit and 
Lofftz for those of Manet and Degas, and left the contemplative 
life of Munich for the surging world of art in Paris. 

The last and decisive step was their return home. M. Gronvold 
and /. Ekendes in Munich, C. Frithjof- Smith in Weimar, and 
Grimelund in Paris are probably the only Norwegians who are 
now working abroad. In the later and more forcible men there 
was strengthened that sentiment for home which has such a 
fertilizing power in art. Having learnt their grammar in Germany 
and their syntax in Paris, they borrowed from the works of the 
modern French the further lesson that an artist derives his 
strength from the soil of his mother-country. And since then a 
Norwegian art has been developed. In the distant solitudes of 
the North, on their snowfields and Qords and meadows, the 
former pupils of Diez and Lindenschmit became the great 
original painters whom we now admire so much in exhibitions. 

Men of various and ductile talent, like Otto Sinding, are but 
little characteristic of Northern sentiment. During his long 
residence in Carlsruhe, Munich, and Berlin, he was aflfected by 
too many influences, and swayed by too many tendencies, from 
those of Riefstahl and Gude to those of Boecklin and Thoma, 
to proceed in any determined direction. With "The Surf" he 
made his first appearance, in 1870, as a richly endowed marine- 
painter ; in his " Struggle at the Peasant Wedding " he was a 
genre painter after the manner of Tidemand; to his" Ruth amongst 



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388 MODERN PAINTING 

the Workers of the Field " Bastien-Lepage had stood godfather ; 
several bathing scenes and peasant pictures recalled Riefetahl, 
and his " Mermaid " suggested Thoma. Once, indeed, at the 
annual exhibition of 1891 at Munich, it seemed as if he had 
come to feel at home on Northern soil. There he exhibited a 
beautiful picture of the Lofoten, '* Laplanders greeting the Return 
of the Sun," and a couple of peasant pictures which gave a delicate 
interpretation of the grave melancholy life of the North, There 
was a peaceful picture of evening, one of sheep grazing on the 
gentle declivity of a mountain. The day had sunk, and a glimmer- 
ing Northern twilight rested over the hills, upon which a silvery 
light was falling from the clear vault of the sky. He had also 
a soft, delicate, languishing picture of spring, with rosy boughs 
laden with blossom, stretching along a verdant mountain country, 
and on the far side of a blue lake cliffs, still covered with dazzling 
snow, rose into the clear sky. A strange magic lay in this contrast 
between frost and blossom : it was as if a gentle breath of spicy 
fragrance rose from a snowiield, or as if the splash of rushing 
mountain streams were sounding in the air of spring. But in 
the following year he appeared once more with fantasies in the 
style of Boecklin — pieces which merely recalled Boecklin, and not 
Sinding. Artistic polish has robbed him of all directness. In 
fact he is a man of talent, pushing his feelers into everything 
and drawing them back with the same ease ; a sensibility to 
impressions which never wearies is his quality, and instability his 
defect. 

Almost all the others stand firmly on the soil of their country, 
which has not been levelled by foreign civilization, and they are 
in every sense its children. And it is curious to note that, even 
in three countries closely united by race, religion, and language, 
like Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, the modem principle of 
individuality expressed itself in works of a distinctive character. 
As the Danes are yielding and thoughtful, vague and misty, 
and the Swedes elastic, graceful, mundane, and refined, the Nor- 
v/egians are rough, angular, and resolute. There is a similar 
difference between the three dialects : the language of the Swedes 
has a vivid, emphatic, Parisian note ; that of the Danes runs in 



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JVOJ^IVAV 389 

a soft lisping chant ; while Norwegian speech is clear, simple, 
and positive, although when written it is almost the same as 
the Danish. Provincial geniality and loving tenderness are 
in the ascendant amongst the Danes ; urbane grace, winning 
refinement, and mundane polish amongst the Swedes; and in 
the Norwegians there is a robust strength, something ascetic, 
honest, and at once brusque and warm-hearted, an eafnest 
and quite unvarnished sincerity. One feels that one is in a 
country inhabited by a rude, scattered population, a nation of 
fishers and peasants. Stockholm is the Athens and Christiania 
the Sparta of the North, and Norway, in general, the great 
fish-receptacle of Europe. Its principal sources of income are 
the products of the sea : cod, cod-liver-oil, herrings, and fish- 
guano. In no country in the world has man such a hard fight 
with nature. And so it is that the Norwegian people seem so 
quiet, inflexible, and composed, such veritable men of iron. 
Denmark is a prosperous country, and its landscape is soft and 
without salient form. Its people have the struggle of life behind 
them. It is not merely the thousands of villas in the towns 
that are neat and trim, for the country farms are so pleasantly 
arranged, and so spick-and-span, that they might be taken for 
summer residences where guests of the educated class are mas- 
querading in rustic dress. In Norway, where nature takes 
unusually bold proportions, man has still something of the iron 
rusticity of a vanished age of heroes, and a tourist moves 
amongst the old tobacco-chewing sailors, with their horny hands, 
their leather trousers, and their red caps, as amongst giants. 
These people, who are unwieldy ashore, look like antediluvian 
kings of the sea when they stand in their skiffs. And the 
painters themselves have also something rough and large-boned, 
like the giants they represent. Everything they produce is 
healthy and frank. The air one breathes in their work is not 
the atmosphere of the sitting-room, but has the strong salt of 
the ocean, a freshness as invigorating as a sea-bath. They 
approach p/etn air with an energy that is almost rude, and paint 
under the open sky like people who are not afraid of numb 
fingers. The trenchant poetry of Northern scenery and the deep 



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39© 



MODERN PAINTING 




Com, dgs Btaux-Arts.] 



Wekzel: "Morning." 



[Artisit 



religious feeling of the people find grave and measured expres- 
sion in the works of Norwegian artists. They look at life with 
keen bright eyes, and paint it in its true colours, as it is, simply 
and without making pictorial points, without embellishment, and 
without any effort after "style." Such is the clear and most 
realistic ideal of the young Norwegian painters. 

Niels Gustav Wenzel, JOrgensen, Kolstoe, and Christian Krohg 
are names which form the four-leaved clover plant of Norwegian 
fisher-painting. 

Wenzely who went straight from his native country to Paris, 
excited general indignation when he exhibited in Christiania 
his first naturalistic and uncompromising pictures, which were 
almost glaring in their effects of light. One of them, " Morning," 
represented a number of good people grouped round a table, at 
the hour when blue daylight and lamplight are at odds. This 
light was so trenchantly painted that the figures had yellow 
rims thrown full on their faces. Around these stood uncouth. 



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NORWAY 



391 



old-fashioned presses 
and benches, firm, 
clumpy chairs, look- 
ing as if they had 
stood for centuries 
in the same place, 
and must have been 
once used by a de- 
parted generation of 
greater and stronger 
beings. Door and 
window looked out 
upon log-houses and 
the Norwegian high- 
land scenery. In a 
second picture, " The 
Confirmation Feast," 
he roused a feeling 
akin to compassion 
for the poor people 
he represented, 
people whose life 
runs by quiet and void of poetry even at their festivities. 

It must be owned that Jorgensen has, likewise, a heavy hand, 
yet he gives an earnest and essentially true rendering of the life 
of labourers out of work, men staring vacantly before them, 
women with tired faces, and the cold light relentlessly exposing 
the poverty of little rooms. 

Under Lindenschmit Kolstoe had already made many experi- 
ments in the treatment of light; then he painted landscapes in 
Capri, and lamplight studies in Paris, which were as glaring as- 
they were sincere. At present he lives in Bergen. His fishers 
are as large and wild as kings of the sea. 

But by far the most powerful of these painters of fishermen 
is Christian Krohg, who is equally impressive as an author and 
as an artist. He is now a man upwards of forty, and first took 
up painting in 1873 21^^^ he had passed his examination for the: 




Scribnn's Mageuint.] 

Krohg: "The Struggle for Existence." 



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392 MODERN PAINTING 

tar. Gude attracted him to Carlsruhe, where he worked under 
•Gussow, and when the latter was summoned to Berlin he followed 
him, and stayed there three years. In 1880 he was in Paris, 
where he was affected by Naturalism in art and literature, by 
Zola and by Roll. With these views he returned to Christiania. 
Krohg is, indeed, a naturalist who has often a brutal actuality, 
a painter of great and Herculean power. He seeks the truth, 
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. As the author of 
the social novel Albertine he made a name even before he had 
worked with the brush, and pictures of the poor or scenes from 
sick-rooms were his first artistic efforts. In one there sits a 
poor, hard-featured sempstress, working busily by the dim lamp- 
light, whilst the grey, lowering dawn has already begun to peer 
through the window. In another a doctor has been called from 
^ brilliantly lighted reception-room to the side of the poor 
woman who stands shivering with cold in the dark ante-chamber. 
The large picture in the National Gallery of Christiania, "The 
Struggle for Existence," makes a strange, gloomy impression ; 
there is a snowy street in the wintry dawn, and before the door 
of a house a pushing, elbowing crowd, where the various figures 
tell their tale of misery in all keys. From, the door a hand is 
thrust out distributing bread ; otherwise the street is empty, 
except for a policeman in the distance, who is sauntering in- 
differently upon his beat, while elsewhere profound peace is 
resting over Christiania. And he reached the extreme of merciless 
reality in his picture of a medical examination in a bare room 
at a police-station, with the grey daylight streaming in. 

Yet Krohg's proper domain is not that of Zolaism in 
pigments, but the representation of Norwegian pilots. The 
steaming atmosphere of rooms which filled his earliest pictures 
is changed in his later works for the fresh sea-air sweeping 
keen over the salt tide. Krohg knows the sea and seamen, 
the battle of man with the icy waters. What splendid figures 
he has represented, men with muscles as hard as steel, bronzed 
faces, oilskin caps, and blue blouses! How boldly they are 
placed upon the canvas, with great sweeps of colour, while the 
--cutting air blows in their faces ! When Krohg paints the part 



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NORIVAY 



393 




Ga». </<M B4aux-Aris,] 



Skredsvig: '*Mix>summbr Night." 



of a ship, it is fearlessly cut off, and though the waves are 
not seen they are felt none the less. How impressive is the 
sailor standing upon the ship's bridge, taking observations of 
the weather, and the pilot spreading out the chart in the 
cabin ! Even Michael Ancher, who was with Krohg in Skagen, 
is a dwarf in comparison. 

Christian Krohg's pictures are downright, but thoroughly 
healthy. And when, for the sake of a change, he paints a 
pretty fisher-girl in the fresh light of spring, this brusque 
naturalist can be delicate, and this large-thewed artist becomes 
gentle. 

Christian Skredsvig and Eilef Petcrssen represent this gentler 
side of Norwegian art. There is a soft kernel beneath the rough 
husk, great tenderness beneath a rude appearance, something 
indefinable, something like the devotion to silence. 

Corot had been Skredsvi^s great ideal in Paris. He passed 
through Normandy, rendering the profound and melancholy spirit 
of sad, misty autumn days. He went to Corsica, and there he saw 
flowery meadows and pleasant sequestered nooks, such as no one 
had yet noticed in the coldly majestic scenery of the South. 
His " Midsummer Night," exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1887 
and afterwards acquired by the Copenhagen Gallery, was his first 

VOL. III. 26 



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394 MODERN PAINTING 

work celebrating the still majesty of Northern landscape. A 
boat is gliding over the mirror of a quiet lake. The boatman 
has left hold of his oar to light his pipe, and not a wave 
troubles the peaceful surface of the water. A man behind is 
playing the harmonica, and two girls are listening. It is ten 
o'clock, and the light dusk of summer, the suave magic of the 
Northern nights, has shed over everything its soft mantle of 
clear blue. In the background the light greyish-blue mountain 
heights rise transparent and aerial, like a train of evening clouds. 
No one utters a word, the boat glides on its course peacefully 
and inaudibly, and the tones of the harmonica, borne by the 
night-wind, alone vibrate in silvery strains over the serene, faintly 
quivering water. Everything lies in a sort of dreamy half-light,, 
and the lake reflects the scene, dimmed and subdued like an echo. 
The total effect stands alone in its solitude, peace, and freshness. 

In Munich Skredsvig delighted every one in 1891 with two- 
works. In one which he called " Evening Rest " a rustic in 
front of a log-house, with his hands thrust into his pockets,, 
was playing with a cat in the grass, which fawned at his feet 
Described in so many words, it sounds like the subject of a 
genre picture. But in the painting one was only conscious of the 
scent of the hay and the field-flowers, the sentiment of evening 
peace. The second work, "Water-lilies," has not its fellow for 
familiar lyrical poetry ; three pale lilies are 'floating in the dusk 
upon quiet water, and that is all. But out of this Skredsvig^ 
created a picture expressing a mood, and one of profound feeling,, 
such as the old painters never knew. A more recent work made 
a somewhat startling effect. Uhdc and Soeren Kierkegaard stood 
godfather to his "Christ as Healer of the Sick," but Skredsvig 
went further than Uhde, by not merely transplanting his peasants- 
into the nineteenth century, but the Saviour Himself In the 
foreground to the right a countryman is driving his sick wife 
past in a cart. Straight opposite, an old woman is spreading a 
carpet for the Son of Man to walk upon. From the background 
He is seen advancing in the Sunday garb of a Norwegian artisaa 
with a little round hat in His hand. Children are led to Him,, 
and He blesses them tenderly. Poor and simple folk are standing 



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NOI^IVAV 



395 



round, amongst whom there, is one who is like a Protestant 
minister. Of late years this religious painting has been con- 
siderably abused, but Skredsvig made atonement by the deep- 
earnestness with which everything was touched, as well as by a 
narvet^ recalling the old masters. A trait of benevolence ran 
through the picture, something biblical and patriarchal, far re- 
moved from that suggestion of malicious narvetd with which 
Jean Beraud profanes the sacred legends. 

During his years of study under Lindenschmit Et7t/ Peterssen 
made a beginning with historical anecdotes. "The Death of 
Corvis Uhlfeld," " A Scholar in his Study," and " Christian VI. 
signing a Sentence of Death," were all good costume-pictures 
more or less in the style at that time affected by Georg von 
Rosen in Munich. A group from the last-mentioned picture 
he repeated in the composition " Women in Church," which 
has the appearance of an early Habermann ; in colour it is- 
Venetian, and it is old German in dress. Love of the Venetian 
colourists, whom he had already studied with enthusiasm in 
the Pinakothek, induced him to make a journey to Italy. He 
was in Rome in 1879, and painted there a " Kiss of Judas," 
under the influence of Titian, as well as various altar-pieces- 
for Norwegian churches : a " Repentant Magdalene," an " Adora- 
tion of the Shepherds," and a " Christ in Emmaus." A picture 
called "A Siesta in Sora," a group of fine Italian artisans,, 
showed that he was b^inning to treat modem life. In his 
" Piazza Montenara " he produced a vivid and airy picture of 
the Roman streets. And since settling down in his home 
once more, in 1883, he has become a delicate and expressive 
modern landscapist His "Laundresses" was, in 1889, one 
of the best pictures of the Munich Exhibition, gleaming 
with exuberant colour and a dazzling glow of sunshine. Irt 
another pictiu*e he represented nymphs, in a landscape by^ 
night, leaning against a tree, and softly touched by the sub- 
dued light Yet in his "Woodland Lake" of 1891 he achieved 
a still more striking effect without the aid of such mytho- 
logical beings. The still water, over which the trees leaned so 
dreamily, was an enchanted lake, casting its spell over every^ 



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396 MODERN PAINTING 

one and holding him fast, a lake full of quiet harmonies and 
soft dreams. 

And, in general, this exquisite delicacy is the note of Norwegian 
landscapes. These same angular, unvarnished artists who face 
objects with such opened-eyed frankness in their figure-pictures 
show great refinement of feeling in their landscapes. Their 
predecessors had glorified only what was romantically wild or 
meteorologically interesting in nature as she is in Norway, and had 
•cultivated, even more than their German colleagues, that superficial 
panoramic painting which blazed out with sun, moon, and stars 
to excite the interest of tourists. What attracted them was 
the element of strangeness in scenery, and what drew others to 
their pictures was the interest of an album of travel. All those 
midnight scenes glaring in blue and red, those fantastic beauties 
of the Lofoten, those flaming tournaments between sunset and 
dawn, were merely striking as curious phenomena very accurately 
rendered in an impersonal style. These landscape-painters 
supplemented Baedeker and corroborated Passai^e. They were 
an inciting cause of journeys to Norway. Otherwise their works 
bore the stamp of ordinary prose ; they amazed people and 
instructed them, but they could barely have existed apart from 
the mere interest of subject-matter. The modems, who were 
as composed as the earlier painters were explosive, discovered 
Norway in its work-a-day garb, the poetry of winter and the 
charm of spring. For them Norway was no longer the land of 
wild romance, of Alpine peaks effectively lit up by the limelight 
man, nor the land of phenomena through which nature only 
speaks with an accent of vehemence, but the land of brightness, 
sunshine, snow, and silence. Norwegian landscapes are, indeed, 
characterized by their remarkable and apparently exaggerated 
clearness of atmosphere, a rarefied, shining, transparent atmo- 
sphere where all colours join in a revel of brightness. The sea, 
the houses, the snowfields, the men and women in their motley 
garb, seem to sparkle and flash in the most dazzling tones ; every- 
thing is clear, aerial, and full of quivering light. Yet they are 
exceedingly simple; it almost seems as if the painters beheld 
a younger earth with fresher eyes than our own. The elder 



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NORWAY 397 

generation painted the dash of waterfalls and the devastating 
might of the elements ; but nature, as seen by these moderns, is 
as peaceful as it is solitary. In Danish landscapes she seems to 
stand closely bound to man and to be his friend. She resignsi 
as it were, her majesty, to nestle round the dwellings of men, and 
is the medium of their intercourse. But in Norway everything 
lies in ghostly peace, as silent as the grave: nature is austere 
and vast, and all the works of men emerge like something forlorn 
and exceptional One artist celebrates the marvellous splendour 
of autumn, when the yellow leaves of the lithe birches sparkle 
like gold and their slender white stems gleam like silver. Another 
renders lonely lakes, where no boat furrows the water, no human 
being is visible, and no shout is heard, where not even a bird 
is to be seen, nor a fish darting to the surface. Here the sun 
is sinking clear and cold ; in its parting it does not shed the 
faintest gleam of purple over the land. There it is winter, 
which has enveloped the country in a great, glittering mantle 
of snow. The spectator feels how sunny and how cold it is in 
these Northern latitudes, how the air chills you to the jnarrow^ 
let the sea be ever so blue. The atmosphere has an icy trans- 
parency, the snow a glittering whiteness. If it is through no 
accident that the greatest landscape-painters of the century 
have been city-bred, it is also comprehensible that the most 
delicate pictures of spring should have been painted in wintry 
Norway. The longer the spring is in coming, the more men 
know how to prize it, — that spring which is not as ours, but a 
season less adorned, a season without luxuriance, though full of 
fragrance and moist, fertile warmth, a season rich in fine, tender,, 
yellowish verdure ; spring as it is only known in islands, where 
the freshness of the sea calls forth a succulent and yet pallid 
and colourless vegetation. 

Bom in 1833 i" Tidemand's birthplace, Mandal, Amandus^ 
Nilson was probably the first to discover all these refinements 
of Norwegian scenery. Having arrived at Diisseldorf in i86r> 
he moved at first entirely upon the lines of Gude. But after 
he had returned to Christiania in 1868, where Johann Tfuodor 
Eckersbergy who died early, worked with him at the time, Nilson 



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398 MODERN PAINTING 

entirely altered his style. While the Diisseldorfian Norwegians 
turned out their works for the market, Nilson submitted himself, 
in a simple and direct manner, to the influences of Norwegian 
scenery, in its barren meagreness and its grave and severe 
melancholy. At first he thought himself obliged to make con- 
cessions to the reigning taste, " rounded off " his pictures, and 
robbed them of the freshness of work done in the first jet But 
when he ventured to " retain the result of the sketch " the younger 
men began to honour him as a forerunner. Nilson is the real 
autochthonous Norwegian landscape-painter who, without having 
■ever come in touch with the Fontainebleau school, was never- 
theless the first to make their principles valid in the North. 
On his journey for study through South Norway, where he had 
lived as a child, he painted in a robust and downright style 
barren mountains, and lonely, poverty-stricken houses, and hills 
with a few pines forcing their way from the stony soil In 
contrast with the works of Gude, which are " seen " in a cool 
and positive fashion, and painted well, in the style of the old 
masters, though they display no trace of temperament, a sombre 
and often moody poetry, which is nevertheless full of force 
and energy, runs through those of Nilson. He loves the poetry 
of waste places. A melancholy twilight rests over his cold, 
snowy landscapes, over his coasts, where the weary waves at 
last find rest, over his silent strands unbroken by a human 
habitatioa He takes a peculiar delight in painting black autumn 
nights, where the dark pastures seem asleep, and the murmuring 
waves sing a lullaby. The emptiness of a vanished world broods 
over his pictures, the love of nature felt by a man who is happiest 
in the autumnal season and at night. 

Fritz Thaulow^ whose portrait has been painted by Carolus 
Duran — it is that of an attractive-looking man with fair hair — 
introduced the refinements of French technique. His favourite 
phases of nature are the glitter of snow, the clear air of winter, and 
the sparkle of ice; one envies him the delightful nooks which 
he discovered in the environs of Christiania. The usual elements 
in Thaulow's pictures are little red houses, lying deep in snow, 
with great shining patches of sunlight, a clear sky, and, perhaps, 



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NORWAY 



399 







1^ "^^BSk^- ^ 




%F% 





Muntch: HaMfstOngl,} 



Thaulow: "Thaw in Norway." 



a peasant woman coquettishly attired, and walking in boots 
which are so gigantic that they must have some special name ; 
or else a river half choked with snow, or snow and nothing beside. 
And how admirably this eternal snow is painted ! How blue and 
still the air is above ! Not a cloudlet floats in the azure of the 
sky. A feeling of boundless solitude is expressed in his works, 
a feeling such as steals over the wanderer in the high mountains 
despite the brightness of the snow. He awakens a longing for 
those lonely fields of the North. And this although he is never 
in a proper sense expressive of " mood." In Munich one of his 
pictures once hung beside that of a Scotch painter. In the latter 
there was a deep and fervent passion for nature, and glowing 
splendour, and joy without reserve, melancholy, sensuousness, 
and reverie; in the former clear and peaceful sunshine over an 
open plain, stillness, health, childlike simplicity, brightness of 
vision, quietude. 

As Thaulow had the art of rendering winter, Gerhard Munthe 
knew the secret of depicting the amenity of spring, its young 
verdure, its budding leaves — depicting it by a painting of 



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400 



MODERN PAINTING 




Com. dt9 Beaux-Arts,] 

Weremskiold: **A Norwegian Peasant Girl." 



[Dujardin Mio. 



nature penetrated through and through with a feeling for its 
moods. One s^^s in his pictures only soft, green meadows 
gleaming tenderly in a pale light of noon, great cherry-trees 
white with blossom, hanging beeches, and green fences — so 
green that they seem to have been painted with the damp 
air itself Here and there a still, silver-grey pool twinkles 
between the trees, or a log-house painted with deep red emerges 
brightly. 

Dissert, who returned to Norway from Carlsruhe in 1876,. 
was won back from Gude, and turned to the painting of lofty 
cliffs. He delights in naked masses of rock, stretching out in 
brown monotony and shrouded in thick mist, glaciers, and 
Norwegian waterfalls. Skramstadt^ who was in Diisseldorf and 
Munich in 1873, has devoted himself to the scenery of Ostland^ 
and loves chill moods of autumn, clear, ringing winter days^ 
and snowfields stretching to the horizon. For Northern Norway 



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JV'OIiJFAy 



401 



Gunnar Berg was in 
painting what Jonas 
Lie was in literature. 
On a mountain peak 
high in the Lofoten 
he has his studio, 
the most northerly 
in the world, fas- 
tened by great 
cramp-irons to the 
rock. Here it is 
that Berg, a true 
descendant of the 
defunct race of Vi- 
kings, paints, come 
frost or rain, his 
fresh and boldly 
naturalistic pictures. 
Mention must like- 
wise be made of the 
dazzling sea - shore 
landscapes of Karl Edvard Dircks^ and the ploughed fields, 
saturated with light and exhaling the smell of the earth, which 
are painted by Eylof Soot, The animal painter Carl Uckermann^ 
who, after leaving Munich in 1880, became a pupil of Van 
Marckc in Paris, continues the good traditions of Troyon. 
Harriet Backer paints convincing pictures of interiors : blond 
girls reading by lamplight in rooms which are stained blue. 
Kitty Kielland^ a sister of the author of that name, delights 
in lonely woods, little white, red-tiled houses, and dreamy trees 
casting reddish and pale green reflections on the clear water of 
still pools. A sense of great peace underlies the seascapes of 
Hansteen : rainy phases of morning on the fjord of Christiania. 
Grey is the sea, grey the clouds, grey and leaden the sky, and 
all these greys unite with the gloomy atmosphere in creating 
a grave and deep harmony. 

But Norway is not alone the land of snowfields, but of 




Scribffurs MagOMint.} 

Werenskiold: Bjornstjerne BjSrnson. 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Werenskiold: From Asbj6rnsen*s Fairy Tales. 

fairy tales also, of giants and dragons, of nixies and the 
daughters of c^es. On this ground of the sagas Erik Weren- 
skiold stands out as the most poetic and creative of Norwegian 
artists. As a painter he made his advance slowly and very 
cautiously. Upon the little genre pictures which he painted 
under Lindenschmit in Munich there followed fresh oi>en-air 
pictures in Paris : " The Meeting," that summer scene, so ex- 
pressive of individual mood, with the young peasant lad and 
the girl greeting each other as they pass in the meadow ; " The 
Prodigal Son," sitting ragged and famished upon a bench in 
his father's garden. In the Munich Exhibition of 1890 there 
was a simple but deeply poetic "Mood of Evening," which 
was only pictorially effective by the great contrast of the 
broad green plain and the clear ether. Children are walking 
in a meadow, and a lonely cot rises in the middle distance. 
A second picture, now to be found in the National Gallery of 
Christiania, represented a peasant burial with peculiar earnestness, 
depth, and truthfulness. In a churchyard bare of all adorn- 
ment, overgrown with grass and weeds, and enclosed by walls, 
above which were to be seen the tops of trees and a wide 



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NORWAY 



403 




Cop0Hhag9M: Gyldtndalsk,'] 

Wsrsnskiold: From AsbjSrnsen's Fairy Tales. 

g^een land, there stand a few peasants in their shirt-sleeves, 
holding the pickaxes and shovels with which they have just been 
filling in a grave. A young man, not wearing a particularly 
ecclesiastical garb, is. reading out a prayer. There is no ex- 
citement, and no cry of sorrow is raised. These large, robust 
men have done their Christian duty, and now they are all going 
back to their customary work. A still, warm summer air 
quivers upon the hills, and rests gently upon the quiet gathering. 
But Werenskiold is also an excellent portrait-painter, and his 
likenesses of Kitty Kielland, the composer Edvard Grieg, and 
the novelist BjOrnson are, in their unvarnished simplicity, to 
be reckoned amongst the best in Norwegian art That of 
Bjomson was, perhaps, a little forced, or, at any rate, showed 
only one side of Bjomson's individuality : in this portrait he is 
the great agitator, the tribune of the people, the mention of 
whose name, according to Brandes, is like hoisting the national 
flag of Norway. But in these hard eyes, these tightly closed 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Edelfelt: Pasteur in his Laboratory. 

(By p^rmtMion of Msaars. Bo$«8»od, Valadon & Co., the 

ownen of ths copyright.) 



lips, and this air of con- 
centrated energy, the 
tender and sensitive poet 
and the noble and warm- 
hearted friend are not to 
be found. These, how- 
ever, are not the works 
which fully display the 
importance of Weren- 
skiold. He is only com- 
pletely himself when he 
has a pencil in his banc}. 
The fairy tales of Ander- 
sen, the stories of Christian 
Asbjornsen and Jorgen 
Moe, which were pub- 
lished by Gyldendalsk in 
Copenhagen with draw- 
ings by Werenskiold, contain the best that has been done in 
Norway in the way of illustration. In their bizarre union of elfish 
fancy and rustic humour, these plates have caught the spirit of the 
Northern tale in a way which is perfectly marvellous. Werenskiold 
makes you believe whatever he pleases. He has given the 
impossible and invisible an air of probability with such con- 
vincing narvetd that one is tempted to believe that the simple 
spirit of olden times lives in the man himself. Fairies and 
monsters he has seen hovering upon waste and heath, and 
giants and enchanted princesses dwelling in strongholds of the 
bygone world. Dreamland and reality he rules over with the 
same ease, so that he draws the spectator irresistibly into his 
magic circle. Black and white suffice him for the expression 
of all the secrets of light. The interior of peasants' cottages 
and wide, open nature are rendered alike by a few strokes 
with the whole force of realism ; and yet everything is enveloped 
in a dim atmosphere of dreams, from which the supernatural 
arises of its own accord. The hill above the flord where the 
three princesses sit and dream is in Norway, but it is in 



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NORWAY 



405 



fairyland too. The 
little birch-woods, 
with their shining 
boughs, may be seen 
in every Norwegian 
landscape, but in 
Werenskiold's draw- 
ings they are like 
ms^ic groves, where 
the little silvery 
trees bear golden 
leaves. With as 
much fancy as in- 
timacy of feeling, 
he knows how to 
approach these le- 
gends from all sides, 
expressing their 
comicality and their 
horrors, their child- 
ish laughter and 
their virgin grace, 
the drollness of 
gnomes and the 
brutality of three-headed giants, the primitive fantasticality of 
fabulous animals dwelling in desolate, rocky wastes, the elfin 
delicacy of creatures pervading the air. 

The art of Finland is an appanage of that of Sweden, and 
has gone through the same French training. Its leading repre- 
sentative is Edelfelt^ by no means a vehement force in art, but 
a graceful and many-sided painter, who combines the healthy 
brightness of Scandinavian vision with the coquettish chic of Paris, 
and the pictorial sensitiveness of the French with that irresist- 
ible breath of virginal freshness only to be found in nationalities 
which have never been worn out The work which first made 
him known was a portrait of Pasteur, whom he painted examin- 
ing a preparation in his laboratory. In "The Women in the 




Paris: Boussod-Valadon.'] 
Edelfelt: ''Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene." 



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4o6 MODERN PAINTING 

Churchyard " he produced a pretty picture of the life of the 
Finnish people. In " Boys Bathing " he painted the swing of 
the waves, like Zorn ; the setting sun, in this picture, cast its 
last rays across quiet waters, and played gently over the elastic 
young frames of the bathers. His " Laundry," a harmony of 
yellow on white, was one of the pearls of the Munich Exhibi- 
tion of 1893, a"d ^^ "Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene" he 
followed the lead of Uhde, and treated the theme as if it were 
a Finnish legend. Christ stands in a Northern landscape, and 
at His feet there kneels, not the splendid courtesan of the gospel,, 
but a poor peasant woman in that heavy nun-like costume 
worn in the Baltic provinces of Russia ; but indeed Finland 
belongs to the Empire of the Czar. 



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CHAPTER XLIII 

RUSSIA 

(In collaboration with Alexander Benois, St. Petersburg) 

The beginnings of Russian fainting in the eighteenth century : Levitzky, 
Rokotav, Baravikovs^.—The period of Classicism : Egorov, UgrH- 
mov, Andreas Ivanov, Theodor Tolstoi^ Or est Kiprensky, — The first 
painters of soldiers and peasants : Orlavsky, Veneiianov* — The 
historical painters : BrUloVj Bassin^ Schamschin^ Kapkov, Flavitzky, 
MolUr, Hendrik SiemiradMky, Bruni, Neff, — Realistic reaction: 
Alexander Ivanov, Sarjanko, — The genre painters : Sternberg ^ 
Stschedrovsky, Tschernyschev, Morosov, Ivan Sokolov, TrutovsJ^^ 
Timm, Popov, Shuravlev, Fedotov. — The painters with a complaint 
against society : Perov, Pukirev, Korsuchin^ Prj'anischnikov, 
Savitzkyt Lemoch, Verestchagin.—Ths landscape-painters: Stsche- 
drin, Lebedev, Vorobiev, Rabus, Lagorio, Horavsky, Bogoliubov^ 
Mestschersky, Aivasovsky, TscherneMoff, Galaktionov, Schischkin, 
Baron Klodt, Orlovsky, Fedders, Volkov, Vassiliev, Levitan, 
ITuindshi, Savrassov, Sudhovshy, VassnetMov, Albert Benois, 
Svjetoslavshy. — Tfie naturalistic figure^icture : Suertschhov, Peter 
Soholov.—The wanderers : Ivan Kramskoi, Constantin and Vladimir 
Makovsky, Tschistjakov, Schwari, Gay, Surikov, Elias RSpin, 

A STRANGE fable has currency amongst the Russian people ; 
it is rather Oriental than Slav in its colour, and was pro- 
bably brought by the Mongols from the highland desert to the 
lowland Steppes. Among these Steppes, runs the fable, a magic 
plant raises somewhere — who knows where ? — its tender blossom, 
everlastingly green, deathless, and freed from all the laws of 
growth and decay. So long as it grows and blossoms on the 
earth it cannot be perceived, for the reed-grass and the flowers 
of the Steppes lift their heads higher and hide this tender plant 
from view. But the eternally green flower becomes visible to 



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4o8 MODERN PAINTING 

any one who travels over the bald Steppes in the sad autumn, 
and even from a distance its fragrance assures him that it is 
the magic flower which he has seen. For this fragrance is 
peculiar to itself, and ineffably rich and sweet; it has not its 
like upon earth, to say nothing of its equal. And if any one 
breathes it the whole world is changed for him. He under- 
stands everything ; what is dumb speaks to him, and what has 
speech cannot lie. Beneath the sound of a hypocritical phrase 
he penetrates to the most profoundly secret thoughts ; animal, 
tree, and rock talk to him with tones that have a meaning ; he 
overhears nature, and learns how she breathes and works and 
creates ; he hears the song of the stars in their nightly courses. 
Yet every one becomes sad who has drunk in this fragrance ; 
every one becomes sad, for — say the poor folk in the great plain 
— it is not a joyous song which vibrates through the universe. 

Now the great Russian authors have wandered out in the 
autumn, and have sought the magic flower and found it They 
have understood the song and grown wise, and tender and 
pitiful. "The sorrow of created things" has passed throi^h 
them like a shudder. 

And, in truth, it was under the star of pessimism that mystical, 
credulous Russia first struck a grandiose and original note in the 
spiritual concord of the nations. 

The French Naturalists wished to create "human documents." 
Their aim was the objective representation of naked nature. 
Each individual man, they taught, was a material, which, when 
brought into contact with others, entered into definite relation- 
ships, and it was the business of the author, as a man of 
science, to represent their character. In the hands of the 
Russians the living, suffering human spirit celebrated its new 
birth after a long mortification. The monotonous desolation of 
the brown Steppes spreading beneath a grey sky, the lament- 
able existence of man in a country over the spiritual life of 
which the thought of Siberia rested like a dark veil, induced 
an infinite compassion for humanity. Never has the world 
heard such repining, sympathetic, sorrowfully resigned, and 
deep and tender tones, as Turgeniev, Dostoievski, and Tolstoi 



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RUSSIA 409s 

reserved for their downtrodden heroes : " poor people, deadened 
souls, idiots, branded and debased and possessed." 

But has any one of the Russian painters heard this song?" 
In these days there is such a fervent longing for spiritual origin- 
ality, freedom from scholastic forms, and youthful inwardness of 
feeling. The world is eager for something naTve, for a natural 
art born in a country where there are no museums, and amongst 
simple people ; it desires picturies like none that have been 
seen elsewhere, it has need of a stream of fresh life and a new 
taste in art. The Russian authors are Russian in every drop- 
of their blood. Nowhere does the bond between the written 
word and the most secret sorrows of the nation seem more* 
closely formed. They sympathize with their own race in the 
most direct fashion, and the beating of its pulse is also theirs. 
Everything in their work is pervaded with the odour of their 
native soil, with the sap of popular life. Their feeling for nature 
adheres so closely to the secret working of the elements, and 
the atmosphere is so charged with the germs of a spiritual life, 
peculiar in character, that in Russia, above all countries, one 
might expect an art allied to the sturdiest sentiment of nation- 
ality, an art laying bare the quivering nerves of the people,- 
an art in which violent sobbing would be united with mocking, 
peals of merriment, blithe laughter with gloomy funereal bells,, 
feverish unbridled wildness with sorrowful abnegation, the acrid 
smell of brandy with devout mysticism. One dreams of strange 
things : knouts and sacred pictures, desolate steppes, plaintive 
gipsy songs and sombre pine- woods, moon and mist, death and 
the grave, longing and affliction, the parching July sun and rigid 
seas of ice ; men whose days go by in vain monotony ; hollow, 
broken, somnolent lives which come and pass away without needs 
or desires, like grass by the wayside, regarded by no one and by 
no one pitied ; bold flaming spirits famishing before the pictures 
of saints in religious stupor ; high-born aristocrats casting riches 
and titles aside, to find their lost peace of mind by working in the 
sweat of their brow ; Cossacks bounding upon fiery horses across 
the endless, sunny meadow-plains ; and peasant children crouching: 
round the glimmering fire and telling each other ghost-stories. 
VOL. III. 27 



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410 MODERN PAINTING 

But art has to reckon with more difficult conditions than 
literature. And indeed perfect artistic form is wanting even 
in the works of Russian authors. In a sense, Tolstoi and 
Dostoievski can do no more with the inkpot than any other 
educated man who can give clear expression to his thoughts. 
What distinguishes them is not their facility, but their naturalness 
and simplicity, which so entirely retain the directness in con- 
ception, and the freshness and vividness of the first draught, 
that one scarcely thinks of the manner in which their works 
have been produced. A French author would have polished 
the mere shell of his book in a different fashion, though he would 
have rendered the kernel less sweet and savoury; and he would 
liave divested his ideas of their elementary force. In art, too, the 
spirit is not fuUgrown before the body has matured ; thought and 
feeling do not become self-conscious before the outward frame has 
been developed into clear and sensuous forms. It is the acquired 
mastery of technique which is the first condition for the minting 
of a spiritual individuality. But Russian painting has not 
yet arrived at this subtilized aesthetic stage. With barbarism 
on one side and civilization on the other, it wavers between 
the blind imitation of foreign models and the stiff*, rude, and 
awkward expression of inborn emotion. Some have studied 
diligently under foreign masters, and lost their individual character 
in following an alien style ; and in studiously pursuing the 
academical pattern they have wilfully suppressed every personal 
note. In the case of others it is evident that they had some- 
thing to express, feelings and desires of their own, the special 
secrets of their strange race, but they failed to body them 
forth ; they plagued themselves, stuttering helplessly in an in- 
tractable language to which they were not habituated. Never- 
theless Russia, during the past hundred years, has contributed 
to the general development of painting a creditable total of 
artistic power. Whereas the earlier period was merely receptive 
of jejune impressions of foreign styles, artists are now in a better 
position to make something of their own from the result 
Amongst the discoverers and initiators of European art there 
is certainly no Russian name to be found, but there is usually 



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RUSSIA 4H 

a Russian to be jnet with amongst the followers of men of other 
nationalities who have broken new ground. And in the annual 
^'wandering exhibitions," as they are called, there is an increase 
of pictures which seem the heralds of an approaching outburst 
in Russian art From parasitic works of borrowed sentiment 
Russian painting rises to national, barbaric strength, utterly 
wanting in the discipline that comes of taste ; and out of this evil 
-originality it rises again, and, in individual cases, highly refined 
and well-balanced performances are produced — works in which 
the spirit of the people is felt none the less to vibrate. That 
is more or less the course of development which has been run 
through in the nineteenth century. 

What was produced in Russia before the year 1700 is only 
•of value for those making researches in Byzantine art The 
•connection between the Empire of the Czar and the West dates 
from Peter the Great This prince wanted European pictures 
for his palaces arranged in the European style — ceiling-pieces 
and wall-paintings — and for the execution of them he summoned 
from foreign parts a number of mediocre painters, who adapted 
in a workmanlike fashion for Russian necessities the courtly 
allegories invented by Lebrun. Dannhauer, Grooth, the elder 
Lampi, and afterwards Toqu^, Rotari, and others, were employed 
as portrait-painters at the Court of St. Petersburg. For the 
genesis of a "national Russian art" their appearance was, of 
■course, ineffectual. The Asiatic Colossus merely received a 
superficial Western varnish. Nevertheless the barbarians acquired 
a taste for pictures, luxury, elegance, and refinement As a 
result commissions were multiplied During the fabulous splen- 
dour which flooded the Court and was in favour with the 
aristocracy under Elizabeth, whole regiments of artists were 
needed. Demand creates supply. And so amongst the crowd 
of foreigners there emerged native artists, some of whom gave 
a good account of themselves beside their French comrades. 
In particular Levitzky^ the first remarkable painter of the 
Empire of the Russias, may be reckoned amongst the best por- 
traitists of the eighteenth century. As a colourist and master 
of characterization he does not stand upon the same footing 



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412 MODERN PAINTING 

with Reynolds, Gainsborough, and Graflf, but his likenesses- 
might easily be mistaken for those of Madame Vigte-Lebrun or 
Rafael Mengs. His contemporary, Rokotov, is more pedestrian 
and less vivid. The fine portrait of Catherine II. by his pupil,. 
Borovikovsky^ which represents the Empress in a plain morning- 
dress, passing through the park of Zarskoe Selo, accompanied 
by her favourite dog, makes a specially striking effect in the 
private collection in Moscow where it is to be found. His 
church-pictures are void of any religious feeling, as is always 
the case in those of the eighteenth century ; but they are flowing 
in line, effectively decorative, and show great taste in colour. 

Through mere intercourse with the foreign masters whom, 
they saw working around them, they had all three formed them- 
selves on the style of the old painters. In 1757, still during 
the reign of the Empress Elizabeth, Russia made a further 
advance in the cultivation of art : the St. Petersburg Academy 
of Arts was founded. It was the time when Rousseau's- 
t,fnile had created the wildest confusion of ideas, and an 
exceedingly strange programme was accordingly taken up. The 
ground-floor of the Academy was occupied by an infant-schooL. 
Boys of from three to five were taken there, being sometimes, 
brought from the foundling hospital. After they had gone: 
through the elementary course of teaching they entered the 
more advanced school, being then from eleven to thirteen years 
of age. There they were drilled to become artists, and finally 
sent abroad, where Mengs and David stood at the zenith of 
their glory. In St Petersburg young Russians were compelled 
with the knout to make Oriental reverences before Poussin and 
the Bolognese. When they came to Rome they transferred, 
their servile veneration to the two younger princes of painting 
whom the world delighted to honour. And so the Classicism, 
of Mengs and David — icy rigidity and tediousness aiming at 
style — found its way into Russia. Like a new Minerva, armed, 
with diplomas and arrayed in academical uniform, Russian art 
descended to the earth, ready-made. Artists complimented each 
other on being a Russian Poussin, a Caracci, a Raphael, or — 
highest honour of all — a Guido Reni : they painted Jupiter^ 



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RUSSIA 



413 



Achilles, Ulysses, 
Hercules, Socrates, 
and Priam ; that is 
to say, wax-dolls, 
-provided with friz- 
zled hair and yellow 
and blue togas, 
moving majestic- 
ally in bare land- 
scapes, painted in 
the style of Valen- 
-ciennes. 

These produc- 
tions of Egorov^ 
Ugruniov, and 
Jlndreas Ivanov — 
honoured artists in 
their lifetime — look 
down from the walls 
•of the Hermitage, 
sad and silent in 
these days, like 
reduced heroes of 
Cornelius in a state 
of emaciation. 
They were one and all stiff and buckram painters making a 
frightful abuse of Greek and Roman names, and staring with 
their dull Mongol eyes into the blithe world of antiquity. 
Count Tkeodor Tolstoi^ the sculptor and designer of medallions, 
is the only one amongst them who makes an oasis in the 
wilderness of French Classicism resembling that made by 
Prudhon in France. His illustrations to Bogdanovitsch's trans- 
lation of the tale of Psyche take a place immediately below 
Prudhon's drawings in grace, charm, and aristocratic elegance. 
He neither imitated nor troubled himself about academical for- 
tnulas, but felt like a Greek ; and his compositions are fresh 
-and delicate where others were stiff and formal. But, as a 





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lUiktM 9C. 

BoROviKOvsKY : The Empress Catherine II. 



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414 



MODERN PAINTING 



genuine painter of 
the epoch, the only 
one of them who 
survives is Orest 
Kiprensky, a man of 
naive artistic temper 
who had a delight 
in colour and was 
inspired by Rubens 
and Van Dyck, and 
not by RaphaeU 
Poussin,and Mengs. 
When one comes, in 
the Russian section 
of the Hermitage,, 
across Kiprensky's 
portrait of his father 
— an obese, cherry- 
cheeked old gentle- 
man with goggle 
eyes, wrapped in 
fur and standing; 
broad - legged with 
a stick in his hand — one fancies that one has unearthed a 
Rubens in the thick of these tedious, dismal Classicists. Almost 
all his works have unusual breadth of technique, rich and 
liquid tone, bold drawing, and astonishing characterization. 
Very fine is his portrait of himself in the Florentine Uffizi 
galleries, a masterpiece of energetic conception, with colouring 
which recalls the old masters ; and to this must be added his 
portrait in the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts of Captain 
Davydov, the famous poet and military author, who as Colonel 
of a Hussar regiment played such an important part in 1814 
under Blucher in the war against the French. 

The Napoleonic campaigns brought about the beginnings of 
realism in Russia as in Germany and France, and what Gros 
was in Paris and Albrecht Adam in Munich, Orlovsky was ia 




KiPRENSKY : Captain Davydov. 



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RUSSIA 



41S 




Orlovsky : " A Cossack Bivouac." 

the Empire of the Russias. Born in Poland, but working 
throughout his life in Russia, Orlovsky had, like Adam, not a 
little of the temperament of a rough infantry soldier ; as a boy 
he had seen the gaily accoutred troops defiling past for the war, 
and as a young man he had himself taken part in many a skirmish. 
When he came home he painted with great verve the things he 
had witnessed on the field. The aesthetic connoisseurs of St 
Petersburg accepted him half against their will, and, searching 
for a title through the great archives of art, as was their usage, 
they called him the Russian Wouverman, which at that time 
was not intended to imply high praise. 

Having had a Wouverman, they soon had a Teniers also. 
F'or Russia Venezianov has much the same importance as Biirkel for 
Germany. Having been born in 1779, he lived at a time when genre 
was considered the lowest grade of art, although it was extremely 
easy to gain a reputation equal to that of Poussin and Raphael ; 
indeed it was only necessary to draw in due form after plaster 



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4i6 



MODERN PAINTING 




Venezianov: "The Threshing-floor." 

casts, and reproduce old pictures as accurately as possible. Never- 
theless Venezianov, without troubling himself about the reigning 
precepts in aesthetics, turned to the representation of peasant 
life with the utmost delight in his subject and the most ardent 
striving after truth ; and this, remember, was in an epoch when 
the Russian peasant was sold like a beast, and the poor, rough, 
and dirty devil had no picturesque costume of his own. Such 
an abrupt entry into art makes Venezianov a very remarkable 
person, and indeed the true father of Russian painting. And, 
although he was inspired by English copper-engravings, this only 
makes it the more surprising that, instead of falling into anecdotic 
and narrative painting, he should have aimed at the most un- 
varnished reproduction of what he had actually seen. His 
pictures, it is true, are cold and heavy in colouring ; they have 
not the vividness of the old Dutch masters, but the frigidness 
of Debucourt and Boilly. Nevertheless they give pleasure by 



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RUSSIA 417 

the loving manner in which they are treated, by the delicate 
observation which they display now and then, and, above all, 
by the intense earnestness with which he showed a generation 
of eclectics that the salvation of art lay in truth and nature 
alone. At the same time Sylvester Stschedrin, a powerful painter 
who revealed a good deal of inward temperament, emancipated 
himself from the conventional landscape of Poussin. Realism 
was furtively gaining ground, a national Russian school was 
going through the process of fermentation, and the awkward, 
lazy camel began to bestir itself at last. 

But the phase of historical painting had also to be overcome. 
Just as in Germany the healthy art of Peter Hess and Biirkel 
was long overshadowed by the glittering histrionic vehemence 
of Piloty, so, after 1834, the era of great historical canvases 
came into existence in Russia. 

For many years past rumours had come from Rome to the 
-effect that a young man of genius, Karl Brulov, many of whose 
glorious "revelations of colour" had been already seen, had 
completed a picture over which all Italy was in a fever of excite- 
ment And in this at least there was no exaggeration. In 
the whole history of art there is scarcely an example of such 
a dazzling success as that achieved by Briilov's picture "The 
Fall of Pompeii." Substantial volumes might be compiled from 
the numberless eulogies which appeared in Italian journals. To 
compare the young Russian with Michael Angelo and Raphael 
was a thing which seemed faint praise to the Roman critics. 
People took their hats off to him, as they did to Gu^rin in Paris ; 
lie was allowed to cross the boundaries of states without a 
passport, for his fame had penetrated even to the custom-house 
officials. When he appeared in the theatre the public rose from 
their seats to greet the master; and a dense crowd gathered 
round the door of his house or followed him wherever he went, to 
rejoice in the contemplation of such a man of genius. Sir Walter 
Scott, who was then the idol of the Russians, had sat for an 
hour in the painter's studio examining the work with the greatest 
attention without uttering a word, until he at last declared that 
Briilov had not painted a mere picture, but an epic. And even 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Karl BrOlov. 



Cammuccini, the ironical David 
of the Itah'ans, called Briilov a 
colossus. 

At length, having won a 
European fame in this fashion, 
the picture arrived in Russia. 
The public was excited to the 
highest pitch both by the 
notices in papers and the ac- 
counts of travellers. Of course 
the enthusiasm of the Italians, 
who were still reckoned the 
only artistic nation by the grace 
of God, was enough to silence 
criticism. People streamed in 
masses to the Academy where the masterpiece was exhibited, 
with the firm determination of admiring it, and they were not 
in the least disappointed. 

A colossal canvas with falling houses and swarms of people 
painted over life-size, a motley chaos of luminous colours, where 
" the fire of Vesuvius and the flash of the lightning seemed to 
have been stolen from heaven," could not fail to make a thrill- 
ing impression upon people who had hitherto been able to enjoy 
nothing but dead and dreary compositions. Briilov was said 
to have eclipsed Raphael and Michael Angelo, and he alone 
had the art of combining awful tragedy with the noblest beauty. 
And language such as this was not merely used by petty 
journalists. Following the example given by Scott, the greatest 
geniuses of Russia went one beyond the other in the cult of 
Briilov : Gogol wrote an article filled with unmeasured praise ; 
Puschkin flung himself upon his knees before the painter 
imploring him for a sketch; Shukovsky spent whole days in 
Briilov's studio, and spoke of his religious pictures as " divinely 
inspired visions." 

At the present time this enthusiasm is as hard to understand 
as that which was accorded about the same epoch to the works 
of Delaroche, Wappers, and Gallait. Of course there can be 



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RUSSIA 421 

no doubt that Briilov's " Fall of Pompeii " has an historical 
importance in Russian art By breaking the monotony of 
Classicism with a loud fanfare, it awakened a sense for colour, 
and directed the drowsy attention of the Russian public to 
native painting. The interest in art grew stronger ; with every 
year a larger number of people began to visit exhibitions, and 
the career of Russian painters was followed with eagerness. 

But all this gives no measure for an artistic judgment. As 
a matter of fact, Briilov's picture was a tame compromise between 
Classicism and Romanticism. The public seemed to be receiving 
something novel without being called upon to alter its taste, and 
it was just this which rendered the painter, like his contem- 
porary Delaroche, the favourite of the old and the idol of the 
young. Instead of ordinary people and horrible, commonplace 
reality, such as Venezianov had painted, there was a pretty 
stage-scene with ideal figures elegantly posing. The type in 
favour with the Classicists was, certainly, a little altered ; 
for in the place of the Antinous and Laocoon heads there was 
a mixture of those beloved of Domenichino and that of the 
Niobe ; but the fair and lofty ideal of yellowish-white and 
brownish-red wax-figures in artificial and theatrical poses was 
still held in honour. That worse than mediocre opera of Paccini, 
V Ultimo Giomo di Pompejiy had given Briilov the first idea 
for his picture. And all his later career was a compromise* 
When he returned from Italy the opinion was that his best was 
still to come: it was expected that he would execute something 
grandiose and bold ; the public was convinced that he was a genius 
of worldwide reach, whose every stroke would be a revelation. It 
made a mistake, for, defective as it was, " The Fall of Pompeii " 
remains the painter's masterpiece. The things which he pro- 
duced afterwards were either banal Italian scenes, which scarcely 
suffer comparison with those of Riedel, or church pictures, such 
as " The Crucifixion " or " The Ascension of the Virgin," which 
might be the work of a third-rate Bolognese. Everything about 
them is correct, intelligent, well-intentioned, cleverly devised,, 
but tiresome and inanimate all the same. Shortly after his 
arrival in St. Petersburg he began that colossal picture " The 



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422 MODERN PAINTING 

Defence of Pskovs," in which he meant to surpass tumaelf. He 
worked upon it more than ten years, yet the result was a badly 
painted patriotic stage-scene in the braggadocio style of Horace 
Vemet. However a few energetic portraits and unassuming 
water-colours have survived his tawdry historical pictures. 

But none the less lasting and fateful was the influence which 
he exerted over the Russian art of his time. The incense offered 
to this prince of painters mounted to the heads of other artists. 
To be Briilov, to approach Briilov — since to outstrip him seemed 
impossible — was the aim of them all. Who cared any more 
about Orlovsky or Venezianov ! What dwarfs were such 
disciples of the old Dutch masters beside the colossus who had 
vaulted to the highest peak of Parnassus with a single bound. 
From this time there was in all directions a constant search 
after strained effects of light and impossible poses. The ex- 
hibitions were flooded with huge compositions. The most varied 
periods were chosen from antiquity, the Middle Ages, and 
the Bible, but less frequently from Russian history, and they 
were all illustrated with the same superficiality, the same glare 
of colour, and the same false idealism. Encouraged through 
purchases made by the Academy and the Emperor, who wanted 
a " grand art," like Ludwig I. and Friedrich Wilhelm IV., and 
welcomed by the enthusiastic applause of the great public, 
historical painters shot up in denser ranks. BassiUy Scliamschin^ 
KapkaVy and later Flavitzky and MoUer^ were idols looked up to 
upon all sides, though they were absolute nonentities, who, if 
they were all added together, would not yield the material neces- 
sary for one solitary artist of real personality. One of the most 
talented, Hendrik Siemiradzky^ threw himself into panoramic 
representations of Greek and Roman antiquity, or spoilt his 
tasteful and sunny landscapes by the lifeless puppets with which 
he filled them in. Bruni^ who is generally mentioned in the 
same breath with Briilov, became the Russian Hippol5^e Flandrin. 
He provided church pictures, etc., in particular the ceiling-pieces 
of St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg, in which he added to 
the puritanic hue of Overbeck and the frigid Michael-Angelesque 
ideal of Cornelius a certain warm, piquant Neo-French elegance. 



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RUSSIA 423 

Nefff who was considered the greatest colourist after Briilov, 
painted with an enervating mawkishness bashful nymphs and 
holy saints, who even now have lost nothing of their candied 
freshness of colour. Every one of these men awakens a remini- 
scence, so that his pedigree can be guessed at once, and his 
name entered under the prbper heading. They all bear the 
brand of the ruling tendency in Italy, France, Germany. And 
painting could only recover when Russia came to a consciousness 
that Briilov was not a colossus, and that " The Fall of Pompeii ** 
was a strained operatic climax, provided with anaemic waxworks, 
and not a poem. 

The first breach in the citadel of "grand art*' was made 
by a few painters who move on lines more or less parallel with 
those of the English Preraphaelites. That notable man 
Akxander Ivanov^ who has become known in Germany through 
a publication of the Berlin Archaeological Institute, had con- 
ceived the idea of representing " The Appearance of the Messiah 
amongst the People" as early as 1833. In his earlier days 
Ivanov was a conscientious, industrious young man, who sub- 
missively followed academical precepts, and hardly dreamed of 
anything beyond an historical picture in the style of Bruni and 
Briilov. But he possessed too great a soul to remain on this 
smooth and easy path, he had too serious an idea of the 
mission of an artist ; and so stereotyped idealism, balance of 
composition, and all those easily acquired matters, which led 
so many painters to fame in the age of Classicism, were not 
enough to satisfy him. He wanted to create a work which 
should place the great moment of history truthfully before the 
eyes of men ; he wanted to embody the scene in real accordance 
with the spirit of the gospel. There was nothing which seemed 
too hard for him in the way of his attainment With the zeal 
of a young man, Ivanov, who was then thirty, settled to his 
work : he read through everything he could lay his hands 
upon, sat whole days in different libraries, starved himself to 
buy books, and painted and drew without intermission. Nothing 
was to recall to any one's mind composition and plaster-casts, 
the stage or the academy. Landscape, human types, and 



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424 



MODERN PAINTING 





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IvANOv : " Thb Appearance of the Messiah amongst the People." 

underlying idea were to be all true to reality, faithful to the 
spirit of history. His work took him more than twenty-five 
years. With boundless patience and a faith entirely worthy of 
primitive Christianity, he laboured by means of fervid studies 
of nature to express everything to the last stroke, just as he 
had it in his mind. His effort to be authentic went so far that 
he had the intention of going to Palestine to get his ideas of 
the scenery upon the very spot, and to study genuine Hebrew: 
types. As he had not the means for carrying out this plan, 
he repaired, without giving the malaria a thought, to the most 
deserted regions of the Campagna, to become familiar with the 
aspect of the wilderness ; and every Saturday he went to the 
synagogue in Rome to hunt for the most pronounced Jewish^ 
countenances. 

From the standpoint of the present day only a very small 
amount of truth has been reached, in spite of all his endeavours. 
Much of his work is academical, and, at the first glance, the 
picture hardly seems to deviate from other compositions con- 
structed according to the Classical ideal and illuminated after 



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IvANov: Study for the Heads of Two Slaves in the "Appearance of 

THE Messiah." 

the manner of Cornelius. But as soon as one looks into the 
detail one understands the artist's intention. There is no 
sentiment superficially borrowed from the old masters.* Every- 
thing, even the awkward composition, bears the impress of 
truthfulness. From the sublime and inspired St. John to the 
stupid, hideous slaves the characterization of the different heads 
is wonderful, full of serious majesty, conceived in a large and 
convincing style, and free from every trace of academical 
beauty. There is something which is almost genius in the way 
in which Christ has been imagined : He is quiet and composed,, 
by no means a beautiful Jupiter, but a hard-featured man, and 
at the same time a thrilling, superhuman figure, advancing 
towards the people with the lofty bearing of a spiritual presence,, 
though His gait is none the less natural. The colouring is 
obviously the weakest part of the picture, and has a languid^ 
dismal appearance beside the dazzling theatrical effects of Briilov. 
But the numerous sketches — they are over two hundred — which 

VOL. III. 28 



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426 



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Ivanov has left in the way 
of landscapes or studies of 
figures and drapery in oil 
and water-colours, throw 
peculiar light even upon 
his efforts at colour. In 
these studies he was one 
of the first to practise in 
some degree the principle 
o{ plein air^ and in many 
of his open-air sketches 
he shows an understand- 
ing of light such as else- 
where only Madox Brown 
possessed in those years. 

But in the large picture 
Sarjanko: Mrs. Sokurova. ^^ ^^jj^j ^^ ^^^^j^ ^^^^ 

mony. The total effect is weak, there is a want of unity, 
and the orchestration of the tones is interrupted by discords. 
In spite of this, however, there is assured to him in the history 
of painting a place of honour amongst the earliest tough and 
knotty realists, a place of honour amongst the founders of the 
modern intuition of colour. 

In the field of portrait- painting Sarjanko was inspired with 
similar principles. Every wrinkle, ever>'' little hair, the texture 
of the skin, and almost every pore are laboriously and slavishly 
reproduced in his likenesses with the pains of a Denner. As a 
result of this his works have often the spiritless effect of a 
coloured photograph. Nevertheless this austere and merciless 
pedantry essentially contributed to the gradual purification of 
taste. As a result of such work artists at last began to have 
«yes for true and simple nature, and, after the burden of 
spurious idealism had been got rid of, the national tendency, 
which was begun unobtrusively after the Napoleonic war, was 
gradually able to grow to its full strength. 

Literature paved the way for it. In 1823 Gribojedov repre- 
sented Russian society in his comedy Woe to the Man who is too 



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RUSSIA 427 

-Clever^ in highly coloured scenes and pithy, energetic verse. In 
1832 Puschkin completed his Eugen Onegin, In the same year 
the great Gogol came before the public with his Evenings at the 
Farm near Dikanka^ in which he gave Russian poetry the ten- 
dency towards modern realism in the representation of human 
life. It was in this work that he portrayed with a harmless 
sense of fun the officials, landlords, and popes of Little Russia, 
and their life which runs by so cheerfully in its narrow rounds. 
In 1836 his Examiner of Accounts was put upon the stage, a 
comedy which was likewise an objurgatory sermon. At the 
same time his Russian Tales appeared, as well as his novel Dead 
Souls \ in these works he was thoroughly serious and bitter, 
giving in all its veracity, and with a terrible force, the very 
essence of Russian life in a genuinely Russian form of literature. 
Painting followed suit. Previously it was Crusaders, Italians, 
Turkish ladies, and views of Constantinople and Naples which 
had ruled in exhibitions by the side of the large historical pictures, 
but from the end of the thirties artists began to seek their mate- 
rials upon Russian soil. It must be admitted that they did this, 
at first, only for the purposes of genre painting, which flooded 
Europe at the time with its plenitude of sentimental anecdotes. 
It was necessary to give pictures a jovial or didactic turn to 
attract the attention of the public from the captivating episodes 
in history, and the richly coloured and motley pictures of Italian 
women, in which people took delight Gogol's intense feeling 
for beauty, and healthy, animated naturalism were weakened 
into swooning sentimentality which could be used in little bourgeois 
stories. 

A beginning was, at any rate, made by Sternberg, who died 
in Rome at the age of seven-and-twenty. He portrayed peasant 
life in " Little Russia " with a good deal of rose-coloured sentiment 
but with a sympathetic gift of observation and great technical 
dexterity. Stschedrovsky represented types of street-life in St. 
Petersburg in a series of energetic lithographs. Tschemyschev, 
MorosoVy Ivan Sokolov, Trutovsky^ the pretty though superficial 
illustrator Timm, Popov, Shuravlev, and others also appeared with 
fresh and unassuming pictures of Russian popular life, x^nd the 



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428 MODERN PAINTING 

victory of genre painting was decisive when Paul Andreevitsch 
Fedotov appeared in the exhibition of 1849 with three pictures, 
"The Newly Decorated Knight," "The Major's Match," and 
"The Morning after the Wedding." These works have the 
importance for Russia which the works of Hogarth have for 
England. 

Fedotov, the son of poor parents, was born in Moscow in 
181 5, and had been an officer in the army before he turned to 
painting. Even as a cadet he drew portraits of his comrades 
and parade and street-scenes, and when he retired he entered 
the class for battle-painting in the St. Petersburg Academy, and 
indeed it was the only section of the institution where pupils 
came into a certain contact with life. His works of this period, 
such as the large water-colour picture "The Admission of the 
Grand Duke Michael into the Finnish Regiment of Lifeguards 
in 1837," have a plain matter-of-fact style which is more or less 
paralleled in the paintings of Franz Kriiger. He has drawn the 
rigid, self-satisfied soldiery, in their tight uniforms and absurd 
shakos, very vividly, and without satirical intention. Gogol's 
success induced him to make a transition from the painting of 
uniform to the representation of citizen-life, and his pictures in 
exhibitions were justly held to be a piquant pendant to the 
creations of Gogol. 

In "The Newly Decorated Knight" he painted the room of 
a subordinate official who has received his first decoration, and 
given his colleagues a banquet, to celebrate the occasion, on the 
previous evening. This worthy cannot resist the temptation of 
pinning his new token of glory to his dressing-gown as soon as- 
it is morning, though his maid-of-all-work holds up in triumph 
his worn-out broken boots which she is carrying off to black. The 
floor is strewn with broken plates, bottles, glasses, and remnants- 
of the feast, and a tipsy guest, who has just come to his senses 
and is rubbing his tired eyes, is lying under the table. In St^ 
Petersburg the picture created an immense sensation ; such 
audacity in making mock at imperial distinctions was an unheard- 
of thing. And when the work was to have been lithographed 
the censorship interfered. The decoration had to disappear^ 



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RUSSIA 



429 



and the harmless 
title " Reproaches 
in Consequence of 
a Festive Meeting" 
was substituted for 
the original. 

Fedotov's second 
picture, " The Ma- 
jor's Match," to which 
he appended an 
explanation in a 
hundred and fifty 
lines of humorous 
verse, depicted two 
parties who want 
to overreach each 
other : a major with 
-debts, who wishes to 
marry a fat mer- 
chant's daughter for 
the sake of her 

marriage portion, and a rich tradesman who is anxious to be 
the father-in-law of a noble. In honour of the day the bride has 
thrown on an exceedingly dicollet^e white silk dress, her father 
has arrayed himself in his best coat, and her mother, too, is 
majestically dignified. They are seated like this in the drawing- 
room, and are awaiting with beating hearts the arrival of the 
lofty guest. Suddenly the door is opened, and the lady who has 
been making the match rushes in, exclaiming, " The Major is 
here ! " And thereupon there ensues one of those comical scenes 
ol consternation in which Paul de Kock delighted. The daughter, 
who has sprung up blushing, wishes to make her escape, but is 
held back by her mother catching hold of her dress. The 
portly old father cannot succeed in properly arranging his fine 
raiment, which he is unaccustomed to wear ; servants are bustling 
about bringing refreshments, and an old maid who has ventured 
to intrude is all ^yts and ears. Meanwhile through the open 




Fedotov: "The Newly Decorated Knight." 



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430 MODERN PAINTING 

door the elderly and very threadbare figure of the fiance may 
be seen in the ante-chamber, casting a critical look in the glass 
and giving his moustache a martial curl. 

In the third picture it is the young man who has been 
hoaxed. He believes himself to have married a rich and 
guileless maiden who would give him a complete establishment. 
But on the morning after the wedding an officer of justice 
appears and makes a seizure of everything ; the young wife 
kneels imploring pardon, and through the open door the step- 
mother may be seen in the bedroom wringing the neck of a 
dove, whose blood drips on the wedding bed. 

"The Mouse-trap,' "The Pet Dog is 111," "The Pet Dog is 
Dead," "The Milliner's Shop," "The Cholera," "The Return of 
the Schoolgirl to her Home," arranged other episodes i la 
Hogarth in complicated scenes of comedy ; but, although forcible 
contributions to the history of Russian manners, they are 
throughout more suitable for literature than for art The 
colour is crude, and the characterization verges upon caricature. 
It is only the element of still-life that he often handles with 
charm, though here he almost approaches the " little masters "" 
of Holland. In his later years he attempted to go further irt 
this direction, but madness, followed soon afterwards by death, 
brought his plans to an end. 

And those who came after him made no progjress in this 
respect either. They stand to their predecessors as Carl Hiibner 
or Wiertz to Madou and Meyerheim. The elder men regarded 
painting as a toy or an amusing comic paper, and could seldom 
resist giving their pictures a jovial or a smiling trait All their 
scenes have a roseate tinge, and reveal nothing of real life — 
nothing of all the tragic and saddening miseries of Russia lan- 
guishing beneath the yoke of serfdom. These humourists were 
followed by doctrinaire preachers. The " picture with a social 
purpose," which supplanted the optimistic painting of anecdote 
in the rest of Europe, found particularly fertile soil in the 
Empire of the Czar. The death of Nicholas I. and the accession 
of Alexander II., who had been long beloved and looked 
forward to on account of his Liberal opinions — " the angel 



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431 




Perov; "A Funeral in the Country." 

in human shape " he was called as Czarevitch — had freed 
Russia from a heavy and oppressive burden ; men began to 
breathe freely, and a fresh breeze went through the land. The 
Government itself, with its great programme of reform, which 
began so energetically by the abolition of serfdom, summoned 
all the Liberal thinkers to its assistance ; and, encouraged by 
these efforts at emancipation, ideas and views which had been 
hitherto concealed and suppressed came to light in all regions 
of intellectual life, with an official passport to justify their 
existence. Literature, which had been muzzled up to this time, 
muttered and thundered in a fearful manner : ** Life is no jest 
and no light sport, but heavy toil. Abnegation, continual abne- 
gation, is its inward meaning, and the answer to its riddle.*' 
Painting also, it was held, must become an educational influence, 
and take part in the great battle ; it must join by taking up 
its parable and teaching. It was not created to soothe the 
senses, but to serve ends that were higher, more progressive, and 



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MODERN PAINTING 




more enno- 
bling to the 
world. The 
droll and far- 
cical element 
'of "^the earlier 
pictures was 
abruptly cast 
aside for more 
melancholy 
ideas. An ar- 
gumentative, 
didactic paint- 
ing, in alliance 
with the social 
programme, 
came then in- 
to existence, 
and as a result 
of these views, 
technique, the 
purely picto- 
rial element, had to suflFer. It was only necessary to have 
humane ideas, to dash off in colours mordant innuendoes and 
loud complaints, and to bring fresh evidence of the sad condition 
of the peasantry, the evils of the administration, the inebriety of 
the people, and the corruption of the nobles, to be praised, not 
merely as a good Liberal, but as a great painter too. 

Perov is the most interesting of these painters with a com- 
plaint against society. It is not, indeed, that he had more 
talent or loftier ideas than the others, but he was the first to 
open fire, and he underlined his bold notions as heavily as 
possible. In his earliest pictures, with which he came forward 
in 1858— "The Arrival of the Official of Police" and "The 
Newly Nominated Registrar of the Board " — he chiefly aimed at 
the officials, the heartless and merciless oppressors of the 
peasantry. Later he attacked by preference the rural clergy. 



Perov: "The Village Sermon." 



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RUSSIA 433 

whom he depicted incisively in all their brutal coarseness. "An 
Ecclesiastical Procession in the Country," in particular, is one 
of the typical pictures of this second period. The procession 
issues from the house of a rich peasant, where its members 
have been drinking freely, and pours into the street. Old 
rustics and young lads and girls are reeling in the mud with 
images and relics, while the priest staggers along behind, 
followed by the deacon. The host is leaning drunk against the 
door-post, and the rest are lying unconscious in the dirt. In 
1865 he produced one of his best pictures—-" A Funeral in the 
Country." A poor widow is seated in a miserable peasant 
sledge, with her head sunk forwards and her back against the 
coffin of her husband ; two children — a little boy sleeping, 
wrapped in his father's great sheepskin, and his pining and 
crying sister — crouch behind her, but otherwise a sheep-dog is 
the only follower in the funeral train. In "The Village 
Sermon" the fat squire has fallen asleep, while his wife im- 
proves the occasion by whispering with her lover. Behind them 
stands the flunkey keeping the villagers at a respectful distance by 
blows and abuse. And in "The Troika" three ragged and half- 
famished apprentice boys are drawing a sledge, laden with a great 
cask of water ; the ground is frozen hard, and the poor fellows 
are almost fainting with exertion. " A Woman who has drowned 
herself" is the epilogue to a tragedy, and "The Arrival of the 
Governess" the prologue to a drama — a poor, pretty girl coming 
to a fresh family and encountering the sensual glance of the 
brutal master of the house. 

Over most of his contemporaries Perov has the advantage of 
standing upon entirely national ground, and displaying his own 
qualities instead of making a show with those of others. He is 
a man who has had real emotions in life, and has, therefore, 
something serious to express. In his hand the pencil changes 
into a probe, with which he has penetrated deeply into the 
diseased spots in his own natioa He despairs and hopes, fights 
and grows faint, has always a keen eye for the good of the 
people, accuses the rich, and deduces evils from the open con- 
dition of society, but while he points to its bleeding wounds he 



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434 MODERN PAINTING 

offers it healing balm. And so his pictures betray a complex 
frame of mind, out of which tears or laughter may arise at any 
moment. He stands to his own people as a mother to a dearly 
beloved child. And as she chastens it with a rod and compels 
it to take the better part by severe admonition, and then 
presses it to her heart and covers it with kisses, Perov protects 
and idolizes the people, and in the next moment smites hard 
' with the might of his satire. Like a severe judge, he unveils 
the misconduct of the great and the abuses practised by 
officials, tears the mask from the upper ten thousand, and 
reveals their withered faces. He turns to the poor like a kind 
father, like a man following the rule of the gospel, and praises 
their righteousness. He is at once the accuser of society and 
its physician, and his course of healing is to return to nature, 
righteousness, truth, and compassion. 

One is grateful to him for his philanthropic intentions. But 
there is no enjoyment in looking at his pictures, for the school- 
master is the assassin of the artist. What is properly pictorial 
comes off second-best in them, since he does not command the 
handicraft of art In fact he might be most readily compared 
with Wiertz, and, like him, he exercised an evil influence upon 
a whole group of painters. It is not merely his contemporaries 
Pukirev, Korsuchin, Prjaniscfmikov, who have deprived many of 
their prettily painted pictures of artistic charm by lachrymose 
complaints against society or satirical didacticism, for Savitsky 
and Lemoch did the same afterwards. 

The most familiarly known of the men with this bent is 
Vassily Verestchagin, an apostle of peace tinged with Nihilism. 

The exhibition of his pictures which took place in the 
February of 1882 at Kroll's, in Berlin, will be remembered. 
They were not to be seen by day, but only under electric 
light. Concealed by curtains was an harmonium, upon which 
war-songs were played, accompanied by subdued choruses. And 
the hall was decorated with Indian and Tibetan carpets, em- 
broideries and housings, weapons of every description, images 
and sacred pictures, musical instruments, antlers, bear-skins, and 
stufTed Indian vultures. In the midst of these properties the 



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RUSSIA 



435 










y^y^*^^<.^^ 



^^^ 



painter — a little black-bearded man, 
like one of those Caucasian warriors 
who appear in Theodor Horschelt's 
work " From the Caucasus " — 
himself did the honours to the 
guests who had been invited. 

Although still young, Verest- 
chagin had already seen a great 
deal of life. After leaving the 
school of G6r6me in Paris, he ac- 
companied the expedition of General 
Kaufmann against Samarcand. 
Horschelt, with whom he made 
acquaintance at the scene of war 
in the Caucasus, took him in 1870 for a couple of years to 
Munich. When the Russo-Turkish War broke out in 1877 
he again accompanied the Russian troops, and even took an 
active share in the struggle : he was in the Shipka Pass, 
went with Gourko over the Balkans, was present at the siege 
of Plevna, and worked as the secretary of General Skobeleff 
during the negotiations of peace at San Stefano. And, having 
fought everywhere with the savageness of a Caucasian, he began 
to preach peace as an apostle of humanity. 

"The Pyramid of Skulls — dedicated to all Conquerors past, 
present, and to come," was as it were the title-page to his thrilling 
works. In " Forgotten " a wounded soldier lay upon the field 
of battle with famishing ravens gathering round him, whilst his 
battalion was seen disappearing in the distance. In another of 
his pictures there was the Emir of Samarcand lost in agreeable 
contemplation of a heap of decapitated heads strewn at his feet. 
In another there stood a fair-haired priest blessing a whole crowd 
of mutilated Russians upon a steppe. Still more ghastly was 
the picture entitled " The Street after Plevna." It is an icy cold 
winter's day, and the desolate landscape and the bodies of those 
who have died upon the transport-car are covered with a light 
crust of snow. The artillery of later columns have driven with 
indifference over the dead, crushing them, and the crows and 



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436 



MODERN PAINTING 




Verestchagin : 



•'The Pyramid of Skulls." 



ravens thank 
the Lord for 
the richly 
spread table 
which has 
been pre- 
pared for 
them. In 
dense swarms 
they flutter 
down to the 
opulent ban- 
quet, and 

most densely of all where the wheels of the gun-carriages have 
made a way for their beaks. Then, thoroughly sated, they alight 
upon the telegraph wires to digest their meal in peace. Ghastly 
corruption reigns in " The Turkish Hospital before Plevna," a 
gloomy cellar where sick and wounded men welter in confused 
masses amid mouldy corpses. Near this hung the trilogy of 
pictures representing the sentinel freezing with cold. At the 
side of that was the picture of the Czar Alexander with his 
staff, regarding the battle raging around as though it were a 
stage-play. " Skobelefl* in the Shipka Pass " brought the series 
to a conclusion. There he is, fat, and with a full, flushed 
countenance, dashing over the ground, which is covered with 
snow and strewn with corpses, as he good-humouredly summons 
his freezing comrades to a champagne breakfast, crying, " Brothers, 
I thank you in the name of the Emperor." 

In spite of his Parisian studies Verestchagin's work in all 
these pictures was very crude — full in colour, but thin and 
uninteresting in technique. Moreover the ostentatious arrange- 
ments which he made for his exhibitions, and the cleverness 
with which he calculated the effect upon the great public, did 
not contribute to enhance his artistic reputation. And his coarse- 
ness and crudity when he works by legitimately artistic means 
may be seen in his ethnographical pictures from Turkestan and 
India, which stand in technique incomparably below similar 



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RUSSIA 



437 



works by Pasini, 
and will lose what 
remains of their 
interest with the 
discovery of photo- 
graphy in colours. 
Nevertheless Verest- 
chagin's significance 
for Russian art is 
great. 

What had been 
hitherto produced in 
the matter of battle- 
pieces — Orlovsky's 
work excepted — is 
scarcely worth men- 
tioning. Sauerveid 
and Villevalde were 
lifeless copyists of 
Horace Vernet 
Kotzebue, the son 
of the well-known 
author, no doubt 
showed deftness in 
composition, groupings 
swarms of soldiers in 




Munich : Hanfsi&Hgl.^ 
Verestchagin : **The Emir of Samarcand visiting 
THE Trophies." 



and scenical accessories. There are 
his pictures. Huge cliffs, ancient for- 
tresses and houses tower picturesquely one above the other. But 
the men are made of lead, and the landscapes are stage-scenes, 
at once empty and banal. In fact he was merely an opulent 
arrangeur who was learned in uniforms, and the dramatic element 
of war escaped him altogether. 

Now Verestchagin struck out an entirely new path. A short 
time before his appearance Tolstoi's great novel War and Peace haJ 
been published, and there war had been for the first time depicted, 
not from the prejudiced standpoint of a patriot, but with the 
lucid spirit of a cosmopolitan author. The mere painting of 
horrors is avoided : it is a thing rather indicated than brought 



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438 MODERN PAINTING 

out in detail ; but the great figure of the Destroyer with his 
hyenas and his terrors is nevertheless the principal figure of 
the narrative. Even Tolstoi's patriotism sometimes mocks at 
itself, and from the midst of his representations of soldierly 
loyalty and the contempt of death there rises the heart-breaking 
cry : " To what purpose ? " The painter continued the motives 
which the author had indicated. All who had gone before 
him — and not in Russia alone — were official illustrators who 
glorifieid the theme "Dulce et decorum est" in the service of 
victorious Governments. True to the principles of young Russia, 
Verestchagin became the accuser of the military system, by 
making the reverse side of martial splendour — all the misery 
and the sanguinary destruction of masses, with which glory is 
purchased — the subject of representation. In the one case war 
is represented from the standpoint of the regimental captain ; 
in the other from one which is purely human. He wanted to 
paint war as it is, and not as a suitable embellishment for 
the Winter Palace. And here he is a pioneer on the path leading 
to truth, which assures him an honourable if not a lofty place 
in the history of the development taken by the modern principle 
in art. 

This storm-and-stress period in Russian art came to an end 
with Verestchagin. It was impossible to be for ever laying on 
the scourge, uttering curses, and thundering against the evils of 
creation. After the storm there came a calm, and disillusionment 
after the revolt. Society became quiet again, literature laid down 
its arms, and painters also grew weary of forgetting their own 
calling in the service of progressive ideas. The sensational style 
of painting with a purpose- and a grievance was thrown into 
the background, and all the greater weight was laid upon 
conscientious and harmonious execution. 

In this battle to establish what was purely pictorial, landscape 
played the mediating part in Russia as in the rest of Europe. 
Russia possesses in Turgeniev's Diary of a Sportsman one of the 
most remarkable books in modern literature. Turgeniev dis- 
covered the forests and steppes of his country, and made them 
speak, and made them silent. He loves nature as though she 



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Stschedrin : ** Sorrento/ 



were a mistress, clings to her, and becomes so wedded to her that 
he feels in solitude like a fish in the cool tide. What a charming 
idyll of the forest it is when in the course of the day's sport he 
lies on his back and looks up into the cloudy sky, or when he 
roams of an evening through the fragrant meadow-lyid, or 
crouches at night beside a shepherd's fire and watches the sky 
from midnight to the glimmering of dawn ; when he describes 
little farms where content and poverty are mingled, or those 
of the gloomy boundless regions in the interior of Russia, where 
everything is sad, like a vaporous, grey, rainy day. This strange 
mixture of love and dread, the fervour for nature and the horror 
of her, stands alone in the whole literature of the world. Every 
blade of grass lives ; everything stirs, and the creative impulse is 
everywhere ; the spirit of the steppe floats visibly over the earth, 
weird, mysterious, cold, dumb, and awful. And in art also 
landscapes are the most enjoyable productions which modern 
Russia has brought forth. 

The founder of this Russian school was Stschedrin^ who died 
at thirty-eight in Naples. He was a painter who was so simple 



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440 MODERN PAINTING 

and had so much warmth and temperament that Europe could 
not show the like in the twenties of this century. His work 
towers over everything which was at that time painted by 
Bertin and Valenciennes, dr even Rottmann and Koch. He 
was the direct successor of Dujardin, Berchem, and Pynacker, 
and their equal in spirit His landscapes indeed, which are 
principally views of Naples, have great delicacy of colour, although 
they are sometimes heavy and bituminous in their shadows. 
Moreover they are so full of light and air, so splendid, and so 
finely and energetically painted, that it is astonishing to read the 
date. 1 820 underneath, for 1650 or 1660 might be more readily 
ascribed to them. 

Lebedev, who also died young in Naples, was Stschedrin's 
energetic follower in the battle against Winckelmann's principles. 
Indeed, if he had lived a few years longer and returned to his 
native land, Russian painting would probably have been able to 
set up a worthy rival to the great European landscapists of 1830. 
Even his earliest little pictures, painted before his Italian journey 
— thin and grey views of St. Petersburg — give him a place 
amongst the first champions of paysage intime, and this in spite 
of their hard tone and their childish and awkward technique. 
And in Italy he and Blechen were the first who rendered the 
South without any strained effort at style. " Gradually,'* he writes, 
" I am setting myself free from all prejudices. Nature has 
opened my eyes, and I am beginning to be her slave. In my 
last works you will not find composition or effects, for every- 
thing is simple there." 

But the period of historical painting led artists astray for 
some time. In Russia, as elsewhere, the polished exotic, pictur- 
esque views, cultivated for years by Vorobiev^ RabuSy Lagorio^ 
Horavsky, BogoliuboVy Mestschersky^ and others, had their vogue. 
They all wished merely to see nature through a prism which 
would render her beautiful ; they imitated Calame and Achen- 
bach, sometimes adroitly and sometimes mechanically, indulged 
in platitudes which have been long outgrown, and are tedious 
and insipid, in spite of all their Oriental towers, Gothic castles, 
calm or agitated seas, rocky regions, and glaring effects of light. 



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Schischkin: "A Forest Landscape." 



Aivasavsky alone takes high rank amongst them, although he 
was a rapid painter, a d^corateur for ever seizing upon loud, 
pyrotechnical effects a la Gudin. But in spite of their glaring 
and violent colours many of his sea-pieces reproduce with great 
cogency the grandeur and crash of the storm, and others the 
limitless peace of the sea ; and in virtue of these he seems a 
forerunner of the later landscape of "mood." 

This was, in fact, developed as soon as Russian landscape- 
painting returned to Russian soil. But, until the forties, painters 
were under the persuasion that their home, the flat, sad country 
where grey was harmonized on grey, could offer no subject worth 
painting, and that it was only richly coloured Southern prospects 
that were artistically possible. The brothers Tscliemezoff and 
the copper-engraver Galaktionov^ indeed, drew views of towns 
according to all the rules of the books of topography, but 
without higher pretensions. 

Schischkin^ however, recognized that the Russian painter could 

only love and understand Russian landscape, and reproduce it 

artistically. When he was sent abroad he begged to be allowed 

to return and paint without hindrance what was dearer to him. 

VOL. \\\, 29 



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ScHiscHKiN : " A Woody Landscape.* 



{ArtiatM, 



than all else beside. The north of Russia is a pallid, melancholy 
land. It is without great lines and imposing masses, and every- 
thing is lost in vanishing nuances. Nevertheless Schischkin 
succeeded in grasping the individuality of this scenery, and in 
rendering it in his drawings with unrivalled mastery — in drawings, 
for the life of colour was a thing alien to him throughout his 
life. All his oil-pictures are phlegmatically prosaic, paltry, and 
pedantically correct ; but the fresh spontaneity and chromatic 
delicacy which he attained in his etchings and charcoal drawings 
are all the more striking. 

His direct followers show no advance in technique. Baron 
Klodt had a certain proclivity for the picturesque, in consequence 
of which his pictures lost in plainness and intimacy, while 
Orlovsky, Fedders^ VolkoVy and others remained always hard in 
colour, arid, and pedantic. The stripling Vassiliev, who died 
at three-and-twenty, was, in fact, the first to prove that the 
landscape-painter did not need to be a photographer im- 
mortalizing this or that region in a superficial portrait, but 



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RUSSIA 443 

-could become a medium between man and nature, an interpreter 
■of that secret musical language through which nature in all 
places speaks to the human soul. With him the Russian 
landscape of " mood " was first born. There was no further 
requisition for Alpine peaks and ocean, and motley colours 
straining after eflTect, for the artist learnt tenderly and simply 
to celebrate the scenery of his native land. Levitan painted 
his " Quiet Monastery," a deeply moving picture full of feeling ; 
Kuindshi painted Southern nights and bright birch-woods full 
of quivering air and moonlight or sunshine ; Savrassov delicate 
spring landscapes impregnated with great poetic feeling ; 
Sudkovsky interpreted gravely the majesty of the sea ; Vassnetzov 
the sad waste of Siberia, its dark plains and endless virgin 
forests ; Albert Benois produced brilliant pictures of the East, 
and delicate, sensitive Russo-Finnish landscapes ; and Svjeto- 
slavsky seized the character of Moscow. 

And through these landscape-painters, who went their own 
way quietly and modestly, far from the tumult of philanthropical 
ideas, there rose an impulse to give artistic treatment to the 
figure-picture likewise. The sense of the purely pictorial was 
strengthened, and artists began to turn from narrative and 
didactic art and to represent simply what they saw around 
them, without ulterior designs. At first they did so feebly 
and laboriously, then with more energy and with increasing 
perception and ability. Svertscfikov painted animal pictures, 
but could hit off the Russian peasant and the Russian pro- 
prietor very finely indeed. His representations of horses in 
particular — those poor little patient Russian horses, now sink- 
ing in the snow, now scorched by the sun or trotting 
merrily in the troika — are exceedingly truthful, animated, and 
sympathetic. Peter Sokolov produced hunting-scenes, funerals, 
and tavern-rooms — all in a plain and vigorous style, which 
was now and then cynical, though always striking. He is 
a painter of individuality even in his technique, for his 
pictures are a mixture of delicate aquarelles, heavy gouache 
colours, pastel, and ink. Through the most remarkable com- 
binations he succeeds in attaining an impression which is 



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Ivan Kramskoi. 



sometimes crude, but frequently 
exceedingly piquant and full of 
character. 

But the principal advance was 
made by a phalanx of young^ 
artists who worked their way 
upwards during the sixties and 
seventies. In 1863 thirteen 
pupils completed their studies 
at the St. Petersburg Academy^ 
and entered into competition 
for the gold medal, which took 
the place there of the Prix^ 
de Rome, Their leader was a 
somewhat older student, Ivan 
Kramskoi y a poor young fellow 
who could barely earn his bread as retoucher at a photo- 
grapher's. The pictures which he had produced at the time 
of his death are few, and have long been surpassed by the 
performances of younger men. There are some portraits which 
for all their earnest veracity do not get beyond the arid effect 
of photography. And even his few figure-pictures, such as 
" Anguish that will not be Comforted " (a mother bewailing 
her son), only produce a mediocre effect in spite of their 
forcible realism and their sincerity, which is free from all 
forced vehemence. But in the history of Russian art Kramskoi 
has the importance of one who had a quickening influence. 
He served the young school with his head rather than his 
hand. He was an ardent spirit, an energetic agitator, and 
soon gathered all around him who were healthy, fresh in 
mind, and enthusiastic. And his ideas upon art and the 
loftiness of the artist's calling were worked out so completely^ 
and he had the secret of laying them before his younger 
comrades with such conviction, enthusiasm, and impressiveness^ 
that they all looked up to him as their standard-bearer. In 
Kramskoi's confined room, where the furniture consisted of a 
few broken chairs and poverty was a daily visitant, those seeds 



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RUSSIA 445 

of thought were developed which soon became the guiding 
principles of the new Russian painting. 

When the Board of Professors at St. Petersburg refused to 
give the thirteen competitors free choice of subject for their 
prize exercise, wishing to compel them to represent "The Grod 
Odin in Valhalla," they one and all left the Academy in open 
feud. They were tired of having an official style prescribed 
to them by the accepted "school," and no longer cared to have 
a uniform forced upon their work. Imagination and creative 
energy were more to them than laws or code, for they wanted 
to be free men and not to purchase diplomas by convention 
and medals. Between academicism and individual purpose there 
was the same breach in Russia that took place sooner or later 
in every other country. "The Society for Wandering Ex- 
hibitions," which up to the present has remained the centre 
of the Russian national school, and which comprehends in itself 
all the young, animated, and promising men of talent in the 
country, was recruited from these seceding painters in 1870. 
And though it is a centre it is one that wanders through the 
•entire land. The " Wanderers " have emancipated Russian 
painting from everything alien, anecdotic, didactic, and eclectic; 
they have placed it upon thoroughly national soil, endowed it 
with a new and independent technique, and within a few years 
they have won an honourable position amid European schools 
of art 

Meanwhile some of those thirteen students have forgotten 
their storm-and-stress period and become different men. Most 
of all is this true of Constantin Makavsky, who is now but a 
caricature of what he was when he painted his " Carnival in 
St. Petersburg" and the gloomy "Child's Funeral in the 
Country." All the decorative panels, visionary heads of maidens, 
musing "bojar" women, and indecently voluptuous bacchanals, 
which he turns out by the dozen, have an insufferable light rosy 
crust of colour ; they have all the same weak drawing, and the 
same sensuousness unredeemed by a trace of taste. Even his 
pictures from the life of " bojars " in the sixteenth and seven- 
teenth centuries, which are in great request in America, are 



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MODERN PAINTING 




V. Makovsky: "A Bankruptcy.' 



spoilt by sickly sentimentality or a misapplied air of distinction 
and comnie-il-faut. 

His younger brother, Vladimir Makovsky, has still a weakness 
for lachrymose anecdotes, aimed in a commonplace way against 
society ; or in an effort at characterization he falls into obtrusive 
caricature a la Briitt. But in his smaller and less ambitious 
pictures, which are delicately painted after nature, he is tasteful, 
luxuriant, and really fine. 

The greatest of them all, from the very first day, was Elias 
Ripin, and he remains so still. In him was embodied the artistic 
power of contemporary Russia. His works, with those of Tolstoi, 
Turgeniev, Gontscharov, and Dostoievski, will hand down to 
later times a vivid and characteristic account of the Russia of 
the last five-and-twenty years in all its completeness — an account 
including all grades of society, from the nobles to the outlaws, the 
village clergy and the peasants. 

R^pin is now slightly over fifty years of age. Springing 
from an old Cossack stock, he was born in 1844 at Tschuguev^ 
in the department of Charkow. As the son of an indigent officer, 
he received his first instruction in the village school, which was- 



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447 



carried on by his 
mother, being taught 
at a later period by 
the sexton of the 
parish church. 
Then he entered 
a military school, 
which was broken 
up when he was 
thirteen. A me- 
chanical painter of 
saints of the name 
of Bunakov gave 
him his first know- 
ledge of drawing. 
And at the end of 
three years he was 
already in a position 
to gain a livelihood 
by painting the pic- 
tures of saints, and 
three years after that he wandered to the distant imperial city 
upon the Neva to enter the Academy there. During the six 
years that he remained as an Academy pupil his talent developed 
rapidly. Even the picture entitled "The Raising of Jairus's 
Daughter," produced for an Academy prize competition, revealed 
him in his power and energy, gleaming like a diamond amongst 
pebbles beside the other works sent in for competition. The 
medal, accompanied by a travelling scholarship of some years*^ 
duration, was awarded to him. So he went abroad to Paris and 
Rome, studying both the old and the modern masters. Yet he 
was not ensnared by foreign influences. In fact the best pic- 
ture which he painted in Italy, ** Szadko in the Wonderful Realm 
of the Sea," was based upon a national Russian saga. In a gulf 
of the sea penetrated by the sunshine, nixies and sea-nymphs^ 
embodying the different feminine types of Europe, are vainly 
striving to catch the young and handsome Szadko ; but it was 




Makovsky: **A Duet." 



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MODERN PAINTING 



only Tschernavuschka 
emerging vaguely in the 
distance that enchained 
him. And the painter 
himself was drawn home- 
wards. Even before his 
scholarship had expired he 
begged permission to re- 
turn, and in 1873 he com- 
pleted his "Burlaki," the 
men who tow vessels along 
the Volga, the masterpiece 
of modern Russian art. 

"In the blaze of the 
noonday sun, youths, men, 
and boys are tramping 
along, in the burning sand 
on the flat, unsheltered 
banks of the river, with 
the thick ropes round 
breast and shoulders, and 
their tanned, naked feet planted upon the hot ground. The 
hair falls in disorder upon their brownish-red brows, which are 
dripping with perspiration. Here and there a man holds his 
arm before his face to protect himself from the scorching rays. 
Singing a monotonous, melancholy, barbaric melody, they drag 
the high-masted barque laden with crops, up-stream, through the 
wide, deserted plain ; their work was yesterday what it is to-day 
and will be to-morrow. It is as if they had been tramping like 
this for centuries, and would be pushing forward in the same 
way for centuries to come. Types they are of the life of serfs 
in Europe, types cast variously together from the North and 
the South and the East of the vast empire, by the hand of 
Fate : the children of different slave-races, most of them figures 
of iron, though there are some who seem feeble ; some are in- 
different too, whilst others are brooding gloomily, — but they are 
one and all pulling at the same rope." 




Elias RiPIN. 



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Repin : *'Men towing a Ship along the Volga." 

With this picture, an epic embodying the spirit of the Russian 
people, R^pin stood out as a finished artist. He had looked 
upon these worn-out men, set to the work of brutes, with the 
eye of a philanthropist and the eagle glance of an artist ; their 
sorrowful songs had moved him deeply, and he grasped the 
dreadful reality with an inflexible hand, and placed it with 
glowing colours upon the canvas in all its fearful veracity. A 
dumb sorrow overshadows the picture, all the pessimistic gloom 
that hovers over Russia. As yet no other work had expressed 
with all the resources of European painting the resigned suffering 
and that weary absence of desire which are the peculiarity of 
this race of people. And let him paint portraits, or rustic life, 
or pictures from Russian history, R^pin remained, even in his 
later works, ever the same inherently forceful master. 

An element of gloom, oppression, and debasement reigns 
consistently throughout. Even when he represents, for a change, 
the village youth in the joy of the dance, the merriment 
resembles inebriation. But the denunciatory narrative element 
has been finally cast aside. In place of the vehement extrava- 
gances of inartistic painting with a moral purpose, there is in 
R^pin a mild fervour reconciled with suffering and subdued to 
a spirit of still humility. There rises from his pictures a heavy 
feeling that weighs upon the heart, and this simply because he 
painted so plainly what he saw. There is in them an ineffable 



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MODERN PAINTING 




RcPiN : ♦* The Cossacks* Jeering Reply to the Sultan.'* 

luxury of woe, a low yearning cry for the peacefulness of death, 
something of the resigned melancholy of Russian songs with 
their slow movement There is in them, as in the works of the 
Russian authors, a profound compassion for the poor and 
miserable — the suffering, hopeless mood which weighs upon the 
country everywhere, the entire spirit of this strange nation, 
which is still young and in its prime, and yet sick in spirit, 
and looking faint and weary to a leaden sky. 

In a large picture of 1883 a church procession may be seen 
upon its way forth. All the people from the neighbourhood 
of the village have set out, young and old, halt and sound. 
A troop of peasants, in torn furs and patched clothes, are 
panting as they carry along with stupid looks a heavy shrine, 
hoisted upon poles and festally adorned with ribbons. The 
crowd are pressing and elbowing behind — cripples and hunch- 
backs, a dirty sexton staring straight before him, and old 
women muttering prayers in a dull, smothered ecstasy. And 
a tall country gendarme is laying into them, right and left, 
with the knout, to make room for the clergy, the head of rural 
police, and the village elders. Then there are again masses 
of people, fluttering banners and crucifixes, an endless defile of 



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451 




LtipMtg: StemanM.] 

Repin: "The Miracle of St. Nicholas." 



misery, hebetude, 
helplessness, and 
filth, and at the 
tail of the body 
another gendarme 
with a whip. Huge 
volumes could tell 
no more of the his- 
tory of the countr>' 
than this simple 
picture, in the centre 
of which the knout 
is whistling in the 
very midst of eccle- 
siastical banners. 

Amongst R^pin's 
portraits, those of 
the poet Pissemski, 
with strange, vivid 
eyes ; that of the composer Mussorsky, sketched a few days 
before his death ; that of the novel-writer Vassevolad Garschin, 
who died young by his own hand a few years ago ; and those 
of Count Tolstoi, are worthy of special praise. Tolstoi he has 
painted several times, representing him upon one occasion striding 
behind the plough. 

At comparatively recent exhibitions some historical pictures 
of his made a sensation. After Russian painting had gone through 
the school of life, and bold naturalism had taken the place of 
classical abstraction, painters could venture to utilize national 
history without falsity or theatrical costume. The first attempt 
of this kind had been made by Tschistjakov in his picture 
"Sophie Vitotovna." In the sixties Schwarz, who died early, 
came forward with his energetic representations from the six- 
teenth and seventeenth centuries. Jacohy sought to catch the 
historical physiognomy of Russian Court life in the eighteenth 
century. With his "Puschkin" and his "Peter I." the portrait- 
painter Gay was very successful. Surikov produced his "Bojar 



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MODERN PAINTING 




R^piN : Count Leo Tolstoi. 

Woman Norosovna" and "The Execution of the Strelitzes," 
gloomy and thoroughly Russian pictures, bearing witness to an 
earnest attempt to live the life of the past. But in this field 
also R6pin distanced all his predecessors, plunged into the past 
with most energy and freedom, broke with all tame compromise 
the most abruptly, and conjured up things long gone by with a 
terrible force of conviction, as though they had been seen and 
lived through. His " Ivan the Cruel, who has slain his Son in 
a Sudden Paroxysm of Fury," made such an impression at the 
exhibition of 1885 that the public stood before it horrified, while 
ladies were carried away fainting. It might have recalled the 
best modem historical pictures of Spain, except that R^pin's work 
made a more gloomy, elemental, and barbaric effect. An old 
man, with his face spattered with blood and his savage features 
distorted with despair, kneels on the floor in the centre of a wide 
hall of the Kremlin : his eyes start from their sockets, dilated with 
horror, and stare vacantly in the torture of conscience ; in his arms 
he holds the fainting figure of a youth, over whose countenance, 
which streams with blood, death casts its awful shadow. 

R^pin's picture " The Cossacks' Jeering Reply to the Sultan " is 



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RUSSIA 453 

a combination of magnificent military heads, a collection of figures 
conceived with a force recalling Gogol ; they are figures that are 
really made of flesh and blood, and barbaric to the bone and 
marrow. No brilliant painting of material has been aimed at> 
no grace in line and composition. He makes use of historical 
painting merely to depict children of nature in their primitive 
passions. His picture of St. Nicholas preventing the execution 
of three innocent men who have been condemned to death has 
something butcherly in conception, and in execution something 
inherently thrilling. At once imperious and impressive is the 
gesture with which the saint strikes the arm of the brutal and 
astonished executioner, a man of muscular build, while the enthu- 
siasm of the victims, in their gratitude to their good genius, is 
powerful and convincing. In technique, also, R6pin is a great 
modem master, with a sharp decision in drawing and colour, 
and an earnest, almost ascetic simplicity, which admit only of 
what is indispensable and subservient to the designed effect of 
the picture. His "Ship's Crew" of 1873 was praised as the 
sunniest picture at the Vienna Exhibition ; and from that time 
he has gone forward with a firm step. His works became lighter 
and brighter from year to year ; and R6pin found what Ivanov 
had sought in vain— sun, air, and life. To Russian art he is 
what Menzel is to German and what Manet was to French. He 
breathes the atmosphere of his own time and his own people, 
and since his appearance there has been a greater number of 
masters who have painted Russian life with a knowledge of all 
the resources of the new French technique, together with that 
feeling for nature and humanity which marks the most eminent 
performances of Russian literature. The secret song of the 
steppes, that song of boundless love and boundless sufferings, is 
becoming intelligible to painters at last Their tale is not yet 
complete in the European sessions of art, and beside the Western 
nations they are " dead souls " as yet. But they began a great 
period of liberation in Russian painting, and when that man 
comes who shall arouse these souls from slumber, he may hope 
the best from their youthful vigour which has never been 
worked out. 



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CHAPTER XLIV 

AMERICA 

The previous history of American art — The first Americans who worked 
in England : Benjamin West, John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart 
Newton, Charles Robert Leslie. — The first portrait-painters in 
America itself : Gilbert Stuart, Charles Wilson Peale^ Joseph 
Wright, Loring Charles Elliot, — The grand painting : John Trum^ 
bull, Washington Allston, Emanuel Leutze, — Genre painting: 
William Sydney Mount — The landscape-painters : Thomas Cole, 
Albert Biers tadt, John B, Bristol, Frederick E. Church, J. F. 
Kensett, Sanford R, Gifford, James Fairman, the Morgans, 
William Morris Hunt — The Americans in Paris : Henry Mosler, 
Carl Gutherz, Frederick A, Bridgman, Edwin Weeks, Harry 
Humphrey Moore, Julius Z. Stewart, Charles Spragtie Pearce, 
William T, Dannat, Alexander Harrison, Walter Gay, Eugine 
Vail, Walter MacEwen, — The Americans in Holland: Gari 
Melchers, George Hitchcock, — The Americans in London : John 
Singer Sargent, Henry Muhrmann, — The Americans in Munich: 
Carl Marr, Charles Frederick Ulrich, Robert Koehler, Sion 
Wenban, Orrin Peck, Hermann Hartwich, — The Americans at 
home,— The painters of Negro and Indian life: Winslow Homer, 
A If red Kappes, G, Brush, — The founding of the Society of American 
Artists: Walter Shir law, George Fuller, George Inness, Wyatt 
Eaton^ Dwight William Tryon^ J. Appleton Brawny the Morans^ 
L, C. Tiffany^ John Francis Murphy ^ Childe Hassam^ Julian Alden 
Weir^ H, W, Ranger, H. S. Bisbing, Charles H, Davis, George 
Innessy junior, J. G, Brown, J. M. C. Hamilton, Ridgway Knight, 
Robert William Vonnoh, Charles Edmund Tarbell.—The influence 
of Whistler : Kenyon Cox, W. Thomas Dewing, Julius Rolshoven, 
William Merrit Chase, 

IN spite of its greater geographical distance America lies 
nearer to the artistic centres of Europe than Russia. It is 
only possible to become acquainted with Russian painting in 
the country itself, at its " wandering exhibitions," but the 
successes of the Americans are chronicled in the annals of the 

454 



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AMERICA 455 

Paris Salon. Their art is an exact echo of that of Europe, 
because they have learnt their technique in the leading European 
Academies. Indeed the drama of America is divided into the 
very same acts as that of Europe. The piece which has gone 
the round of the theatres of Europe is produced in America, 
though the names of the actors are not the same. 

Up to the Declaration of Independence in 1776 there were 
neither painters nor sculptors in America. People ate and 
drank, and built, and reclaimed the land, and multiplied. But 
a large bar of iron was of more value than the finest statue, 
and an ell of good cloth was prized more highly than " The 
Transfiguration" of Raphael. Here and there, perhaps, there 
were old family portraits which some emigrant had brought 
with him from Europe, but these were not calculated to awaken 
a taste for art As a rule public buildings were made of wood, 
or of brick at best, and they had no pretensions to style. The 
settlers were poor, and far too much occupied with getting fish 
and potatoes for their daily support to trouble themselves about 
problems of colour. In addition to this, art was repudiated by 
the Quakers as a bauble of the world. And it was only when 
the dollar began to display its might that enterprising portrait- 
painters, who had failed in Europe, occasionally crossed the 
ocean to make the New World happy with their dubious art 

Incited by these strangers, a few young men on the far side 
of the world cherished the belief that they could find a lucra- 
tive vocation by painting. But, since the ground was not yet 
ready for them at home, they first set to work in Europe. As 
soon as he was one-and-twenty, Benjamin West, the first artist 
born in the New World, went over to London, where he after- 
wards became the President of the Royal Academy. He was 
followed by John Singleton Copley, who opposed the Classical 
productions of the age by his vigorous representations of con- 
temporary events of war, while Gilbert Stuart Newton and 
Charles Robert Leslie play a part in the history of English 
genre painting. 

When, at the close of the revolutionary war, the population 
gradually came to know more of peace, artistic needs were 



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456 MODERN PAINTING 

first felt in America itself; but a favourable field was at first 
only offered for portrait- painters, as was the case in England 
also. Born in Narraganset in 1756, Gilbert Stuart was notably 
active in Boston from the year 1793, after he had returned 
from Europe ; and he, to begin with, is a man who might 
hold his own with honour beside the great British portraitists. 
He was a man of independent mind, who neither imitated 
his master, West, nor yet Reynolds and Gainsborough, nor 
borrowed anything from the old painters. " I mean to sec 
nature," he said, " with my own eyes. Rembrandt looked at 
her with his and Raphael with his, and although they have 
nothing in common, both are marvellous." IJe was a masterly 
colourist, and in some of his portraits, such as that of Wash- 
ington in the Boston Athenaeum, or that of " Mr. Grant upon 
the Ice," stands immediately beside Gainsborough. The latter 
picture, in fact, was exhibited in England in 1878 over the 
name of Gainsborough, and was then first put to the credit of 
the real master. 

In addition to Stuart, Charles Wilson Peale^ Joseph Wright, 
Chester Harding, and, more particularly, Loring Charles Elliot 
acquired fame as incisive masters of characterization. Elliot, 
as a matter of fact, was one of the best of his age. A trait of 
greatness and of the most keen and fine characterization runs 
through his pictures. The people he painted are gnarled genuine 
types of that race which felled the woods, cultivated the wide and 
desolate lands, and in the space of a single century gave their 
republic strength to take a place amongst the foremost nations. 
One of these portrait-painters, John Trumbull, who had taken 
part in the War of Independence as Washington's adjutant, and 
who had been for a long time one of West's pupils when a 
political prisoner in London, made a transition from portrait- 
painting to the glorification of his country's deeds in war. 
Influenced by Copley's London pictures, he addressed a letter to. 
the President of the Republic, offering " to preserve the memory of 
every national event by a monumental work." And evidence of 
his muscular energy is specially to be found in the series of mural 
paintings from the American War of Independence with which he 



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AMERICA 457 

embellished the Capitol of Washington in 1817. Besides these 
there are to be seen in American collections historical pieces 
of his, such as "The Battle of Bunkers Hill" "The Death of 
Montgomery/' " The Declaration of American Independence," 
"The Departure of the Garrison from Gibraltar," and other 
works of a similar kind, which in their healthy realism are more 
or less of a parallel to the pictures of Gros. 

By the Romantic movement America was only moderately 
affected, for there were no knights or monks or bandits over 
whom it was possible to wax enthusiastic ; and the tendency 
which reached its climax in Ingres and Cornelius only found a 
representative in Washington Allston. He was a many-sided 
man who had first studied under West, and then for some years 
in Italy, while from 1818 he painted in Boston representations 
from the Bible and from history, portraits, ideal figures, genre 
pictures, and landscapes. He was lauded for his poetic vein, and 
named the American Titian. Such enthusiasm on the part of 
contemporaries is, of course, invariably followed by a more 
chastened style of criticism, and Koehler, in his history ot 
American painting, can find nothing to say to Allston's advantage. 
Nevertheless, so far as his principal works can be judged by 
reproductions, he seems to have been a strong and forcible artist, 
" The Two Sisters," " Jeremiah and the Scribe," and " The Dead 
Man raised after touching the Bones of Elisha" are favourable 
samples of his work. The drawing is noble and large, the idea 
simple and deep, and the figures betray something bluff, out- 
landish, and realistically angular, which brings him nearer the 
English Preraphaelites than the Idealists. 

With Allston's death in 1843, however, his style became 
extinct, and the genius of grand painting* departed from the 
New World for ever, while a German, Emanuel Leutze, went 
further on the path trodden by West and Copley. Born in 
Wurtemberg and nearly chosen as Director in Diisseldorf, he can- 
not altogether be reckoned amongst the Americans. And indeed 
his pictures from the War of Liberation are really American in 
nothing except subject ; while it is, at most, the staid, virile trait 
in his work which distinguishes him from the Diisseldorfers. 
VOL. III. 30 



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458 MODERN PAINTING 

However his " Washington crossing the Delaware " is a sincere 
and loyal historical picture, which in its quiet, matter-of-fact 
composition rather resembles an earnest artist like Copley than 
Lessing with his sentimentalism and exaggeration. 

After Leutze had shown the way, Germany for a time took 
the place of England and Italy as a training-school for American 
artists. A whole troop — Edward White, William Henry Powell, 
and Henry Peters Gray amongst the number — followed him to Diis- 
seldorf, and, after their return, endowed the world with historical 
pictures of a sentimental and academical cast. Even the genre 
painters in America differed little from their Diisseldorf con- 
temporaries. Mention should be made of a pupil of Meyerheim, 
Thomas Hill, who was fond of making his Californian landscapes 
the stage for idyllic scenes of childhood, and there was Daniel 
Huntingdon, who at the close of his life, when he was President 
of the New York Academy, indulged in allegorical pictures, such 
as " Mercy's Dream," " The Sibyls," apd the like. The place 
taken in England by Wilkie belongs in America to William 
Sydney Mount. Himself a farmer, he adapted the life of American 
countryfolk and negroes for facetious purposes. But though he 
made use of a studio upon wheels, with which he was able to 
go round the country, his pictures — " Bargaining for a Horse," 
**The Cheat," "The Little Thieves," and so forth — might just 
as well have been painted in England or Germany as in America. 

Indeed the most original work produced in American painting 
in those days was done in the field of landscape. William CuUen 
Bryant's Thanatopsis appeared in 1 8 1 7, and this was a book which 
had the same significance for America as the works of Thomson 
and Rousseau had for England and France : soon afterwards 
** The Hudson-River School " began to rise, glorifying the marvels 
of the Rocky Mountains, the banks of the Hudson, and the 
American lakes, though at first only in the Classical style. The 
real initiator of the movement was Thotnas Cole, who goes on lines 
more or less parallel with those of the Germans Koch and 
Reinhart, and in some of his works with those of Joseph Vernet. 
Poussin was his ideal, historical composition his strong point, and 
colour his weakness. 



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AMERICA 459 

Then, for a time, German Romanticism with its lyrical temper 
and its sickly passion for moonshine became the determining in- 
fluence. As Cole, who came from England, applied the principles 
-of Wilson to American mountain scenery, Albert Bierstadt^ who 
was born in Diisseldorf, introduced the Diisseldorfian manner of 
landscape into the New World. Having studied under Lessing 
on the Rhine in 1853, he took part in 1858 in an expedition 
of General Lander in the Rocky Mountains, and these wild 
regions of the West gave him henceforth the material for his 
pictures. Whole mountain chains stretch out like a panorama, 
and deep mountain lakes, and wild masses of shattered cliff, 
and headlong waterfalls and silent forests. Only a trapper, 
a cowboy, or an Indian riding bareback after buffalo gives 
occasional animation to the desolate wilderness. Matters of 
such ethnographical interest met with approval in Europe 
also, and quite naturally. At the time when Gude represented 
Norway, his native land, for the benefit of the European 
public, Bierstadt put into the market the boundless American 
prairies with their herds of buffalo, the defiant, gigantic forms 
of the mountain cliffs, and the valleys of California— pictures 
which united geographical accuracy with the effort to compass 
-dazzling meteorological effects. John B. Bristol and Frederick 
Edward Church followed a similar course, representing with 
strong effects of light or mere photographic exactness views of 
Chimborazo, of tropical moonlight in Mexico, of the thundering 
falls of Niagara, and of the huge mountain masses of the West. 
The Alps were also popular, and the rich fields of Italy. 
J, F, Kensett, who is said to have had a fine feeling for the 
poetry of colour and to have painted admirably the lovely shores 
•of the mountain lakes in America, enjoys the fame of being the 
best master of technique, while Sanford R, Gifford.^n American 
Hildebrandt, who glorified all the phenomena of light in America, 
Italy, and the East, is reputed to be the most many-sided of this 
group. Amongst other landscapists of the sixties George Loring 
Brown, a sort of American Claude, Worthington Whitredge of 
Ohio, a pupil of Achenbach, John W, Casilear, Albert Bellows, 
Richard W, Hubbard, W. T, Richards, F. Cropsey, Edward Gay, 



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460 



MODERN PAINTING 




Amtrican Art Btvinv,] 

Hunt: "Sheep in a Meadow." 



and IV. Stanley Haseltine 
may be mentioned ; but 
it is impossible for one 
who is not an American 
to judge of their work. 
In general the career of 
American landscape seems 
to have been that, under 
the influence of European 
paysage intime^ artists 
gradually came to lay less 
weight upon mere subject, 
and aimed at producing 
an effect by purely artistic 
means. Gracious studies 
of light, and intimate views 
of forest paths, and distant 
huts and meadowland, took 
the place of pompous dra-^ 
matic efforts, wild mountain landscapes, and glaring fireworks, 
A knowledge of the English water-colour artists De Wint and 
Cox was communicated by Jafnes Fairman, who was by birth a 
Scot, while the three brothers William^ Peter^ and Thomas Morgan 
have been manifestly influenced by Turner in their strong sense 
of the effect of light. A couple of Dutch emigrants, Albert 
van Beest and F, de Haas^ painted the first sea-pieces, and were 
followed by Harry Chase, who had gone to Holland in 1862 
to study under Kruseman van Elten and Mesdag. These were 
no longer scenes with a dramatic intention — ^ships wrecked in a 
storm upon the cliffs or labouring against high-running waves — 
such as C. Petersen, W. E. Norton, and A. T Bricher had a pre- 
dilection for painting. On the contrary, they were quiet 
representations of the simple poetry of the sea. James M. Hart 
and Hamilton Hamilton, under the influence of the Fontainebieau 
school, turned to the portrayal of the American forests, resplendent 
in red and yellow foliage, and of animals lying on the rich 
meadows. The most important of these men was William Morris 



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Niw York: AppMon,} 

Mosler: "The Prodigal Son." 



//««/, who from 1846 
had been for some time 
a sculptor in Diisseldorf, 
and had undergone a 
long apprenticeship under 
Couture in Paris and 
Millet in Barbizon before 
he returned to settle 
down in Boston. In 
particular he has painted 
certain pieces with sheep 
which approach Charles 
Jacque in delicacy. 

Such essentially was 
the result of the career 
of American art up to 
i860. America had in- 
•dividual painters, but no 
formed school. But the ambition to stand on a level with other 
nations was gaining ground, and to do this it was necessary to 
5tudy systematically abroad. Earlier artists had only left America 
■on brief trips which left no permanent impressions; the next 
generation made itself at home all over Europe. Diisseldorf, 
to which Leutze and Bierstadt had directed attention, was no 
longer even thought of as a training-school. As for Munich, it 
wavered indecisively between Kaulbach and Piloty. But Paris 
enjoyed all the greater celebrity. Here, under G6r6me, Lemuel 
Everett Wilwarth^ who was a teacher of the New York School 
■of Art, had already gained the principles of knowledge with 
which he impressed his pupils. Hence had come Francois Regis 
Gignoux and Asher Brown-Durand^ two French landscapists who 
made a great sensation in New York during the sixties. So 
Paris became for the American generation of i860 what it had 
teen for the Germans of 1850. And, treating the Parisian 
Americans alone, it would be easy to write a short history of 
French art, for they distinctly reflect the French methods of 
various epochs. 



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462 MODERN PAINTING 

When the first Americans came to Paris the new seeds planted 
by Courbet and the Fontainebleau landscapists had not yet forced 
their way to the surface. The scholastic and externally brilliant 
painting of Couture was the centre of interest. Bouguereau had 
achieved his earliest successes, and the cold porcelain style of 
G6r6me was an object of admiration. And there was also the 
discreetly chastened peasant- painting of Breton, whose "Return 
of the Reapers" had placed him in 1853 in the front rank of 
French genre painters. To these masters the first Americans 
who came to study in Paris most naturally turned. 

The old genre painting found its representative in Henry 
Mosler^ who was born in 1840 in New York. His most lasting 
impressions he received in the years when Knau$ made his suc- 
cesses in Paris, and when Breton came forward with his earliest 
pictures of peasant life. Mosler's works — for example, "The 
Tinker," "The Harvest Festival," "The Last Moments," and 
" The Prodigal Son " — are good genre pictures, which might be 
ascribed to Vautier or Bokelmann, or one of the French painters 
of the village tale, say Brion, Marchal, or Breton. . 
. , Bouguereau's scented Neo-Classicism with a tendency to be 
feebly fanciful had its satellite in Carl Gutherz^ a Swiss by 
birth, who had come to Paris as a boy in 185 1. One of his 
principal pictures, which was painted in 1888, was called "Lux 
Incarnationis." From the manger in Bethlehem there shone a 
beaming light. The air was filled with heavenly squadrons,, 
spreading throughout space like gleaming and hovering clouds. 
In the foreground beautiful, slender young angels, with many- 
coloured wings, issued from the glittering throng, with golden 
aureoles crowning their young heads. There were nude little 
boy * angels also, following them and scattering the flowers of 
heaven, which turned to rosy clouds. All these angels, however, 
were modernized French Cinquecento angels ; they were feeble 
and mawkish every one of them, and suggested a monotonous 
atmosphere of perfume. " Ecce Homo," " Sappho," " The Temp- 
tation of St. Anthony," "The Golden Legend," and "The 
Midsummer Night's Dream" are titles of other pictures of his 
which are as motley as they are feeble. 



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AMERICA 



463 




New yon; Appieion.] 



Bridgman : " In the Harem." 



When translated into American, G6r6me means Frederick 
A, Bridg?nan. From 1863 to 1866 he was steel -engraver to 
an American company for making banknotes, and thus well 
prepared when he came to Gerdme, the hard Classicist, whom 
he resolutely followed to the East He trod the soil of Africa 
for the first time in 1872, travelled through Algiers and Egypt> 
and then became the painter of these regions — and not alone 
of their present populations, but of their classical past as well. 
His "Burial of a Mummy" won the gold medal at the Paris 
World Exhibition of 1878, and in 1881 he was able to bring 
together three hundred and thirty pictures of the East at an 
exhibition in New York. Under G^rdme Bridgman acquired 
great dexterity, learning from him all that was to be learnt ; he 
is indeed a little more flexible than his teacher, though at 
bottom a hard Classicist also. White draperies, dark skin tints, 
shining marble and keen blue atmosphere, ethnographical accuracy 
and a taste for anecdote, are the leading characteristics of his 
pictures. He does not fail to specify that his negro festival, for 
example, takes place "In Blidah;" and when he shows a beauty 



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464 



MODERN PAINTING 




Munich : Han/stdngl.} 



Weeks: "The Last Journey." 



of the harem fallen upon by a sensual assassin in the series 
called "The Sacrifice of Virtue," he pays tribute to G6r6me's 
delight in executioners. His white, cold porcelain pictures are, 
like those of G6r6me, judiciously composed, deftly carried out, 
and exceedingly pretty in detail, but they are hard and motley, 
paltry and inexpressive of temperament 

After working under G6r6me, Edwin Lord Weeks (born in 
Boston in 1849) penetrated yet further into the East The 
earliest pictures which he sent to the Paris Salon represented 
scenes from remote parts of Morocco. With caravans organized 
by himself he pressed into the hidden interior of this empire to 
paint the strange reality. Not to become monotonous, he then 
passed to India, which he explored in all directions, finding 
that scenery, architecture, and the ways of men provided him 
with a yet greater wealth of materials. With peculiar delight 
he lingered in the sacred city of Benares, on the banks of the 
Ganges, where pagoda follows pagoda and mosque follows 
mosque, and the steam of the funeral piles where the corpses 
of devout Hindoos are burning mounts into the air. The 



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AMERICA 



46s 




iBrauH photo. 
Stewart: "The Hunt Ball." 

{By pgrmisaion of Messrs. Ad. Braun <S* Co., tht owners of th§ copyright.) 

Streets swarm with figures clad in white and with white 
turbans, and protected from the rays of the sun by huge and 
gaudy umbrellas. Brown and half-naked men and women 
occupied in washing clothes squat upon the bank ; and slender 
dark-skinned girls with fans of Indian palm walk along past 
dazzling marble palaces. In his studies from Hindostan Weeks 
has portrayed with great knowledge of Indian nature the 
pictorial and grotesque features of the Hindoos, and the 
splendour of burning sunlight shed over all their doings. The 
intense white tropical sun pours down upon the white marble 
temples, gleams upon the variegated silken costumes, broods 
upon the brown skin of the people, glitters upon the tails of 
peacocks and the gold-embroidered hangings of the elephants. 
And it is only Verestchagin's Oriental pictures which reach 
such a dazzling tropical effect. 

A third pupil of G^rdme, Harry Humphrey Moore, turned to 
Japan, though before doing so he went through a second 
course of apprenticeship, for he worked under Fortuny in Rome. 
The latter gave him the pungency and sparkle of his painting, 
and as, some dozen years ago, the bold, capricious pictures 



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466 MODERN PAINTING 

of the Spaniard were deemed worth their weight in gold, the 
refined Japanese studies of Moore, glittering in red and yellow, 
are at present much sought after in America. 

Julius L. Stewart, a Parisian from Philadelphia, and the 
son of an American collector who possesses the best pictures 
of Fortuny, reversed the course of Moore — that is to say, he 
had been a pupil of Fortuny's pupil Zamacois before he placed 
himself under G6r6me — and the lively variety of colour and 
spirited improvization of his works bear witness to his artistic 
descent. In result of Fortuny 's influence, Stewart has become a 
thorough man of the world, a painter of society, and one of capti- 
vating grace, whose " Hunt Ball " and " Five-O'Clock Tea " were 
amongst the most refined pictures of the Paris Exhibition of 1889. 

Straitened by no old artistic traditions, the Americans 
had not any occasion to do homage to conservative opinions 
in their painting. The words Classicism and Naturalism had 
no meaning for them. They merely repaired to the studios 
where they believed themselves able to learn most. Having 
given a preference in the beginning to academicians of the 
Ecole des Beaux Arts, they were the first who afterwards went 
with the new movement in Paris which set in the direction of 
landscape and Naturalism. Even those who studied under 
Bonnat and Carolus Duran in the beginning of the seventies 
did not remain faithful to the method of their teachers, but 
with an astonishing instinct found out the masters to whom the 
future belonged. Counsel was sought from Manet and Monet, 
Bastien-Lepage and Dagnan-Bouveret, Millet and Cazin, in turn. 
In many of these Americans it is only their particular mitier that 
is interesting, what the Parisians call faire les Rousseau, /aire 
les Carriere, faire les Bastien. And in all one recognizes certain 
influences, whether they follow the landscapists of 1830, move 
in the train of Puvis de Chavannes or Besnard, or infest the 
neighbourhood of Giverny to study the bold atmospheric vibra- 
tions of Claude Monet. But as they never follow old-fashioned 
models, but invariably the most modern, they are characteristic, 
if not of American, at all events of the most novel tendencies 
of French painting, and that in a very striking way. 



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467 ;■,! 




Nno York : AppMon,} 



Pearce: "The Shepherdess/ 
{By ptrmissioH of th§ Artist.) 



Charles Sprague Pearce of Boston, who came to Bonnat 
in 1873, when he was two-and-twenty, and has since lived 
on the Seine as one of the finest artists of the American 
colony, has a preference for Picardy. His shepherdesses, 
peasant girls, and women chopping wood or minding their 
herds, are the works of a man who acquired a forcible 
technique under Bonnat and studied Bastien-Lepage with under- 
standing. 

Then there is William J, Dannat^ a broad painter, who 
began his studies in Munich, and then went to Munkacsy in 
Paris. Now he is a man upwards of forty, working as teacher 
at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, and notable as a spirited observer 
of the pictorial peculiarities of Spain. He is a dandy of art 
for whom conventional beauty is a thing utterly thrashed out, 
a juggler of the brush who can do whatever he likes, and there- 
fore likes to show all that he can do. His earliest pictures — 
" A Quartette," " A Sacristy in Arragon," and so forth — obviously 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Pans: BoiU8od-Valadon,\ 



Dannat : " Spanish Women." 
{By p€rmiBsum of tfu Ariiit,) 



owe their existence to similar works of Manet At present 
Degas is his ideal, and the study of artificial light his field of 
experiment The representation of a Spanish ca// chantant 
made him the enfant terrible of the Munich Exhibition in 1892. 
Six rouged and squalling Spanish girls, clattering castanets, 
and each more hideous than the other, are sitting upon a bench 
s^ainst a light grey background. The electric light falling 
full upon them makes a caricature of every colour, and plays 
upon their faces in violet, pale red, green, and blue reflections. 
The whole thing looked like an audacious tavern sign, and it 
was only noticed by those who were not disposed to lose their 
temper that the scene had been observed with the ready instinct 
of a Japanese, and painted alia prima with a sureness which 
only few living artists could command. 

Alexander Harrison has made a close study of Besnard and 
Cazin. He has not painted much, but every one of his pictures 
was a palpable hit The earliest and most unassuming, a small 
landscape, discreet and delicate in its effect, displayed a stream- 



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AMERICA 



469 




Pmris: Batssod-ValadonJ] 



Harrison: "In Arcady." 



let and trees, in the midst of which a gap allowed the sight of 
a peaceful landscape in the light of evening. The second, 
"In Arcady," was one of the finest studies of light which have 
been painted since Manet. The manner in which the sunlight 
fell upon the high grass and slender trees, its rays gliding over 
branch and shrub, touching the green blades like shining gold, 
and glancing over the nude bodies of fair women — herje over a 
hand, here over a shoulder, and here again over the bosom — was 
painted with such virtuosity, felt with such poetry, and so free 
from all the heaviness of earth that one hardly had the sense 
of looking at a picture at all. The luminous painting of Besnard 
had here reached its final expression, and the summit of classic 
finish was surmounted. His third picture was called " The Wave." 
To seize such phenomena of nature in their completeness — things 
so fickle and so hard to arrest in their mutability — had been 
the chief study of French painters since Manet When Harrison 
exhibited his " Wave," sea-pieces by Duez, Roll, and Victor Binet 
were also in existence ; but Harrison's " Wave " was the best 
of them all. The rendering of water, the crystal transparency 



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470 



MODERN PAINTING 




I^ew iork: Apple ton,] 



Gay: "The Sewing-School." 



of the billows with their changing light, was in this case so 
extraordinarily faithful that one was tempted to declare that 
the water of the others was absolutely solid, compared with 
this elemental essence of moisture. If one looked long at this 
heaving and subsiding tide, this foaming revel of waves, one 
almost felt a sort of giddiness, and fancied one's self riding 
upon the high-running crests of the billows over the bottomless 
sea. Air and the motion of waves were, during the following 
years, the chief objects of Harrison's study. In his picture of 
1892 a greenish-yellow evening sky arched over a motionless 
stretch of green-yellow sea, where nude women were bathing 
in the full play of green-yellow reflections. The entire picture 
was almost one monotony of greenish yellow in its discreetly 
wavering hues ; but with what delicacy were these varieties of 
tone differentiated ! What play there was of light ! how the 
sea flashed and glittered ! and with what a bloom the bodies 
of the women rose against the air ! Evening lay dreamy and 
darkling over a still woodland lake in his picture of 1893. A 



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AMERICA 



471 




funs: uvunsod'yaiadon.^ 



Melchers: "The Sermon.** 



skiff, with the naked figure ot a young man in it, sailed in this 
far-off solitude. The effect was large and solemn, unostentatious 
and yet great. 

A pupil of Bonnat, Walter Gay of Boston, seems to feel 
specially at home amongst the peasants of the west of France, 
and, with that rather tiresome frankness of Northern painters — a 
frankness which fails to express the temperament of the artist 
— he studies the manners of the people where they are primitive 
and naive. Through large windows hung with thin curtains 
the bright daylight falls into the clean rooms of peasants, 
gleaming on the boards of the floor, the shining tops of the 
tables, and the white caps of the women, who sit at their 
work sewing ; it is the familiar problem of light for which 
Liebermann, Kuehl, and Uhde have also a predilection. 
Eugene Vail^ who was influenced by Mesdag and De Nittis, 
shrouds his Dutch sea-pieces and pictures of the port of 
London in a heavy, melancholy mist. Walter MacEwen of 
Chicago paints interiors with delicate light, moist sea air, and 



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MODERN PAINTING 



Aig^^g ~% 


-^^^^■^ 


.. 1 


f^ -J . ■^tjJ^T^^^pjh^^ ■ 




^^^^^^H^P^^^^K *■ ^^^^^^^^^^H 


HM^SMfc^ Y N^ggjd 


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.'Sfift^vycjti!', 


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*fm$i. 




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.^■,':^^: 




. '.'^- ■ 


r - 



Paris ; Boussod- ValadoM.'\ 



Hitchcock: "Maternity.*' 



monotonous dunes with labourers returning in the evening from 
their day's work. 

Before migrating to Paris both of these painters had long 
worked in Holland, whither Liebermann had shown the way 
at the close of the seventies, and where Gari Melchers and 
George Hitchcock are occupied at the present time. 

Gari Melchers^ once a pupil of the Classicists Boulanger and 
Lefebure, has something thoroughly Dutch in his temperament, 
as indeed his name would indicate, only he lacks the peculiar 
tenderness of the Dutch. Like the Dutch amongst whom he 
lives, he paints scenes from the life of peasants and fishermen 
in Holland, and has discovered a peculiarly congenial field of 
study in the plain, whitewashed village churches of the country. 
His first effort of this kind, "The Sermon" of 1886, was 
painted in a very robust style, and seen with sincerity. A few 
peasant women, in their picturesque costume, are sitting piously 
following the words of the preacher, whom one does not see,. 



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AMERICA 



473 




[Bassano photo. 
George Hitchcock. 



though the expression of the 
faces IS painted so convincingly 
that one seems to hear him. Gari 
Melchers is, indeed, a sincere and 
quiiet observer, and approaches 
nature with energy, though he 
looks into the world with the 
cold objectivity of a camera. 
His figures are heavy and 
motionless, his pictures arid and 
wanting in poetry ; they are all 
flooded with the same hard 
Northern daylight. In the pre- 
sence of his picture " The Lord's 
Supper," painted, as it is, in such 
a staid and matter-of-fact style, 
one almost feels compassion for people whose religion is so 
entirely without any sort of mystical grace. The church itselt 
IS bald and monotonous ; and the dull blue, green, and grey 
colours of the dresses, which give the picture its peculiarly 
chill and arid tone, are in keeping with the church. 

George Hitchcock^ who also lives in Egmond, unites to the 
Dutch phlegm a certain delicate, English Preraphaelite nuance. 
One knows the Dutch spring, when, through the famous culture 
of flowers, towns like Haarlem and Egmond are surrounded with 
a dazzling, variegated carpet of tulips, dark and bright red, violet 
and sky-blue, white and bordered with yellow, when the air is 
filled with intoxicating perfume and the nightingales warble 
in the green woods. A picture like this, an actual picture 
entitled "Tulip Growing," was the foundation of Hitchcock's 
reputation in the Salon of 1885. In one of his later works 
a field of white lilies stretched along beside a green meadow. 
The flowers had shot up high and almost reached to the 
girdle of the young country girl who moved, grave and 
thoughtful, through the idyllic landscape. A faint circkt of 
beams hovered above her head ; it was Mary awaiting the 
joyous tidings of the angel. The dunes, too, with their tall 
vou in. 31 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Magwsint of Art. ^ 

Sargent: "A Venetian Street-Scene." 
(J5y ptrmisaion of the Artist.) 



grey - green grass^ 
and their damp and 
melancholy atmo- 
sphere, he had a 
delight in painting. 
Here stands a shep- 
herdess — one with 
the name of Jeanne 
d'Arc — lost in 
thought beside her 
flock, and here 
young peasant 
wives, accompanied 
by their children,, 
wend their way home from their work in the fields. 

While these Americans at work in Holland acquire a certain 
provincial character, a cordial and phlegmatic trait, in harmony 
with their place of resort, those in London are accomplished 
men of the world, who have travelled much and are graceful, 
subtile, and scintillating. In Paris they have absorbed every- 
thing that is to be learnt there, and they combine with their 
Parisian ckic a fragrant Anglo-Saxon aroma. 

At their head stands John Singer Sargent^ one of the most 
dazzling men of talent in the present day. Born in Florence 
in 1856, Sargent is still a young man. In Florence and in 
France he was brought up arhid brilliant surroundings, and 
thus acquired as a boy what is wanting to many painters 
throughout their whole lives — refined and exquisite taste. Having 
copied portraits after the old Venetians, he began to study 
under Carolus Duran, and he is now what Carolus Duran once 
was — a painter of the most mundane elegance. Indeed, com- 
pared with Sargent's women, those of Duran are like village 
belles. Psychological analysis of character, it is true, is a thing 
as alien to him as it was to his teacher ; but how thoroughly 
successful he is in reproducing the fragrant odeur de fevime^. 
and in catching the physiognomy, fashion, gesture, tone, 
and spirit of a dignified aristocracy! How vividly his women 



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AMERICA 



475 




Mag(tzin€ of Art.'\ 

Sargent: Portrait of Himself. 
{By pgrmiasioH of tht Artist.) 



Stand out in their exquisitely 
tasteful dresses ! No one has 
painted those professional 
beauties who consecrate every- 
thing to self-adoration with a 
more complete understanding 
of what he was about. No 
one is so triumphant in ar- 
resting the haughty reserve of 
a woman, the delicate com- 
plexion of a girl, a flitting 
smile, an ironical or timid 
glance, a mien, a turn of the 
head, or a tremor of the lips. 
No one has such a compre- 
hension of the eloquent grace 
of delicate,, sensitive hands playing with a fan or quietly folded 
together. He is the painter of subtile and often strange and 
curious beauty, conscious of itself and displaying its charms in 
the best light — a fastidious artist of exquisite taste, the most 
refined painter of feminine portraits of the present day. His 
portrait of Mrs. Boit made an impression of power like a 
Velasquez, and those of Mrs. Henry White, Mrs. Comyns Carr,. 
and the group of the Misses Vickers, one of very great dis- 
tinction. In the year 1887 he painted the portrait of Mrs. 
Playfair, a lady with a majestic figure, standing in yellowish- 
white silk with a dark green mantle in front of a white and 
red background ; that of Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth was 
painted in 1890. 

But the smile of the modern sphinx is not his only theme,, 
for he also renders the grace of high-bred children ; and as a 
painter of children he is equalled by Renoir alone. The four 
little girls playing in a great dark hall in his "Portrait of the 
Misses F." were exquisite indeed, and painted with a veracity 
that was entirely natve and novel ; all the poses were natural, all 
the colours subtile, those of the furniture, the great Japanese 
vases, the bright vaporous dresses, the silk stockings. In a 



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476 



MODERN PAINTING 
TTT 




Gum. dts Beaux- Arts.} 



Sargent: "El Jaleo." 
(By permUtion of tht ArtisU) 



picture of 1891 a] most enchanting young girl, seen full-face, sat 
bolt-upright upon a plain high wooden chair in front of dark 
wainscoting, looking dreamily and unsuspectingly before her, out 
of widely opened brown eyes, like those of a gazelle ; while in 
the charming picture "Carnation Lily Lily Rose," which now 
hangs in the South Kensington Museum, a fine effect of light d la 
Besnard is united with delicate observation of child-life. The 
scene takes place at the hour of dusk in a pretty garden nook 
belonging to an English country place. Amid green leaves and 
rosy flowers growing thickly, two little girls, with the gravest 
faces in the world, are intent on lighting great Japanese lanterns, 
the light of which struggles with the twilight, casting tremulous 
reddish beams upon the foliage and the children's dresses. 

Sargent is French in his entire manner, and, above every- 
thing, a painter for painters. Of poetry and inward absorption 
he has no trace. Like Besnard, he is a subtile virtuoso, though 
undoubtedly an artist who challenges the admiration of his 
fellows, while the great public stand in perplexity before his 
pictures. His mitier interests him, and therefore he interests 



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AMERICA 



477 



others. His pic- 
tures, moreover, 
always show the 
work of the hand. 
Every stroke can be 
followed. Every- 
thing lives and 
breathes and moves 
and trembles. 
Some scenes from 
Venice and from 
Spanish cafh chan- 
tantSy perhaps, show 
the full degree of 
his ability. Need- 
less to state he has 
not represented the 
Grand Canal nor 
the Palace of St 
Mark, for anything 
so banal and thread- 
bare would hardly 
suit his taste. On 
the contrary, his 
views from Venice 
only contain scenes 
from dark holes 

and corners of the town, or from low halls where a sunbeam is 
coyly falling. Or a pair of girls, wrapped in dirty greenish-yellow 
shawls, are flitting through the streets in their little wooden 
shoes like lizards. In 1882 he painted a gipsy dance with a 
gallant maestria which would have delighted Goya. Degas 
alone would have rendered the movement of the dancing-girl, 
in all her melting lines, with such astonishing sureness of hand, 
and Manet alone would have rendered the guitarrero with so 
much naturalness. One of his later masterpieces, " Carmencita," 
a portrait of the Spanish dancer, dressed in orange and advancing 




Sargent : " Carhencita.' 



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478 MODERN PAINTING 

to the footlights with her hand resting upon her hip, has come 
into the possession of the Muste Luxembourg. 

Together with Sargent amongst the London Americans, Henry 
Muhmiann has specially come to the front at recent exhibitions. 
Trained in Munich, he now works by preference in Hastings, 
and amid the dark cliffs of this old seaside town he has painted 
landscapes of a dim, melancholy, and earnest depth. With 
their fine instinct for novelty, their presage of the tendency of 
the future, the Americans are well able to estimate the value 
of European schools of art. For this reason they seek neither 
Berlin nor Diisseldorf amongst German centres of art, but 
only Munich, nor did they come even here until Munich had 
•decisively joined in the great modern movement 

In Munich Carl Marr has acquired the reputation of being 
an artist of uncommon soundness. He cannot be called par- 
ticularly spirited nor particularly intimate in feeling ; and many 
young painters shake their heads with indifference when they 
behold his pictures — wearisome and sound, sound and wearisome. 
Marr is no stormy revolutionary; he is a worker, a born 
professor for an academy, whose talent is made up of the 
elements of will, work, study, and patience. He is possessed 
of an arid precision, to which it is not difficult to do justice, 
and through this quiet, sure-footed Naturalism, free from all 
extravagances, he has won many admirers — not indeed amongst 
epicures, but at any rate amongst the conservatives in art 

His large " Procession of Flagellants," by which he introduced 
himself to the artistic world in 1889, was a good, serious, historical 
picture, which had no false vehemence. One could not go 
into great raptures at seeing a bright historical painting taking 
the place of one which was brown, but it was impossible not 
to recognize the draughtsmanlike qualities and the courage 
and endurance requisite for illustrating so big a canvas. His 
next picture, "Germany in 1806," was more intimate and sensitive 
in feeling : in subject, indeed, it was not entirely free from features 
savouring of German genre and Die Gartenlaube^ but from a 
technical standpoint it had interest, since it bore witness, for 
the first time, to the observation of twilight in an interior, 



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AMERICA 479 

after a period in which brightness of painting had been insisted 
on in a one-sided fashion. Even in his "Summer Day" of 
1892 he showed that he had the art of producing a genre 
picture intelligible to the great public with the resources of 
modern plein-air painting. The girls, and mothers and children, 
sitting under the leaves in the garden, were pretty enough to 
delight the Sunday crowd of sightseers, while the brilliancy 
of the sun rippling through the foliage, and the motes of light 
playing upon the ground and the human figures, were inter- 
preted with consummate ability. In fact Marr has the capacity 
of satisfying every one. His pictures attract the most incompetent 
judges because they tell a story, and yet the soundness of 
their technique is so great that they cannot offend the most 
-exacting. 

Charles Frederick Ulrich^ who was born in New York, and 
afterwards became a pupil of Lofftz and Lindenschmit, has 
found much that is pretty to paint in Italy. In fact he takes a 
place in the group represented by Ludwig Pasini, Zezzos, Nono, 
Tito, Cecil van Haanen, Franz Ruben, Eugene Blaas, William 
Logsdail, Henry Woods, and others. The richly coloured city of 
the lagunes is his domain — not romantic Venice, but the Venice 
of the day, with its narrow ways and pretty girls, Venice with 
its glittering effects of light and picturesque figures in the streets. 
Laundresses and women making bouquets sit laughing and 
jesting over their work — the same coquettish girls with black or 
red hair, pearly white teeth, and neat little slippers who move 
also in the works of Tito. What distinguishes Ulrich from the 
Italians is merely that he loves refinement and softness in making 
transitions, mild lustre of colour, and distinction and sobriety in 
general tone, after the fashion of the English water-colour artists, 
in contradistinction to the pyrotechnics of Fortuny. 

Mention should be made also of the portraits and unpre- 
tentious sketches from street-life in Munich by Robert Koehler 
of Milwaukee, and of good landscapes and etchings by Sion 
Wenban. Orrin Peck attracted attention in 1889 by a picture 
named "From Him," a thoughtful piece of Dusseldorfian work 
Avith modern technique. And Hermann Harhvich^ a pupil of 



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48o MODERN PAINTING 

Lofftz, chiefly finds his subjects in South Tyrol and the North 
of Italy: interiors with grandmothers and children, laundresses 
upon sunny meadows, or winter landscapes with cattle-dealers 
and shivering animals. 

True it is that all these painters reveal nothing American. They 
are, indeed, hardly to be distinguished from their French, English, 
and German colleagues. But the swiftness and ability with which 
America came to support herself upon European crutches in the 
matter of technique is all the more admirable. All these men 
have become good soldiers in the armies of foreign leaders. They 
have learnt to stand firmly on their feet in Europe, and that in 
itself is a great achievement. Even as late as the year 1878- 
Mr. G. W. Sheldon was able to write in an article upon American 
art published in Harper's Magazine : " The great defect of 
American art — to speak in the spirit of self-examination and 
soberness — is ignorance. American artists, with a few conspicuous 
exceptions, have not mastered the science of their profession. 
They did not learn early enough how to draw ; they have not 
practised drawing persistently enough or long enough. . . . They 
have not clear ideas of what art is and of what art demands." 

But now after less than twenty years exactly the opposite has 
come to pass. What is striking in all American pictures is their 
eminent technical ability. There is displayed in these pictures 
a strenuous discipline of talent, an eff'ort to probe the subject as 
artistically as possible, a thoroughness seldom equalled even by 
the " thoroughness " of the Germans. And technique being the 
basis of every art, the groundwork for the growth of a specially 
American school has been thus created. 

It is, of course, impossible for one who is not an American 
to make for himself any clear sketch of transatlantic art But 
according to the accounts which reach us from the United States, 
a powerful artistic movement, expressing itself by the foundation 
of numerous galleries, art schools, and art unions, must have 
passed through the country during the last twenty years. In 
every really large town there are industrial museums and picture 
galleries, and sometimes these are of great importance ; the 
modern section of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, 



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AMERICA 481 

in particular, is one of the best of the kind. Academies of Art 
have sprung up in all directions, the most distinguished being 
those of Boston, New York, Newhaven, and Philadelphia, beside 
which there are comprehensive private collections. Their illus- 
trated magazines are supported by a most extensive circle of 
readers, and are sometimes periodicals of such high artistic 
character that Europe has nothing similar that can be placed 
beside them. The Century and Harper's Magazine^ for instance, 
count amongst their illustrators men whose names are held in 
esteem in both hemispheres, such as Edwin A, Abbey ^ Charles 5. 
Reinhart^ Howard Pyle^ Joseph Pennell^ and Alfred Parsons. More- 
over a new school for the art of woodcut engraving has come 
into being, with Frederick Jungling, Closson, and Timothy Cole 
at its head, and these men stand to their European colleagues as 
a spirited etcher to a neat line-engraver in copper. And even as 
regards painting, the Paris Exhibition of 1889 and the Munich 
Exhibition of 1892 bore witness that an individual movement was 
already stirring in America, and that American art was no longer 
an appanage of European, but an independent growth, an 
organism which had set itself free from Europe. In the Paris 
Exhibition of 1855 the Americans had no section to themselves. 
In 1867, it is true, they had three sides of a small inner gallery, 
but only excited interest amongst their compatriots. In 1878 
they were represented by a larger quantity of pictures and better 
quality. But in 1889 the American section was one of the most 
admirable in the World Exhibition. Not only were there painters 
who, after they had become known in Europe, had continued to 
work energetically according to the principles acquired in the old 
world, but there were likewise young artists who had completed 
their schooling across the ocean, and boldly went their own way, 
untouched by European influences. Moreover older artists were 
discovered, men whose relationship to our own schools it was by 
no means easy to establish, though they took a place beside the 
most individual masters in Europe. 

And yet one is not brought into the " Wild West " by these 
American masters. Hordes of Indians, grazing buffaloes, burning 
prairies and virgin forests, gold-diggers, fur-traders, and Roman- 



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482 



MODERN PAINTING 




Ntw York : AppUion.^ 



Homer: *'The Negro School/' 



ticism of the ** Leather Stocking " order may be sought in their 
works in vain. The many-sided IVinslow Hovur^ the painter of 
Uncle Tom's Cabin, is striking as the only one of them who 
represents in his subjects what we should understand as peculiarly 
American. He took an interest in the coloured population, and 
had the secret of kindling an interest for them in Europeans also. 
His negro studies, his representations of the land and the people, 
his pictures of the American soil with the race of men whose home 
it is, are often rather narve in painting, but they are honest and 
sincere, baptized in American water. He was a vigorous realist 
who went straight to the mark and painted his open-air scenes in 
sunlight fluently from nature. Thus he was the first energetic 
representative of open-air painting in America. 

Moreover Alfred Kappes has sometimes given felicitous 
renderings of negro life. G, Brushy on the other hand, borrows 
his subjects from the life of the Indians, while Robert Blum 
paints Japanese street-scenes full of sunlight and lustrous 



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483 




Ntw York: AppUton.] 



Inness: a Landscape. 



colour. For the rest, American art is a rhuvi^ of the art of 
Europe, just as the race itself is a medley of the civilized 
peoples of the old world. Of the peculiarity of life in the 
West it has nothing so original and unexpected to reveal as 
the things which Mark Twain and Bret Harte have told in 
literature. Yet it is an exceedingly tasteful rhumiy and if 
America still counts as a convenient market for the commercial 
wares of Europe, this does not mean that there are no painters 
in the country, but merely that American painters are too 
proud to satisfy the demands of picture-dealers. This reaction 
found its weightiest expression in 1878, in the foundation of 
the Society of American Artists, the first article in whose 
statutes was that they did not accept Cabanel, Bouguereau, 
and Meyer of Bremen as their leaders, but Millet, Corot, and 
Rousseau. The founders of this society were Walter Shirlaw^ 
who had come home from Munich, George Fuller, who had 
lived upon his farm in quiet retirement, far from the artistic 
life of capitals, George Inness, Wyatt Eaton, Morris Hunt, and 
Thomas Moran, It is the chief merit of these men that they 



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484 MODERN PAINTING 

made the noble art of the Fontainebleau colony the basis of 
artistic effort in America. 

George Inness made himself for the first time known in Germany 
in 1892 by three landscapes. " Sunset," painted in 1888, displayed 
a few withered trees upon a lonely heath, and a blue-black 
sky, where a deep red sun broke forth from the rent clouds. 
The second picture, "Winter Morning," represented a season 
which is dear to English painters likewise — the verge of spring 
before nature grows verdant, and when the trees and shrubs 
show their earliest buds, and a suggestion of coming blossom 
peeps through the remnants of the snow which still cover the 
fields with a dirty brownish grey. The third picture, " A 
Calm Day," displayed a few trees on the border of a lake in 
the dusk : the forms of nature here were merely a medium by 
which the painter represented the play of finely balanced 
tones. 

It then became known that George Inness, a master whom 
his contemporaries had not known how to value, and who first 
received his laurels from the younger generation, was born as 
early as May ist, 1825, in Newburgh (Orange County), near 
the romantic banks of the Hudson, where simple, rustic, and 
idyllic landscapes stretch hard by the virgin-forest scenery of 
America. When he began to paint, R. Gignoux, who had come 
from France and held the masters of Barbizon in great 
veneration, had just entered into the full possession of his 
powers. At his studio Inness beheld the first landscapes of the 
Fontainebleau school, and became more familiarly acquainted 
with their works through a residence in Europe extending 
from 1 87 1 to 1875. In these later years he worked upon his 
most important creations. His life, like that of Corot, was a 
constant renovation of artistic power. Like Corot, he began 
with views from Italy. Simple pictures from the Roman 
Campagna alternated with straightforward representations of the 
Gulf of Naples. Then, for a time, he became a Romanticist, 
embellishing the wild woods of America with angels and 
pilgrims, monks and crucifixes. But in the sixties the marvels 
of light became his field of study, and some of the pictures 



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AMERICA 



485 




Munich: Hanfaiangl.] 

Hassam : " Seventh Avenue, New York,** 

which he painted at that time — for example, the large work 
"Light Triumphant" — might have been signed by Turner. 
Grey clouds shift across the firmament, and behind them stands 
the shining globe of the sun ; all the sky quivers like fluid 
gold ; shining yellow is the stream which flows through the 
meadow ; and sunbeams ripple through the branches of the 
trees and glance upon the brown glistening hide of the cattle 
and the white horses of the cowboys. Sad and sombre, and 
covered with thick darkness, was "The Valley of the Shadow 
of Death," with the distant cross upon which the body of the 
Saviour hung shining. But in these days this same Romanticist 
has purged himself and become quiet in manner, classic, like 
a painter of the Fontainebleau school whose name one cannot 
recall. He loves the world when it lies in a solemn dusk, 
rolling country with leafless boughs and withered bushes ; though 
he also delights in the red, glowing splendours of sunset and 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Munich : Han/stdngl.] 



Vonnoh: "A Poppy Field.** 



the dark thunderstorm. At times he is broad and powerful 
like Rousseau, at times delicate with the Elysian sentiment of 
Corot, here idyllically rustic like Daubigny, and here full of 
vehement lament like Dupr6. All his pictures are tone- 
symphonies, broadly painted, deeply harmonized, and in perfect 
concord. And the history of art must hold him in honour as- 
one of the most delicate and many-sided landscapists of the 
century. 

Wyatt Eaton became the American Millet Having been* 
first a pupil of Leutze in Diisseldorf and then for many years- 
in Barbizon, he began to paint reapers, wood-choppers, and 
peasants resting from their work — in fact all those country 
motives naturalized in art by the poetic genius of Jean Francois. 
Wyatt Eaton's talent, however, has not the robust largencss- 
or the complete rusticity of the master of Gruchy ; nevertheless 
it holds itself aloof from the manufactured elegance by which 
Jules Breton obtained admission into the drawing-room for 
Millet's peasants. His representation of country life is sincere 
and honest, though his painting, like Millet's, has a certain 
laboured heaviness. Men, and trees, and haystacks are touched 
by the same oily light. 

A younger artist, Dwight William Tryon, who has been since 



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AMERICA 



487 




1885 the Director 
of the Hartford 
school of art, had 
his eye disciplined 
under Daubigny. 
There may be seen 
in his pictures, as 
in Daubigny's, a 
silvery grey atmo- 
sphere, against 
which the tracery 
of young foliage 
stands out in re- 
lief, green shining 
meadows and softly 
rippling streams, 
corn-fields, apple- 
trees, and fruit- 
gardens. In his 
delicate little pic- 
ture " The Rising Moon," exhibited in the Munich Exhibition 
of 1892, the parting flush of evening plays over a bluish-green 
haystack with a dusky yellow light. His second picture, " Day- 
break," displayed a lake and a sleeping town, over which the 
grey dawn cast its hesitating beams. In his third picture^ 
" December," he rendered a strip of sedge and a grey fallow- 
ground over which there rested, sad and chill, a grey heavy 
stratum of atmosphere, pierced by yellowish streaks of light. 

/. Appleton Brown, whose works made a stir in the Salon as 
early as the seventies, is compared with Duprd by American 
critics. His favourite key of colour is that of dun-coloured 
sunset, and against it a gnarled oak or the yellow sail of a small 
craft stretches like a dark phantom. That admirable painter of 
animals, Peter Moran, turned early from Landseer to Rosa 
Bonheur and Troyon. One of his brothers, Thomas Moran, 
gave himself up to the study of landscape, and the other,. 
Edward, to that of the sea and life upon the strand. They are 



Cox : " Evening.' 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Munich : liftn^iian^Ly 



Dewing : " At the Piano." 



in every sense American artists, men who borrow their subjects 
from American scenery only, depicting it under a peculiarly 
brilliant light In Thomas Moran's pictures from the virgin 
forests of the South all objects are enveloped in the golden 
haze of Turner. Waterfalls and glowing red, blue, and violet 
masses of cliff are bathed in sunny mist, in orange, tender blue, 
or light green atmosphere. Edward Moran painted fishermen 
and fisher-women at their toil or returning home : water and 
strand, people and vessels, vanish into a blue haze which de- 
composes all outlines. L. C, Tiffany established himself in the 
port of New York, and painted charming things which yield in 
nothing to those of Vollon : in the foreground are ships and 
men at work, and in the background the piquant outline of 
New York rising out of the mist, and reflected in the clear 
water of the ocean, gilded by the dawn. The works of John 
Francis Murphy are full of intimate feeling, and although his 
dark regions of wood, sedge-grown pools, and peasant cabins 
were painted on the Hudson, they have been seen, in their 



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AMERICA 



489 




Amtrican Art JReviiw.] 

WiLUAM Merrit Chase. 



delicately toned poetry of nature, 
entirely with the eyes of a 
Fon tainebleau painter. 

The younger men passed 
from beauty recalling the old 
masters, and the clarity bathed 
in radiance which Turner loved, 
to the study of more complicated 
effects of light. Fire, lamplight, 
and sunlight strive for the 
mastery upon their canvases. 
Childe HassaiHy who returned 
some years ago from Paris to 
America, has rendered the street- 
life of New York in fresh and 
fleeting sketches : snow, smoke, 
and flaring gaslight pouring 
through the shop - windows, 
quivering out into the night, and 

reflected in an intense blaze upon the faces of men and women. 
Julian Alden Weir, son of Robert Walter Weir, the American 
Piloty, worked in Paris under G^rdme, though he would seem 
to have made a far more frequent study of Cazin. His simple 
little pictures — field-paths leading between meadows, narrow 
rivulets rippling by the side of dusty roads— have that softly 
meditative and tenderly dreamy trait which is the note of 
Cazin's landscapes. Another of these painters, N. W. Ranger^ 
loves the quiet hour when the lighted gaslamps contend 
against the fading day, and the electric light pierces the sea of 
smoke and mist hanging over the streets with its keen rays. 
As befits his Dutch origin, Alexander van Laer has in his sea- 
pieces more of a leaning towards Mesdag*s grey tones. Bisbing 
paints large landscapes, saturated by light and air, with cows 
somnolently resting in the sun ; while Davis has the secret of 
interpreting the greyish-blue eff*ects of morning with great 
delicacy. And the younger Inness has a fondness for departing 
thunder-showers, rainbows, and misty red sunbeams penetrating 

VOL. III. 32 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Munich : HanfstdnglJ] 



Chase : " In the Park." 



in the form of wedges through a sea of mist, and restmg upon 
wide stony fields. 

Unhackneyed, desperately unhackneyed, unhackneyed to ex- 
aggeration are the figure-painters also. That enlivening artist 
/. G. Brown^ indefatigable in portraying the street-arabs of 
New York ; /. M. C, Hamilton, who based himself upon Alfred 
Stevens; the miniature-painter Ignaz Marcel Gaugengigl\ and 
even /. Ridgway Knight of Philadelphia, a Bastien-Lepage 
transposed into the key of feminine prettiness ; these, with their 
smooth, neat, conscientious painting, no longer fit into the 
general plan of American art. The younger men* do not waste 
their time over such work of detail done with a fine brush, in 
addition to which the ordinary grey painting is too simple for 
them. Some of them, like Eliuh Vedder and Frederick S. 
Churchy move in a grotesquely fantastic world of ideas. Others 
attempt the most hazardous schemes of colour, and often excite 
the impression that their pictures have not been painted with 
the brush at all. In this respect that bold colourist Robert 
William Vonnoh reached the extreme limit at the Munich 



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AMERICA 491 

Exhibition of 1892; His gleaming and flaming picture of a 
field of poppies, where a girl was playing, while the glowing 
July sun glanced over it, is less like an oil-picture than a relief 
in oils. The unmixed red had been directly pressed on to the 
canvas from the tube in broad masses, and stood flickering 
against the blue air ; and the bluish-green leaves were placed 
beside them by the same direct method, white lights being 
attained by judiciously managed fragments of blank canvas. 
Never yet was war so boldly declared against all the con- 
ventional usages of the studio ; never yet were such barbaric 
means employed to attain an astounding effect of light. Even 
with portrait-painting the most subtile studies of light were 
combined : the persons sit before the hearth or beneath a 
lamp, irradiated with the light of the fire ; hands, face, and 
clothes are covered with reflections of the flame. And Charles 
Edmund Tarbelly who, like Besnard, regards the human brain 
merely as a medium for perceiving effects of light, is in the 
habit of briefly naming his broadly executed pictures of girls 
"An Opal" or "An Amethyst" to suit the tone of the pre- 
vailing illumination. 

But as the Americans were the first to follow Manet's 
painting of light, so were they also the first to adopt that 
lyricism of colour originated by Watts and Whistler, and now 
extending over European painting in wider and wider circles. 
Kenyan Cox, a pupil of Gerdme and Carolus Duran, who in 
earlier days painted large mythological pictures in the manner 
of French Classicism, had in the Munich Exhibition of 1892 a 
marvellous nude figure of a woman in front of a deep Titian- 
esque group of trees — a work which might have been painted by 
a modern Scotchman, so full in tone were the chords of colour 
which he struck on it. 

A pupil of Boulanger and Lefebure, W. Thomas Dewingy 
like Whistler, paints pale, slender women resting in the twilight, 
and one of his pictures— a young lady in black silk sitting at 
the piano before a silvery grey wall — had in its refined grey 
and black tones something of the brilliant, knightly verve which 
is elsewhere only to be found in Orchardson. Julius Rolshoven 



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492 MODERN PAINTING 

who now lives in Cincinnati, after having long painted in Italy, 
exhibited pictures from Venice — girls kneeling before the image 
of the Virgin at the sound of the Ave Maria, views of the 
Doge's palace or of Chioggia — and in these pictures too there 
was nothing of the sunny play of light which modem Italians 
shed over such scenes ; on the contrary powerful greenish-blue 
tones were spread out, with an effect of dark and solemn 
gravity. 

William Merrit Chase has studied the symphonic harmonies 
of the great magician Whistler with the finest understanding for 
them. In the seventies Chase counted as one of the most 
original amongst the younger pupils of Piloty, and works of 
his belonging to that period, such as "The Court Fool" and 
the picture of the street-arabs smoking, were good genre 
pieces in the German style. But in 1883 he surprised every 
one by his vivid portrait of the painter Frank Duvenek, who 
was seated, with American nonchalance, facing the back of a 
chair, smoking a cigar, as also by his portrait of F. S. Church, 
and by some fine landscapes — Venetian canal pictures and 
desolate American cliffs. From being a pupil of Piloty he had 
become a bold painter in bright tones, revelling in the whitest 
sunlight In the decade which has passed since that time 
Velasquez, whom he copied in Spain, and Whistler, under 
whose influence he was in London, led him forwards from mere 
bright painting to that beauty of tone which is now sought 
in all quarters of Europe by the most advanced men of the age. 
The present Director of the Art Students* League paints, when 
he is in the mood, in a very fine and delicate grey, as in the 
park-scene entitled "Two Friends." He is bright and full of 
bloom when he paints graceful children, slender girls with 
brown curling hair, walking in green sunny fields and clothed 
in dazzling white, playing at the edge of a pond or jumping 
about over gaily coloured skipping-ropes. He revek as a land- 
scapist in deep chords of colour recalling Scotch painters, 
and makes a sombre and powerful effect in his portrait of 
Whistler. 

So America has an art of her own. Yet even those Americans 



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AMERICA 493 

who work in their native land betray an accent less national 
than the Danes, for example, or the Dutch ; and national accent 
they cannot have because the entire civilization of America, far 
more than that of other countries, is exposed to international 
influences. They possess no captivating intimacy of emotion, 
they know nothing of confidential revelations, but clearness of 
eye they have, and deftness of hand, and refined taste, and 
they understand admirably the secret of creating an illusion by 
technique. Let Europe or America be their home, they are 
children of the New World, the most modern amongst the 
moderns. 



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CHAPTER XLV 

GERMANY 

Retrospect of the development of German fainting since Menzel and 
LeibL—The landscapists had been the first to make the influence 
of Fontainebleau operative: Adolf Lier, Adolf Staebli, Otto Frdh- 
licher, Josef Wenglein^ Louis Neubert, Carl Heffner,—The Munich 
Exhibition of 1879 brings about an acquaintance with Manet and 
Bastien-Lepage : Max Liebermann. — The other representatives of 
the new art in Berlin : Franz Skarbina, Friedrich Stahl^ Hans 
Herrmann, Hugo Vogel, Walter Leistikow, Rein hold Lepsius, Curt 
Herrmann, Lesser Ury, Ludwig Dettmann, — Vienna,^ Dussel- 
dorf: Arthur Kampf Kdmpffer, Olaf Jernberg,— Stuttgart : 
Otto Reiniger, Robert Haug.— Hamburg : Thomas Herbst, — 
Carlsruhe: Gustav Schdnleber, Herrmann Baisch, Friedrich Kail- 
morgen, Robert Poetzelberger,— Weimar : Theodor Hagen, Baron 
Gleichen-Russwurm, L, Berkemeier, R, Thierbach, P, Baum, — 
Munich: Bruno Piglhein, Albert Keller, Baron von Haber- 
mann. Count Leopold Kalckreuth, Gotthard Kuehl, Paul Hbcker, 
H ZUgel, Victor Weishaupt, L. Dill, L. Herterich, Waclaw 
Scymanowski, Hans Olde, A, Langhammer, Leo Samberger^ W, Firle, 
H von Bartels, W. Keller-Reutlingen, and others.^The illustrators : 
Reni Reinicke, H. Schlittgen, Hengeler, Wahle, 

C'^ERMANY was longest in putting off the old Adam and 
^ joining in the great tendency which was flooding Europe ; 
and yet the old Adam had been neither thoroughly French nor 
thoroughly German. As late as 1878 the Gazette des Beaux 
Arts — the journal best qualified to form an estimate upon works 
of art— in its article upon the World Exhibition, was able to 
summarize its judgment of the German galleries in these words : 
" There are one or two artists of the first rank and many men 
of talent, but in other respects German painting is still upon 
the level of the schools which had their day amongst us thirty 



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GERMANY 495 

years ago; this is the solitary school of painting which does 
not seem to perceive that the age of railways and World 
Exhibitions needs an art different from that of the age of 
philosophy and provincial isolation." The pigtail, which in 
earlier days had been the mode in other countries, had been 
worn so long that it was now piously represented to be "the 
German national style." It had vanished out of all recollection 
that historical painting had been imported in 1842 from Belgium, 
whither it was brought from Paris in 1830. In the course of 
years it had become so dear to the Germans that they clung to 
it as to a national banner, and founded Art Unions to foster in 
Germany a thing which had been buried everywhere else. It 
was forgotten that the anecdotic genre had been borrowed from 
England in the beginning of the century, and had been in 
England, as in France, a mere cloak for artistic weaknesses, or 
a sop for a public not yet trained to appreciate art. But when 
this phase of the anecdote told in colours had been overcome 
elsewhere, it was a pleasant delusion to be able to praise humour 
and geniality as the peculiar portion of the Germans. 

The Munich painters of costume, belonging to the close of 
the seventies, had taken an important step for Germany in 
setting painting, pure and simple, in the place occupied by 
painted history and painted anecdote ; and their pictures met 
with the best reception in Paris. But the critic of the Gazette 
pointed out with perfect justice that they merely represented a 
stage of transition towards modernity. An ardent study of the 
old masters had assisted artists in learning once more how to 
paint, at a time when narrative subject was held of chief account 
and not painting at all. But the mischief was that everything 
was hopelessly well-painted in a way which did not further the 
historical development of art by one single step. Artists under- 
stood how to adapt the garment of the old painters in a 
masterly fashion, to let it fall in graceful folds, to trim it with 
joyous colours, but it was, none the less, an old garment, which, 
in spite of artificial renovation, was not rendered more beautiful 
than it had been when it was new. 

The representation of genuine modern humanity began with 



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496 MODERN PAINTING 

Menzel. During those years he held sway over an isolated 
domain of his own. Positive in spirit and keen of eye, he found 
material that he could turn to account wherever he was— in 
drawing-rooms, upon public promenades, in menageries and 
manufactories. He had no stories to tell, and introduced nothing 
humorous into his work, but simply kept his eyes open. And 
yet even in his method there was a certain narrative element, 
something with a savour of genrCy an inclination to be discursive. 
He observed the physiognomies and attitudes of his fellow- 
creatures with the eyes of Hogarth; and the ceremonial laws of 
courtly splendour, when he renders account of them, make an 
effect which is more plebeian than aristocratic ; the gaiety 
of watering-places, when seen by him, has an almost mournful 
comicality. He was a cold analyst, accentuating and defining 
acutely what he had first worked out with keenness in his 
own mind, but he was deficient in tenderness, quickness of 
feeling, -and affection. There is something satirical in his way 
of underlining, something heartless in his calculated irony, which 
hardly lowers the rapier to spare helpless children and defence- 
less women. Few have seen more keenly into the spirit of their 
fellows ; but he always stands unapproachably above them, and 
deals with them merely to turn spirited epigrams at their 
expense. 

With Leibl German painting made an advance upon Menzel's 
piquant feuilleton style, and one which was in the direction of 
simplicity. Its method of interpretation was no longer that 
of scoring points : Leibl observes and paints. Moreover he 
paints exceedingly well, paints human bodies and articles of 
clothing so accurately as to create an illusion, paints all things 
tangible with such a fidelity to nature that one is prompted to 
lay one's hand upon them. The entire population of Aibling — 
peasants, sportsmen, and women — are the uncanny doubles of 
nature in Leibl's pictures, and are overwhelming in their resem- 
blance to life. All his technical resources have a masterly 
sureness in their effect. One cannot but admire such handiwork, 
and nevertheless one understands why it was that later painters 
aimed at something different. 



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GERMANY 497 

And landscape had reached the ideal which had floated 
before the younger generation, ever since the masters of Bar- 
bizon became more accurately known in Germany, just as little 
as figure-painting. A great advance was made when Adolf 
Lier, going back to Schleich, set up the Munich painting 
expressing the mood of nature in place of the painted 
Baedeker dear to the older generation. Lier had been in 
Barbizon. The forceful figure of Jules Dupr6 had been near 
him, and his first pictures were a revelation for Germany. 
And when art which was purely objective and geographical 
gave way before the impulse to represent native scenery 
in the intimate charm of its moods of light and air, there 
came of necessity an increasing and proportionate power of 
artistic absorption. Simple scenes from the neighbourhood 
of Munich, Schleissheim, and Dachau in moonshine, rain, or 
evening light, in spring or in autumn, were Lier's favourite 
motives. The rays of the setting sun in his landscapes 
are reflected in brown morasses surrounded by trees, or the 
evening clearness gleams over snow and ice, or the light of 
the noonday sun battles with the dust rising from a road, 
where a flock of sheep are passing leisurely forwards. Adolf 
Staebliy who was a Swiss, worked on the shores of the Starn- 
bergersee and the Ammersee, attracted by their mighty clumps 
of trees, majestically grave in outline. His compatriot the 
late Otto Frohlicher, who was most decisively impressed by 
Theodore Rousseau, painted in the neighbourhood of Dachau 
and Peissenberg wide plains in gloomy moods of rain, and 
gnarled oaks rising like phantoms against the sky; and. false 
and mediocre as he is in his studio pictures, he has left strong 
and virile studies breathing of the fresh and delicious fragrance 
of the forest, fosef Wenglein rendered the broad, flat, sandy 
bed of the Isar near Toelz, the sun struggling against the 
vapours rising from moor and meadow, the wooded spines of 
the hills fringing the river's bed, and the delicate outlines of 
the Upper Bavarian ranges, emerging out of the distance in 
shining silvery vapour. Poor Louis Neuberty who was buried 
alive, delighted in the lyricism of desolate places : silent coasts 



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498 MODERN PAINTING 

where the weary waves subside, black autumn nights when 
the dark pastures slumber and the murmuring waters sing them 
a lullaby. Carl Heffner found congenial motives in the soft 
park-like scenery of England: quiet country-houses pleasantly 
hidden amongst trees, and lonely pools where lazily shifting 
clouds are mirrored. 

But neither Lier himself in his later years nor any of his 
followers had the reverence for nature necessary for drawing 
full advantage from the doctrines of the Fontainebleau school. 
It was only in the beginning, at the first acquaintanceship with 
paysage intime, that the German painters found refreshment 
from this new source. In later times its waters were adulterated 
with unseasonable spices. In the days when the gallery tone, 
reminiscent of old masters, dominated figure-painting, landscape 
was likewise subjected to this influence. The warm golden light 
of Lier became a formula with the Munich school. *' Beautiful " 
views were followed by a necessity for " beauty " of tone. Nature 
was still regarded with preconceived notions, and its simple 
poetry, which inspired the French, was gradually transformed 
into something the very opposite. 

Things were in this condition when the Parisian Impres- 
sionists raised the cry after light and sun, and more accurate 
knowledge of their innovations was acquired through the French 
making such an imposing display as they did at the Munich 
Exhibition of 1879. Courbet had risen above the horizon in 
Germany in 1869, and now the French exhibitors of 1879 pointed 
out the way which led from Courbet to Millet, Manet, and 
Bast ien -Lepage. 

Soon after a certain change might have been noticed in 
German exhibitions. Amid the great historical pictures, and 
costume-pieces modelled on the old masters, and antiquated 
genre scenes, there hung, scattered here and there, exceedingly 
unassuming pictures, which rendered neither pompous dramatic 
scenes nor amusing pranks, but simple and unpretentious sub- 
jects which had been directly observed. They represented 
toiling humanity: shepherds, peasants, cobblers, women mending 
nets, men stitching sails or binding wire. Or they represented 



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GERMANY 499 

people at their recreation in the beer-garden or in the enforced 
inactivity of old age. And the persons thus painted carried 
on no by-play with the public, as in earlier genre pictures ; on 
the contrary they were absorbed in their occupation, and every- 
thing suggestive of a relation between the model and the 
artist, the figure and the spectator, was scrupulously eradicated 
Moreover the inanimate, petrified element which vitiated the 
productions of the realists was also avoided. The wind was 
felt to be blowing strong around the figures ; and the beholder 
not only saw peasants and blouses, but fancied that he could 
breathe the very odour of the forest and the earth. 

Just as at this time it was the aim of modern drama to 
represent its personages, by all the resources in its power, as 
under the sway of their physical and moral surroundings, their 
real and habitual atmosphere, so atmospheric effect — air and 
light— had now become the chief field of study in painting. 
Here and there in the galleries of exhibitions . there emerged 
little landscapes, the most unpretentious that could have been 
painted : monotonous plains, poor flat lands, vegetable gardens 
and weedy fields, and straight tulip-beds cut in broad stripes ; 
and with great frequency the peculiarly iridescent bluish-red 
tones of certain species of cabbage-heads were to be remarked. 
As the figure-painters scorned to arouse an interest for art in 
those who had no real feeling for it by making points and 
painting anecdote, the landscape-painters disdained to stimulate 
a topographical interest by representing the scenery beloved of 
tourists, and were above creating the sentiment of landscape for 
their pictures by false sentiment They devoted themselves to 
nature with complete reverence, turning their eyes only to the 
charm of atmosphere — the spiritual charm — which rests over quiet 
and unmolested nooks. German painting had grown more ideal 
and more elevated in taste since artists had given up working 
frankly for the picture-buyer ; although it busied itself only with 
toiling and heavily laden humanity, and with potato-fields or 
cabbage-fields, it had become more exclusive and refined, for 
now it touched only tones that were discreet and low, and had 
no regard for those who did not care to listen to them. 



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500 MODERN PAINTING 

As a matter of fact, however, the battle that had to be 
fought in Germany was almost severer than in France. Since 
Oswald Achenbach and Eduard Griitzner the public had seen 
so many views of Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples, and so 
many humorous genre episodes, that it was almost impossible 
to imagine simple regions and serious men after these showy 
landscapes and laughing faces. In addition to this an uncom- 
promising study of nature offended ^y^ which could only 
tolerate her when trimmed and set in order. The fresh rendering 
of personal impressions seemed brutal after that more glittering 
painting which made a dexterous use of the articulation of form 
and colour found in the old masters, adapting them for the 
expression of its own aims. The effort to express the values 
of tone with a renunciation of all narrative intention was looked 
upon as want of spirit, because the interest in subject, even the 
very rudest that has any relation to art, obstructed the growth 
of the sense for absolute painting. 

But the science of aesthetics — which had hitherto been almost 
always obliged to take up a deprecatory attitude towards modem 
art— had now occasion to follow the nature and history of the 
opposition party with interest, and from the very first day. 
For it had to establish that their programme attacked the 
validity of those elements in the ascendant art by which it was 
fundamentally distinguished from genuine old painting. The 
new art aroused confidence because it no longer formed for 
itself a style out of oUier styles, but, like every genuine form of 
art, aimed at being the chronicle and mirror of its own age. 
It aroused confidence because, after a prolonged period of 
mongrel narrative art, it set forth a true style of painting, which 
stood in need of no interesting title in a catalogue, but carried 
in itself the justification of its own existence. And although 
the roots of the new tree were embedded in France, it almost 
seemed as if German painting, after so long deviating into 
romantic lines, were about to begin once more, with modem 
refinement of colour, at the point where Diirer and the "little 
masters" had broken off. To those reviewing the past it was 
as though a bridge had been cast from the present to that old 



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GERMANY 



501 




Graphischt Kiinstt,} [ Uhdt pxt. 

Max Liebermann. 



art of the Germans, Dutch, and 
English which in the sixteenth, 
seventeenth, and eighteenth cen- 
turies pressed ever onwards, 
opposing Romantic Eclecticism. 
The finest spirits occupied with 
the science of aesthetics began 
to champion the new ideas, after 
having sceptically held aloof 
from all modern art. And they 
were joined by a large number 
of the younger men. In 1888, 
twenty years after Manet had 
arranged that private exhibition 
at Durand-Ruel's which was so 
momentous in its results, the 
*' New Art"— against which the 

doors of the Art Union had been closed even in Munich — was 
triumphantly established in the Crystal Palace, and at that time 
I began my articles on the great International Exhibition with 
the heading ^^ Max Liebermann'' 

He was the bearer of the Promethean fire that was kindled 
in Barbizon, and the initiator of the movement in Germany 
corresponding with that which had taken place in Fontainebleau. 
Whilst others who had been before him in Barbizon received 
no enduring impressions, Liebermann was the first to bring the 
unvarnished programme of the new style to his native land, and 
thus became one of those pioneers whose place is assured in the 
history of art. When he appeared he fared as badly as the 
French painters who had quickened his talent : he was decried 
as an apostle of hideousness. But now it is a different matter, 
arid his works show that he has not altered himself, but has 
made a change in us. He went a step further than Menzel in 
adopting a style of simplicity, and endeavouring to lose himself 
in nature where Menzel had been content to hover over the 
surface of things in his brilliant way. And he went a step 
further than Leibl in no longer regarding it as the highest aim 



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502 



MODERN PAINTING 




Craphische KiiHsie.] 

LlEBERMANN : 



[Halm sc. 
"The Cobbler's Shop." 



of art to paint pic- 
tures which should 
be a wide and 
broad illustration of 
sheer downright 
perspicuity ; on the 
contrary he at- 
tempted to grasp 
the very nature of 
things, their pulsat- 
ing life and their 
fragrant essence. 
That art is an affair 
of feeling, know- 
ledge, and discovery 
rather than of calculation, combination, and tortured effort was 
the revelation which he was the first to make to German 
painters. 

Max Liebermann was born in Berlin on July 29th, 1849. 
Here he passed his childhood, went to the " gymnasium " or 
advanced school, and, at his father's wish, had himself Entered 
at the university in the "faculty of philosophy." At the same 
time he studied in Steffeck's studio, where he made so much 
progress that at the end of eighteen months he was allowed to 
assist the master in his large picture ** Sadowa," He painted 
guns, sabres, uniforms, and hands to the complete satisfaction of 
his teacher, but he was himself so thoroughly convinced of the 
inadequacy of his studies that in 1869 he made the experiment 
of entering the School of Art in Weimar. And there he worked 
for three years under Thumann and Pauwels, beginning pictures 
in their style, though not one of them was ever finished ; and 
in 1872 he exhibited his first work, "Women plucking Geese." 

Weimar was still the stronghold of Classicism, in spite of 
Lenbach having been there for some time. Genelli was fresh 
in the memory of all, and Preller was still alive. Upon such 
consecrated ground " Women plucking Geese " must have made 
a very plebeian impression, and one which was the more brutal 



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GERMANY 



503 




Graphisch* KiiMs/e.] 
LlEBERMANN : 



[/Cruder sc, 
'The Seamstress." 



as even this first picture 
had the naturalness and 
simplicity which were cha- 
racteristic of Liebermann's 
style. Here there was 
already shown a man who 
approached nature with 
resolution and impartiality. 
It was only the technique 
that was still heavy and 
material : at the beginning 
of his career, indeed, 
Liebermann was under the 
influence of Courbet, and 
he remained faithful to 
this sooty bituminous 
painting when he visited 

Paris at the end of 1872. Munkacsy, himself at the time under 
the influence of Ribot, confirmed him in his preference for 
heavy Bolognese shadows, so that one who afterwards became 
a " bright painter " was named by the Berlin critics " the son 
of darkness." It was only when he came to know the works of 
Troyon, Daubigny, and Corot that he liberated himself from the 
influence of the school of CourbeL The " Women preserving 
Vegetables," exhibited in the Salon of 1873 — a number of women 
on barrels and wooden benches, preparing cabbage, artichokes, 
and asparagus for the next year — already showed greater light- 
ness and clarity of treatment. The summer of 1873 he spent 
in Barbizon, and though he made no personal acquaintance with 
Millet, who died the following year, the works of the latter left 
a profound impression upon him. Under Millet's influence he 
produced "The Labourers in the Turnip-Field," his first master- 
piece, and " Brother and Sister," which appeared in the Paris 
Salon of 1876. Whereas his works of the Weimar period made 
a dull and heavy impression (without having, however, the 
character of the ^enre picture at that time habitual in Germany), 
his taste now became purer and more refined. When Millet 



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MODERN PAINTING 




LlEBERMANN : '* WOMEN PLUCKING GeESE." 

died he repaired to Millet's follower, Israels ; and in Holland he 
did not study the old masters in the museums, but living men 
in the fishing villages, not the tone of the galleries, but the moist, 
bluish haze around the sun, and habituated himself still more to 
look at nature with a clear eye. Back in Germany once more, 
he remained from 1878 for a time in Munich, and made himself 
highly unpopular by his " Christ in the Temple," a belated result 
of his earlier studies of Menzel. The Bavarian Diet called him 
a rhyparographer, and the clergy complained of his picture as 
profaning religious sentiment. Yet a mere lover of art will 
admire its incisive painting and its penetrative force of charac- 
terization, though, upon the whole, he will not regret that this 
work has remained Liebermann's only attempt at the painting 
of biblical subjects. 

In the same year, however, he found once more where his 
real talent lay, and never forgot it : he painted " The Children's 
Nursery in Amsterdam," and in 1881 " An Asylum for Old Men," 
which won a medal at the Paris Salon. In a leafy garden 
quiet, meditative old men are sitting beneath the trees, lost in 



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GERMANY 



505 




LlEBERMANN : " ThE CoURTYARD OF THE ORPHANAGE IN AMSTERDAM." 

their memories and leisurely reverie. One would fancy that the 
painter had lived amongst them himself, and found pleasure in 
sitting on the bench, when the leaves rustled and the sunshine 
gleamed. There is not one of them whom he has sought to 
beautify, though, at the same time, he indulges in no pointed 
•epigram upon their dulness ; he has simply painted them all as 
if he were one of themselves, without even hinting at anything 
better or more lofty. For the first time the spirit of Millet had 
-crossed the German border. 

After this he produced, one after the other in rapid suc- 
cession, "The Shoemaker's Workshop," "The Bleachyard," and 
"The Beer-Concert in Munich." Through these pictures he 
'Confirmed his reputation in Paris. He became a member of the 
" Cercle des Quinze," at the head of which were Alfred Stevens 
and Bastien-Lepage, and from that time exhibited annually in 
the Salon Petit, though as yet he was in a measure excluded 
from German exhibitions. In 1884 he settled once more in 
Berlin, where he still lives, mixing but little in artistic life, 
VOL. III. 33 



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5o6 MODERN. PAINTING 



^'^■^■^^-^ 



1 



-f^ss^^ism^^ 



^VYMTit- 



■■^m^fM 




Goj* */fs BtouA-Aft5.] 



LlEBERMANN : ** ThE NeT-MeNDERS." 



though he has dwelt there ever since, when not residing in 
Holland. For Holland, with its soft mist effacing the abruptness 
of contrasts, has become a second home for Liebermann ; he has 
an affection for the country, and passes every summer in 
Zandvoort, the little village near Hilversum where Israels went 
through the complete renovation of his impressions upon art. 
Here he places himself in the direct presence of nature, studying 
it in its elementary simplicity, and transforming into colour its 
odour of earth. Here he does not paint stormy seas, old harbour 
buildings, and vast masses of cloud, like Andreas Achenbach, 
but the view of the dunes and the straight, monotonous distance, 
not what is merely objective, but light, the mist about the sun,, 
and the silvery tone of the sea-air charged with moisture. 
Here he produces the pictures with which he gives us fresh 
delight with every year : old women in solitude, brooding in 
bare rooms, where whitish-green landscapes are seen through 
the great window-panes ; the workrooms of artisans, weavers, and 



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GERMANY 



507 




Craphisch§ Kunstt.^ 



Liebermann: "The Woman with Goats." 



shoemakers, spare, raw-boned men devoted to their work without 
a thought for anything beyond it, and plunged in it with that 
air of absorption which is the most special and one of the most 
excellent features in Liebermann's paintings; hospital gardens,, 
with old men lost in that contemplative inaction of the aged ; 
fishermen by the sea ; women gathered together beneath the 
moist sky of the Dutch coasts, mending nets or at the potata 
harvest ; peasant families saying their homely grace at table ;, 
women sewing at the window in their wretched lodging, or 
women ironing and spreading large white sheets upon the 
greensward. 

One of his finest pictures was "The Courtyard of the 
Orphanage in Amsterdam," painted in 1881. A genre painter 
of the earlier iperiod would not have neglected to introduce some 
narrative episode, and would thus have robbed the scene of the 
simplicity, cordiality, and tender intimacy of feeling which it 
has in Liebermann. The sun stands high in the heaven, and 
the orphan girls, in a black and red costume with white caps^ 



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5o8 



MODERN PAINTING 




DrtsdtH : voh Stidliin,] 

LlEBERMANN : "A VILLAGE STREET IN HOLLAND." 

are passing to and fro, chatting together and doing work. They 
talk and move with such an unconscious air that they seem to 
have no suspicion of being painted. The soft light plays upon 
their pretty, expressive faces. There is, in truth, something sad 
and resigned in these children, who pass their life like nuns, 
without family, and strictly according to regulation : life has 
made them so staid and earnest within these walls. 

His " Ropeyard," again, is an idyll of quiet work. If an 
-earlier artist had painted this scene, the people in the picture 
would have been laughing, or whistling, or telling each other 
stories. In Liebermann they do nothing to excite laughter, but 
merely move backwards, working at the rope ; its finely tempered 
reality is what gives the scene its quiet magic. 

In his "Net-Menders," in the Hamburg Kunsthalle, he 
attempted a higher flight, and this work showed the full weight 
and energy of his personality. The vibrating light was heavily 
painted in " The Asylum for Old Men " and in " The Ropeyard." 



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GERMANY 



509 





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Cmphischg Kiinst*.} 



Liebbrmann: "The Flax-Spinners." 



Looking at them one fancies the painter at his easel ardently 
toiling to arrive at truth. But here he has taken in a large 
scene at a single glance, and placed it palpitating with life 
upon the canvas with a bold hand : it is a hymn of toil and 
labour, of the struggle for life, of adverse winds and dark grey 
days of rain. There stretches a Northern plain, meagre and 
barren, of a green passing into grey, and shut in to the right 
by the dunes, which imperceptibly melt away at the horizon. 
Grey clouds are in the sky, which is swept by the storm. In 
this landscape, blown through by so strong a wind and itself 
so grandiose in its vacancy, women, old and young, are seen^ 
standing, sitting, or upon their knees, unfolding nets and mending 
them : that one of them who is most in the foreground is life-size 
and painted in full light, whilst of those who are farther away 
only the grey clothes and white caps are indistinctly visible. 
Three of the women are erect, their broad outlines standing out 
against the horizon ; the perspective seems wide and limitless. 
One feels the sea-wind blowing over the landscape, and fancies 
that one breathes the salt sea-air. One woman, laden with nets^ 
steps towards the depth of the picture, bending backwards ; she 
is tall and blond, and a gust is blowing through her skirt. All 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Liebermann: "Labourers in a Turnip-Field." 

these movements have been boldly seized and set down with a 
powerful hand. Everything is strong and healthy, and some of 
the figures have a youthful grace and freshness such as Lieber- 
mann has seldom attained. 

The Munich Pinakothek possesses a similar picture, "The 
Woman with Goats." In a grey, deserted region, upon a wild 
and lonely down, an old peasant woman is leading two goats 
upon a sandy, wind-swept slope. Here, too, the figures are 
composed in the expanse in such a large and impressive way 
that the picture does not seem a mere fragment of nature, but 
an entire reach of her presented, as it were, in a condensed 
form. The old woman, the goats, the sand, and the parched 
grass are not separate objects, but only one. The painter has 
seized the soul of this wide landscape, and placed it upon 
canvas. There is no need of another stroke, for everything has 
been expressed. 

As he painted here the scanty grass of a scorched soil, so in 
his "Village Street in Holland" of 1888 he rendered the virgin 
charm of nature refreshed by rain. On her way to the meadow 
a dairymaid has stopped in the village street to talk to a 
peasant woman. A fertilizing summer rain has refreshed the 
land, the wind shakes the last drops from the boughs, every- 
thing sparkles with moisture ; ducks are splashing in the puddles, 
hens picking worms in the grass, and the cow is dragging her 



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GERMANY 511 

Iceeper impatiently forwards, in longing expectation of the joys 
which await her on the soft green pasture. 

Among his interiors, "The Flax-Spinners," in the Berlin 
National Gallery, is probably one of the best. Such an astonish- 
ing effect was produced by the simplest means that the spectator 
hardly thought about the artistic workmanship, imagining himself 
to hear the hum and whiz of the wheels in the still workplace. 

Recently he has painted portraits, of which those of his wife 
in a rocking-chair and of Herr Petersen, the Burgomaster of 
Hamburg, may be mentioned with special praise. The former is 
<:aptivating through the fine feeling for the life and moods of 
the spirit which is shown in it, while the latter is large in its 
very plainness, like a modern Velasquez. 

But his drawings, etchings, and pastels form the most im- 
portant supplement to his big pictures. In his oil-pictures 
Liebermann is by no means what one understands by a 
dexterous master of technique. The world will never say, in 
speaking of his pictures, " What deftness ! " but rather, " What 
insight ! " He struggles with colour like Millet There is a 
-want of ease in his works. They are sometimes clumsy and 
laboured, harsh and crude, deadened and oily. And this makes 
itself felt in a specially unpleasant way in the smaller pictures 
with many figures — " The Commemoration of the Emperor 
Frederick in the Wood near Kosen," the " Dutch Market Scene " 
-of 1 89 1, the "Munich Beer-Concert," and others — where he 
•encroached upon the province of Menzel. Although a brilliant 
conversationalist and a man of mobile and highly strung nature, 
he never reaches the pungency and sparkle of Menzel in the 
works where he attempts to paint the behaviour of an agitated 
•crowd or the dallying play of sunbeams rippling through foliage. 
A certain unyielding heaviness and ungainliness are at odds 
with the flexible character of the subject represented. 

Liebermann's salient feature is not pictorial piquancy, but 
monumental amplitude, a trace of something epical, the en- 
•deavour to embody what he has seen in large forms. As he 
himself writes, " I do not seek for what is called the pictorial, 
but I would grasp nature in her simplicity and grandeur — the 



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512 MODERN PAINTING 

simplest thing and the hardest." For this reason his pictures 
of interiors are, in general, but little felicitous. Instead of being 
subtile and expressive, they often seem to be rough, lifeless, and 
chalky. It is as if his broad technique were cribbed and con- 
fined in a closed space. And he works most freely when he 
strikes the great chords of simple landscapes, seen in a large 
way, whence the outlines of toilers rise here and there into 
view. Where a medley may be found in Menzel, there is in 
Liebermann a powerful impression of nature, a noble simplicity. 
These sober plains of his touching the horizon in the far 
distance, these figures standing with such astonishing natural- 
ness in the space — these are really "great art," monumental 
in their effect. And this sense for space, reminding one 
of Millet, is felt in his drawings and pastels with far more 
elementary force. Heavy and laboured in his oil-pictures, he 
attains here an astonishing softness of light ; the figures stand 
out boldly from the background, and the space is filled with 
light air, giving the eye a vision of boundless distance His 
etchings, of which there are about a score, have nothing like 
them except those of Israels. Israels alone has the secret of 
producing such a notable suggestion of colour, tone, and space 
by a simple combination of lines and strokes, disregarding all 
scholastic routine. 

Finally Liebermann, like Israels, possesses that other quality 
which in art stands higher than the utmost virtuosity : he has 
honesty and the manly loyalty of conviction. Looking at his 
works it is impossible to imagine that he could or would have 
painted anything different from what, as a matter of fact, he has 
painted. His "Women plucking Geese" was executed over 
twenty years ago, and since then a cultivated Impressionism 
would seem to have outstripped him. Many an artist was over- 
come by a home-sickness for the realm of beautifully moulded 
forms ; others were tempted to set what was pleasing, even what 
was coquettish, in the place of austere art And many were 
the tentative, conciliatory experiments to put the new technique 
in the service of their old hankering after genre and melodrama. 
Many, also, began to pay homage in a style which was 



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S13 




Ltipzig: S40mann.] 

Framz Skarbina. 



; frequently extravagant to the 
modern yearning for unearthly 
paradises. But Liebermann 
always remained the same. 
As in earlier days his pictures 
embodied the fearless creed of 
a man in the face of the old 
tendency, they do so now in 
the face of the very newest : 
" Here I stand, and I can do 
nothing else ; God help me. 
Amen." He is a clearly defined 
personality — as Goethe would 
say, " a nature." And the 
history of art delights in such 
bluff spirits. Men of character 
it loves, but not men of compromise. And so the name of 
Liebermann will survive when many of his famous contemporaries 
are forgotten. A few years ago, when Paris held her Centenary 
Exhibition, Liebermann saved the honour of German art by his 
" Net-Menders." And I believe that a hundred years hence, 
when the balloon or the electric railway is carrying people 
from all parts of the world to a new Centenary Exhibition, the 
picture will be hanging there again, only it will be venerable 
then instead of being, as it is now, in the freshness of its youth. 
For Max Liebermann will be an old master then, and not one 
of the worst. 

The further development of painting proceeded in Germany 
as elsewhere. By every revolution in art some new side of 
nature is brought forward, and a new task is set and has to 
be executed in a special way. The task of the generation of 
1880 was the observation of the colours of natural objects 
under the influence of varying effects of light. Its execution 
began with the study of plain and ordinary daylight. At this 
period the peasant and artisan picture predominated in exhibitions, 
and fanatics thought that art should always move in wooden 
shoes amongst vegetable fields. The turn then came for harder 



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IHan/stangl kelio. 



Skarbina: "The Fish-Market at Blankenberge." 

and more complicated problems of illumination. Besides the 
brightness of day, artists now painted the misty freshness of 
morning, the still evening twilight, the sultry, misty atmosphere 
before the storm, the faint ripple of moonlight, and the wavering 
of dusk or artificial light in rooms. And the more painters 
learnt to express light in all its phenomena, the less one-sided 
did they become in choice of subject The painting of rough 
scenes was supplemented by the painting of refifted, the painting 
of everyday life by the painting of strange and out-of-the-way 
scenes. And, finally, there resulted the very same advantage 
which Goethe had secured a hundred years before, after the 
" storm and stress period " had run its course : " With greater 
freedom of form, a more rich and various range of matter had 
been attained, and no subject in wide nature was any longer 
excluded as inartistic." Nature is everywhere, temperament is 
everywhere, and light and colour are everywhere. " Art is em- 
bedded in nature, and he has it who can tear it out." 

While Liebermann was the same from the beginning, Skarbina^ 
the second representative of the new art amongst the painters 



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GERMANY 



515 




Lefsius : Ernest Curtius. 

(By permission of iht Berlin Photographie Company, 
the owners of the copyright,) 



living ill Berlin, has 
gone through very many 
changes. Born in Berlin 
on February 24th, 1849, 
a few months before 
Liebermann, he began 
with pictures from the 
life of Frederick the Great, 
in which he proceeded 
rigorously upon the path 
struck by Menzel. In 
1878 he horrified the 
world by his " Awakening 
of One supposed to be 
Dead," a showpiece 
painted with great ana- 
tomical ability, and in 
1885 in Paris he passed 
from costume-painting and 
Tude Naturalism directly to Impressionism. There he produced 
many pictures, both large and small, representing life upon 
the boulevards, glances at Paris from the studio, life behind the 
scenes, and the like. He painted the coquettish grace of the 
Parisienne, the unwieldliness of Norman peasant women, chimney- 
sweeps coming from their work, ballet-girls dressing, old men in 
blouses and wooden shoes with baskets slung upon their backs, 
going to their daily labour. His earlier pictures are oily, but in 
these later works—" The Fish-Market at Blankenberge," " The 
Sailor's Sorrow," etc. — he succeeded in seizing the silvery, 
vaporous tone of the atmosphere in a masterly fashion. But 
when French painting turned from plein air to the study of 
the effects of artificial illumination, Skarbina addressed himself 
to more difficult tasks in the rendering of light. The original 
studies of half-light with which Besnard had been attracting 
attention for some years past, in particular, incited him to 
produce delightful little pictures, in which he painted the effect 
of lamps with coloured shades with fine pictorial feeling. And 



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5i6 MODERN PAINTING 

he made the technique of water-colours a flexible medium of 
expression ; and, indeed, it renders the impression of mutable 
and checkered moods better than oil-painting, which is more 
slowly brought to maturity. 

Skarbina is as various as modern life — one of those artists 
of virtuosity produced by the culture of great towns. His 
works have, perhaps, a less personal accent, less inward force of 
conviction, than those of Liebermann, and one has a sense that, 
if the current of art should set to-morrow in an opposite 
direction, he would be splashing in the new stream as gaily 
as ever, and with the same success. But he supplements 
Liebermann by his eminent dexterity of hand, his great gift for 
quickness of grasp and luxuriance in execution. His technique, 
for the most part, shows brilliant ability; the chic which he 
displays in his pictures of women is entirely Parisian in taste ; 
and his skill in rendering atmospheric effect has an aptitude 
which equals De Nittis. 

Friedrich Stahly who migrated some years ago from Munich 
to Berlin, is also an adroit virtuoso who has made modem 
society his domain without penetrating too deeply below the 
surface. Moreover he has the secret of giving artistic treatment 
to modem costume, the mastery of which was in earlier times 
such a source of difficulty to German painters. His seaside 
pictures are particularly amusing, and have been seen with a 
fine feeling for colour and executed with pointed spirit 

Then there is Hans Herrmann^ who has painted the quays 
and market-squares, peopling them with figures and taking 
advantage of everything which the scenes afford to give them 
animation. He is specially fond of damp autumn days, when a 
mellow, light grey tone spreads over town and country, and the 
trees stretch their branches amid misty clouds. But he does 
not succeed in the reproduction of palpitating life, and his 
pictures seldom rise above the stiff impression of photography. 

Hugo Vogely who passed from historical emdition to modem 
society ; Walter Leistikow^ who, after painting in a rather con- 
ventional style, developed into a fresh landscapist ; the portrait- 
painters Reinhold Lepsius and Curt Herrmann ; Lesser UrVy 



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GERMANY 517 

who made his appearance with some pictures full of talent ; 
and the water-colour artist Ludwig Dettmann, most of them 
members of the " Society of Eleven," might be also mentioned. 
Berlin, as it seems, does not yet offer ground where a painter 
can develop — scarcely, indeed, ground upon which a matured 
painter can keep his footing. The numerous public Commissions 
which are distributed at random, without understanding for the 
inward and vital conditions of art, now as ever justify the 
verdict which Goethe passed upon the cultivation of Berlin art 
in 1 80 1 in the Propyla'e\ "Poetry is ousted by history, land- 
scape by views, and what is universally human by what is 
patriotic." Generally speaking, too, the people of Berlin have 
not for growing and germinating tendencies that receptivity 
which has always been, and always will be, the fundamental 
temper of any society in which art is to blossom. 

Vienna has been even less productive of effective champions 
for the new ideas than Berlin itself. Since Makart there have 
arisen in Vienna but few men of original talent qualified to 
follow that great development which has gone forward with 
seven-leagued boots. There has been a want of everything in- 
dicating distinction or spontaneity ; petrified types in genre and 
historical work, vulgar motleyness of colour or the imitation of 
the tones of old pictures, rules of composition learnt by rote, 
tame and banal drawing, and systematic indifference for the 
frank poetry of nature — those are usually the characteristics 
of Austrian painting. Landscape and the painting of animals 
are the two solitary departments which have still life in 
Vienna, and are, perhaps, destined to pour fresh blood into its 
anaemic art 

Dusseldorf is the town where art is carried on by a cor- 
poration. The genius of the paint-box is a reflective spirit, 
with sufficient taste and insight not to despise novelty, but too 
timid to follow any path where others have not gone scatheless. 
The old artists go on painting in Dusseldorf as they have 
painted for years, and neither better nor worse. And young 
men have still before their eyes that "fear of doing anything 
foolish in paint" which Immermann once cited as the charac- 



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Si8 MODERN PAINTING 

teristic of the school. Arthur Kampf, Eduard Kdnipffer^ Olaf 
femberg, and a few young landscape-painters, however, excited 
special attention at recent ^chibitions. 

In Otto Reiniger Stuttgart possesses a powerful landscapist, 
who has a preference for large cultivated fields, and in essential 
simplicity of technique does the utmost that is possible in this 
province of work ; and in Robert Haug it has a popular painter 
of soldiers, who unites sound ability with a homely bourgeois 
talent for narrative. 

Thomas Herbst lives in Hamburg, known by few, though 
one of the most refined landscape and animal painters of the 
present age. The idyllic nooks about the old Hanseatic town 
and the green meadows near Blankenese have been painted by 
him with a tender gift of absorption and a delicacy expressive 
of the artist's temperament. 

In the eighties Carlsruhe came to the front with astonishing 
vigour. Gustav Schonleber, a pupil of Lier, painted in Holland, 
rendering those delicate charms of flat landscape which even 
three hundred years ago quickened the feeling of the Dutch 
painters. Still streams, rippled by a light breeze, glide through 
fertile plains. Church towers rise in the yellow evening sky. 
Moist vapour trembles in the atmosphere, and envelops the 
old red and grey roofs. Herrmann Baischy who worked for a 
time under Rousseau in Paris, discovered felicitous motives in 
the level land by the North Sea and in the wide plains 
bordering the Dutch coast. Grazing herds move in the rich 
pastures, where a windmill or a clump of trees rises ; here and 
there herdsmen stand leaning upon their staffs, or dairymaids 
come to milk upon the meadow. The sky is clouded, and the 
sea-mist hangs in the greyish-green tree-tops. Deriving his 
impulse from Schonleber and Baisch, Kallmorgen usually enlivens 
his landscapes with dramatically pointed scenes of genre. A 
crockery market is thrown into commotion by a frightened 
horse, or a dashing rider passes through a village in the Black 
Forest Or perhaps the place is visited by a flood. Ruined 
hedges and gardens and vegetable-beds smothered in mud emerge 
from the subsiding water. Children and women in the damp 



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GERMANY 



519 




Bruno Piglhein. 



spring wind stand by in dull 

despair. But where there are no 

young men of enterprise pressing 

forward, older painters lack the 

best incitement to progress, and 

Carlsruhe seems to have come 

once more to a standstill. 

Schonleber has adapted the 

newly discovered method of 

expression to the needs of the 

drawing-room, and his pictures 

have become so chic that he 

rather resembles Oswald Achen- 

bach than Liebermann. Baisch 

repeats the same subjects without 

renovating his talent, and whether that sensitive artist Robert 
Poetzelberger will succeed in creating an aftermath must be left 
for the future to decide. 

Weimar presents the astonishing and remarkable pheno- 
menon of an academy that for once exercises no retarding 
influence upon the efforts of a band of artists. Here through 
long years Theodor Hagen has fought for everything genuine 
and progressive, and, whether as a teacher or an artist, has 
opened the eyes of many a young painter. His pictures are 
homely and simple : cultivated fields and hills touched by the 
delicate bloom of the rising sun, or phases of evening when 
colours fade in the darkness and forms are veiled. Schiller's 
grandson, Baron Gleicften-Russwurm, was strengthened by Hagen 
to go with courage upon his solitary way. Even in the days 
when the geographical view was everywhere in the ascendant, 
he roamed over his fields as a landlord, noting the billowing 
wind in the tops of the trees that were growing green, and the 
play of light upon the narrow grassy ridges separating meadow 
from meadow, and painted his unostentatious pictures : green 
cornfields with blossoming apple-trees shivering in the evening 
breeze, green meadows with washing spread out to bleach. 
Beside Hagen with his liking for discreet, subdued tones, 



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520 MODERN PAINTING 




Piglhein: '*La Diva." 



iHanfsUbtgi pholo. 



Gleichen-Russwurm seems more direct and downright His 
painting is full and healthy, decisive and broad. Everything 
is flooded with the brightest and most unbroken daylight 
Amongst younger artists formed by Hagen, Berkemeier and 
Thierbach are both noticeable. Berkemeiery a man of born 
talent, paints strand pictures from Holland, his native country, 
rendering an energetic analysis of the impressions of nature. 
Thierbach, an artist of homely simplicity, slightly recalling 
Thoma, has, in particular, discovered charming scenes in the 
Harz district And in Paul Baum Claude Monet has found a 
satellite who is full of talent 

But the new art has its firm stronghold in Munich. The 
more Berlin has become the centre of actual life, the great 
city which levels all things, the more has Munich assumed 
the absolute and incontestable leadership in art It would 
seem that there are currents from the sources of the Isar 
which neither the decrees of Ministers nor the power of gold 
can guide into the Spree. The Munich colony of artists have 
always admitted honourably how much there was to be learnt 
from foreign countries ; they have never complacently rested 
upon their attainments, but have answered to all novel impulses 
with a delight in learning and fine comprehension. This gives 
the Munich school its great predominance ; and this has rendered 
Munich the home of progress, the guiding centre of artistic 



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VOL. III. 



34 



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GERMANY 



523 




Albert Keller. 



creation in Germany. Of course 
it is impossible to pass final 
judgment upon these contem- 
poraries, the more exact classi- 
fication of whom must be the 
work of time alone. It is even 
difficult to make a just selection 
of artists, for the greatness of 
Munich art is that it does not 
rest upon individual masters 
towering over the others, but 
upon the vigorous strength and 
efficient drill of the whole band : 
the higher the general level rises, 
the more do the separate peaks 
seem to vanish. 

Amongst those older artists 
who have remained young, Bruno Piglhein claims the foremost 
place : he is a painter who did not join in affecting the outward 
symptoms of the new movement, and yet he could not grow 
old-fashioned, having always been of a modern spirit. A man 
of facile, improvising talent, Piglhein has painted the most 
various subjects and such as lie beyond the boundaries of the 
most obvious reality, and yet he has never done so as an 
imitator of the old masters nor as a genre painter. In all his 
work expression is given to personal taste which has been 
subjected to superior training. A pictorial and not an anecdotic 
idea guided . him in everything. Attention was first drawn to 
him in 1879 by a picture of the Crucifixion, " Moritur in Deo." 
The angel floating down to the Saviour and receiving His spirit 
from His pale lips in a kiss was bold and magnificent in effect. 
Afterwards he acquired a certain reputation as the painter of 
Paganism and beautiful sin. His piquant pastels — his " Pierrette," 
his "Pschiitt," his "Dancing Girl," or the idyll of "The Girl 
with the Dog " — might be taken for the works of a Frenchman, 
with such an audacious bravura and Parisian esprit were they 
painted. But while they were making his name in England 



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MODERN PAINTING 



and America, Piglhein 
himself returned to far 
greater tasks. Panoramas 
are, as a rule, matters of 
indifference to art A 
work of art is as different 
from those rough - and - 
ready representations of 
patriotic events, which 
have hitherto been almost 
exclusively adapted for 
panoramic pictures, as a 
poem is different from the 
report of a battle. It is 
not impossible that the 
report of a battle, whether 
in paint or print, might 
be consistent with art, but 
it is questionable whether 
such has been the case in 
actual practice. But in 
his " Crucifixion of Christ " 
of 1888 Piglhein opened a new course to panoramic painting. 
It was only a man of such eminent ability, such great 
imagination and refined feeling, who could have compassed an 
effect so thoroughly artistic in the form of a panoramic picture. 
Indescribable was the impression made by the landscape fringed 
with hills and groves of olive, a landscape which in some places 
revealed scenes which had been finely felt and which were 
grandiose in their effect But the best of Piglhein is his 
unpainted pictures. 

In science there are proud and lonely spirits, who never feel the 
need of expressing their thoughts through the medium of printer's 
ink — spirits to whom the diligent handicraftsman in the things 
of the mind is fain to look up to with a reverent awe, acknow- 
ledging that what he brings to light himself is a poor fragmen- 
tary result compared with the rich store of ideas hidden in the 




{Hanfst&ngl photo. 
Keller: Portrait of a Lady. 



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GERMANY 



525 



minds of those great 
silent men. It is 
with similar feelings 
that one regards 
Piglhein. He is ac- 
corded high honours 
by the younger 
generation; Various 
as the opinions held 
about older men may 
be, in regard to 
Piglhein there is no 
difference of judg- 
ment. He is looked 
upon as one of those 
rare artists who could 
do all they wish, had 
they but occasion 
to display the full 
measure of their en- 
dowment. His Cen- 
taur pictures, " The 

Burial of Christ" with its grave and solemn landscape, the 
picture of the blind woman stepping through the blooming field 
of poppies feeling her way with a stick— all these are amongst 
the most effective pictures produced in Germany during the 
last decade; and yet, exhibited by Piglhein, they seem merely 
the minor investments of a vast capital, which would yield pro- 
ceeds of a very different kind were it but rightly laid out. 
Germany is guilty of annually wasting large sums of money on the 
unprofitable purchase of oil-paintings which in a few years will 
merely crowd her galleries with so much daubed canvas. She 
has numbers of public buildings embellished with wall-paintings 
which, in the form of cheap woodcuts, would be far more effectual 
in answering the designed end of fostering a sense of patriotism. 
And in Piglhein it possesses a man of the first order of decora- 
tive talent. What he has been allowed to execute is little : a 




[Han/stdngl photo, 
Keller: "The Sleep of a Witch." 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Keller : " Supper." 



\HanJstdngl i^hoto. 



" Bavaria," a few decorations in Hamburg and Wiesbaden — 
occasional works which have not taken him many weeks. But 
every one of these works was whimsical, imaginative, buoyant, 
and strange. They bore no trace of academical sobriety, but 
were everywhere full of life, pictorial inspiration, and irrepress- 
ible joy of the senses. Everything showed that in his imagina- 
tion there are latent powers which only need a summons to 
reveal themselves in the most delightful manner. The history 
of German art in the nineteenth century is frequently a history 
of wasted opportunities. And it is to be hoped that Germany 
will not first recognize Piglhein's significance when it is too 
late. 

Albert Keller, also, was a pure painter, at a time when only 
historical and genre painters were otherwise to be found in 
Munich. He never gave himself up to making coarse broth, 
and on that account he had to renounce popular fame ; but, on 
the other hand, he never ceased to be interesting in artistic 
circles, and in this restlessly progressive age of ours it is a 
rarity in itself that a man of fifty should be of interest still. 
Keller's range of subject is limited in only one point : he has a 
vast contempt of banality, and the reproduction of other men's 
work or of his own. Every subject must give him the oppor- 
tunity for introducing special models, and such as have not as 



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Munich : Photographic l/moH.] 

Baron von Habermann : Portrait of Himself. 

yet been used, pictorial experiments and new problems of 
colour. In all that he does he expresses an original artistic 
physiognomy, something boldly subjective in conception, and he 
possesses temperament to the very ends of his fingers. White 
satin dresses, vases with lilac elder flowers, spirited arrange- 
ments of colours, and heavy silks, cushions, and bearskins — such 
are the accessories in Albert Keller's portraits of women. 
There is no one else in Germany who can render pale, delicate 
faces and finely shaped lids with so much comprehension, no 
one who can drape rustling dresses with such perfect taste or 
place them upon canvas with such a capricious grace. The 
fragrance of sa/on and boudoir escape from those pictures of his 
which have the mistress of the salon as their subject. 

Sometimes these likenesses are groups giving rise to such 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Habermann : "A Child or Misfortune." 



{Htttt/stdHgl helio. 



works as his charming " Supper," which he had in the exhibi- 
tion of 1890. In Johansen's works which hung there at the 
same time the subdued radiance of the lamp was seen to 
shine, but in Keller's there were candles gleaming like faint 
bright spots in the atmosphere impregnated with the smoke of 
cigarettes. In Johansen the men had old-fashioned coats, and 
the women were over-dressed in a provincial way. But Keller 
painted a fashionable scene of smart life with the most refined 
chic. 

Or his sensibility to colour is combined with an interest in 
hypnotism and spiritualism giving rise to such pictures as " The 
Raising of a Dead Woman" and "The Sleep of a Witch." In 
the picture of the raising he found occasion to utilize as a back- 
ground antiquity with its delicately graduated hues and the East 
with its delight in colour. His theme " The Sleep of a Witch " 
allowed him to gather into a beautiful bouquet the motley and 
richly coloured costumes of the Middle Ages, over which there 



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Count Leopold von Kalckreuth. 



rose the lustrous mother-of-pearl 
tone of a nude woman's body. 
In each case, however, a modern 
psychological problem was united 
with the scheme of colour. The 
earnest and absorbed portrayal 
of the girl whose spirit falters 
dreamily back into life out of 
the night of death, and the 
enthusiastic ecstasy of the witch 
suffering a death of fire with a 
smile of rapture would never 
have been painted if Charcot and 
Richer had not about that time 
created an interest in hypnotic 
researches. 

But a temperament rejoicing in colour, like Keller's, is not 
seen at its best in finished pictures, but rather in sketches ; in 
the latter the original, creative, and individual element is dis- 
played with greater force than is the case in works where it 
too easily evaporates in the course of elaboration. The privilege 
of the gourmet is to have a palate so fine that in contact with 
dainties it gives him sensations which escape others. Keller 
works for artistic gourfnets whose eyes are similarly sensitive to 
the pleasures of colour. What he represents is a matter of 
indifference — pleasant interiors with children, girls seated at the 
piano or reading or occupied with their toilette, religious sub- 
jects or mythological ; in each case the figures and subjects are 
developed from the scheme of colour, and the chords which he 
strikes are voluptuously toned. Every sketch of his is a refined 
and coquettish jewel, a trinket of alluring charm. He saw the 
artists who delighted in grey or bituminous tones pass by his 
window, but he remained always the same : a charmeur in 
colour, a painter of sparkling grace belonging to the noble 
family of those spoken of in the eighteenth century as peintres 
des fites galantes — men like Alfred Stevens, Decamps, Isabey, 
and Watteau. 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Munich: Albtrt.] 



Kalckreitth : " Homewards." 



In Baron von Habermann this sensibility to colour is com- 
bined with a stronger leaning towards dicadent^ or, as Nordau 
would say, degenerate art He is an esprit tourtntntiy a Sybarite, 
who has spoilt his taste for ordinary fare, and finds savour only 
in the strong spice of strange and unfamiliar matters. Standing 
at first beneath the influence of the Piloty school, and beneath 
the sway of ideals reminiscent of the old masters, he even then 
displayed an astonishing sureness and most notable taste. A 
tinge of melancholy, and a bitter pessimistic view of the world, 
entered into his later pictures, where medicine bottles, basins, 
and surgical instruments took the place occupied by settles and 
folios in the earlier historical pieces. At times he has moments 
when a general disgust of everything traditional moves him 
to the painting of regular gamin pictures of girls, in which he 
is most perverse ; but of late years work with an allegorical 
strain is what seems to have interested him chiefly. It is poss- 
ible that the originality of Habermann may seem slightly 
perverse to later generations ; but for any one who would know 



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Graphischg Kuttstt.l 



Kuehl: *' LUbeckv Orphan Girls." 



the feelings of our own age he is one of the most captivating 
figures. 

Amongst those who have chosen the naturalistic range of 
subject without qualification, Count Leopold von Kakkreuth is one 
of the most powerful. It was in grey Holland that his eyes 
were opened, and melancholy, lowering, sunless phases of atmo- 
sphere predominate in his pictures. In 1888 he painted the old 
seaman on the strand watching the boats running out, and 
gazing sadly after them. The sky was grey, and grey the 
strand, and the form of the old man in his rough red frieze 
shirt and loose dark grey trousers rose powerful in the fore- 
ground amid the flat coast landscape. The exhibition of 1889 
contained " Homewards," two great farm-horses, with a labourer 
seated upon one of them and talking with a sturdy country girl 
— a picture which has nothing like it as a realistic study. A 
second picture was named " Summer." In the sunny evening 
summer air, which none the less prognosticates a storm, a 
peasant^ woman, with a sickle in one hand and the other resting 



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MODERN PAINTING 



against her pregnant body, 
is seen to pass along the 
ripening corn lost in dull 
brooding thoughts. A 
gigantic energy, something 
at once athletic and monu- 
mental, is in Kalckreuth's 
austere and mercilessly 
realistic works. If he 
paints rustic life, the 
heavy odour of the earth 
streams from his pictures ; 
if he executes likenesses, 
they have a plainness and 
force of expression such 
as only Leibl possessed 
amongst previous artists. 

Gotthard Ktuhl takes 
his origin from Fortuny. 
His earliest piquant 
Rococo pictures had the 
same dazzling virtuosity as the works of the Spaniard, and this 
artistic descent from Fortuny is to be seen in him always. 
There is something sparkling and coquettish in the way in 
which sunbeams fall upon blond hair, and metal, and the 
crucifixes and altars of old Rococo churches, in the pictures 
of Kuehl. The Dutch purity of Liebermann is united with a 
certain esprit recalling Menzel— with a love of all that sparkles 
and flickers, of splendour and of ornament. ** Liibeck Orphan 
Girls," painted in 1884, was the name of the first picture in 
which he followed Liebermann. Four young and pretty 
sempstresses are seated in their workroom with soft light 
playing over their figures. Clear, cold tones are here in the 
ascendant, and it is only the red of the clothes and of the tiles 
of a roof seen through the open window which gives animation 
to the light harmony of colours. In other pictures there sit men 
stitching sails, or there are old women at work ; while through 




Munich : Hanfst&ngl.'\ 

Kuehl: "A Church Interior.' 



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the slits of the jalousies 

the light falls broadly, 

flashing and dazzling 

upon the polished boards. 

But the gay Rococo 

churches which remain 

intact in Munich, 

Bruchsal, Liibeck, or 

Hamburg continued to 

be his favourite study. 

Girls in white dresses 

play upon the organ. 

Choristers in red and 

black move in front of 

the bright plaster walls. 

Or, perhaps, the church 

is empty ; the light 

glances upon splendid 

altars with spiral marble 

pillars, upon the curved 

gable ceiling, where the 

eye of God is glowing 

in golden rays, upon the 

gorgeous reliques sparkling in precious tabernacles. In the 

sportive and pointed treatment of such matters Kuehl displays 

a peculiar adroitness. 

In the pictures by which he first became known in 1883, 
Paul Hocker^ another of the many artists inspired by Holland, 
usually represented kitchens in the homes of Dutch fishermen, 
kitchens with tiled fireplaces, painted delft plates, and bubbling 
kettles. The crackling fire throws its golden-reddish glow in 
all directions, chasing away the shades of dusk. Before the 
hearth sits the young huisvrouw, lost in still reverie, with her 
face turned to the blaze which tinges her cheeks with a warm 
flush, whilst a smart little white cap covers the upper part of 
her visage. It is true that he does not reach an intimate effect 
transcending the nlere impression of a picture, like Johansen, 




[Hanfst&ngl helio. 
Hocker: "Before the Hearth.** 



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MODERt^ PAINTING 




ZuGEL : ** In the Autumn." 

but it is none the less true that his works have a fusion of 
colour which is soothing to the eye. In later days he painted 
sea-pieces or meditative nuns, and when mysticism came into 
vogue he showed an eclectic taste in joining the movement. 

In Heinrich Zugel and Victor Weishaupt the Munich school 
possesses two animal painters who compare with the great French- 
men in inherent force. Indeed Heinrich ZUgel — who is full of 
genuinely pictorial talent, and touches nature as few others have 
done — is admirable in the painting of cattle of all kinds, and 
not less so in rendering light, air, and landscape. As a rule 
there may be seen in his pictures sheep grazing upon blue and 
sunny summer days over fresh pastures clothed with tender 
green, while the sunbeams glance upon their fleecy backs. His 
most impressive picture of oxen was in the exhibition of 1892. 
With a mild and cool light the autumn sun fell upon the brown 
field turned up by the ploughshare. A magnificent pair of 
dappled oxen yoked to the plough stepped forwards, casting 
broad shadows upon the steaming clods. That powerful and 
energetic master Victor Weishaupt is usually more dramatic. 



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GERMANY 535 

His brutes engage in combat or rush wildly over the wide plain. 
But in his idyllic landscapes he renders the freshness and blithe 
serenity of rustic life. 

Ludwig Dill is best known as the painter of Venice, of the 
lagunes and Chioggia, but besides his forcible and energetic 
sea-pieces he has painted landscapes, intimately felt and repre- 
sented with sovereign power: little strips of shore where the 
waves subside, familiar garden nooks with flowers growing in 
gay confusion, lonely moonlight nights, dimly blue, and filled 
with a silvery, tremulous starlight. 

A vigorous pictorial talent animates the work of Ludwig 
Herterich^ who moves with facility in the most various fields, 
without any marked tendency to brooding speculation ; and he 
is, at the same time, an excellent teacher, who has opened the 
eyes of many a younger artist. Waclaw Scymanowski makes 
a rough, it might almost be said a crude and barbaric effect ; 
but every one of his pictures, from the wild and agitated " Fight 
in a Tavern" down to "The Prayer" of 1893, is an earnest 
work, sustained with artistic force of conception. Hans Olde^ 
who, after his apprentice period in Munich, settled in a sequestered 
nook of Holstein, has found charming things to paint amid 
the cool, sparkling air of the North : tilled fields in the fresh 
dew before sunrise, with labourers going to their work, or silvery 
winter landscapes where the snow is like crystal, white flocks 
of sheep, trees covered with icicles, and glittering beams pouring 
over the diamond crust of the ice in waves of blue light. 

All the work of Arthur Langhammer is exceedingly delicate, 
sincere, and expressive of the artist's mood, and felt with manly 
tenderness. In Leo Satnberger a new Lenbach seems to have 
risen in the Munich school, though one with less piquancy and 
a largeness which is more austere. Walter Firle was successful 
with a series of fluent pictures, in which he followed the leaders 
of the school as a dexterous disciple. Hans von Bartels is a 
luxuriant water-colour artist who represents, almost with too 
much routine, the pictorial charm of the Northern sea, the 
gleaming floor of the waters with the damp atmosphere above, 
the restless throng of human beings in the port of Hamburg, 



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536 MODERN PAINTING 

and the interior of smoky taverns where seamen gather. And 
Wilhebn Kelkr-Reutlingen has the art of reproducing in a masterly 
fashion the charm of a level landscape with its subtile grada- 
tions of colour and all the plenitude of light shed through the 
great vault of the sky. The Dachau plain was a special source 
of inspiration for his beautiful summer landscapes. The names 
of other painters who would demand more detailed consideration 
if they lived in any town less rich in artists than Munich are 
G, Ankarcrona^ Martin Aster, Frits Baer, Benno Becker^ E. Becker- 
Gundahl, Peter Behrens, Tina Blau, Josef Block, H. Borchardt, 

B. Buttersacky Louis Corinth, Alois Delug, Otto Ecktnann, H, 
Eichfeldy Otto Engel, Alois Erdtelt, Friedrich Fehr, Georg Flad, 
Heinz Heim, Thomas Theodor Heine, Hubert von Heyden, O. Hierl- 
Deronco, A. Hoelzel, Tluodor Huntnul, H. Konig, E, Kubierschky, 
M, Kuscltel, R, Lipps, G. von Maffei, P, P. MUller, Hermann 
Neu/iauSy Ernst Opler, Geza Peske, F. Rabending, W. Rduber, 
M. von Schmaedel, L, Schoenchen, Paul Schroeter, Alfred von 
Schroedter, F, Strobentz, O. Ubbelohde, W. Velten, C. Vinnen, and 

C, Voss. And to this long list there might be joined a whole 
series of young men of talent But as yet they are too much 
in a state of development for the historian to dwell upon them, 
though they are of all the more importance to the lover of 
painting who has the artistic eminence of Munich at heart ; for 
in art, to speak candidly, the younger generation are of prime 
significance, since they alone assure the future, and without a 
worthy future the past itself must speedily decay. 

That the art of illustration took a new and higher development 
under the influence of the earnest study of nature which had 
entered into painting is a truth of which Fliegende Blatter gives 
sufficient proof. Here, also, the vagueness or extravagance of 
early days was transformed until it became refined, discreet, 
and animated. Spirited comedy took the place of burlesque 
farces, and vivid street or drawing-room studies that of droll 
figures separately displayed. Rend Reinicke especially, and also 
Hermann Schlittgen, mark the furthest extreme to be attained 
by modern caricature as opposed to the stereotyped distortion 
of former epochs. With incisive strokes, the effect of which 



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GERMANY 537 

has been fully calculated, they understand how to render the 
world of fashion and pleasure in the streets and in the 
salon, in ordinary attire or in uniform, in ball-dress or in the 
skirts of the ballet. Every line is made to tell ; every one of 
their plates is a spirited causerie, fresh, light, and sparkling. 
And Hengelery Fritz Wahle, and others have likewise produced 
charming pictures, elaborated with an astonishing technique, 
pictures from which later generations will gather as much con- 
cerning the physiognomy of the end of the nineteenth century 
as the delicate Rococo masters have taught the present generation 
in regard to the civilization of the eighteenth. Franz Stuck, 
whose rise has been so brilliant, leads from this art rejoicing 
in reality to the last phase of modernity, the New Idealism. 



VOL. III. 35 



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BOOK V 

THE NEW IDEALISTS 



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BOOK V 

THE NEW IDEALISTS 



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CHAPTER XLVI 

THE NATURE OF THE NEW IDEALISM 

Afier Naturalism had taught artists to work ufon the impressions of 
external reality in an independent manner^ a tra?tsition was made by 
some who embodied the impressions of their inward spirit in a free 
creative fashion ^ unborrowed from the old masters. 

** A RTIST, thou art priest : art is the great mystery, and 
JljL when thy labour results in a masterpiece, a ray of the 
Divine descends as though upon an altar. O veritable presence 
of Deity, thou who shinest upon us from the sublime names of 
Da Vinci, Michael Angelo, Beethoven, Wagner ! 

" Artist, thou art king : art is the true kingdom. When thy 
hand has executed a perfect line, the very Cherubim come down 
from heaven and behold themselves in it as in a glass. 

" Drawing full of spiritual meaning, line inspired with soul, 
form that has been inwardly felt, thou hast given body to 
our dreams : Samothrace and St. John, Sistine Chapel and 
Cenacolo, Parsifal, Ninth Symphony, Notre-Dame. 

" Artist, thou art mage : art is the great wonder and the evi- 
dence of our immortality. Who has doubt any longer? Giotto 
has touched the stigma of St Francis, the Virgin appeared 
to Fra Angelico, and Rembrandt demonstrated the raising of 
Lazarus. Of all pedantic subtilties there has been absolute 
confutation : men doubt of Moses, and there comes Michael 
Angelo ; men deny Jesus, and there comes Leonardo. Men 
profane all things ; but sacred and unchangeable art continues in 
prayer. O ineffable, serene, and lofty sublimity, Holy Grail for 
ever shining, pix and relique, unvanquished banner, omnipotent 



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542 MODERN PAINTING 

art, Art-God, th^e do I honour upon my knees, thou last 
ray from above, falling upon our corruption ! Imbecile kings, 
who have lost their crowns, die upon the pavement of the 
towns where once their race held sway. A stupefied nobility 
only lives in the stable in these days, and false priests soil their 
cloth. All is tottering, all is over, the decadence yawns and 
shakes the rock upon which Jesus built His Church. Weep, 
O Gregory VII., mighty Pope, who wouldst have saved all, weep 
in heaven over thy Church fallen into darkness ; and thou, old 
Dante, catholic Homer, rise from thy throne of glory, and 
mingle thy wrath with the despair of Buonarotti. Yet behold 
— for a ray of sacred light is visible, a pale lustre is shed 
abroad — O miracle of miracles ! a rose lifts up its head and 
opens its chalice wide, clasping the holy cross with its leaves : 
and the cross beams in heavenly splendour ; Jesus has not 
cursed the world, for He receives the adoration of Art The 
magi were the first who made a pilgrimage to the Divine 
Master, and at the last the magi will be His children. The 
austere enthusiasm of the artist survives the lost piety of olden 
days. Miserable moderns, halt upon your course to the nirvana, 
sink beneath the burden of your sins, for your blasphemies 
shall never slay faith. You may close the churches, but what 
of the galleries ? The Louvre will read the mass if Notre-Dame 
is profaned. Strauss, surely, has denied, but Parsifal has borne 
witness, and the archangel of Fra Angelico drowns with his 
sublime voice the godless old wives' twaddle of Ernest Renan. 

" Humanity, O Saviour, will always go to Thy mass when 
the priests are Bach, Beethoven, and Palestrina. Miserable 
moderns, you will never conquer, for St. George slays the 
monster ever afresh, and Genius and Beauty will always be 
God. Brothers in Art, I give the battle-cry: let us form a 
sacred band for the rescue of Ideality. We are a few, 
with all against us ; but the angels are fighting upon our side. 
We have no leader, but the old masters are guiding us to 
Paradise." 

Such were the words with which Sar Joseph P^ladan, in the 
spring of 1 892, prefaced the catalogue of the " Rosicrucian " 



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THE NATURE OF THE NEW IDEALISM 543 

Exhibition in Paris, which, by the way, was not called " cata- 
logue," but Geste EsthMque, and had at the top the motto 
Non nobis Domine^ sed nonn'm's tut glorice soli. Amen, The 
exhibitors called themselves magi or aesthetes, and were more- 
over mediaeval Catholics who had chosen the Gothic Rose as 
their emblem, and revived once more the Order of the Rose- 
Garland. They painted, but likewise held themselves to be 
musicians, and they exorcised spirits at the midnight hour. 
Before the great public they posed as hierophants, and de- 
picted themselves in their catalogue as Chaldean magi devoted 
to cabalistic studies. To display their piety to the whole 
world, upon the opening day of their Salon they had a mass 
read for its prosperity, and arranged that the Celebration music 
in Parsifal should be played upon the organ. When the last 
note had died away they drew of a sudden from their breasts 
the roses which they had worn in their buttonholes upon 
varnishing day, crossing them in the air with daggers, to the 
great amazement of the workmen and humble dames who 
attended early mass in Notre-Dame. At any rate their prayers 
were not without result. On the opening day — March loth, 
1892 — the premises of the picture-dealer Durand-Ruel contained 
over eleven thousand eager spectators, in spite of the high 
price charged for admission. The great mage Peladan — a man 
with pale features, a black beard, and long flowing black hair, 
clad in a fantastic costume of satin — did the honours of the 
house, to the amusement of the visitors. The programme of 
the Rosicrucians was as follows ; Everything contemporary, 
every representation which has as its object dead nature, 
inanimate landscape, animals or plants, or "any other sort of 
absurdity," was to be rigorously left on one side, likewise 
everything realistic, however perfect in technique, even portraits 
so far as they did not "achieve style." "For technique,'* they 
said, " is nothing, and substance, thought, and style everything." 
Their object was to paint all the beautiful myths of the world, 
and to permeate this mythical element with the tender senti- 
ment peculiar to our own generation, carrying it to the point 
of mysticism. It was only such works which could enrich the 



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544 MODERN PAINTING 

^gg^^g^t^ of our emotions, and give us sensations we should not 
otherwise have had. Amongst the works exhibited there were 
pictures which recalled the art of the ancient Assyrians rather 
than that of modem Paris, so helplessly childish were they in 
line and colour — so archaic, Chaldean, and metaphysical. One 
artist had painted a flight of spirits, another an "anaesthetic 
trance," a third the angel of the Rose-Garland, and a fourth 
a communicant rapt in ecstasy; a Swiss, named Trachsel, por- 
trayed in a series of water-colours the feelings and passions of 
a humanity " surpassing our own in the intensity of their 
sensibilities." In the evenings choruses from Parsifal were 
heard resounding from invisible depths, and fugues by Sebastian 
Bach. Later a mass of Palestrina was performed and a 
pastorale Chald^enne, And " The Son of tlie Stars,** a Wagnerian 
coifiedy in three acts, by Sar Pdadan, was also represented. Ad 
rosam per Crucem, ad Crucem per rosam, in ea, in eis gemmatus 
resurgam. 

Granting that this exhibition was a bizarre aberration of 
taste on the part of novices who wished to advertise themselves, 
it was, none the less, in its essence, the issue of a significant 
tendency of spirit, serious symptoms of which had been per- 
ceptible for several years. Even in this paradoxical display it 
gave, as it were, official confirmation of the transition of art 
from Realism to Transcendentalism, of its joining the aristocratic 
and idealistic current which had long been sweeping over 
literature. Realism had been the child of that period which 
had seen the rise of Comte*s philosophy. Its standard-bearers 
belonged to a positive, sober generation, inspired rather by epical 
than lyrical emotion. In all departments of intellectual life 
those throve best who were best able to complete their work 
with clear vision and made the fewest demands upon sentiment 
As the analysis of modem manners ruled over the theatre in 
Augier, Dumas, and Sardou, so, in the hands of Balzac, Flaubert, 
and Zola, the novel also made a return to its true function of 
painting manners, after the Romanticists had made it a pretext 
for lyrical outpourings and descriptions glowing with colour. 
There arose in France the most marvellous constellation of 



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THE NATURE OF THE NEW IDEALISM 545 

sculptors who had appeared since the Renaissance. And in 
criticism and science Positivism unrolled its banner more 
proudly than ever : Comte, Littr6, Taine, and Sainte-Beuve were 
in the height of activity. All metaphysical researches were thrown 
into the background as unscientific. In the presence of myth- 
ology and religion the world had recourse to parody and 
scepticism with Offenbach and Renan. Nor were the passions 
known any longer. Taine and Zola entrench themselves behind 
an earthwork of objectivity, and seldom allow any glimpse into 
their inward spirit. With them man is the product of his 
circumstances, like everything else, and as such he has the right 
to be what he is. Science should take the place of morals, 
religion, and philanthropy. And as science stands unimpassioned 
in the face of nature, painting would conquer her through mere 
clearness of eyesight and with as little passion. 

In the exhibitions, whichever way one turned, there was the 
fresh pulsating life of our own time, which had gradually been 
made, in all its phases, a wide field of observation for the artist. 
Upon all sides the portrayal of the modern man had taken the 
place of artificial efforts to breathe life into vanished ages of 
civilization. After a long period of alienation from the world 
painting came back at last to its chief task — that of leaving a 
counterfeit of its own time to posterity. 

The purely artistic result was as important as the historical. 
The art of the nineteenth century had begun with a decayed 
Idealism which could only keep its ground by leaning upon the 
old masters. In the majority of instances works were grounded 
upon the basis of canonical forms established by the Greeks and 
the Cinquecentisti. By opposing this imitative and eclectic 
art. Realism opened a path to a new and independent view of 
nature, after a period of external imitation. Discipleship and 
the tyranny of set form were overcome, and thus the foundation 
of a new Renaissance was created ; for every independent period 
of art has begun with making a transcript of nature, a reproduc- 
tion of reality. 

Realism, however, could not be the permanent expression of 
the total life of the present. Many as were the "human 



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546 MODERN FAINTING 

documents" created by the Zola school, it depicted only a part 
of modern life : its bareness, its lack of poetry, its struggle for 
existence, its dominance of the masses, its rough plebeian breath, 
and its broad and unconstrained gesture. Zola's characters are 
men of the crowd, intelligent members of the proletariat ; he 
had no vision for the subtile contradictions and curious states 
of soul in reflective personalities, for the representation of the 
tangled life of thought And the aim of the painters who 
went upon parallel lines with him was an exclusively outward 
truth ; it was mere reality. Their intention was to place this 
upon canvas in its bluff nudity or its refined elegance, exactly 
as it was, and without embellishment or addition. They were 
positivists who noted down with accuracy all the events and 
agitations of life. We had from them a great quantity of docu- 
ments on the existence of peasants and handicraftsmen, public 
amusements, society, and the family. With an exhaustiveness 
which nothing could daunt, the record was given of how people 
fish and dine, what people do upon a country holiday in the 
sun, how they frequent concerts, and behave at weddings and 
during the revels of the Carnival, or in the studio and in the 
drawing-room. We beheld the Parisienne at the theatre, the 
Parisienne driving to a soiree, the Parisienne coming back from 
a soiree, the Parisienne crossing a bridge, the Parisienne with a 
parasol, and the Parisienne with a bouquet. And ultimately we 
were exceedingly well instructed upon the whole matter. 

But did these pictures give expression to the inner life of 
the nineteenth century, the secret pangs and hopes that move 
our unstable age? It is not alone the entire fashion of outward 
existence that has altered since the days of the old masters. 
We have discovered novel emotions, as science has discovered 
new colours ; we have created a thousand hitherto unknown 
nuances, a thousand inevitable refinements. It took a long 
time before we became the children of our own age, but now 
that we are on familiar terms with it, we are all the more 
conscious of its monotonous prose. So we have the need of 
living not merely in the world around us, but in an inward 
world that we build up ourselves, a world far more strange and 



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THE NATURE OF THE NEW IDEALISM 547 

fair, far more luminous than that in which our feet stumble 
so helplessly. We feel the need of rising into the wide land 
of vision upon the pinions of fancy, of building castles in the 
clouds, and watching their rise and their fall, and following 
into misty distance the freaks of their changing architecture. 
The more grey and colourless the present may be, the more 
alluringly does the fairy splendour of vanished worlds of beauty 
flit before us. It is the very banality of everyday life that 
renders us more sensitive to the delicate charm of old myths, 
and we receive them in a more childlike, impressionable way 
than any earlier age, for we look upon them with fresh ^y^s 
that have been rendered keen by yearning. We have also 
grown more religious and prone to believe. Positivistic philosophy 
excited the lust after knowledge, but did not satisfy it, and the 
result is a tendency towards the supernatural. 

Various names have been invented for all these anti-realistic 
inclinations, according to the land where their source oozed 
from the soil : religious reaction in popular life ; mysticism, 
spiritualism, and theosophy in the intellectual world. But they 
have the same character throughout : the long-repressed life 
of the inward spirit needed expression, and the emotions 
rebelled against science. Under this influence all regions of 
spiritual life received, at one and the same time, a new stamp. 
Music, which holds sovereign power over the emotions, has 
suddenly become the central point of interest. Even France, 
which had known nothing higher than the theatrical aptitude 
of Meyerbeer, which had laughed with Offenbach, never under- 
stood Berlioz, and hissed German music — even France is falling 
under the symphonic sway of Richard Wagner. 

Language, hitherto of architectonic structure and marble 
coldness, is becoming fine in shades of expression, morbid in 
its personal accent of feeling. Form dissolves and vanishes. 
Thought, once so rigid and unyielding, is growing mobile and 
fluent ; style is becoming more flexuous, and the vocabulary 
of cultivated men widens its boundaries, to follow with pliancy 
all the agitations of the spirit and comprise the most fleeting 
nuances which almost defy expression. 



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548 MODERN PAINTING 

The age of Realism had spoken of lyrical poetry as though 
it were a mere pastime for boys and girls, a shallow outpouring 
of insipid emotion, not to be tolerated unless charged and 
freighted with the results of exact science. At the present 
day it wakes to new life. Symbolists, decadents, or whatever 
they may call themselves, all aim at taking from music its 
most intimate, intangible qualities — its profound dreaminess, 
its diffuse harmony, its swooning languor. Poets of the 
preceding generation spoke with such correctness that the ribs 
of grammar were felt in their phrases, and employed words 
as literally as if they had just looked them up in the columns 
of the dictionary. But these new poets would create a lyrical 
poetry of dreamland, and set what is mystically veiled, visionary, 
and unfathomable in the place of that clear perfection of 
form which belonged to the Classicists ; and by the mere chime 
of words they aim at attaining a suggestive effect resembling 
music. 

In the novel, many of the older writers, not yet fully 
accepted, suddenly became celebrities ; above all the brothers 
Goncourt, who had been in advance of their age, just as 
amongst the Romanticists Balzac, who was in advance of his 
own contemporaries, first received his sceptre from the following 
generation of Realists. But now there is no longer asked from 
a novelist either the objectivity of the Realists or the rhetoric 
of the Romanticists ; what is sought is a thinker, and still more 
a dreamer, who will give a glimpse into that au-deid where the 
spirit passes with rapture from one mystery to another. Zola 
and the other Naturalists, who depicted the outward world, 
les ^tats des choses^ have been succeeded by hluysmans and Rod, 
^who look into the inner life, les ^tats d'dmes\ giving up all 
pretension to plot, they seek with the more accuracy to represent 
the spiritual life, the restlessly surging sensations of complex 
individualities. The negation of passion is giving way to an 
intense and vibrating life of the nerves, and atheism to plaintive 
yearning after simple faith. Paul Bourget devotes himself to 
a kind of intensified Christianity which he calls "/a religion dc 
la souff ranee humainey L^on Hennique proclaims a " spiritualistic 



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THE NATURE OF THE NEW IDEALISM 549 

Gospel," the chief tenet of which is the old doctrine of the 
transmigration of souls. 

The new watchwords were first transferred to the province 
of the drama by Maeterlinck and the other Belgian symbolists. 
Soon afterwards there came into vogue in Paris those sacred 
legends and pious mystery-plays in which Sara Bernhardt 
attained her most recent triumphs. The story of the faithful 
Griselda is listened to with suspense, and tears of pity are 
wept over the fate of St. Cecilia. 

Even in science there are tokens of a reaction against the 
positivistic spirit which ruled in former years. After the drawers 
of cabinets have been arranged, data collected, and details 
confirmed, a movement in the direction of subjectivity and 
subtile speculation is taking the place of arid enumerations and 
pedantic parchment erudition. Methodical students and sober, 
prosy writers are being succeeded by artists and psychologists, 
who bring their own vivid temperament into play by their own 
might In England it is no longer Macaulay but Carlyle who 
counts as the greatest . historian. France, the native land of 
Comte, has fallen under the sway of Qerman philosophy. And 
Germany has begun to become enthusiastic for the haughty, 
triumphant Individualism of Friedrich Nietzsche. The cult 
of great personalities is on the increase. And character and 
individuality are the most potent watchwords. 

For painting such a process of spiritual fermentation is far 
more difficult than it is for literature. For while the written 
word can pliantly turn with the finest windings of fancy, 
familiarize itself with the most distant regions, and give ductile 
expression to the most soaring ideas and the most deeply 
seated feelings, painting has to translate, to transform, and to cast 
afresh. It must fashion a sensuous garment for the strange 
impressions which are bursting in upon it ; but before they 
can be arrayed in any such garment, the ideas must have first 
taken firm shape. The significance of an age must be stamped 
with a certain distinctness and must have definite relations to be 
made the subject of a picture. For this very reason it was that 
art, at the beginning of the century, took refuge in the past, 



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550 MODERN PAINTING 

since the present, in its unreadiness and its wavering between 
the old order and the new, offered the painter no firm and 
tangible form. It was only when, about the middle of the 
century, the character of life, as a whole, began to take a more 
distinct impress, that it was possible for art to seize the out- 
ward physiognomy of the age. And it will be yet more difficult 
for it to find sensuous expression for all the intellectual and 
spiritual contradictions which the century has brought forth now 
that it is ebbing fast, for the inexpressibly transient moods 
affecting the nervous system in these modern days, for all the 
variously tinted sensations of this strange century and their 
prismatic radiation in all directions. But that art has addressed 
itself to this task may be perceived even now. 

It was a characteristic symptom of this fermentation that 
painters interested themselves more intensely in certain specified 
periods of the artistic history of the past : it was not the 
majestically flowing line and outward form of the school of 
Raphael, but the angular archaism of the Quattrocento and its 
spiritualized .sentiment which attracted them. The primitive 
artists, the Byzantines, the " miniature-painters " and the 
sculptors of the Middle Ages, became a subject of study. The 
mysterious smile of the Mona Lisa enchanted men once more, 
and the tender Virgins of Carlo Crivelli, in all the comely 
hieratical grace of their gestures, and the childish melancholy of 
Botticelli's Madonnas, with their nymphlike glance gazing into 
the infinite, seemed as near akin to ourselves as if they moved 
amongst us still. Even amongst the older modern painters the 
most vibrating and idealistic came into sudden favour : the fame 
of Corot increased and outshone the celebrity of the other 
great landscape-painters of Barbizon. Of all the work of Millet 
the picture which fetched the highest price was his one idealistic 
painting, "The Angelus." Germany discovered Schwind. The 
confessions of a pure and tremulous virgin soul were recognized 
in his paintings ; it was believed that there was to be found in 
him that blitheness freed from all melancholy which we know 
no longer and yearn after with so much ardour. Was it not 
possible to attempt to fill in the crevices which Realism had left, 



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THE NATURE OF THE NEW IDEALISM 551 

to crown and supplement it? Impressionism itself made the 
transition possible. After Courbet's doctrine of the viriti vraie 
had been supplemented by the addition that the representation 
of any portion of reality only became art through the tempera- 
ment brought to bear upon it, and that the essential element 
in art was not any document in its photographic platitude, but 
the man who used it as a vehicle for expression, it was already 
possible to lay stress altogether upon personality, splendid in 
itself, and of itself creating all. For what is reality? We 
know nothing of it. Our mental impressions are all that we 
know. And are the things which live in the imagination of a 
true artist less real than the objects before our eyes? It is 
merely a question of their being embodied in a credible fashion, 
so that they can be communicated to others as though by sug- 
gestion ; and yet only that man who has already become a 
master of nature is capable of creating such a new world out of 
himself. It is only the achievement of technical mastery that 
gives even genius the means of showing its spiritual power. 
This condition seemed now to be fulfilled. Zola's documents 
humains could be made subjective — not counterfeits of external 
reality, but witnesses to the spiritual life of their creator. 
Naturalism was no longer looked upon as the aim of art, but 
as " the sound training-school " from which to rise into far-off 
realms of fantastic creation. It is a course of development 
which has been already run a score of times in the world's 
history — the same, indeed, which Holland went through at the 
time when Rembrandt made his appearance. 

And the historian is always a falsifier of the truth when- 
ever he is compelled for purely external reasons — "clearness 
of arrangement," for example — to divide into periods, because 
in reality periods flow imperceptibly into one another, and it is 
fortunate for art that they do ; the most various currents cross 
each other and have an equal right to their course. It would 
be most lamentable if the " New Idealism," denoting a guild, 
were to become the theoretical watchword for the conquest of 
Naturalism, which has also a practical importance. A powerful 
Naturalism is the Alpha and Omega of all art, and without that 



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552 MODERN PAINTING 

it falls into weak and sickly aberrations. And with all the 
metaphysical tendencies of the present Naturalism must remain 
the link between fancy and reality. Only so long as the 
capital of Naturalism is intact will the interest of it permit 
some few mortals to make successful journeys into the more 
ethereal and unearthly regions. 

The Realists had painted modern life, and the New Idealists, 
supplementing them, paint modern emotion. Fancy shakes her 
shining blossoms into the quietude of everyday life. Thus, in 
accordance with the predisposition of their natural temperament, 
there are some who have a longing for fairy poetry like that of 
Schwind, for sagas and for visions : — 

" Einmal lasst mich athmen wieder 
In dem goldnen Marchenwald." 

Others find pleasure in the tender mysticism and renunciation 
of the Gospel. And beside Christian religious tendencies there 
are leanings towards ancient Asiatic conceptions and forms of 
fancy. All manner of occult, supersensuous enthusiasms make 
formulae for themselves and seek satisfactioni The enchant- 
ments of the Middle Ages, the riddles of hallucination, and the 
marvellous old doctrines arising from the earliest home of man- 
kind have an incessant charm for painters. And the legends of 
chivalry stir men also, the tales of that fantastic world so 
brilliant to the eye, that world where love, war, adventure, 
magnanimity, and asceticism were united. Beautiful people in 
rich garb carry on their traffic in marble palaces and gilded 
halls ; peaceful Madonnas rest upon the blooming meadows and 
feel the joy of motherhood. Once more the world listens in 
wonder to the mystical voice of nature in old ballads, to fading 
tones echoing from vanished worlds of glamour ; and it loses 
itself once more in old myths and legends wreathed with 
blossoms. Even Greece, Hellas, compromised as it is by 
Classicism, has again become the fairyland of the mind, and 
the romantic side of Hellenism an essential element in the 
newest art. 

This yearning after far-off worlds of beauty is combined 



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THE NATURE OF THE NEW IDEALISM 555. 

with a demand for new delights of colour. And even in its. 
conception of colour modern painting has moved in a steep 
line of ascent. At first entirely unpictorial, it provided modern 
erudition with imposing illustrations, only attractive for the 
substance of thought which was in them. Then it emancipated, 
itself from the service of science, and learnt to recognize colour 
as its peculiar medium of expression. Slowly it began to traia 
its vision upon the old masters, and, at length, having completed 
its study in the galleries, it began to liberate itself from the 
yellow tone of varnish, to renew itself, and to cast its slough. 
There then followed a revision of painted nature upon the 
basis of real nature. And now, after "bright painting" has^ 
taught a more differentiated method of seeing colour, after every 
power has been exerted to compass the most difficult elements 
of the world of phenomena — light, air, and colour— ending in 
extreme imitation of reality, the last and most decisive step^ 
is being accomplished : a transition is being made from the 
more objective reproduction of impressions to a free, purely 
poetic, and symphonic handling of colours. They hide them- 
selves no longer with such bashfulness beneath a brown crust ;. 
they cast their grey veil aside, and stand out making their own 
claims to independence. A new and specifically modem method 
of colour is arising. As imagination takes refuge from sober 
reality in a marvellous Beyond, so the eye dreams of other 
colours more subtile or more intense than those to be seen 
in our poor world. By some the forms of nature are used 
merely as a material for the expression of ideas, by others the 
hues of nature merely as a medium for orgies of colour. Some 
revel in effects of light, in full and impetuous tones, in all the 
imaginable and unearthly joys of colour. Others divest their 
work of colour, avoid all lustre and power of tone, to languish,, 
like true cUcadents^ merely in soft, blanched, delicately pallid, and 
mistily indistinct hues. 

'' Car nous voulons la nuance encore, 
Pas la couleur, rien que la nuance; 
La nuance seule fiance 
Le r^ve au r6ve et la flute au cor." 
VOL. III. 36 



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554 MODERN FAINTING 

But the common characteristic is that, instead of the ob- 
jectivity of Realism, the pleasure of emotion has now the central 
place; and we have art able to give that inward thrill 
demanded by nerves which have themselves become finer and 
more complicated than of yore. 

Moreover, since the etching pen is far more pliant than the 
brush in following the spirit into the domain of fantasy and 
legendary dreamland, etching and lithography, which have been 
hitherto pursued in a merely desultory fashion, are now suddenly 
becoming of prime importance. Here the strongest emotions 
•can be crowded into the smallest space ; here may be embodied 
the boldest visions, things which could scarcely be represented 
by painting. The poetical element in the nature of drawing, 
which renders things as visions rather than as bodies, the 
possibility of working without a definitely localized background, 
«ven the limitation to black and white, give far more room 
for the sport of fantasy. The advantages which the pallet has 
in varied colours are compensated in engraving by its unlimited 
-capacities for the artistic representation of light and shadow ; 
and these in themselves make it possible — as Diirer, Rembrandt, 
and Goya have shown — to conjure up a world more rich in 
■colour than the real one, a world of poetry and mysticism. 

And even the forms of art which had been in full flower 
•during the realistic period went through a process of change 
under the influence of the new conceptions. 

The landscape-painters of the previous decade delighted in 
•quiet intimacy of feeling and accurate reproduction of the 
ordinary nooks of the earth in their usual mood. When 
summer came, and the grass shot up thick and lush in the 
meadows, and the grain waved in the wide fields, painters 
probably declared that it was a beautiful time of year, and 
painted their landscapes ; but they were not men of peculiarly 
poetic temper, and knew neither indefinite longing nor day- 
dreams. But the most recent landscape-painters supplement 
the work of their predecessors by laying far more powerful 
stress upon the element of individual mood. They revel in the 
thousand subtile shades of colour that nature shows, and carefully 



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THE NATURE OF THE NEW IDEALISM 555 

note the impressions which have the finest charm for the eye. 
Nature attracts them where she is strange, and they neglect 
her where she becomes commonplace. Cold, unflattering day- 
light is no concern of theirs. The occult element in nature has 
the same degree of fascination as the occult element in the 
life of the spirit The world looks forth from the darkness of 
night and the veil of mist with more mysterious eyes, and 
•creates the surmise of deeper and stranger backgrounds. Thus 
the most refined and sensitive artists have a deeply seated love 
of the phenomena of mist. Above all, they delight in evening, 
when colour is on the point of vanishing and ghostly shades 
emerge, when a soft film of vapour rests over the earth, and a 
mysteriously plaintive humour would seem to find expression 
in the landscape. 

Even portrait-painting has received a fresh nuance. In the 
likenesses of the previous period people are fully revealed in 
their ordinary mood, and trenchantly characterized. But the 
most recent portraitists delight in a strange dusk. Form, 
and reality, and what is material, recede. And something 
supersensuous, the presentiment of another, unknown world, into 
which the forms float and out of which they issue, is what the 
spectator is intended to feel. The figures glimmer dreamily as 
if through veils of mist, like those of dear and distant persons 
whom one beholds with closed eyelids, journeying to meet them 
in the spirit 

Yet it is chiefly in the region of monumental painting that 
the troops have banded together. Hitherto art has been almost 
•exclusively taken up with oil, pastel, and water-colour painting, 
and the execution of decorative commissions left to eclectics of 
the second rank ; but now it is precisely the most advanced 
artists who are making their way from canvas to fresco painting. 
The definition that art is nature seen through a temperament 
is no longer completely valid. A very considerable part of art 
has become purely decorative. Wall-painting, in its most essential 
and monumental form, that of frescoes, can alone give an 
opportunity of testing upon a grand scale the independence 
won by painting — opportunity, moreover, of expressing the spirit 



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SS6 MODERN PAINTING 

of the age with greater fulness of tone than would be possible 
upon canvas. 

Down to the appearance of Manet, decorative painting had 
either been derivative^ — in other words, a tasteful employment of 
tradition — or else prosaic — arid didacticism, attracting the atten- 
tion of the crowd by a discursive representation of shipwrecks^ 
sieges, assassinations, and battles. Then Naturalism became 
ascendant even here. The endeavour of artists was devoted to- 
rendering heroic the events of daily life, and bestowing upon 
them the highest honours in the power of the brush. In France^ 
as in Germany, attempts were made to decorate public buildings 
with scenes from the life of artisans or of humble citizens. But 
in these days the subjects which inspire large representations in 
painting are the same as of yore : religion, mythology, and 
allegory. At the same time all traditional compositions and 
"sujets" in a banal sense have been renounced. Painting leaves 
to the erudite the task of elucidating such matters as the fall of 
Troy or Nineveh, or the great events of Roman history. Instead 
of engaging the intellect or satisfying a thirst for knowledge, it 
merely aims at exciting the emotions and inviting tender reveries. 
Instead of placing before us the rough and toilsome life of every 
day, it would rise above it and waken a solemn Sabbath in the 
spirit. The simple elements of this new symbolically decorative 
painting — which is, perhaps, destined to become a dominant and 
guiding influence, as in the great periods of art — are delightful 
groves and flowery fields, peopled with blithe and peaceful mea 
and women, revelling in happy idleness or at rest in careless medi- 
tation; and everything is bathed in silvery atmosphere, and in 
light, vaporous colours, affecting the nerves like subdued music 
played upon high-pitched silver strings. It is not enough that 
our artists should have again taken up the conception of UArt' 
pour VArt. For the possibility must be likewise given to them 
of doing something that the world needs with the capacities- 
they have developed. Without this basis their art remains, with 
all its richness of endowment and ability, a superficial and 
empty art It is just the sense of an aimless expenditure of 
strength, such as the best artists must have, that has brought,. 



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THE NATURE OF THE NEn IDEALISM 557 

in so many ways, a trace of nervous strain and the sterile 
fancifulness of the studio into modem creations. 

But wall-painting may have a conciliating effect by giving 
art a feeling for what is great, simple, enduring, and the in- 
vigorating sense of a definite aim. The view that architecture, 
painting, and sculpture must be allied together, that every 
separate art is in need of the others to attain its full height, 
the conversion of a spacious hall into a work of art, was the 
ideal of all the ages which have been famous as '^ flourishing 
periods." The nineteenth century has so far a style of archi- 
tecture, a style of sculpture, a style of painting, a reproductive 
art and a decorative art— all separate arts which have been 
-developed and flourish more or less apart from one another. 
But the great and total expression of its life is still to seek. 
By mural painting alone can any aggregate effect of all the plastic 
arts, corresponding to that which Wagner attempted and realized 
in his musical dramas, become a matter of attainment It alone 
•can be the test as to whether modem painting has finally stripped 
•off its character of mere discipleship, whether it has within itself 
the strength to execute tasks which bring it into direct compe- 
tition with the works of classic masters, whether, now that the 
-days of imitation have been overcome through Naturalism, a 
special nineteenth-century style has been minted. And, in this 
respect, there is still a period of transition to be gone through. 

Of course there is a great difference between the works of 
the new painters and those earlier " Idealists " who have 
attempted decorative painting. Not only has the ability become 
far greater than before, but there is a freedom of sentiment 
The men of the elder generation never got beyond mummy-like 
art in their works, because they set themselves in opposition to 
their age, attempted to feel with the nerves of a long-vanished 
.race, toiled to produce imitations bearing the mark of style, and 
to work on subjects from the antique or the Renaissance in the 
sentiment of those ages ; but the blood of the present pulsates 
and its nerves vibrate in the works of the new artists. The 
former were copyists, calligraphists who executed school exer- 
cises after the old masters ; the latter use the language of the 



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558 MODERN PAINTING 

nineteenth century, our own intellectual dialect The blithe joy 
of existence and a sure and vital peace are expressed in the 
works of the old masters. But the character of modem 
sentiment is essentially melancholy. The great visionary of 
Zurich, a full-blooded, an heroic nature, lives into the present 
in his overflowing strength and sunny joyousness, solitary, like 
a rare and extraordinary creature, a survival of the vanished 
Hellenic race. All the others are consumed with romantic 
longing, though in place of the Byronic spirit of revolt known 
to bygone days there is a sentimental sense of the sorrow of 
creation, in place of grand thrilling effects a low vibration 
of feeling. The Romanticists gathered together gigantic legends, 
piled up dream upon dream, explored Greece, Arabia, and the 
East, overburdened the human imagination with colours fronx 
all latitudes, introduced distorted and terrible countenances amid 
darkness and lightning. The men of to-day are quiet dreamers 
who pine sadly for the lost ideals of bygone times, tired spirits 
who only luxuriate in "golden languors," in the tremor of 
mysterious, subdued, tender, and melancholy emotions. The 
earlier Romanticists sought to drag the mass of men along with 
them, to bring blazing flames, storm, and passion into the drab 
of ordinary life, and they therefore revelled in great heaven- 
storming gestures, complicated lines, and glowing colours. But 
the men of these days are aristocrats who fear contact with the 
multitude, and are therefore scrupulous in avoiding everything 
which could excite a banal emotion. As the poets of our day 
despise rhetoric, the novelists intrigue, the musicians melody, so 
the painters disdain interest of subject, agitation, to some extent 
even colour. Through everything there runs that languid resig- 
nation and profonde tristesse ipicurienne which, in the absence of 
satisfying ideals, has taken hold of our own generation. Even 
where it is a question of humanitarian ideas, the austerity of the 
antique spirit is tempered by the melancholy of the modem 
intellect. Painters tell the ofttold legends of old Greece as 
never a Greek would have told them — tell them in relationship 
with problems, moods, and passions of which the Greek spirit 
never dreamed. They fill Olympus with the light, the mist, the 



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THE NATURE OF THE NEW IDEALISM 55^ 

colour, and the melancholy of a later and more neurotic age^ 
the moods of which are more rich in nuances — an age which is 
sadder and more disturbed by human problems than was 
ancient Greece. 

It is only the articulation of forms that is in many ways 
confined in the old limitations. In the endeavour to find 
sensuous means of expression for the new ideas, which are 
often exceedingly overwrought, counsel has been sought once 
more from the old masters ; and artists have turned for help- 
to the Quattrocento, which in its fresh Naturalism and its 
profound intensity of expression, attained by purely psychical 
means, appeals far more to an age concerned with the inward 
life, and no longer recognizing a special cult of plastic beauty,, 
than the vainglorious Cinquecento with its dignified figures,, 
whose entire expression is usually to be found only in their 
gestures. Some, however, succeed in making these borrowed 
forms the ready vehicles of a novel burden of emotion. But 
with those whose modernity is not strong enough to enable 
them to pour new wine into old bottles, this archaic tendency 
may easily lead to an eclectic want of independence. The 
works of Courbet and Leibl will have an effect upon all ages,, 
even the most distant, so long as they exist. But the latest 
tendency is calculated to foster a certain disposition to coquet 
with an exceedingly cheap inspiration, and one which pre- 
supposes but little ability. Just as many of the Impressionists 
fell into vulgarity and a dry reporter style, so the most modern 
of the average painters have, perhaps, too great a leaning 
towards strange melancholy, search out forms which aim at 
being mysterious, pose with languor, and approach a kind of 
intellectual snobbery. There is often something irritating in a 
far-fetched fiautgoUt which dresses up the simplest motives for 
the aesthetic epicure. The pale, subdued Gobelin tone, used by 
some of the leading men of the movement, is exaggerated and 
watered down by the rank and file ; the effort to produce simple 
tones and heraldic lines has fostered a certain tendency towards 
merely industrial art. These are perils which every school of 
painting brings with it when it goes beyond nature. Amongst 



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!S6o MODERN FAINTING 

a thousand writers a genuine poet is as much a rarity as a 
genuine " Idealist " amongst a thousand artists. And it is 
^ery possible that when the tendency by which we are swamped 
at present has run its course, and led us, perhaps, back into 
the old picture-galleries instead of forwards to a new Parnassus, 
-exceedingly few of those who are admired in these days will 
hold their place. But for contemporaries their works are a 
source of refreshment, because they give a fair and captivating 
form to a mood of our own time, which struggled for expression, 
and the cravings of which mere Naturalism had not been able 
to satisfy. 



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CHAPTER XLVII 

ENGLAND 

From William Blake through David Scott to Rossetti,—Rossetti and 
the New Freraphaelites : Edward Burne-JoneSy R, Spencer 
Stanho^, William Morris, y, M, Strudwick, Henry Holliday, 
Marie Spartali'Stillman,— W, B, Richmond, Walter Crane, 
G. F. Watts, 

HOW is it possible that England should have taken the 
lead upon this occasion also? How is it possible that 
the very newest idealistic and romantic tendency of European 
art should have taken its origin thence, this art for Mandarins 
which has produced all that is most delicate in the painting 
of the nineteenth century ? Can an Englishman, a matter-of-fact 
being who finds his happiness in comfort and a practical sphere 
of action, be at the same time a Romanticist? Is not London 
the most prosaic town in Europe? Yet, without a question, 
this is the very reason why the New Romanticism found its 
earliest expression there, although it was the place where 
Naturalism had reigned longest and with the greatest strictness. 
There was a reaction against the prose of everyday life, just 
as, in the earlier part of the century, English landscape-painting 
had been a reaction against town-life. To escape the whistle 
of locomotives and the restless bustle of the struggle for 
existence, the choice intellects take refuge in a far-off world, 
a world where everything is fair and graceful and all emotions 
tender and noble, a world where no rudeness, no discord, and 
nothing fierce or brutal disturbs the harmony, of ideal perfection. 
These artists become revellers in a land of fantasy, and flee 

561 



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562 MODERN PAINTING 

from reality to an inner life which they have created for them- 
selves, wander from the foggy London of railways to the sunny 
Italy of Botticelli, take their rest in the land of poetry, and 
bring home lovely pictures and harmonious moods of spirit 

Moreover they find in the primitive artists that simplicity 
which is most refreshing of all to overstrained spirits. Having 
produced Byron, Shelley, and Turner, the English were artistic 
geumietSy sated with all enjoyments in the realms of the intellect,, 
and they now meditated works through which yet a new thrill 
of beauty might pass through the imagination. In the primitive 
masters they discovered all the qualities which had vanished 
from art since the sixteenth century — inofficious purity, innocent 
and touching Naturalism, antiquated austerity, and an enchanting 
depth of feeling. Jaded with other experiences, they admired 
in those naYve spirits the capacity for ecstatic rapture and 
vision — in other words, for the highest gratification. If one 
could but have in this nineteenth century such feelings as were 
known to Dante, the gloomy Florentine ; Botticelli, the great 
Jeremiah of the Renaissance ; or the tender mystic Fra Angelico T 
Surfeited with modernity, and endowed with nerves of acute 
refinement, artists went back in their fancy to this luxuriously 
blissful condition, and finally came to the point where modernity 
was transformed once more into childish babble, and the un- 
believing materialism of the present age into a mystical and 
romantic union with the old currents of emotion. 

The earliest symptoms of this new spirit had been long 
proclaimed in poetry and art. In the National Gallery in 
London there are two remarkable little pictures bearing the 
numbers mo and 1164, one of them described as "The 
Spiritual Form of Pitt guiding Behemoth," and the other 
representing, in a strange, unearthly, and dreamily transcendental 
fashion, "The Procession from Calvary." The painter of them 
is a man who, in the Lexicon of Artists^ is simply disposed of 
as being mad, though by others he has been celebrated as the 
greatest dreamer, the profoundest visionary, of the century : 
this is the Swedenborg of painting, William Blake. 

The youth of this remarkable man fell in the years when 



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ENGLAND 563 

Sir Joshua Reynolds reigned over English painting with un- 
disputed authority, but even with regard to Sir Joshua, Blake 
did not conceal that he had higher conceptions of the nature 
of art. The British Museum possesses a copy of the famous 
Discourses of Reynolds, the margins of which are scribbled over 
with notes in pencil by Blake. In these same notes he declared 
true art to have been degraded by the reputation of Reynolds' 
Discourses and pictures. Painting, as Reynolds understood it, 
corresponded to the needs of the day; and Blake worked 
throughout his life without other thanks than the appreciation 
of a few superior and solitary minds. The importance of his 
work was overlooked, and, perhaps, it can only be treated with 
justice in this age devoted to the worship of individualities. 
What Blake recognized as the basis of art was, in the first 
place, imagination and poetic force. Every conception of his 
he believed to be a vision ; his mind only touched upon high 
and sublime themes, and busied itself with profound and 
abstract problems ; he never undertook the representation of a 
barren and trivial subject, and troubled himself exceedingly 
little about the actual world. As a matter of fact, he possessed 
a mind of great power, containing an entire universe in itself ; 
but different from other " thinking artists *' of his time, he 
remained a painter in spite of all his poetic qualities. His 
strangest visions were embodied in precise forms, which ex- 
pressed all that he had to reveal. " Invention," he wrote, 
"depends altogether upon execution or organization. As that 
is right or wrong, so is the invention perfect or imperfect. 
Michael Angelo's art depends on Michael Angelo's execution 
altogether." And this is an opinion which most essentially 
distinguishes the " mad Englishman " from his erudite brother- 
artists at that time in Germany. But even some amongst his 
contemporaries perceived in him this strange combination of a 
visionary teeming with ideas and a powerful realist. In the 
preface to one of Blake's books Fuseli declared that, so long as 
there remained a taste for the arts of design, the originality 
of the conception and the masterly boldness of execution 
belonging to this artist would never be without admirers. The 



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MODERN FAINTING 




IJBraun photo, 
Blake: "The Queen of Evil." 



German painter Gotzinger, 
who lived for some time 
in England about this 
period, writes : " I saw 
many men of talent in 
London^ but only three 
of genius — Coleridge, 
Flaxman, and Blake — and 
of these Blake was the 
greatest." When the 
painter-poet William Blake 
was born in London on 
November 28th, 1757, the 
vast city on the Thames 
received one of the 
strangest inmates, and one 
of the most eccentric per- 
sonalities that ever dwelt within its walls. His intellectual life, 
as one of his biographers has written, is a mine of marveb 
and problems, few of which can be thoroughly investigated and 
cleared up. 

His education was of an exceedingly primitive description, 
for he was hardly able to read, write, or reckon. On the other 
hand, he began to draw young, and was, as Cunningham writes, 
an artist at ten years of age and a poet at twelve. A con- 
temporary declares that as a boy Blake was in the habit of 
singing his verses to his own music, " which was singularly 
beautiful." At any rate he had begun to compose his earliest 
poems, afterwards published amongst the Poetical Sketches^ in 
his twelfth year, and his gift as a draughtsman became evident 
at the age of fifteen, immediately after he entered a school for 
drawing in London. About this time he fell in love with a 
pretty girl, who did not care for him, and made him exceedingly 
jealous. He told his grief to another girl, the daughter of a 
gardener, with whom he lodged. This latter maiden offered 
him her sympathy. " Do you pity me ? " said Blake. " Yes," she 
answered, "I do, most sincerely." "Then I love you for that" 



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565 



**And I love you 
too," she replied. 
This duologue ended 
in Blake*s maofiage, 
and Kitty Boucher 
was the right wife 
for him, for she be- 
lieved in his visions 
as firmly as he did 
himself, and did not 
disturb his inter- 
course with invisible 
spirits. For Blake 
was a medium of 
the purest water, a 
hundred years be- 
fore any one had 
heard of modern 
spiritualists. Homer 
and Dante came 
and sat round him 
for his portraits. 
Once he saw a tree full of angels ; and at another time he 
prophesied that a man who had met him casually in the street 
would be hanged, which came to pass after many years. Or 
he held intercourse with Christ and the apostles. He took 
himself for Socrates or a brother of Socrates, and in later years 
he had really something Socratic in his appearance. Moreover^ 
Milton, Moses, and the prophets were peculiarly frequent in 
their visits to Blake, and he describes them as majestic shades, 
grey, although shining, and taller than ordinary people. When 
his brother Robert died, he saw his soul fly to heaven, " clapping 
its hands for joy." Once as he sat naked, reciting Paradise 
Lost, in a summer-house with his wife, he admitted a friend 
without hesitation, receiving him with the words, " Come in ; 
it's only Adam and Eve, you know." At the same time he 
did not in any way give the impression of being morbid or 




\Brauti photQ. 

Blake: From a Water-Colour at the British Museum. 



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S66 MODERN PAINTING 

overrexcitable. On the contrary, he was a stout, thickset maw 
of robust health, and his large, brilliant eyes were clear and 
observant in their look. 

Blake regarded his poems as revelations, and believed that 
in writing them he did not create, but merely acted the part 
of an amanuensis, and that the authors were in eternity. He 
wrote his verses, according to his own profession, from dictation, 
often pouring out from twenty to thirty lines at a sitting, without 
premeditation, and even against his will. And these books of 
his, furnished with his own illustrations, brought him in a 
moderate income. " I don't seek profit," said he ; "I want 
nothing, and I am happy." In 1821 he removed to his humble 
abode — consisting, indeed, of two rooms — in Battersea, where 
he died seven years later, on August 12th, 1828. 

The chief basis of Blake's artistic gift is that which gives 
his poems their peculiar position — a vast power of intuition. 
He is an enthusiast at the mercy of the creatures of his own 
imagination, and wasting himself in troubled hallucinations. 
All reality evaporated into something spectral; every thought 
was agitating; a stream of wild faces came rushing into his 
seething brain, and a series of pictures rose before him in 
mingled froth and splendour. 

As no special school of painting existed in England in 
Blake's youth, he chose his own method of instruction for him- 
self, and at Basire the copper-engraver's he found an early 
opportunity of becoming acquainted with the works with which 
he was most in sympathy. He united a fine appreciation of 
DQrer with an admiration for Michael Angelo. He based 
himself upon the study of this great Italian, though without 
falling into direct imitation. He lived amongst his ancestors, 
indeed, as other artists amongst their contemporaries. The 
present in which his body moved did not exist for him ; and 
he placed himself outside of his century, in the society of those 
who were kin to him in spirit. Visions of heaven and hell 
were more actual to him than the world around ; he caught 
voices from the land of spirits more distinctly than the dreary 
hum of life at his feet. 



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ENGLAND 567 

An early work published by this painter-poet was an 
illustrated edition of his own poems, Songs of Innocence^ 1789, 
which, even in technique, is one of the most curious books of 
illustration known to the history of art — a work where every- 
thing, except the paper, has originated from the artist himself 
The verses are his, and so are the drawings ; and he even 
■engraved the verses himself in copper, and coloured the pictures 
with his own hand. The succeeding books, illustrated in the 
same way — and accessible in the Department of Copper- 
Engraving in the British Museum — show how Blake's genius 
gradually unfolded. The Prophetic Booksy in particular, have 
l)etween the verses drawings of exquisite beauty, rich imagination, 
and refined taste. And in the plates which he produced in 
1794 for Young's Night Thoughts, plates which he himself was 
wont to call "his frescoes," he has risen to his full height. 
The method of arrangement is always the same. In the middle 
of every page is the text of the poem, and around it the 
drawings suggested by the poet The vague diction of Young, 
who treated sublime themes without being sublime, is what suits 
Blake best. His imagination is always affected through and 
through by a sensuous conception, and transforms the misty 
and indistinct verses of the author into visions which have 
been clearly seen. All ideas, even the most abstract, v^ome to 
him clothed in firm bodily outlines. Even the most unearthly 
things take a vivid, physical shape. Where the book treats of 
the punishments of hell, Blake draws groups of men and women 
twisting in a confused coil, and suffering convulsive tortures, 
in the spirit of Michael Angelo, though without imitation. Where 
reference is made to the blast at the last judgment, he shows 
an angel descending to waken the dead with the pealing notes 
of the trumpet. Upon all that concerns death, its hopes and 
its terrors, he had loved to brood from his youth upwards, and 
when he illustrated Blair's poem The Grave in 1805, he gave 
the journey across the grave all the colour and appearance of 
life. 

Blake's works combine the creative force of a man with the 
faith of a child. They are a terrible dream to which clear 



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568 MODERN PAINTING 

artistic expression has been given — the product of a ripe 
imagination. All the vacant space of the earth and the air 
seemed to him to be trembling beneath the beat of spirits' 
wings and shaking beneath the tread of their feet The flowers 
and grass, and the stars and stones, spoke to him with actual 
lips, and gazed upon him with vivid ^y^. Hands emerging 
from the shadow of material nature reached forth to seize him, 
to guide him or restrain. What are hallucinations to other 
people were actual facts to him. Upon his path and before his 
easel, in his ears and beneath his eyes, there moved, and 
gathered, and shone, and sang an endless world of spirits. All 
the mysterious beings, hovering diffused in the atmosphere^ 
spoke to him, and consoled or threatened him. Beneath the 
damp mantle of the grass, and in the light mist rising from 
the plain, strange faces grinned and white hairs fluttered. 
Tempters and guardian angels, fetches of the living and phan- 
toms of the dead, peopled the breeze around him, and the fields 
and mountains which met his glance. 

Two series of illustrations — one to the Book of Job and one 
to Dante's Infema — which were undertaken in his last years 
were not brought to completion, yet the tone which he had 
struck did not die with his death. His spirit was reborn in 
fresh incarnations, and first of all in the Scotchman David 
Scott. 

Scott's pictures alone would not have been sufficient to 
maintain his name. Like so many historical painters of the 
first half of the century, he has wasted his best strength in 
covering voluminous spaces of canvas with oils, under the im- 
pression that he was producing "grand art." 

Residence in Italy, whither he repaired in 1833, was his 
destiny also. Only for a short time did his Northern tempera- 
ment attempt to defy the great impressions peculiar to the 
country. He wrote at first that Titian was an unimaginative old 
man, Tintoretto a blind Polyphemus, and Paul Veronese only the 
attendant of a dc^e. Michael Angelo seemed to him monstrous^ 
and he regarded the Loggias of Raphael as childish. But his 
opinion soon changed, and he fell under the spell of the mighty 



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ENGLAND 569 

dead. The result of his studies in Rome was his gigantic 
picture " Discordia," which he brought to Scotland in 1834. In 
substance this is a true product of English painting of ideas : 
the rising of the son against the father was something like a 
Titanic battle between the past and the future, the new order 
which overthrows the old ; while in form it showed the eclecticism 
of a man who had studied the "Laocoon," the' muscular figures 
of Daniele da Volterra, and the Mantua n frescoes of Giulio 
Romano only too accurately. When he did not meet with the 
success of which he had dreamed, he felt himself a martyr, like 
Wiertz, and fell more and more into the wildest extravagances. 
In 1845 he contributed to the Scotch Academy a " Raising of 
the Dead," the figures of which — and they were more than life- 
size — were intended to outvie Signorelli an Terribilitei. Weary 
of dun shadows and pallid light, he launched out in another 
picture, the " Triumph of Love," into incredible and barbarically 
crude green and blue orgies of colour. In short, as a painter, 
he was one of those " problematic natures " so frequent in the 
history of the nineteenth century — men who accomplished but 
little, through pure Titanic ambition — one of those vain dreamers 
who are full of ideas and designs, but bring nothing to com- 
pletion ; and history allowed him to fall into oblivion, like others 
of his kind, until it began gradually to be perceived that Scott 
had other claims to consideration besides these ambitious 
attempts. 

David Scott, son of a Scotch engraver, Robert Scott, was 
born in 1806, in Edinburgh, amid the frost and snow of a 
Northern winter. His father, an earnest. God-fearing man, 
already far advanced in years — the very type of a stern old 
Scotch Puritan — was burdened with five children, and lived in 
the strictest economy and abstinence in a solitary manner, 
far beyond the limits of the town, to avoid all temptation to 
extravagance. After David's birth he fell a prey to religious 
monomania, his four elder children having been snatched from him 
swiftly, one after the other, by an epidemic. Three others came 
in their place, and, in William Bell Scott's book, it is touching 
to read how the poor mother, who was also mentally afflicted, 
VOL. III. 37 



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570 



MODERN PAINTING 




Mag. of AH. ] [Hunt del. 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti. 



always called these later children 
to her by the names of their 
elder brothers who were dead. 
In this austere family, where 
cheerfulness was almost regarded 
as lunacy, David grew up, quiet 
and occupied with his own 
thoughts, in melancholy solitude. 
It is related as one of the first 
characteristic traits of his boy- 
hood, that once when he wrapped 
himself up in a sheet to play at 
being a ghost, he was so much 
terrified by his own reflection in 
the glass that he fainted, suffer- 
ing afterwards from a severe 
nervous fever. His imagination was morbidly active, like that 
of Theodor Hoffmann— who was overcome with horror himself 
as he wrote his stories by lamplight — and it was feverishly 
heated by Blake's illustrations. From his youth the idea of 
death had excited his mind, and on one occasion, when he 
was persuaded by his brother Robert to compete for a prize 
poem, he composed such a dark and mystical ode to Death 
that it gained him the prize, a guinea. 

The laborious technique of colouring was naturally a hindrance 
to such a visionary, such a glowing, feverish, and poetic genius ; 
and it was only as a draughtsman that he felt himself competent 
to express everything that moved his imagination. In 1831 he 
published a series of six remarkable compositions verging on 
the manner of Max Klinger, under the title " The Monograms of 
Man." The first is named "Life:" the creative Hand of God 
descends from heaven, giving life to everything it touches — the 
sun, the stars, and human beings. The second plate shows how 
man stands out lofty and glorious in all the pride of his strength, 
like an angel of the Apocalypse with one foot on the earth and 
one on the sea, in this fashion giving evidence of his lordship 
over the world. Other deep allegories on knowledge, earthly 



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ENGLAND 



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\Watispxt. 
Dante Gabriel Rossetti. 



power, and the end of all things 
follow in succession. And all 
these grand or bizarre fancies 
are boldly expressed with firm 
strokes, and executed with a 
sureness which reveals not merely 
a strange dreamer, but one who 
is altogether an artist. And still 
more singular is the union of 
vivid reality and forceful im- 
agination in his second series, 
published in 1837, comprising 
twenty-five large sketches to 
Coleridge's Ancient Mariner. 
This ballad is an eerie tale of 
a haunted ship, the terrors of 

which owe their origin to a sailor having been so wanton as to 
slay an albatross — the hallowed bird of seamen— which had 
taken refuge upon the ship. The entire crew, excepting himself, 
are punished for this act of inhospitality by death, whilst he is 
tormented by the ghostly figures who have perished through his 
fault. Scott's drawings, executed during the frost of long winter 
nights, are thoroughly impregnated with the weird spirit of the 
ballad ; they have something of the profound imagination of 
Scotch poetry, something of Ossian and the heroic greatness of 
the Middle Ages, something of those mysterious and infinite 
notes which murmur complainingly in the old bardic songs. 

It was only Rethel in Germany who lent the fantastic dreams 
of fever such puissant expression. The series of eighteen illustra- 
tions for Nicholas Architecture of tlie Heavens— mysticsl interpreta- 
tions of astronomical subjects, again displaying all the profundity 
of a mind absorbed in metaphysical speculations — belong to his 
last period, when his nerves were shattered. And forty drawings 
for the Pilgrim's Progress were first published after his death — 
plates which, in conjunction with the diary and letters of the 
unfortunate artist, show that the fate of this morbid decadent 
was merely due to his having been born too early. 



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THE E/ffiT^ ITALIAN POETS 

fn;rnOtii]od!A[ciino b ID^n^eAIisnitri 




A direct line passes 
from Blake through David 
Scott to Dante Gabriel 
Rossetii. How highly 
Rossetti honoured Blake 
may be gathered from the 
sonnet which he wrote 
upon this strange mystic, 
as well as from other 
sources. With the works 
of David Scott he be- 
came familiar through his 
friendship with that artist's 
brother, William Bell Scott. 
And under the influence 
of Scott and Rossetti 
English Preraphaelitism 
now entered upon a new 
and entirely different 
phase. 

Although Rossetti was 
the soul of the earlier 
movement, he was a man 
whose temperament was even then essentially different from 
that of his comrades Millais and Hunt, who founded the 
Brotherhood with him in 1848. Even the two works which he 
exhibited with them in 1849 and 1850 make one feel the deep 
chasm which lay between him and them. In the former year, 
when Hunt was represented by his "Rienzi," and Millais by his 
" Lorenzo and Isabella," Rossetti produced his " Girlhood of 
Mary Virgin." In the following, when Hunt painted "The 
Converted British Family sheltering a Christian Missionary " and 
Millais "The Child Jesus in the Workshop of Joseph the Car- 
penter," Rossetti came forward with his " Ecce Ancilla Domini." 
" The Girlhood of Mary Virgin " was a little picture of austere 
simplicity and ascetic character ; it was intentionally angular in 
drawing, and possessed a certain archaic bloom. The Virgin, clad 



Oa«. dta Beaux- Arts.} 

Rossetti : The Title-page to " The Early 

Italian Poets." 

(By permission of the Publishers.) 



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Portfolio.^ 



RossETTi: "EccE Ancilla Domini." 
iBy permission of Messrs. T. Agnew & Softs, the owners oj the copyright.) 



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575 




in grey garments, 
sits at a curiously 
shaped frame em- 
broidering a lily 
with gold threads 
upon a red ground. 
The flower she is 
copying stands be- 
fore her in a vase, 
and a little angel, 
with roseate wings, 
is watering it with 
an air of abashed 
reverence. St. Anne 
is busy by the 
side of the Virgin — 
both being, respect- 
ively, portraits of 
the artist's mother 
and sister — and in 
the background St Joachim is binding a vine to a trellis. And 
several Latin books are lying upon the floor. The second work, 
** Ecce Ancilla Domini," is the familiar picture which is now in 
the National Gallery — a harmony of white upon white of 
indescribable graciousness and delicacy. Mary, a bashful, 
meditative, and childlike maiden, in a white garment, is shown 
in a half-kneeling attitude upon a white bed. The walls of the 
chamber are white, and in front of her there stands a frame at 
which she has been working ; and] a piece of embroidery, with a 
lily which she has begun, hangs over it. Before her stands the 
angel with flame rising from his feet, in solemn, peaceful gravity, 
as he extends towards her the stalk of the lily which he holds. 
A dove flies gently in through the window. Now in spite of their 
romantic subjects the work of Hunt and Millais is lucid and 
temperate, while Rossetti is dreamily mystical. The two former 
were straightforward, true, and natural, whereas the simplicity of 
the latter was subtilized and consciously affected. It was due to 



Rossetti: **Lilith." 
(By pgrmission o/ Mr. W. M, Rossetii.) 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Portfolio.] G, H^'. Rhgad 3c. 

RossETTi : " Beata Beatrix." 
(By permission of Mr, F. Hollyer^ th€ owtur oj the copyright.) 



the vibrating delicacy 
1 t his distcmpcredj 
SL.'Qthing imagination 
that he was able to 
give himself a dc- 
ce|jtivc appearance 
oi bein^ a primitive 
artist. The creative 
[>ower nf the two 
former is an earnest 
po\ver of the under- 
standing, whereas in 
tlic latter there is a 
vjgiic dreaminess, a 
tendency to luxuriate 
in his own moods, an 
c fR ore seen ce of tones 
and colours. In the 
one case there is ai|_ 
lingular but singti 
minded study 
nature ; in the othc 



there is the demureness and embarrassment of the Quattrocentc 
a demureness breaking into blossom and an embarrassment fol 
of charm — a romanticism which cherished the yearning for repos 
in the childlike and innocent Middle Ages, and clothed it wit 
all the attractions of mysticism. Holman Hunt, Madox Brown^^ 
and Millais were realists in their drawing, men who wanted to 
represent objects with all possible accuracy, to be faithful in 
rendering the finest fibre of a petal and every thread in a fabric* 
Rossetti*s picture was a symphonic ode in pii^ments, and he 
himself was one of the earliest of the modern lyricists of colour. 
This distinction became wider and wider with the course of 
time, and as early as 1858 he found himself deserted by his 
earlier comrades. Madox Brown, Holman Hunt, and especially 
Millais, in their further development, tended more and more to 
become Naturalists, and were finally led to completely realistic 



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PO^MTM/.] 



ROSSETTI : " MONNA RosA.** 
(By ptrmission of Mr. W. M. Rossttti.) 



iSwan photo sc. 



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ENGLAND 



579 




subjects from the im- 
mediate present by the 
inviolable fidelity with 
which they studied nature. 
On the other hand, Ros- 
setti became the centre 
of a new circle of artists, 
who directed the current 
of what was originally 
Naturalism more and 
more into mysticism and 
refined archaism. 

In 1856 The Oxford 
and Cambridge Magazine 
was founded as a monthly 
periodical. There were 
several contributions by 
Rossetti, and in this way 
he became so well known 
in Oxford that the Union 
accepted an offer from him to execute a series of wall-paintings. 
Accordingly he painted several pictures from the Arthurian 
legends, making the sketches for them himself, and employing 
for their elaboration a number of young men, some of them 
amateur artists and students at the University. In this way 
he came into connection with Arthur Hughes, William Morris, 
and Edward Burne-Jones. These artists, afterwards joined by 
Spencer Stanhope and Walter Crane, both of them younger 
men, became — with George Frederick Watts at their flank — 
the leading members of the new brotherhood, the representatives 
of that New Preraphaelitism in which interest is now centred 
in England. 

Their art is a kind of Italian Renaissance upon English soil. 
The romantic chord which vibrates in old English poetry is 
united to the grace and purity of Italian taste, the classical 
lucidity of the Pagan mythology with Catholic mysticism, and 
the most modern riot of emotion with the demure vesture of 



Rossetti: "The Blessed Damozel.*' 

(JSy permission of Mr. F. Hollyert tht ownsr of tht 
copyright.) 



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MODERN PAINTING 




the primitive Florentines. 
Through this mixture of 
heterogeneous elements 
English New Idealism is, 
probably, the most re- 
markable form of art 
upon which the sun has 
ever shone : borrowed and 
yet in the highest degree 
personal, it is an art com- 
bining an almost childlike 
simplicity of feeling with a 
morbid hautgoUt, the most 
attentive and intelligent 
study of the old masters 
with free, creative, modern 
imagination, the most 
graceful sureness of draw- 
ing and the most spark- 
ling individuality of colour 
with a helpless, stammering accent introduced of set purpose. 
The old Quattrocentisti wander amongst the real Italian 
flowers ; but with the New Preraphaelites one enters a hot- 
house : one is met by a soft, damp heat, bright exotic 
flowers exhale an overpowering fragrance, juicy fruits catch the 
eye, and slender palms, through the branches of which no rough 
wind may bluster, gently sway their long, broad fans. 

Professor Lombroso would certainly find the material for 
ingenious disquisition in Rossetti, who introduced this Italian 
phase, and came of an Italian stock. And it might almost 
seem as if a soul from those old times had found its re- 
incarnation in the lonely painter who lived at Chelsea, 
though it was a soul who no longer bore heaven in his heart 
like Fra Angelico. In his whole being he seems like a 
phenomenon of atavism, like a citizen of that long-buried Italy 
who, after many transmigrations, had strayed into the misty 
North, to the bank of the Thames, and from thence looked 



Portfolio.^ 

Rossetti : " Sancta Lilias." 



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ENGLAND 



S8i 




Porifolio.^ 



RossETTi : ** Sibyl.* 



in his home-sickness ever 
towards the South, en- 
veloped in poetry and 
glowing in the sun. 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti 
was a Catholic and an 
Italian. Amid his English 
surroundings he kept the 
feelings of one of Latin 
race. His father, the 
patriot and commentator 
upon Dante, had originally 
lived in Naples, and in- 
flamed the popular party 
there by his passionate 
writings. In consequence 
of the active part which 
he took in political agita- 
tion he lost his post at the Bourbon Museum, escaped from 
Italy upon a warship, disguised as an English officer, settled in 
London in 1824, and married Francesca Polidori, the daughter 
of a secretary of Count Alfieri. Here he became Professor of 
the Italian language at King's College, and published several 
works on Dante, the most important of which, Daniels Beatrice, 
written in 1852, once more supported the theory that Beatrice 
was not a real person. Dante Gabriel, the son of this Dante 
student Gabriele Rossetti, was born in London on May 12th, 
1828. The whole family actively contributed to scholarship and 
poetry. His elder sister, Maria Francesca, was the authoress of A 
Shadow of Dante, a work which gives a most valuable explana- 
tion of the scheme of Tlie Divine Comedy ; his younger sister, 
Christina, was one of the most eminent poetesses of England ; 
and his brother, William Michael Rossetti, is well known as 
an art-critic and a student of Shelley. Even from early youth 
Dante Gabriel Rossetti was familiar with the world of Dante, 
and brought up in the worship of Dante's wonderful age and 
an enthusiasm for his mystic and transcendental poetry. He 



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knew Dante by 
heart, and Guido 
Cavalcanti. The 
mystical poet be- 
came his guide 
through life, and 
led him to Fra 
Angel i CO, the 
mystic of painting. 
Indeed the world 
of Dante and of the 
painters antecedent 
to Raphael is his 
spiritual home. 

He was barely 
eighteen when he 
became a pupil at 
the Royal Academy, 
studying a couple 
of years later under 
Madox Brown, who 
was not many years older than himself. Even then Rossetti 
had an almost mesmeric influence upon his friends. He was 
a pale, tall, and thin young man, who always walked with 
a slight stoop ; dry in his manner, silent, and careless in 
dress, there was nothing captivating about him at a transitory 
meeting. But his pale face was lit up by his unusually 
reflective, deeply clouded, contemplative eyes ; and about his 
defiant mouth there played that contempt of the profane crowd 
which is natural to a superior mind, while the laurel of fame 
was already twined about his youthful forehead. In 1849, when 
he was exhibiting his earliest picture, he had published in The 
Germ, to say nothing of his numerous poems, a mystical, 
visionary sketch in prose named Hand and Soul, which was 
much praised by men of the highest intellect in London. Soon 
afterwards he published a volume entitled Dante and his Circle^ 
in which he translated a number of old Italian poems, and 




Rossetti: Study for "Astarte Syriaca." 



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( Brothers photo sc. 
ROSSETTI : "ASTARTE SyRIACA." 
{By permission of thg Corporation of Manchtster, the owners of thi piJure.) 



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RossETTi : Study for " Dante's Dream." 



rendered Dante's Vita 
Nuova into strictly archaic 
English prose. Reserved 
as he was towards 
strangers, he was irre- 
sistibly attractive to his 
friends, and his brilliant, 
genial conversation won 
him the goodwill of every 
one. A man of gifted and 
delicate nature, sensitive 
to an extreme degree, a 
sedentary student who had 
yet an enthusiasm for 
knightly deeds, a jaded 
spirit capable of morbidly 
heightened, exotic sensibility and soft, melting reverie, one whose 
overstrained nerves only vibrated if he slept in the daytime and 
worked at night, it seemed as though Rossetti was born to be 
the father of the decadence, of that state of spirit which every 
one now perceives to be flooding Europe. 

His later career was as quiet as its opening had been 
brilliant. After that graciously sentimental little picture "Eccc 
Ancilla Domini," Rossetti exhibited in public only once again ; 
this was in 1856. From that date the public saw no more of 
his painting. He worked only for his friends and the friends 
of his friends. He was famous only in private, and looked 
up to like a god within a narrow circle of admirers. One 
of his acquaintances, the painter Deverell, had introduced 
him in 1850 to the woman who became for him what Saskia 
Uylenburgh had been for Rembrandt and Helene Fourment for 
Rubens — his type of feminine beauty. She was a young dress- 
maker's assistant. Miss Eleanor Siddal. Her thick, heavy hair 
was fair, with that faint reddish tint in it which Titian painted ; it 
grew in two tapering bands deep down into the neck, being there 
somewhat fairer than it was above, and it curled thickly. Her 
eyes had something indefinite in their expression ; nothing, 
VOL. III. 38 



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Magaaing of Art.'\ 



[O. Lacour $c. 



RossETTi: "Dante's Dream." 
(By permission oj the Corporation of Liverpool, the owners of the ptcfure,) 

however, that was dreamy, mobile, and changeable, for they 
seemed rather to be insuperable, fathomless, and unnaturally 
vivid. All the play of her countenance lay in the lower part 
of her face, in the nostrils, mouth, and chin. The mouth indeed, 
with its deep corners, sharply chiselled outlines, and lips triumph- 
antly curved, was particularly expressive. And her tall, slender 
figure had a refined distinction of line. In i860 they married. 
Some of his most beautiful works were painted during this 
epoch— the "Beata Beatrix," the "Sibylla Palmifera," "Monna 
Vanna," " Venus Verticordia," " Lady Lilith," and " The Beloved " 
— pictures which he painted without a thought of exhibition or 
success. After a union of barely two years this passionately 
loved woman died, a still-born child having been born a short 
time before. He laid a whole volume of manuscript poems — 
many of them inspired by her — in the coffin, and they were 
buried with her. From that time he lived solitary and secluded 
from the world, surrounded by mediaeval antiques, in his old- 
fashioned house at Chelsea, entirely given up to his dreams, a 



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ENGLAND 



587 




Porijolio,^ 



RossETTi : " Rosa Triplex." 
{By permission of Mr, F. Hoilyer, ths owner of the copyright.) 



Stranger in a world without light He suffered much from ill- 
health, and was sensitive and hypochondriacal, and, indeed, under- 
mined his health by an immoderate use of chloral. His friends 
entreated him to bring out his poems, and all England was 
expectant when Rossetti at length yielded to pressure, opened 
the grave of his wife, and took out the manuscript. The poems 
appeared in the April of 1870. The first edition was bought 
up in ten days, and there followed six others. Wherever he 
appeared, he was honoured like a god. But the attacks directed 
against the first pictures of the Preraphaelites were repeated, 
although now transferred to another region. An article by 
Robert Buchanan in the Contemporary Review, and published 
afterwards as a pamphlet, entitled T/u Fleshly School of Poetry y 
accused Rossetti of immorality and imitation of Baudelaire and 
the Marquis de Sade. Rossetti stepped once more into the 
arena, and replied by a letter in the Atlienceum headed The 
Stealthy School of Criticism, From that time he shut himself 
up completely, never went out, and led "the hole-and-cornerest 



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RossETTi : Study for '* The Saluta- 
tion OF Beatrice.** 



existence.'* He considered him- 
self as the victim of a widely 
ramified conspiracy, which aimed 
at tormenting him to death ; he 
had hallucinations, took, morphia, 
to which he became so ac- 
customed that at last he procured 
himself a few hours* sleep with 
three doses of four grammes 
every time ; his eyes grew dull 
and languid ; he shuffled in his 
gait and stooped, grew eccentric 
in dress ; he was paralyzed, his 
eyes shone with an unnatural 
brilliancy, and his hollow " grassy green " cheeks assumed a 
hectic flush ; almost every evening he suffered from a dull, 
throbbing headache, which in later days alternated with palpita- 
tion of the heart ; and at night he fancied that he was 
suffocating in bed, and on the point of fainting. 

In 1 88 1 he published a second volume of poems, chiefly 
composed of ballads and sonnets. And a year afterwards, on 
April 9th, 1882, he died, honoured, even in the academical 
circles in which he never mingled, as one of the greatest men 
in England. The exhibition of his works which was opened 
a couple of months after his death created an immense sensa- 
tion. Those of his pictures which had not been already sold 
straight from the easel were paid for with their weight in 
gold, and are now scattered in great English country mansions 
and certain private galleries in Florence. The only very rich 
collection in London is that of an intimate friend of the artist, 
the late Mr. Leyland, who had gathered together in his splendid 
house in the West End probably the most beautiful work of 
which the East can boast in carpets and vases, or the early 
Renaissance in intaglios, small bronzes, and ornaments. Here, 
surrounded by the quaint and delicate pictures of Carlo 
Crivelli and Botticelli, Rossetti was in the society of his 
contemporaries. 



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RossETTi : "Mary Magdalene at the House of Simon the Pharisee." 
(By permission of Mr. IV. M. RossetH.) 



[S'^cati phMo *f* 



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His range of 
subject was not 
wide. In his ear- 
liest period he had 
a fancy for painting 
small biblical pic- 
tures, of which " Ecce 
Ancilla Domini" 
is the best known, 
and the delightfully 
archaic " Girlhood 
of Mary Virgin " 
one of the most 
beautiful. But this 
austerely biblical 
tendency was not 
of long continuance. 
It soon gave way to 
a brilliant, imagina- 
tive Romanticism, 
to which he was 
prompted by Dante. 
" Giotto painting the Portrait of Dante," " The Salutation of 
Beatrice on Earth and in Eden " (from the Vita Nuova\ " La 
Pia" (from the Purgatorio), the " Beata Beatrix," and "Dante's 
Dream," in the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, are the 
leading works which arose under the influence of the great 
Italian. The head of his wife, with her heavily veiled eyes, 
and Giotto's well-known picture of Dante, sufficed him for the 
creation of the most tender, mystical poems, which, at the same 
time, show him in all the splendour of his wealth of colour. 
He revels in the most brilliant hues; his pictures have the 
appearance of being bathed in a glow ; and there is something 
deeply sensuous in his vivid and lustrous green, red, and violet 
tones. In the picture "Dante on the Anniversary of Beatrice's 
Death" the poet kneels at the open window which looks out 
upon Florence ; he has been drawing, and a tablet is in his 



RossETTi: "Silence," 



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592 MODERN PAINTING 

hand. The room is quite simple, a frieze with angels* heads 
being its only ornament Visitors of rank have come to see 
him — an elderly magnate and his daughter — and have stood 
long behind him without his noticing their presence. For he 
has been thinking of Beatrice, and it is only when his attention 
is attracted to them by a friend that he turns round at last 
The ** Beata Beatrix,'* in the National Gallery in London — a 
picture begun in 1863 and ended in the August of 1866 — treats 
of the death of Beatrice " under the semblance of a trance, in 
which Beatrice, seated in a balcony overlooking the city, is 
suddenly rapt from earth to heaven." In accordance with the 
description in the Vita Nuova^ Beatrice sits in the balcony of 
her father's palace in strange ecstasy. Across the parapet of 
the balcony there is a view of the Arno and of that other 
palace where Dante passed his youth close to his adored 
mistress, until the unforgotten 9th of June, 1290, when death 
robbed him of her. A peaceful evening light is shed upon the 
bank of the Arno, and plays upon the parapet with warm 
silvery beams. Beatrice is dressed in a garment belonging to 
no definite epoch, of green and rosy red, the colours of Love 
and Hope. Her head rises against a little patch of yellow sky 
between the two palaces, and seems to be surrounded by it as 
by a halo. She is in a trance, has the foreknowledge of her 
approaching death, and already lives through the spirit in 
another world, whilst her body is still upon the earth. Her 
hands are touched by a heavenly light A dove of deep 
rose-coloured plumage alights upon her knees, bringing her a 
white poppy, whilst opposite, before the palace of Dante, the 
figure of Love stands, holding a flaming heart, and announcing 
to the poet that Beatrice has passed to a life beyond the earth. 
"La Donna Finestra," painted in 1879 and to be counted 
amongst his ripest creations, has connection with that passage in 
the Vita Nuova where Dante sinks to the ground overcome with 
sorrow for Beatrice's death, and is regarded with sympathy by a 
lady looking down from a window, the Lady of Pity, the human 
embodiment of compassion. " Dante's Dream " is probably the 
work which shows the painter at his zenith. The expression 



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ENGLAND 593 

of the heads is profound and lofty, the composition severely 
mediaeval and admirably complete, and although the painting 
is laboured, the total impression is nevertheless so cogent that 
it is impossible to forget it. "The scene," in Rossetti's own de- 
scription, " is a chamber of dreams, strewn with poppies, where 
Beatrice is seen lying on a couch, as if just fallen back in death ; 
the winged figure of Love carries his arrow pointed at the 
dreamer's heart, and with it a branch of apple-blossom ; as he 
reaches the bier. Love bends for a moment over Beatrice with 
the kiss which her lover has never given her ; while the two 
green-clad dream-ladies hold the pall full of May-blossom 
suspended for an instant before it covers her face for ever." 
The expression of ecstasy in Dante's face, and the still, angelical 
sweetness of Beatrice, are rendered with astonishing intensity. 
She lies upon the bier, pale as a flower, wrapped in a white 
shroud, with her lips parted as though she were gently breathing, 
and does not seem dead, but fallen asleep. Her fair hair floats 
round her in golden waves. In its vague folds the covering of 
the couch displays the marble outlines of the body. And a look 
of bliss rests upon the pure and clear-cut features of her lovely 
face. 

This " painting of .the soul " occupied Rossetti almost exclu- 
sively in the third and most fruitful period of his life, when he 
painted hardly any pictures upon the larger scale,, but separate 
feminine figures furnished with various poetic attributes, the 
deeper meaning of which is interpreted in his poems. ** The 
Sphinx," in which he busied himself with the great riddle of 
life, is the only one containing several figures. Three persons — 
a youth, a man of ripe years, and a gray -beard — visit the secret 
dwelling of the Sphinx to inquire their destiny of this omni- 
scient being. It is only the man who really puts the question ; 
the gray-beard stumbles painfully towards her cavern, while the 
young man, wearied with his journey, falls dying to the earth 
before the very object of his quest. The Sphinx remains in 
impenetrable silence, with her green, inscrutable, mysterious 
eyes coldly and pitilessly fixed upon infinity. " The Blessed 
Damozel," "Proserpina," " Fiammetta," "The Daydream," "La 



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594 



MODERN PAINTING 




\Wattspxt. 

Sir Edward Burne-Jones. 



Bella Mano," " La Ghirlandata," 
" Veronica Veronese," " Diis 
Manibus," " Astarte Syriaca," 
are all separate figures dedi- 
cated to the memory of his 
wife. As Dante immortalized 
his Beatrice, Rossetti honoured 
his wife, who died so early, in 
his poems and his pictures. 
He painted her as "The 
Blessed Damozel," with her 
gentle, saint-like face, her quiet 
mouth, her flowing golden hair 
and peaceful lids. He repre- 
sents her as an angel of God 
standing at the gate of heaven, 
looking down upon the earth. She is thinking of her lover, 
and of the time when she will see him again in heaven, and of 
the sacred songs that will be sung to him. Lilies rest upon 
her arm, and lovers once more united hover around. 

There is no action or rhetoric of gesture in Rossetti. His 
tall Gothic figures are motionless and silent, having almost the 
floating appearance of visionary figures which stand long before 
the gaze of the dreamer without taking bodily form. They glide 
along like phantoms and shadows, like the blossoms of the tree 
and the ears of the field which hover passive to the wind. 
They neither talk, nor weep, nor laugh, and are only eloquent 
through their quiet hands, the most sensuous and the most 
spiritual hands ever painted, or. with their eyes, the most dreamy 
and fascinating eyes which have been rendered in art since 
Leonardo da Vinci. In the pictures which Rossetti devoted to 
her, Elizabeth Siddal is a marvellously lofty woman, glorified 
in the mysticism of a rare beauty. Rossetti drapes his idol in 
Venetian fashion, with rich garments which recall Giorgione in 
the character of their colour, and, like Botticelli, he strews flowers 
of deep fragrance around her, especially roses, which he painted 
with wonderful perfection, and also hyacinths, for which he had 



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ENGLAND 



595 



a great love and the 
intoxicating perfume of 
which affected him greatly. 
This taste for beautiful 
and deeply lustrous colours 
and rich accessories is, 
indeed, the one purely 
pictorial quality which this 
painter-poet has, if one 
understands by pictorial 
qualities the capacity for 
intoxicating one's self with 
the beauty of the visible 
world. His drawing is 
often faulty ; and his 
bodies, enveloped in rich 
and heavy garments, are 
not, perhaps, in invariable 
accordance with anatomy. 
What explains Rossetti's 
fabulous success is purely 
the condition of spirit 
which went to the making 
of his works — that ner- 
vous vibration, that ecstasy 
of opium, that combination 
of suffering and sensuous- 
ness, and that romanticism 
drunk with beauty, which 
go through his paintings. 
When they appeared they 
seemed like a revelation 
of a beautiful land, only 
one could not say where it existed — a revelation indeed, for 
it revealed for the first time a world of story which was in no 
sense fabulous : there came a romanticism which was something 
real ; a style arose which seemed as though it were woven 




BuRNE-JoNEs: "King Cophetua and the 
Beggar- Maid." 

{By ptrmtMion of tht Right Hon, thg Earl of Wham- 
cliffty tht owner of the picturt^ and oj Messrs, F. and 
D, Colnaghi cS* Co,^ tht owners of the copyright.) 



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BuRNE-JoNEs: "Chant d'Amour." 
(5y permission of Mr. F. Hollyir, tht owner of the copyright.) 

of tones and colours, a style rioting in an everlasting exhilara- 
tion of spirit, breaking out sometimes in a glow of flame 
and sometimes in delicate, tremulous longing. Even where he 
paints a Madonna she is merely a woman in his eyes, and he 
endows her with the glowing fire of passionate fervour, with a 
trace of the joy of the earth, which no painter has ever given 
her before. And through this union of refined modem sensuous- 
ness and Catholic mysticism he has created a new thrill of 
beauty. His painting was a drop of a most precious essence, 
in its hues enchanting and intoxicating, the strongest spiritual 
potion ever brewed in English art. The intensity of his over- 
strained sensibility, and the wonderful Southern mosaic of form 
into which he poured this sensibility with elaborate refinement, 
make him seem the brother of Baudelaire and the ancestor of 
the decadence. 

This tendency of spirit was so novel, this plunge in the 
tide of mysticism so enchanting, this delicate, archaic fragrance 



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597 




BuRNE-JoNEs: "Circe." 
iBy ptrmi3sioH q/ Mr. F. Hollyer, thg owntr of the copyright.) 

SO overwhelming, that a new stage in the culture of nnodern 
England dates from the appearance of Rossetti. He borrowed 
nothing from his contemporaries, and all borrowed from him. 
There came a time when budding girls in London attired 
themselves like early Italians from Dante's Inferno, when 
Jellaby Postlethwaite, in Du Maurier's mocking skit, entered a 
restaurant at luncheon-time, and ordered a glass of water and 
placed in it a lily which he had brought with him. "What 
else can I bring ? " asked the waiter. " Nothing," he sighed ; 
*• that is all I need." There began that aestheticism, that yearn- 
ing for the lily and that cult of the sunflower, which Gilbert 
and Sullivan parodied in Patience, Swinburne, who has tasted 
of emotions of the most various realms of spirit, and in his poems 
set them before the world as though in marvellously chiselled 
goblets, represents this aesthetic phase of English art in litera- 
ture. As a painter, Edward Burne-Jones — the greatest of that 
Oxford circle which gathered round Rossetti in 1856 — began to 
work at the point where Rossetti left off. 



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Magazine of Art, \ 

BuRNE- Jones: "The Days of Creation," 
{By permission of Mr, F, Hollyer^ the owner of the copyright.) 

Sir Edward Burner Jones, who must now be spoken of, was 
born in Birmingham in August 1833, and was reading theo- 
logy in Oxford when Rossetti was there painting the mural 
pictures for the Union. Rossetti attracted him as a flame 



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599 





Magazine of Ar/,] 

BuRNE- Jones : " The Days or Creation." 

(fly permission of Mr. F. Hoiiyer, thi owner of the copyright.) 

attracts the moth. As yet he had not had any artistic 
training, but some of his drawings which were shown to 
Rossetti by a mutual friend revealed so much poetic force, in 



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spite of their embarrassed 
method of cMprcssion, that 
the paintcr^poet entered 
into communication with 
him, and allowed him to 
paint in the Debating 
Room Dt the U n ion a 
subj ect from the Arthurian 
legends, " The Death of 
Merlin," The picture met 
with approval, and Burnc* 
Jones abandoned theology, 
became an intimate friend 
of Rossetti and the com- 
panion of his studies, and 
went with him to London. 
There he designed a 
number of church win- 
dows for Christ Church 
Cathedral » Oxford, and in 
1864 exhibited his first picture, "The Legend of a Knight who 
pardons his Enemy." Later there followed three small pictures 
from the "Legend of Pyramus" and a picture called "The 
Angel of Evening," a glimmering landscape through which a 
gentle spirit in a bronze-green garment is seen to float But 
none of these works excited much attention. In some de^cc 
this was owing to their amateurish technique, but the time for 
this decadent mood had not yet arrived. Two small pictures 
exhibited in 1870, "Phyllis" and "Demoi>hoon," were c\*en 
thought offensive on account of the "sensuous; expression" of 
the nymph. So Bume-Jones withdrew them, and from that 
time held for many years aloof from all the exhibitions of the' 
Royal Academy. During seven years his name was never seen 
in a catalogue. It was only on May ist, 1S77, at the opening 
of the Grosvenor Gallery — founded by Sir Coutts Lindsay, like- 
wise a painter, to afford himself and his comrades a place of 
exhibition independent of the Academy— that Burne-Jones once 



BuRNE- Jones : "Pygmauon (The Soul Attains). 

{By ptrmission of Mr. F* HoUyer^ tht owner of the 

copyright.) 



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Frngtmrni,^ 



BuRNE-JoNEs: "Perseus and Andromeda/ 



\!Swan photo sc. 



VOL, III. 



39 



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603 



more made his ap- 
pearance before the 
€yt& of the world. 
But his pictures, like 
those of Rossetti, 
had found their way 
in secrecy and by 
their own merit, and 
of a sudden he saw 
himself regarded as 
one of the most 
eminent painters in 
the country. 

His art is the 
flower of most 
potent fragrance in 
English aestheticism, 
and the admiration 
accorded to him in 
England is almost 
greater than that 
which had been 
previously paid to 
Rossetti. The 
Grosvenor Gallery, 
where he exhibited 
his pictures at this 
period, was a kind 
of temple for the aesthetes. On the opening day men and 
women of the greatest refinement crowded before his works. 
There was a cult of Burne-Jones at the Grosvenor Gallery 
as there is a cult of Wagner at Bayreuth. One had to work 
one's way very gradually through the crowd to see his pictures, 
which always occupied the place of honour in the principal 
room of the gallery, and I remember how helplessly I stood 
in 1884 before the first of his pictures which I saw there. 

In a kind of vestibule of early Gothic architecture there was 




LArL\ 

BURNE-JONES: "Th£ ENCHANTMENT OF Me&UN.*' 

(JBy p^rmiaaioH of Mr, F. Holtytr, tkt owfur of tht copyright,) 



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seated in the foreground an 
armed man, who, in his dark, 
gleaming harness and his hard 
and bold profile, was like a 
Lombard warrior, say Man- 
tegna's Duke of Mantua, and 
as he mused he held in his 
hand an iron crown studded 
with jewels ; farther in the 
background, upon a high 
marble throne, a maiden 
was enthroned, a young girl 
with reddish hair and a pale 
worn face, looking with stead- 
fast eyes far out into another 
world, as though in a hypnotic 
trance. Two youths, apparently 
pages, sang, leaning upon a 
balustrade ; while all manner 
of costly accessories, brilliant 
stuffs, lustrous marble, grey 
granite, and mosaic pavement, 
shining in green and red tones, 
lent the whole picture an air 
of exquisite richness. The title 
in the catalogue was ** King 
Cophetua and the Beggar- 
Maid," and any one acquainted 
with Provencal poetry knew that King Cophetua, the hero of 
an old ballad, fell in love with a beggar-girl, offered her his 
crown, and married her. But this was not to be gathered 
from the picture itself, where all palpable illustration of the story 
was avoided. Nevertheless a vague sense of emotional dis- 
quietude was revealed in it. The two leading persons of the 
strange idyll, the earnest knight and the pallid maiden, are not 
yet able themselves to understand how all has come to pass — 
how she, the beggar-maid, should be upon the marble throne. 




BuRNE-JoNEs: "The Annunciation." 

{By permUaion of Mr. F, HoUytr, tht ownfr 
of thi copyright.) 



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PorifolioJl 

BuRME-JoNEs: "The Golden Stairs." 
<By ptrmission of Mr, /"• HoUy^r^ the owner of the copyright,) 



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607 



and he, the king, kneeling on 
the steps before her whom he 
has exalted to be a queen. 
They remain motionless and pro- 
foundly silent, but their hearts 
are alive and throbbing. They 
have feelings which they cannot 
comprehend themselves, and the 
past and present surge through 
one another : life is a dream, 
and the dream is life. 

Everything that Bume-Jones 
has created is at once fragrant, 
mystical, and austere, like this 
picture. His range of subject is 
most extensive. In his Princess 
Alfred Tennyson had quickened 
into new life the legends of 
chivalry, and in his Idylls of t/te 
King the tales of the Knights 
of the Holy Grail. Swinburne 
publif hed his Atalanta in Calydon, 
in which he exercised once more 
the mysterious spell of the 
ancient drama, while he created 
in Chastelard, Bothwell, and 
Mary Stuart a trilogy of the 
finest historical tragedies ever 
written, and showed in Tristram 
of Lyonesse that even Tennyson 
had not exhausted all the beauty in old legends of the time of 
King Arthur. And, as early as 1866, he had given to the 
world his Poems and Ballads, dedicated to Bume-Jones. In 
these works lie the ideas to which the painter has given form 
and colour. 

He paints Circe in a saffron robe, preparing the potion to 
enchant the companions of Ulysses, with a strange light in her 




MagaMin$ of Art.] 

BuRNE-JoNBs: "Sibylla Delphica." 

iBy ptrmissioH of tht CorpomiioH of Man- 
chtsier, thf owngri of ths pieturt.) 



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6o8 MODERN PAINTING 

orbs, while two panthers fawn at her feet. He represents the 
goddess of Discord at the marriage of Thetis, a ghastly, pallid 
figure, entering amongst the gods who are celebrating the 
occasion, with the fateful apple in her hand. He depicts 
Pygmalion, the artist king of Cyprus, supplicating Aphrodite 
to breathe life into the ivory image of a maiden, the work of 
his own hands. 

Apart from classical antiquity, he owes some of his inspira- 
tion to the Bible and Christian legends, the sublimity of their 
grave tragedies, and the troubled sadness of their yearning and 
exaltation. One of his leading works devotes six pictures to 
the days of creation. An angel — accompanied in every case by 
the angels of the previous days — carries a sphere, in which may 
be seen the stars, the waters, the trees, the animals, and the 
first man and woman, in their proper sequence. The scene of 
the "Adoration of the Kings" is a landscape where fragrant 
roses bloom in the shadow of the slender stems of trees, which 
rise straight as a bolt The Virgin sits in their midst calm and 
unapproachable, and in her lap the Child, who is more slender 
than in the pictures of Cimabue. The three wise men — tall, 
gigantic figures, clad in rich mediaeval garments — approach 
softly, whilst an angel floats perpendicularly in the air as a 
silent witness. 

In his picture "The Annunciation" Mary is standing motion- 
less beside the great basin of a well-spring, at the portico of her 
house. To the left the messenger of God appears in the air. 
He has floated solemnly down, and it seems as if the folds of 
his robes, which fall straight from the body, had hardly been 
ruffled in his flight, as if his wings had scarcely moved ; with 
the extremities of his feet he touches the branches of a laurel. 
Mary does not shrink, and makes no gesture. There they stand, 
gravely, and as still as statues. The robe of the angel is white, 
and white that of the Virgin, and white the marble floor and 
the wainscoting of the house, and it is only the pinions of the 
heavenly messenger that gleam in a golden brightness. A 
picture called "Sponsa die Libano" bore as a motto the words 
from The Song of Solomon : " Awake, O north wind ; and come. 



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ENGLAND 609 

thou south ; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may 
flow out." The bride, in an ample blue robe, walks musing 
beside a stream, upon the shore of which white lilies grow, 
whilst the vehement figures of the North and South Winds rush 
through the air in grey, fluttering garments. 

In addition to his love for Homer and the Bible, Bume- 
Jones has a passion for the old Trouvtres of the Oiansons de 
Geste, the great and fanciful adventures of vanished chivalry, 
Provencal courts of love, and the legends of Arthur, Merlin, 
and the Knights of the Round Table. His "Chant d' Amour*' 
is like a page torn out of an old English or Provencal tale. 
On the meadow before a mediaeval town a lady is kneeling* 
a sort of St Cecilia, in a white upper-garment and a gleaming 
skirt, playing upon an organ, the full chords of which echo 
softly through the evening landscape. To the left a young 
knight is sitting upon the ground, and silently listens, lost in 
the music, while a strange figure, clad in red, is pressing upon 
the bellows of the instrument. "The Enchantment of Merlin," 
with which he made his first appearance in 1877, illustrated the 
passage in the old legend of Merlin and Vivien, relating how it 
came to pass one day that she and Merlin entered a forest, 
which was called the forest of Broceliande, and found a glorious 
wood of whitethorn, very high and all in blossom, and seated 
themselves in the shadow. And Merlin fell asleep, and when 
she saw that he slept she raised herself softly, and began the 
spell, exactly according to the teaching of Merlin, drawing the 
magic circle nine times and uttering the spell nine times. And 
Merlin looked around him, and it seemed to him as though he 
were imprisoned in a tower, the highest in the world, and he 
felt his strength leave him as if the blood were streaming from 
his veins. 

In other pictures he abandons all attempt to introduce 
ideas, confining himself to the simple grouping of tender girlish 
figures, by means of which he makes a beautiful composition 
of the most subtile lines, forms, colours, and gestures. The 
"Golden Stairs" of 1878 was a picture of this description: a 
train of girls, beautiful as angels, descended the steps without 



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MODERN PAINTING 




Pagtant,^ 



BuRNE-JoNEs : " The, Sea-Nymph,*' 
iBy permission of Mr, F, Hollytr, tfu owner of the eofyrighi.) 



lowan fhoio $e. 



aim or object, most of them with musical instruments, and all 
with the same delicate feet and the same robes falling in 
beautiful folds. In this year he also produced " Venus' Looking- 
glass : " a number of nymphs assembled by the side of a clear 
pool at sunset, in the midst of a sad and solemn landscape, 
are kneeling by the water's edge together, reflected in its 
surface. 

Besides these numerous canvases, mention must be made 
of the decorative works of the master. For the English church 
in Rome Burne-Jones has designed decorations in a rich 



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6ii 



and grave Byzantine 
style, and in Eng- 
land, where mural 
decoration has little 
space accorded to it 
in churches, there is 
all the more com- 
prehensive scope for 
painting upon glass. 
Until the sixties 
church windows of 
this kind were 
almost exclusively 
ordered from Ger- 
many. The court 
dep6t of glass- 
painting in Munich 




BuRNE-JoNEs: "The Wood-Nymph." 
{By permission of Mr, F. Hollytr, th$ owner of tkt copyright,) 



provided for the adornment of Glasgow Cathedral from drawings 
by Schwind, Heinrich Hess, and Schraudolph, and for the 
windows of St