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Full text of "Modern painting, its tendency and meaning"

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Modern Painting 



Central University Library 

University of California, San Diego 
Please Note: This item is subject to recall. 

Date Due 






MAR 1 8 1994 




MAR 1 fi 1994 




n/ APR 1 1 1995 




FEB 2 6 1995 










































Courtesy Worcester Art Museum 

FEMME ACCROUPIE 



GAUGUIN 



Modern Painting 

Its Tendency and Meaning 

By 

W^illard Huntington Upright 



New York 

Dodd, Mead and Company 
1922 



COPYRIGHT, 
BY JOHN LANE COMPANY 



THE PLIMPTON PRESS NOR WOOD MASSACHUSETTS 
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 



FOREWORD 

THAT beneath all great art there has 
been a definite animating purpose, a 
single and profound desire to reach a 
specific goal, has been but vaguely 
sensed by the general public and by the great 
majority of critics. And there are, I believe, 
but very few persons not directly and seriously 
concerned with the production of pictures, who 
realise that this animating purpose has for its 
aim the solution of the profoundest problems of 
the creative will, that it is rooted deeply in the 
aesthetic consciousness, and that its evolution 
marks one of the most complex phases of human 
psychology. The habit of approaching a work 
of art from the naif standpoint of one's personal 
temperament or taste and of judging it hap- 
hazardly by its individual appeal, irrespective 
of its inherent aesthetic merit, is so strongly 
implanted in the average spectator, that any at- 
tempt to define the principles of form and 
organisation underlying the eternal values of 
art is looked upon as an act of gratuitous ped- 
antry. But such principles exist, and if we are 
to judge works of art accurately and consist- 
ently these principles must be mastered. Other- 
wise we are without a standard, and all our 
opinions are but the outgrowth of the chaos 
of our moods. 

Any attempt to democratise art results only 
in the lowering of the artistic standard. Art 
cannot be taught; and a true appreciation of 



8 FOREWORD 

it cannot grow up without a complete under- 
standing of the aesthetic laws governing it. 
Those qualities in painting by which it is ordi- 
narily judged are for the most part irrelevan- 
cies from the standpoint of pure aesthetics. 
They have as little to do with a picture's infixed 
greatness as the punctuation in Faust or the 
words of the Hymn to Joy in the Ninth Sym- 
phony. Small wonder that modern art has 
become a copious fountain-head of abuse and 
laughter; for modern art tends toward the 
elimination of all those accretions so beloved by 
the general literature, drama, sentiment, sym- 
bolism, anecdote, prettiness and photographic 
realism. 

This book inquires first into the function and 
psychology of all great art, and endeavours to 
define those elements which make for genuine 
worth in painting. Next it attempts to explain 
both the basic and superficial differences between 
"ancient" and "modern" art and to point out, 
as minutely as space will permit, the superiority 
of the new methods over the old. By this 
exposition an effort is made to indicate the 
raison d'etre of the modern procedure. After that, 
modern painters are taken up in the order of 
their importance to the evolution of painting 
during -the last hundred years. I have tried to 
answer the following questions: What men and 
movements mark the milestones in the develop- 
ment of the new idea? What have been the 
motivating forces of each of these schools? To 
what extent are their innovations significant: 
what ones touch organically on the vital prob- 
lems of aesthetics; and what was their influence 



FOREWORD 9 

on the men who came later? Out of what did 
the individual men spring; what forces and 
circumstances came together to make their exist- 
ence possible? What were their aims, and what 
were their actual achievements? What relation 
did they bear to one another, and in what way 
did they advance on one another? Where has 
modern art led, and what inspirational possi- 
bilities lie before it? 

Before setting out to solve these problems, 
all of which have their roots in the very organ- 
isms of the science of aesthetics, I have posed 
a definite rationale of valuation. My principles 
are based on the quickening ideals of all great 
art, and, if properly understood, I believe, they 
will answer every question which arises in the 
intelligent spectator when he stands before a 
piece of visual art, be it a Byzantine mosaic, a 
complicated organisation by Rubens, a linear 
arrangement by Picasso or an utterly worthless 
anecdote in paint by an English academician. 
Necessarily preoccupied with the application of 
my critical standard, I have had but little time 
and space to devote to its elucidation. Yet I 
have striven in this indirect process of state- 
ment to make my fundamental postulate suffi- 
ciently clear to enable the reader to recognise 
its truth and unity. Two years ago when I 
crowded my hypothesis into 7000 words in the 
Forum, and early last winter when I stated it 
in even briefer space in the New Age, I found 
that, although it took a new and difficult stand, 
there were many who grasped its essentials. 
Therefore I feel myself entitled to hope that in 
its present form it will be comprehensible even 



io FOREWORD 

to those whose minds are not trained in the 
complexities of aesthetic research. 

In stripping art of its intriguing charm and 
its soothing vagueness it is not my intention 
to do away with its power to delight. To the 
contrary, I believe that only by relieving paint- 
ing of its dead cargo of literature, archaeology 
and illustration can it be made to function 
freely. Painting should be as pure an art as 
music, and the struggles of all great painters 
have been toward that goal. Its medium 
colour is as elemental as sound, and when 
properly presented (with the same scientific 
exactness as the harmonies of the tone-gamut) 
it is fully as capable of engendering aesthetic 
emotion as is music. Our delight in music, 
no matter how primitive, is not dependent on 
an imitation of natural sounds. Music's pleas- 
urable significance is primarily intellectual. So 
can painting, by its power to create emotion 
and not mere sensation, provoke deep aesthetic 
feeling of a far greater intensity than the delight 
derived from transcription and drama. Modern 
painting strives toward the heightening of emo- 
tional ecstasy; and my esthetique is intended to 
pave the way for an appreciation of art which 
will make possible the reception of that ecstasy. 
With this object ever in view I have weighed 
the painting of the last century, and have 
judged it solely by its ability or inability to 
call forth a profound aesthetic emotion. Almost 
any art can arouse pleasing sentiments. Only 
great art can give us intellectual rapture. 

W. H. W. 

Paris, 1915 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. ANCIENT AND MODERN ART . . . . . . 17 

II. PRECURSORS OF THE NEW ERA 34 

III. EDOUARD MANET . , " . 64 

IV. THE EARLY IMPRESSIONISTS 83 

V. AUGUSTS RENOIR 107 

VI. PAUL CEZANNE 129 

VII. THE NEO-IMPRESSIONISTS ....... 164 

VIII. GAUGUIN AND THE PONT-AVEN SCHOOL . . . 187 

IX. DEGAS AND His CIRCLE 207 

X. HENRI-MATISSE 222 

XL PICASSO AND CUBISM 237 

XII. FUTURISM 263 

XIII. SYNCHROMISM 277 

XIV. THE LESSER MODERNS 305 

XV. CONCLUSION * . 327 

INDEX . . . ... 343 



Modern Painting 



Modern Painting 



ANCIENT AND MODERN ART 

THROUGHOUT the entire history of the 
fine arts, no period of aesthetic inno- 
vation and endeavour has 'suffered from 
public malignity, ridicule and ignorance 
as has painting during the last century. The 
reasons for this are many and, to the serious 
student of art history, obvious. The change 
between the old and the new order came swiftly 
and precipitously, like a cataclysm in the serenity 
of a summer night. The classic painters of the 
first half of the nineteenth century, such as 
David, Ingres, Gros and Gerard, were busy with 
their rehabilitation of ancient traditions, when 
without warning, save for the pale heresies of 
Constable, a new and rigorous regime was ushered 
in. It was Turner, Delacroix, Courbet and 
Daumier who entered the sacred temple, tore 
down the pillars which had supported it for cen- 
turies, and brought the entire structure of estab- 
lished values crashing down about them. They 
survived the debacle, and when eventually they 
laid aside their brushes for all time it was with 
the unassailable knowledge that they had accom- 
plished the greatest and most significant meta- 
morphosis in the history of any art. 

But even these hardy anarchists of the new 
order little dreamed of the extremes to which 



18 MODERN PAINTING 

their heresies would lead. So precipitous and 
complex has been the evolution of modern paint- 
ing that most of the most revolutionary moderns 
have failed to keep mental step with its develop- 
ments and divagations. During the past few 
years new modes and manners in art have sprung 
up with fungus-like rapidity. "Movements" and 
"schools" have followed one another with as- 
tounding pertinacity, each claiming that finality 
of expression which is the aim of all seekers for 
truth. And, with but few exceptions, the men 
who have instigated these innovations have been 
animated by a serious purpose that of master- 
ing the problem of aesthetic organisation and 
of circumscribing the one means for obtaining 
ultimate and indestructible results. But the 
problems of art, like those of life itself, are in 
the main unsolvable, and art must ever be an 
infinite search for the intractable. Form in paint- 
ing, like the eternal readjustments and equilib- 
ria of life, is but an approximation to stability. 
The forces in all art are the forces of life, co- 
ordinated and organised. No plastic form can 
exist without rhythm: not rhythm in the super- 
ficial harmonic sense, but the rhythm which 
underlies the great fluctuating and equalising 
forces of material existence. Such rhythm is 
symmetry in movement. On it all form, both in 
art and life, is founded. 

Form in its artistic sense has four interpreta- 
tions. First, it exhibits itself as shallow imita- 
tion of the surface aspects of nature, as in the 
work of such men as Sargent, Sorolla and Simon. 
Secondly, it contains qualities of solidity and com- 
petent construction such are as found in the 



ANCIENT AND MODERN ART 19 

paintings of Velazquez, Hogarth and Degas. 
Thirdly, it is a consummate portrayal of objects 
into which arbitrary arrangement has been intro- 
duced for the accentuation of volume. Raphael, 
Poussin and Goya exemplify this expression of 
it. Last, form reveals itself, not as an object- 
tive thing, but as an abstract phenomenon cap- 
able of giving the sensation of palpability. All 
great art falls under this final interpretation. 
But form, to express itself aesthetically, must be 
composed; and here we touch the controlling 
basis of all art: organisation. Organisation is 
the use put to form for the production of rhythm. 
The first step in this process is the construction 
of line, line being the direction taken by one or 
more forms. In purely decorative rhythm the 
lines flow harmoniously from side to side and from 
top to bottom on a given surface. In the greatest 
art the lines are bent forward and backward as 
well as laterally so that, by their orientation in 
depth, an impression of profundity is added to 
that of height and breadth. Thus the simple 
image of decoration is destroyed, and a micro- 
cosmos is created in its place. Rhythm then be- 
comes the inevitable adjustment of approaching 
and receding lines, so that they will reproduce 
the placements and displacements to be found in 
the human body when in motion. 

To understand, and hence fully to appreciate, 
a painting, we must be able to recognise its in- 
herent qualities by the process of intellectual 
reasoning. By this is not implied mechanical 
or scientific observation. Were this necessary, 
art would resolve itself into a provable theory 
and would produce in us only such mental pleas- 



20 MODERN POINTING 

ure as we feel before a perfect piece of intricate 
machinery. But once we comprehend those con- 
stitutional qualities which pervade all great works 
of art, plastic and graphic, the sensuous emotion 
will follow so rapidly as to give the effect of 
spontaneity. This process of conscious observa- 
tion in time becomes automatic and exerts itself 
on every work of art we inspect. Once adjusted 
to an assimilation of the rhythmic compositions 
of El Greco and Rubens, we have become sus- 
ceptible to the tactile sensation of form in all 
painting. And this subjective emotion is keener 
than the superficial sensation aroused by the 
prettiness of design, the narrative of subject-matter, 
or the quasi-realities of transcription. More and 
more as we proximate to a true understanding 
of the principles of art, shall we react to those 
deeper and larger qualities in a painting which are 
not to be found in its documentary and technical 
side. Also our concern with the transient senti- 
ments engendered by a picture's external aspects 
will become less and less significant. Technique, 
dramatic feeling, subject, and even accuracy of 
drawing, will be relegated to the subsidiary and 
comparatively unimportant position they hold in 
relation to a painting's esthetic purpose. 

The lack of comprehension and consequently 
the ridicule which has met the efforts of mod- 
ern painters, is attributable not alone to a mis- 
understanding of their seemingly extragavant 
and eccentric mannerisms, but to an ignorance of 
the basic postulates of all great art both ancient 
and modern. Proof of this is afforded by the 
constant statements of preference for the least 
effectual of older painters over the greatest of 



ANCIENT AND MODERN ART 21 

the moderns. These preferences, if they are 
symptomatic of aught save the mere habit of a 
mind immersed in tradition, indicate an imma- 
turity of artistic judgment which places prettiness 
above beauty, and sentimentality and documen- 
tary interest above subjectivity of emotion. The 
fallacies of such judgment can best be indicated 
by a parallel consideration of painters widely 
separated as to merit, but in whom these different 
qualities are found. For instance, the prettiness 
of Reynolds, Greuze and Murillo is as marked as 
the prettiness of Titian, Giorgione and Renoir. 
The latter are by far the greater artists; yet, 
had we no other critical standard save that of 
charm, the difference between them and the 
others would be indistinguishable. Zuloaga, 
Whistler, Botticelli and Bocklin are as inspira- 
tional of sentiment as Tintoretto, Corot, Raphael 
and Poussin; but by no authentic criterion are 
they as great painters. Again, were drama and 
simple narrative aesthetic considerations, Reg- 
nault, Brangwyn, and Antonino Molineri would 
rank with Valeric Castello, Rubens and Ribera. 

In one's failure to distinguish between the 
apparent and the organic purposes of art lies 
the greatest obstacle to an appreciation of what 
has come to be called modern painting. The 
truths of modern art are no different from those 
of ancient art. A Cezanne landscape is not dis- 
similar in aim to an El Greco. The one is merely 
more advanced as to methods than the other. 
Nor do the canvases of the most ultra-modern 
schools strive toward an aesthetic manifestation 
radically unlike that aspired to in Michelangelo's 
Slaves. Serious modern art, despite its often 



22 MODERN PAINTING 

formidable and bizarre appearance, is only a 
striving to rehabilitate the natural and unalter- 
able principles of rhythmic form to be found 
in the old masters, and to translate them into 
relative and more comprehensive terms. We 
have the same animating ideal in the pictures 
of Giotto and Matisse, Rembrandt and Renoir, 
Botticelli and Gauguin, Watteau and Picasso, 
Poussin and Friesz, Raphael and Severini. The 
later men differ from their antecedents in that 
they apply new and more vital methods to their 
work. Modern art is the logical and natural 
outgrowth of ancient art; it is the art of yester- 
day heightened and intensified as the result of 
systematic and painstaking experimentation in 
the media of expression. 

The search for composition that is, for per- 
fectly poised form in three dimensions has 
been the impelling dictate of all great art. Giotto, 
El Greco, Masaccio, Tintoretto and Rubens, the 
greatest of all the old painters, strove continually 
to attain form as an abstract emotional force. 
With them the organisation of volumes came 
first. The picture was composed as to line. Out 
of this grew the subject-matter a demonstra- 
tion a posteriori. The human figure and the 
recognisable natural object were only auxiliaries, 
never the sought-for result. In all this they were 
inherently modern, as that word should be under- 
stood; for the new conception of art strives more 
and more for the emotion rather than the appear- 
ance of reality. The objects, whether arbitrary 
or photographic, which an artist uses in a picture 
are only the material through which plastic form 
finds expression. They are the . means, not the 



ANCIENT AND MODERN ART 23 

end. If in the works of truly significant art 
there is a dramatic, narrative or illustrative in- 
terest, it will be found to be the incidental and 
not the important concomitant of the picture. 

Therefore it is not remarkable that, with the 
introduction of new methods, the illustrative side 
of painting should tend toward minimisation. 
The elimination of all the superfluities from art is 
but a part of the striving toward defecation. 
Since the true test of painting lies in its sub- 
jective power, modern artists have sought to 
divorce their work from all considerations other 
than those directly allied to its primary function. 
This process of separation advanced hand in 
hand with the evolution of new methods. First 
it took the form of the distortion of natural 
objects. The accidental shape of trees, hills, 
houses and even human figures was altered in 
order to draw them into the exact form demanded 
by the picture's composition. Gradually, by the 
constant practice of this falsification, objects be- 
came almost unrecognisable. In the end the 
illustrative obstacle was entirely done away 
with. This was the logical outcome of the ster- 
ilising modern process. To judge a picture com- 
petently, one must not consider it as a mere 
depiction of life or as an anecdote: one must 
bring to it an intelligence capable of grasping a 
complicated counterpoint. The attitude of even 
such men as Celesti, Zanchi, Padovanino and 
Bononi is never that of an illustrator, in no 
matter how sublimated a sense, but of a com- 
poser whose aim is to create a polymorphic 
conception with the recognisable materials at 
hand. 



24 MODERN PAINTING 

Were art to be judged from the pictorial and 
realistic viewpoint we might find many metic- 
ulous craftsmen of as high an objective efficiency 
as were the men who stood at the apex of genuine 
artistic worth that is, craftsmen who arrived 
at as close and exact a transcription of nature, 
who interpreted current moods and mental as- 
pects as accurately, and who set forth superficial 
emotions as dramatically. Velazquez's Philip IV, 
Titian's Emperor Charles V, Holbein's The Am- 
bassadors, Guardi's The Grand Canal Venice, 
Mantegna's The Dead Christ and Diirer's Four 
Naked Women reproduce their subjects with as 
much painstaking exactitude as do El Greco's 
The Resurrection of Christ, Giotto's Descent from 
the Cross, Masaccio's Saint Peter Baptising the 
Pagans, Tintoretto's The Miracle of Saint Mark, 
Michelangelo's Creation of the Sun and Moon, 
and Rubens's The Earl and Countess of Arundel. 
But these latter pictures are important for other 
than pictorial reasons. Primarily they are or- 
ganisations, and as such they are of aesthetic 
value. Only secondarily are they to be appraised 
as representations of natural objects. In the 
pictures of the former list there is no synthetic 
co-ordination of tactile forms. Such paintings 
represent merely "subject-matter" treated capably 
and effectively. As sheer painting from the 
artisan's standpoint they are among the finest 
examples of technical dexterity in art history. But 
as contributions to the development of a pure art 
form they are valueless. 

In stating that the moderns have changed the 
quality and not the nature of art, there is no 
implication that in many instances the great 



ANCIENT AND MODERN ART 25 

men of the past, even with limited means, have 
not surpassed in artistic achievement the men of 
today who have at hand more extensive means. 
Great organisers of plastic form have, because 
of their tremendous power, done with small 
means more masterly work than lesser men with 
large means. For instance, Goya as an artist 
surpasses Manet, and Rembrandt transcends 
Daumier. This principle holds true in all the 
arts. Balzac, ignorant of modern literary meth- 
ods, is greater than George Moore, a master of 
modern means. And Beethoven still remains 
the colossal figure in music, despite the vastly 
increased modern scope of Richard Strauss's 
methods. Methods are useless without the cre- 
ative will. But granting this point (which un- 
consciously is the stumbling block of nearly all 
modern art critics), new and fuller means, even 
in the hands of inferior men, are not the proper 
subject for ridicule. 

It must not be forgotten that the division 
between old and modern art is not an equal one. 
Modern art began with Delacroix less than a 
hundred years ago, while art up to that time had 
many centuries in which to perfect the possi- 
bilities of its resources. The new methods are 
so young that painters have not had time to 
acquire that mastery of material without which 
the highest achievement is impossible. Even in 
the most praiseworthy modern art we are con- 
scious of that intellectual striving in the handling 
of new tools which is the appanage of immaturity. 
Renoir, the greatest exponent of Impressionistic 
means, found his artistic stride only in his old age, 
after a long and arduous life of study and exper- 



26 MODERN PAINTING 

imenting. His canvases since 1905 are the first 
in which we feel the fluency and power which 
come only after a slow and sedulous process of 
osmosis. Compare, for instance, his early and 
popular Le Moulin de la Galette with his later 
portraits, such as Madame T. et Son Fils and La 
Fillette a 1'Orange, and his growth is at once 
apparent. 

The evolution of means is answerable to the 
same laws as the progressus in any other line of 
human endeavour. The greatest artists are always 
culminations of long lines of experimentations. 
In this they are eclectic. The organisation of 
observation is in itself too absorbing a labour to 
permit of a free exercise of the will to power. 
The blinding burst of genius at the time of the 
Renaissance was the breaking forth of the accrued 
power of generations. Modern art, having no 
tradition of means, has sapped and dispersed the 
vitality of its exponents by imposing upon them 
the necessity for empirical research. It is for 
this reason that we have no men in modern art 
who approximate as closely to perfection as did 
many of the older painters. But had Rubens, 
with his colossal vision, had access to modern 
methods his work would have been more power- 
ful in its intensity and more far-reaching in its 
scope. 

However, in the brief period of modern art 
two decided epochs have been brought to a close 
through this accumulation and eruption of exper- 
imental activities in individuals. Cezanne brought 
to a focus the divergent rays of his predecessors 
and incorporated into his canvases both the as- 
pirations and achievements of the art which had 



ANCIENT AND MODERN ART 27 

preceded him. This would have been impossible 
had he been born even with an equally great 
talent fifty years before. And a more recent 
school of art, by making use of the achievements 
of both Cezanne and Michelangelo, and by add- 
ing to them new discoveries in the dynamics 
of colour, has opened up a new vista of possibil- 
ities in the expressing of form. This step also 
would have been impossible without Cezanne and 
the men who came before and after him. Once 
these new modes, which are indicative of modern 
art, become understood and pass into the common 
property of the younger men, we shall have 
achievement which will be as complete as the 
masterpieces of old, and which will, in addition, 
be more poignant. 

Although the methods of the older painters 
were more restricted than those of the moderns, 
the actual materials at their disposal were fully 
as extended as ours of today. But knowledge 
concerning them was incomplete. As a conse- 
quence, all artists antecedent to Delacroix found 
expression only in those qualities which are 
susceptible of reproduction in black and white. 
In many cases the sacrifice of colour enhances the 
intrinsic merit of such reproductions, for often 
the characteristics of the different colours oppose 
the purposes of a picture's planes. Today we 
know that certain colours are opaque, others 
transparent; some approach the eye, others 
recede. But the ancients were ignorant of these 
things, and their canvases contained many con- 
tradictions: there was a continuous warring 
between linear composition and colour values. 
They painted solids violet, and transpicuous 



28 MODERN PAINTING 

planes yellow thereby unconsciously defeating 
their own ends, for violet is limpid, and yellow 
tangible. In one-tone reproductions such in- 
consistencies are eliminated, and the signification 
of the picture thereby clarified. It was Rubens 
who embodied the defined attributes of ancient 
art in their highest degree of pliability, and who 
carried the impulse toward creation to a point 
of complexity unattained by any other of the 
older men. In him we see the culmination of 
the evolution of linear development of light and 
dark. From his time to the accession of the 
moderns the ability to organise was on the de- 
crease. There was a weakening of perception, 
a decline of the aesthetic faculty. The chaotic 
condition of this period was like the darkness 
which always broods over the world before some 
cleansing force sweeps it clean and ushers in a 
new and greater cycle. 

The period of advancement of these old 
methods extends from prehistoric times to the 
beginning of the nineteenth century. On the 
walls of the caverns in Altamira and the Dor- 
dogne are drawings of mammoths, horses and 
bison in which, despite the absence of details, 
the actual approach to nature is at times more 
sure and masterly than in the paintings of such 
highly cultured men as Botticelli and Pisanello. 
The action in some of them is pronounced; and 
the vision, while simple, is that of men conscious 
of a need for compactness and balance. Here 
the art is simply one of outline, heavy and prom- 
inent at times, light and almost indistinguishable 
at others; but this grading of line was the result 
of a deeper cause than a tool slipping or refusing 



ANCIENT AND MODERN ART 29 

to mark. It was the consequence of a need for 
rhythm which could be obtained only by the 
accentuation of parts. The drawings were gen- 
erally single figures, and rarely were more than 
two conceived as an inseparable design. Later, 
the early primitives used symmetrical groupings 
for the same purpose of interior decorating. Then 
came simple balance, the shifting and disguise 
of symmetry, and with it a nearer approach to 
the imprevu of nature. This style was employed 
for many generations until the great step was 
taken which brought about the Renaissance. 
The sequential aspect of line appeared, permitting 
of rhythm and demanding organisation. Cima- 
bue and Giotto were the most prominent expon- 
ents of this advance. From that time forward 
the emotion derived from actual form was looked 
upon by artists as a necessary adjunct to a pict- 
ure. With this attitude came the aristocracy 
of vision and the abrogation of painting as mere 
exalted craftsmanship. 

After that the evolution of art was rapid. In 
the contemplation of solidly and justly painted 
figures the artist began to extend his mind into 
space and to use rhythm of line that he might 
express himself in depth as well as surfacely. 
Thus he preconised organisation in three dimen- 
sions, and by so doing opened the door on an 
infinity of aesthetic ramifications. From the be- 
ginning, tone balance that is, the agreeable 
distribution of blacks, whites and greys had 
gone forward with the development of line, so 
that at the advent of depth in painting the 
arrangement of tones became the medium through 
which all the other qualities were made manifest. 



30 MODERN PAINTING 

In the strict sense, the art of painting up to 
a hundred years ago had been only drawing. 
Colour was used only for ornamental or dramatic 
purposes. After the first simple copying of 
nature's tints in a wholly restricted manner, the 
use of colour advanced but little. It progressed 
toward harmony, but its dramatic possibilities 
were only dimly felt. Consequently its primitive 
employment for the enhancement of the decora- 
tive side of painting was adhered to. This was 
not because the older painters were without the 
necessary pigments. Their colours in many in- 
stances were brighter and more permanent than 
ours. But they were satisfied with the effects 
obtained from black and white expression. They 
looked upon colour as a delicacy, an accessory, 
something to be taken as the gourmet takes 
dessert. Its true significance was thus obscured 
beneath the artists' complacency. As great an 
artist as Giorgione considered it from the con- 
ventional viewpoint, and never attempted to 
deviate toward its profounder meanings. The 
old masters filled their canvases with shadows 
and light without suspecting that light itself is 
simply another name for colour. 

The history of modern art is broadly the his- 
tory of the development of form by the means 
of colour that is to say, modern art tends 
toward the purification of painting. Colour is 
capable of producing all the effects possible to 
black and white, and in addition of exciting an 
emotion more acute. It was only with the advent 
of Delacroix, the first great modern, that the 
dramatic qualities of colour were intelligently 
sensed. But even with him the conception was 



ANCIENT AND MODERN ART 31 

so slight that the effects he attained were but 
meagrely effective. After Delacroix further ex- 
periments in colour led to the realistic translation 
of certain phases of nature. The old static 
system of copying trees in green, shadows in 
black and skies in blue did not, as was commonly 
believed, produce realism. While superficially 
nature appeared in the colours indicated, a close 
observation later revealed the fad: that a green 
tree in any light comprises a diversity of colours, 
that all sunlit skies have a residue of yellow, 
and hence that shadows are violet rather than 
black. This newly unearthed realism of light 
became the battle cry of the younger men in the 
late decades of the nineteenth century, and 
reached parturition in the movement erroneously 
called Impressionism, a word philologically op- 
posed to the thing it wished to elucidate. The 
ancients had painted landscape as it appeared 
broadly at a first glance. The Impressionists, 
being interested in nature as a manifestation in 
which light plays the all-important part, trans- 
ferred it bodily onto canvas from that point of 
view. 

Cezanne, looking into their habits more coolly, 
saw their restrictions. While achieving all their 
atmospheric aims, he went deeper into the me- 
chanics of colour, and with this knowledge 
achieved form as well as light. This was another 
step forward in the development of modern 
methods. With him colour began to near its 
true and ultimate significance as a functioning 
element. Later, with the aid of the scientists, 
Chevreul, Bourgeois, Helmholtz and Rood, other 
artists made various departures into the field 



32 MODERN PAINTING 

of colour, but their enterprises were failures. 
Then came Matisse who made improvements 
on the harmonic side of colour. But because he 
ignored the profounder lessons of Cezanne he 
succeeded only in the fabrication of a highly 
organised decorative art. Not until the advent 
of the Synchromists, whose first public exhibition 
took place in Munich in 1913, were any further 
crucial advances made. These artists completed 
Cezanne in that they rationalised his dimly fore- 
shadowed precepts. 

To understand the basic significance of paint- 
ing it is necessary to revise our method of judg- 
ment. As yet no aesthetician has recorded a 
rationale for art valuation. Taine put forth 
many illuminating suggestions regarding the fun- 
damentals of form, but the critics have paid 
scant heed. Prejudice, personal taste, meta- 
physics and even the predilections of sentiment, 
still govern the world's judgments and apprecia- 
tions. We are slaves to accuracy of delineation, 
to prettiness of design, to the whole suite of ma- 
terial considerations which are deputies to the 
organic and intellectual qualities of a work of 
art. It is the common thing to find criticisms 
ever from the highest sources which praise 
or condemn a picture according to the nearness 
of its approach to the reality of its subject. Such 
observations are confusing and irrelevant. Were 
realism the object of art, painting would always 
be infinitely inferior to life a mere simulacrum 
of our daily existence, ever inadequate in its 
illusion. The moment we attach other than 
purely aesthetic values to paintings either an- 
cient or modern we are confronted by so exten- 



ANCIENT AND MODERN ART 33 

sive and differentiated a set of tests that chaos 
or error is unavoidable. In the end we shall find 
that our conclusions have their premises, not in 
the work of art itself, but in personal and ex- 
traneous considerations. A picture to be a great 
work of art need not contain any recognisable 
objects. Provided it gives the sensation of rhyth- 
mically balanced form in three dimensions, it 
will have accomplished all that the greatest 
masters of art have ever striven for. 

Once we divest ourselves of traditional integu- 
ments, modern painting will straightway lose its 
mystery. Despite the many charlatans who clothe 
their aberrations with its name, it is a sincere 
reaching forth of the creative will to find a me- 
dium by which the highest emotions may most 
perfectly be expressed. We have become too 
complex to enjoy the simple theatre any longer. 
Our minds call for a more forceful emotion than 
the simple imitation of life can give. We require 
problems, inspirations, incentives to thought. 
The simple melody of many of the old masters 
can no longer interest us because of its very 
simplicity. As the complicated and organised 
forces of life become comprehensible to us, we 
shall demand more and more that our analytic 
intelligences be mirrored in our enjoyments. 



II 

PRECURSORS OF THE NEW ERA 

THE nineteenth century opened with 
French art in a precarious and de- 
cadent condition. To appreciate the 
prodigious strides made by Gericault 
and Delacroix, even by Gerard and Gros, one 
must consider the rabid antagonism of the public 
toward all ornament and richness in painting and 
toward all subject-matter which did not inspire 
thoughts of inflexible simplicity. This attitude 
was attributable to the social reaction against 
the excesses of the voluptuous Louis XV. Vien 
it was who, suppressing the eroticism of Boucher, 
instigated the so-called classic revival founded on 
Graeco-Roman ideals. The public became so vehe- 
ment in its praise of this hypocritical and austere 
art, that Fragonard, that delicious painter of 
boudoirs, was dismissed as indecent. Even the 
demure Greuze, who tried to rehabilitate himself 
by making his art a vehicle for a series of parental 
sermons, died a pauper. He too lacked the arid- 
ity requisite for popular taste. Chardin, the Le 
Nains and Fouquet were set aside: they were 
considered too trivial, too insufficiently archae- 
ological. Watteau's canvases were stoned by Reg- 
nault, Girodet and the other pupils of David. 
Lancret, Pater, Debucourt, Olivier, Gravelot, 
La Tour, Nattier and others met similar fates 
at the hands of the new classicists. 



PRECURSORS OF THE NEW ERA 35 

Such men as these could not find approbation 
in a public which demanded only allegorical, 
political and economic art. But David met all 
its requirements. He represented the antithesis 
of the sound freedom of the French tempera- 
ment; and forthwith became the Elija of the 
new degeneracy. He apotheosised all that is 
false and decadent in art. But the adulation 
of him was short-lived. The French imagina- 
tion is too fecund for only thorns. Ingres super- 
seded him. This new idol, going to the Greeks 
for inspiration, made David fluent and charming. 
He studied the Italian primitives and simplified 
them with Byzantine and Raphaelic addenda. 
He had a genuine instinct for silhouette entirely 
lacking in his forerunner, and soon struck the 
first blow which marked the disintegration of 
David's cult. 

Gerard and Gros took a further step by loos- 
ening slightly Ingres's drawing; and Gericault 
and Guerin completed the disruption of the 
David tradition. Gericault's Radeau de la 
Meduse brought its young and highly talented 
creator immediately into the public gaze, not 
only because of its implied blasphemy in deviat- 
ing from the methode David, but because the 
tragedy of its subject was still fresh in the na- 
tional mind. Was this a clever device on the 
part of the painter to circumvent hostile criti- 
cism by clothing his innovations with a sympa- 
thetic theme? Perhaps; but the picture's value 
to us lies in that it foreshadowed the new idea 
in art. It forced the gate which made easier 
Delacroix's entrance several years later. 

In retrospect the reaction against an established 



36 MODERN PAINriNG 

order appears simple, but the world's innovators 
have required for their task an intellectual cour- 
age amounting to rare heroism. Heretics are 
regarded as dangerous madmen, and generally 
their only reward is the pleasure of revolt. The 
credit for greatness falls on those later men who 
avail themselves of the principles of past reac- 
tionary enterprise. So much of the energy of 
pioneers is spent in combating hostile criticism 
and indifference, that their fund of creative force 
is depleted. This was true in the case of Dela- 
croix. Like all the greater painters he was self- 
taught. The essence of knowledge is untrans- 
mittable. True, he occasionally visited the studio 
of Guerin, but his real education came from the 
Louvre where he copied Veronese, Titian and 
Rubens. His insight was keen but not deep, 
and at first he did little more than absorb the 
surface aspects of others, though he did this 
with intelligence. Later, by devious steps both 
forward and back, he became the bridge from 
the eighteenth century to Impressionism, just 
as Cezanne became the stepping stone from Im- 
pressionism to art's latest manifestations. 

In 1822 Delacroix exposed his first canvas, 
Dante et Virgile aux Enfers, one of the finest 
debut pictures ever recorded. Superficially it 
is his most obvious influence of Rubens whom 
he deeply respected; and in it are also discov- 
erable the exaggerations and disproportions of 
Michelangelo. Thiers lauded it, and so great 
was its popularity that the government bought 
it for 2,000 francs. Rubens still held him firmly 
two years later in the Massacre de Scio, although 
there were in the picture indubitable indications 



PRECURSORS OF THE NEW ERA 37 

of the advent of Venice. This picture was to 
be hung in the famous Salon of 1824, where 
Lawrence, Bonington, Fielding, and Constable 
(who were to have such a great influence on his 
later work) exposed. The Massacre de Scio was 
ready for shipment when, just before the vernis- 
sage, Delacroix saw a canvas by Constable done 
in the divisionistic method. At once he felt the 
necessity for colour expression, and going home 
he entirely repainted his picture. 

This was the turning-point in his art. He had 
admired the green in Constable's landscape, and 
had spoken of it to the other. Constable ex- 
plained that the superiority of the green in his 
prairies was due to the fact that he had composed 
it with a multitude of different greens. Here 
Delacroix's keen perception got to work. In 
his Journal he wrote: "What Constable says 
of the green of his prairies can be applied to all 
the other tones as well." By this method, prim- 
itive as it seems today, he beheld a way of 
augmenting the dramatic significance of his con- 
ceptions. The next year, 1825, he went to Lon- 
don to study the English painters at closer range. 
There he learned much from Bonington, as he 
did from Constable, and in one of his letters 
he wrote: "Grey is the enemy of all painting. 
. . . Let us banish from our palette all earth 
colours." And later he forecasted the Impres- 
sionistic methods by writing: "It is good not to 
let each brush stroke melt into the others; they 
will appear uniform at a certain distance by the 
sympathetic law which associates them. Colour 
obtained thus has more energy and freshness. 
The more opposition in colour, the more brilliance." 



38 MODERN PAINTING 

Delacroix's intelligence, reconnoitring along 
these lines, formulated other principles. Among 
many observations concerning colour, he wrote: 
"If to a composition, interesting in its choice 
of subject, you add a disposition of lines, which 
augments the impression, a chiaroscuro which 
seizes the imagination, and a colour which is 
adapted to the characters, it is then a harmony, 
and its combinations are so adapted that they 
produce a unique song. ... A conception, having 
become a composition, must move in the milieu 
of a colour peculiar to it. There seems to be a 
particular tone belonging to some part of every 
picture which is a key that governs all the other 
tones. . . . The art of the colourist seems to 
be related in certain ways to mathematics and 
music." That he believed in the exact science 
of colour is further attested to by the fact that 
he made a dial on which noon represented red, 
six o'clock green, one o'clock blue, seven o'clock 
orange and so on through the hours with the 
opposition of complementaries. 

Evidences of these experimentations are dimly 
discerned in a number of his minor canvases 
done between 1827 and the Revolution. In 1832, 
after he had painted the admirable La Liberte 
Guidant le Peuple sur les Barricades, he visited 
Morocco. Before this event his work had con- 
tained many of the elements of sumptuousness 
and sensuality; but in this eastern land his 
colour reached maturity. Studying the produc- 
tions of the native crafts in their relation to 
colour, he dreamed of making pictures as varie- 
gated as rugs and vases. In this he was tres- 
passing on the precincts of Veronese who had 




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PRECURSORS OF THE NEW ERA 39 

made pictorial use of the products of the Orient 
and of Africa. On his return he painted Les 
Femmes d'Alger dans Leur Appartement. This 
picture, one of his best, embodies most of his 
colour theories. In it we find cold shadows 
opposed to hot lights, and the contiguous placing 
of complementaries. 

Delacroix looked upon himself as a colourist. 
But while his theories were in the main sound 
they did not go far enough. They were impor- 
tant only as a starting point. His colour is hardly 
noticeable today, and in no wise does it sum up 
his artistic interest for us. Gauguin once said 
that we get Delacroix's full significance in black- 
and-white reproduction. This comes perilously 
near being true. Today his pictures appear as 
devoid of brilliancy as those of the Venetians. 
Yet, when he first exhibited, he was reproached 
for his raucous tones. The critics called his 
Massacre de Scio the "massacre of painting," 
and added, "il court sur les toits." His men and 
women, the shadows of whose flesh were coloured 
with blues and greens, were stigmatised 
"corpses," and he was accused of having used the 
morgue for his studio. 

All this mattered little. Delacroix's real sig- 
nificance as an artist lay in his drawing which 
was his greatest asset. What raised him above 
the general run of painters, baroque and other- 
wise, was his slight talent for composition. Often 
in his Journal he speaks of the "balance of 
lines." He knew that with the masters of the 
Renaissance it was common property, and that 
modern painting had lost it; and he strove to 
reintroduce it into art. But he never got beyond 



40 MODERN PAINTING 

the simplest synthesis of the least compounded 
of Rubens's figure pieces. For instance, in the 
Bataille de Taillebourg an excellent example 
of his dramatic method it will be noted 
that the canvas opens at the bottom-centre 
to form a triangle of struggling forms, and 
that in the breach thus made the rearing 
charger looms white. The identical composition 
can be found in La Justice, La Liberte, the 
Janissaires a 1'Attaque, La Lutte de Jacob avec 
1'Ange, the Enlevement de Rebecca and the 
Entree des Croises a Jerusalem. In this last 
canvas, his most masterful, the triangle is com- 
plicated by a curved line running inward from the 
centre. This picture recalls, almost to every 
detail, Rubens's The Adoration of the Wise Men 
of the East, in the Antwerp Museum. However, 
it marks a great progress from the symmetricality 
of his toile de debut, and though in it Rubens is 
consciously imitated if not indeed plagiarised, 
Delacroix gets nearer to the spirit of Veronese 
than to that of the Flemish master. 

Among the paintings wherein the simple, three- 
sided composition does not appear, the most 
notable are his animal pictures (in which he sub- 
stituted the S design) and those canvases in which 
his momentary admiration for others (as for 
Veronese in the Retour de Christophe Colomb, and 
for the Dutch in Cromwell au Chateau de Wind- 
sor) made him forget himself. Even this primitive 
comprehension of linear balance had passed out 
of French painting with the death of Poussin, 
and its reapparition in Delacroix is analogous 
to the impetus toward rhythm which was given 
to the stiff Byzantine painting of Venice by 



PRECURSORS OF THE NEW ERA 41 

Nicolo di Pietro and Giovanni da Bologna in the 
fourteenth century. 

In Rubens we find turbulent movement, as 
great as in life itself, organised in such a way 
that all the emotions, exalted, depressive, dra- 
matic, are expressed. But in Delacroix there 
is merely co-ordinated action. And this action, 
even in the busiest centres of his canvases, is 
more suggestive of unrest than of movement. 
However, the real cause for his failure to express 
a spirit as modern as Rubens's lay in his inability 
to understand the opposition in rhythmic line- 
balance of three dimensions which is to be found 
in even the slightest of Rubens's canvases. His 
details are always interesting, but he never suc- 
ceeded in welding them into a sequacious and 
interrelated whole. His high gift of invention 
was inadequate equipment for so difficult a feat. 
Compare Rembrandt's exquisite bathing girl in 
the London National Gallery and Delacroix's 
La Grece Expirant sur les Ruines de Missolonghi. 
In technical treatment these two paintings are 
not unlike, but the scattered feeling and lack of 
plastic concentration in the latter emphasises the 
superior force of the Dutchman. 

Delacroix's work fell between flat decoration 
and deep painting. Although in his small draw- 
ings and details he exhibits a genuine feeling for 
volume, as his Lion Dechirant un Cadavre shows, 
his constant refinements of reasoning nearly 
always resulted in his form being flattened out 
until it sometimes became commonplace. Simple 
balance of line defined the limits of his ability 
for organisation. If he had carried out in other 
pictures the compositional elements of his Pieta, 



42 MODERN POINTING 

which had distinct movement, his work would 
have taken a higher place in the history of art. 
In many canvases his seeming fullness of form 
is only a richness of line a richness, however, 
which had seldom been found in painting since 
Masaccio. This voluptuousness in Delacroix 
(analogous to Wagner's music) results from the 
balance of large dark and light masses the 
fullness of chiaroscuro. It is particularly appre- 
ciable in La Justice de Trajan, La Captivite de 
Babylone, Repos (reminiscent of Goya's La Maja 
Desnuda) and his animal compositions. 

Delacroix's greatest deficiency lay in his in- 
ability to recognise the difference between the 
inventive intelligence and the imaginative in- 
stinct. Had he understood this he could have 
seen that his limitless ambition was incom- 
mensurate with his comparatively small capa- 
bilities. But his mind was not sufficiently open. 
In fadl his viewpoint at times was a petty one. 
Even his patriotism was chauvinistic. He was 
rabidly anti-Teutonic and attempted to compress 
all the great masters of art into the French mould. 
He inveighed against style in painting because 
France had always been barren of it. He pre- 
tended to detest Wagner, his musical prototype, 
and ignoring the latter's dramatic undulations, 
criticised him severely for his methods. Beet- 
hoven was too long for Delacroix, and II Trova- 
tore too complicated. However, he had a pro- 
found admiration for Titian and Mozart; and 
in these preferences we have the man's psychol- 
ogy. Both were great classicists, but both lacked 
that genuine and magistral fullness which was 
the propre of Beethoven and Michelangelo. 



PRECURSORS OF THE NEW ERA 43 

Delacroix's thoughts were on deep things 
rather than deep in themselves. Among the 
romanticists he was at home: all his life Byron 
and Walter Scott provided him with themes. And 
though he had sufficient foresight to see the hope- 
less trend of the painting of his day, and com- 
bated it, he did not advance. His muse was the 
corpse of Venetian art. He was the brake which 
put an end to the reactionary tendencies of art. 
His discoveries did not reach fruition until Im- 
pressionism, twenty years after his death. 

In all his struggles destiny seemed to con- 
spire to bring about his fame. In 1824, the very 
year he brought colour into his painting, Geri- 
cault, who gave promise of outstripping him, 
died. Constable and Turner came forward with 
their achievements. David's influence had died 
out, and the painter himself was an exile in 
Brussels. Fromentin tells us that Gericault 
helped paint Delacroix's first canvas. Certain 
it is that several of the great Englishmen painted 
some of his second. This, no doubt, taught 
Delacroix much. In 1827 the government ordered 
Justinien Composant les Institutes. All France 
rallied round his standard. He was decorated 
by Louis Philippe; and at the age of thirty he 
was proclaimed a great master by one of the 
leading critics of the day. 

From the first he had had the backing of men 
respected as authorities. But though they 
helped make his position tenable, they obfus- 
cated his true significance by their purely liter- 
ary appreciations. Gautier, Dumas, Baudelaire, 
Stendhal and Merimee there was none whose 
temperament was not either romantic or ideal- 



44 MODERN POINTING 

istic. They could not see that, though he strove 
with them for modernity of expression, his lan- 
guage was unmodern. However, Ernest Ches- 
neau, Theophile Silvestre, Eugene Veron and 
C. P. Landon have all given us side-lights on his 
methods, and, in this, their expositions are of 
value. 

But, though the men of letters did not under- 
stand him thoroughly, several of his fellow 
painters recognised his eclecticism. Among them 
was Thomas Couture who, in his highly instruct- 
ive booklet, Methodes et Entretiens d'Atelier, 
had the audacity to point out the painter's se- 
lective habits. In the main his charge was just. 
Delacroix's first canvas contains influences of 
both Rubens and Michelangelo. His second 
picture echoes Rubens, the Venetians and Goya. 
Later came more prominent evidences of Titian 
and Veronese. Delacroix was museum-bred. He 
absorbed impressions avidly, and did his best 
work only after he had undergone an intellectual 
experience. Had his art been truly expressive of 
all that was within him, he would have been in 
turn diluted, to be sure a Giotto, a Car- 
avaggio, a Rubens, a Rembrandt. He felt the 
call of these men, but instead of halting at appre- 
ciation, he tried to use them. But the old 
masters, like the lords of the earth, are not amen- 
able to high-handed demands. 

The diversity of his pursuits, which sprang 
from a desire to compete with Leonardo da 
Vinci, smacks of the dilettante. His great mis- 
take was that he did not separate his capabil- 
ities from his desires. Had he done so he would 
have produced small figure pieces of gem-like 



PRECURSORS OF THE NEW ERA 45 

richness and voluminous composition. Enthu- 
siasm is not the proper equipment for extended 
labour. It burns out too soon, and is kept alive 
only by quick and brilliant results. For this 
reason his pictures are viewed to better effect 
framed and in galleries than as mural decorations. 
In trying to paint monumental subjects on exten- 
sive canvases he lost that spirit of organisation 
which would have been his on more limited sur- 
faces. One of his finest expositions of colour, 
La Lutte de Jacob avec 1'Ange, in a chapel at 
Saint Sulpice, is ineffective because its surface is 
too large for his treatment of the theme. Dela- 
croix in reality was a painter of still-life in the 
broad meaning of the term, just as Rembrandt 
and Cezanne were still-life painters. He failed 
in the accomplishment of his larger programme 
because his vision was too restricted to permit 
him to weld his details into great ensembles, as 
Rubens did. His ambition outstripped his power, 
and strive as he might, he could not make up 
the discrepancy by reasoning. Undoubtedly he 
sensed his own weakness, for all his days he was 
in continual pursuit of system. System was to him 
what law was to the old masters. Herein he was 
reflecting the rationalistic philosophers of his day 
who substituted theory for observation. 

Were all Delacroix's paintings destroyed and 
his Journal and drawings saved, his apport to art 
would be but imperceptibly decreased. We should 
still possess his linear compositions and his colour 
theories his two significant gifts to modern 
art. Without the liberation of draughtsmanship 
expressed in the former, Courbet's struggle would 
have been more difficult, and rhythm in drawing 



46 MODERN PAINTING 

would have had to wait for another resuscitator. 
Without his colour theories Impressionism would 
have been postponed for half a century; Van 
Gogh could not have done his best pictures; and 
the Pointillists, with their system of comple- 
mentaries, might never have existed. Delacroix 
was the first to speak of simultaneity in painting, 
on which phrase has recently been founded a 
school; and he sketched a dictionary of art terms 
and definitions which even now, after fifty years, 
is far more intelligent than present-day academic 
precepts. 

Let us regard Delacroix as a great pioneer who 
fought against the zymotic formalism of his day 
and by so doing opened up a new era of expres- 
sion. He is the link in the chain which holds 
the brilliant gems of painting. If he himself fell 
short of genius, he nevertheless fulfilled a destiny 
which intrinsically is in many ways more fine: he 
made genius possible for those who were to come 
after him. 

The other man who contributed vitally to 
modern colour theories was J. M. W. Turner, 
born in 1775, one year before Constable. Like 
Delacroix he had ardent and influential defenders; 
and the coincidence is emphasised by the fad: 
that between these two great colour innovators 
there existed a striking thematic similarity. 
Ruskin took care that Turner should taste those 
beneficent honours which the world generally 
withholds from a painter during his lifetime. He 
accomplished this feat by praise which was largely 
enthusiasm and by criticism which spelled par- 
tiality. But a panegyric not founded on accuracy 
and authenticity defeats its own object in the 



PRECURSORS OF THE NEW ERA 47 

end. Turner himself remarked that Ruskin dis- 
covered recondite points in his painting of which 
he, as the artist, was ignorant. This might have 
been true, or it might have been sarcasm. But 
whether Ruskin or Turner knew more about the 
latter's art, the fact remains that the author of 
Modern Painters overestimated the painter for a 
reason totally inapposite to aesthetic considera- 
tion : the almost photographic perfection of his 
canvases. Later, when the spirituel Whistler 
tarnished this English didactician's reputation for 
infallibility, the latter's pronunciamentos were 
questioned, in some quarters ridiculed. And 
Turner, accepted because of Ruskin's assurances, 
became suspect. 

But no amount of effulgent literary criticism 
can obscure the authentic accomplishments of 
this poor barber's son. Turner's contributions 
to the colour methods of the eighties were too 
large, and his imitators too bold, for the fact to 
be longer ignored. In his Ulysses Deriding Poly- 
phemus, The Fighting Temeraire and especially 
in Rain, Steam and Speed, he had begun to divide 
the surfaces of his objects into minute touches of 
different colours not, perhaps, for the purpose 
of heightening the emotional qualities of the 
paintings as a whole, but for the primitive reason 
that the device gave accuracy to them as repre- 
sentations of nature. These pictures Monet and 
Pissarro studied closely during the Franco-Prus- 
sian War, and there is no doubt that the result of 
this study determined the direction taken by the 
Impressionists. Turner's earlier pictures had been 
too sombre to meet the demand for brilliancy 
in that first great modern school, and the can- 



48 MODERN POINTING 

vases in which his vision of sunlight began to take 
form had not yet been painted. These later 
pictures, with their light tonality and their full 
use of misty blue and gold, had a further influ- 
ence on the Impressionists' conception of colour. 

When Monet and Pissarro went to London in 
1871 they had been habituated to the use of 
broad flat tones, and were astonished at Turner's 
extraordinary snow and ice effects which were 
obtained by juxtaposing little spots of diverse 
colour and by the gradating of tones. On their 
return to France they both made use of this 
striking artifice, and developed it, in conjunction 
with Delacroix's theories, into what later an 
unknown humorist of the Charivari named Im- 
pressionism. This process was given further 
impetus by another Frenchman, Jongkind, called 
the European Hiroshige. There is more than a 
superficial analogy between Jongkind and Turner; 
and the Impressionists, first under the influence 
of Corot and Courbet, found the effects they 
sought by using the purity of Turner with the 
faflure of Jongkind. It was thus they were 
brought back to the theories of Delacroix which 
they had partially abandoned. This return had 
a profound raison d'etre, for between the last 
phase of Delacroix and the later sketches of 
Turner there is a similarity which was apparent 
even to their contemporaries. But though the 
resemblance was as pronounced as that between 
Turner and the Impressionists, the eulogists of 
that movement chose to ignore and, in some cases, 
to deny it. 

This new method of using colour did not con- 
stitute the only debt the Impressionists owed 



PRECURSORS OF THE NEW ERA 49 

Turner. They also found in him an added in- 
spiration toward freedom of arrangement and 
unconventionality of design. The landscape 
painters before Turner's day conceived their out- 
of-door pictures in more or less definite moulds. 
A tree in one man's canvas, being an idealistic 
conception, was difficult of differentiation from 
a tree in another's. All their pictures were per- 
meated by the same motif. But Turner, along 
with Constable and Bonington, began putting 
character into landscapes. As a consequence 
their pictures exuded a new freedom of arrange- 
ment. 

To appreciate Turner fully we must overlook 
his astonishing ability for transcription a heri- 
tage from his architectural days and consider 
him as a man who loved nature so ardently that 
it was impossible for him to approach it intel- 
lectually. His sketches, both in water-colour and 
oil, were, unlike those of the Impressionists, rarely 
done in the open. He conceived them in pencil, 
wrote upon his clouds, trees and stones the 
colours he saw in them, and later, in the solitude 
of his studio, "worked them up." Had the 
Impressionists, after their frenzied seances before 
models, taken their canvases home, organised and 
modified them, they would no doubt have pro- 
duced greater net results artistically. Organisa- 
tion, in its finest sense, comes only through 
contemplation and reflection; and while Turner 
did not possess the genius for rhythm in any of 
its manifestations, he nevertheless realised that 
mere truth does not make a picture. The Sun of 
Venice Going to Sea is as excellent as anything 
Monet or Sisley has ever done. In Turner there 



50 MODERN PAINTING 

is a feeling for the grandiose such as few moderns 
possess. Did this gift come from Claude whom 
he delighted in imitating? Even Constable spoke 
of a Turner canvas as the most complete work of 
genius he ever saw. But this was the beau geste 
of a contemporary who wished to appear broad- 
minded. The truth lay further down the slope. 
Turner undoubtedly showed genius in his com- 
petent copying of even the most insignificant of 
of nature's accidents. The composition of The 
Devil's Bridge is the foundation on which are 
built many of Monet's pictures; and the Rain, 
Steam and Speed canvas can hang beside La 
Gare St. Lazare without loss to either. 

Delacroix re-established an Italian mode of 
expression and tried to make of it a modern lan- 
guage. Turner, in a new language, spoke of 
ancient things. But Courbet ignored all method, 
and withal became the father of latter-day art. 
In him was the embryo of that distinctly modern 
spirit which demands visible proof before believ- 
ing. Like William of Orange, he arose trium- 
phant above every opposition. His art stemmed 
temperamentally from the Dutch and Spaniards, 
for while he imitated no one, he was uncon- 
sciously influenced by many. So complete was 
his assimilation of great men that in his expres- 
sion they all had a place. He himself says that 
he studied antiquity as a swimmer crosses a river. 
The academicians were drowned there. So was 
Delacroix. Courbet learned in his passage that 
in adaptation is the confession of sterility. But 
though he avoided paraphrasing and copying the 
old masters, we find throughout his life recur- 
ring traces of Van Dyke, Zurbaran, Delacroix, 



PRECURSORS OF THE NEW ERA 51 

Rembrandt, El Greco, Gericault, Ribera, Velaz- 
quez and that little known Valencian master, 
Juan de Juanes. 

Courbet was considered an ignorant, vulgar 
and brutal peasant. But this judgment was the 
outgrowth of public miscomprehension rather 
than of any authentic evidence in the man him- 
self. Courbet was the epitome of that unstudied 
naturalism which is antipodal to the hypocrisies 
of society. France, during his day, was governed 
by the dictates of theatricalism. Its ideals were 
those of Renaissance Italy, and its artistic atti- 
tude reflected a refinement of vision approaching 
decadence. Courbet's deportmental crudities 
alone were a source of antagonism, and when to 
these were added scorn and indifference the hos- 
tility against him became violent. But tem- 
peramentally he was aristocratic. The peasant 
mind is fundamentally traditional: Courbet was 
violently revolutionary. Nor did he lack fineness 
of mind. His early portraits embodied the sub- 
tleties of modelling in Rembrandt as well as the 
extraordinary niceties of characterisation in El 
Greco. The compositions of his pictures alone 
belie any coarseness of fibre in the man. They 
are founded on a weakened S which, since the 
decay of Byzantine art, had done valiant service 
for the most exalted painters such as Rubens and 
Tinteretto. This compositional figure appears, 
either exact or varied, in his Le Combat de 
Cerfs, Le Retour de la Conference, Chien et 
Lievres, and L'Enterrement a Ornans. 

Courbet's reputation for vulgarity was derived 
more from his lack of facile fluency, so common in 
the French tradition, than from a basic under- 



52 MODERN PAINTING 

standing of the structural synthesis of his work. 
And this misconception of him was aggravated by 
his being the first painter unwilling to accept 
praise as the public chose to dole it out. He 
was a self-advertiser, and such men as George 
Bernard Shaw are but echoes of his methods. He 
pushed his way to the front unceasingly, and 
continually theorised as a means of silencing his 
adversaries. He regarded all public demonstra- 
tion as blague, and later in life carried this atti- 
tude into politics. Whistler, his pupil, was quick 
to sense the advantage of his teacher's methods; 
and it is the irony of fate that this ineffectual 
American was believed and respected while Cour- 
bet was abused and ridiculed and forced to die 
in exile. He had carried his assaults too far. 
"To be not only a painter but a man," he wrote 
at one time. "To create a living art this is 
my aim." It is a masterly statement of his real 
ambitions. He was intensely interested in life, 
as were Rubens and Cellini. 'You want me to 
paint a goddess?" he exclaimed. "Show me 
one!" In this mot he summed up the very spirit 
of modern times. It expressed the new realism 
found in such widely separated men as Dos- 
toievsky, Zola, George Moore, Conrad, Andreiev, 
Theodore Dreiser, Gerhart Hauptmann, Richard 
Strauss, Debussy, Korngold, Sibelius, Manet, Re- 
noir, Sorolla and Zorn. 

It is strange how Courbet, so far removed 
from the French temperament, should, at the 
crucial period of his life, have reverted to a 
French gesture by refusing the cross of the Legion 
of Honor. But in that famous letter of rejection, 
written in a cafe and mailed with a grandiloquent 



PRECURSORS OF THE NEW ERA 53 

toss in the presence of Fantin-Latour, he summed 
up aptly the man of genius who, though avid 
for honour, throws it away at the moment of 
attainment. Not even Napoleon was more 
concerned with the thoughts of posterity than 
Courbet, and some of the artist's letters are not 
dissimilar in tone to the bombastic manifestos of 
certain ultra-modern schools. At the time of his 
first exhibition he wrote to Bruyas: "I stupefy 
the entire world. I am triumphant not only 
over the moderns but the ancients as well. Here 
is the Louvre gallery. The Champs Elysees does 
not exist, nor the Luxembourg. There is no 
more Champs de Mars. I have thrown con- 
sternation into the world of art." This spirit 
of monumental self-confidence, so startling to a 
generation whose taste was measured by the 
decadent poetry of Beaudelaire, brought frantic 
sarcasm hurtling about his head. This troubled 
Courbet little. He valued friendships only in 
so far as they were useful. It was Meissonier who 
said in a Paris salon, when standing before the 
famous Femme de Munich which Courbet had 
painted in a few hours for Baron Remberg: "It 
is no longer a question of art, but of dignity. 
From now on Courbet must be as one dead to us." 
Charles Beaudelaire, who helped fight the battle 
for Wagner, Poe, Delacroix, Manet and Monet, 
tentatively praised him at first, but later allied 
himself with the public and became his bitterest 
assailant. It was not surprising. A poet so 
superficial as to call Delacroix "a haunted lake 
of blood" could not be expected to appreciate 
the terre a terre qualities of this master of Ornans. 
And Courbet was so little French that he was 



54 MODERN PAINTING 

incomprehensible to his national contemporaries. 
He disclaimed all tradition, swore he had no 
forerunners, and struck blindly into the unknown. 
For a man without genius this would have been 
fatal, but, after all, only a genius would attempt 
such things. 

Courbet was disgusted with the allegory and 
romance of his time. His nature cried aloud for 
a pose that was natural, for a landscape that re- 
sembled the out-of-doors, for objects in which 
life was discernible. Consequently the critics 
and painters of his day put him aside either 
indifferently or insolently. They could not under- 
stand a work of art which did not delineate a 
literary episode or in which the postures were 
not taken direct from the theatre. Courbet 
needed no literature to paint great pictures. He 
went straight to nature, and his compositions 
grew out of his sheer enjoyment in visible objects, 
whether they were dramatic or not. To the 
public his pictures appeared ugly, even repellent. 
Here was a man who painted a funeral realistic- 
ally Dieu men garde! With only the example 
of canvases rilled with familiar gods and goddesses 
and melting nudes in golden pink, he dared set 
forth, in a sacred theme, peasants' faces and 
peasants' shoes, cloudy skies, and holes in the 
brown earth. To those who had come to look 
upon art as something ethereal and evanescent, 
L'Enterrement a Ornans was more than blas- 
phemy. It was this picture, falling like a bomb 
into the midst of the vagaries of his time, that 
sounded the death knell of romanticism. It was 
the last spade of earth on the graves of the clas- 
sicists. The mere picture was sensation enough, 



PRECURSORS OF THE NEW ERA 55 

but Courbet was not content to let the matter 
rest there. At the time of his exhibition in 1855, 
held in a barrack of his own building on the 
Rond Point de 1'Alma, he wrote a defensive and 
provocative preface to his catalogue. In it he 
proclaimed himself not only the first realist, but 
realism itself. 

Gericault's Radeau de la Meduse and Dela- 
croix's Dante et Virgile aux Enfers were accept- 
able to the public, the one because of its dramatic 
interest, the other because of its literature. But 
L'Enterrement a Ornans entirely lacked the pop- 
ular qualities of these two other pictures. It was 
full of rugged and hardy precision. Its insolent 
ugliness of subject-matter and its implied indif- 
ference to all tradition, seemed to express the 
quintessence of artistic degradation and sordid- 
ness. At first view the picture appears to have 
been inspired by El Greco's Obsequies of the 
Count of Orgaz, but it is more likely that these 
peasants of Ornans, each a notable of the town, 
with their indifferent expressions and awkward 
gestures, were attributable to The Martyrdom of 
Saint Bartholomew of Ribera and La Folle of 
Gericault, rather than to the master of Toledo. 
But that the Spanish helped paint it is evident: 
some parts of the landscape are taken bodily 
from their canvases. Meier-Graefe states that 
this funeral picture, like most of the representa- 
tive pictures of the nineteenth century, is not 
representative of the artist himself. But did 
Meier-Graefe understand more profoundly the 
synthesis of composition found in individual 
painters, he would have seen that here was the 
famous S composition which was used throughout 



56 MODERN PAINTING 

the painter's life. Instead of being set on end, 
as was the practice of the Italians, it is used later- 
ally and extends from left to right in depth. 

In colour also this picture is representative of 
Courbet, for it shows his limitations in that 
medium. Delacroix brought a new palette to 
painting, but could not use it. Courbet con- 
tented himself with a palette as meagre as that 
of Caravaggio and Guercino. And yet, though 
colour has come latterly to mean tactile form in 
its highest sense, this black canvas, when placed 
beside either an Ingres, a David, a Delacroix or 
a Gerard, appears less flat and inconsequential 
than the latter. The form is even suggestive of 
Rembrandt, Giotto, Cezanne and Renoir. 

Champfleury was the only friend of Courbet 
who dared defend him. Delacroix was set against 
him, and the critics, without understanding him, 
obscured the true importance of his art by talking 
of his want of transcendentalism and sentiment. 
Especially were his landscapes the butt of their 
ridicule, for painters up to that time had made 
use of conventional arrangements of dainty trees 
copied for their drawing and tone. In Courbet 
all this was changed. He organised landscapes 
as he did still-lives and nudes. Objects, as such, 
meant nothing to him. In this he struck a new 
and modern note which the good people of his 
day considered not only bad art but a slur upon 
the spiritual meanings of nature. Even in Les 
Baigneuses, where the figures are unimportant, 
the trees are superb. In La Grotte he went 
further, for here the figure was part of the whole. 
His paintings of the hills about Ornans had a 
movement which gave off a sensation of weight 



PRECURSORS OF THE NEW ERA 57 

entirely new in painting. In Les Grands Cha- 
taigniers he reached his apogee in landscape 
painting. This picture is greater than those of 
any of the Englishmen. 

Though many critics have written that Mil- 
let influenced Courbet, the reverse is the truth. 
The former's life work was largely a repetition 
of the lights and darks found in Courbet's earlier 
pictures. Les Casseurs de Pierres is far greater 
than anything Millet has ever done, despite the 
vast popularity of such purely sentimental pict- 
ures as The Angelus and The Man with the Hoe. 
Courbet could never have been satisfied with 
the angularity and absence of rhythm in the 
other's work. In Millet's best canvases one 
finds at most only a parallelism of lines, and in 
his lesser pictures even this amateurish attempt 
at organisation is lacking. But in Les Casseurs 
de Pierres the arrangement is one which recalls 
the competency of linear balance and develop- 
ment in Tintoretto's Minerva Expelling Mars. 

When Courbet entered painting, he had neither 
prejudices nor a parti pris. He tested his ability 
before engaging his full complement of resources. 
Though untutored, he had that cast of intel- 
ligence which no amount of study can produce 
and no amount of adverse criticism influence. 
Delacroix, on the other hand, was the archetype of 
the highly cultured and educated man. He fore- 
saw the necessity for radical reform, but was 
unable to bring it about significantly. Courbet 
instinctively projected himself into that void at 
the brink of which tradition halts and the un- 
known begins. And because he was a man of 
genius he did not return empty-handed. 



58 MODERN PAINTING 

The art of Courbet was too aristocratic to be 
appreciated. Not aristocratic in the Delacroix 
sense, but isolated and superior. Rejecting the 
colour discoveries of his day, he created his own 
materials. Delacroix foreshadowed the medium 
which was to serve as a vehicle for the achieve- 
ment of future generations, but it was Courbet 
who brought to art a new mental attitude without 
which there would be no excuse for modern 
painting. By turning men's thoughts from 
ancient Italy to the actualities of their own day, 
and by expelling the literary canvas from art, 
he left those who came after him free to evolve 
a medium which would translate the new vision. 
Delacroix's heritage to art was intellectual, Cour- 
bet's dynamic. And though objectively the 
work of Courbet is the uglier and less gracious, 
in it there is more of the sublime. But both men 
are indispensable, and have a just claim to the 
eternal respect of posterity. 

The construction of form as voluminous phe- 
nomena that integer of modern painting which 
was lacking in Delacroix, Turner and Courbet, 
but which has become one of the leading pre- 
occupations of present-day artists was intro- 
duced by Honore Daumier. This painter who, 
unlike his three great contemporaries, fought for 
the pure love of the fight, was celebrated as a 
caricaturist at twenty-five. Such fame was war- 
ranted, for he was unquestionably the greatest 
and most trenchant caricaturist the world has 
ever produced. From 1835 to 1848 he made 
capital of all those many catastrophes which 
overtook France. Only the curtailing of the 
freedom of the press on December 2, 1848, put an 



PRECURSORS OF THE NEW ERA 59 

end to his career as publicist. This culmination 
of his editorial activities was a beneficial thing 
for both Daumier and the world, for it permitted 
him freedom to devote himself wholly to the 
development of the larger side of his genius. He 
endeavoured to interest his friends in his painting; 
but too long had he been known as a critic of 
current topics for them to look with serious eyes 
upon his more solid endeavours. 

But though neglected by his friends, Daumier 
holds a position of tremendous importance in 
relation to the moderns. His work developed 
along lines unthought-of by either Delacroix or 
Courbet. Even his cartoons were more than 
clever pictorial comments on national events. 
Intrinsically they were great pieces of rugged 
flesh which had all the appearance of having been 
chiselled out of a solid medium with a dull tool. 
The richness of his line is as complete as in 
Rembrandt's etchings; and his economy of means 
reached a point to which painters had not yet 
attained. His significance, however, lies more 
especially in his new method of obtaining volume 
than in the flexibility of his line drawings. He 
built his pictures in tone first. The drawing 
came afterward as a direct result of the tonal 
volumes. This new manner of painting permitted 
him a greater subtlety and fluency than Courbet 
possessed. In fact, Daumier's comprehension of 
form in the subjective sense was greater than that 
of any Frenchman up to his time. Compare, 
for instance, Daumier's canvas, Les Lutteurs, 
with Courbet's picture of the same name. The 
massiveness of the one is monumental. One feels 
the weight of the two struggling men, heavy and 



60 MODERN POINTING 

shifting, clinging and panting. They are mod- 
elled by a craftsman who can juggle deftly with 
his means. In Courbet's picture the figures are 
seen carefully copied in a strained pose by one 
who has not the complete mastery of his tools. 
In Daumier's picture we also sense that elusive 
but vital quality called mental attitude. Su- 
perficially it is almost indistinguishable from 
its negation, but to those who know its significance, 
it is of permeating importance. 

Contour and shading to his forerunners had 
meant two separated and distinct steps in the 
construction of form. Daumier created both 
qualities simultaneously as one emotion. Depth 
with other painters was obtained by carrying 
their figures into the background by the means 
of line and perspective. With Daumier it meant 
a plastic building up of volume from the back- 
ground forward. The feeling we have before his 
canvases that we are looking at form itself and 
not merely an excellent representation of it, is as 
strong as it is in a greater way when we stand 
before a Leonardo da Vinci. In this he gave 
proof that he was a draughtsman in the most 
vital sense. Unless he had felt form uniquely, 
Le Repos des Saltimbanques and Le Bain would 
have been impossible of creation. This last 
picture sums up what Carriere aspired to but 
failed to attain. 

Recalling the great masters of form we instinc- 
tively visualise Michelangelo first. For this rea- 
son perhaps Michelangelo is regarded the major 
influence in Daumier. "// avait du Michel Ange 
dans la peau," say the French: and certain it 
is that Daumier's colossal simplicity and feeling 




w 



PRECURSORS OF THE NEW ERA 61 

for tadtility were derived from the Renaissance 
master. But only in one picture, a composition 
called La Republique 1848, do we find any 
direct and conscious influence. Frankly this is 
but a modernisation of one of the sibyls on the 
ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The truth is 
Daumier is more akin to Rembrandt than to 
Michelangelo. But there is in him none of the 
conscious copying of Rembrandt that we find, 
for instance, in Joshua Reynolds. The latter, 
admiring Rembrandt, essayed to equal his power 
by imitating his externals with academic pro- 
cesses. Daumier, temperamentally affiliated with 
his master, went deeper. Putting aside the 
results of Rembrandt's final brush strokes, he 
studied the very functioning procedure of his 
art. Both used the human figure as a terrain 
for the unceasing struggle of light against dark. 
In the process of painting the infinite play and 
by-play of opposed values on a given theatre, 
they produced form as an inevitable result. 

A critic has stated of Daumier: "He left 
hardly anything but sketches, splashes of colour 
that resolve themselves into faces. ... It is 
said without attempt at profundity. Neverthe- 
less the remark unsuspectingly touches the crucial 
point of Daumier's significance. The very reso- 
lution of those "splashes of colour" into faces is 
the prefiguration of the modern conception of 
form. In this particular Daumier, even more 
than Rembrandt, was the avant-courier of 
Cezanne. This latter artist, through his concern 
with the play of one colour on another, gave 
birth to form more intensely than did either 
of the older men. Too much stress cannot be 



62 MODERN POINTING 

laid on Daumier's contribution to modern paint- 
ing. f By regarding the two drawings, La Vierge 
a 1'Ecuelle and Renaude et Angelique the one 
by Correggio in chalk, the other by Delacroix 
in water-colour we perceive the attainment of 
form by less profound methods. But neither 
possesses the significance of Daumier's work. 

Of Daumier's colour little need be said. At 
times it emerges from its sombreness and blossoms 
forth in all the hot softness of now the Venetians, 
of again the Spaniards; but compared with the 
artist's genius for plastic form it is of subsidiary 
importance. 

Although the inception of Daumier's greatness 
can be traced to Rembrandt, he reacted to many 
influences. Suggestions of Monnier and Gran- 
ville are to be found in his work. Decamps's 
Sonneurs de Cloches was studied by him and 
emulated. His simplifications stemmed from 
Ingres, and his caricature of Guizot had the same 
qualities as that master's portraits. Delacroix 
also had some trifling influence on him in such 
paintings as Don Quichotte. But Daumier's 
influence on others is more direct and far-reaching 
than his own garnerings of inspiration. He fore- 
shadowed the formal abbreviations of Toulouse- 
Lautrec, Forain and Steinlen, and he affected, 
more than is commonly admitted, the works of 
Manet, Degas, and Van Gogty. In his sculptured 
pieces, Ratapoil and Les Emigrants, he paved 
the way for Meunier and Rodin. Even such 
minor men as Max Beerbohm learned much from 
him without understanding him. And apart from 
the vital new methods he brought to painting, 
the originality of his subject-matter led modern 



PRECURSORS OF THE NEW ERA 63 

men to copy him thematically. Le Drame fath- 
ered a whole series of Degas's paintings. 

Daumier is only beginning to receive the intel- 
ligent appreciation which in time may engulf 
his eminent contemporary, Courbet. For if 
choice there is between the intrinsically artistic 
achievements of the painter of L'Enterrement a 
Ornans and the creator of Silene, the preference 
rests with Daumier. 

The forces underlying the development of 
genius, working in conjunction with the right 
circumstances, produce the fertilising methods 
which nature uses to bring about a final flower- 
ing of a long period of intense germination. 
Before the greatest eras of all art the battles 
have been fought and won. The descendants 
of the pioneers become the introspective and 
creative souls who open, free from the stain of 
combat, to the sun of achievement. Delacroix, 
Turner, Courbet, Daumier these are the men 
who cleared the ground and thereby made pos- 
sible a new age of aesthetic creation. To Dela- 
croix belongs the credit for giving an impetus to 
the vitalisation of colour, and for freeing drawing 
from the formalisms of the past. Turner raised 
the tonality of colour, and introduced a new 
method for its application. Courbet heightened 
uniformly the signification of objects in painting, 
and handed down a mental attitude of untra- 
ditional relativity. And Daumier conceived a 
new vision of formal construction. These men 
were the pillars of modern painting. 



Ill 

EDOUARD MANET 

THE purely pictorial has always been rel- 
ished by the public. The patterns of 
the mosaicists and very early primitives, 
the figured stuffs of the East and 
South, the vases of China and Persia, the 
frescos on the walls of Pompeii, the drawings 
and prints of old Japan all are examples of 
utilitarian art during epochs when the public 
took delight in the contemplation of images. 
Even the delicate designs on Greek pottery, the 
rigid and ponderous arts of architectural Egypt 
and the drawings and adorned totem poles of 
the North American Indians are relics of times 
when the demand for art was created by the 
masses. For the most part all these early crafts 
were limited to simple designs, wholly obvious 
to the most rudimentary mind. The ancients 
were content with a representation of a natural 
object, the likeness of a familiar animal, the 
symmetry of an ornamental border, an effigy of 
a god in which their abstract conceptions were 
given concrete form. At that time the artist 
was only a craftsman a man with a commun- 
istic mind, content to follow the people's dictates 
and to reflect their taste. Art was then demo- 
cratic, understood and admired by all. It did 
not raise its head about the mean level; it was 
abecedary, and consequently comprehensible. 



EDOUARD MANET 65 

When the Greek ideal of fluent movement took 
birth in art and, became disseminated, drawing, 
painting and sculpture began to grow more 
rhythmic and individual. Slowly at first and 
then more and more swiftly, art became insulated. 
The popular joy in the native crafts, despite the 
impetus of centuries behind it, decreased steadily. 
The antagonism of the masses to the artist sprang 
up simultaneously with the disgust of the artist 
for the masses. It was the inevitable result of 
the artist's mind developing beyond them. He 
could not understand why they were no longer 
in accord with him; and they, finding him in 
turn unfathomable, considered him either irra- 
tional or given over to fantastic buffoonery. So 
long had they been the dictator of his vision that 
his emancipation from their prescriptions left 
them astounded and angered at his audacity. 
The nobles then, feeling it incumbent upon them 
to defend this new luxury of art, stepped into the 
breach, and for a time the people blindly pat- 
terned their attitude on that of their superiors. 
Later came the disintegration of the nobility; 
its caste being lost, the people no more imitated 
it. From that time on, although there were a 
few connoisseurs, the large majority was hostile 
to the artist, and made it as difficult as possible 
for him to live. He was looked upon as a mad- 
man who threatened the entire social fabric. 
His isolation was severe and complete; and while 
many painters strove to effect a reinstatement in 
public favour, art for 300 years forced its way 
through a splendid evolution in the face of neg- 
lect, suspicion and ridicule. 

For so many generations had the public looked 



66 MODERN PAINTING 

upon art as the manifestation of a disordered 
and dangerous brain that they found it difficult 
to recognise a man in whose work was the very 
pictorial essense they had originally admired. 
This man was Edouard Manet. Instead of 
being welcomed for his reversion to decoration, 
strangely enough he was considered as dangerous 
as his contemporary heretics, Delacroix and 
Courbet. Courbet was at the zenith of his un- 
popularity when Manet terminated his appren- 
ticeship under Couture. The young painter 
had had numerous clashes with his academic 
master, and the latter had prophesied for him a 
career as reprehensible as Daumier's. Spurred on 
by such incompetent rebukes, Manet determined 
to launch himself single-handed into the vortex 
of the aesthetic struggle. This was in 1857. For 
two years thereafter he put in his time to good 
purpose. He travelled in Holland, Germany 
and Italy, and copied Rembrandt, Velazquez, 
Titian and Tintoretto. These youthful prefer- 
ences give us the key to his later developments. 
In 1859 he painted his Le Buveur d'Absinthe, 
a canvas which showed all the ear-marks of the 
romantic studio, and which exemplified the pro- 
pensities of the student for simplification. It was 
a superficial, if enthusiastic, piece of work, and 
the Salon of that year was fully justified in re- 
jecting it. Two years later Manet had another 
opportunity to expose. In the meantime he had 
painted his La Nymphe Surprise which, though 
one of his best canvases, contained all the influ- 
ence of a hurriedly digested Rembrandt and a 
Dutch Titian. 

In 1861 these influences were still at work, 



EDOUARD MANET 67 

but the Salon not only accepted his Le Guitarrero 
but, for some unaccountable reason, awarded it 
with an honourable mention. In this picture, 
Manet's first Spanish adaptation, are also traces 
of other men. Goya and even Murillo are here 
the greys of Velazquez and Courbet's modern 
attitude toward realism. In this canvas one sees 
for the first time evidences of its creator's tech- 
nical dexterity, a characteristic which later he 
was to develop to so astonishing a degree. But 
this picture, while conspicuously able, is, like 
L'Enfant a 1'Epee and also Les Parents de 1'Ar- 
tiste, the issue of immaturity. Such paintings 
are little more than the adroit studies of a highly 
talented pupil inspired by the one-figure arrange- 
ments of Velazquez, Mazo and Carreno. Where 
Manet improved on the average student was in his 
realistic methods. While he did not present the 
aspect of nature in full, after the manner of 
Daubigny and Troyon, he stated its generalisa- 
tions by painting it as seen through half-closed 
eyes, its parts accentuated by the blending of 
details into clusters of light and shadow. This 
method of visualisation gives a more forceful 
impression as an image than can a mere accurate 
transcription. As slight an innovation as was 
this form of painting, it represented Manet's one 
point of departure from tradition, although it 
was in truth but a modification of the traditional 
manner of copying nature. The public, however, 
saw in it something basically heretical, and 
derided it as a novelty. The habit of ridicule 
toward any deviation from artistic precedent had 
become thoroughly fixed, ever since Delacroix's 
heterodoxy. 



68 MODERN PAINTING 

It was not until 1862 that Manet, as the in- 
dependent and professional painter, was felt. Up 
to this time his talent and capabilities had out- 
stripped his powers of ideation. But with the 
appearance of Lola de Valence the man's solidar- 
ity was evident. This picture was exposed with 
thirteen other works at Martinet's the year follow- 
ing. It was hung beside the accepted and fam- 
iliar Fontainbleau painters, Corot, Rousseau and 
Diaz; and almost precipitated a riot because of 
its informalities. In these fourteen early Manets 
are discoverable the artist's first tendencies 
towards simplification for other than academic 
reasons. Here the abbreviations and economies, 
unlike those in Le Buveur d'Absinthe, constitute 
a genuine inclination toward emphasising the 
spontaneity of vision. By presenting a picture, 
free from the stress of confusing items, the eye 
is not seduced into the by-ways of detail, but 
permitted to receive the image as an ensemble. 
This impulse toward simplification was prefigured 
in his Angelina now hanging in the Luxembourg 
Gallery. Here he modelled with broad, flat 
planes of sooty black and chalky white, between 
which there were no transitional tones. While 
in this Manet was imitating the externals of 
Daumier, he failed to approach that master's 
form. Consequently he never achieved the plas- 
ticity of volume which Daumier, alone among the 
modern men, had possessed. However, despite 
Manet's failure to attain pliability, these early 
paintings are, in every way, sincere efforts toward 
the creation of an individual style. It was only 
later, after his first intoxicating taste of notoriety, 
that the arriviste spirit took possession of him and 



EDOUARD MANET 69 

led him to that questionable and unenviable 
terminus, popularity. One can imagine him, 
drunk with eulogy, reading some immodest dec- 
laration of Courbet's in which was set forth that 
great man's egoistic confidence, and saying to 
himself: " Tiens! II faut que faille plus loin." 

The famous Salon des Refuses, called by some 
critics of the day the Salon des Reprouves, gave 
Manet his chance to state in striking fashion his 
beliefs in relation to aesthetics. For whereas 
mere realism could no longer excite the animosity 
of the official Salon jury, as it had done twenty 
years before, immorality or, as Manet chose 
to put it, franchise could. Therefore Manet 
was barred from the company of the Barbizon 
school and the other favourites of the day. In the 
Salon des Refuses, which must be held to the 
credit of Napoleon III, those painters who had 
suffered at the hands of the academic judges 
were allowed a hearing. Whistler, Jongkind, 
Pissarro and Manet here made history. Manet 
sent Le Bain, which, through the insistence of 
the public, has come to be called Le Dejeuner 
sur 1'Herbe. But despite the precedent of Gior- 
gione's Rural Concert (the Concert Champetre 
in the Louvre), it was looked upon only as the 
latest manifestation of degeneracy in a man who 
gave every promise of becoming a moral pariah. 
The nude, contrasted as it was with attired fig- 
ures, was too suggestive of sheer nakedness. Had 
the nude stood alone, as in Ingres's La Source, 
or among other nudes, as in Ingres's Le Bain 
Turc, the picture would have caused no com- 
ment. Its departures in method were not extrav- 
agant. The scene is laid out of doors, yet it 



yo MODERN PAINTING 

bears all the evidences of the studio conception; 
and those lights and reflections which later were 
brought to such perfection in the pictures of the 
Impressionists and Renoir, are wholly absent. 
But in one corner is a beautifully painted still- 
life of fruits, a basket and woman's attire, which 
alone should have made the picture acceptable. 
This branch of painting Manet was to develop 
to its highest textural possibilities. 

From this time on Manet no longer used the 
conventional chiaroscuro of the academicians. 
Instead he let his lights sift and dispel themselves 
evenly over the whole of his groupings. This 
mode of procedure was undoubtedly an influence 
of the Barbizon painters who had done away 
with the brown sauce of the soi-disant classicists. 
In his rejection of details and his discovery of a 
means whereby effects could be obtained by broad 
planes, Manet was forced by necessity to take 
the step toward this simplification of light. Were 
colour to be used consistently in conjunction with 
his technique, it must be spread on in large flat 
surfaces. By diffusing his light the opportunity 
was made. He might have omitted the element 
of colour from his work and contented himself 
with black and white, as in the case of Courbet; 
but he was too sensitive to its possibilities. He 
had observed it in the Venetians and Franz 
Hals, as well as in nature; and in its breadth 
and brilliance he had recognised its utility in 
enhancing a picture's decorative beauty. Even 
the colour of Velazquez was at times sumptuous. 
Manet, because his simplicity of manner per- 
mitted a liberal application of colour, was able 
to augment its ornamental power. It is true 



EDOUARD MANET 71 

that today his large and irregular patches of 
tints appear grey, but, to his contemporaries, their 
very extension made them seem blatant and 
bold. 

Courbet remained in great part the slave to 
the common vision of reality. In his efforts to 
attain results he sacrificed little. This, in itself, 
delimited his accomplishments. Nature to him 
appeared nearly perfect, and he painted with 
all the wonderment of a child opening its eyes 
on the world for the first time. On the other 
hand, Manet realised that nature's forces become 
objective only through an intellectual process. 
This attitude marked a decided step in advance 
of Courbet. Manet painted single figures and 
simple images devoid of all anecdotal significance, 
out of his pure love of his medium and his sheer 
delight in tone and contour. In other words, he 
represented the modern spirit which repudiates 
objects conducive to reminiscence, and cares 
only for "qualities" in art. His intentions were 
those of Courbet pushed to greater freedom. 
Unlike his master he was a virtuoso of the brush. 
His very facility perhaps accounts for his satisfac- 
tion with flat decoration, for it concentrated his 
interest on the actual pate and thereby precluded 
a deeper research into the psychology of aesthetic 
emotion. But in his insistence on the aesthetic 
rather than the illustrative side of painting he 
carried forward the ideals which were to epitomise 
modern methods. 

In this lay the impetus he gave to painting. 
Even with Rubens the necessities of the day 
forced him, in his choice of themes, to adopt 
a circumscribed repertoire, the subjects of which 



72 MODERN PAINTING 

he repeated constantly. In him we have mastery 
of composition with the substance as an after- 
thought. Delacroix conceived his canvases in 
the romantic mould, and adapted his composi- 
tions so as to bring out the salient characteristics 
of his chosen theme. This was illustration with 
the arriere pensee of organisation. Daumier 
struck the average between these two and con- 
ceived his subject in the form he was to use. 
Courbet minimised the importance of objects as 
such by raising them all to the same level of 
adaptability: but he invariably chose, as with an 
idee fixe, his subjects from the life about him. 
Manet cared nothing for any subject whether 
traditional or novel. That he generally chose 
modern themes was indicative of that new mental 
attitude which recognises the unimportance of 
subject-matter and urges the painter to abandon 
thematic research and utilise the things at hand. 
He made his art out of the materials nearest him, 
irrespective of their intrinsic topical value. 

This was certainly an important step in the 
liberating of art from convention. It proclaimed 
the right of the artist to paint what he liked. 
Courbet would have painted goddesses if he had 
seen them. Manet would have painted them 
without having seen them, provided he had 
thought the result warranted the effort. Courbet, 
the father of naturalism, extended the scope of 
subject-matter, while Manet tore away the last 
tie which bound it to any tradition, whether 
Courbet's or Titian's. After him there was 
nothing new to paint. It is therefore small 
wonder that artists should now have become 
interested in the forces of nature rather than in 



EDOUARD MANET 73 

nature's mien. Manet, by his consummation of 
theme, foreshadowed the concern with abstrac- 
tions which has now swept over the world of 
aesthetics. Zola, like him in other ways, never 
equalled him in this. L'Assommoir and Fecon- 
dite portrayed only the extremes of realism. 
Manet painted all things with equal pleasure. 
Here again is evident the continuation of that 
mental attitude which Courbet introduced into 
painting. The qualities in Manet which inclined 
toward abstraction have secured him the reputa- 
tion for being a greater generaliser than Courbet 
whose brutal naturalism could not be disso- 
ciated in the public mind from concrete and 
stridl materialism. For this contention there is 
substantiation of a superficial nature. But a 
mere tendency toward generalisation, with no 
other qualifications, does not indicate greatness. 
In fadl, were this purely literal truth concerning 
Manet conclusive, it would tend to disqualify him 
in his claim to an importance greater than Cour- 
bet's. Carriere is an example of a painter who 
is general and nothing more. Manet had other 
titles to consideration. 

What Manet's enduring contributions to paint- 
ing were have never been surmised by the public. 
His recognition, coming as it did years after his 
most significant works had been accomplished 
and set aside, was due to a reversion of the pub- 
lic's, mind to its aboriginal admirations. Manet 
is popular today for the same reason that the 
lesser works of Hokusai and Hiroshige are popu- 
lar, namely: they present an instantaneous image 
which is at once flat and motionless. As in the 
days of the mosaicists and early primitives, the 



74 MODERN PAINTING 

appreciation of such works demands no intel- 
lectual operation. Their recognisable subjects 
only set in motion a simple process of memory. 
The Olympia, Manet's most popular painting, 
illustrates the type of picture which appeals 
strongly to minds innocent of aesthetic depth. 
Its mere imagery is alluring. As pure decoration 
it ranks with Puvis de Chavannes. But in it 
are all the mistakes of the later Impressionists. 
Manet consciously attempted the limning of 
light, but brilliance alone resulted. He did not 
realise that, in order for one to be conscious of 
illumination, shadow is necessary. This latter 
element, with its complementary, produces in 
us the sensation of volume. True, there is in 
the Olympia violent contrast between the nude 
body, the bed and the flowers, on the one hand, 
and the background, the negress and the cat, on 
the other; but it is only the contrast of dis- 
similar atmospheres. The level appearance of 
the picture is not relieved. 

The cardinal shortcoming in a painting of 
this kind is that it fails to create an impression 
of either the aspects or the forces of nature. 
Such pictures are only flat representations of 
nature's minor characteristics. The most resilient 
imagination cannot endow them with form: the 
intelligence is balked at every essay to penetrate 
beyond their surface. In contemplating them 
one is irritated by the emptiness, or rather the 
solidity, of the neant which lies behind. Courbet 
called the Olympia "the queen of spades coming 
from her bath." Titian, had he lived today, 
would have styled it a photograph. Goya (who 
is as much to blame for it as either Courbet or 



EDOUARD MANET 75 

Titian) would have considered its shallowness an 
inexcusable vulgarity. In painting it undoubt- 
edly Manet's intention was to modernise Titian's 
Venus Reclining now hanging in the Uffizi; just 
as later it was Gauguin's intention, in his La 
Femme aux Mangos, to endow the Olympia with 
a South Sea Island setting. Such adaptations are 
indefensible provided they do not improve upon 
their originals. There is no improvement in 
Gauguin's Venus; and Manet's picture, while it 
advances on Titian in attitude, is a decided 
retrogression viewed from the standpoint of 
form. 

In such pictures as the Olympia, Nana and La 
Jarretiere we recognise Manet's effort to obtain 
notoriety. He was not an aristocrat as was 
Courbet or Goya or Titian. It was not a need 
for freer expression that induced him to paint 
pictures which shocked by their unconvention- 
ality, but a desire to abasourdir les bourgeois. In 
choosing his subject-matter he always had a 
definite end in view in relation to the public; 
but his conceptions were spontaneous and were 
recorded without deliberation. He painted with 
but little thought as to his method. This fact 
is no doubt felt by the public and held in his 
favour by those who believe in the involuntary 
inspiration of the artist. But art cannot be 
judged by such childish criteria. Can one ima- 
gine Giotto, Michelangelo or, to come nearer 
our day, Cezanne painting without giving the 
closest and most self-conscious study to his 
procedure? Credence in the theopneusty of the 
painter, the poet and the musician, should have 
passed out with the advent of Delacroix; but 



76 MODERN PAINTING 

the seeming mystery of art is so deeply rooted 
in public ignorance that many generations must 
pass before it can be eradicated. 

The truth is that Manet himself had no precise 
idea of what he really wished to accomplish. 
Up to the last year of his life he groped tenta- 
tively toward a goal, the outlines of which were 
never quite distinct. We today, looking back 
upon his efforts, can judge his motivating influ- 
ences with some degree of surety. In bringing 
about the paradox of staticising Courbet, Manet 
feminised him. He turned Courbet's blacks and 
greys into pretty colours, and thereby turned his 
modelling into silhouette and flattened his 
volumes. Thus was Courbet not only made 
effeminate but popularised. Compare the super- 
ficially similar pictures, Le Hamac of Courbet 
and Manet's Le Repos. In the former the move- 
ment in composition accords with the landscape 
and is carried out in the pose of the woman's arms 
and in the disposition of the legs. The figure 
in the latter picture is little more than an orna- 
ment a symmetrical articulation. Manet has 
here translated the rhythm of depth into linear 
balance. In this levelling process all those quali- 
ties which raise painting above simple mosaics 
are lost. A picture thus treated becomes a pat- 
tern, incapable of embodying any emotional 
significance. Manet's paintings are remembered 
because they are so instantaneous a vision of 
their subjects. For this same reason Goya is 
remembered; but beneath the Spaniard's broad 
oppositions of tone is a limpid depth in which 
the intelligence darts like a fish in an aquarium. 
In Manet the impassable barrier of externals 



EDOUARD MANET 77 

shuts out that world which exists on the further 
side of a picture's surface. 

In Manet we have the summing up of the 
pictorial expression of all time. His love for 
decoration never left him long enough for him 
to experiment with the profounder phases of 
painting. In many of his canvases he was little 
more than an exalted poster-maker. His Rendez- 
vous de Chats was frankly a primitive arrange- 
ment of flat drawing, as flat as a print by Mit- 
suoki. Even details and texture were eliminated 
from it. It was a statement of his theories re- 
duced to their bare elements. Yet, though exag- 
gerated, the picture was representative of his 
aims. A pattern to him was form. Courbet's 
ability to model an eye was the cause of Manet's 
repudiating the painter of L'Enterrement a Ornans. 
The two men were antithetical; and in that 
antithesis we have Manet's aspirations fully 
elucidated. Even later in life when he took the 
figure out of doors he was unable to shake off 
the influence of the silhouette. But the silhouette 
cannot exist en plein air. Light volatilises design. 
This knowledge accounts for Renoir's early sun- 
light effects. Manet never advanced so far. 

The limitations and achievements of Manet 
are summed up in his painting, Le Dejeuner sur 
1'Herbe. This picture is undoubtedly interest- 
ing in its black-and-white values and in its free- 
dom from the conventions of traditional composi- 
tion. At first view its theme may impress one 
as an attempt at piquancy, but on closer inspec- 
tion the actual subject diminishes so much in 
importance that it might have been with equal 
effect a simple landscape or a still-life. There 



78 MODERN PAINTING 

is no attempt at composition in the classic sense. 
Even surface rhythm is entirely missing: the 
tonal masses decidedly overweigh on the left. 
But the picture nevertheless embodies the dis- 
tinguishing features of all Manet's arrangements. 
It is built on the rigid pyramidal plan. From 
the lower left-hand corner a line, now light, now 
dark, reaches almost to the upper frame at a 
point directly above the smaller nude; and an- 
other line, which begins in the lower right-hand 
corner at the reclining man's elbow, runs upward 
to his cap, and is then carried out in the shadow 
and light of the foliage so that it meets the line 
ascending from the other side. The base of these 
two converging lines is formed by another line 
which runs from the man's elbow along his ex- 
tended leg. This is the picture's important tri- 
angle. But a secondary one is formed by a line 
which begins at the juncture of the tree and 
shadow in the lower right-hand corner, extends 
along the cane and the second man's sleeve to 
his head, and then drops, by way of the large 
nude's head and shoulder, to the basket of fruit 
at the bottom. This angularity of design is 
seen in the work of all primitive-minded peoples, 
and is notably conspicuous in the early Egyptians, 
the archaic Greeks and the Assyrians of the eighth 
century B.C. It is invariably the product of the 
static intelligence into which the comprehension 
of aesthetic movement has never entered. It is 
the result of a desire to plant objects solidly and 
immovably in the ground. Those artists who 
express themselves through it are men whose 
minds are incapable of grasping the rhythmic 
attributes of profound composition. Manet re- 



EDOUARD MANET 79 

peats this triangular design in the Olmypia where 
the two adjoining pyramids of contour are so 
obvious that it is unnecessary to describe them. 
The figures in canvases such as La Chanteuse 
des Rues, ,La Femme au Perroquet, Eva Gon- 
zales and Emile Zola are constructed similarly; 
and in groups like En Bateau and Les Anges au 
Tombeau (the latter of which recalls, by its 
arrangement and lighting, the Thetis et Jupiter 
of Ingres) is expressed the mental immobility 
which characterised Conegliano, Rondinelli, Ro- 
busti and their seventeenth-century exemplars, de 
La Fosse, Le Moyne and Rigaud. 

If, however, Manet failed in the larger tests, 
he excelled in his ability to beautify the surfaces 
of his models. His painting of texture is perhaps 
the most competent that has ever been achieved. 
In his flesh, fruits and stuffs, the sensation of 
hard, soft, rough or velvety exteriors reaches its 
highest degree of pictorial attainment. These 
many and varied textures are reunited in his 
Le Dejeuner a canvas which must not be con- 
fused with Le Dejeuner sur 1'Herbe. Here we 
have a plant, a vase, four different materials in 
the boy's clothing, a straw hat, a brass jug with 
all its reflections, a table cloth, a wall, an old 
sword, glassware, fruit and liquid It is an orgy 
of textures, and Manet must have gloried in it. 
One critic of the day wondered why oysters and 
a cut lemon lay on the breakfast table. But we 
wonder why a cat with fluffy fur is not there 
also. Castagnary suggested that Manet, feeling 
himself to be the master of still-life, brought 
every possible texture into a single canvas for 
purposes of contrast and because he delighted 



80 MODERN PAINTING 

in the material quality of objects. But the reason 
goes deeper. Manet was a superlatively con- 
scious technician, and that sacree commodite de la 
brosse, so displeasing to Delacroix, was his great- 
est intoxication. Hals also was seduced by it. 
Later, when the new vision of light was com- 
municated to Manet by the Impressionists, his 
obsession for the purely technical diminished in 
intensity. In that topical bid for popularity, 
the Combat du Kerseage et de TAlabama, we 
detecl: his interest in a new economy of means 
which would facilitate his search for broader 
illumination. This method took a step forward 
in Le Port de Bordeaux, and later reached matur- 
ity in his canvases painted in 1882, of which Le 
Jardin de Bellevue is a good example. But 
despite his heroic efforts, these last pictures, 
painted a year before he died when paralysis 
had already claimed him and he was devoting 
his time almost entirely to still-life, were without 
fulgency, and never approached the richness of 
even so slight a colourist as Monet. 

Repose is a word used overmuch by modern 
critics to designate the dominant quality of 
Manet's painting. From an entirely pictorial 
point of view the word is applicable, but in the 
precise aesthetic sense it is a misnomer. The 
illusion of repose in Manet is accounted for by 
his even use of greys, as in Le Chemin de Fer, 
Le Port de Bordeaux, the Execution de Maxi- 
milien and the Course de Taureaux. Even in Les 
Bulles de Savon, the Rendez-vous de Chats, Le 
Clair de Lune and Le Bar des Folies-Bergere 
canvases in which is exhibited Manet's great- 
est opposition of tones the ensemble is expres- 



8i 

sive of monotony. Real repose, however, is 
something much more recondite than uniformity 
or tedium. It is created by a complete harmon- 
ious organisation, not by an avoidance of move- 
ment. Giotto's Death of Saint Francis and El 
Greco's Annunciation have a simultaneity of pre- 
sentation as unique as in Manet; but, because their 
compositions are so rhythmically co-ordinated, they 
present an absolute finality of movement and thus 
engender an emotional as well as an ocular repose. 
Manet's actual innovations are small, smaller 
even than Courbet's. However, many critics 
credit him with grotesque novelties. There are 
very few books dealing with modern painting 
which do not assert that he was the first to 
note that flesh in the light is dazzlingly bright 
and of a cream-and-rose colour. But in this 
particular there is no improvement in Manet on 
the pictures of Rubens. He may have unearthed 
this illustrative point; certain it is he did not 
originate it. Yet no matter how slight his depar- 
tures, we enjoy his pictures for their inherent 
aesthetic qualities, and not for their approximation 
to nature. Manet made many mistakes, but this 
was natural when we remember that in the whirl- 
pool of new ambitions one is prone to forget the 
lessons of the past. Only by profiting by them 
can one go on toward the ever advancing goal 
of achievement. We must not forget that this 
new spirit of endeavour is only an impulse towards 
something greater, a rebellion against arbitrarily 
imposed obstacles. If men like Manet lost track 
of the fundamentals of the great art which had 
preceded them, it was only that their vision was 
clouded by new experiments. 



82 MODERN PAINTING 

The actual achievements of Manet epitomise 
the secondary in art. His attempt to combine 
artistic worth with popularity restricted him. 
That he was misunderstood at first was his own 
fault in continually changing his style. But 
acceptance or rejection by popular opinion does 
not indicate the measure of a painter's signifi- 
cance. And Manet is to be judged by his contri- 
butions to the new idea. His importance lay in 
that he took the second step of the three which 
were to exhaust the possibilities of realism. In 
art every genuine method is consummated before 
a new one can take its place. Michelangelo 
brought architecture to its highest point of de- 
velopment; Rubens, linear painting; the Impres- 
sionists, the study of light; Beethoven, the classic 
ideal in music; Swinburne, the rhymed lyric. 
In fact, only after the epuisement of a certain 
line of endeavour, is felt the necessity to seek for a 
new and more adequate means of expression. 
Manet helped bring to a close a certain phase of 
art, thus hastening the advent of other and 
greater men. His accomplishments now stand 
for all that is academic and student-like; and 
although his interest as an innovator passed out 
with the appearance of Pissarro and Monet, 
men go on imitating his externals and using his 
brushing. In the same sense that Velazquez is 
a great painter, so is Manet. His influence has 
served the purpose of helping turn aside the 
academicians from their emulation of Italian 
painting. 




COURBET was the first painter to turn 
his attention to naturalism. Manet 
carried forward Courbet's standard. Im- 
pressionism took the last step, and 
brought to a close the objectively realistic con- 
ception in painting. By this final development 
of naturalistic means unlimited opportunities 
for achievement were offered. Impressionistic 
methods are now employed by a vast army of 
painters in all parts of the world, and the num- 
ber of canvases which owe their existence to these 
discoveries is countless. Specifically Impression- 
ism is ocular realism. It represents that side of 
actuality which has to do with light expressed 
by colour; and deals with a manner of approach- 
ing natural valuations whereby the painter is 
permitted to transfer a scene or subject to his 
canvas in such a way that it will give the 
spectator the sensation of dazzling light, broad at- 
mosphere and truthful colours. To accomplish 
this Impressionism confines itself to the play of 
a light from a given source its reflections and 
distributions on an object or a landscape. There- 
fore, it is the restricted study of the disappearance 
of the local colour in a model, and of the lumin- 
osity and divergencies of tones to be found in 
shadow. It approximates to a nature which be- 
comes, for the moment, a theatre of chromatic light 



84 MODERN PAINTING 

sensations. Subject-matter gave the Impression- 
ists no concern. They advanced materially on 
the spirit in Manet which led him to paint any 
object at hand because of its susceptibility to 
artistic treatment. The Impressionists painted 
anything, not alone for aesthetic reasons, but 
because all objects make themselves visible by 
means of light and shadow. This manner of 
painting was the ultimate divorce of the picture 
from any convention, whether of arrangement, of 
drawing or of a fixed palette. Herein it was an 
elastic process par excellence, with no defined 
limitations. 

Impressionism, though analytic and self-con- 
scious, was not based on science. One may look 
in vain for parallels between its theories and those 
of Dove, Thomas Young and Chevreul. It was 
the imitation, pure and simple, of the disintegra- 
tions of colour in nature's broad planes. And this 
achievement of diversity in simplicity was brought 
about by the only method possible: the juxta- 
position of myriad tints. In other words, Im- 
pressionism was a statement that vision is 
the result of colour forces coming into contact 
with the retina. However, the men of the move- 
ment did not see nature as an agglomeration of 
coloured spots, but as a series of planes made 
vibrant by light. To reproduce this vibration 
they were necessitated to use nature's methods: 
they broke up surfaces into sensitive parts, each 
one of which was a separate tint. There are 
no broad planes of unified colour in nature. In 
each natural atom are absorption and reflection; 
and the preponderance of either of these two 
attributes results in a specific colour. Before 



THE EARLY IMPRESSIONISTS 85 

the advent of this new school painters had made 
warm or cold green by combining green with 
yellow ochre or raw sienna, or by the admixture 
of blues and purples. But the Impressionists 
laid on these colours, pure or modified, side by 
side, and let the eye do the work of blending. 
They discovered not only that in green the 
shadow is tinged with blue, but that blue is the 
direct result of the yellow-orange of light. Every 
one nowadays has noticed that, in looking fixedly 
at a green, it appears now bluish, now yellowish; 
just as in listening to an orchestra we can, by 
focusing our attention, hear predominantly the 
bass or the treble. So the Impressionists ob- 
served that in the most luminous colour there is 
a proportion of absorption, and that in the 
darkest shadow there exists some reflection. The 
association of these molecular properties is what 
produces vibration in nature. By the application 
of these observations the Impressionists generated 
a feeling of grouillement; the movement by 
contrast in the smallest parts. 

In attempting to explain their canvases many 
commentators have credited them with systems 
of complementaries which resulted in grey, and 
with other exorbitant theories of oppositions. But 
one may look in vain in their work for any 
synthesis of scientific discoveries. Colour, not 
neutrality, was their aim; and, as they themselves 
admitted, they painted comme I'oiseau cbante. 
Birds are not conscious of the metallic dissonance 
of diminished fifths; and the Impressionists were 
equally unaware of the harshness of red with 
green, blue with orange, yellow with violet. They 
only substituted a balance of cold and warm 



86 MODERN PAINTING 

colours for the balance of lines which the older 
painters had used. They copied the tints they 
found in nature after analysing nature's processes, 
in order to arrive closer to its visual effect. In 
one way they almost achieved colour photography, 
for their study, in its narrow character, was deep, 
and their vision was highly realistic. But whereas 
they depicted nature, they could call it up only 
in its instantaneous aspects. In this ephemerality 
alone were they impressionists; indeed, their 
methods were the most exact and probing of any 
painters of that time. Each hour of the day 
raises or lowers the colour values in nature; and 
he who would copy nature's form as a permanent 
interpretation must ignore the exactitude of its 
reflections and approximate only to its local 
colours. This latter method is more truly im- 
pressionism than the theories of the Impressionists. 
They repudiated local colours as being too 
illusory, holding that the most highly coloured 
object modifies its tint under the influence of the 
least variation of light. The point is technically 
true, but it is an observation in objective re- 
search, and the word Impressionism must not 
be accepted as explanatory of the methods of 
the school it designates. 

By decomposing the parts of a surface, in order 
to represent objects in their atmospheric material- 
ity, the Impressionists were impelled by a force 
stronger than a mere desire for superficial accu- 
racy: they felt the need for complete and minute 
organisation in a work of art. In landscape, 
where the many accidentals appeared to lack 
cohesion, the Impressionists achieved co-ordina- 
tion by a unity of light which welded all the 



THE EARLY IMPRESSIONISTS 87 

objects into an interdependent group. Plasticity 
of form had resulted from the efforts of preceding 
painters, but here for the first time was a plastic- 
ity of method which moulded itself like putty 
with the slightest change of illumination. Pre- 
occupation in this new compositional element 
made its users forget, for the time being, the 
older precepts for obtaining composition. This 
forgetfulness however was not due entirely to 
exuberance over a novel procedure. The painters 
antecedent to Delacroix had used landscape as 
unimportant backgrounds for figures, and there was 
no precedent for its adaptation to organisation. 
Courbet had composed landscape by the linear 
balance of black and white volumes. The Barbi- 
zon artists had brought out-of-door painting into 
more general notice; but their greys were in- 
sufficient to give it more than a factitious and 
purely conventional unity. The Impressionists, 
feeling the urgency for a more virile expression 
in landscape work, saw a solution to their problem 
in the depiction of light through colour. Thus 
their conceptions took birth. 

Their technique, like Manet's, was wholly con- 
sistent with their objective. To the Impression- 
ists this objective seemed possessed of the merit 
of finality. Since Corot had carried painting 
out of doors and Manet had portrayed studio 
light from every vantage point, what indeed 
was left for this new group of men? They might 
have organised Manet or Corot, but even the 
most competent of such modifications would have 
presented an appearance like that of a Rubens or 
a Tiepolo. They were too avid for genuine 
novelty to content themselves with slight innova- 



88 MODERN PAINTING 

tion; and they were too modern to derive satis- 
faction from the stereotyped teachings of an 
antiquity whose tones were unemotional and 
whose themes were hackneyed. The spirit of 
servility which is willing to learn second-hand 
lessons and adopt indoor conceptions spelled 
decadence to them. Their attitude was a healthy 
and correct one, for the cup of linear tone- 
composition had been drained. They were wrong 
in that they threw aside the cup: they should 
have filled it with more powerful concepts. Their 
attitude was indicative of immaturity. The Im- 
pressionists in truth were the adolescents of the 
modern art which was born with Delacroix and 
Turner, and which only recently has become a 
concrete engine for the projection of inspiration 
into an infinity of possibilities. 

Impressionism was more important than any 
preceding departure, for it turned the thoughts 
of artists from mere results to motivating forces, 
from the ripples on the surface to the power which 
causes the tides. It foreshadowed the philosoph- 
ical idea in art which concerns itself with causes 
rather than effects, and thereby brought about a 
fundamental reform which made of painting, not 
a mere vision, but an idea. The Impressionists, 
it is true, worked from the surface down, but they 
had the depths ever in mind; and the posing 
of their problem set in motion in all serious 
painters that intellectual process which eventually 
would begin with foundations and build upward. 
Impressionism was the undeniable implication 
that the possibilities of the older art methods 
had been exhausted, and that a substitution of a 
new method, however fragmentary, was of greater 



THE EARLY IMPRESSIONISTS 89 

importance than the sycophantic imitations of 
an unapproachable past. Beneath this attitude 
we feel the broadness of mind which, when a 
mistake has been made, does not ignore causes 
but attaches to them different interpretations in 
an effort to arrive at the truth. The Impression- 
ists kept their palette intact; but they employed 
its parts in a way that made new combinations 
possible. By doing this they unconsciously re- 
acted against the mere dexterity of brushing with 
which so many painters, like Hals, Velazquez 
and Raeburn, became obsessed and, as a con- 
sequence, failed to heed the deeper demands of 
aesthetic research. By thus facilitating technique 
they not only reduced the difficulties attached 
to the production of a picture, but made the thing 
expressed of greater relative significance. 

Pissarro, Monet, Sisley and Guillaumin who, 
with Bazille, composed the original group of 
Impressionists, had all been influenced in youth 
by the revolutionary doctrines of Corot and 
Courbet, and to a great extent had adopted the 
palette of these two men. Landscape painting 
at that time was almost a new development, and 
these four readily succumbed to its inspiration. 
There is little of the strictly picturesque and still 
less of the grandiose in the French landscape. 
Consequently a school which worked along the 
line of old conventions could not have existed 
in France. But when Rousseau and Diaz, strik- 
ing out in a new direction, poetised the charm 
of the hills and forests about Fontainbleau, the 
painting of the out-of-doors was liberated both 
as to purpose and to freedom of arrangement. 
The object of Turner's work had been to astonish 



90 MODERN POINTING 

and charm the spectator with nature's vastness 
and complexity. But, with the men of 1830, 
landscape art took on softness, introspection, 
stillness, solemnity. In fine, it became more 
intimate. Each tree and stone hid a nymph; 
each stream and hill, a mystery. With the 
Impressionists all this was changed. They had 
seen and admired the work of Manet. They 
applauded his reactions against studio lighting, 
and later became his personal friends. Manet 
was then the cynosure of all eyes in the art world 
of Paris, and it was only natural that he should 
have been the dominating figure in a sort of 
cenacle held in the Cafe Guerbois in the quarter 
of the Batignolles. Here the revolutionists of 
the day forgathered, and, by their uncompromis- 
ing spirit, inspired one another to practical pro- 
testations against the routine of the academies. 
Manet's eloquence argued away the older idea 
of lighting as a type; and the younger men, using 
this negotiation as a starting point, gave birth to 
the methods which congealed into Impressionism. 
Although Monet and Pissarro were the first 
to profit by Manet's teachings, there is no definite 
history to tell who was the first of the group to 
blossom into colour. However, there is little 
doubt that Pissarro was the man. He was a Jew 
with a philosophic turn of mind, and possessed 
more genuine intelligence than his confreres. 
Monet was the cleverest and the most enthusi- 
astic, and when the new process was outlined it 
was he who first developed it to its ultimate 
consequences. Pissarro, compared with Monet, 
was conservative, and his practicality did not 
permit him so great an elan. His canvases beside 



THE EARLY IMPRESSIONISTS 91 

those of Monet's appear almost tentative, and 
the greys he had adopted from Corot never 
entirely forsook him. Both these painters went 
to London during the Franco-Prussian War, and 
we may take it for granted that the works of 
Turner had an enormous influence on them. 
They had already seen Jongkind who, despite his 
adherence to the sombre greys of the older men, 
had, five years previous, more than foreshadowed 
the later divisionistic technique. But in Turner 
they discovered not only all that Jongkind had 
to offer, but the additional quality of joyous and 
dazzling colour. After their return their palettes 
became rapidly cleaner. 

In 1874, in an effort to bestir the public, the 
Impressionists held an exhibition. The excite- 
ment was all they could have desired, but it 
led rather to obloquy than to sales. Again and 
again they exposed in the hope of obtaining 
recognition, but not until 1888 were they success- 
ful. The average spectator did not recognise 
nature in their canvases. The vision was an 
unusual one, and bore but slight resemblance 
to what had gone before. But gradually things 
underwent a change. Friends of the Impression- 
ists launched a campaign of proselytising. Now 
and then a picture was sold to a collector; form- 
erly restaurant keepers and bricklayers had been 
the only buyers of their work. The popular 
press softened its criticisms and in many instances 
went so far as to defend their pictures. As a 
result of these numerous indications of a growing 
approval among connoisseurs, the public, that 
almost immovable mass of reactionary impulses, 
began to look with favour on the new works it 



92 MODERN PAINTING 

had so recently ridiculed. The great majority 
of people had cared only for such canvases as 
those in which the intellect might jump from one 
familiar object to another, recognising it wholly, 
comprehending its uses, but without giving 
thought to its meaning. Being thus interested 
primarily in a picture's conventionally painted 
details, they were opposed to any innovations 
which tended to obscure the actualities of deline- 
ation. Later their attitude, influenced by acts 
of authoritative sanction, relaxed. Instead of 
seeing, as formerly, only a series of raucously 
coloured spots in these new pictures, the public 
began to sense the deep reverence for nature 
that emanated from them. Thus has it always 
been the case with art: appreciation for anything 
newly vital lags far behind the achievement. 

The true significance of Impressionism, however 
like the true significance of all emotion-pro- 
voking art remained undiscovered to the gen- 
eral. When the mean intelligence of mankind 
brings itself to bear on a work of art, it applies 
itself through the channels of literature, archae- 
ology, photography, botany, mineralogy and 
physiology. To be a popular artist a painter 
must be something of a professor in all these 
sciences. With all other considerations such 
as psychology and aesthetics he need not 
trouble himself. The public, even after centuries 
of rigorous training and constant association 
with art, is no nearer a comprehension of rhythmic 
ensembles perfectly synthesised form in three 
dimensions than it was during the Renaissance. 
The two major requisites to an understanding 
of the formal relations in momentous art are a 



THE EARLY IMPRESSIONISTS 93 

highly developed sensitivity and an active in- 
telligence. An eye and a nervous system are 
not enough. Society as a whole may, after a 
long course of training and sedulous study, reach 
that perceptive point where it can grasp the 
simple aesthetic hypothesis founded on two dimen- 
sions. But such a hypothesis is but a beginning. 
It embraces only the rudimentary aesthetic or- 
ganisations that are found in Japanese art, 
the works of the Byzantine masters, the primi- 
tives of France and the pictures of Botticelli, 
Manet and Gauguin. The form in art of this 
kind is, strictly speaking, not form at all. It is 
balance, harmonious rhythm, linear adjustment, 
parallelism, co-ordinated silhouette, sensitive ar- 
rangement, outline melody in fact, whatever 
is possible in two dimensions. Significant form 
must move in depth backward and forward, 
as well as from side to side. Furthermore it 
must imply an infinity of depth. This third 
(and sometimes fourth) dimension informs all 
truly great art. 

While the Impressionists did not attain to 
depth in the aesthetic connotation of the word, 
they nevertheless went beyond mere linear 
balance, for by the means of a higher emotional 
element light they organised, in a superficial 
manner, all the objects in their canvases. There 
were no dissevered objects, unrelated backgrounds, 
no concessions to the hagiographa or other 
literature. What chance, therefore, had they of 
being understood? Their subject-matter was 
too abstract; their effects were too general. No 
line was accentuated above another. There were 
no modifications to achieve vastness or splendour. 



94 MODERN PAINTING 

Impressionism was the unadulterated reproduction 
of atmosphere, the smile or frown of a mood in 
nature. It is small wonder that the unaesthetic 
found it obscure: in it there was too much rap- 
ture, too much frankness, too much exultation 
in mere living, and too little restraint. It was 
the false dawn in the great modern Renaissance 
of colour the most ecstatically joyful style of 
painting the world has ever seen. It was fem- 
inine in that it was a reflection, and its hysteria 
may also be attributed to this fact. The Im- 
pressionists seated themselves, free from all tram- 
mels, before the face of nature. Nature dictated: 
they transcribed. Nature smiled; and they, 
completely blent with it, smiled also. This very 
enthusiasm is what kept them young and held 
them to their initial path. To paint as they did 
was an intoxication, subtler and stronger than 
a drug and more elating than young love. 

The vital history of the individual men who 
formed this group reduces itself to a record of 
their temperamental tastes in subject selection 
and to a statement of the degree to which each 
developed the new method. The individualities 
of the units of an experimental school are always 
unimportant. Temperament can dictate to the 
artist only two phases of variation: what he is 
to use in his composition, and those tran- 
scendental qualities, such as joy and sorrow, 
drama and comedy, which reflect the timbre of 
his predispositions. Rhythm, form, balance, 
organisation, drawing all these aesthetic con- 
siderations spring from deeper matrices in a 
man's nature than do his temperamental 
predilections. Whether one man is intrigued 



THE EARLY IMPRESSIONISTS 95 

by sunlight or another by mist, mankind is, after 
all, so similar in externals, that one individual's 
slight departure from a predecessor, or his trifling 
deviation from a contemporary, is of little mo- 
ment. The true key to a man's genius lies in 
his ability to organise as well as, or better than, 
others. The compositional figure on which he 
builds will alone give us the substance of his 
character. We are all capable of receiving 
sensations: we have our personal likes and 
dislikes for subjects, even for actions and smells. 
But these choices are the outgrowths of our 
instincts, mere habits of association. In nowise 
are they fundamental. They are the physio- 
logical recognition of pleasant or unpleasant 
impressions. Their importance is limited to the 
individual who experiences them. Being the 
results of receptivity, they have no more to 
do basically with the aesthetic expression of an 
artist whose work is pure creation, than phono- 
graph disks with the sounds they receive. By 
the intelligence alone can a man be judged. Here 
there is order, extensive in artists like Michelangelo, 
partially restricted in such painters as El Greco 
and Giorgione, and severely limited as in the case 
of the Impressionists. However, it must not be 
implied that the intelligence alone can create. Such 
a contention would be preposterous; but it is true 
that impressions must first be consciously organ- 
ised before they can be given concrete expression. 
The intelligence of Pissarro was synthetic to a 
small extent, but not once did it exhibit signs of 
extended apperception. He thought clearly up 
to a certain point beyond which his art never 
went. His temperament was not an uncommon 



96 MODERN PAINTING 

one among Hebrews. He viewed life as a social 
reformer who regards the world as a sad place, 
but one susceptible of improvement. From this 
psychological standpoint he painted. His pictures 
depict ubiquitous greys, occasionally brightened 
by a stream of lurid light; sombre scenes in which 
the impression is one of late afternoon; peasants 
who seem wearied of their unceasing and thankless 
labours; gaunt trees which epitomise the decay 
of the year. His technique is not dissimilar to 
that of Jongkind, and his drawing is allied to the 
construction found in the Dutch landscapists of 
the early nineteenth century rather than in those 
of his own group. That he was the transition 
from Jongkind to Monet is a plausible conten- 
tion; in him are found qualities of both these 
other painters. But he was too conscientious 
ever to attain to the technical heights Monet 
reached. If one aspires to innovation of means, 
graphic traits have to be sacrificed: steps must 
be taken in the dark. Those who cling with 
one hand to the old while groping toward the 
new can never reach their desires. Pissarro's 
lack of constructive genius was too evident, his 
timidity too great, his intelligence too literal 
for him ever to effectuate new plastic forms. His 
instincts were those of a teacher, and he displayed 
indubitable traits of an exalted doctrinaire. But 
his art, with these limitations, was able and 
complete. Cezanne says he learned all he knew 
of colour from him. This is not wholly true; 
but it is certain that Guillaumin and Sisley are 
greatly indebted to his clarity of reason. 

Although Pissarro is the greater artist, Monet 
is the finer craftsman. He is widely credited 



THE EARLY IMPRESSIONISTS 97 

with the invention of divisionistic methods; but 
in this conclusion an inaccurate syllogism has 
played havoc with the fads. None of the 
Impressionists invented the precede de la tdcbe; 
and not having invented it detracts nothing 
from their achievement. Liszt did not invent 
the pianoforte, yet he was its greatest master. 
The practice of crediting Frenchmen with the 
invention and development of methods has scant 
authority with which to justify itself. Poussin 
was an offshoot, and a weak one, of the great 
Titian. Watteau and Boucher come to us direct 
out of the corners of Rubens's pictures. Daumier 
and Courbet, temperamentally unrelated to the 
French tradition, stem from the Dutch and the 
Spaniards. Cezanne emanated from the Dutch 
and the Italians via Impressionism. Matisse's 
procedure is little more than a modification of 
that of the Persians and the early Italians. 
Cubism was imported from Spain by a Spaniard. 
Futurism is strictly Italian: there is not a French 
name among its originators. Synchromism was 
brought into the world by Americans. And 
Impressionism, which, like all these other 
departures, has come to be looked upon as 
French, is incontrovertibly of English parentage. 
True, there is small credit due the inventor. 
The man capable of employing new discoveries 
(as Marconi employed the principles of wireless 
telegraphy) is the truly important figure. But we 
should not confuse discovery with employment. 
Since Monet was French, France has a perfect 
right to claim the results of colour division. The 
honours attaching to its discovery are Turner's 
and Constable's. 



98 MODERN PAINTING 

Monet, like many great men, had little school- 
ing. He went direct to nature, impelled by the 
new impetus toward landscape. His first pictures 
in the Impressionist manner resemble Manet's 
except for trivial innovations in the differentiation 
of shadows; but in this difference we divine the 
later Monet. Viewed cursorily these paintings 
appear to be conventional figure pieces. But they 
are more than that. The figures have no other 
significance than that which attaches to a vase 
or a landscape. "Facial expression," "sympa- 
thetic gestures," the "appeal" all are absent 
from them. In these pictures the costume plays 
the hero's part. La Japonaise is representative 
of that treatment of subject wherein the figure is 
only an excuse for a pattern of colour. The 
modern attitude toward theme which Manet 
handed down is again in evidence in Monet. 
Its reduftio ad absurdum was the late epidemic 
of illustrative pictures by such men as Whistler, 
Shannon, Sargent, Zuloaga and Alexander, the 
titles of which were derived from the flowers held 
in the hands of the principals, a bowl of goldfish 
in the background, or the colour of a lace shawl. 
Monet, however, soon tired of figure pieces. 
His true penchant lay toward landscape. In this 
field he found an infinity of colour possibilities, 
innumerable subtleties of light gradation, and 
ready-to-paint arrangements as appealing as the 
ones he had formerly had to pose in his interiors. 
At first his technique was broad and radiant, 
much like a dispersed Manet. The large flat 
planes of unified colour which later were to 
disintegrate into a thousand touches, were laid on 
silhouetted forms. His boat pieces in the Cail- 



THE EARLY IMPRESSIONISTS 99 

lebotte collection in the Luxembourg gallery, 
appear, in their simplicity and breadth of treat- 
ment, like the unfinished underpainting of a 
Turner or a Rembrandt. Much of the bare 
canvas is visible; and in them one feels the 
presence of the experimenter. At this time the 
war drove Monet to London, and his exile proved 
a salutary one. On his return his pictures 
bloomed with a new brilliance, and his flat 
surfaces became fragmentised. Racial character- 
istics no doubt establish a bond between Sisley 
and the English landscapists, but nothing less 
than an active influence could have made so 
typical ja Frenchman as Monet paint a canvas 
like L'Eglise a Varengeville in which Turner is so 
much in evidence. Turner is also unmistakably 
present in Pissarro at times, as witness Sydenham 
Road, but never to any great extent. 

Despite his great debt to Turner, Manet and 
Pissarro, Monet owed even more to the Japanese. 
They influenced his style and his selection of 
subjects. From them he lifted the idea of paint- 
ing a single object many times in its varied 
atmospheric manifestations. But where the Jap- 
anese shifted their vantage-ground with each 
successive picture, Monet's observation point 
remained stationary. His composition too, 
superficial as it is, is frankly Japanese. It is 
generally represented by a straight line which 
runs near the lower frame from one side to the 
other of the canvas, and which supports the 
principal objects of the work. This line slants, 
now up to the left, now up to the right; but 
seldom is it curved as in the more advanced 
drawings of Hiroshige or Hokusai. His kinship 



ioo MODERN PAINTING 

to the Japanese is, after all, a natural one, for 
the temperaments of France and Japan are as 
similar as is possible between east and west. The 
Japanese artists presented atmospheric conditions 
by means of gradating large colour planes into 
white or dark. The consequent effects of rain, 
snow, wind and sun are as vivid as Monet's, 
but they differ from the Frenchman's in that 
they are concerned principally with nature's dec- 
orative possibilities. Monet adheres to graphic 
transcription for the purpose of presenting the 
dynamics of a mood-producing phase of nature. 
But though differing as to aims, they both reach 
very similar visual results. Compare, for instance, 
Monet's suite of Les Peupliers with Hiroshige's 
series of the Tokaido or with Hokusai's Views of 
Fuji. Many of the pictures are alike in composi- 
tion and choice of subject; but the European has 
achieved a living light, while the Oriental has 
presented a more lucid and intensive vision. 
These differences of purposes and similarities of 
appearance are again discernible in Monet's 
Coins de Riviere and Shiubun's Setting Sun. A 
further proof of this Impressionist's affinities with 
the Japanese will be found by collating Monet's 
figure pieces with those of Utamaro. 

There is one important point of divergence, 
however, between the arts of Japan and Monet's 
canvases. Whereas the Japanese ignored texture, 
Monet at all times devoted himself more or less 
sedulously to its portrayal. The Falaise a Etretat 
and The Houses of Parliament London are 
examples of his freedom from a rigid system of 
scientific application. In both pictures the sky 
is drawn with broad intersecting strokes in order 



THE EARLY IMPRESSIONISTS 101 

to achieve transparency and vastness. The water, 
in the former, is painted with long curved strip- 
pings to give the wave effect, as in Courbet's 
La Vague; and, in the latter, ripples are formed 
by minute touches. Monet's architecture is often 
built up with colour-spots as a man lays bricks; 
and the cliffs in the Falaise a Etretat are cor- 
rugated in exactly the same way the strata lie 
in nature. Later this preciosity of style disap- 
peared, except in his treatment of slightly ruffled 
water. His brushing became irregular and 
elongated, and he applied his stroke so that it 
would merge into the other innumerable touches 
of diverse colour. His eyesight was highly 
trained, and after years of labour in the conscious 
analysis of colour planes, he was able to divide 
these planes unconsciously. 

Monet was artistic in that he felt deeply what 
was before him. Henri Martin, on the other 
hand, who painted with independent touches 
in the hope of obtaining flickering sunlight, and 
who knew his palette fully as well as Monet, 
laboured mechanically. His work is more optical 
than emotional. He is a realist in the same sense 
that Roll is a realist; but both these men present 
only the husk of reality. Monet, to the contrary, 
experienced and expressed nature's ecstasy. He 
is like a string which vibrates to any harmony: 
Martin is little more than an eye. Both finished 
their work in the open; and both stippled. But 
here the parallelism ends, for where Monet com- 
pleted the effects of the Japanese, Martin only 
took light into the academies. Perhaps this 
is why Martin was at once acclaimed by the 
public, and why Monet, during those first dark 



102 MODERN PAINTING 

years of struggle and poverty, was compelled 
to sell his canvases for practically nothing. Duret 
confesses to having obtained one for eighty francs. 
Martin was early accorded academic honours, and 
received numerous government orders. 

Monet found himself at home wherever there 
was light and water. His canvases describe 
scenes from all over Europe. But his most 
famous pictures are his two series, Les Meules 
and Les Nympheas. In the first, a single hay- 
stack is set forth in a diversity of illuminations 
and seasons; and the second repeats a small pond 
of water-lilies, in shade and in sun, ruffled and 
calm. His La Cathedrale, Venice and London 
series are also widely known. These represent 
acute observation and an implacable inspiration 
to work, for they had to be finished simultane- 
ously. Their accomplishment was a stupendous 
tour de force. At sunrise Monet would go forth 
with twenty blank canvases so that the changes 
of sunlight and mist might be caught from hour 
to hour. They seem infantile to us today 
these imitations of the subtleties of light, these 
meteorological histories of haystacks and lilies, 
these atmospheric personalities of cathedrals and 
canals. Yet it is by just such self-burials in 
data that one exhausts the aesthetic possibilities 
of nature's actualities. And not until this probing 
to the bottom has been accomplished does the 
artist possess that complete knowledge which 
impels him to push forward to something newer 
and more vital. 

Sisley was the last of the original five to adopt 
Impressionistic methods. He had long had an 
admiration for the exploits of the more revolu- 



THE EARLY IMPRESSIONISTS 103 

tionary painters, but a comfortable income had 
acted as a sedative on his ambitions. He did 
not feel the necessity for difficult endeavour. But 
when, at the death of his father, he found himself 
penniless and with a family to care for, he joined 
the ranks of Pissarro, Monet, Guillaumin and 
Bazille. He had talent and an accurate eye, 
and his earlier academic work, done in the sixties, 
served as a practical foundation. After he had 
adopted the more modern technique of Pissarro 
and Monet, he was prepared for the achievement 
of new art. If we had no other proof that 
Impressionism at its inception was a shallow 
craft, Sisley's immediate mastery of it would be 
conclusive, for his appropriation of its means was 
not an aesthetic impulse but a financial expedient. 
But more extensive corroboration can be found 
in a score of academies where Impressionism is 
taught and taught conclusively. 

There is no more or less actual composition in 
Sisley than in other of the Impressionists. He 
supplied no innovations, and he differed from his 
fellows only in so far as his temperament indicated 
variation. In Monet and Guillaumin there is a 
concentration and precision which the English- 
man fell short of. His nature was less akin to 
these Impressionists than to the Turner of wide 
and open skies, of the softness and dreaminess of 
summer, of that perfect satisfaction which is 
content with inaction. Sisley's very colour pref- 
erence for which the public reproached him 
light lilac indicates his penchant for prettiness 
and repose. His choice of theme was invariably 
dictated by a poetical and sentimental need for 
the intimate. 



104 MODERN PAINTING 

In Guillaumin we have a man who gave 
promise of good work but who, up to the last, 
failed in its fulfilment. Indubitably talented, he 
never succeeded in reaching that point where 
talent is only a means to an end. But neverthe- 
less there was in him a solidity of modelling, a 
real feeling for the ponderous hardness of hills 
and plains. He was a friend of Cezanne, and 
undoubtedly learned much from that master of 
form. At first he had painted in sombre tones, 
but later, after meeting Cezanne and Pissarro in 
the Academic Suisse, he adopted their lighter and 
more joyous colour schemes. There is a canvas 
in the Caillebotte Collection in the Luxembourg 
which, in its broadness of treatment and extensive 
planes, suggests Gauguin both as to gamut and 
conception. Guillaumin was the most masculine 
talent of the early Impressionist group. He cared 
less for the transient views of nature than for its 
eternal aspect. His colour, by its liberality of 
application, counts more forcibly than that of 
Pissarro, Monet or Sisley. His contributions to 
the new idea, however, were comparatively small. 
He was not an explorer, but followed diligently 
in the path others had marked out. Only after 
he had won a fortune in a lottery did he break 
away from his environment. But this release 
came to him too late. His formative period of 
development had passed, and his work, from that 
time on, did not alter in technique. Only in his 
picturesque and bizarre subject-matter is notice- 
able any deviation from his habitual routine. 

The individual achievements of the Impression- 
ists, however, no matter how competent, are of minor 
importance. Impressionism was a new weapon in 




J 
_] 

5 



THE EARLY IMPRESSIONISTS 105 

the hands of art's anarchists. It has come to be 
regarded as a faultless faith whose devotees can do 
no wrong. There has been little or no adequate 
literature devoted to its exposition, its causes and 
influence; and the exaggeration of its attainments 
are as grotesque as the calumny with which it was 
at first received. It was not an ultimate and 
isolated movement, but a simple and wholly 
natural offshoot in the evolution of new means. 
The artists who fathered it were, except in one 
instance, men whose enthusiasm outstripped their 
abilities as composers. Their greatest good lay 
in that they turned the thoughts of painters 
toward colour, and outlined, summarily to be 
sure, the uses to which this new and highly 
intense element might be put. They expressed 
just what their desires permitted them: nature 
in all its visible changes. Those exquisite mo- 
ments of full sunlight on land and water, of cloud 
shadows over the hills, of the warm brilliancy of 
a blue sky on the upturned faces of flowers; the 
stillness of summer amid the woods; the cold 
serenity of snow-clad fields all were seen and 
captured and immortalised by these men. They 
were the greatest painters of effects the world 
has ever known. They never strove to evoke 
the sensation of weight in the objects they 
painted; and that organisation of parts, which 
is a replica of the cosmos, they were too busy to 
attempt. Their very deficiencies were what per- 
mitted them so complete a vision of the only side 
of realism which still remained for painting to 
investigate. 

The Impressionists did not embody concretely 
the teachings of their forerunners, but used them 



io6 MODERN PAINTING 

all in the abstract. Delacroix had sacrificed 
photographic truth in drawing in order to present 
a more intense impression of truth. Daumier 
had built form as nature builds it, colour aside. 
Courbet had turned painters from the poetic 
contemplation of a great past to the life about 
them. Manet had made images of whatever 
was at hand for the pure love of painting. The 
Impressionists turned to the things nearest them, 
paid scant heed to scholastic drawing, translated 
Daumier's doctrine of form into light, and like 
Manet painted for the joy of the work. As 
experimenters they were valuable; but their 
pictures, to those unsentimental persons whose 
appreciations of art are wholly aesthetic, mean 
little more than records of how a cabbage patch 
appears at sunrise, a lily pond at midday, or a 
country lane at twilight. The Impressionists did 
not amalgamate and express the dreams of their 
forerunners. They were one of those transitional 
generations whose vitality is spent in a stupendous 
endeavour to conceive before the time is ripe. 
The need for a great birth had not yet made 
itself felt; for only when the period of embryo 
is complete can great art be born. Renoir 
brought forth that issue; and with him evolution 
seems to halt a moment before plunging onward. 
The meagre aesthetics of the early Impressionists 
could not lead to the highest artistic results. 
Indeed, their animating aims had to be abandoned 
before Renoir could attain to true significance. 



V 
AUGUSTE RENOIR 

THE entire past progress of painting is 
condensed and expressed in each of its 
great men. The creation of new art 
cannot be accomplished overnight, any 
more than that of a new organism; it must 
stem from first impulses and be formed on the 
differentiations of the past. Those men who 
declare themselves primitives and seek to acquire 
the eyes and minds of the Phoenicians or Aztecs 
are as conscious of their inability to create new 
art forms as are those visionaries who live in a 
mythical future and try to prophesy the forms 
that are to come. No man is born too soon or too 
late. There are those who strive toward classic 
intellectual ideals, toward Utopian economic states, 
toward new orders of society: but such reformers 
are only the malcontents. The truly great and 
practical men quickly assimilate the impulses of 
their own epochs and push the frontiers of the 
mind's possibilities further into the unknown. 
These latter comprise the maligned vanguard of 
heroic thinkers who fight the battles for their 
weaker followers. Often, however, these followers 
rise to great heights, for in the world of endeavour 
two conspicuous types exist the man who 
experiments and the man who achieves. Dela- 
croix, Manet and the Impressionists belong to 
the first; Courbet and Renoir are of the second. 



io8 MODERN PAINTING 

In Renoir's life story, as in that of Titian, 
Rubens and Rembrandt, we see in miniature the 
evolution of all the painting that preceded him 
the bitter struggles with the chimeras of con- 
vention, and each slow change that came over 
drawing, style, colour and composition. In the 
end, after a life full of near defeats, strife, yearn- 
ing and anxiety, we behold the great man emerge 
triumphantly from his broken fetters and take his 
place beside the masters of the past. Some 
painters have more arduous rights than others, 
for the odds against them are greater. Rubens 
and Delacroix seemed the pampered favourites of 
a high destiny: Courbet and Renoir had to cleave 
and chisel each step of the way through the 
adamant of public suspicion. The world appears 
incapable of recognising either an intensification 
or a modification of an old and accepted formula. 
Hence Courtois and Puget were preferred to 
Delacroix; Ribera and Rembrandt to Courbet; 
the Avignon painters to Manet; Corot, Diaz 
and Rousseau to the Impressionists; and Rubens 
and Ingres to Renoir. In all of these parallelisms, 
the latter had their roots in the former. They 
were complications and variations of their fore- 
runners dissimilar only in method and manner. 

Renoir began to paint at an early age. The 
poverty of his family necessitated him to make 
his own living, and at the age of thirteen he was 
in a factory painting porcelains. Five years later 
he applied for work at a place given over to the 
decoration of transparent screens. Here his un- 
usual facility permitted him to paint ten times 
as fast as his fellow decorators, and since he was 
paid by the piece, he soon saved enough money 



AUGUSTS RENOIR 109 

to give himself an education in the art which 
had now become with him a conscious instinct 
painting. From his earliest youth he had evinced 
a discontent with the slow-moving minds about 
him, and it was natural that he should first look 
upon art through the eyes of his great revolution- 
ary contemporary, Courbet. His earliest work, 
of which Le Cabaret de la Mere Anthony and 
Diane Chasseresse are the best-known examples, 
reflected Courbet in both palette and conception. 
Even later, when Manet claimed him, he clung 
to his first influence. For while his work now 
reached out toward the substance of light to be 
found in La Musique aux Tuileries, it revealed 
at the same time all the form of the Ornans 
master. Le Menage Sisley and Lise strikingly 
combine these two early influences. 

Since humanity has emerged from the darkness 
of unconsciousness and the individual from the 
darkness of the womb, it is consistent with nature 
that in a man's creative development the 
route of which lies between dark and dark the 
use of black should be his first instinct. Renoir, 
like all painters of great promise, started with 
this negation of colour. But wherein his intel- 
lectual distinction manifested itself was his innate 
proclivity for the rhythm of surface lines which 
he alone of all his contemporaries recognised in 
Courbet. In Lise, painted in 1867, a year after 
his Diane Chasseresse, both of these early pen- 
chants are evident. Black is the keynote of his 
sunlight; and while in conception the canvas is 
akin to Manet, it is a Manet made dexterous and 
masterly. It contains a balance and a linear 
rhythm of which that painter was ignorant. Lise 



i io MODERN PAINTING 

is one of the few Renoirs into which the influence 
of Velazquez and Goya can be imagined. Even 
in its pyramidal form, which when used by most 
painters becomes a static figure, there is a move- 
ment at its apex which opens into a shape like a 
lily. This is brought about by the tilt of the 
sunshade and the continuation of the line of the 
sash outward in the tree trunk. By just such 
obvious and simple signs as these in early works, 
can we foretell an artist's later developments. 

The next year, 1868, Renoir's work is more 
net, more able in its balance, more sure in its 
effect Le Menage Sisley is one of his finest 
early examples of how this rhythmic continuity 
of line obsesses a mind avid for form, colour, 
vitality. At first glance we see only an irregular 
pyramid formed by the outline of the two figures; 
but after a minute's study we notice that on the 
right the line of the skirt curves gracefully inward 
to the waist-line, sweeps up to the woman's neck, 
then begins an outward flexure, and finally dis- 
perses itself amid the tree's slanting branches in 
the right-hand upper corner. On the left, the 
outline of the man's right leg and arm and hair 
forms another curve which bends back the line 
of the opposing curve of the woman's dress, and 
completes the figure of the pyramid. But the 
first curve, the force of which is seemingly ended 
at the woman's waist, is continued in the outline 
of the light tonality which begins at the man's right 
elbow, curves outward to the frame, then inward, 
and ends on the upper frame a little to the left of 
the man's head. Furthermore, the volume made 
by the light tonality in the upper left-hand corner 
serves as a balance to the form of the woman's 



AUGUSTS RENOIR in 

tunic. This composition is, in all essentials, the 
same as in Lise, and embraces that rhythm in 
two dimensions which Manet did not know, and 
that balance of tonal form of which Manet was 
never capable. Manet's mind was that of the 
lesser Dutch and Spaniards. Renoir's was the 
plastic and flowing mind of the Latin races, never 
satisfied with angularity and immobility, but need- 
ful of the smooth progression of sequence and 
movement. 

The recognition of the artistic necessity for 
linear rhythm led Renoir to search for it in others 
than Courbet. Among the painters by whom he 
might profit, Delacroix stood nearest his own 
time. To him Renoir turned; and it was out of 
him that Renoir's greatness was to grow. Dela- 
croix's organisations appealed to him especially 
the triangular one which opens at the top. His 
admiration for this artist's talent led him to paint 
in 1872 a canvas called Parisiennes Habillees en 
Algeriennes, an ambitious essay to compete with 
Les Femmes d'Alger dans Leur Appartement. In- 
trinsically the picture was a failure, but it taught 
its creator more than he had heretofore learned 
concerning colour and drawing. In it are dis- 
cernible indications of the formal unconvention- 
alities and the chromatic brilliancies which later 
were to be such dominant qualities in Renoir's 
work. Although for two years he had used 
Impressionistic methods, it was through this 
picture that Delacroix introduced him to the 
Impressionists' colour. Manet had already in- 
troduced him to Ingres: and these two incidents 
went far toward laying the foundation for his 
greatness. On neither the Impressionists nor 



ii2 MODERN PAINTING 

Ingres did he build a style; but from both he 
learned something of far more value : freedom 
from the dictates of style. Here again Delacroix 
had a hand, for by studying this artist's uses of 
Ingres's simplifications, Renoir was able to make 
these simplifications plastic. 

Renoir's colour up to this time had been re- 
strained by the dictates of his epoch. But with 
the inspiration and encouragement given him by 
Les Femmes d'Alger dans Leur Appartement, it 
burst forth with all the force of long-imprisoned 
energy, and drove him out of doors. In this 
picture he found excuse to carry colour to any 
extreme he desired. At once the instincts of 
the porcelain painter, ever latent in him, came 
uppermost. Delacroix, in giving him the Impres- 
sionists' freedom of colour, had brought him back 
to those rich and full little designs he had painted 
on china between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. 
In this early training alone lies the explanation 
of his later matiere which has for so long puzzled 
the critics. Many attribute his colour effects to 
Watteau. But Renoir had developed his tech- 
nique before he knew the older master. Years 
previous he had been intensely interested in the 
very material of his models. In Le Menage 
Sisley, La Baigneuse au Griffon and La Femme a 
la Perruche is evinced the love of the connoisseur 
for rare and rich stuffs. Furthermore he had 
begun to turn his eyes toward Impressionist 
methods two years before he painted Les 
Parisiennes Habillees en Algeriennes. Up to that 
time his brushing had been broad like Manet's 
or Courbet's; immediately afterward it tended 
toward spotting, and Monet took the upper hand. 



AUGUSTE RENOIR 113 

Watteau's manner of application served only to 
substantiate Renoir in his choice of method. 

The years from 1865 to 1876 constitute a period 
of Renoir's life rich in its promise of splendid 
things. His keen admirations and high enthusi- 
asms made of him throughout this time a disciple. 
But his achievements, small as they were, were 
more sumptuous and effectual than either Manet's 
or Monet's. Their true significance, though, lay 
in their assurance of what was to come after he 
had completed that unlearning process through 
which all great men must pass. Only by sitting 
at a master's feet can one acquire the knowledge 
that informs one which influences should be 
utilised and which cast aside. One cannot learn 
from experience the total lessons of many men, 
each one of whom has given a lifetime to the 
study of a different side of a subject. If these 
men are to be surpassed their life work must be 
used as a starting point. Renoir began thus. 
He had fallen under the sway of Courbet, Manet, 
Delacroix and Monet; but after eleven years he 
had exhausted his creative interest in both their 
theories and their attainments. These men had 
expressed all that was in them. For Renoir to 
cling to them was to stand still. If he was to 
go down in history as a constructive genius and 
not merely as an able imitator, it was time for 
him to strike out alone. 

He did not hesitate. The portrait of Mile. 
Durand-Ruel, done in 1876, marks his transfor- 
mation. In it he achieved the scintillation of 
light which is not linked with colour or painting, 
but which seems to arise, by some mysterious 
alchemy, from the surface of the canvas. In 



ii 4 MODERN PAINTING 

this picture, and also in the Moulin de la Galette, 
finished in the same year, he consummated the 
fondest ambition of the Impressionists, namely: 
to make the spectator feel a picture, not as a 
depiction of nature's light, but as a medium from 
which emanates the very force of light itself. 
But Renoir did not stop here: to this achieve- 
ment he added form and rhythm two attributes 
which the Impressionists, preoccupied with ob- 
jectivity, were too busy to attempt. And in 
addition he displayed a technique so perfect in 
its adaptability to any expression, that its 
mannerisms were completely submerged in the 
picture's total effect. These were the qualities 
which Renoir was to develop to so superlative 
a degree. He had begun to express form in 
1870 in his Portrait de Dame. Two years later 
in his Delacroix adaptation he had branched out 
into colour. And in his very first canvases there 
was rhythmic balance of lines. In 1876 all these 
tendencies coalesced. In consequence Renoir 
blossomed forth free from aggressive influences, 
knowing his own limitations and possibilities. 
This cannot be said even of those excellent works, 
La Loge, La Danseuse and La Fillette Attentive, 
done the two preceding years. It is only by 
contemplating such pictures as the portrait of 
Mile. Durand-Ruel, La Chevelure and La Source 
that we can perceive the path along which his 
development was to take place. For these can- 
vases, though far more significant than the 
works of Pissarro and Monet, are almost negli- 
gible beside his later work. He was a man 
never satisfied with results, no matter how 
exalted. His every new achievement was only 




w 



w 



AUGUSrE RENOIR 115 

a higher elevation from which his horizon ever 
receded. 

One of Renoir's important advances in method 
is his liberation from the circumscribed use of 
black. Although in some of his work of 1876 
there are still traces of that tone used organically, 
they are so slight that they may be disregarded. 
Black was the very keynote of the paintings of 
his day. It was looked upon as a necessity in 
the creation of volumes. Courbet did little with- 
out it, and Manet brightened it only with 
occasional flashes of colour. Today we know 
that it is not a technical necessity, that pure 
colours, in fact, when properly used, can produce 
the most solid forms. But whereas we have been 
able to profit by the teachings of Cezanne and 
the Synchromists, Renoir had to learn this fact 
by bitter experiments in a new element. In La 
Balancoire, done in the same year as the Moulin 
de la Galette and now hanging with that picture 
in the Luxembourg, black is entirely absent. 
This little canvas was probably an experiment 
actuated by Monet, for never afterward did he 
on principle lay black aside. While he realised 
its unimportance as a fundamental for construct- 
ing volume, he nevertheless felt its need as a 
complement to colour the need of the static 
and the dead to accentuate the plastic and alive. 

It is during this period that critics are prone 
to see Gainsborough in Renoir. But their rea- 
sons for such a comparison are superficial, and 
go no further than the fact that both painters 
dealt with feminine themes in a similarly intimate 
manner. No genuinely artistic likeness can be 
found between Mrs. Siddons, for instance, and 



ii6 MODERN PAINTING 

the Ingenue. The one is merely a spirited por- 
trait without composition or tactility: the other 
is an exquisite bit of form and colour, which we 
feel would be as solid to the touch as it appears 
to the eye. If we are to compare Renoir to 
English painters at all, let us designate Hogarth 
and Romney, although any such comparative 
method of criticism is apt to lead at once to 
misunderstanding. However, even these two men 
are distinctly inadequate as measures for Renoir. 
In the graphic arts Englishmen exhibit no feeling 
for rhythm. Indeed, it may correctly be said 
they possess no graphic arts. Rhythm is a factor 
which has made itself felt only in their poetry, 
and here it can hardly be called more than a 
division of interval, or tempo. Rossetti in his 
paintings is seemingly more conscious of its 
power than any other Englishman, and occa- 
sionally attempted to produce it by the primi- 
tive device of curved lines. But, after all, Ros- 
setti was Italian. On the whole Renoir and the 
English artists are two fundamentally dissimilar 
to be estimated relatively. The finest qualities of 
Renoir's art grew out of his instinct for fluent 
movement, for intense undulations, for hot gor- 
geous colour, for freedom from all traditional pre- 
scriptions. 

The evolution of these instincts was by no 
means a mechanical one. After he had amal- 
gamated the leading qualities of his art, his 
interest would often reveal itself more strongly 
in one direction than another. Thus many of 
his canvases show a retrogression toward emphasis 
of light; others toward form; still others toward 
linear rhythm. Yet no matter which one of these 



AUGUSrE RENOIR 117 

qualities predominated, the others also remained 
intact. More importance, however, attached to 
his preoccupation with the treatment of light. 
His experiments and consequent development in 
this field are of initial significance in judging 
his later work. In 1878 he had evidently fore- 
seen the cul-de-sac into which the natural dis- 
tribution of light would lead. The very volatility 
and translucency of illumination and its matter- 
dispelling qualities, constituted the greatest draw- 
back to its use in the creation of form. In other 
words its sheer beauty nullified the deeper aims 
of painting. In two decorative Panneaux of 
reclining nudes, done in the same year, Renoir 
makes his first attempt to escape from the 
naturalism of light. The use of light is here 
restricted to a colour force which serves only to 
bring form into relief. From that time on, 
although he had many struggles with its power 
over him, he had conquered its insidious influ- 
ence. It became his servant, whereas before it 
had been his master. In his earlier canvases, 
wherein sunlight had played a leading part, he 
had placed the sun patches, gleaming and vibrant, 
wherever they naturally fell. After 1878 he 
began placing them arbitrarily on points where 
formal projection was needed. 

The subtle manner in which he constructed 
and posed these patches precluded any discovery 
of his reasons for altering their natural location. 
But Renoir was not fully satisfied, and soon 
abandoned this phase of pleinairisme. Later the 
spots of sunlight appeared on cheeks, shoulders, 
knees, or any other salients which called for 
powerful relief, thereby losing their flat and de- 



ii8 MODERN PAINTING 

tached appearance. This moulding of them into 
intense aggregations had much to do with Renoir's 
fullness of form. His long experience had given 
him a complete knowledge of their naturalistic 
effect. He knew it was impossible to make them 
remain on the same plane with the surrounding 
shadow, and he understood the reasons for this 
phenomenon. It was not therefore remarkable 
that, in his later method of applying them, he 
was sure of his results. As soon as he realised 
that sunlight dispersed matter by obscuring some 
points and accentuating others, he knew that by 
an intelligent employment of this factor of lumi- 
nosity he could at will accentuate certain parts 
of his canvas and obscure others. This knowl- 
edge led him naturally to create his own light, 
irrespective of how it actually existed. This was 
an important step toward its complete abroga- 
tion, and brought arbitrary means in painting 
just so much nearer. He had already distorted 
volumes for purposes of organisation in the same 
manner that he now distorted light. Indeed 
every great painter has taken this liberty with 
form; but each one has to learn the device anew 
in its relation to his own separate vision. 

There are few shadows, as such, in Renoir. 
We find darks and lights in scintillating succes- 
sion, but we may search in vain, even in his 
canvases of 1878 or 1879, for those shadowed out- 
lines which are the result of light. If light there 
is, it is only the light which springs from our own 
eyes light which seems to come from the 
direction of the beholder, like the reflection of a 
light in water. Move as you will before his 
pictures, it follows you, for it is the illumination 



AUGUSTE RENOIR 119 

of that part of the picture nearest the eyes of the 
painter. Where a form is full, there Renoir con- 
trives to have a light fall. This artifice may 
strike us today as childish, since we have out- 
grown our concern with light; but let us remem- 
ber that from the beginning the depiction of 
lights and shadows had been a fixed practice, 
and that their tones had formed the only basis 
for chiaroscuro. With the Impressionists light 
became the atout of painting. Renoir made of it 
a vital form-creating element. Herein we have 
its evolution: first, a convention; next, an 
obsession; last, a utility. So were the aesthetic 
possibilities of light exhausted, just as the aes- 
thetic possibilities of the human form were 
exhausted by Michelangelo. 

In this last step of liberating light from con- 
vention, Renoir approached nearer to nature than 
any antecedent painter. After all, a human 
being in the sunlight appears to us as a solid 
moving mass. Only those who look upon nature 
as a flat pattern of shades and lights are misled 
by sun patches. So, in Renoir's adapting the 
source of light for the purpose of producing 
solidity of form, we are cognisant of the palpa- 
bility of his figures whether they are in light or 
shadow, or both. Thus he created the actual 
impression of volume we all get before a moving 
form. This arbitrary disposition of light and 
shadow also gave fullness and intensity to his 
form, and accentuated the poise, so subtle and 
unexpected, we feel in even his slightest works. 
But while this was the secret of his attainment 
of volume, the compositional use to which he put 
this volume requires another explanation one 



izo MODERN POINTING 

which has its roots in the very depths of the 
man's genius. There had never been such form 
in the French school as that which Renoir gave 
it in 1880. The Tete de Jeune Fille and Les 
Enfants en Rose et Bleu, done about this time, 
must have been the despair of even the sculptors 
of his day. And these were but the beginning. 
Many phases of his art were yet to be emphasised 
and developed before the Renoir we know today 
was to be perfected. 

It was in 1884 that he began to "apprendre 
le dessin." For four years he continued this 
self-training in the precision of draughtsmanship. 
As a boy he had begun his painting in a manner 
more competent than the most advanced style of 
the average artist, as is evidenced by the able 
use of colour as design in his early porcelains. 
And although he was driven to this work by 
necessity, the incident was a salutary one. It 
turned his thoughts toward those abstract organi- 
sations of colour which always afterward haunted 
him. Later he learned all the tricks of the day 
in the school of the realists, and succeeded in 
surpassing his masters. Next he studied the 
Impressionists and went beyond them also. Then 
he co-ordinated his knowledge and established his 
individual greatness. This period of his develop- 
ment gave France much of its finest painting, and 
his Baigneuse done at this time is an undoubted 
masterpiece. His reversion to the rudiments of 
drawing was the result of a burning desire to 
develop rhythm and form. His technical diffi- 
culties had been conquered at an early date: 
he needed only dexterity in drawing to achieve his 
end. Not only did Renoir attain to his objective, 



AUGUSTE RENOIR 121 

but, by comprehending the principle of the place- 
ments and displacements of volumes, he learned 
the advantages of line accentuation in obtaining 
movement. 

We now come to those pictures which show 
Renoir's intimate relation to Rubens through 
Boucher and Watteau: to his alfresco bathing 
figures. Some one has pointed out that his 
Baigneuses of 1885, one year after he had devoted 
himself to drawing, was inspired by Girardon's 
lead-reliefs in the gardens at Versailles. The 
commentary is undoubtedly true; but even so, 
of what significance is it ? Aside from the super- 
ficial fact that in the works of both appear 
bathing women in more or less abandoned poses, 
Renoir had nothing in common with the school 
of Largilliere, Pater, Fragonard, Le Moyne, 
Santerre and Girardon. In all such observations 
one senses the restriction of the critic's viewpoint 
to illustration. An artist may find inspiration in 
any visual form, but this form is of no more 
aesthetic importance to him than a photograph. 
In Picasso's paintings of violin fragments we are 
scarcely permitted to deduce an inspiration from 
Stradivarius. Grotesque as this analogy may 
seem, it is applicable to the contention that 
Renoir stemmed from Girardon. For there is 
nothing whatever in Renoir's bathing girls to 
suggest a psychological parallel between them and 
the leaden frieze at Versailles. If Renoir saw in 
that frieze an attractive pose, it was with an eye 
to its adaptability to composition. In Girardon 
there is only a pretty and sensual chaos. In 
Renoir we have a masterly organisation wherein 
the actual positions of the young women are not 



122 MODERN PAINTING 

even remarked. Compare, for instance, Girar- 
don's version of the figure of the girl throwing 
water on her playmates, with the corresponding 
figure in Renoir's drawing. The body of the 
former is without doubt a more faithful replica 
of its model; in Renoir it has become impossibly 
elongated and voluminous. Its head is too small; 
its back too long; its hips are too large and 
yet withal it is an exquisite bit of rich form which 
has as concrete a tangibility as that of a real 
body. One cannot judge it by its contour; one 
must bury oneself in its very weight. 

Had Renoir advanced no further than his mas- 
terly Baigneuse of 1884, he would nevertheless 
have gone down in history as a great artist. But 
compared with the same subject done in 1888, it 
appears stiff. We feel in it the rigidity of a 
master whose great qualities are without a direct- 
ing intelligence. In the later canvas, Renoir is 
less preoccupied with details. As a result there 
is a greater plenitude of bulging form, a purer 
rhythm. And there is also an added movement 
caused by the linear harmony of the background, 
by the hair over the shoulder, and above all by 
the turning of the head so that its weight is 
shifted over a hollow. An apparently simple 
thing this turning of a head. Yet Michel- 
angelo's genius, as well as that of all great 
artists, is dependent on the knowledge of when 
a head should be turned or a limb advanced. 
This knowledge is what transforms action into 
movement, tempo into rhythm, the static into 
the plastic, the dead into the living. It is the 
final penetration into composition; on it all 
aesthetic form is built. Renoir acquired it in his 



AUGUSTE RENOIR 123 

period of so-called dry drawing. Its dawn came 
in La Natte and Mere et Enfant. It was still 
developing in the Baigneuse; and in La Baigneuse 
Brune and Nu a 1'Etoffe Vert et Jaune, both 
done after 1900, this knowledge was becoming 
sure of itself. Between 1884 and 1892, however, 
Renoir's new strength was not wholly mastered. 
There was conscious effort in its employment. 
This is seen in La Fillette a la Gerbe and Les 
Filles de Catulle Mendes and in that otherwise 
miraculous canvas, Au Piano. In Le Croquet, 
1892, he begins to exhibit, in his use of new 
means, the same prodigious adroitness he displayed 
in his earlier and slighter works. And in Les 
Deux Soeurs the effects of labour entirely vanish, 
and he once more paints with magistral unconcern. 
From that time forward Renoir's complete gen- 
ius was but a matter of evolution. And here let 
it be remembered that his transcendent compe- 
tency was the result of academic training, for of 
late we have heard many objections to this kind 
of discipline. We have been invited to behold 
the water-colour and crayon works of the untu- 
tored, assured that they were as fine as Matisse's 
drawings. And we have been asked to accept, 
as a corollary, the statement that all painters are 
better off without the pernicious influence of 
schools. We have had modern paintings pointed 
out to us as examples of what inspiration and 
freedom from convention can do. We have heard 
the constantly reiterated assertion that academies 
cramp genius, restrict vision and force all expres- 
sion into stipulated moulds. To concede to these 
extravagant assertions would be to ignore the 
history of great painting, for during all the 



124 MODERN PAINTING 

significant epochs of art the school was at its 
zenith. Without it there could be no genuine 
achievement. No amount of mere inspiration 
has ever enabled an artist to paint an eminent 
canvas. No amount of uncontrolled emotion- 
alism has ever permitted one to make an aestheti- 
cally moving work of art. No untrained man, 
no matter how high his natural gifts, has yet 
been able to record adequately his feelings. All 
the records of past accomplishment go to show 
that no person who has not been profoundly 
educated in the purely objective (not utilitarian) 
forms, and in the abstract qualities of painting, 
such as anatomy and technique, has succeeded 
in conceiving an artistic organisation. 

The school has never obscured or dwarfed 
genius, nor is it probable it ever will. To the 
contrary it assists the truly great man in his 
self-fulfilment and weeds out the mediocre man. 
It turns the student's thoughts to methods rather 
than to inspiration. It directs the attention of 
incompetent and merely talented persons, incapa- 
ble of rising above its teachings, into side issues. 
Thus it relegates their work to the soupentes of 
the world: whereas, if they had been permitted 
to labour at random, they would only have choked 
the market of genuinely aesthetic production. 
The school teaches discipline, precision, and the 
control of wayward impulses, without all of 
which the greatest artist could only incompletely 
express himself. These are the things which 
Renoir felt he lacked; and in the midst of his 
career he halted long enough to acquire them. 
It may be argued that his was intelligent train- 
ing, while that of the schools is unintelligent. 



AUGUSTE RENOIR 125 

But all discipline is beneficial to the artist. 
Only slavish minds, hopeless from the first, 
succumb to it. The fact that a man capitulates 
to academic training attests to an incompetency 
so great that, under no circumstances, however 
favorable, could it have arisen to a point capable 
of producing great art. Giotto, El Greco and 
Rubens passed through rigid training and rose 
above it. And the apprenticeship demanded of 
the old Egyptian, Chinese and Greek artists was 
longer and more tedious than any of our school 
courses today. 

Renoir's scholastic training was his salvation. 
With the advent of the twentieth century he 
struck his pace. All his qualities converged 
toward the construction of rhythm. In 1900 he 
painted a large and ambitious canvas of an attired 
maid combing a nude's hair, La Toilette de la 
Baigneuse, which is more extended and conclusive 
than any of his previous works. The forms lean 
in opposition and complete each other. In 
them is a perfect poise which subjectively evokes 
an emotion of movement. Even the lights and 
darks are separated so as to give the strongest 
effect. The very hat and tree trunk are integral 
parts of the whole, and there is not a line in the 
picture which does not develop logically to a 
harmonic completion. The luscious plenitude of 
form is equalled only by the finality of the rhythm. 

Another picture of the same period is the 
Baigneuses in the Vollard collection, a duplicate 
of his Baigneuses of fifteen years before. Now 
all the hardness is gone from the contours. The 
differentiation of texture between the flesh and 
water and foliage is absent. The lines are less 



126 MODERN PAINTING 

angular and true, and both the distant nudes' 
attitudes are changed. The first canvas recalled 
Ingres; but the second brings up Cezanne, for 
it is pure composition with every nugatory 
quality eliminated. It demonstrates the possi- 
bility of creating abstract unity in three dimen- 
sions with the objective reality at hand. The 
picture contains movement in the vital sense, 
and possesses a tactility as great as a Giorgione 
done with modern means. In fact, comparison 
of these two Baigneuses will straightway divulge 
the advantages that lie in modern methods. 
The first is extremely able, and has the unfinished 
foundation of a great composition. The second, 
because of what Renoir had learned of freedom, 
is as intense as a Rubens in that painter's own 
manner; and in addition it has an emotional 
element to which the Antwerp master never 
attained. 

Two years later this obsession to create form 
as an impregnable block, no matter in how many 
integers it might be divided, made him turn his 
attention to Daumier; and in Le Jardin d'Essoyes 
and his heads of Coco he surpasses even this 
master of organisation. Having assimilated this 
new influence Renoir added it to his own store of 
knowledge, and four years later painted his 
greatest picture, Le Petit Peintre. After this 
there was little more to be done in Renoir's style 
unless he extended his vision to greater surfaces. 
This he has not done. But he has added other 
masterpieces to the ones already mentioned. 
His Ode aux Fleurs (d'apres Anacreon), the two 
decorative Panneaux of the tambourine player 
and the dancer, Coco et les Deux Servantes, La 




BAIGNEUSES, 1885 



RENOIR 





BAIGNEUSES, 1902 



RENOIR 



AUGUSTE RENOIR 127 

Rose dans les Cheveux and La Femme au Miroir 
are all worthy of a place beside the greatest 
pictures of all time. In these last paintings 
nature's form is transcribed in a purely arbitrary 
manner. Many of the parts are exaggerated to 
create greater projection or more perfect propor- 
tion in relation to the whole. Texture has 
developed into a unified surface, and simple 
linear balance has become poise in depth. The 
colouring has grown so subtle that it is impossible 
in many places to tell just what it is, for in it is 
a whole spectrum that makes it living. 

Renoir was a man who fundamentally was not 
revolutionary, an artist who was shown the way 
by others, a genius who culminated a great and 
febrile epoch. His beginnings were imitative of 
the painters of his day. He climbed the ladder 
from dark to light, from the stiff to the mobile. 
His first works under Courbet and Manet were no 
better than those of Hankwan. Later his pictures 
began to flow rhythmically in simple lines as in 
the Head of a Chinese Lady by Ririomin. Then 
they began to extend into depth, and as early as 
1 88 1 they surpassed Titian. From then on they 
approached steadily to the completeness of a 
modernised Rubens. That Renoir never reached 
that master's greatness is due, not to his lack of 
acute and complete vision, but to his restriction 
of it to small works. A composer who writes a 
symphony in which each minute part is an inti- 
mate factor of the whole, is greater than he who 
writes only an overture whose entirety is no 
greater than one of the symphony's movements. 
Renoir, in so far as he went, was as great as the 
greatest. 



128 MODERN PAINTING 

One cannot think of a Renoir canvas merely 
as a painting. It is a new and visually complete 
cosmos. In looking at his work the intelligence 
enters a world in which every form has interest, 
every line completion, every space a plasticity: 
in short, a world in which everything is visibly 
interrelated. A host of influences have been 
read into Renoir, and indeed there were many in 
his development. But they were only the steps 
by which he mounted to high achievement. So 
unimportant are the works of most of these other 
men when compared with Renoir's personal ac- 
complishments, that one may visualise this artist 
as a raindrop on a window, which, as it flows 
downward, consumes and embodies all those in 
its path. Courbet, Monet, Delacroix and Manet, 
had they no other claim on posterity than as 
instructors of Renoir, would not have lived in 
vain. The Chinese, the Greeks, the Renaissance, 
even that full Indian sculpture in the Chaitya of 
Karli of the eleventh century B. c. are all 
within him. That they are temperamental 
affinities rather than direct influences none can 
deny; but, strange as it may seem, he has traits 
which directly recall each one of them. They all 
have the ineradicable germ of genius in them; 
and that germ, being changeless and eternal, lies 
at the root of all aesthetic creation. For this 
reason a great man belongs to all time. He 
embraces all the results of the struggles which 
have gone before. In the possession of Renoir 
we have no apologies to make to antiquity, any 
more than in having produced Cezanne must we 
abase ourselves before the artists who are yet to 
come. 



VI 
PAUL CEZANNE 

THE dilettante, avid for accounts of an 
artist's eccentricities, will find abundant 
and varied material of this nature in 
half a hundred books written by critics 
of almost every nationality on that astound- 
ing and grotesque colossus, Cezanne. Perhaps 
no great artist in the world's history has been 
so wantonly libelled, maligned and ridiculed as 
he. Nor has there ever been a painter of such 
wide influence so grossly misunderstood. Cezanne 
has been endowed with most fantastic powers, dis- 
missed with a coup d' esprit for attributes he never 
possessed, and canonised for qualities he would 
have repudiated. Like Michelangelo he has 
been both the admiration and the mystery of 
critics. And he is at once the idol and the 
incubus of present-day artists. His letters alone 
have formed the technical basis of one great 
modern art school. A fragmentary phrase of 
his mentioning geometrical figures was seized 
upon by a Spaniard and made the foundation for 
another school. His mention of Poussin drove a 
horde of Scandinavians, Austrians and Bohemians 
to a contemplation of that artist. Cezanne's 
very limitations have been the inspiration for 
an army of hardy imitators who believe it is 
more vital to imitate modernity than to recon- 



i 3 o MODERN PAINTING 

struct the past. Indeed it may be said that all 
art since Impressionism is divided into two 
groups, one which endeavours to develop some 
quality or qualities in Cezanne, the other which 
attempts the anachronism of resuscitating the 
primitive art of a simple-minded antiquity. For 
even this latter group, Cezanne is in part responsi- 
ble. Did he not say that we must become 
classicists again by way of nature? And did 
this not give reactionary and servile minds ample 
excuse to cling with even greater passion to a 
dead and rigid past? In his great sense of order 
his disciples saw only immobility; their minds, 
redundant with parallels, harked back to the 
Egyptians. Thus has he been emulated: but, 
among all these branches shot out from the 
mother trunk, it can be stated incontestably that 
only one has understood him, has penetrated 
beneath the surface of his canvases, has realised 
his true gift to the art of the future. And this 
one, strangely enough, is the furthest removed 
from imitation. 

Cezanne's biography is of value to the art 
student, for it embodies in concrete form the 
factors which motivated his aesthetic appercep- 
tions. By Cezanne's biography is meant, not 
the distorted interpretations of the incidents of 
his life, now so well known, or the superficial 
conclusions deduced by his biographers from 
hearsay; but those actions and temperamental 
characteristics which are impartially set down at 
first hand by Emile Bernard. To this chronicler 
we are indebted for practically all the authentic 
personal anecdotes of the artist. He had always 
admired Cezanne, and in 1904 a personal friend- 



PAUL CEZANNE 131 

ship was established between them, which endured 
until the latter's death. After Cezanne had 
overcome parental objections and had definitely 
decided on an artist's career, he spent much of 
his time in Paris. Many influences entered into 
his early life. He had met Zola at school and 
had been intimate with him. Through him he 
had become acquainted with Manet, and while 
he appreciated Manet's friendliness, he could 
never understand that artist's great popularity. 
He preferred Courbet as a painter, and studied 
him sedulously. His great influence, however, 
came from Pissarro. For that persuasive Jew's 
memory he always harboured a deep respect. 

Cezanne's youth, if one may call forty years a 
youth, was, as he himself put it, filled mostly 
with "literature and laziness." Not until his 
final renunciation of city life and his return to 
the south did his best work begin. At first he 
made friends timidly. He was a man who could 
not brook opposition, who was extremely sensi- 
tive to rebuffs; and those good people of pro- 
vincial France were brusquely aggressive in all 
their beliefs and traditions. At every thought he 
expressed they sneered. He clashed violently and 
disastrously with the local celebrities who had 
the sanction of the established schools. In Paris 
he had been a frank and even garrulous com- 
panion; but at each contact with the narrow, 
self-centered and righteous community of Aix, 
he withdrew into himself. His natural spontane- 
ity and good-fellowship turned inward, became 
restrained and pent-up. He grew sensitive and 
wary, and in later life this defensive attitude 
developed into abnormal irritability. To those 



132 MODERN PAINTING 

who could understand, however, he unburdened 
himself on all subjects, and his opinions were 
always the result of profound thought. But he 
never entirely divulged his methods. If questions 
became too pertinent, he consciously led his 
interrogators astray. "They think I've got a 
trick," he would cry, "and they want to steal 
it. But nobody will ever put his hooks on me 
(pas un ne me mettra le grappin dessus)" He 
had already suffered enough at the hands of self- 
seekers. He had been extravagantly ridiculed 
by his boyhood friends. He had been robbed 
and bullied by his hired architect; and having 
money he had been considered prey by the village 
widows. He permitted himself to be browbeaten 
because of his antipathy to any kind of friction. 
It is small wonder he became misanthropic. 

The popular opinion of Aix was that he was 
crazy, and his chroniclers, almost without excep- 
tion, have echoed this belief. But, to the con- 
trary, his was the highest type of the creative 
mind, always in search for something better, 
never satisfied with present results; the type of 
mind which gives no thought to the acquisition 
or retention of property. His joy lay in his 
creations of the moment, but his desires were far 
ahead. Some one who showed him one of his 
early treasured canvases was ridiculed for liking 
"such things." Every day Cezanne watched his 
evolution: to him this progress was the essential 
thing. He left his unfinished works in the 
meadows, in studio corners, in the nursery. 
They have been found in the most out-of-the- 
way places. He had given large numbers of 
them to chance friends on the impulse of the 



PAUL CEZANNE 133 

moment. His son cut out the windows of his 
masterpieces for amusement, and his servant and 
his wife used his canvases for stove cleaners. 
He saw his work put to these uses tranquilly, 
knowing that later he would do better, that he 
would "realise" more fully. His mind was too 
exalted to be impatient with the pettinesses of 
life. His great aversion was politics, and unlike 
Delacroix, he was above nationality. During 
the Franco-Prussian War he hid with a relative 
that he might pursue his own ideal rather than 
sacrifice himself for the protection of his tor- 
mentors. What did he care for France when his 
whole admiration was for Italy and Holland? 
Painting, not the preservation of nationality, was 
his innermost concern. In evading conscription 
he called down upon him the public abuse which 
such actions evoke. But it passed him by: he 
was too absorbed in his work to heed, just as 
later he was too engrossed to follow his mother's 
hearse to the funeral or to seek a market for his 
pictures. At every step he paused to study the 
rapports of line, of light, of shadow, of colour. 
At table, in conversation or at church, he never 
for a moment lost sight of his desire. One can 
find a parallel for this intellectually ascetic 
creature only in the old martyrs. He was the 
type that renounces all the benefits and usufructs 
of life in order to follow the face of a dream. 

With such self-confidence no adversity could 
daunt him, no logic draw from him a compromise, 
no flourish of enthusiasm distract him from his 
course. Zola says of him: "He is made in one 
piece, stiff and hard under the hand; nothing 
bends him; nothing can wrench from him a 



i 3 4 MODERN POINTING 

concession." This quality of character was a 
thing which Zola, the slave of words, could not 
understand. Cezanne, through much contact 
with letters, saw the danger of literature to the 
painter. "Literature," he wrote, "expresses it- 
self through abstractions, while painting, by 
means of drawing and colour, makes concrete 
the artist's sensations and perceptions." Zola 
libelled him at great length in L'QEuvre. Ce- 
zanne's reply was simply that Zola had a 
"mediocre intelligence" and was a "detestable 
friend." In their youth Cezanne took the as- 
cendency over Zola in Latin and French verse; 
even in his old age he could recite long passages 
from Virgil, Lucretius and Horace. He knew 
literature and was able to judge it. His criti- 
cisms of Zola are as penetrating as any that 
realist has called forth. His reputation for bar- 
barism, vulgarity and ignorance has little 
foundation in fact. To be sure, he did not desert 
his work for social activities: he despised the 
polished and shallow wit of men like Whistler: 
and he bitterly attacked those painters who 
strove for salon popularity. It is therefore not 
incredible that the accusations against him were 
but the world's retaliation for having been ignored 
by him. 

Cezanne's work from the first contained the 
undeniable elements of greatness. In his first, 
almost black-and-white still-lives, executed under 
the influence of Courbet (it is not tenable that 
they were done under Manet, as is commonly 
believed: they are too solidly formed for that), 
there is exhibited a passionate admiration for 
volume and for full and rich chiaroscuro. We 



PAUL CEZANNE 135 

are conscious of the artist's gropings for those 
fundamentals he was finally to discover in the 
seclusion of his rugged country of the south. 
Even his early figure pieces carry this sensual 
delight in objectivity to a greater height than 
did Delacroix by whom they were inspired. 
And they attest to a freedom from academic 
principles which was not surpassed by the Im- 
pressionists. These paintings are classic in the 
best sense; in them is an orderliness which 
Manet and the Impressionists never possessed. 
Yet, withal, they are only the results of the 
literary influences from Delacroix and of his 
admirations for other painters. They are not 
purely creative, but the qualities of creation are 
there. To those who can read the signs, they 
unmistakably indicate the beginnings of a full 
and masterly growth. 

His potentialities began to adtualise with his 
comprehension of El Greco and the Venetians. 
From that period on his power for organisation 
steadily developed, and it was still advancing at 
the time of his death. But organisation touched 
only the compositional side of his work: it was 
the resultant element. His inspiration toward 
colour which emanated from Pissarro was what 
precipitated him irrevocably into painting. 
Colour, by presenting so many problems, claimed 
him entirely. To that Impressionist he owes 
much, not to that artist's actual achievement, 
but to the incentive he furnished. During his 
intimacy with Pissarro, Cezanne completed his 
assimilation of all the traits in others which were 
relative to himself. His beliefs and intransi- 
gencies became crystallised. The road opened 



136 MODERN POINTING 

into fields where that new element of colour, 
which had taken on so vital a significance, led to 
an infinitude of emotional possibilities. Though 
Cezanne never completely became a defender of 
Pissarro's theories, he always looked upon the 
Impressionists as innovators whose importance 
as such could not be overestimated. He realised 
that without them he himself would not have 
existed, and that they had sketched out a preface 
to all the great art which was to come. Without 
them there undoubtedly would have been great 
artists, but he knew that a painter with the means 
of a Renoir is greater than one who, though 
equally competent in organisation, is limited in 
the mechanics of method. Restricted means per- 
mit only of restricted expression. The Impres- 
sionists, having made an advance in aesthetic 
procedure, facilitated the experimentations of 
Cezanne. But he in turn recognised the restric- 
tions of the Impressionists' methods: indeed, he 
saw that their theories could apply only to a 
very circumscribed aesthetic field; and he was 
not content with them. He studied assiduously 
in the Louvre and absorbed the myriad impulses 
which had impelled the great masters of the 
past. The Louvre and Pissarro constituted his 
primer. From the one he got his impetus toward 
voluminous organisation; from the other, his 
impetus toward colour. From their fragmentary 
teachings he went on to greater achievements. 

There is little or no documentary history of 
Cezanne's early years. Consequently his youth- 
ful admirations are not recorded in detail. But 
we know enough to gauge his early tastes. He 
travelled in Holland and Belgium, and though 



PAUL CEZANNE 137 

he never went to Italy, he greatly admired 
Tintoretto and Veronese. He had a high esteem 
for that master of style, Luca Signorelli, who, 
had he not gone into architecture, might have 
become one of the world's great painters. In 
his studio Cezanne kept a water-colour by Dela- 
croix hung face to the wall that it might 
not fade, and beside it a lithograph by Daumier 
whom he regarded highly. We may be sure he 
fully understood the limitations of these men 
aside from their ambitions. To him they were 
points of departure rather than goals to aspire 
to. Both of them he surpassed early in his 
career. Cezanne admired also the Dutch and 
Flemish masters. He had an old and dilapidated 
book of their reproductions full of bad lithographs 
done by inferior craftsmen. But he overlooked 
all their defects in his remembrance of the 
originals. Here, as elsewhere, he ignored those 
details which to another would have militated 
against enjoyment. His mind was too compre- 
hensive and analytic to be led astray by the 
flaws on an otherwise perfect work: it penetrated 
to the essentials first and remained there. 

Thus it was in his work. The exact reproduc- 
tion of nature in any of its manifestations never 
held him for a moment. He saw its eternal 
aspect aside from its accidental visages caused by 
fluctuating lights. In this he was diametrically 
opposed to the Impressionists who recorded only 
nature's temporary phases. They captured and 
set down its atmosphere and were satisfied. 
Cezanne, regarding its atmosphere as an ephem- 
erality, portrayed the lasting force of light. 
"One is the master of one's model and above all 



138 MODERN PAINTING 

of one's means of expression," he wrote. " Pene- 
trate what is before you, and persevere in ex- 
pressing yourself as logically as possible.'* It is 
this penetration which separates Cezanne by an 
impassable gulf from those purely sensitive artists 
who are content with the merely physiological 
effects of an emotion. In the process of pene- 
trating he became familiar with those under- 
currents of causation from which has sprung the 
greatest art of all ages. 

In a Cezanne of the later years not only is the 
form poised in three dimensions, but the very 
light also is poised. We feel in Cezanne the 
same completion we experience before a Rubens 
that emotion of finality caused by the forms 
moving, swelling and grinding in an eternal order; 
and added to this completion of form, heightening 
its emotive power, is the same final organisation 
of illumination. The light suggests no particular 
time of day or night; it is not appropriated from 
morning or afternoon, sunlight or shadow. So 
delicate and perfectly balanced is this light that, 
with the raising or the lowering of the curtain in 
the room where the picture hangs, it will darken 
or brighten perfectly, logically, proportionately 
with the outer light. It lives because it is 
painted with the logic of nature. Whether the 
picture be hung in a bright sunlight or in half 
gloom, it is a creature of its environment. Its 
planes, like those of nature, advance and recede, 
swell and shrink. In short, they are dynamic. 

If this feat of Cezanne's seems to border on 
metaphysics, the reason is that there has been no 
precedent for it in history. It was, in fact, a 
purely technical accomplishment based wholly 




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PAUL CEZANNE 139 

on the most stringently empirical research. The 
manner in which he arrived at this achievement 
may not be entirely insusceptible of explanation. 
It has been pointed out how the Impressionists 
broke up surfaces into minute sensitive parts, 
some of which reflected or absorbed more than 
others. That which gives us our sensation of 
colour is the atomic preponderance of one of 
these attributes. Thus if an atom or combination 
of atoms reflects highly it translates itself through 
the retina into our brains as a high force, namely, 
as a yellow. If an atom absorbs more than it 
reflects, it takes and retains the reflective force 
of light, and, in discharging this limited power, 
produces in us the sensation of blue. Now, that 
point on a round object where the light is 
strongest is the point nearest the light. As the 
planes of the object curve away from the light 
they diminish in brilliancy. The further the 
plane from the point nearest the illumination, 
the less light it has to reflect. Consequently it 
will appear bluish. The Impressionists were 
satisfied with recording this blue of shadow 
merely as the complement of the light which was 
yellow. But Cezanne studied each degradation 
of tone from yellow to blue. In this study he 
discovered that light always graduates from 
warm to cold in precisely the same way; and, 
that, provided the model is white, each step 
down the tonic scale is the same on no matter 
what object. But this discovery was little more 
than a premise. He was now necessitated to 
solve the problem of just how much the local 
colour of an object modifies the natural colours 
of the light and shadow which reveal that object. 



i 4 o MODERN PAINTING 

In all coloured objects the modifications are 
different, according to the laws of colour com- 
plementaries and admixtures. By keeping these 
laws always in mind, and by applying his dis- 
covery of the consistent gradations of the colours 
of light, he was able to paint in such a way that, 
no matter how much or how little outside light 
of a uniform quality fell on his canvas, the 
colours he had applied would, as they retreated 
from the most highly illuminated point on the 
picture, absorb a graduatingly smaller quantity 
of actual light, and would thus create emotional 
form in the same manner that nature creates 
visual form. Hence, the planes in a Cezanne 
canvas advance or recede en masse, retaining 
their relativity, as the eye excludes or receives 
a greater or a lesser quantity of light; and since 
the light never remains the same for any period 
of time, the planes bulge toward the spectator 
and retract from him with each minute variation 
of illumination. 

In all painting prior to Cezanne, the natural 
variations of light distorted the objects of a 
picture: that is to say, the colours of external 
light changed the character of the applied colours, 
making some advance and others retreat; and 
because these applied colours were not put on 
with the exact logic of natural gradations, the 
proportions between them could not be main- 
tained. Thus in one light certain objects ad- 
vanced more than others, and in another light 
certain objects receded more than others. Their 
relativity was lost. Hence, not only was the 
picture's composition and balance altered, but 
the appearance of its objects belied the actual 



PAUL CEZANNE 141 

measurements. These variations were so small 
that the untrained eye might not have seen 
them, any more than an untrained ear may not 
detect the slight variations of pitch in music. 
But to the man whose eye is trained, even to the 
degree that a good musician's ear is trained, 
pictures appear "off" in the same way that a 
poorly tuned piano sounds "off" to the sensitive 
musician. Cezanne, had he never achieved any 
intrinsically great art, would still be a colossal 
figure in painting because of this basic and 
momentous discovery. The Impressionists had 
been content with the mere discovery of light. 
Their theory was, not that one can enjoy the 
natural light of out-of-doors more than the 
abstract light in a canvas, but that, since every 
one of nature's moods is the result of degrees of 
illumination, these moods can only be recorded 
by the depiction of natural light; and therefore 
out-of-door light is an aesthetic means. Cezanne 
recognised the limitations of this theory, but 
considered it an admirable opening for higher 
achievement. He thereupon stripped the Im- 
pressionists' means of their ephemeral plasticity, 
and, by using the principles, and not the results, 
of nature's method, gave them an eternal plas- 
ticity which no great art of the future can afford 
to ignore, and which in time, no doubt, will lead 
to the creation of an entirely new art. 

Although Cezanne had many times given out 
broad hints of his methods, his friends and 
critics were too busy trying to discover other less 
concise qualities in his work to appreciate the 
full significance of his occasional words. Herein 
lies the main reason why an untechnical onlooker 



I 4 2 MODERN PAINTING 

and admirer can never sound the depths of art. 
He is too detached, for, not having followed its 
logical evolution from the simplest forms to the 
most complex, he is unable to understand the 
complicated mechanism on which it is built. 
Critics for the most part are writers whose 
admiration for art has been born in front of the 
completed works of the great masters. Unable 
to comprehend them fully, they turn to a con- 
templation of the simple and naif. Their process 
of valuation is thus reversed. Great art is as 
a rule too compounded for their analytical powers, 
and they end by imagining that the primitives 
and the mosaicists represent the highest and most 
conscious type of the creative will. What to 
them is incomprehensible appears of little value; 
and here we find the explanation for the popular 
theory that the test of great art is its simplicity, 
its humanitas, its obviousness. Persons who 
would not pretend to grasp without study the 
principles of modern science, still demand that 
art be sufficiently lucid to be comprehended at 
once by the untutored mind. A physician may 
tell them of profundities in medical experimenta- 
tion, and they will accept his views as those of 
an expert in a science of which they are ignorant. 
But when an artist tells them of recondite 
principles in aesthetics they accuse him of an 
endeavour to befuddle them. The isolation of 
bacilli and the application of serums and anti- 
toxins are mysteries which call for respect. The 
equally scientific and obscure principles of colour 
and form are absurd imaginings. And yet with- 
out a scientific basis art is merely an artifice 
the New Thought in aesthetics. Readily com- 



PAUL CEZANNE 143 

prehensible painting is no further advanced than 
readily comprehensible therapeutics. 

Emile Bernard was little different from the 
average critic. In attributing to Cezanne his 
own limitations, he restricted what he might 
otherwise have learned. But the literalness with 
which he recorded the artist's sayings makes his 
book of paramount interest. We read for in- 
stance that Cezanne once remarked: "Here is 
something incontestable; I am most affirmative 
on this point: An optical sensation is produced 
in our visual organ by what we class as light, 
half tone or quarter tone, each plane being repre- 
sented by colour sensations. Therefore light as 
such does not exist for the painter." By this 
he broadly hinted at an absolute relativity be- 
tween the degrees of light forces a relativity 
which translates itself to us as colour gradations. 
Again Cezanne said: "One should not say model 
but modulate. . . . Drawing and colour are not 
distinct; as one paints one draws. The more 
the colours harmonise [namely: follow nature's 
logical sequences], the more precise is the draw- 
ing." Precision in drawing to Cezanne meant 
among other things the ability to produce volume. 
Again: "When colour is richest, form is at its 
plenitude. In the contrasts and rapports of 
tones lies the secret of drawing and of modelling." 
In a letter he wrote: "Lines parallel to the 
horizon create vastness (donnent Vetendue), whether 
it be a section of nature, or if you choose, of the 
spectacle that the Pater omnipotens ceternus Deus 
spreads before our eyes. Lines perpendicular to 
this horizon give depth. And since nature for us 
human beings exists in depth rather than sur- 



144 MODERN PAINTING 

facely, the painter is necessitated to introduce 
into light vibrations, represented by reds and 
yellows, a sufficient amount of blue to make the 
air felt." 

These observations are of paramount interest 
because they touch on the essential principles of 
his estbetique. They are at once an explanation 
and a measure of his significance. Like all great 
truths they appear simple after we know them, 
or rather after we have experienced them. Dau- 
mier might have stated with certitude the same 
principles in relation to tone, for he always 
practised them qualifiedly. Though his means 
were limited, he employed those means as fully 
as his materials permitted. Cezanne, because he 
possessed the greater element colour, con- 
structed his canvases as nature presents its ob- 
jects to the sight, as a unique whole. With all 
of the older painters drawing came first, chiaro- 
scuro second and colour third three distinct 
steps, each one conceived separately. Daumier 
was the first painter to approach simultaneity in 
execution. Ignorant of colour, he conceived his 
drawing and chiaroscuro together. Cezanne went 
a step beyond, and conceived his drawing, form 
and colour as one and the same, in the exact 
manner that these qualities, united in each 
natural object, present themselves to the eye. 
His method was the same as the mechanism of 
human vision. Compared with Cezanne, Monet 
was only fragmentary. Not only in methods did 
they differ but in objective as well. The Im- 
pressionists' aim was to reproduce nature's exter- 
nals: Cezanne's desire was to reproduce its 
solidity. Both achieved their ends. Cezanne's 



PAUL CEZANNE 145 

pictures are as impenetrable as sculpture. Every 
object seems hewn out of marble. 

Solidity alone, however, though a high and 
necessary virtue of painting, is a limited quality. 
Unless it is made mobile it gives off the impres- 
sion of rigidity. It is to painting what the 
rough clay is to sculpture the dead material of 
art. In order for it to engender aesthetic em- 
pathy it must be organised, that is, it must be 
harmonised and poised in three dimensions in 
such a way that, should we translate our bodies 
into its spacial forms, we should experience its 
dynamism. This Cezanne did, and therein lay 
his claim to greatness. In his best canvases there 
seems no way of veering a plane, of imagining 
one plane changing places with another, unless 
every plane in the picture is shifted simultane- 
ously. Cezanne's solidity is organised like the 
volumes in Michelangelo's best sculpture. Move 
an arm of any one of these statues, and every 
other part of the figure, down to the smallest 
muscle, must change position. Their plasticity, 
like Cezanne's, is perfect. There is a complete 
ordonnance between every minute part, and 
between every group of parts. Nothing can be 
added or taken away without changing the 
entire structure in all its finest details. Cezanne 
once said to Ambroise Vollard, a picture mer- 
chant, who had called attention to a small 
uncovered spot on a canvas which the artist had 
pronounced finished: "You will understand that 
if I were to put something there haphazardly, I 
should have to start the whole picture over from 
that point." 

The individual solidity of Cezanne's colour 



146 MODERN PAINTING 

planes is due to the eternalism and absolutism 
of his light. But it was the other qualities which 
entered into his art which brought about the 
interdependence of the parts and evoked the 
sensation of unity we feel before them. One of 
these qualities was a perfect rapport of lines. 
Cezanne, better than any other painter up to his 
day, understood how one slanting line modifies 
its direction when coming in contact with another 
line moving from a different direction. When 
colour was first investigated realistically, artists 
saw that two pure complementary tints, when 
juxtaposed, tended to draw away from each 
other and to differentiate themselves. Therefore 
they set about to study the influence that one 
colour has upon another, assuming that lines 
were more static and absolute and consequently 
did not change at contact with other lines. 
Cezanne recognised the fallacy of this assumption, 
and wrote: "I see the planes criss-crossing and 
overlapping, and sometimes the lines seem to 
fall." He realised that the laws governing the 
opposition of line are most important in the 
production of the emotion of movement. In all 
the old painters this emotion was engendered by 
just such devices, but with them the laws were 
only dimly suspected instincts rather than 
applied science. In contemplating their work 
we seem torn by some physical impulse to follow 
one line, but cannot, because the lure of the 
other line is equally great. 

To the man of sensitive and trained eyesight 
this physical emotion is incited also by nature, 
only nature is more complex than art and is 
without aesthetic finality. Thus in regarding the 



PAUL CEZANNE 147 

rapports of two lines in nature, one leaning to 
the right and one to the left, the highly sensitive 
person feels unrest and strife, and subconsciously 
produces order and calm by imagining a third 
line which harmonises the original two. Cezanne 
looked upon nature with perhaps the most deli- 
cate and perceptive eye a painter has ever 
possessed, and his vision became a theatre for 
the violent struggles of some one line against 
terrible odds, for the warring clashes of inhar- 
monious colours. He saw in objective nature a 
chaos of disorganised movement, and he set 
himself the task of putting it in order. In 
studying the variations and qualifications of 
linear directions in his model, he discovered 
another method of accentuating the feeling of 
dynamism in his canvases. He stated lines, not 
in their static character, but in their average of 
fluctuation. We know that all straight lines are 
influenced by their surroundings, that they appear 
bent or curved when related to other lines. The 
extent to which a line is thus optically bent is its 
extreme of fluctuability. Cezanne determined this 
extreme in all of his lines, and by transcribing 
them midway between their actual and optical 
states, achieved at once their normality and 
their extreme abnormality. The character, direc- 
tion and curve of all lines in a canvas change 
with every shifting of the point of visual contact. 
Since the unity of a picture is different from every 
focus, all the lines consequently assume a slightly 
different direction every time our eye shifts 
from one spot to another. Cezanne, by recording 
the mean of linear changeability, facilitated and 
hastened this vicissitude of mutation. 



i 4 8 MODERN PAINTING 

Another contribution he made to painting was 
his application of the stereoscopic function of the 
eye to all models by means of colour. From the 
earliest art to Cezanne, objects have been por- 
trayed as if conceived in vacuo, with absolute and 
delimited contours. Such portrayals are directly 
opposed to our normal vision, for whenever we 
focus our sight on any natural object whatever, 
each eye records a different perspective repre- 
sentation of that object; there is a distinct binocu- 
lar parallax. Certain parts are seen by one eye 
which are invisible to the other. But these two 
visual impressions are perceived simultaneously, 
combined in one image; that is to say: the optic 
axes converge at such an angle that both the 
right and left monocular impressions are superim- 
posed. The single impression thus produced is 
one of perspective and relief. This is a rudi- 
mentary law of optics, but on it our accuracy of 
vision has always depended. In the lenticular 
stereoscope the eye-glasses are marginal portions 
of the same convex lens, which, when set edge to 
edge, deflect the rays from the picture so as to 
strike the eyes as if coming from an intermediate 
point. By this bending of the rays the two 
pictures become one impression, and present the 
appearance of solid forms as in nature. The 
problem of how to transcribe on a flat surface in 
a single picture the effect later produced by a 
stereoscope with two pictures, has confronted 
painters for hundreds of years. Leonardo da 
Vinci in his Trattato della Pittura recorded the 
fact that our vision encompasses to a slight 
degree everything that passes before it; that we 
see around all objects; and that this encircling 



PAUL CEZANNE 149 

sight gives us the sensation of rotundity. But 
neither he, nor any artist up to Cezanne, was 
able to make aesthetic use of the fad:. The 
vision of all older painting (although by the use 
of line and composition it became plastic because 
used as a detail) was the vision of the man with 
one eye, for a one-eyed man sees nature as a 
flat plane: only by association of the relative 
size of objects is he capable of judging depth. 
Cezanne saw the impossibility of producing a 
double vision by geometric rules, and approached 
the problem from another direction. By under- 
standing the functioning elements of colour in their 
relation to texture and space, he was able to 
paint forms in such a way that each colour he 
applied took its relative position in space and 
held each part of an object stationary at any 
required distance from the eye. As a result of 
his method we can judge the depth and sense the 
solidity of his pictures the same as we do in 
nature. 

Cezanne was ever attempting to solve the 
problem of the dynamics of vision. An analysis 
of his pictures often reveals a uniform leaning 
of lines a tendency of all the objects to pre- 
cipitate themselves upon a certain spot, like the 
minute flotsam on a surface of water being sucked 
through a drain-hole. We find an explanation 
for this convergence in one of his letters. He 
says: "In studying nature closely, you will 
observe that it becomes concentric. I mean that 
on an orange, an apple, a ball or a head there is 
a culminating point; and this point, despite the 
strong effects of light and shadow which are 
colour sensations, is always the nearest to our 



ISO MODERN PAINTING 

eye. The edges of objects retreat toward a 
centre which is situated on our horizon." It is 
small wonder that Cezanne, obsessed with the 
idea of form and depth, should have had little 
admiration for his contemporaries, Van Gogh 
and Gauguin, both of whom were workmen in 
the flat. He let pass no opportunity of express- 
ing himself on these artists who of late years 
have become so popular. Van Gogh was to him 
only another Pointillist; and he called Gauguin's 
work " des images Chinoises," adding, "I will 
never accept his entire lack of modelling and 
gradation." Does not this explain his aversion 
to the primitives in whom he saw but the rudi- 
ments of art? How could Cezanne, preoccupied 
with the most momentous problems of aesthetics, 
take an interest in enlarged book illuminations, 
when the most superficial corner of his slightest 
canvas had more organisation and incited a 
greater aesthetic emotion than all the mosaics in 
S. Vitale at Ravenna? 

Cezanne was never attracted by the facial 
expressions, the manual attitudes, or the graceful 
poses of his models. The characteristics of ma- 
teriality meant nothing to him. He was per- 
petually searching for something more profound, 
and began his art where the average painter 
leaves off. Realistic attributes are interesting 
only as decoration; they are indicative of the 
simplicity of man's mind; they are unable to 
conduce to an extended aesthetic experience. Van 
Gogh and Gauguin said well what they had to 
say, but it was so slight that it is of little interest 
to us today. We demand a greater stimulus 
than an art of two dimensions can give; our 



PAUL CEZANNE 151 

minds instinctively extend themselves into space. 
So it was with Cezanne. He left no device 
untried which would give his work a greater 
depth, a more veritable solidity. He experi- 
mented in colour from this standpoint, then in 
line, then in optics. With the results of this 
research he became possessed of all the necessary 
factors of colossal organisation. He knew that, 
were these factors rightly applied, they would 
produce a greater sensation of weight, of force 
and of movement than any artist before him had 
succeeded in attaining. 

Their application presented to Cezanne his 
most difficult problem. He must use his dis- 
coveries in these three fields in such a way that 
the very disposition of weights would produce 
that perfect balance of stress and repose, out of 
which emanates all aesthetic movement. The 
simplest manifestation of this balance is found 
in the opposition of line; but in order to complete 
this linear adjustment there must be an opposi- 
tion of colours which, while they must function 
as volumes, must also accord with the character 
of the natural object portrayed. In short, there 
must be an opposition of countering weights, not 
perfectly balanced so as to create a dead equality, 
but rhythmically related so that the effect is one 
of swaying poise. Obviously this could not be 
accomplished on a flat surface, for the emotion 
of depth is a necessity to the recognition of 
equilibrium. Cezanne finally achieved this poise 
by a plastic distribution of volumes over and 
beside spacial vacancies. He mastered this basic 
principle of the hollow and the bump only after 
long and trying struggles and tedious experi- 



152 MODERN PAINTING 

mentations. He translated it into terms of his 
own intellection: to the extent that there was 
order within him so was he able to put order 
into his pictures. This vision of his was intel- 
lectual rather than optical; and M. Bernard 
unnecessarily tells us that, so sure was Cezanne 
of his justification, he placed his colours on 
canvas with the same absolutism he used in 
expressing himself verbally. His art was his 
thought given concrete form through the medium 
of nature. His painting was the result of a 
mental process an intellectual conclusion after 
it had been weighed, added to, substracted from, 
modified by exterior considerations, and at last 
brought forth purged and clarified and as nearly 
complete as was his development at the time. 

For this reason Cezanne resented the presence 
of people while he worked. To attain his ends 
his mind had to be concentrated on its ultimate 
ambition. It could support no disturbing factors. 
Even though he had no trick which might be 
copied, he once said to a friend: "I have never 
permitted anyone to watch me while I work. 
I refuse to do anything before anyone." Had he 
allowed spectators to stand over him he probably 
would have fatigued them, for his work pro- 
gressed by single strokes interspersed by long 
periods of reflection and analysis. M. Bernard 
would hear him descend to the garden a score 
of times during the day's work, sit a moment 
and rush back to the studio as if some solution 
had presented itself to him suddenly. At other 
times he would walk back and forth before his 
picture awaiting the answer to a problem before 
him. It is such deliberateness in great artists 



PAUL CEZANNE 153 

that has, curiously enough, acquired for them 
a reputation for esotericism. Their moments of 
deep contemplation and their sudden plunges into 
labour have been interpreted as periods of intel- 
lectual coma shot through occasionally by "divine 
flashes of inspiration" coming from an outside 
agent. The reverse is true, however. An artist 
retains his sentiency at all times. He necessarily 
works consciously, with the same intellectual 
labours as a scientist. A painter can no more 
produce a great picture unwittingly than an 
inventor can construct an intricate machine 
unwittingly. They are both labourers in the 
most plebeian sense. 

Cezanne's hatred for facile and thoughtless 
workmen who continually entertain amateurs, 
was monumental. To him they were pupils who, 
by learning a few rules, were able to paint con- 
ventional pieces after the manner of thousands 
who had preceded him. They represented the 
academicians with whom every country is over- 
run the suave and satisfied craftsmen who 
epitomise mediocrity, whose appeal is to minds 
steeped in pedantry and conservatism. In France 
they come out of the government-run Beaux- 
Arts school to which the incompetents of both 
America and England flock. Cezanne harboured 
a particular enmity for that school; anyone who 
had passed through it aroused his scorn. "With 
a little temperament anyone can be an academic 
painter," he said. "One can make pictures with- 
out being a harmonist or a colourist. It is 
enough to have an art sense and even this 
art sense is without doubt the horror of the 
bourgeois. Thus the institutes, the pensions and 



iS4 MODERN POINTING 

the honours are only made for cretins, farceurs 
and drolls." 

In writing of Cezanne one is led to make a 
comparison between him and his great com- 
patriot, Renoir, for it is almost unbelievable that 
one century could have produced two such radi- 
I cally different geniuses. Renoir, first of all, was 
/ not an innovator: he was the consummation of 
[ Impressionistic means. In Cezanne, to the con- 
trary, we see a man dissatisfied with the greatest 
results of others, ever tortured by the search for 
something more final, more potent. "Let us not 
be satisfied with the formulas of our wonderful 
antecedents," he said many times, and he might 
have added, "and of our wonderful contempo- 
raries." Renoir was the apex of an art era, while 
Cezanne was the first segment of a greater and 
vaster cycle. Renoir, by mastering his means at 
an early date, acquired a technical facility to 
which Cezanne, ever on the hunt for deeper con- 
fptions, never attained. Renoir's genius was for 
linear rhythm. In the acquisition of this there 
entered, in varying degree, form, colour and light; 
but the line itself was his preoccupation. Cezanne's 
genius was for plastic volume out of which the 
rhythmic line resulted. That is: the one con- 
structed his creations out of colour and made 
colour appear like form; while in the other's 
creations, which are the result of colour, the 
colour is felt to be form. In Renoir is recognised 
the solidity and depth of form, while in Cezanne 
the colour is a functional element whose dyna- 
mism gives birth to form which is felt subjectively. 
Renoir synthesises nature's forms, by grouping 
them in such a way that the lines move and are 



PAUL CEZANNE 155 

harmonious. Cezanne looks for the synthesis in 
each subject he sits before, and instead of group- 
ing his forms arbitrarily, he penetrates to their 
inherent synthesis. This is why almost every one 
of his pictures is built on a different synthetic 
form. His penetration gave him at each essay a 
different vision of the organisms of a particular 
subject, a vision which varied as the subject 
varied. In Renoir movement is attained by 
relating the lines: Cezanne has produced harmony 
by accentuating their differences. In the former 
the lines lead smoothly and fluently into others, 
until they all culminate in a line which carries 
the movement to a finality; while in the latter 
we feel little of that suavity of sequence: the lines 
are formed by the spaces between his volumes 
rather than by linear continuation. Cezanne, 
if less pleasing, is the more powerful; and with 
all his lack of suavity he is the more complex 
and less monotonous. The extraordinary imprevu 
of his formal developments and his unique man- 
ner of stating parallels recall the symphonic works 
of Beethoven. The ensembles of both are made 
up of an infinitude of smaller forms, and both 
display a colossal power of absoluteness in set- 
ting forth each smallest form. Renoir's work is 
more on the lines of Haydn. 

After Michelangelo there was no longer any 
new inspiration for sculpture. After Cezanne 
there was no longer any excuse for it. He has 
made us see that painting can present a more 
solid vision than that of any stone image. Against 
modern statues we can only bump our heads: in 
the contemplation of modern painting we can 
exhaust our intelligences. Cezanne is as much a 



I 5 6 MODERN PAINTING 

reproach to sculptors as Renoir is to those who 
continue to use Impressionist methods. He is the 
great prophet of future art, as well as the con- 
summator of the realistic vision of his time. Both 
men deformed nature's objects Renoir slightly 
to meet the demands of consistency in his pre- 
conceived compositions; Cezanne to a greater 
extent in order to make form voluminous. Some 
of his deformations resulted from extraneous line 
forces which, when coming in contact with an 
object's contour, made it lean to the right or left, 
or in some other way take on an abnormal 
appearance as of convexity or concavity. 

M. Bernard thinks these irregularities in Cezanne 
the result of defective eyesight. But such an 
explanation is untenable. There is abundant 
evidence to show that, to the contrary, they are 
the result of a highly sensitised sight a sight 
which simultaneously calls up the complementary 
of the thing viewed, whether it be a line, a colour 
or a tone. This double vision is only a depen- 
dency of the plastic mind which, instead of ap- 
proaching a problem from the nearest side, throws 
itself automatically to the opposite side, and, by 
thus obtaining a double approach, arrives at a 
fuller comprehension. While slanting his line 
and distorting his volumes Cezanne was uncon- 
sciously moulding the parts to echo the organisa- 
tion of the whole. In turning his pictures into 
block-manifestations, he strove for a result which 
would conduce to a profounder aesthetic pleasure 
than did the linear movements of Renoir. After 
we have enjoyed Renoir's rhythms we can lay 
them aside for the time as we can a very beauti- 
ful but simple melody. The force of Cezanne 




POMMES SUR UNE TABLE 



CEZANNE 



PAUL CEZANNE 157 

strikes us like that of a vast bulk or a mountain. 
Contemplating his work is like coming suddenly 
face to face with an ordered elemental force. At 
first we are conscious only of a shock, but when 
our wonder has abated, we find ourselves studying 
the smaller forms which go into the picture's 
making. In the 1902 Baigneuses of Renoir each 
separate figure is a beautiful and complete form 
which fits into and becomes part of the general 
rhythm. In Cezanne the importance of parts is 
entirely submerged in the effect of the whole. 
Here is the main difference between these two 
great men: we enjoy each part of Renoir and are 
conducted by line to a completion; in Cezanne 
we are struck simultaneously by each interrelated 
part. Viewing a canvas of the latter is like 
going out into the blazing sunlight from the cool 
sombreness of a house. At first we are aware 
only of the force of the light, but as we gradually 
become accustomed to the glare, we begin to per- 
ceive separately objects which before had been 
only a part of the general impression. The fact 
that Cezanne invariably spoke of the "motif" 
should have given his friends a clue to his con- 
ception of composition. Before him composition 
had been to a great extent the formation of a 
simple melody of line in three dimensions, con- 
structed by the forms of objects. It corresponded 
to the purely melodious in music, the opening of 
the theme, its sequence of phrasing and the 
finale. Cezanne chose a motif, and in each move- 
ment of his picture it is to be found, varied, 
elaborated, reversed and developed. Each part 
of his canvas is a beginning, yet each part, though 
distinct as a form, is perfectly united both with 



158 MODERN PAINTING 

the opening motif and with every variation 
of it. 

In this little-understood side of Cezanne's gen- 
ius lies an infinitude of possibilities. Without 
an ability to organise, all his knowledge is worth- 
less to the painter. He himself could apply it, 
and his understanding of the exact adaptability 
of a form to a hollow permitted him to express 
his knowledge with a force his followers lack. 
His sensitiveness to spaces and the characters of 
his forms recall at times the works of Mokkei 
who used protuberances and hollows (namely: 
accidents of portraiture and landscape) to enrich 
and diversify form. Nature to Cezanne was not 
simple, and he never depicted it thus. Even in 
his bathing pieces, whose disproportions are de- 
plored by many, the composition is minutely 
conceived, not on a simple harmonic figure, but 
on complicated oppositional planes. Not only 
are the surface forms perfectly adapted to a given 
space, but the directions taken by these forms are 
as solidly indicated and the vacancies made by them 
are as solidly filled in, as in a Rubens. Indeed 
these canvases, as block-manifestations, are nearly 
as perfect as the pictures of El Greco who was 
the greatest master of this kind of composition. 

Cezanne should be numbered among the experi- 
menters in art. With him, as with the Impres- 
sionists, the desire was to learn rather than to 
utilise discoveries. The painters from Courbet 
to Cezanne were the first to usher in an authen- 
tically realistic art mode, and they were also the 
first who sensed the possibilities of inanimate 
reality for aesthetic organisation. Others before 
them had regarded nature strictly en amateur, using 



PAUL CEZANNE 159 

only the human body for abstract purposes. Even 
Michelangelo said that aside from it there was 
nothing worth while. These modern innovators 
refuted his assertion by proving the contrary, 
namely: by introducing order into chaotic nature. 
Their simple arrangements, however, would not 
have satisfied Michelangelo who, like all men who 
come at a florescence when the lessons have 
been learned and it remains only to apply them, 
demanded an arbitrary organisation which should 
be not only ordered but composed. Cezanne did 
little composing in the melodic sense of the word. 
He stopped at the gate of great composition which, 
after pointing the future way, he left for his 
successors to enter. His synthetic interest was 
limited to the eternal fugue qualities of nature. 
He undoubtedly saw the futility of creating poly- 
phonic composition from lemons and napkins, 
but he had not found a menstruum in which the 
qualities of his materials would disappear. The 
old masters had done all that was possible with 
the recognisable human body; Cezanne's desires 
for the purification of painting kept him from 
attempting to improve on their medium. 

Among a great scope of oil subjects one cannot 
say through which of them Cezanne has exerted 
the strongest influence. His landscapes have 
made as many disciples as his portraits, and his 
figure pieces and still-lives are universally copied. 
But his greatest work, his water-colours, has 
almost no following. In these he found his most 
facile and fluent expression. His method of work- 
ing in oil had always been the posing of small, 
slightly oblong touches of colour which gave his 
canvases the appearance of perfect mosaics. In 



160 MODERN PAINTING 

his water-colour pictures these touches are placed 
side by side with little or no thought of their 
ultimate objective importance, and they become 
larger planes of unmixed tints juxtaposed in such 
a way that voluminous form results. His work 
in this most difficult medium has an abstract 
significance, for in it even the objective colouring 
of natural objects is unnoticeable. The colours 
stand by themselves; and while the aspect of 
Cezanne's pictures in this medium is flat and al- 
most transparent, the subjective emotion we 
feel before them is greater than in his oil work. 
In these pictures there was no going back to re- 
touch. They had to be visualised as a whole 
before they could be commenced. Each brush 
stroke had to be a definite and irretrievable step 
toward the completion of the ensemble. As we 
study them a slow shifting of the planes is felt: 
an emotional reconstruction takes place, and at 
length the volumes begin their turning, advancing 
and retreating as in his oil paintings, only here 
the purely aesthetic quality is unadulterated by 
objective reality. In these water-colours, more 
than in any of his other work, has he posed the 
question of aesthetic beauty itself. When we 
contemplate them, we are more than ever con- 
vinced that Cezanne was the first painter, that is, 
the first man to express himself entirely in the 
medium of his art, colour. Unfortunately these 
pictures are difficult of access. Only occasionally 
are they exposed in a group. Bernheim-Jeune 
has a magnificent collection of them, and it is to 
be hoped they will soon find their way into public 
museums. Eventually, when a true comprehen- 
sion of this great man comes, they will supplant 



PAUL CEZANNE 161 

his other efforts. His desires for a pure art are 
here expressed most intensely. 

Cezanne, however, is not always able to 
"realise," as he put it. Even in these water- 
colours he did not attain his desire. He started 
too late in life to acquire complete mastery over 
his enormous means. "One must be a workman 
in one's art, must know one's method of realisa- 
tion," he said. "One must be a painter by the 
very qualities of painting, by making use of the 
rough materials of art." He failed to gain that 
great facility by which supreme realisation is 
achieved, because the span of life accorded him 
was too short. He was old when his best work 
was begun, and like Joseph Conrad, he had 
passed his youth before the great ambition fired 
him. "Realising" to him meant the handling of 
his stupendous means as easily as the academicians 
handled their puny ones. This he could never do, 
and his age haunted him to the end. Many have 
taken him literally when he said he desired to 
expose in Bouguereau's Salon, but though he 
earnestly wished it, he desired to be received there 
as Bouguereau was: as one who had mastered 
his expression. "The exterior appearance is 
nothing," he explained. "The obstacle is that I 
don't realise sufficiently." In other words, he 
did not have great enough fluency to permit only 
the highest qualities of his art to be felt. In his 
gigantic efforts to "realise," his pictures changed 
colour and form many times before they were 
finished. His respect and admiration for inferior 
men like Bouguereau and Couture was due to 
their enviable facility in handling their means. 
He knew that the fundamental and unalterable 



162 MODERN PAINTING 

laws of organisation had been found and perfected 
by the old masters, and that, so long as we were 
human, we must build on their discoveries. 
"Only to realise like the Venetians!" he cried. 
And later: "We must again become classicists 
by way of nature, that is to say, by sensation. 
... I am old, and it is possible I shall die with- 
out having attained this great end." A year 
before his death he said: 'Yes, I am too old; I 
have not realised, and I shall never realise now. 
I shall remain the primitive of the way I have 
discovered." 

The prediction proved true, but his destiny was 
none the less a glorious one. Deprived of the 
phrenetic impulse which took him in all weathers 
over country roads to the "motif" from six 
o'clock in the morning until dark, he would 
never have achieved' what he did. The facT: of 
this great modern genius going to work in a hired 
carriage, too weak to walk, should be a lesson to 
those painters who are always awaiting the com- 
bination of propitious circumstances which will 
provide them with a perfecT: studio, a perfect 
model and a perfect desire. Cezanne, however, 
knew his high place in art history. Once when 
Balzac's Le Chef-d'CEuvre Inconnu was brought 
up in conversation and the name of its hero, 
Frenhofer, was mentioned, he arose with tears in 
his eyes and indicated himself with a single 
gesture. So sure was he of what he wanted to do 
that when he failed he discarded his canvases. 
Many of them are only half covered. He could 
never pad merely to fill out an arbitrary frame. 

With Cezanne's death came his apotheosis. 
As he had predicted, thousands rushed in and 



PAUL CEZANNE 163 

cleverly imitated his surfaces, his colour gamuts, 
his distortions of line. His white wooden tables 
and ruddy apples and twisted fruit-dishes have 
lately become the etiquette of sophistication. 
But all this is not authentic eulogy. Derain, 
his most ardent imitator, is as ignorant of him as 
Nadelmann is of the Greeks or Archipenko is of 
Michelangelo. And the majority of those who 
have written books concerning him merely echo 
the unintelligent commotion that goes on about 
his name. Cezanne's significance lies in his gifts 
to the painters of the future, to those in whom 
the creative instinct is a sacred and exalted thing, 
to those serious and solitary men whose insati- 
ability makes of them explorers in new fields. 
To such artists Cezanne will always be the primi- 
tive of the way that they themselves will take, for 
there can be no genuine art of the future without 
his directing and guiding hand. His postulates 
are too solidly founded on human organisms ever 
to be ignored. He may be modified and developed: 
he can never be set aside until the primal emotions 
of life are changed. Only today is he beginning 
to be understood, and even now his claim to true 
greatness is questioned. But Cezanne, judged 
either as a theorist or as an achiever, is the pre- 
eminent figure in modern art. Renoir alone 
approaches his stature. Purely as a painter he is 
the greatest the world has produced. In the 
visual arts he is surpassed only by El Greco, 
Michelangelo and Rubens. 



VII 
THE NEO-IMPRESSIONISTS 

THE Impressionists, although they turned 
their backs upon casual selectivism and 
branched out into analytic research, had 
contrary to the generally accepted 
opinion no precise and scientific method of 
colour application. This came later with the 
advent of a group of painters who have been 
called, in turn, Pointillists, Divisionists, Chromo- 
luminarists and Neo-Impressionists, but who 
chose to regard themselves only as the last of 
these four designations. And there is perhaps 
more logic in this nomenclature, for it is not 
limited technically; it contains no claim to achieve- 
ment as does Chromo-luminarism; and it suggests 
this new school's consanguinity with the move- 
ment out of which it grew. With Delacroix's 
Journal, the pictures of Claude Monet and Chev- 
reul's pioneer treatise on colour, De la Loi du 
Contraste Simultane des Couleurs, the Neo- 
Impressionists evolved a coldly scientific method 
of technique. By carrying a simple premise to 
its ultimate conclusion, regardless of everything 
save the exacting demands of logic, they endeav- 
oured to heighten the emotional effect of the 
Impressionist vision. In this movement, as in 
other similar ones, can be detected the spirit 



THE NEO-IMPRESSIONISTS 165 

which animates the ardent visionary when he 
contemplates a novel method the spirit which 
invites him to go to even greater extremes. In 
it there is as much enthusiasm as serious purpose, 
as much of the essence of youth as of the arri- 
viste. In no instance has such a spirit led to 
significant results; and the Neo-Impressionists 
prove no exception. In looking too fixedly at 
means, they lost sight of their ends. Their debut 
took place at the last concerted exhibition of the 
Impressionists in 1886 where the canvases of 
Seurat and Signac were hung beside those of 
Cassatt, Bracquemond, Morisot, Camille and 
Lucien Pissarro, Gauguin, Guillaumin, Redon, 
Schuffenecker, Tillot, Degas, Forain and Vignon. 
Here was seen for the first time the logical exten- 
sion of the earlier methods of Monet and Pissarro. 
Georges Seurat had once been a good student at 
the Beaux-Arts, but his quick, precise and ques- 
tioning intelligence had saved him from falling 
under the professorial injunctions. Most of his 
studying was done in the art museums where he 
contemplated for long the old masters. Here he 
discovered that "there are analogous laws which 
govern line, tone, colour and composition, as 
much with Rubens as with Raphael, with Michel- 
angelo as with Delacroix: rhythm, measure and 
contrast.'* (By rhythm, measure and contrast 
he meant curved lines, space and opposition.) 
Still searching for the secrets of art he studied the 
works of the Orient and the writings of Chevreul, 
Superville, Humbert, Blanc, Rood and Helmholtz. 
Then, by analysing Delacroix, he found substan- 
tiation for his discoveries. The result of this 
study was, as Signac tells us, his "judicious and 



i66 MODERN PAINTING 

fertile theory of contrasts." From 1882 on he 
applied it to all his canvases. The theory in 
brief was to use scientifically opposed spots of 
colour of more or less purity. This method he 
might have learned dired: from the first modern 
French master, for in that artist's Journal are 
discussed at length colour division; optical admix- 
ture; the dramatic unity of colour, line and sub- 
ject; and the juxtaposition of complementaries 
for brilliancy. 

Paul Signac's evolution was different. He had 
first been under the influence of Pissarro, Renoir, 
Monet and Guillaumin, and though being a 
zealous pupil of their methods, he knew little of 
their motives. It was only after he had observed 
the interplay and contrast of colours in nature 
that he sought explanation in the works of his 
masters, the Impressionists. Failing, he turned 
again to nature. In copying it, he discovered 
that in the gradation from one colour to another, 
let us say from blue to orange, the transition was 
always muddy and disagreeable when mixed on 
the palette, although if distinct spots of these 
two colours were juxtaposed in alternating ratio, 
the modulation would be smooth and clean. 
This observation impelled him to seek a method 
whereby this "passage" could be highly clarified. 
Consequently he completely divided the Impres- 
sionists' spots so that each individual touch 
remained pure and at the same time left patches 
of the white canvas showing for purposes of 
brilliancy. His next step led him to Chevreul 
whose theory of complementaries he committed 
to memory. His technical education he now 
deemed complete. 



THE NEO-IMPRESSIONISTS 167 

Seurat and Signac first met at the Salon des 
Artistes Independants in 1884, and their dis- 
coveries were at once mutually appropriated. 
Signac's colour divisions, combined with Seurat's 
more scholarly equilibrium of elements, formed 
the nucleus from which evolved the Neo-Impres- 
sionists who later repudiated Impressionism, using 
it only as the point from which they leapt off 
into a morass of set formulas. It was a laudable 
desire on the part of these new men, especially of 
Seurat, to try to snatch from a purely inspirational 
school its halo of mystery and to place painting 
methods on a sound rationalistic basis. But 
while they were right in believing a picture should 
be more than the visual accompaniment to senti- 
ments, they should have gone deeper than the 
mere exterior of painting. For example, they 
should have tried to see in what plastic way their 
colour theories could be used, instead of limiting 
themselves to the synthetic unity of aesthetic 
illustration. And they should have tried to make 
a form-producing faculty of their light instead of 
introducing into it another poetic element in the 
shape of dramatic line. But they were more 
concerned with the clothes in the wardrobe of art 
than in its body. Their painting, as a result, was 
without sustaining structure. 

With the Impressionists, as with all significant 
art movements, the desire for change and for 
higher emotional power came first: the method 
came later. With the Neo-Impressionists this 
order was reversed. Their canvases for this 
reason are less emotional than those of their 
forerunners. By limiting their palettes to certain 
pure colours they restricted their diversity of 



i68 MODERN PAINTING 

interest. Even their aim at a scientific art has 
gone far of the mark because their science was in 
many instances faulty. By conditioning their 
methods on the observations of inaccurate writers 
they were able to progress only so far as these 
observations went. Chevreul is far from authori- 
tative today: in fact there is no comprehensive 
scientific work on colour in existence. Tudor-Hart, 
the greatest of all colour scientists, has blasted 
many of the older accepted theories of such men 
as Helmholtz, Rood and Chevreul, and his 
experiments have shown conclusively that many 
of their postulates are unreliable. The Neo- 
Impressionists were unaware of ChevreuFs errors, 
and their minds were too literal to enable them to 
make new and more advanced observations in the 
realm of colour. The meagre attention paid 
them is not due to their novelty, but to the fad: 
that they have done nothing the Impressionists 
did not do better. They are like a cartridge 
which, having all the combustible ingredients, 
fails to explode because it is wet. 

The Neo-Impressionists may, in refutation, 
point to music as a scientific art. But it must be 
remembered that taste brought about the con- 
struction of chords and that the mathematical 
explanation came later. The primitive peoples 
who found an aesthetic pleasure in broken-up 
major chords were ignorant of nodal points and 
the laws of vibration. The early Assyrians had 
a pipe of three notes, C, E and G, perfectly 
attuned, yet they were ignorant of the science of 
harmony. Taste in the arts has always come 
first: science follows with its interpretations. 
The Impressionists, through instinct, created their 



THE NEO-IMPRESSIONISTS 169 

marvels of light and atmosphere. Afterward the 
science of optics explained their efforts. Personal 
taste was their only criterion, and no books could 
have taught them their lesson, because their 
methods were so plastic that whatever was to 
them artistically consistent was right. Had they 
been familiar with science, it still would have 
remained to be applied: and it is only by the 
superimposition of taste that knowledge in the 
artist becomes pregnant. The Divisionists, by 
making a hard and fast code of science, enslaved 
themselves to the demands of theories. The 
functioning of their tastes was nullified. They 
therefore fell short of art. 

In Signac's book, D'Eugene Delacroix au Neo- 
Impressionnisme, are explained many points of 
divergence between this school and that of the 
Impressionists. The difference of the two methods 
may be exemplified by describing the manner in 
which each approached a landscape wherein the 
grass and foliage were partly in shadow and partly 
in sunlight. In such a landscape the artist's eye 
records a fleeting, dimly-felt impression of red in 
that part of the green of the shadow which is 
nearest the light region. The Impressionists, 
satisfied with having experienced this sensation, 
hastened to put a touch of red on their canvas, 
while the actual colour in nature might have been 
an orange, a vermilion, or even a purple. In this 
haphazard choice of a red Signac detected sloven- 
liness. He says that the shadow of any colour 
is always lightly tinted with the colour's comple- 
mentary; that if the light is yellow-green the 
shadow will be touched with violet ; if orange, the 
shadow will contain blue-green. Had the Impres- 



170 MODERN PAINTING 

sionists known this fact and cared to use it, says 
Signac, they could have made their pictures 
scientifically correct by posing the exact comple- 
mentary of light in their shadow. And he adds 
that it is difficult to see in just what way this 
process would have harmed their work. 

It is, however, not so difficult as he imagines. 
If, in copying nature by a strictly scientific vision 
as the Neo-Impressionists advocate, we closely 
study the light, we will discover not only that a 
local colour is modified by the colour of the sun's 
rays, but that an added suite of colours is intro- 
duced by the absorption of some of the object's 
particles, by the encompassing air, and by the 
circumjacent reflections. We may have (i) the 
local colour which, let us say, is green, (2) the 
colour of sunlight, (3) the colour caused by 
atmospheric conditions, (4) the reflection of sky, 
and (5) the reflection of the ground. Further- 
more, if the object has any indentures their 
shadows will lower to a limited degree the whole 
tone of the object. At the least calculation then 
we have (i) green, (2) yellow-orange, (3) any 
colour in the cold region of the spectrum, (4) 
blue or violet, and (5) green, brown, Venetian red 
or any colour in the warm region of the spectrum: 
all of which colours change and shift unceasingly, 
dependent on the density of the air which obscures, 
to a lesser or greater degree, the sun's rays and 
hence changes the reflection from sky and ground, 
thereby modifying the local colour. Thus it is 
impossible when copying nature even to determine 
the colour of its lightened parts. And if a colour 
premise cannot be established, it is obviously 
impossible to find its exact complementary. 



THE NEO-IMPRESSIONISTS 171 

Suppose we admit that an approximate colour 
can be recorded for that part of the landscape's 
green which is in the light, that is, the green 
whose complement is to be placed on the out- 
skirts of the shadow. Let us say that this green 
is technically a yellow-green, since it is in the sun. 
Now the complement of yellow-green is not, as 
the Neo-Impressionists hold, violet, but red-violet 
or purple. But, were red-violet used in the 
shadow, its effect would be false, because, in order 
for yellow-green to call up its pure complementary, 
the light itself must be an intense yellow-green 
so intense in fact that the local colour of the 
object (whatever it is) is entirely absorbed and 
unable to influence the light. Then, and only 
then, would the shadow be pure purple, for the 
local colour, being nullified, would not interfere 
with the optical sensation of complementaries. 
But on an object which appears yellow-green in 
the light, the yellow of which is the sun's rays and 
the green the local colour, the shadow also is 
modified by the local colour in the same propor- 
tion that the light is modified, only its modifica- 
tion is in an opposite direction; that is, the yellow 
of the sun's rays, in raising green to yellow-green, 
lowers the green of the shadow to blue-green. 
Therefore the shadow is not the complementary 
of the light colour. But in the darkest part of 
the shadow, which is the boundary dividing it 
from the light, there is a sensation of red derived 
from purple, purple being the complementary of 
the yellow-green. Thus in a blue object, though 
the pure complementary of the lighted part would 
be orange, the shadow in sunlight is merely dark 
blue with that fugitive sensation of red through it. 



172 MODERN PAINTING 

In the shadow on such an object Signac calls for 
pure orange, claiming that a vermilion, a lake or 
a purple is out of place. His colour science in 
the abstract may be unimpeachable, but his 
physics is faulty. The sensation caused by the 
complementary of the lighted part is that of a 
reddish tint; and so long as the painter introduces 
a colour into the shadow so as to give this impres- 
sion of red, he is at least empirically, though not 
scientifically, correct. There is only a sensation 
of red, not a definite spot where red can be placed ; 
and for the canvas to be truthful emotionally 
there must be only that sensation of red in the 
painted shadow. And the only way to produce it 
without making a spot of orange, which is a light 
colour and which in its pure state has no prop- 
erties in common with shadow, is to use a colour 
which is intimately connected with shadow and 
which contains the elements of both light and 
shadow. Thus in the cold bluish-orange shadow 
of a blue object there must be placed a cold lake 
or a purple which partakes of both the light and 
shadow and therefore does not offend the eye by 
its isolation. In the bluish or blue-green shadow 
of a yellow-green object, a purple is too aggres- 
sive and blatant, while a blue-violet or an atten- 
uated violet is doubly harmonious. 

Indeed there is another reason why comple- 
mentaries should not be used, but merely their 
approximations set down. Perfect complemen- 
taries neutralise each other and, when optically 
mixed or applied in such small particles in a pure 
state that at a short distance the eye cannot dis- 
tinguish their limitations, produce a metallic and 
acid grey which is to colour harmony what noise 



THE NEO-IMPRESSIONISTS 173 

is to music. When C and G^ are struck together 
the sensitive ear revolts in the same way a sensi- 
tive eye revolts at complementaries in colour. 
But while in music a minor, or diminished, fifth 
is displeasing, by increasing or reducing the in- 
terval a semitone, by making it, for instance, 
C F or C G, a pleasing effect can be obtained. 
In colour also this principle holds good. The 
complementary combination of red and green is 
harsh, but by placing red with one of the spec- 
trum tones on either side of green a pleasurable 
harmony is at once established. The Impres- 
sionists through instinct generally made use of 
colours which primitively or softly harmonised, 
again proving the ascendency of taste over sys- 
tem, for if taste is sensitive it will be verified by 
science. Science, however, cannot create taste. 
When we consider the Neo-Impressionists* antag- 
onistic and neutralising complementaries, it is 
difficult to understand their criticism of Impres- 
sionism. The Impressionists, they said, "put a 
little of everything everywhere, and in the result- 
ing polychromatic tumult there were antagonistic 
elements: in neutralising each other, they deadened 
the ensemble of the picture." Now in the entire 
range of colour from violet to yellow there is 
hardly a possible dual combination which cannot 
be made harmonious by the addition of one or 
two other colours. In this process of compli- 
cation lie the infinite harmonic possibilities of 
sound as well as of colour. There are no two 
notes in music which, though when struck to- 
gether are jarring, cannot be drawn into a perfect 
chord by the introduction of certain other notes. 
And any two lines, no matter how inapposite, can 



174 MODERN PAINTING 

be aesthetically related by other lines properly 
placed. Even were the Neo-Impressionists, in 
their criticism, referring to the placing of blue in 
light and of yellow in shadow, they would still 
be open to refutation, for their predecessors, by 
placing on their canvases the colours they had 
felt in contemplating their models, were once more 
emotionally right although not exactly right from 
the standpoint of abstract science. 

With all the brilliancy of their pure pigments 
the Neo-Impressionists have yet to produce a 
canvas as brilliant or as harmonious as those of 
the Impressionists. The reason is not far to seek. 
In an Impressionist picture there is a certain 
amount of neutrality caused by mixing the colour 
of light with that of blue shadow; and this mix- 
ture heightens the scintillation of the ensemble. 
The Divisionists, on the other hand, went so far 
as to abolish neutrality altogether. In raising all 
values to a point of saturation, they diminished 
the brilliancy of the picture as a whole. It is to 
be doubted seriously if even Signac is still of the 
belief that the Pointillists' squares of colour blend 
optically. Theoretically they should, but actually 
the impression we receive is not one of vibrant 
light. We see only an extended series of spots 
which are all about the same size a size which 
was varied but little as the dimensions of the 
canvas varied, as was the case with the Impres- 
sionists. But these latter artists mixed their 
spots not only on the palette but on the canvas 
as well, and blent them into neighbouring spots. 
The result was a richly decorated surface whose 
minute parts do not foist themselves upon our 
sight. But in Signac, Cross, Van Rysselberghe, 




w 
_J 
J 

w 

I 

o 

c 

as 



<< 

CO 

H 

aS 
M 



THE NEO-IMPRESSIONISTS 175 

Dubois-Pillet, Luce, Petitjean, Van de Velde or 
Augrand, who developed these means to their 
ultimate limits, these spots are so displeasing and 
obtrusive that it is mentally impossible to lose 
sight of them in the contemplation of the pictures. 
All of these artists produce flat work, with the 
possible exception of Van Rysselberghe who has 
merely superposed this technique on an obvious 
and insensitive academism. He is to the Neo- 
Impressionists what Henri Martin is to Monet. 

There has been too much credit taken by the 
Neo-Impressionists for the discovery of this 
stippling technique. As a matter of fad: it is not 
wholly original with them. Turner, Constable, 
Delacroix, Jongkind, Fantin-Latour, Cezanne and 
the Impressionists were all interested in breaking 
nature up into parts in order to arrive at a 
dynamic representation of the whole. The process 
with them was commendable, but the Chromo- 
luminarists carried it to such an extreme that they 
saw nature only . in order to break it into spots. 
They repudiate vehemently the ^appellation of 
Pointillists, and the name that Emile Bernard 
gave them Pointists has remained beneath 
their notice. They point out that one may be a 
Pointillist without being a Divisionist, for Point- 
illism is the using of colour in spots so as to avoid 
its flat application, while "division" is the appli- 
cation of separated spots of pure pigment for the 
purpose of bringing about an optical admixture. 
The idea of optical admixture was born when 
some one placed several planes of different colours 
on a disc and, by revolving it rapidly, caused 
them to blend perfectly. Immediately the Neo- 
Impressionists jumped to the conclusion that 



176 MODERN PAINTING 

distance would accomplish the same result with 
any-sized spots. This assumption was their 
initial error. There is a very definite limit to 
the size of colour spots which at a distance will 
blend optically, and the artists of this school, with 
the one exception of Seurat, made their spots too 
large. Delacroix never juxtaposed large strips 
of complementaries in one plane, but applied 
hachures of almost the same tint. The effed: 
would have been little different had he painted 
flatly, except for the richer matiere this method 
produced. The Impressionists mixed their colours 
both on the palette and on the canvas, except 
when they wished to reproduce a certain texture 
that called for small lights and shadows placed side 
by side. And Cezanne modulated his colour spots so 
that there were no jumps or hiatuses between them. 
The Neo-Impressionistic methods have no such 
subtleties. In applying their colour these painters 
keep each spot separated from its neighbour by 
a tiny bit of white canvas which is intended to 
give added light to each part. The spots are 
unmixed and are applied straight from the palette 
in preponderating proportions to obtain certain 
general colour impressions. They use only the 
seven colours of the prismatic spectrum, and in 
thus restricting their palette they have limited 
their range of greys. Since nature itself is a 
series of high-pitched greys in which only occa- 
sionally does a pure colour appear, they were 
inadequately equipped for reproducing it. If, by 
raising all tints to their purity, they hoped to 
obtain the maximum of colouration and therefore 
the maximum of luminosity, they overlooked the 
facl: that to produce any light whatever there must 



THE NEO-IMPRESSIONISTS 177 

be negation or shadow. They failed to achieve 
light because they equalised the brilliancy of all 
colours. Even to produce colour there must be 
black or grey. Their equilibrium of elements led 
to the cold grey aspect of their work and to the 
acid and inharmonious effect of their colour. 

The desire of the Neo-Impressionists to improve 
upon the Impressionistic vision was a sincere one, 
and in their striving for dramatic means for 
heightening the already intense emotional power 
of their forerunners' work, they showed themselves 
to be animated by an ambition for change and 
improvement without which no vital innovation 
can be made. Their desire was commendable, 
but their science was inadequate. Their modern 
spirit was best shown in their search for the 
significance of line in its harmonic relation to 
colour and tone. The impetus to this search 
emanated from Seurat who dictated to his biog- 
rapher, Jules Christophe: "Art is harmony; 
harmony is the analogy of contraries (contrasts), 
the analogy of likes (gradated), of tone, of tint, 
of line; tone, that is to say, the light and dark; 
tint, that is to say, red and its complement green, 
orange and blue, yellow and violet; line, that is to 
to say, horizonal directions. . . . The means of 
expression is the optical admixture of tones and 
tints and of their reactions (shadows) following 
fixed laws." Delacroix had already turned his 
eyes in the direction of the harmony of lines and 
colours. It will be recalled that he wrote in his 
Journal: "If to a composition, interesting in its 
choice of subject, you add a disposition of lines, 
which augments the impression, a chiaroscuro 
which seizes the imagination, and a colour which 



178 MODERN PAINTING 

is adapted to the characters, it is then a harmony, 
and its combinations are so adapted that they 
produce a unique song. ... It is good not to let 
each brush stroke melt into the others; they will 
appear uniform at a certain distance by the 
sympathetic law which associates them." 

The Neo-Impressionists, taking their cue from 
Seurat's observations, state that the first consider- 
ation of a painter before a blank canvas should be 
to determine what curves and what arabesques 
are going to divide the surface, and what colours 
and tones cover it. Even in this aim they went 
further than the Impressionists who neither 
ordered nor synthesised their works formally. 
The Neo-Impressionists say they do not com- 
mence a canvas until they have determined its 
complete arrangement. Then, guided by tradi- 
tion and science, they harmonise the composition 
with their conception. That is to say, they adapt 
the lines, colours and tones to an order which 
aesthetically expresses the character of emotion 
their model calls up in them. They hold that 
horizontal lines give calm; ascending lines, joy; 
descending lines, sorrow; and that the interme- 
diary lines represent the infinite variations of 
emotions that lie outside these first three types. 
But they offer no explanation of the analogies 
between these intermediate lines and the kinds 
of emotion they are supposed to call up. They go 
on to explain that hot tints and light tonalities 
should be applied to ascending lines, cold tints 
and sombre tonalities to descending lines, and an 
equal amount of light and dark to the horizontal 
lines. "Thus," they add, "the painter becomes 
a creator and a poet." 



THE NEO-IMPRESSIONISTS 179 

All this theorising would be important for the 
dramatic illustrators were it entirely true. But 
while a line placed horizontally may represent 
calm, the same line made perpendicular or laid 
at an angle of forty-five degrees will also produce 
calm. The straight line varies so little in its 
significance, no matter at what angle it is placed, 
that its direction is negligible from an emotional 
standpoint. The degree of curve in a line is its 
emotional element, and only when varying curves 
come in contact is the highest formal emotion 
obtained. The straight line is the lifeless, the 
static, the immobile. As such it can serve only 
as a foil to the curved line, for it is the straight 
that makes the curved of value. Their theory 
concerning hot colours and high tones is sounder 
than their linear theory; but in copying a joyous 
landscape is one not forced to put on high tonal- 
ities and hot colours, since it is in seeing these 
high values that we experience the sensation of 
joy? And is it not from the low values in nature 
that we receive our sensation of sorrow? One 
may accentuate the colours and tones, but if 
they are too strongly intensified they will ap- 
proach the other extreme and produce dead and 
mournful landscapes. This accentuation the Neo- 
Impressionists carried to the limit permitted by 
their pigments. Their ideas of line and of joyous 
and sombre colours are undoubtedly of value if 
profoundly and extensively comprehended and 
properly applied. But, in order to become signifi- 
cant, line must only delimit organisation and 
become volume; and colour, instead of merely 
producing joy and sorrow, must bring about 
form. Then again, there is that world lying 



180 MODERN PAINTING 

on the further side of flatness which must be 
explored. 

With all their theorising and attempts to obtain 
brilliancy, the Neo-Impressionists produce only 
grey work. From the first these artists were too 
coldly intellectual, and it matters little whether 
their science was right or wrong when we con- 
template their pictures. Were their science per- 
fect they could never have created art which goes 
beyond the arabesque and the poetry of arrange- 
ment, for they were not fundamental even in 
their aims. They have all painted different 
subjects in slightly varying manners, but, apart 
from Seurat's, all their canvases have these 
things in common: a uniform range of colour, 
a set method of technique, and the hard and 
"noisy" contrasts which in their larger works 
produce a veritable din. Those of the Neo- 
Impressionists who are still living claim to have 
completed Cezanne, Pissarro and Delacroix, to 
have perfected a method, to have expanded 
logically the Impressionists to something worth 
while, to be in accord with Rood and Chevreul, 
to have brought great harmony into painting, 
to have taken painting into the pure realms of 
poesy and symphonic musical composition. Alas, 
that their claims have no substantiation in our 
receptivities! 

Seurat, the founder, was the only genuinely 
artistic man of the movement, and an early death 
denied him his chance to develop. Though 
seduced by too exacting a process, he has never- 
theless given us some sensitive and delicately 
beautiful canvases. Le Chahut, Le Cirque and 
Un Dimanche a la Grande-Jatte are saturated 



THE NEO-IMPRESSIONISTS 181 

with light, and in them is an undeniable order 
of parallel lines. His colours were never as harsh 
and acid as those of his confreres, and his pictures 
have a blond tonality which the other men of 
the movement entirely lack. His crayon draw- 
ings, from the standpoint of tonal experimentation, 
are interesting and seem almost like paintings. He 
had a great talent, and had he lived we might have 
expected great things from it. He was more vitally 
interested in style than in technical methods, and in 
his conclusions stemmed directly from Delacroix. 
His spottings were much smaller and more effective 
than those of the other Pointillists. His desire was 
to express an idea through the medium of nature, 
not to copy nature in order to relate the sensation 
it gave the artist. His painting was synthetic. 
All details and accidents of colour and silhouette 
he set aside as useless. His is an art of parallels 
and analogies, of sensitivity and analysis; in 
fact, it has all those qualities which, were they 
present in greater strength, would produce signifi- 
cant pictures. He was of one piece; and his 
development, once he had begun to paint, was 
an even one toward a definite goal. In him, 
alone of the members of the group, we find an 
artist and not an illustrator. Those who liken 
him to Aubrey Beardsley have less reason for 
their comparison than the ones who see parallels 
between Gainsborough and Renoir. Compare the 
quoted remarks of Seurat concerning tone, line 
and colour with Signac's summing up of his 
method, and the temperamental differences be- 
tween the artist and the scientist will at once be 
seen. Signac says his method is "observation of 
the laws of colour, the exclusive use of pure tints, 



1 82 MODERN PAINTING 

the renunciation of all attenuated mixings, and 
the methodical equilibrium of elements." 

One of the most noted followers of the Neo- 
Impressionistic methods was the Hollander, Vin- 
cent van Gogh. Although generally considered 
in critical essays as an unrelated phenomenon in 
the art heavens, he is closely allied to Signac and 
to Delacroix through Seurat. He adopted paint- 
ing, one is inclined to believe, because his verbal 
eloquence was inadequate to bring the Belgian 
miners to repentance. He had studied for the 
ministry, but like most men who, rinding them- 
selves strictly limited in one vocation, essay 
another, he found himself equally limited in his 
second. He drifted back to Holland and began 
to study painting in the studio of Mauve, a 
relative of his by marriage. His ardent, even 
flamboyant, desire to do good to everyone who 
crossed his path needed an outlet, and he found 
an emotional substitute for pamphleteering in the 
physical and mental exertion of painting. In this 
work he could preach unchecked, secure from 
arrest. He loved Millet because Millet loved the 
down-trodden. He loved Delacroix because of 
that artist's dramatic inspiration. He loved 
Daumier because he imagined he saw in Daumier 
a satire on the beast in man. He loved Monti- 
celli because in that Provencal he sensed a wild 
gypsy mind and a kindred unrestraint in the use 
of colour. And he loved Diaz because Diaz was 
a poetic woodman. 

Before coming to Paris Van Gogh had studied 
in the Antwerp Academy, and while in the French 
capital he met and was influenced by Pissarro. 
Here he also became acquainted with Bernard 



THE NEO-IMPRESSIONISTS 183 

and Gauguin, adopting the Divisionistic methods 
from Seurat. He used only pure colours on his 
palette and mixed them only with white and 
black. Later he went to Aries where in two 
years, from 1887 and 1889, he painted the great 
bulk of his work, averaging four canvases a week 
through sickness, drink, insanity and disease. 
In him we have a perfect example of just how 
little can be done with pure enthusiasm unor- 
ganised by intellectual processes. His pictures 
display an entire lack of order, whether it be of 
colour, line or silhouette: there was never any 
form in them. His work is plainly the labour of 
the fanatic who, in a fury of pent-up desire to 
express himself, suddenly seizes a palette and 
brush and applies colours almost at random. 
Indeed, some of his pictures were completed in a 
few minutes. Even many of those in which the 
symbology had to be thought out at length, were 
painted in an hour. 

That Van Gogh was an illustrator is undenia- 
ble; but he was an illustrator of the abstract 
gropings of an unbalanced mind avid for dramatic 
emotions, rather than of exterior nature. His 
landscapes seem to portend the calm before 
some great upheaval, or to express a supernatural 
energy poised for an ad: of total annihilation. 
In them there are frenzied lines running zigzag 
and at random, and rolling clouds of purple and 
lurid yellow hanging over raucously bright roofs. 
His portraits remain with us as memories of a 
feverish nightmare. They are too hollow and 
immaterial to appear even as a depiction of form. 
His colours carried out this feeling of dramatic 
terror, and because they were not harmonised 



1 84 MODERN PAINTING 

with either line or tone, they became all the more 
chaotic. He never kept to the spots that Signac 
and Seurat had given him. His impatience was 
too great; the fire burned too furiously. He 
elongated them into strips like straw, and they 
give his work the appearance of haystacks. He 
covered with one stroke more space than Seurat 
covered with twenty strokes. 

This has been called his own apport to art. 
In Gauguin, however, the same stroke is used, not 
so heavily loaded with pure colour, to be sure, 
but just as long. But in Gauguin the strokes 
are less noticeable because they all have an 
analogous direction. With Van Gogh they rush 
wildly about, now one way, now another, some- 
times covering the canvas entirely, sometimes 
separated to let the white show through. This 
separating was not done for the same reasons as 
in Signac, but because Van Gogh's impatience 
was too great to permit him to go back and 
cover. His figures are outlined in broad black or 
coloured lines, and colours are juxtaposed with 
their complementaries. In a Portrait d'Homme, 
done in 1889, the background is laid in with a 
bright green over which are superimposed polka- 
dots of pure vermilion surrounded by a darker 
green, the whole striped with yellow and light 
vermilion flourishes. On this is a yellowish face 
whose pompadour hair is made of black, vermil- 
ion and light violet. The collar is light green, 
red and blue; the striped cravat, red and white; 
the coat, violet and green; the shirt, pure green 
outlined in pure lake, with orange buttons on it; 
and the picture's inscription Vincent, Aries, 
'89 is signed in vermilion. In this painting 




PORTRAIT DE I/ARTISTE 



VAN GOGH 



THE NED-IMPRESSIONISTS 185 

is evidenced his impetuous method. He seemed 
to feel that the greater the exertion, the greater 
the relief from that repressed passion which egged 
him on to action. 

Landscapes he liked, and he took pleasure in 
doing copies of other men. In such works there 
was no hard and set reality to follow as in still- 
lives and portraiture. Here the colour could be 
splashed on almost haphazardly. He himself said 
that still-life was a relaxation. He felt this 
because to paint still-life his enthusiasm was 
restricted. Anything served for a subject an 
old boot, a single vase, a coffee-pot. One im- 
agines he tossed these models onto a table from 
the opposite side of the room, and painted them 
in whatever position they fell. In this careless- 
ness the public sees "inspiration." And indeed 
his canvases were inspired, but only in the same 
way a starving man is inspired to throw himself 
upon a sumptuous meal. He painted because he 
was forced to, and when painting is merely a 
physical necessity indulged in to express an 
unordered religious mania, it ceases to interest 
the aesthetician who searches for a complete 
cosmos bodied forth in subjective form. 

As a decorator Van Gogh is too turbulent and 
forward; as a painter of easel pictures he is too 
chaotic and unintelligible; but as a blast of 
misdirected enthusiasm he is not without power. 
His symbolism, while not being of the variety 
which presents Grecian figures as abstract virtues, 
is nevertheless of the same order. He tells us 
that in painting a young man he loved, he would 
make the head a golden yellow and orange, and 
the background a rich and intense blue, as well 



1 86 MODERN PAINTING 

as transcribing the physical likeness to epitomise 
his love. Thus depicted the young man would be 
"like a bright star in the boundless infinite taking 
on a mysterious importance." Again he writes: 
"Had I had the strength to continue, I would 
have done saints and holy women from nature, 
who would have seemed to belong to another 
age. They would have been the bourgeois of the 
present, having many parallels with the old 
primitive Christians." We see what he was after. 
Van Gogh possessed all the modern socialistic 
ideals. He held that individuals could do nothing 
alone, but should work in communities, one doing 
the colour, one the drawing, another the com- 
position, etc. In his desire for this democratic 
art factory is seen his absence of self-confidence. 
It is not strange when we consider his adherence 
all his life to so childish a technical programme as 
Divisionism. This adherence marked the main 
difference between him and Gauguin. The latter 
detested the Divisionistic method. He wanted 
to adapt nature's colour and effect to decoration, 
while Van Gogh wanted to make only abstract 
dramatic tapestries. They both succeeded; and 
though the canvases of Gauguin have the peaceful 
utilitarian destiny of interior decoration awaiting 
them, Van Gogh's work, once we are rid of the 
modern habit of welcoming all disorganised and 
purely enthusiastic work as profound, will be laid 
aside forever. He was psychiatric and expended 
the greater part of his feverish energy through 
the channel of painting. But he did little more 
than use a borrowed and inharmonious palette to 
express ideas wholly outside the realm of art. 



VIII 
GAUGUIN AND THE PONT-AVEN SCHOOL 

THE descriptive in art has always se- 
duced the eye of the superficial majority. 
From this accidental and nugatory side 
of painting the public has derived all 
its enjoyment. The moment a depicted object 
is recognised, the general pleasure in the arts 
increases; and the moment the accepted vision 
of the object is modified or distorted, this pleasure 
decreases and in many instances ceases altogether. 
One school which deals with a certain class of 
subjects has its own admirers; while another 
school which treats of dissimilar subjects has a 
different following. Furthermore, the manner in 
which subjects are portrayed realistically or 
impressionably, poetically or prosaically has its 
individual adherents. Persons whose tempera- 
mental tastes make them antipodal to one method 
of transcription become enthusiastic over another, 
irrespective of the fact that the aesthetic merits of 
the different procedures are equal. Those whose 
criterion is prettiness are naturally attracted to 
Whistlerian and Cubistic modes. Idealists lean 
toward the symbolic and transcendental painters 
like Van Gogh and Redon. Hardy persons who 
live largely on the physical plane prefer Ribera, 
Franz Hals, Sorolla or Diirer. Simple sensualists 
admire Goya, Rubens, Bronzino, the erotic prints 



1 88 MODERN PAINTING 

of the Japanese, or the pictures of the Little 
Dutchmen. Biblical students choose the primi- 
tives or the painters of religious subjects. Archi- 
tects like Guardi, Gentile Bellini and Canaletto. 
Personal tastes in life dictate tastes in art; the 
reason some have a wider taste than others is 
because their interests are larger. 

The average person forms his art attachments 
in the same way he chooses friends. For this 
reason many art lovers are passionately attracted 
to Gauguin, while others, obsessed with the 
theories of modernity, are impervious to the in- 
herent appeal he incontestably possesses. The 
Impressionists were enamoured of nature. Their 
pictures have an almost human physiognomy and 
are thoroughly joyous. In them one senses the 
abstract love of beautiful country-sides, blue 
distances and scintillating lights. They arouse an 
emotion in the popular mind because of the 
familiarity of their themes. Gauguin was not 
content with the landscapes of civilisation. He 
wanted something more elemental scenes where 
an unspoilt and untamed nature gave birth to a 
race of simple and colourful character. He felt 
the need of harmonising his people with their 
milieu. To him it seemed inconsistent to place a 
fully dressed man or woman in a primitive forest 
or on the banks of a turbulent stream innocent of 
commercial traffic. There was a positive im- 
modesty in combining a puny figure, whose body 
was too distorted by work to show itself un- 
clothed, with the majestic nakedness of a primeval 
landscape. Millet's peasants in plowed fields and 
Raffaelli's clothed figures in busy streets were 
not incongruous; but in most of the landscapes 



THE PONr-AVEN SCHOOL 189 

of Gauguin's day cultivated moderns stalked 
where Corot had once put nymphs and Titian, 
Antiopes. 

Gauguin's sense of harmony in idea precluded 
any such irrelevancies and anachronisms. His 
painting was perhaps the highest and most con- 
sistent type of illustration the world has produced. 
Judged from this standpoint, on which it was 
based consciously, his art was complete. And 
inasmuch as he did not strive for profounder 
things, it is from this standpoint that he must be 
approached. What impetus he gave to art came 
out of his desire to view nature simply, like a 
child, at the same time equipped with all the 
weapons of a modern intelligence. His art conse- 
quently has not only the interest of historic 
reconstruction but an added interest which, in 
spite of our veneer of cultivation and education, 
we all feel at times for perfect lassitude and 
elemental unrestraint. No man is so intellectual 
that he cannot enjoy occasional recreation and a 
forgetfulness of mental activities. Indeed the 
greatest minds react so completely at times that 
they demand the crudest stimulants melo- 
drama, wild Arabian chants, romance and physi- 
cal intoxication. Gauguin, appearing in the midst 
of gigantic and epoch-making aesthetic endeavours, 
embodied this spirit of reaction. It was a grave 
and serious world in which he found himself 
the world of Cezanne, Impressionism and Neo- 
Impressionism. His nature was too timid and 
simple for him to throw himself into the whirl- 
pool. Instinctively he sought a haven far re- 
moved from the strife about him. 

In the contemplation of the canvases of this 



190 MODERN POINTING 

modern savage we enter that side of the broad 
field of aesthetics where the whole world can 
escape, as for a holiday, from the stress of in- 
tellectual research, there to enjoy art simply and 
receptively, as one enjoys a dream of strange 
lands. In Gauguin there is a power which 
impels our interest, hunts out our instinct for the 
exotic and calls to the fore a romantic love of 
adventure and a desire for far countries. In this 
appeal no other painting succeeds like his not 
even the Persian landscapes, the Chinese pictorial 
visions of heaven, or the lurid images of Gustave 
Moreau. In Gauguin's South Sea Island can- 
vases are crystallised our hopes for a Utopian 
peace, our vague memories of an untramelled 
prehistoric age. Calm and sunlight, the sea and 
wild mountains all are here. And we find 
ourselves amid a peaceful, music-loving and simple 
people who, we imagine, would welcome the tired 
traveller and gather round him with offerings of 
fruit and flowers as he lands on their golden 
beach. 

Gauguin is purely an image-maker. So ab- 
stract a painter is he that his pictures are merely 
the point of departure from which our thoughts 
leap into an unlimited world of pleasurable 
visualising. They move us emotionally, even 
mentally, but never aesthetically. We feel before 
them exactly what we feel when reading that 
extraordinary and unique book of his, Noa Noa. 
Indeed he was more literary than artistic, and 
to appreciate him fully one should read first his 
biography written by Jean de Rotonchamp, 
then Noa Noa. After that his pictures will take 
on a new meaning. He makes his dreams so 



THE PONT-AVEN SCHOOL 191 

forceful that we too start to dream before them. 
His art is of the same calibre as that of Altichiero, 
Michelino da Bosozzo, Ortolano, the Borassa 
school, Manet and Degas. All these men are 
illustrators of a high order; all are impelled by 
the complete sincerity of their visions; and all 
are interesting because of their freedom of expres- 
sion. It is a new adventure each time we see 
one of their works, for adventure is merely 
contact with the unexpected. In Gauguin this 
imprevu is not restricted to unconventionality of 
balance and the extraordinary arrangement of 
objects; but expresses itself in the actual subject- 
matter as well. His savages, ready to kill or love 
with equal unconcern, bring up to us our child- 
hood enthusiasms for the tales of Swift, Defoe and 
Pierre Loti. His pictures epitomise the call of 
the natural, the delight in perfect freedom, the 
ideal of an unclothed age. 

But though his work is calm and outside the 
world of strife and endeavour, his life was turbu- 
lent, and tortured by reiterated disappointments. 
Toward the end he wrote to a friend that he fell 
over-often, and arose only to fall again. As with 
the sailor new horizons ever stretched before him, 
and their promise of better things was never 
consummated. His energy was drained by a 
continual struggle against the forces of civilisation 
just as the sailor's is weakened by unceasing 
battles against the elements. The spot where at 
last he found refuge was far from his ideal. But 
in this ideal world he always imagined himself 
living, and his painting took on its colour and 
atmosphere. Just as he advised his followers to 
draw a curtain in front of their models, so he 



I 9 2 MODERN PAINTING 

drew the veil of imagination before his eyes and 
saw only what he wished to see. In this almost 
fanatic idealism he was undoubtedly actuated by 
fear of life's gross realities, for he was not content 
merely to live apart: he was forever attempting 
to ameliorate the trying conditions which arose 
from French misrule in the Marquesas. For his 
pains he was condemned to gaol and later was 
made an outcast. This friction with the estab- 
lished order, however, had to do only with Gau- 
guin the man. Gauguin the artist remained to 
the end a contented and passionate dreamer. 

To understand his art and its actuating im- 
pulses it is necessary to know something of his 
colourful and adventuresome life. Of all modern 
painters, he, more than any other, was reflected 
in his work. As a youth he had gone to sea and 
served a six-year apprenticeship before the mast. 
He next became a successful banker and to all 
outward appearances was satisfied with the status 
of a wealthy citizen. But all the time the love 
of change and the nostalgia for strange lands were 
at work within him, and though spending six 
days a week in an office he painted every Sunday. 
It was Pissarro, admired by Gauguin from the 
first, who persuaded him to forego everything 
save his art. This he did in 1883. From that 
time on he became a derelict who had to seek 
support from his friends. Although at times he 
was forced to work in offices, edit papers and 
grow fruit, the donations from those he knew 
were the backbone of his resources. He had 
met Van Gogh in Paris in 1886, and two years 
later accepted the latter' s invitation to visit him 
on the bounty of Van Gogh's brother Theodore 



THE PONT-AFEN SCHOOL 193 

at Aries in the south of France. Here, where he 
had expected to find conditions conducive to 
work, his life was, according to his own accounts, 
in constant danger. The Dutchman, he says, 
attacked him often, and sometimes Gauguin, 
awaking with a start, would see Van Gogh steal- 
ing across the room to him with a knife. Such a 
life was impossible, and after a regrettable inci- 
dent in which he was blamed for the amputation 
of Van Gogh's ear, he returned to Paris. The 
year before this he had made a short trip to 
Martinique, and while in Europe had lived at 
Pouldu, Copenhagen, Rouen, Pont-Aven, Con- 
carneau and Paris. Again he went to Brittany. 
He wanted quiet and was ever ill at ease among 
the superficialities of a hypocritical civilisation. 
But there, while protecting a negress, he was 
attacked by some sailors, and his injuries forced 
him to return once more to Paris. The negress 
had preceded him, and when he arrived he 
discovered that she had robbed him of his entire 
studio equipment. 

At this time, Verlaine, Moreas, Aurier, Julien 
Leclerc and Stuart Merril, who called themselves 
the symbolist poets, saw in him a comrade. In 
1891 they gave a benefit performance in the 
Vaudeville for him and Verlaine. Maeterlinck's 
LTntruse was staged for the first time, and Gau- 
guin's share of the proceeds was enough to pay 
his passage to his longed-for tropics. Two years 
later found him back again with many canvases 
and a strange and grotesque costume, heavy 
rings on every finger, wooden shoes and a cane 
of his own carving. He was impatient for praise 
and admiration and large sales; but none of 



I 9 4 MODERN PAINTING 

these came to him. At a sale of his work in the 
Hotel Drouot in 1895 so small a sum was realised 
that his friends again took pity on him, and 
Carriere secured him a cheap passage back to his 
beloved islands. His adventures in the tropics 
make poetic and romantic reading. His prema- 
ture death, at which only one old cannibal was 
present, was a fitting climax to a life given over 
to a hopeless search for the ideal. 

While still in a banker's office, and before he 
had met Pissarro, Gauguin had painted as an 
amateur; and as early as 1873 he had exposed 
a landscape. But when he became personally 
acquainted with Pissarro, who had a way of 
inflaming the minds of the younger and naturally 
revolutionary men of his day, his impulses toward 
art became overpowering. His early training 
under this violent heretic was so thorough that 
he never made a concession to the public or 
retrogressed toward scholastic formulas. Being 
a born painter, he quickly absorbed the ideas of 
the Impressionists, and exposed with them in the 
Rue des Pyramides in 1880 and 1881. His first 
canvases were wholly Impressionistic and much 
like Guillaumin's. Even as late as 1887, after he 
had known Cezanne and had become imbued with 
the blazing brilliancy of Martinique, Gauguin still 
clung to his earlier technique. His Paysage de la 
Martinique is one of his best-ordered works and 
also one of his most fluent. However, he had 
become dissatisfied with Impressionist precepts 
and had gone to Brittany to get closer to a more 
natural people, to a cruder and more rugged 
landscape. There he had seen and admired the 
Gothic statues, the simplicity of which appealed 



THE PONT-AFEN SCHOOL 195 

to him intensely. On his return from the South 
Seas these statues, direct, stiff and archaic, com- 
bined with his late vision of scintillant light and 
hot, luscious colour, became active influences in 
his work. 

Gauguin had a considerable amount of Peruvian 
Indian blood in him, and his desire for the South 
was not a superficial one. Rather was it an ata- 
vistic necessity for the wild that made him 
intolerant of cities and culture and highly com- 
plex modes of living. This same instinct, mani- 
festing itself through his art, drove him toward a 
simple and direct statement of a vision, toward an 
unrestraint which no civilised community would 
permit him. He wanted something naive some- 
thing expressed by broad planes and rich colours. 
He had imitated the Impressionists, copied 
Manet's Olympia and seen Giottos; and by reduc- 
ing these varied influences to their simplest terms 
he made his art. Emile Bernard, an indifferent 
painter and writer, who temperamentally was not 
unlike Gauguin, claims priority for this manner 
of painting; but even if it were true, it would 
mean nothing. Gauguin's canvases of 1888 give 
undeniable promise of what he would eventually 
do, and in 1889 his Jeunes Bretonnes fully reveals 
the trend of all his later endeavours. Bernard was 
at best but a clever imitator, and his canvases in 
Gauguin's style appear inferior and superficial 
when compared with such pieces as Tahi'tiennes 
and Ruperupe. 

The Impressionists went toward descriptive 
beauty, but Gauguin searched for and found an 
emotional interpretation of nature adapted to 
large decoration. It is problematical whether or 



196 MODERN POINTING 

not he is artistically indebted to Van Gogh, for 
one can attribute the fact that he painted his 
best European pictures immediately after his 
return from Aries either to Van Gogh's teachings 
or to the effects of southern colour and atmos- 
phere. The question though is of little impor- 
tance. Every man, no matter how great or small, 
goes through a formative period in which he 
receives numerous influences. At any rate, just 
before Van Gogh died he called Gauguin "maitre." 
During their final periods, however, we know 
that the two men differed totally; and in 1891 
Gauguin showed that he was under no man's 
influence. In the Femmes Assises a 1'Ombre des 
Palmiers and Vai'raoumati Tei Oa, he was already 
the Gauguin we know so well. The first is a 
sunlit landscape with the hills and palm-trees 
broadly and flatly painted. The women who are 
seated in the great pool of cool shade have all the 
sagely childish drawing that we find later in his 
more complete pictures. In the second, the 
flowered stuffs, the heavy limbs and the per- 
pendicularity of design, which appear so frequently 
later on, are more than suggested; and the colour 
has all the beauty of his best efforts. 

It was after Gauguin's first sojourn to the Is- 
lands that he came back to France a barbarian, 
eager to stupefy the world of arts not only by 
his pictures but by his very attire. In this he 
failed. The public had barely recovered from its 
Impressionist shock, and Gauguin went to Brit- 
tany. Here he gathered about him many of the 
painters he had known before, as well as some 
new ones, and formed a group of young men who 
were ready to react against the pettiness of the 



THE PONT-AVEN SCHOOL 197 

Neo-Impressionistic methods and to establish a 
new art school. They called themselves Syn- 
thesists, afterward Cloisonnists, and some of them 
later became Classicists. Here forgathered Seru- 
sier, Maurice Denis, Filiger, De Hahn, Seguin, 
Verkade, Anquetin, Laval, Louis Ray, Chamail- 
lard, Fauche, Bernard and Schuffenecker, few of 
whom are discoverable today. Among these 
painters the slightest tendency toward division- 
istic methods was looked upon as heresy; and 
religious pictures were in the ascendant, especially 
with Verkade. The enthusiasm of these young 
men for their simple and "synthetic" retrogres- 
sion to the elemental led them to decorate tavern 
walls and ceilings, to paint windows and barn 
doors, and to proclaim themselves on all occasions 
as the only authoritative and vital artists of the 
day. They had forgotten Renoir and Cezanne 
because they detested all intellectual and scientific 
accuracy. And they had not known the latter 
with sufficient intimacy to be directly influenced 
by his work. Under the sway of Gauguin's 
unsophisticated aesthetics and Bernard's rhetorical 
eloquence they went far afield in their search for 
a simple and elemental synthesis. Zeal was not 
wanting. They argued, caroused and fought 
continually. This last activity was the cause of 
Gauguin's lameness all the rest of his life. Little 
or nothing of lasting merit came out of this group 
which, though it moved from Pont-Aven to 
Pouldu, has come to be known as the Pont-Aven 
School. Most of its members are dead or have 
been swallowed up in the commercial currents of 
today. A few, like Bernard, Fauche and Schuf- 
fenecker, are doing indifferent art. They con- 



198 MODERN PAINTING 

tributed nothing to the modern idea outside of 
the impetus they gave to the anti-academic spirit. 
There was among them more enthusiasm than 
talent, more polemical energy than genius. 

Gauguin, though he talked as loudly as the 
others, painted also. At length their conversa- 
tions lost their novelty for him. He felt once 
more the call of his Islands. He was still after 
an ideal, a congenial setting. These things 
France could not give him. Again, the necessity 
of accepting charity from his friends was too 
humiliating a trial for a nature so timid. His 
high-handed attitude was only a mask to hide his 
desire to shrink away. He was always uneasy in 
cities and unhappy among people who did not 
try to understand him. He detested the artifi- 
cialities of Parisian women. His robust sensuality 
craved a more solid and artless Eve. In France 
his nature, so responsive to the glow of colour 
and the primitive lure of archaic forms, saw only 
chill tints and inutile complications. To him the 
South meant the richness and heat of romantic 
emotions, the satiety of the senses. It appealed 
to his deep love of chaotic and untrammelled 
nature. He had tasted it before in his seafaring, 
and he turned to it now as to an only salvation. 
It was at this time that Carriere arranged the 
passage. Gauguin was never to see Europe 
again. 

The Impressionists had made infinitesimal spots 
of colour in order to imitate as exactly as possible 
the colour effect of nature and to increase the 
dynamic power of a canvas by making it give off 
a light of its own. By this technique they had 
incorporated both air and sunlight into their art. 



THE PONT-AFEN SCHOOL 199 

The Neolmpressionists made mathematical the 
Impressionists' haphazard stippling and had 
turned the spots into almost symmetrical squares. 
The squares were slightly separated, and the bare 
canvas was permitted to show between them in 
order to achieve a greater brilliance and a more 
vivid light. Van Gogh later elongated these 
squares into threads until his pictures resembled 
tapestries. There was no longer the technical 
unconcern in painting which Pissarro and Monet 
had prescribed. Paradoxically enough, while art 
was growing more scientific it was also becoming 
less significant. With the men of Pont-Aven the 
reaction against a too technically self-conscious 
painting began to set in. Their ardent advocacy 
of primitive conception and method was the re- 
bound from the pseudo-scientific verbiage which, 
in the "advanced" studios, took the place of good 
painting. Consequently they favoured the broad 
arrangement of surfaces; classic, if the artist 
leaned temperamentally in that direction; bar- 
baric, if his tastes so inclined him; Gothic, 
Chinese, Japanese or primitive all according 
to which his inclination led him. But all work 
had to be completed during the first fury of in- 
spiration, conceived imaginatively, and executed 
from the decorative standpoint. Gauguin, by his 
quick wit and youthful impetuosity, easily domi- 
nated the circle and developed, through the 
constant interchange of opinions, his vague ideas 
concerning a "synthetic" art. On his third and 
last voyage to the Islands his greatest work was 
done. Here he carried out those ideas which had 
had their inception at Aries and which had 
become crystallised at Pont-Aven. He made his 



200 MODERN POINTING 

art entirely out of colour, but instead of profiting 
by the teachings of Daumier and Cezanne whose 
visions were the most simultaneous in the history 
of art, he chose rather to emulate the early and 
ingenuous schools of plastic expression. In this 
his painting was retrogressive. 

But there was another and more important side 
to Gauguin. He at least strove for a larger and 
more purely emotional interpretation of nature 
than had been attempted before: and our interest 
in him is due largely to the broad and peaceful 
vision he gives us. Monet put many greens in 
one tree. Gauguin saw the tree as green, but by 
depicting it in broad planes of pure pigment, he 
made it a more intense green than Monet could 
ever have done. "A metre of green is greener 
than a centimetre of green," said Gauguin; and 
this principle he applied to all his work. Instead 
of portraying light by colour as the Impressionists 
did, he interested himself only in the colour which 
resulted from light. Thus he was able to raise 
his paintings to the highest possible pitch of 
purity, while still being preoccupied with nature. 
In painting a landscape where a woman with a 
cerulean blue dress was seated among green trees 
on an ochre beach with purple hills in the rear, 
and where the yellow sunlight shone on the tree 
trunks and in the woman's hair, Gauguin would 
first of all draw apart the blues as much as 
possible. The woman's dress would be painted 
almost blue-green, and in order to contrast this 
colour with the other blue in his subject, he would 
paint the sky blue-violet-violet. Thus he would 
produce a greater range of emotional colour than 
if the two blues had been pale and similar in 



THE PONr-AFEN SCHOOL 201 

tint. Furthermore, he would make the sunlight a 
yellow-orange-orange and the sand a spectrum 
yellow. The trees would then be recorded as 
yellow-green and the hills as red-red-purple. By 
this process all the parts of the picture were 
differentiated, with the result that the canvas 
had a strong carrying power. This power was 
further increased by the figures being sharply 
outlined. 

Gauguin's composition has little importance. 
It takes the form of perpendicularities, and 
rarely is any rhythmic order discernible. It is of 
a piece with the Romanesque painting in Saint- 
Savin near Poitiers. All his objects are personi- 
fications of calm, and are rooted in their environ- 
ment as well as in the earth. They do not seem 
merely to pose there: Gauguin's work is not 
superficial to this extent, but they grow 
naturally out of their matrix like flowers or trees, 
unconscious but immovable. The passivity which 
pervades them is not the calm of completion or 
of the perfect rest which comes after mental 
exercise, but rather the calm of the lethargic 
mind which avoids thought, dislikes action and is 
content to dream. Technically this feeling is 
caused by lines at right angles to the horizon, by 
big simple planes on which the eye can rest free 
from the disturbance of line opposition, by large 
flat patterns of dark tonality conducive to peace 
and introspection. Even the contoured volumes 
have a greater extent of base than of apex and 
thus add to the picture's aspect of immobility. 
Gauguin's drawing is interesting in that it por- 
trays a race highly susceptible of picturisation. 
His models are impelling because it is an adven- 



202 MODERN PAINTING 

ture to explore their parts, their joints, their 
distortions and disproportions. Their beauty is 
heavy and cumbersome, like that of the stone 
images of the Aztecs. 

That which interests us most in Gauguin how- 
ever is his colour. In this medium he arrived 
at a sumptuousness unsurpassed by preceding 
painters. His art was a new application of the 
old principle of wall decoration. Many had 
made use of broad planes of colour before his 
advent, but none had heightened the significance 
of these planes sufficiently to express nature. He 
was the first realist in decoration, and from him 
come, by direct descent, Matisse and a horde of 
lesser men like Fritz Erler, Leo Putz, R. M. 
Eichler, Adolf Miinzer, Rodolphe Fornerod, Alcide 
Le Beau and Gustave Jaulmes. The aesthetic 
import of a Puvis de Chavannes is almost equal 
to that of Gauguin, but the former's greys and 
grey-blues appear washed-out and dead, while 
Gauguin's pictures vibrate with the heat of tropi- 
cal sunlight and the richness of tropical colour. 
Gauguin, however, could get no orders. His work 
was too sensuous. Interior decoration would 
have had to be far more joyous than it was at 
that time for his exotic creations to find a place 
on walls and ceilings. 

Gauguin's animating desire was to synthesise 
his pictures to make each part of them relative 
to all the other parts, to order them as to colour, 
line and tone in such a way that they would give 
forth the impression of a simple -vision, a perfect 
ensemble. This desire was in the air of the day. 
The Impressionists had unconsciously approached 
synthesis by using light and air as a solvent. 



THE PONr-AVEN SCHOOL 203 

Cezanne had gone much deeper and ordered form 
by means of colour. In Seurat Gauguin saw 
almost completely set forth an expression which 
by its simplicity satisfied him. Some assert that 
he was also influenced by Degas. But whether 
this is so or not, certain it is that there is more 
of Ingres in him than of Giotto. With Seurat as 
a starting-point that is, the linear Seurat of 
La Baignade and Un Dimanche a la Grande- 
Jatte Gauguin quickly abolished the tiny and 
labourious spotting which Impressionism and 
Pointillism had taught him, and branched out 
into simpler design and greater chromatic bril- 
liancy. By these departures he achieved his 
synthesis. But this triumph must not be over- 
estimated. There are degrees of synthesis. 
Rubens, Giotto, Degas, Ingres, Bocklin, Botti- 
celli all are synthetic, but all are by no means 
of equal importance. While synthesis is necessary 
to art, it is not the ear-mark of great art alone. 
The order which is obtained by three harmonious 
lines is not so extended an order as that found in 
the multilinear drawings of Pollaiuolo: and this 
complication of aesthetic ordonnance is what 
makes a Donatello more significant than a piece 
of negro sculpture, a Scarsellino greater than a 
Matisse, and an El Greco more puissant than a 
Mazzola-Bedoli. Furthermore, when this com- 
plete surface order extends itself into three dimen- 
sions it becomes an infinitely greater moving 
power. When from simple straight lines on a 
flat surface the artist carries his creation into 
opposition, development and finality, he is push- 
ing the frontiers of his painting to art's extreme 
limits. 



204 MODERN PAINTING 

Gauguin's temperament was simple in the 
extreme. He had fallen under the sway of 
Manet: he had gone to a rugged country of 
primitive instincts where singular costumes were 
a part of the landscape: he had studied the stone 
and wooden figures in the old churches and cross- 
roads of Brittany, and had found the elemental to 
his liking. Consequently in synthesising his art 
he used simple forms, straight lines and large 
planes of shadow and light, all of which were 
presented on a flat surface, so that all the paral- 
lelisms and elementary curves of the picture 
would deliver themselves to the average spectator 
at first glance. His method of filling or balancing 
a canvas was little more than primitive, and the 
curved lines of light and shadow, which are in- 
tended to entice the eye, are so isolated that when 
we at length arrive at their end we discover they 
are without rhythmic intention. Nor is there a 
generating line out of which the others grow. 

Gauguin's linear harmony is no greater, if a 
trifle more diverse, than in the Byzantine mosaic 
decorations in S. Vitale. Indeed the emotion we 
experience before each of them is to all purposes 
the same. The richness of medium in the mosaics 
is amply compensated for by Gauguin's richness 
of foliage forms and floral designs. The decora- 
tive colours in both are equally effective. As 
moderns we might get more enjoyment out of 
Gauguin's heat and brilliance and the diversity 
of his silhouette, but at the same time there is a 
greater archaeological attraction and a more spirit- 
ual interest for us in the ancient work. Intrinsi- 
cally one is as great as the other. Those seeking 
for calm will find it in equal degree in both, for 




DEUX TAHITIENS 



GAUGUIN 



THE PONT-AVEN SCHOOL 205 

in each it is produced by the same method: by 
the static representation of form rather than by 
a sequence of movement. Gauguin's sculpture 
has the same qualities as his paintings, and 
resembles the religious effigies of some barbaric 
tribe. The figures are upright and rigid, their 
backs against a straight support, as in Egyptian 
architectural art. 

Gauguin said many times that when a painter 
was before his easel he must not be the slave 
either of nature or the past. This is true, but 
as a principle it is too limited. Although he 
himself lived up to it, he did not go far enough 
beyond it to do truly significant work. He 
arrived at the brilliancy of nature by a method 
distinctly different from nature's; and while 
refusing to be dominated by the past, his tempera- 
ment was such that he fabricated an art much 
closer to antiquity than that of the Zaks and the 
Rousseaus wrio servilely imitated it. He accom- 
plished what he set out to accomplish. His 
failure to give birth to great art was due to the 
intellectual limitations of his ambitions. His 
place in modern painting, however, is secure. 

That great cycle of aesthetic endeavour which 
was set in motion by the discovery of oil paint- 
ing found its termination in Rubens. The cycle 
which Delacroix and Turner ushered in was less 
extended. Being more concrete in its aims, it 
took only five decades to reach completion in the 
works of Renoir. The first cycle, born with 
fixed materials, was based on an absolute and 
physiological law of composition which can never 
radically change, and therefore permitted of an 
extensive development and variation. Decadence 



206 MODERN POINTING 

naturally set in after its means had lost their 
ability to inspire artists. The second cycle was 
one of research, and during it artists were so 
narrowly focused on nature that they lost sight 
of the foundation laid down during the first 
cycle. Had their concentration not been rudely 
disturbed their data hunting would have carried 
them hopelessly afield. Gauguin exposed the 
futility of the meticulous imitation of nature's 
effects, and by so doing took a step forward 
toward liberty of method. For this reason he is 
of importance. Painters were rapidly becoming 
scientists. By turning men's minds away from 
nature to broadly natural pictures Gauguin in- 
vited them once more to become artists. He 
was the link which joined experimental research 
to pure creation. The first cycle gave us an 
absolute composition: the second furnished a 
scientific hypothesis for art: the third, of which 
Cezanne was the primitive, combined the first 
two and thus opened the door on an infinity 
of achievement. Gauguin prevented the second 
from running into decadence by showing its 
uselessness as an isolated procedure. 



IX 
DEGAS AND HIS CIRCLE 

THE development of art itself is no more 
mechanical than the artistic development 
of the individual: in both there are ir- 
regularities, retrogressions, forward spurts, 
divagations. Renoir first appeared with a rhyth- 
mic line-balance which first grew luminous, then 
voluminous, until it blossomed forth into his full 
form and line and colour. Sometimes he leapt 
ahead in one quality and deterioriated in another, 
abandoned one for the glory of the other, and 
sacrificed continually until by experience he knew 
his limitations. Then consciously, with all the 
reins in hand, he progressed steadily to his highest 
point of efficiency. Art in general also advances 
sporadically. Delacroix gave a new freedom to 
subject and drawing, resuscitated composition and 
found a new use for colour. He was the em- 
bryonic statement of the ends of modern art. 
Courbet, ignoring colour, totally divorced subject- 
matter from antiquity and liberated drawing from 
the accepted style. He carried art forward, but 
not in a direct line. Daumier gave us a new con- 
ception of form, but contented himself with 
Spanish colour: his art, though fragmentary, was 
another step toward a unique vision. Then came 
Manet who, forgetting composition, exalted the 
documentary freedom of Courbet and began the 



208 MODERN PAINTING 

study of light. He, also, was a continuation 
of the modern art impulse, but in his struggle 
for the new he forgot the foundations. The 
Impressionists accepted passively all that had 
come before. They raised colour to an im- 
portant place in painting and brought it to 
the consideration of all artists by showing its 
potency in the production of intense emotion. 
Renoir used their inspiration; reverted to the 
past through Delacroix, Courbet and Daumier; 
combined all that had preceded him; and 
in an incomparable flourish closed up the possi- 
bilities of his experimental forerunners. In him 
was a consummation. But there had to be a 
transition also, unless art was to stand still. 
Gauguin, though he went so far back that he 
passed to a time when composition did not 
exist, interpreted, but did not imitate, nature. 
The Neo-Impressionists continued the impetus 
of Pissarro. Cezanne unearthed secrets from 
nature which linked him to Impressionism, and 
by applying them arbitrarily to classic organisa- 
tions, became an interpreter of the past as well 
as of the future. 

At each step of this broad and prolific advance 
there were those painters who, profiting by the 
teachings of the great, set themselves to imitate 
and ornament the exteriors of their faintly-under- 
stood masters and to emphasise the qualities of 
texture, matiere and prettiness. So rapid was the 
evolution of modern endeavour that nearly every 
painter overlapped his seemingly remote prede- 
cessor. Edgar Degas was born more than twenty 
years before the death of Delacroix. He was one 
of those painters who, content to remain stagnant, 



DEGAS AND HIS CIRCLE 209 

employ the qualities which have been handed 
down to them and breathe into old inspirations 
the flame of individual idiosyncrasy. He was a 
man who impressed everyone by the strength of 
his personality and by the power of his caustic 
wit. In his youth he travelled in Italy and 
America and went to school, not for artistic 
training, but merely as a concession to the 
conventions of the day. He copied Holbein and 
Lawrence. In his earlier portraits there are 
undeniable traces of the German master: the 
Lawrence influence exhibited itself in his feminin- 
ity more than in actual technical innovations. 
He was an enthusiastic visitor to the Cafe 
Guerbois on the Avenue de Clichy where, from 
1865 until the war, Manet was the dominating 
figure, and where the Impressionists and such 
men as Lhermitte, Cazin, Legros, Whistler and 
Stevens came to discuss aesthetics. 

Although never radically opposed to scholasti- 
cism, as were these other men, Degas was never- 
theless persuaded to share in a joint exhibition in 
1867 with his revolutionary companions. But 
the ridicule of the public disgusted him so 
thoroughly that he never exposed again. He 
shut himself up in his studio, and there, isolated 
from his fellow painters and the vulgar populace, 
worked out his own salvation. He instinctively 
hated the brummagem show of popularity and put 
into his every subject this disgust with life's 
hypocrisies. Even in his prancing ballet figures, 
though they are in full light and amid joyous 
settings, one senses the satire which led to the 
depiction of their apparent sans-souci. One reads 
in them the sordid misery of their home life, the 



210 MODERN PAINTING 

long trying hours of muscular strain, and the 
deceit of their simulated smiles. His synthetic 
figures synthetic in that they were without 
details and accidents of contour which would 
detract from the vision of the whole came to 
him direct and with little variation from Ingres 
not the Ingres of Stratonice but the Ingres of 
the drawings in the Musee Ingres at Montauban. 
His study of this master gave him a greater 
insight into the academic construction of the 
human figure than any school could have done. 
It permitted him to set forth a firmly drawn 
body in any pose with equal ease. This facile 
mastery of action is one of his greatest claims to 
popularity. 

Gauguin held that nothing should be moving 
in a canvas, that all the figures should be static, 
arrested in their pose, and calm. Degas repre- 
sented Gauguin's antithesis. He strove to catch 
his model in flight. He immobilised their elan, 
and registered those characteristics of a model 
which express action at its intensest dynamic 
instant. In all his racecourse pictures the very 
horses have that delicate balance of mincing 
tread that we first feel when we look at their 
prototypes in life that dainty and slight re- 
siliency as of weight on springs. Monet, on the 
one hand, caught the ephemeral effect of light on 
nature: Degas, on the other, recorded the fleeting 
movement of objects, that is, the physical poise 
of a granted image, not the (esthetic poise which 
transmits itself to our subjectivities. He surprised 
the actional segment which epitomises the entire 
cycle of movement. Everything he touches be- 
comes as charming and interesting as a well- 



DEGAS AND HIS CIRCLE 211 

staged scene. His sympathies with the Im- 
pressionist colour methods and his manner of 
handling his material add to this charm and 
make pleasurable, fresh and adventuresome what 
would otherwise be banal and sometimes even 
ugly and devoid of interest. He paints the 
racehorse, which Gericault first introduced into 
French art, and, by surrounding it with a vernal 
spring atmosphere, violet hills and green and 
ochre stubble, and by catching its instantaneous 
action, makes of it a picture with a rich and 
colourful surface a surface beside which a 
Gericault, judged from the same illustrative 
standpoint, appears stiff and black. 

Degas, in short, paints the kind of pictures 
which the general public calls "artistic" a 
word which, though loosely used, has come to 
have a distinct connotation when applied to arts 
and crafts. Vases, plaques, panels, screens, deco- 
rations, posters and book-plates are all "artistic" 
provided they fulfil certain simple requirements. 
The bizarre exteriors of German art have given 
great impetus to this qualitative adjective. The 
word is used indeterminately, and its popular 
meaning has not been defined. But in Degas 
we find it exemplified; and by studying him we 
may discover its exact limitations. "Artistic" 
commonly refers to paintings in which the exacti- 
tude of drawing is lost in a nonchalant sensibilite, 
and in which the matiere takes on a seductive 
interest merely as a stuff or a substance, the love 
of which lies deep in the most intellectual of 
men. The tactile sense will be found at the roots 
of the average person's idea of an "artistic" 
work. This desire for superficial and material 



212 MODERN PAINTING 

beauty, as of a rare porcelain or of scintillating 
old silk, is a part of the same physical sensuality 
which makes some men choose rough-grained 
canvas, others the stone of the lithographer, 
others the fluid brushing of a Whistler or a 
Velazquez. The desire for texture is what led 
Degas to pastels. His pictures have something 
more than an illustrative value; they are highly 
attractive as objets d? art as well. But while this 
attractiveness heightened the popular value of his 
work, it indicated the inherent decadence of his 
aims. 

Nor was it the only sign of his retrogression. 
There is not even pictorial finality in his work. 
He never painted subjects as such, but used them 
only as bases for arabesques. Surface-covering 
was his forte, and it is not remarkable that one 
so sensitive to objective action should have been 
such a master of balance. He could never have 
achieved such perfect balance had he not realised 
that a work of art must be done coldly and 
consciously and without passion for the model, 
and that all enthusiasm should come only from 
the progressing work itself. His arrangements 
are wholly natural ones, and we feel that no 
studio posing has gone into their making. In 
this naturalistic attitude he was continuing the 
modern spirit of arbitrary subject selection found 
in Courbet, Manet and Pissarro. But where 
these men painted with colour, Degas only tinted 
his drawings. Consequently his colour, as well 
as composition, was a reversion to a sterile past. 
Although we may admire his Apres le Bain, La 
Toilette, the Trois Danseuses, Femme au Tub, 
La Sortie du Bain, Torse de Femme S'Essuyant, 




DANSEUSES A LEUR TOILETTE 



DEGAS 



DEGAS AND HIS CIRCLE 213 

Musicians a 1'Orchestre for their verisimilitude 
and lightness of treatment, their imprevu of 
arrangement and balance and their charm of 
colour, we can never credit their creator with 
even a slight genius, for all his pictures lack the 
rich volumes of a Daumier and the order of a 
Renoir. 

Degas was neither academic nor revolutionary. 
He struck a middle course in which the scholastic 
and the heretical blent, and in blending neutral- 
ised each other's characteristics. In his canvases 
he tells inherently commonplace stories, but he 
does it with the force and the graceful ease of 
one on whom all the visions of the world have 
made a powerful impression. Life meant to him 
a pageant, neither moral nor immoral, but real, 
and as such interesting. If in what he tells us 
there seems a bit of the cynical indifference of a 
mind too fully disillusioned, it never obtrudes 
itself. He himself might have been surfeited and 
bitter, but his work contains only the barest hint 
of his temperamental retrospection. His com- 
prehension of life's tragedies did not spoil his 
enjoyment in depicting them. Louis Legrand 
reveals the metropolitan lust of mankind; Forain, 
its bestiality; Toulouse-Lautrec, its viciousness. 
Each was prejudiced in some direction. Degas 
merely goes behind the scenes and by stripping 
his characters of their pretences shows them to 
us as they are, intimately and unsentimentally. 

The other men in this circle of illustrators of 
which Degas was the dominant figure had 
distinctly individual traits. In no sense were 
they followers of one leader. Their preoccupa- 
tion with illustration alone held them together. 



214 MODERN PAINTING 

Degas has given us well-balanced patterns with 
fragilely lovely surfaces. He was little interested 
in the traits of his models: he cared more for the 
picture than for individual character. With Henri 
de Toulouse-Lautrec this mental attitude was 
reversed. In his work are specific members of 
the demi-monde, marionettes who have all the 
accentuated vices, vulgarities, fatigues and pre- 
tensions of their trade. In their faces, moulded 
by unrestrained indulgences, joys and sorrows, 
we can read their innermost hopes and aspira- 
tions. We can reconstruct their entire day's 
activities. In order to study his characters 
Lautrec went to the milieu where gaiety was 
unchecked, where the denizens of the under- 
world those unreal beings who live like fantas- 
tic flowers nourished by artificial light and 
colour come to work and play. He saw and 
set down the principals in the Bohemian music 
halls, the cafes-concerts and the cirques, and those 
daylight moralists who come to relax viciously at 
night with all the laisser-aller of violent reaction. 
His search was for character; and in these 
establishments character did not masquerade in 
the hypocritical garb of pride and dignity. 
Passions were aired frankly, even proudly. 

Lautrec had personal as well as artistic reasons 
for choosing this sphere. He had an ardent, 
almost febrile, desire to live fully and furiously. 
He was deformed; he had a man's head and body 
on a child's legs the result of incompetent 
bone-setting in his youth. His family was a very 
old and noble one: his father was a sportsman, 
a lover of horses, a sculptor in his leisure moments. 
All the pride of race and dignity of class tumbled 



DEGAS AND HIS CIRCLE 215 

from its pedestal in this young artist. He had 
worked in the schools of Bonnat and Cormon, 
had met and admired Forain, and had finally 
been revealed to himself by Degas who led him 
to the theatre. He drank much, one suspects, to 
forget his deformity, just as Van Gogh drank to 
forget disease. He sought solace in the ephem- 
eral, visionary life of the cafes; and no action, 
no type, no expression escaped his probing 
notice. He had many friends to whom he 
confided. "I am only half a bottle," he would 
say. He adored women impersonally and roman- 
tically, but in his own station of life they looked 
upon him askance. Consequently he lived where 
money would always buy attention and where 
good-fellowship was repaid with good-fellowship. 

Lautrec was an indefatigable worker, but his 
pictures possess little of the surface beauty of a 
Degas. Rather do they attest to a love of 
exaggerated and uncommon form, as do Chinese 
paintings. But in him is more order than in 
Degas. Compare Une Table au Moulin-Rouge 
with Degas's Cafe-Concert. In the first the 
character in the physiques of the principals 
harmonises with the character of the faces; and 
the female figure's hair, hat and fur-trimmed coat 
indicate the artist's love for grotesque and 
beautiful abstract form. There is more than 
balance here: there is the rudiment of an instinc- 
tive composition which Degas never had. Beside 
this picture the Cafe-Concert seems flat silhouette, 
sprightly and entertaining, but far from profound. 
The nucleus of composition can be found in all of 
Lautrec's best canvases, especially those he 
painted after his return from Spain. Toward the 



216 MODERN PAINTING 

end of his life he worked, for the most part, with 
a full brush and rich colours. Before this, how- 
ever, pencil, chalk, lithographs and water-colours 
had claimed him. His greatest fluency was in 
the use of separated hachures of rich greyish 
colour on neutral backgrounds. This method of 
application permitted him line as well as colour; 
and with his lines, summary and economical 
though they were, he caught the animality of his 
subjects with as sure a hand as Monet caught the 
light and Degas the action. 

Lautrec, with Cheret, revolutionised the poster 
art. There are few men today in this field who 
do not owe much to him. His love of the 
eccentricities of his model was an ideal gift for 
the poster-maker, and he had himself sufficiently 
in hand not to be led into the grotesque. He 
was a caricaturist in that he exaggerated char- 
acteristic traits, just as Matisse did in his sculp- 
ture. He always noted fully the uncommon, and 
his love of every manifestation of life gave him 
a wide range of inspiration. Life was his great 
adventure; his art was merely his diary. He is 
a historian of the theatre of his time and has 
left salient portraits of Loie Fuller, Polaire, 
Sarah Bernhardt, Mounet-Sully, Yahne and Anna 
Held. His types of the raptorial woman of the 
past the kind that today is found in the 
hidden corners of Les Halles, at the fortifications 
and about the "Rue de la Joie" are as real as 
the female characters of Balzac, Daudet, Augier 
and Prevost. They live in his pictures because 
one feels that they once were realities: his 
caricaturisations of them, as of his clowns and 
dancers, only intensify their intimate humanity. 



DEGAS AND HIS CIRCLE 217 

To some it may seem strange that Lautrec should 
have liked Massys and Memling. But in the 
first he found trenchant characterisation, espe- 
cially in such things as Head of an Old Man, 
The Courtesan and Portrait of a Canon. And he 
was temperamentally akin to Memling in such 
arrangements as the latter' s The Casting of the 
Lots (a detail of Calvary) and Our Lord's Passion, 
at the Museum in Turin. 

That the illustrators of this group were deca- 
dent is borne out in their subject-matter as well 
as in their methods. Since the earliest recorded 
antiquity artists have been attracted to the 
moving, the glittering, the brilliant; and the 
human occupation which embodies these three 
qualities most obviously is dancing. The men 
who are in love with life and not art and who 
paint and draw pictures merely to record their 
impressions, have always been hypnotised by the 
colour, the grace, the fluent movement and the 
rhythmic shiftings of dancers. These men, unable 
to analyse their emotions, have dreamed only of 
depicting objectively their photographic impres- 
sions of the dance. The artists who penetrated 
to the fundamental causes of rhythm used the 
dance only arbitrarily, whereas the superficial 
painters of the past saw in it merely the mosaic, 
the pattern, the arabesque. They thought that 
in portraying the dance literally they would 
arrive at its motive significance. But in this 
they failed. Had they done their figures in clay 
or stone they would have approached nearer 
their desire. But even this more masculine 
medium has, with few exceptions, resulted in 
failure. The dancing girls in the Grottoes of 



2i 8 MODERN PAINTING 

Mahavelipore were used only by those puissant 
masters of form as friezes or shapes to fill in and 
ornament a vacant space. The Tanagra figurines 
are a purely decorative endeavour. In Greece 
it was not the men of Praxiteles's calibre, but the 
smaller talents like the potters who used the 
dance in their designs. Even a man as slight as 
Hokusai leaves it to a Toba Sojo to make his 
models caper. But the feminine talent of Degas 
finds in the dance absolute and unordered expres- 
sion; and Lautrec and Legrand, both more robust 
than Degas, though minor and ornamentally 
illustrative artists, are seduced into portraying it 
often. 

Louis Legrand was more of the "maker" of 
pictures than were his two contemporaries. His 
nature leaned toward the heavy and boisterous 
Sodoma rather than toward the Latin ideal of 
Tiepolo. This almost Teutonic racial penchant 
in him explains why the bestiality of his subject- 
matter is so often done in the manner of Goya, 
with broad black and white masses, not with the 
suggested line and the attractive matiere of his 
master, Degas. There is much Teutonic blood 
in Spain, and Goya, while being far the greater 
artist even in his slightest etchings, is the nearest 
approach to Legrand in the treatment of themes. 
Goya paints moral decay with disgust and genius, 
whereas Legrand, with his slight gropings after 
order of a surface variety, glories in it as in a 
pursuit, and paints it with a leer. The Spaniard 
uses it as a temperamental means. The French- 
man, whose whole talent lies in a formula of 
draughtsmanship, works toward its creation as an 
end. His shallowness is at once apparent when 



DEGAS AND HIS CIRCLE 219 

we compare his Maitresse or his illustrations for 
Edgar Allan Poe's tales with etchings like Donde 
Va Mama or Buen Viaje. Psychologically he is 
intimately related to the fin de siecle movement 
in England; and, although a better and more 
healthy workman, he has a temperament singu- 
larly akin to that ineffectual Victorian academi- 
cian, Walter Sickert. 

In J.-L. Forain we have a man of different 
stamp, one who, knowing his ability for certain 
things, clings to them and does not attempt to 
thrust himself into the rank of artist. By 
developing his small potentialities to their highest 
actuality he has achieved as much as his con- 
freres have by extraneous tricks and appearances. 
And there is no doubt that he comprehends art 
much better than they. His iconoclastic and 
acidulous cynicism, his ability to wrench from 
behind the veil of mundane hypocrisy the real 
motivation of an action, and his probing analysis 
which cannot be imposed upon by pretence, have 
touched on many sides of contemporary life 
politics, extortion, courts, merchants, the beau 
monde, prostitution, religion, the theatre and 
the tawdry Bohemianism of Montparnasse. With 
a few straight and fluent strokes of the pencil he 
builds up a type of the blustering parvenu Jew, 
the mercenary picture dealer, the childish and 
vain actor who is avid for praise and obsessed 
with his vocation. Forain calls the actor a 
" M'as-tu-vu?" and depicts him as with that 
phrase ever on his lips. Baudelaire Chez les 
Mufles is one of the world's greatest monuments 
to human hypocrisy. A chlorotic bourgeoise is 
standing in the centre of a small gathering 



220 MODERN POINTING 

reciting Baudelaire's verses. Around her are 
grouped types of self-satisfied and vicious mascu- 
linity, all pretending, like the speaker herself, 
to be feeling deeply the hidden spirituality of the 
poem. Some of the men have their heads raised 
high, others bowed low, for purposes of con- 
centration. The whole picture is rough-hewn as 
though done with an axe in a square of clay. 
With the simplest means the artist, gives us the 
impression of rugged stone and, at the same 
time, completion. The titles to his drawings 
are in the exact spirit of the pictures themselves, 
succinct, brutal and penetrating. Forain is the 
second greatest caricaturist the world has pro- 
duced. He was not the artist that Daumier was, 
but as a serious creator of types and as a highly 
intelligent critic of contemporary shams, he is a 
master, even as Daumier was a master of a realm 
far above him. 

Forain perfected what he set out to do, and 
for this praise is due him. That his ambition 
A ran along a subpassage of aesthetic endeavour, as 
did that of his three confreres, he would be the 
first to admit. As artists these men cannot be 
judged either by the surface quality of their 
works or by their penetration into life and char- 
acter. Such considerations have nothing to do 
with aesthetic emotion. No matter how much we 
may eulogise such painters for they must be 
judged by their own standard rather than by a 
criterion set by a Rubens our praise will never 
place them in the rank of plastic creators. They 
.' will ever remain in the realm of nearly perfect 
workmen with literary apperceptions. Toulouse- 
Lautrec, because of his love of formal distortion 



DEGAS AND HIS CIRCLE 221 

for its own sake, probably comes nearer the 
higher level: there is in his work a slight aesthetic 
element. Degas will ever remain the piece of old 
velvet in a frame; Louis Legrand, the illustrator 
of the bachelor clubs; Forain, the expositor of 
life's pretensions. 

It is these men who have given the greatest 
impetus to realistic illustration in all countries. 
Viewed from this standpoint they were a salutary, 
as well as a diverting, manifestation. By burrow- 
ing down into the depths of material existence 
they made unimportant such poetic men as 
Beardsley, Rossetti and Moreau. All good illus- 
tration after them took on a deeper meaning. 
It ignored the mendacious surfaces of things and 
strove to reproduce the undercurrents which lie 
at the bottom of human actions and reactions. 
Its mere prettiness was supplanted by subcutane- 
ous characteristics. It sought for motives rather 
than emotions, for causes rather than effects. 
It became critical where once it had been only 
photographic. From Degas, Lautrec, Legrand 
and Forain comes directly the best illustrative 
talent in both Europe and America. Without 
these four men we would not possess the best 
work of Max Beerbohm, Hermann Paul, Bellows, 
Maxime Dethomas, Roubille, Carlopez, Carl Lar- 
son, Albert Engstrom, C. D. Gibson, E. M. Ashe, 
Boardman Robinson, Cesare, Blumenschein and 
Wallace Morgan, the last of whom is unques- 
tionably the most artistic illustrator in either 
America or England. 



X 

HENRI-MATISSE 

WHILE the bitter struggle against the 
narrow dictates of a retrospective 
and so-called classic academy was 
in progress, and before the older 
scholastic forces had finally been put to rout, 
the Impressionists calmly arrogated to them- 
selves the authority of their dumbfounded 
predecessors. Their pictures, because more re- 
stricted and not based on the fundamentals of 
art, soon became as familiar and commonplace 
as the paintings of Gerome, Cabanel and Bougue- 
reau, and in becoming familiar settled into the 
groove of a new academism as immobile and 
self-satisfied as the old. The Neo-Impressionists 
were the first to react against them, and later 
Gauguin and his fellow synthesists openly de- 
clared war. Cezanne at that time was little 
known and less understood. Living apart and 
alone, he was counted out of the main struggle. 
The decadents of the movement, Degas and his 
circle, continued their popularising process: their 
eyes were so fixedly turned inward that they saw 
little of what was going on about them. Gau- 
guin, putting aside imitation of nature for inter- 
pretation, began the great movement which was 
to culminate in the most extreme reaction against 
Impressionism Cubism. And Matisse who, arous- 



HENRI-MATISSE 223 

ing public interest in the new, is responsible 
for the popular Cezanne discussions of today, 
was the next man to carry on Gauguin's work of 
pigeon-holing Monet and his followers. But where- 
as the Impressionists had completely forgotten 
the classics, Gauguin wished to recommence the 
entire cycle by reverting to the forefathers of 
those very classics. He also had his decadent 
followers, but there was no one to continue his 
methods and inspiration. If it is difficult to 
perceive an analogy between him and a painter 
like Jacopo dei Barbari, compare the works of 
these men with a later drawing by Matisse. 
The similarity of the first two, by being con- 
trasted with the latter, will at once become 
apparent. Gauguin clung close to the drawing 
of the primitive Christians; and the classic seed 
within him, though it never flowered, was never 
dead. 

While the form in Matisse at times has all the 
suavity of contour of a Liombruno or a Roma- 
nelli, there is a more purely sensitive reason for it 
than in the well-taught decadents of the later 
Renaissance. In the classes of Bouguereau and 
Carriere at the Beaux-Arts he had seen to what 
an impasse a too great love of antiquity would 
lead. Furthermore, with his many copies in the 
Louvre, by command of the state, he began 
gradually to realise that the classics had become 
a fetich, and that the only salvation for a painter 
was to seek a different and less-known inspiration. 
This course was not so difficult as it had once 
been, for the younger men had already liberated 
themselves from popular mandates. The freedom 
of the artist was now an assured thing, and while 



224 MODERN PAINTING 

the public still scoffed and offered suggestions, it 
no longer felt that a man's expression was its 
personal concern. To be sure, popular rage 
against things which appeared incomprehensible 
was still evident, but it was the impotent rage 
which sneers because it can no longer strike. 
The Salon des Artistes I nde pendants was in full 
swing, and the new artists who had ideas rather 
than tricks and who were intent on discovering 
new fields through devious experimentation, found 
therein a refuge where they could expose as 
conspicuously as could the academicians. In this 
healthful Salon Matisse has exhibited regularly 
up to a few years ago, and it was here and in 
the Salon d'Automne another exhibition which 
at first was animated by high ideals but which 
has lately fallen into the hands of cliques and 
picture merchants that his fame took birth. 

With Matisse's advent we behold the paradox 
of an artist who is in full reaction against the 
Impressionistic and classic doctrines and who 
at the same time reveals a certain composition 
and makes colour of paramount interest. The 
Matisse of exotic inspiration came from the 
studio of Gustave Moreau who, by his intelligent 
toleration of the virile enthusiasms of his pupils, 
facilitated the way toward complete self-expres- 
sion. There are Matisse drawings extant which 
are impeccable from the academic standpoint 
drawings in which is found all the cold "right 
drawing" of the school. There are paintings 
in the Neo-Impressionistic manner, except that 
they display a sensitive use of harmonious colours, 
which should have shown Signac and Cross the 
error of their rigid science. Also there are still- 



HENRI-MATISSE 225 

lives which recall Chardin, one of Matisse's great 
admirations; and at least one study of a head, 
done in Colorossi's old academy on the Rue de la 
Grande Chaumiere, in which a love of Cezanne's 
form and colour mingles with a respect for 
Manet's method of applying paint. 

Gauguin too served as a provenance for the 
later colour vision of Matisse. Indeed it is as 
much from Gauguin as from Cezanne that he 
stems. The broad planes of rich tones and the 
decorative employment of form in the former 
had as great an influence in Matisse's art as did 
the perfect displacement of spaces in the canvases 
of the Provencal master. Gauguin, while still 
leaning to the classic, desired a fresher impetus. 
He therefore sought distortion in exotic inspira- 
tion; but the man who was led to distortion 
through a pure love of unfamiliar form and to 
whom Matisse owes the deciding influence toward 
a new body, was the Spaniard Goya. The 
deformed, the grotesque and the monstrous were 
with Goya a passion. In his Caprichos it is easily 
seen that he, too, was tired of the established 
formulas regarding the human body, and strove 
to vary and enrich it. By emphasising a char- 
acteristic trait, by shifting a certain form, by 
exaggerating a certain proportion, he sought to 
obtain, as did Matisse, the complete expression 
of what he felt to be essential in his model. 
The deformations in Gauguin came as a result 
of an outline which after the first drawing was 
left unchanged for the sake of its naif effect. 
But in Goya and Matisse the deformations are 
the result of a highly developed plastic sense 
which glories in new and unusual forms. With 



226 MODERN PAINTING 

them the human body is treated as the means 
through which an idea is expressed an idea of 
form, not of literature. Compare, for instance, 
the drawing called Deux Tahi'tiens, one of Gau- 
guin's best works, with Matisse's Baigneuses, a 
canvas of three nudes one of which is playing 
with a turtle. In the former the proportions are 
distorted as much as in the latter, but these 
proportions are flat and are an end in them- 
selves. They have no intellectual destiny. In 
the Matisse picture the exaggerations grow out 
of a desire to express more fully the form which 
the artist has felt to be important and character- 
istic. In the seated woman the torso and neck 
constitute a personal and original vision, and the 
crouching woman's back has as much solidity as 
the Venus Accroupie of the Louvre. 

Matisse's simplified vision of form came, as did 
all synthetic modern art, from Ingres and Dau- 
mier through Seurat, Degas and Gauguin. That 
Ingres, the master of so classic a school, should 
have unconsciously felt the need for modifying 
and simplifying an object is a significant indica- 
tion of the fatigue which is always produced by 
an adherence to a set form. In his drawings the 
details are omitted merely because they do not 
further the achievement of his own particular 
kind of beauty. In Daumier they are absent 
because they detract from the spontaneous emo- 
tion of the whole; in Degas and Manet, because 
they hinder the fluency of action and obscure the 
complete and direct image; in Seurat, because 
they interfere with the suavity of line itself; and 
in Gauguin, because they preclude that naivete 
of appearance he wished to obtain. In Matisse 




BAIGNEUSES 



HENRI-MATISSE 



HENRI-MATISSE 227 

began the conscious process of making form 
arbitrary, of bending it to the personal require- 
ment of expression. In Cubism form became 
even more abstract. In Ingres's drawings there 
is an entire lack of suppleness: his figures appear 
like a first sketch in wood for a German carving. 
In Gauguin this wooden look becomes a trifle 
more fluent; the proportions are artistically 
improved. And in Matisse there is no trace of 
the awkward or the stiff. While his form is more 
simplified than that of the two other painters, 
the simplifications come as a result of that 
artistic Tightness of proportion which is an out- 
growth of the ultimate refinement of knowledge 
and taste. 

The trick of drawing of a Louis Legrand has 
no parallel in Matisse. In the work of the latter 
each figure or object, no matter how many times 
he has already drawn it, has a distinctively novel 
construction and presents a new vision. All 
familiar joints and hackneyed interpretations are 
absent. We have seen, for instance, the deltoids 
drawn in every conceivable pose of stress or calm. 
When one speaks of a nude we immediately 
visualise it with the angular shoulders, with the 
accustomed bulges over the upper arm which 
have been painted there in the same manner since 
the early Renaissance. In the delineation of 
deltoids the painter had become stagnant, accept- 
ing their conventional appearance as an external 
truth and recording them without thought. 
Matisse revolted against this fixed standard. 
Glance through his later nudes and there are 
many of them and every shoulder will present 
a different appearance; every arm will take on a 



228 MODERN PAINTING 

novel form. We speak here of these particular 
muscles because they seem to obtrude themselves 
upon the sensitive sight more than any others. 
Matisse, seeking to overcome this structural 
monotony, made each shoulder he drew a new 
form, a new adventure, by expressing, not the 
actual bone and muscle of the clinic, but the 
salient meaning of that shoulder in a given 
milieu. It is this same desire to do away with 
the hackneyed forms of art that has driven the 
modern poets away from classic metres and 
caused them to seek a more plastic and adaptable 
medium in vers libre. Rondeaux, ballades, quat- 
rains, octaves and the like are today as intrinsi- 
cally perfect forms as they ever were, but the 
significance of their beauty has been lost through 
overuse, through too great familiarity. Our 
minds pass over them as over well-learned lessons 
committed to memory. 

It is thus Matisse felt about the classic forms 
of his predecessors. These forms had once been 
beautiful; intrinsically they were still beautiful; 
but they had been habitualised by constant repe- 
tition; and new ones were needed. In order to 
find them Matisse says that, when before a model, 
he tried to forget that he had even seen a nude 
before and to look upon it with the eyes of one 
who had never seen a picture. By this he does 
not mean that his vision was naive, but that it 
was innocent of set rules and preconceived ideas 
of how form should be obtained. As a theory 
this attitude proved fruitful because, while he 
did not succeed in setting aside memory, he was 
nevertheless led to a conscious thrusting aside of 
his first impulses to depict form as he saw it. All 



HENRI-MATISSE 229 

painters, even the greater artists of the past, had 
copied form as it presents itself to the eye, but 
Matisse forced himself, through painstaking 
analysis, .to express form in a totally novel man- 
ner; and to a certain extent he succeeded. One 
might well ask why, in modifying the human 
body, he did not, for instance, omit a leg or a 
head, thus making his expression at once purer 
and more abstract. The answer is that he real- 
ised that the spectator, after the first shock at 
seeing the unexpected form and the consequent 
mental readjustment to the new vision, would 
nevertheless recognise the picture as a depiction 
of the human figure. Therefore a complete 
recognisability must be maintained. If the ar- 
tist omitted an eye or a mouth, for example, the 
spectator would experience physically the incom- 
pleteness of the vision. He would feel, through 
personal association, the blindness or the suffo- 
cation as suggested in the picture; and these 
shocks, being secondary physiological sensations, 
would detract from the esthetic pleasure provoked 
by the work. The point is an important one, for 
it demonstrates the impossibility of appreciating 
art purely as abstract form so long as recognisable 
objects are presented. As modern painting pro- 
gressed the illustrative gradually became relegated. 
Much impetus for his abbreviations and accen- 
tuations of form came to him with his personal 
discovery of the wood carvings of the African 
negroes, the sculpture of natives of Polynesia 
and Java and of the Peruvian and Mexican 
Indians. During the last five years we have 
heard much of these unknown artists and of their 
superlative ability for organisation and rhythm. 



230 MODERN PAINTING 

But they have been a little too quickly and 
enthusiastically accepted as criteria at the expense 
of those greater artists, the Greeks, the Egyptians, 
the East Indians and the Chinese. . Matisse 
found in them an inspiration toward synthesis 
and also a substantiation for his own desire to 
emphasise salient characteristics. They influ- 
enced his motives in depicting only what was 
personally important and in doing away with 
unnecessary details. After him there came a 
horde of imitators who saw in negro sculpture the 
quintessence of artistic expression, who looked 
upon it as a finality of organisation and rhythmic 
composing. Such judgment, however, contains 
more of enthusiasm than of critical acumen. 
Negro sculpture has an interest for us only in so 
far as it is novel and untutored. Its organisation 
is of the most primitive kind, symmetrical rather 
than rhythmic, architectonic rather than plastic. 
It is the work of slightly synthetic artists who 
were without models and whose visions encom- 
passed only certain traits of form which, when 
expressed, became not composed but balanced, 
not imitative but abstract. The abstractness of 
negro sculpture, its bending of all human forms to 
an ornament, its archaic rigidity which is the 
antithesis of fluent movement these are the 
qualities which have so gripped the imaginations 
of minor modern artists. In reality the negro 
sculptors did not seek these qualities consciously. 
Their lack of realistic observation was due to 
their partial isolation from exterior influences such 
as the Greeks and Egyptians, and to their desire 
to make an ornament of all images. 

It was the Persians, however, who influenced 



HENRI-MAriSSE 231 

Matisse more than did negro sculpture. He 
found in these artists a practical lesson in the 
application of his beliefs a lesson which sub- 
stantiated the tonic division and formal im- 
provisation of Goya and the decorative colour 
application of Gauguin. Besides he learned from 
them a more direct method of image making, a 
method which was at once more delicate and more 
femininely sensitive. After seeing the pictures 
done by Matisse in Algiers, and such paintings 
as La Glace sans Tain, and after looking at the 
vistas through the open doors and windows in 
some of his large interiors, one realises at once 
the great influence these exquisitely delicate 
painters of ancient Persia had on him. The 
decorative illustrations of the Mille et Une Nuits, 
published in Paris by Fasquelle, are so similar 
to some of his pictures that one is inclined to 
believe he studied this book before painting them. 
His superiority lies in his finer comprehension of 
the human form and in the great diversity he 
exhibited in the repetition of its component parts. 
Persia, like other nations, had an academy, and 
while its yield was more charming and less given 
to complex reproductions, it had no more aesthetic 
importance than have the art schools of our own 
day. But unlike ours it had not forgotten the neces- 
sity of formal distribution in the making of artistic 
arrangements. This distribution in its flat sense 
Matisse appropriated to his own ends, and by 
applying to it freer modern means, made his art 
more aesthetically significant than that of the 
Persians. 

His modern means were the outgrowth of his 
understanding of colour in its capacity to incite 



232 MODERN PAINTING 

emotion. His first essays in this field were 
greyish. Later, through divisionistic methods, 
they grew brighter; and finally his colour became 
pure and was applied in large planes. His works 
of this period shine as a source of light, and with 
his development of exaggerated forms his colour 
interpretations also become exaggerated. Where 
he saw a green in a shadow he painted it a pure 
green; where he saw. a yellow in light he made it 
a pure yellow; and so on with the other colours. 
But in these interpretations there is more than a 
mere desire to record hastily an optical vision. 
Each colour is pondered at length in its relation 
to the others. It is changed a score of times, 
modified and adjusted; and when it is finally 
posed it is artistically "right." In other words, 
it fills harmoniously an important part in a 
picture where understanding and taste are the 
creators. In the work of Matisse sensibilite plays 
the all-important role, and while his results are 
satisfying as far as they go, there are times when 
we could wish for a greater rhythmic sense, a 
more conscious knowledge of the profundities of 
composition, and a less dominating desire to free 
each form and line from classic dictates. 

With his colour we can find no such fault. 
Though here his knowledge, like that of all other 
artists before him, is limited, the perfect harmony 
between tints, which in him reaches a more 
advanced stage than in any preceding artist, is 
the result of a highly sensitive eye and an impec- 
cable taste. The beauty of his colour alone 
makes him of paramount importance. Every one 
of his canvases is a complete colour gamut created 
by taste and authenticated by science not only as 



HENRI-MATISSE 233 

to pure colour but also as to greys and tone. In 
his still-lives he chooses objects alone for their 
colour and form, and his sense of proportion is so 
developed and his reduction of line is carried to 
so final an economy that, as flat as these objects 
are, they seem to have a rich consistency and to 
extend themselves into visual depth. As in the 
case of all men who deviate from the narrow and 
well-worn path of monotonous tonality, Matisse 
is accused of dealing in raucous and blatant 
colours which set the head aching and the eyes 
smarting. But the accusation is true only of his 
followers who display little sensitivity and even 
less artistry, and who, in imitating the superficial 
aspects of his work, see only grotesque distortions 
and pure colour. Matisse once had a school 
where he endeavoured to develop the native talents 
of the Americans, Poles, Russians and Germans; 
but when a Bohemian woman, in reply to his 
question as to what she wished to do, answered, 
"Je veux faire le 'neuf'," he abandoned the enter- 
prise and retired to Clamart. She unwittingly 
summed up the desire of those meagre painters 
who, on seeing something novel, immediately 
throw themselves into imitating it. Matisse's 
followers approach his colour gamut, but they 
never bridge that lacuna which separates a pre- 
cise art from one which is a pen pres. It is the 
last delicate refinement of perfect harmony which 
Matisse possesses and which his imitators can 
not attain to, which places him in the rank of 
greatness. 

Matisse is called the Chef des Fauves, and his 
art has been catalogued and labeled, turned into 
a "school" and has come to be known in many 



234 MODERN PAINTING 

quarters as Post-Impressionism, although that 
title, as well as the one of Fauvism, was originally 
intended to designate all the art movements after 
Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism and in- 
cluded such widely dissimilar men as Cezanne, 
Van Gogh, Picasso, Kandinsky, Matisse and 
Friesz. It stood for the new vitality in art, for 
the contemporary animating spirit, and implied 
an epoch rather than a movement. It was not 
sufficiently specific, however; and while modern 
art in the main is a homogeneous development 
of new means, its forces are too diverse and its 
evolution too complex to permit of its being 
described by a blanket term. It was therefore 
natural that in an endeavour to understand the 
underlying forces of modern painting a process of 
critical differentiation should have been insti- 
tuted. But labels are offensive and impertinent 
when attached to serious aesthetic endeavours, 
and are apt to lead to misunderstanding and 
errors of judgment. The canvases themselves 
must be the final test of a movement's enduring 
vitality. Matisse is himself the whole impetus 
of the movement he represents. With the one 
exception of Cezanne, he is more remote from his 
followers than any other modern leader. He 
repeats himself so little that his disciples cannot 
make a fetich of his canons. Indeed, he does not 
work by rote or law, except in so far as there is 
a law governing his personal impressions and 
prediled: ons. 

Although Matisse's greatest impetus to modern 
art, after his carrying form nearer to an abstract 
conception, is the harmonising of colour, his 
finest canvases are those in which the form pre- 



HENRI-MAriSSE 235 

dominates, as for instance the Jeu de Dalles, 
La Musique esquisse, La Musique (panneau 
decoratif) and Baigneuses. In these pictures, 
however, there is an entire absence of rhythm in 
the Renoir sense, but they possess a perfect 
disposition of forms to fill a given space, a har- 
mony of subject with its frame, a dazzling succes- 
sion of uncommon and beautifully proportioned 
spaces and an amazing feeling for two-dimensioned 
form. Where with Matisse the distinct parti pris 
of reverting to a primitive inspiration was excus- 
able, such an attitude was worse than folly 
for those who came after him. With him it was 
a manifestation of the disgust of an impatient 
and experimental mind for stereotyped expression: 
with his followers it was only an imitation of his 
motives, and hence it was decadent. If Matisse 
partially understood Giotto and Michelangelo, 
the understanding contributed little to his art. 
His greatest claim to consideration is that he 
gave painting its final impulse toward abstraction. 
But his canvases, while being aesthetically just, 
are not aesthetically satisfying, because in compo- 
sition he never penetrated further than the 
surface. And even on the surface he did not 
attain to a greater fluency than that permitted by 
parallelisms and simple oppositions, although 
there has never been an artist who more perfectly 
adapted his expression to the shape and size of 
his canvas. 

That all great artists worked like him from the 
standpoint of creating recognisable form by ab- 
stract thought, does not detract from his fine 
destiny. Where other artists failed to drag art 
from the quicksands of literary instantaneity, 



236 MODERN PAINTING 

Matisse succeeded. His evolution was direct 
and logical, as a close study of his work will show; 
and those who see in him an arriviste may with 
equal justice bring the same charge against 
Michelangelo. His aesthetic sources and admira- 
tions, of which so much has been written, are 
important in understanding the genealogical foun- 
dations of art, but they are of little moment in 
the actual enjoyment of his pictures. Looking 
impartially at his classic influences on the one 
hand and his Persian and negro influences on the 
other, it is difficult to see just where the benefits 
of the latter lie. Matisse merely shifted his 
inspiration from the greatest masters of form to 
the slighter masters from a well-known and 
great antiquity to a little-known and less sig- 
nificant one. However, if negro sculpture can 
help produce a man like Picasso, and the Persian 
stuffs and enamels one like Matisse, they serve 
after all a high purpose. 



XI 
PICASSO AND CUBISM 

CUBISM first and foremost is an attempt 
to make art more arbitrary in its se- 
lection of compositional forms. In all 
ancient painting only the human figure 
was used as a basis for organisation. Later 
landscape widened the scope of the painter's 
material possibilities; but even the introduction 
of this new element merely extended the boundary 
of subject-matter. The essence of art remained 
the same. Landscape permitted new forms to be 
interwoven with the old ones, without making 
the old more plastic. The elasticising process was 
what the painter had always desiderated, but his 
literalness was such that he never went beyond 
primary distortions of the human body distor- 
tions so small that they were almost unnoticeable. 
With the Greeks and Chinese these deformations 
were practised in order to beautify the body's 
relative proportions; with the East Indians and 
Michelangelo, to accentuate the emotion of force- 
ful movement; with Renoir, to express form fully 
in its relation to the generating line of each 
picture; and with Matisse the distortions were the 
the result, first, of a reaction against a hackneyed 
classic system, and later, of a desire to divorce 
aesthetic pleasure from mental association, in 
other words, to make form abstract rather than 



238 MODERN PAINTING 

personal. In him there is no rhythmic composi- 
tion, and while, as in the case of Renoir, his 
pictures are great as ensembles, each part of them 
is a separate item which does not depend, for 
appreciation, on its rapport to the whole. His is 
an art of colour, of sensitive and inspiring form 
in two dimensions a decorative art of a high 
order. As such it is at once a derivation of 
Impressionism and a development of Impression- 
istic colour through the channels of taste. 

Cubism is a far more arbitrary art than 
Matisse's. In its extreme expression it depends, 
not so much on the artist's adroitness at inter- 
preting nature, as on his ability to express pure 
aesthetic emotion in its relation to form form 
being used here in its extended sense to connote 
the solidity of the entire picture and the block 
relation of each part to the other parts. Compo- 
sition prior to the Cubists had been the rhythmic 
organisation of a picture's integral parts by line, 
volume, chiaroscuro and colour. A totally unre- 
lated set of objective figures or forms was drawn 
together into an ensemble by these abstract 
aesthetic means. Cubism retained the older 
methods of form and conception, and added to 
them the illustrative device of disorganising and 
rearranging objectivity so that the separated parts 
would intersect, overlap and partly obscure the 
image. Thus was presented a picture replete 
with all aspects of the model, that is, a picture 
in which the expression presented not only the 
vision of reality as it discloses itself to our eyes, 
but the vision which delivers itself to our intelli- 
gences, with its actions and reactions, its many 
and changing miens, its linear and voluminous 



PICASSO AND CUBISM 239 

struggles, its solidity and its transparency. In 
Cubism the details of this ubiquitous and omni- 
farious vision are subjugated to arbitrary order 
and expressed in tones of warm and cold. 

At the outset Cubism was a Dionysian reaction 
against the flowing and soft decoration of the 
schools of Bouguereau and the Impressionists. 
The precise and masculine minds of a new cycle 
could not rest satisfied with the single melody 
of their immediate predecessors. Courbet, the 
Cubists' prototype on the side of painting which 
dealt entirely with objectivity, readied against 
corresponding feminine tendencies in the schools 
of David and Ingres; and the decisive blow he 
struck in 1850 with his L'Enterrement a Ornans 
had a psychological parallel in the Cubists' 
exhibit in 1911. While Manet seemed to continue 
Courbet he in reality retrogressed to a classic 
prettiness. His achievements may be compared 
to those of the Orphists who, while seeming to 
carry on the principles of Cubism, nullified the 
effect of that school by the misapplication of 
colour. Cubism itself ignored colour and curved 
lines. It was a further step toward a more 
intellectual type of painting. The modern artist's 
mind, in becoming more self-conscious, was 
consequently growing more precise in its expres- 
sion. And since the Cubists were the primitives 
of a new era, it was natural that this precision 
should express itself in straight lines and angular 
forms. The inconsistency of these artists lay in 
the fact that, while their first desire was to make 
their art arbitrary, they were so preoccupied with 
the dynamism of objectivity that the main object 
of their work was deputised. In the canvases of 



240 MODERN PAINTING 

Picasso's followers naturalism is the first consider- 
ation. As a result the organisation of emotion- 
impelling form is obscured. It was from Cezanne 
that the Cubists garnered the greater part of their 
theories, and even the appearance of their work 
is not unlike his. Cezanne realised that a mere 
imitation of reality, no matter how interesting, 
could never set in motion the wheels of aesthetic 
ecstasy; and so he translated nature into a sub- 
jective impression of reality by expressing it in a 
complete order which was itself dynamic. The 
Cubists, profiting by his discoveries of linear and 
tonal modification, essayed to found a school on 
certain of his better-known and more easily 
grasped practices. The spirit of precision, the 
need for a renovation, and the example of Picasso 
who at one period copied the angularities of negro 
sculpture all gave momentum to the movement. 
Later were introduced the philosophical reasonings 
and scientific explanations of which there has 
recently been so much discussion. 

The total absence of colour in the Cubists is 
ascribable to the same revolt against prettiness 
and ambiguity that made them alter their line 
and form. They felt the subjective solidity of 
Cezanne without understanding that it was 
brought about by the use of colour whose emo- 
tional possibilities he had profoundly penetrated. 
In fact his art was composed entirely of minute 
chromatic planes which, by their complete adapt- 
ability to a given position in space, produced the 
intensest form. The Cubists' planes are based, 
not on colour, but on objective form itself, and 
are expressed by tone. In this respect Cubism 
is diametrically opposed to the conception of 



PICASSO AND CUBISM 241 

Cezanne. With him form was a result of the 
plastic employment of colour. With the Cubists 
even tone is subjugated to formal planes. In 
them we do not experience the subjectivity of 
emotion which can be produced alone by colour. 
Their pictures represent a recognisable solidity 
which, by an image, expresses subjective processes. 
Cezanne's simultaneous vision of reality had to do 
purely with the most mobile element of art; the 
Cubists attempted to express psychological phe- 
nomena by the limited methods of the early primi- 
tives. Their inability to sound (not in theory but 
actually) the possibilities of colour in the creation 
of aesthetic form, has caused them to diverge from 
the direct path in the development of means, and 
has restricted permanently their initial desire for 
concentrated composition. The Impressionists ex- 
perimented in a highly dynamic element; but 
the Cubists have only dabbled in mental processes 
which, even should they become perfected, could 
give us only the sequential vision of a human 
action. The Cubist doctrine embraces no more 
than a side issue in an art which primarily has to 
do with the organisation of form. In the effort 
of the Cubists to create a pure art they merely 
disguise objectivity by abstract thought. This is 
by no means the same as creating abstract form 
that is, form which is not reminiscent of a 
particular natural object; and by failing in this 
they let pass the great opportunity of taking the 
final step from Matisse to purity. They took 
only a half step, for in their exultation they forgot 
the preceding advances in composition. 

In such forgetfulness there was nothing unusual. 
Every new movement in the progress of art has 



242 MODERN PAINTING 

about it a certain isolation of ambition. The first 
innovators push out the boundary on one side; 
their followers, on another; and the final expo- 
nents of a method, having fully assimilated what 
has preceded them, combine the endeavours and 
accomplishments of their forerunners and go 
forward to new achievements. Cezanne had rec- 
ognised that he could never round out his own 
cycle. No stricture can attach to his incomplete- 
ness: his life was too short for realisation. That 
the Cubists did not altogether achieve their desire 
does not detract from the importance of their 
departure from established precedent. Their re- 
action was a salutary event in the evolution of 
modern painting. The field of art was being 
overrun by the decadents of Impressionism and 
Cezanne, by the imitators of Toulouse-Lautrec 
and Degas, by those academicians who follow 
in the wake of every movement long after its 
methods have been accepted as vital. These 
scholastic men were incorporating spots and bright 
colours into their school-room drawings when 
Cubism came forward. By its unequivocal ex- 
pression of opinions and by its neat delimitations 
of planes it has revealed the futility and petti- 
ness of academic alterations. Besides their purely 
psychological innovations the Cubists have 
achieved all the ambitions of the academies in a 
way so net, so sure, so precise, that they have 
reduced the school, if not to silence, at least to 
ineffecfhialness. No longer can the admirers of 
scholastic art stand before a canvas exclaiming 
on the feeling, the atmosphere or the spirituality 
of the work. One must now use concrete terms 
and speak of those qualities which have to do 



PICASSO AND CUBISM 243 

with profound order; for although the theories of 
Cubism state one thing, the application of them 
has taken another and definite aesthetic form. In 
the Cubists' work lies their greatest importance. 
We may without loss lay aside their explanations, 
their manifestos and the reports of their lectures. 

The idea of synthesis in painting had been so 
thoroughly assimilated through familiarity with 
successive movements that, with the advent of 
Cubism, it was an accepted and unquestioned law 
of painting. Synthesis had in fact become an 
almost unconscious knowledge. Ingres, Daumier, 
Manet, Seurat and Matisse had, in quick succes- 
sion, proclaimed its value in eliminating the 
unimportant and unessential from models. With 
Cubism, as with Matisse and Gauguin, synthesis 
was the supreme ambition synthesis which had 
for its goal the artistic consistency of all the 
picture's qualities. Subject-matter, colour and 
the method of expression were all harmonised in 
Gauguin: with him the synthesis was illustrative. 
In Matisse it manifested itself in the reduction of 
form and colour to their simplest and most per- 
sonal expression, and was therefore a step toward 
a pure art. With Picasso synthesis went still 
further. It became almost basic. We know that 
the curved line stands for life, colour and move- 
ment; that the straight line represents the dead, 
the sombre and the static. A solid dark is con- 
ducive to peace, while quickly succeeding light 
and dark promote liveliness. Bearing these funda- 
mental postulates in mind we can easily analyse 
Picasso's quality of synthesis. The straight line 
which predominates in Cubism repudiates colour: 
the Cubists were not colourists. The curved 



244 MODERN PAINTING 

line, when profoundly comprehended, expresses 
movement and fluidity; when used haphazardly 
mere prettiness results. There are seldom any 
curves in Cubism, and then only for relieving the 
monotony, for the sake of ornament. In the 
Cubists' scintillating succession of darks and 
lights, like a photographic negative of a Cezanne 
or an early Renoir, there is an unescapable femi- 
nine prettiness in which the twinkling of tone 
serves the same purpose as pretty colour. By 
their straight lines, subfuse tones and rigid forms, 
on the one hand, they achieve immobility. By 
their lights and darks, their curves and their 
dependence on nature, on the other hand, they 
reveal their emotional kinship to the illustrative 
schools of Whistler, Fragonard and Tiepolo. 
Now when we combine properly these two widely 
separated aspects of art the one almost Egyptian 
and the other almost English we obtain a com- 
bination of temperamental characteristics capable 
of the greatest achievements, for we have brought 
about the coalition of the purely masculine and 
the purely feminine. In Cubism, however, these 
two aspects are mingled disproportionately. The 
static predominates. The pretty is merely super- 
imposed because of temperamental dictation: 
instead of functioning, it only attracts. But 
though in Cubism we do not find the perfect 
fusion of these creative sex impulses, the simul- 
taneous presence of the two elements produces 
nevertheless a fundamental synthesis. 

In order to bring about the greatest art, the 
form and order (which constitute the masculine 
side) must be all-pervading. Objective ornament 
and external beauty (which constitute the femi- 



PICASSO AND CUBISM 245 

nine side) must be only the inspiration to creation. 
This is an important principle, for all art, like all 
life, falls into either the masculine or the feminine 
category. All personal preferences for certain 
forms of art are imputable to the predomina- 
tion of the male or the female in the individual. 
Necessarily all creation is to a certain extent 
masculine in it there has to be order; and by 
the predomination of the male or female is meant 
simply the accentuation of one of these qualities 
in their relative combination in each of the sexes. 
For instance, should the feminine "predominate" 
in a man, the fact would merely indicate that the 
percentage of femininity in his bisexuality had over- 
balanced the normal ratio. Decoration, which is 
an ornamental art, is feminine, and it will appeal 
to men who have a subnormal amount of the creator 
in them. The colossally ordered art of a Rubens 
will be understood and enjoyed only by one highly 
capable of creation, for in the contemplation and 
comprehension of a profound work of art the 
spectator reconstructs the artist's mind after his 
own formula, and thus recreates the work for 
himself. That side of art which is the recording 
of some emotion the artist has experienced so 
intensely that it demands concrete expression, is 
feminine. It is merely an overflow of receptivity 
into objectivity. To the contrary, when great 
art is produced it is not dependent on a specific 
exterior impulse. It grows abstractly out of a col- 
lection of assimilated impressions. When the will 
dominates the expression, these impressions must 
take plastic form. The desire to create is in itself 
feminine. The constructive ability is masculine. 
The first desire always is to decorate and beautify, 



246 MODERN PAINTING 

but the masculine will dictates and rules the ex- 
pression. In feminine art the will to co-ordinate 
is absent. Consequently the expression is only 
the direct result of the reception. The Cubists 
realise that the will must play a large part in paint- 
ing, but they exert their will on the analysis of 
thought rather than on their actual productions. 
The result is that, while their expression is highly 
restrained and reasoned, the will is exercised only 
on the emotion of the received impression, and is 
not manifested on their canvases' surface. In all 
their work they are decorators first and significant 
artists afterward. They belong distinctly to the 
lighter side of artistic tradition. They are the 
lyric poets of the plastic. 

This is markedly true of Picasso who instigated 
the movement. When he first came to Paris 
he threw himself into a style of painting which 
recalled Steinlen at his best. From Steinlen he 
went to Toulouse-Lautrec and Impressionistic 
colour. Next he did carefully drawn portraits 
which proclaimed him a greater Gauguin. Later 
he become infatuated with the rhythm and skele- 
ton-like creations of El Greco. It was at this 
period that he began to do his significant work. 
His pictures for the most part were painted in 
blue. They were sensitive to a high degree, and 
were, in the sculptural sense, sometimes ordered 
into a solid block form. Then, adopting a reddish 
colour gamut, he began to create full figures of 
nudes, portraits and animal studies. At this 
time he commenced his research in precise form. 
He organised copies of negro sculpture of which 
he had heard much from Matisse, and it was a 
result of his studying these rigid figures that 




FEMME A LA MANDOLINE 



PICASSO 



PICASSO AND CUBISM 247 

angularities began to creep into his art. Other 
artists set to work along the same lines, and from 
the friction of ideas which followed the theory 
of Cubism was evolved. Picasso's still-lives then 
became more precise, more hard-cut, more per- 
sonal, more completely ordered. It is from this 
period we receive some of his greatest work. 

Shortly after came the Cubist theory of simul- 
taneity. The authorship of this theory is in 
doubt. There has been much controversy as to 
whether it originated with Picasso or with one of 
his followers. But it was straightway adopted by 
the entire group and made one of the dominating 
principles of the movement. Simultaneity to 
these painters meant the combined presentation 
of a number of aspects of the same object from 
many different angles. In the visualisation of an 
object in nature during the absence of that object, 
we conceive it, not only as a silhouette or as a 
form with three dimensions, but as a congeries 
of silhouettes which, when imagined simultane- 
ously, constitute the appearance of the object 
from every known angle. In short, our minds 
envelop it and all its attributes at the same in- 
stant. Such a vision is the result of collected and 
concentrated memory. In a desire to disarm 
criticism the Cubists offered as a theory the 
picturisation of this multilateral vision; but in 
reality it was little more than an excuse to make 
the utilisation of natural forms more arbitrary 
than in the case of Matisse, Cezanne and Gauguin 
and also to rid themselves entirely of the illus- 
trative obstacle. Their ingrained weakness lay 
in that they did not possess sufficient genius to 
alienate themselves entirely from document and 



248 MODERN PAINTING 

to create new abstract compositions. Nor did 
their instinct permit them to throw document 
aside when they sensed their inability to replace 
it with something more vital. Their spirit of 
revolution worked on the form which illustration 
would take, rather than on the discontinuance of 
illustration. But even in this attitude they 
marked a decided progress, for while in the paint- 
ings of their predecessors the disposition of line 
and form had made a unity of many separated 
figures, these figures, even to a mind unusually 
free from the taint of anecdote and objectivity 
in art, presented themselves separately as integers 
of a whole. The Cubists, by breaking up a 
model into parts which separately bore little 
resemblance to nature, proved that they not only 
recognised the demands of pure organisation but 
that they knew those demands could never be 
met so long as there were recognisable objects in 
a painting. 

The presentation of a nude or a landscape from 
many different viewpoints was in itself no more 
important than the methods of the Impressionists. 
Indeed the pleasure derived from so constructing 
a picture is similar to the pleasure derived from 
copying light. It represents the nearest approach 
of the enthusiastic painter of form to the enthusi- 
astic painter of light. They are both interested 
in recording a rather puzzling and interesting 
phenomenon: the one is after that which creates 
the impressions of form; the other, that which 
creates the impressions of colour. Both, in the 
broad sense, derive the same enjoyment in deci- 
phering the work after it is finished. The one re- 
cords only broad waves of scintillating colours 



PICASSO AND CUBISM 249 

with no demarcation of silhouettes; and these 
colours gradually resolve themselves into a sunny 
and ambiguous landscape. The other makes a 
number of broad planes of brown and white which, 
when diligently studied in their parts, become the 
angular representation of water, ships, sky-lines 
which run into and through houses, trees which 
obscure near-by objects, and houses which melt 
into distant skies. Both schools of painting are 
impressionistic; each treats of exactly what the 
other neglects. No artist as yet has seen the 
distinct advantage of uniting the two methods. 
Cezanne might be suggested as having approached 
this alliance, but his means were too profound for 
him to be led into portraying by concrete symbols 
his impressions of a model. 

In painting the enveloping mental vision of a 
model, however, the Cubists actually failed in the 
synchronism for which they strove. In reality 
they extended the effect of their pictures into 
time more than ever before. To grasp their 
illustrative import, long and arduous search must 
be made. While their canvases present a simul- 
taneous vision, each picture as a whole is incapable 
of creating a unified impression. A Cubist paint- 
ing is, let us say, like the momentary blare of a 
hundred musical instruments all of which play 
consecutive bars. By approaching each performer 
in order and studying his particular notes, until 
every musical detail is learned, we might intel- 
lectually construct from our memory an impression 
of a related musical composition. But should the 
blare be repeated, even after our research, the 
music's meaning would be no clearer than before. 
On the other hand, if, having first heard the com- 



2so MODERN PAINTING 

position in its natural development, we had 
studied its parts and motifs and then heard it 
repeated sequentially, a greater enjoyment and 
comprehension would result. In breaking up 
nature, either for the sake of extending the 
aesthetic appreciation into time like music, or for 
simultaneity of presentation, all the parts must 
answer to an organisation; in the first case, so 
that, after the spectator's first fleeting vision of 
the whole, his eye will be carried from one part 
to another by the rhythmic balance of volume, 
linear opposition and harmony of colour; and in 
the second case, so that the canvas will be an 
interdependent block-manifestation. 

In constructing formal planes with definite tones 
whose values are mechanical and absolute, the 
Cubists have missed that possible subjectivity 
of movement which, in its highest degree, colour 
alone can give. They have constructed only 
primitively ordered bas-reliefs each plane and 
line of which has a distinct direction. And this di- 
rection, no matter what is added to or subtracted 
from the work, will remain the same. The planes 
are consequently static and absolute. In the 
great art of Cezanne there is only a relative abso- 
lutism. By any alteration in one of his pictures, 
the entirety is shattered: the direction of each 
plane and line is changed to concur with the needs 
of a different order. This is because Cezanne's 
work possesses the poise which is demanded in 
the highest art. And this poise is what Cubism, 
with its rigid lines and planes, has entirely missed. 
Illustratively the Cubists' conception was new, 
compositionally it was old; and an art cannot 
be significantly renovated save from the bottom 



PICASSO AND CUBISM 251 

upward. The foundation of all art is composition, 
and the only means which can be accepted as 
vital are those which increase the artist's power 
to express that which is more inherent in painting 
than in any of the other arts, namely: rhythmic 
form in three dimensions. That the Cubists 
failed to develop such means may be perceived 
by comparing the compositions of Picasso's "red" 
period, which were but slightly cubic and which 
contain a certain amount of arbitrary form, with 
his late and wholly cubic black-and-white draw- 
ings and paintings such as are seen at Kahn- 
weiler's back of the Madeleine. The latter are 
almost wholly flat. His Femme a la Mandoline 
marks the transition from the early period to the 
late one. In all his pictures one finds a charming 
rhythm of lights and darks and a slight compre- 
hension of surface form. But he never goes very 
deep. Even in his sculptured heads, while there 
is order, there is no form in the compositional 
sense. 

To ascribe Picasso's Cubism to so childish an 
impulse as a. desire to square an academic draw- 
ing is both untrue and unjust. Some have 
pointed to Diirer as his artistic forbear merely 
because Diirer once described a number of curves 
which he said could be made into a human body 
and drew a block-diagram of box-like forms which 
he said was the basis for the body's construction. 
But no relationship exists between these two 
artists. Cubism's first consideration was to cover 
the surfaces of its canvases with form, thus doing 
away with the empty spaces so prevalent in all 
art works, spaces which Cezanne left blank. To 
accomplish this logically it was necessary either 



252 MODERN PAINTING 

to introduce superfluous figures, or to stretch the 
ones already present into impossible distortions. 
Since the elimination of all -unessentials was the 
keynote of the day, Picasso decided to make 
multiplex his essentials. Herewith was born the 
Cubist conception of breaking up the model for 
the attainment of a more complete work and one 
in which there would be no dead planes. At first 
an extensive linear direction, which started at 
the lower frame, was carried up into the back- 
ground by the demarcation of a shadow or an 
object, for the purpose of holding tightly together 
two or more forms. Later, in order to facilitate 
this procedure of multiplying their models, the 
Cubists began to walk round them. This pro- 
cess unchained them from the slavery to a single 
model and from the given contour of an absolute 
subject. At the same time it permitted them a 
fantastically arbitrary composition, and made 
their expression more dependent on the personal- 
ity of the artist, and less contingent on precon- 
ceived ideas, than ever before. 

Cubism expressed a laudable tendency toward 
an aristocratic vision as opposed to the popular 
vision of reality. Its pictures therefore became 
doubly complex, for in the contemplation of the 
picturisation of our mental process, another pro- 
cess is started which is far more complicated than 
the first. Herein we have an explanation for the 
fact that Cubism is incomprehensible to the 
untutored person who regards art as an imitation 
of nature. The very word "form" is aestheti- 
cally meaningless to the average spectator. In 
order to experience its meaning, aside from 
organisation, one's attention has to be given over 



PICASSO AND CUBISM 253 

to the object's weight, its force, its circum- 
ferential volume. A form in a picture cannot be 
considered merely as to its employment and its 
utilitarian destiny, or from the standpoint of 
one's experience with it. To the great artist an 
object exists as a volume with which to fill a 
given space. He completely forgets its raison 
d'etre in life, and views it only as a means for 
tightening a picture's order. To this extreme of 
pure artistic conception the Cubists never at- 
tained. And while Cezanne advanced from Cour- 
bet's surface realism to the realism of causes, 
the Cubists were unable to progress along similar 
lines. They simply translated abstraction into 
terms of concrete expression. The profound 
reasons for dynamism in art were left untouched 
by them. They endeavoured to portray objec- 
tively an abstract process, expecting its mere 
portrayal to be dynamic. 

The dynamic, however, cannot be rendered by 
imitation. It is as impossible of attainment by 
this method as in the dancing-girl canvases of 
Degas. Behind the emotional power of nature 
there is a great abstract force; and the effect of 
dynamism can be got only when this force is 
expressed. Then the result is a natural outgrowth 
of a cause. Otherwise we have only a detached 
effect which does not lead us back into the 
undercurrents of causation. When a Cubist pic- 
ture is interesting it will at most make us puzzle 
over the application of its theories; it can never 
move us aesthetically by the sheer power of its 
methods. The one dynamic element which the 
Cubists have in common with Cezanne namely: 
the modification of lines and forms through 



254 MODERN PAINTING 

contact with other lines and forms they have 
nullified by constructing with rigid tones the 
planes which the lines delimit, thereby making 
their planes frozen and immovable. Because 
ignorant of the functionality of colour the Cubists 
were unable to present, at one and the same time, 
perfect mobility, planar solidity and indefinite 
depth. As a result of too much study of Ce- 
zanne's and El Greco's composition and too little 
study of Michelangelo and Rubens, they failed 
to achieve, even with the great arbitrariness and 
convenience of their means, a profound composi- 
tion which is a rhythmic order of volume, as 
distinguished from a simple organisation of parts. 
Their accomplishments do not realise the promises 
of their programme because their theories were 
too inflexible. Cubism was too tightly bound 
by rigid systems and methods to produce plasti- 
cally significant results. 

The Cubists' greatest apport to art (not in 
theory but in achievement) is their almost total 
abolition of the painter's slavery to nature. It 
was but a step from Matisse to the complete 
elimination of recognisable objects, and though 
Cubism did not cover the entire distance, it 
nevertheless made an advance toward that pure 
expression which Cezanne saw was inevitable. 
Even today the followers of this school are 
beginning to realise their early mistakes and to 
throw off their self-imposed restrictions. They 
are launching forth into colour and are seeking 
expression in purely arbitrary form. But these 
new developments have not yet been productive 
of a new artistic worth. Indeed, it is doubtful 
if they will lead to important results so long as 



PICASSO AND CUBISM 255 

the geometrical phase of Cubism is adhered to, 
and so long as the Cubists ignore the dynamic 
possibilities of colour. In its present status 
Cubism can only continue striving toward a style 
that goes deeper than tonal prettiness and lyric 
immobility. Already Picasso has passed out of 
painting altogether. An artist with his extraordi- 
nary gift to do anything superficially well could 
not remain anchored to an idea after the novelty 
of its method had worn off. He is not a man 
who is the slave of thought, but rather an obsti- 
nate artist with a spark of genius who has passed 
through many different stages with a rapidity 
born of astounding dexterity and cleverness. 
Many of his early female heads rival in sheer 
classic beauty the best of the Renaissance 
painters. Some of his pen-and-ink drawings are 
the most sensitive of modern times. There are 
caricatures done by him which closely approach 
the fantasy of a Goya. Indeed it may be justly 
said that he is as great an illustrator as Raphael. 
And in this analogy lie both his glory and 
his limitation. Like Raphael he lacks that pro- 
found penetration of exteriors which would per- 
mit him a comprehension of his greater influences 
of El Greco, for instance. But, with a glance, 
he can sound the depths of a Toulouse-Lautrec, 
a Steinlen or a piece of negro sculpture. 

Picasso's inability to conceive two elements at 
once and to construe!: a complicated development 
of composition, is exemplified in his earlier work, 
first, by his adherence to certain single colours 
at different stages of his career, secondly, by the 
extreme simplicity of his circus folk, and thirdly, 
by his figure compositions which, though they 



256 MODERN PAINTING 

are never tedious or dull and possess an almost 
nervous sensibilite, are limited to one or two 
human forms. Again Picasso's limitation of com- 
positional conception is attested to by his stub- 
born use of brown and white in his latest Cubist 
pictures, by his employment of line alone in the 
drawings of his architectural-plan stage, and by 
his application of objects at hand to the clay 
blocks which mark his latest metamorphosis. 
But no matter what his medium or style, he 
remains essentially unchanged. In all his work 
is felt the superficial lightness of one who con- 
ceives order only as an ornament to decoration 
and who is interested in three-dimensional form 
merely as an after-thought. His sculpture is but 
his painting in a solider medium. It is broken 
up into planes and organised as to each contour 
in exactly the same manner as is his work in 
oils. The difference between Picasso, the sculp- 
tor, and Matisse, the sculptor, is the difference 
between a man who has a slight genius for 
rhythm and a block order, and one who has a 
slight genius for characterisation and a perfect 
ensemble. The art of Picasso, having to do with 
form as decoration, is admirably adapted to 
sculpture. The art of Matisse, being flat and 
dealing with colour as decoration, is inexpressible 
in clay. 

Fernand Leger, with the exception of Picasso, 
is the most genuinely talented artist of the 
Cubist movement. His work at first was much 
less radical than that of his confreres and gave 
greater evidence of depth because it had never 
completely shaken off perspective. His canvases, 
Les Toits and Maisons et Fumees, represent 




FUMEUR ET PAYSAGE 



LEGER 



PICASSO AND CUBISM 257 

little more than a highly artistic angularisation 
of a subject which, being angular in itself, lends 
itself admirably to Cubistic treatment. Leger's 
method is to place in the foreground large planes 
which serve as a frame for the actual picture 
which is seen between them as through a tunnel. 
By this device he creates a diversity of form and 
with it a recognisable depth. His paint at first 
was light in tone, but is now taking on colour. 
Since his first Cubist exhibits he has made a 
logical progress in rhythmic conception, and if 
his past development can be assumed as a 
criterion of the future it is safe to prophesy that 
eventually he will be the most significant man of 
the original group. Albert Gleizes, Jean Met- 
zinger, Marcel Duchamp, Georges Braque and 
Francis Picabia are all prominent figures in the 
Cubist movement. Gleizes manifested his first 
Cubist tendencies by giving form a solid angu- 
larity, thereby making it precise. His canvases 
are devoid of interest because so slightly creative. 
His well-known L'Homme au Balcon appears to 
us today almost Futuristic in conception. In 
fact, it was exposed at the Salon d'Automne in 
1912 one year after the Futurist show; and 
when we compare it with his early and less 
significant Les Baigneuses, with which it was 
hung, it gives the impression of having been the 
result of a sudden and enthusiastic inspiration 
from the newer men. Later his work grew 
broader and simpler, but in it there is little or no 
composition. Even the order is that of the 
straight line. Metzinger is a better artist. In 
him is a greater order, although, as in Gleizes, it 
is produced by the straight line. During his 



258 MODERN PAINTING 

artistic beginnings he was under the sway of 
negro sculpture and painted in small planes of 
light and dark. Later, turning from the influence 
of negro antiquity, he directed his talent on 
nature and began to interpret form into angu- 
larities. His La Femme au Cheval, done in 
1912, was a distinct step, both as to form and 
composition, in advance of the naturalistic vision; 
and his Le Port is one of the finest examples of 
the Cubist theory of synchronous picturisation 
and interpenetrating lines and masses. Duchamp, 
a slighter talent than either Leger or Gleizes, 
is the Whistler of the movement. In his pictures 
are less form, less composition and less comprehen- 
sion of volume than in any other Cubist work 
except that of Juan Gris whose lethargic canvases 
have not even the interest of an Aime Morot. 
Braque has added nothing to Cubism. He fol- 
lowed Picasso closely, and his whole creative 
impetus seems derived from the latter' s canvases. 
Picabia, despite his popularity, is but a second- 
rate Cubist. He was quick to grasp the fact 
that the Cubists were working away from illus- 
tration, and attempted to step beyond them. 
Where they had endeavoured to bring about the 
precise stylisation of form, he merely dealt in 
ribbon-like patches of colour which were without 
contour, shape, proportion or volume. His can- 
vases wherein many of these strange amorphous 
hachures are grouped, have a highly bizarre 
appearance but are only remotely intelligible. 
He used almost monochromatic schemes, as did 
his master Picasso, and continued this style of 
work until his fellow Cubists, by diligent research 
and serious study, had approached the abstract 



PICASSO AND CUBISM 259 

appearance of his surfaces. Picabia then found 
a new impetus in the works of the Futurists 
an impetus toward movement expressed, not by 
bodies, but by line. This Futurist influence 
resulted in his making flat pictures of many 
sharply defined silhouettes tinted red, green, blue 
and grey. His lines serve only to accentuate 
the chaos of his ensemble, for in his work there 
is no definite conception of the whole. 

Cubism's possibilities as a dynamic illustrative 
art have never been adequately exhausted, and, 
since the angular mode is rapidly disappearing as 
a result of newer and more vital visions, they 
probably never will. Picasso was its high priest 
up to two years ago, at which time colour, coming 
back on the wave of a counter-revolution, threw 
most of the Cubists into its application. Robert 
Delaunay was responsible for this reaction. 
Early in 1912 he came forward with a very 
large canvas entitled Ville de Paris, whose surface 
was broken up into many angular planes after 
the Cubist fashion. But instead of depicting 
forms and formal relations, the picture was 
painted in greys and high colours solely as a 
means of surface filling. Its contours recalled 
El Greco despite their being disguised by triangu- 
lar dislocations. The picture represented three 
mammoth Graces standing before a distant Paris 
landscape, and so transparent and ethereal was 
it that it seemed as though a breath could have 
dispersed it into mist. It possessed the delicate 
loveliness of a butterfly, and the eye, in running 
over its glittering and pretty array of colours, 
was fascinated as in the contemplation of a 
kaleidoscope. But the canvas, while provoking a 



2 6o MODERN PAINTING 

distinct visual pleasure, failed to arouse any 
aesthetic enjoyment. 

Delaunay's L'Equipe de Cardiff the following 
year was equally unemotional. Fundamentally 
this picture was the same as his Ville de Paris, 
though treated differently as to surface. The 
same up-shooting type of svelte beauty as for- 
merly bodied forth in his three Graces was here 
repeated in the bodies of the athletes, but there 
was in addition a very slight surface rhythm; 
and the colour, because its application was 
broader, had a greater fascination. In his Ville 
de Paris, not daring to paint a naturally drawn 
nude with the colours his sense of prettiness and 
ornament dictated, he fragmentised the surface 
by luxating the lines. Thus, while the sensitive 
contour was retained, the picture appeared as if 
viewed through a polygonal prism. In the second 
canvas this artifice for the sake of charm was 
discarded. The players were dressed in solid 
colours of bright pigment; the sky was blue- 
violet; the Eiffel tower, eminently appreciable, 
stood to the right ; down the centre of the canvas 
was a large affiche in yellow; and overhead soared 
an aeroplane. The transition from a hackneyed 
theme to a modern one was the result of the 
artist's desire to pass beyond the methods of the 
day to more vigorous ones. 

Before Delaunay's decisive work was done he 
had been influenced by the Neo-Impressionists, 
Cezanne, the Cubists and, in his two mentioned 
early works, by the Impressionists. Indeed these 
pictures are the expression of Impressionist 
methods broadened and extended to suit the 
dimensions of his canvases. His cityscapes with 



PICASSO AND CUBISM 261 

the Eiffel tower as the principal object are in- 
teresting though not profound, and such canvases 
as the Route de Laon and Les Tours are so 
dainty they seem breathed onto the canvas. 
He is essentially a decorator in that he works 
always in two dimensions. This surface quality 
enters into all art, but in itself it is never signifi- 
cant. Only when it is a result of ordered plastic- 
ity does it have power to move us. In Delaunay, 
however, there exists no fundamental order. Con- 
sequently his power is strictly limited. His desire 
is to make decoration which will be profound, in- 
stead of profound composition which will result in 
decoration. By thus reversing the natural order, 
effects are considered before causes; and only by 
the dynamism of causes can we be made to feel 
beauty. Beauty such as his is merely prettiness: 
it is only the objective mask of beauty, and is 
of no more aesthetic importance than a view 
of nature. The true beauty of a work of art 
is subjective; it is the effect of one's having 
sensed the accumulated and sequential aspects 
of co-ordinated expression. Herein lies the dif- 
ference between aesthetic emotion and the pleasure 
aroused by a sunset, a stage setting or a dramatic 
story. When one is able to penetrate finally into 
art, neither dolour nor depression results, but 
always a feeling of exultation and joy, for by 
one's intellectual comprehension one has been 
physically aroused by a dynamic force, not 
merely moved by a scene or story which sets in 
motion the associative processes. 

To the inadequate comprehension of this psy- 
chological truth is attributable the failure of the 
Cubists and of Delaunay. The latter strove to 



262 MODERN PAINTING 

preserve the individuality of his work under the 
name of Orphism, and later under the designation 
of Simultaneism. But his temperamental kinship 
to Picasso and the Cubists is too obvious to be 
denied by nomenclature. Even his latest work, 
while more abstract and more luminous, is at 
most secessionistic. His canvas hung in the 
Salon des Independants in 1914 was Cubism 
translated into light colours and twisted into 
curves and circles. Delaunay's wife, Madame 
Delaunay-Terk, follows him closely in inspira- 
tion and application, but her pictures are less 
ordered than his. The American, Bruce, once 
an imitator of Matisse and later of Cezanne, has 
joined the Simultaneist ranks; and Frost, another 
American, is an ardent disciple of Delaunay. 
The orthodox Cubists had passed colour by, but 
its reappearance in the Orphists-Simultaneists 
was a significant augury. Though it was not 
understood by them as an element capable of 
organic functioning, its mere presence was an 
inspiration and a call to all genuine artists to 
penetrate its meaning in relation to the intensifi- 
cation of form. 



XII 
FUTURISM 

THE dramatic enhancement of painting 
by line so well understood by the 
ancients, and the literary intensifica- 
tion of subject-matter by colour fore- 
shadowed by the primitives and made more 
conscious by Delacroix, reached their highest 
development in the theories of Kandinsky and 
the Futurists. With Delacroix's comments con- 
cerning the harmonising of line and colour with 
subject and Seurat's and Signac's subsequent 
addenda to these comments, began scientific 
observation in painting. So long as these theories 
remained secondary to the great truths of com- 
position they were admissible, because they had 
to do only with the unimportant ornamentation 
of an aesthetic organisation. But when, as in 
Kandinsky and the Futurists, they became the 
all in all of the artist's ambitions, they ceased to 
produce painting, and gave birth only to bad 
music, as in the Russian, and to bad poetry, as 
in the Italians. But while the Futurists' work 
had little to commend it to the discriminating 
spectator, their ideas were interesting and in- 
spiring, and it is from their manifestos that has 
come what little influence they have exerted. 
Their pictures are neither pretty nor agreeable, 
while Kandinsky's, to the contrary, possess dainty 



264 MODERN PAINTING 

and pleasing traits. In both cases the pictures 
are puzzles to be deciphered at length: they are 
expressions of moods brought about by half 
veiling reality and by making symbolically con- 
crete an abstract force or cause. 

In music where the form is an abstract result 
of concrete causes and in literature where the 
form is wholly abstract and represented by 
symbols, moods can be easily expressed, for they 
are the natural outgrowth of the media of these 
two arts. But in painting and sculpture, which 
are the visual arts wherein the form itself is 
concrete, emotion can be provoked only by a 
plastic poise of subjective weights. The balance 
and opposition of such weights or volumes when 
rhythmically organised give rise to complete 
aesthetic satisfaction and engender a feeling of 
finality which encompasses both line and colour. 
The Futurists, as did Delacroix and Seurat, 
count on "force-lines" to express an emotion, 
thereby branding themselves two-dimensional 
artists. And their desire to represent an emotion 
of objectivity on canvas places them at once in 
the ranks of illustrators. The highest art has 
nothing to do with objective reality whether as 
a spectacle or as a means to sensation. It is 
true that painting, in becoming pure, will even- 
tually incorporate the associative emotions, but 
these emotions will be the psychological results 
of abstract form, not memorial experiences pro- 
duced by cognitive objects. And the line, of 
which we have heard so much, will then become 
a direction and equality of pure form; it will no 
longer be simply an indication on a flat surface 
by means of a mark. The Futurists did not 



FUTURISM 265 

strive for purity. Rather did they emphasise an 
irrelevant side of painting. They declared them- 
selves the renovators of subject-matter. Their 
whole ambition worked toward that end; and 
it is from that standpoint they must be judged. 

In arriving at their conclusions many necessities 
of aesthetic emotion were sensed. Their most 
important statement, and one which, because of 
the dearth of significant art criticism, had not 
previously been set down, is that the person who 
contemplates a picture should not feel himself a 
mere observer of the events taking place in the 
painted work, but one of the principal actors in 
the canvas. In illustration such empathy is 
impossible unless the work is wholly and ulti- 
mately synthesised as to volume, colour, line, 
direction, size and subject. No such work has 
ever been produced because all the dramatic 
uses of these elements have never been under- 
stood by one man. That there are hundreds of 
canvases which entrain us into their ramifications 
is indisputable, but the aesthetic emotion we feel 
in them has to do with formal line alone, not 
with the perfect concord of line, form and subject. 
Marinetti and his group have striven earnestly 
to accomplish this difficult feat, but in every 
instance have failed. The explanation of their 
theories has far more to do with the emotion 
their pictures arouse in us, than has the actual 
application of these theories to canvas. They 
state that perpendicular, undulating and worn-out 
lines attached to hollow bodies express languor 
and discouragement; that confused, somersaulting 
lines, straight or curved, confounded into sug- 
gested gestures of appeal or haste, express the 



266 MODERN PAINTING 

chaotic agitation of sentiments; that horizontal, 
jerky lines which brutally cut into semi-obscured 
faces, and bits of broken, irregular landscape give 
us the sensation of one departing on a journey. 
But while all this may be true, it has nothing to 
do with the aesthetic emotion which in painting 
grows entirely out of the dynamic use of the 
elements inherent in that art. 

The desire of many modern painters and theo- 
rists to introduce into their own art emotions 
derived from the other arts results, first, from 
the modern ambition to intensify each of the 
arts, and secondly, from certain observations in 
aesthetic fundamentals, which have led artists 
little by little toward a vague realisation that the 
basis of all the arts is identical. But in this 
synthesis of the arts there is nothing new. The 
Futurists, in attempting to fuse poetry and paint- 
ing, are many decades too late to lay claim to 
originality. Numerous attempts all of them 
failures have been made along similar lines. 
Wagner's was the most conspicuous. Then there 
were Sadikichi Hartmann, Madame Mary Hal- 
lock, Rene de Ghil, Arthur Rimbaud and recently 
Alexander Scriabine, all of whom commingled the 
different arts in an attempt to produce intensity. 
Commendable as these efforts for a hybrid expres- 
sion may be, they are a futile expenditure of 
energy until the arts have been more precisely 
understood; and it is worth noting that those 
who have tried to coalesce them have been, in 
nearly every instance, the ones who understand 
none of them profoundly. The Futurists prove 
no exception. Their misapprehension of paint- 
ing is analogous to that of Degas who, in picturing 



FUTURISM 267 

the dance, imagined that the spectator, by 
contemplating its static representations, would 
experience its rhythm. 

The emotion of movement which the Futurists 
wish to call up can never be produced by dis- 
ordered and tumbling lines. The effect is chaos. 
Movement grows out of the placement and 
displacement of volumes. It is a result of 
rhythmic organisation. We are conscious of 
movement in a human body when a position or 
pose is shifted, and we are conscious of it only 
during the process of shifting. Should we look at 
a body in one position, close our eyes during its 
change of attitude, and then behold it completely 
altered, we should not experience a sensation of 
action at all. But if the static points of move- 
ment present themselves to us with sufficient 
rapidity they produce the effect of continuous 
movement, as in the simulacra of the kinemato- 
graph. Otherwise we record merely the result 
of the change of position not the act of chang- 
ing itself. In a Michelangelo statue we see at 
first glance only a solid rigid mass; but the mo- 
ment we begin mentally to reconstruct the form, 
we sense the opposition of volume-direction and 
the delicate poise of weights which overhang 
hollows and which are proportionally exaggerated 
in order to give a greater emotion of struggling 
forces. Then, our will guiding our eye, the 
mind translates to us physically the statue's 
expansion and contraction, the withheld com- 
pletion of absolute balance, the approximation to 
equilibrium: and it is only after we have passed 
through discords and struggles and complicated 
developments in other words, after we have 



268 MODERN PAINTING 

striven for physical completion that the finality 
comes as a satisfying consummation, like the 
knowledge of a tremendous task, long laboured 
over, brought to perfect and final accomplishment. 
Is not the desire for an emotion, so completely 
reflective of the very undercurrents of life's 
forces, worthier of an artist's aim than the 
desire for the momentary sensation that someone 
is going away or that one is looking on at a 
dance? The emotional depictions of such episodes 
are at best but remote reflexes of reality. Our 
participation in a dance, for instance, is infinitely 
more intense than the Futurists' kinematic repre- 
sentation of it. In the actual experience one not 
only sees chaos but can touch the swirling forms, 
blink at the lights, smell the perfumes and hear 
the noise and music. In other words, one is 
moved to sensation or feeling by the physical 
forces themselves. To the true artist these physi- 
cal forces are only his weapons, never his ends. 
And it is only through their intelligent use in 
the production of form that aesthetic emotion 
results. The superficial portrayal of effects, 
whether mental or physical, can never lead us 
inward to their causes. Any result is simply 
the dead end of a force, like the sea-weed a 
submarine volcano has thrown to the surface of 
the ocean. Art, being the causative force itself, 
should bring about the upheaval whose final 
manifestation is complete and satisfying. In 
great painting the spectator is led through every 
step of kinetic energy from chaos to order. 
When he emerges he has undergone a colossal 
dynamic experience. After all, energy is the 
ultimate physical reality. 




K 

23 
> 

s 

Q 

W 



FUTURISM 269 

The Futurists, it is true, strove sedulously for 
dynamism. Several of the titles of their later 
canvases contain the word. But their consistent 
misinterpretation of Leibniz's doctrine led them 
into the most superficial statements of the laws of 
force. By confusing action with movement and 
tempo with rhythm, and by constantly juggling 
causes and effects, they never arrived at a basic 
exposition of energy. In contemplating their 
pictures we experience only visual confusion. 
There is no movement because there is no static 
foil, no consummation. There is no dynamism 
because there is no suggestion of the inherent 
force which all substance involves. Let us 
assume the hypothesis that it is possible to 
photograph a kinematic force in movement. 
The Futurists' pictures wherein the representation 
of dynamism is attempted, as in Dynamisme 
d'une Auto, there is a series of these hypotheti- 
cal photographs each of which has caught a 
segment of immobility, as any snap-shot catches 
some static pose of a moving object. By super- 
imposing each of these images successively on 
the other the Futurists imagine that a state of 
action is created. But even were this the case 
the picture would be innocent of dynamism. 
Again, Futurism claims not to paint maladies 
but their symptoms and results. Admittedly 
therefore it works against its own gropings for 
dynamism, for symptoms and results are the 
outgrowth of causes, and as such can have only 
an objective interest. Would the Futurists main- 
tain, for instance, that, by portraying a head 
from many viewpoints on the same canvas, they 
can give us the emotion of a head turning? 



2/o MODERN POINTING 

Even were it possible thus to extend the con- 
templation of pictures into time, the effect of a 
series of dissimilar profiles would be no more 
convincing than that obtained by a slowly 
moving cinematograph film. Should we grant 
that by such a device the effect of movement 
resulted, it would depend entirely upon which 
end of the movement the eye alighted first 
whether the head moved one way or the other. 
And if the picture was a perfect organisation the 
change of direction would throw every part of 
the canvas out of gear. 

Considering Futurism purely from the stand- 
point of illustration we still are unable to justify 
its aims. In painting a picture of a person 
setting forth upon a journey from a railway 
station, the Futurist represents the departure 
by means of horizontal, fleeting and jerky lines, 
half-hidden profiles, the station's interior, the 
engine, etc. Then by introducing into the canvas 
bits of landscape and other incidentals which 
depict the thoughts of the person about to 
depart, the artist endeavours to call up the same 
mental state in the spectator of the canvas. 
The associative process of the human mind, 
however, makes such a proceeding unnecessary, 
because in beholding a simple, even an academi- 
cally pictured, scene of someone entering a train 
amid the confusion and haste of passengers and 
guards, the spectator involuntarily calls up the 
landscape running past, the telegraph poles jerk- 
ing by, the clanging of the bell, the shouts of 
attendants, the shuffling of many feet and the 
hiss of steam. In setting these things down the 
Futurists succeed only in limiting a highly 



FUTURISM 271 

imaginative person's thoughts by restricted visions 
of objectivity, just as in the theatre a producer, 
by placing many papier mache trees and rocks 
and fibre grass about the stage, circumscribes 
the onlooker's imagination. The Greeks, whose 
theatrical presentations were sufficiently intense 
to evoke an imaginative milieu, did not need 
factitious properties: but the theatrical Belascos 
must necessarily make their settings absolute and 
meticulously realistic. A Tintoretto needs no 
such tricks to strengthen its emotive power; but 
the Futurists, unable to move us by dynamic 
canvases, need recourse to dramatic tricks. At 
most their pictures could be significant only as 
auxiliaries to literary texts. 

The Futurists' contention that all modern art 
should have as a point of departure an entirely 
modern sensation is wholly tenable, but they 
mistake the fact that a modern sensation is merely 
the sensation which pertains specially to the 
contemporary man. It has nothing to do 
innately with the delineation of an automobile or 
an aeroplane. The modern aesthetic spirit goes 
deeper. It implies the expression of an: emotion 
by use of the latest refinements and researches 
in the medium of an art. In painting it is not 
limited to the illustrative portrayal of a novelty. 
Were this the case any painter who confined 
himself to the picfhirisation of the latest dread- 
naughts and the highest skyscrapers would be 
the pioneer of a new expression. In order to 
express himself in a modern manner, an artist 
needs only to have divested himself of all predi- 
lections for antiquity, to have subdued all con- 
scious desire to will himself into the bodies of 



272 MODERN PAINTING 

an ancient people, and to have seen the error of 
the childish maxim that there is nothing new 
under the sun. Any painter free from tradition, 
with a comprehension of aesthetic movement and 
an ability to apply it, will produce canvases 
which, though they have no radical theory behind 
them, will be as distinctly modern as those of 
the Futurists. Modernity has to do with 
methods and mental attitude. It is in no wise 
related to subject-matter. 

Consider, for instance, the famous Futurist 
statement that "a running horse has not four 
legs, but twenty." Then contemplate Balla's 
picture, Dog and Person in Movement, to which 
this theory is applied. Neither the dog nor the 
person seems to move at all. They are static 
figures with blurred triangles resembling lace 
where their legs should be. Such a juvenile 
artifice to give the effect of movement is certainly 
not modern or even novel. Long prior to the 
Futurists, caricaturists and comic journalistic 
draughtsmen sought to express action by placing 
circular lines round the wagging tails of dogs 
or by drawing long sweeping lines behind a 
swiftly moving figure to indicate from what 
direction it had come and the rapidity of locomo- 
tion. Such inventions are outside the field of 
aesthetics. They have to do only with slow 
optical action. But the modification of objects 
in contact with others, of which Cezanne wrote, 
is a profound postulate of organisation. It 
creates a poise of volume which causes us to 
experience an emotion of movement. The Fu- 
turists' contrivance of endowing a horse with 
twenty legs precludes any possibility of their 



FUTURISM 273 

calling up forcibly a running horse, for only the 
legs seem to move, as of a horse in a treadmill. 
Save for the pictorial side of a picture so pre- 
sented there is nothing in it of interest to us: 
and our memory of an actual horse clashes with 
the vision of a multipedalian one. 

The Futurists* statement, however, that a 
picture's lines should subjectively drag the specta- 
tor into the centre of the canvas, where he will 
personally experience the rhythmic interplay of 
forms, is not only pertinent but expresses an 
absolute aesthetic necessity. Pictures which do 
not so affect the beholder have failed as great 
art. But though the Futurists were the first to 
give succinct utterance to this shibboleth, the 
practice of constituting a work of art so that the 
spectator was transposed into its stress and 
strain, had been going on ever since great com- 
position came into painting. One cannot study 
a Michelangelo or a Rubens without feeling, even 
to the point of physical fatigue, the struggle of 
their finally harmonised volumes. This does not 
hold true of the Futurists' work. In studying 
their pictures our eyes alone become tired; and, 
though we succeed in unravelling the involutions 
of their pictures, there is for us no recompense of 
emotional satisfaction. Action in itself has little 
charm for us, and action is what the paintings of 
Futurism, in their ultimate expression, are 
founded on. But while action may attract us 
when expressed by an interesting and sympathetic 
personality, as in the paintings of Henri and in 
the sculpture of Rude, there is in Futurism no 
actional sensation or explicit element of deep 
enjoyment that we cannot obtain in greater 



274 MODERN PAINTING 

intensity by gazing upon a busy thoroughfare, 
or by watching the landscape from a swiftly 
moving train, or by attending a dance. Even the 
chaos of a Futurist painting does not present 
the interest of the Flight Turning a Corner from 
Keion's panoramic roll of the Hogen Heiji war, 
or the prints of Moronobu, or even The Heavenly 
Host by the primitive Guariento. All these 
works, while they represent action, are also 
ordered. And order, which the Futurists lack, 
is more than an arbitrary ingredient in art. 
Just as the eternal desire in life is for something 
positive and absolute, so the attempt at order 
in painting is an outgrowth of the desire to make 
a picture complete and satisfying. 

There is no doubt that the Futurists exerted 
much good in imbuing the artists of the day with 
a greater consciosity and in showing them, by an 
elaborate critical prospectus, the error of their 
ways. Futurism quieted the animadversions the 
modernist painters were hurling at Monet and his 
school, by pointing out that, to react against 
Impressionism by adopting pictorial laws which 
antedated it, was futile, and that the only way 
to combat it seriously was to surpass it. The 
Futurists, however, were unable to fulfil their 
proposition. They were, in fact, the abstract 
perpetuators of Impressionism through the Cubists 
who represented its formal side. The man who 
surpassed Impressionism was Cezanne. Further- 
more, the Futurists chided the Cubists for paint- 
ing from models, whether in squares, cubes or 
circles; and thus turned the light of analysis on 
the actual achievements, and away from the theo- 
ries, of Picasso and his followers. The conse- 




HIEROGLYPHE DYNAMIQUE DU BAL TABARIN SEVERINI 



FUTURISM 275 

quence was that for a short time the Cubists 
became somewhat Futuristic. Then, the strong 
impetus slowly ebbing out, the two schools grad- 
ually approached each other. Futurism has taken 
on a somewhat Cubistic mien; and the Cubists, 
having profited by the Futurists' teachings and 
having partially divorced themselves from the 
model, have begun to seek expression in Orphism 
and Synchromism. The work of Boccioni and 
Carra has assumed a wholly abstract appearance, 
and is much more interesting than formerly. 

The methods of Futurism have their pro- 
venience in many preceding art movements. One 
finds in this school's canvases cubes, spots, divi- 
sionistic technique and wholly academic drawing; 
some of the pictures are monotonously brown and 
grey, while others possess the acid colouring of 
Neo-Impressionism. But aside from their work 
the Futurists proved a salutary event in modern 
art. The painting of the day needed just such 
a cataclysm to turn its eyes from the contempla- 
tion of partial traits to a more encompassing 
vision. Their motto might be the saying of 
Mallarme: "To name is to destroy, but to sug- 
gest is to create." Their art is largely one of 
suggestion. Their initial mistake was in suppos- 
ing that the depiction of mental states would 
recall the causes of those states. Life would 
indeed be monotonous if in it there was no 
struggle. We could never appreciate its consum- 
mations were we ignorant of the travail which 
brought them about. The Futurists present, as 
it were, the conclusion of an oration in which 
has been developed a colossal thought, and ask us 
to applaud. This we cannot do, for not having 



276 MODERN POINTING 

followed the struggle of the new idea against 
opposing forces, we are unable to appreciate the 
import of the results. 

Notwithstanding their many failures the Futu- 
rists have greatly widened the field of illustration; 
by a word they have given birth to a school, 
Simultaneism; and they have forever turned 
Cubism from its narrow formalism. But in them- 
selves they were not significant. They were too 
stringently literary, and in attempting to advance 
their own theories at the expense of profounder 
doctrines, they have succeeded only in assisting 
other painters toward a greater purity of expres- 
tion, despite the fad: that they advocated a retro- 
gressive objectivity. Marinetti, a poet, is the 
spiritual (and monetary) father of Futurism; and 
the names signed to the original manifesto were 
Umberto Boccioni, a sculptor as well as a painter; 
Carlo D. Carra, the most genuine artist of the 
group ; Luigi Russolo, its most orthodox exponent ; 
Gino Severini, its illustrator par excellence; and 
Giacomo Balla, its high priest of prettiness. In 
an attempt to preclude all censure, they closed 
their manifest with these words: " There will be 
those who will accuse our art of being cerebrally 
distorted and decadent. But we will answer 
simply that we are, to the contrary, the primitives 
of a new and centuple sensitivity, and that our 
art is drunk with spontaneity and power.'' With 
the slight change of "theory" for "art" we would 
heartily agree with them. 



XIII 
SYNCHROMISM 

IN order to understand the last step in the 
evolution of present-day art methods, it is 
necessary to be thoroughly cognizant not 
only of what has taken place before but of the 
chronological development of all the qualities of 
modern painting, for Synchromism embraces 
every aesthetic aspiration from Delacroix and 
Turner to Cezanne and the Cubists. At the 
same time it reverts to the compositions of 
Rubens, complicating them further to satisfy the 
needs of the modern mind. Delacroix took the 
first decided step toward making colour an organic 
factor in art a factor which would help present 
a more homogeneous emotion of the picture as a 
whole, and which would be intimately connected 
with the picture's vital expression. He was a 
decided advance on those painters to whom 
colour was as arbitrary a means of adorning a 
good work as the gilt frame they placed about it. 
Colour with them was dictated by the demands of 
an age of voluptuousness and unrestrained living. 
The great art nations of Spain, Italy and Flanders 
were then passing through a sensuous epoch, and 
the painters reflected in their work the tone of the 
national temperament. The primitives of these 
countries and of Germany had used colour be- 
cause the religious qualities in their pictures 



278 MODERN PAINTING 

became more realistic when nature's general tints 
were employed. By making their work more 
dramatic they were able to set forth more forcibly 
the lesson they strove to teach. The art of the 
primitives was primarily dogmatic. In it was 
none of those subtleties of composition which 
come only with the conscious artist's delight in 
bringing order out of chaos: it contained only 
that simple and instinctive order which is the 
avoidance of chaos. That which the primitives 
had to say was so rudimentary and well-learned 
that it took a definite visional form in their 
minds. When dogmatism began to lose its charm 
for the painter his forms gradually became more 
suave, and his colour likewise grew gracious and 
ornamental. The lessons were forgotten, and com- 
position as an element of first importance, dressed 
in a robe of rich and varied hue, supplanted them. 
Such was the employment of colour at the 
advent of Delacroix whose probing mind sensed 
not only its importance as drama, but also its 
potentialities for brilliance. With him, however, 
it remained an adjunct to drawing something 
to be applied when the rest of the picture had 
been laid in, an element with which to intensify 
the importance of subject. He gave a great and 
necessary impetus to its study, but he outlined 
no directions for its significant application: indeed, 
by following out his original concepts one is led 
into the impasse of Neo-Impressionism. But 
at so early a stage the impetus is the important 
thing, and to Delacroix belongs the credit for 
having set in motion the wheels of colour inquisi- 
tion. It was Daumier, however, who, apparently 
ignoring it, brought its exclusive use appreciably 



STNCHROMISM 279 

nearer. By conceiving contour and form as one, 
he disposed, as it were, of these two elements 
which, in the scale of pictorial importance, had 
always been placed before colour. Had each 
successive painter profited by all the apports and 
qualities of his direct predecessor's art, the 
progress of painting might have been more rapid, 
but it would never have been so perfect. Each 
painter would have inherited both the short- 
comings and the merits of his forerunner. Thus 
one side of his art would have developed out of 
all proportion to the other. Daumier, going 
back to tone, discovered a wholly natural method 
for the achievement of intense form. His pictures 
present themselves as great bulks of flesh and 
matter, crude but vital, which have about them 
a force of actual weight. In nowise was he a 
colourist. He lived in a time when prettiness 
was the keynote of the day, and his whole life 
was a revolt against it. His reaction was so 
extreme that he disregarded the capabilities of 
colour. 

The Impressionists, on the other hand, over- 
emphasised its objective uses. They held that 
the colour seen in nature is all-important for 
picture making, and proceeded to copy it. As 
a result their work is highly emotional, but only 
in the same way that a sunny landscape is emo- 
tional. These artists were the slaves of nature, 
doing its bidding; Gauguin bent everything into 
the mould of his own personality: and it is only 
when these two types of creative impulse combine 
and modify each other that great naturalistic art 
is possible. The Impressionists, being receptive, 
believed all that nature openly proclaimed. They 



280 MODERN PAINTING 

unearthed none of its formal secrets; they probed 
none of its causes. Theirs was only the joy of 
the discoverer. But their insistence upon the 
discovery was important, because it helped give 
birth to Cezanne. He was a direct outgrowth of 
Impressionism, but he was also an outgrowth of 
art's entire history. Superficially he may seem 
more closely akin to Pissarro's school than to 
the older painters, since it was from Pissarro he 
learned his first colour lessons; but in reality he 
was more intimately related to a Giotto or a 
Rembrandt, because his knowledge of colour was 
used only to heighten the emotion of volume; and 
this volume, which Monet or Sisley would not 
have understood, was the chief concern of the old 
masters. 

With the Impressionists colour was an end in 
itself. They looked upon it not merely as expres- 
sive of light, but as synonymous with light, 
whereas Cezanne, ignoring colour's dramatic possi- 
bilities, used it to express and intensify the funda- 
mentals of organisation, just as Giotto, disregard- 
ing the dramatic possibilities of line, employed 
line as a means to ordinate volume. Cezanne is 
related to Daumier and Rembrandt in that while 
these men created their art (which was primarily 
one of tone) by building up volume simultaneously 
with contour, he created his art (which was pri- 
marily one of colour) by presenting his visions as 
nature presents itself to our eyes and intelligences, 
that is, as forms in which tone, contour and colour 
are inseparable. That he has been little under- 
stood is due to the facl: that his profoundly 
logical methods took birth in an age of "inspira- 
tional" painting. Matisse who came later made 



STNCHROMISM 281 

of Cezanne's still-lives a highly enjoyable decora- 
tion whose destiny can rise no higher than that 
of tasteful and complete ornament. Cezanne's art 
is dynamic, while Matisse's is exaltedly excitatory. 
The former bears the same relation to the latter 
that a Beethoven symphonic movement bears to 
a ballet by Delibes. One inspires thought: the 
other incites to action, to spontaneous admiration 
and joy. Matisse loves and knows colour in its 
harmonic relations. He and Gauguin, by the 
broad beauty of their work, have given an impetus 
toward large planes of pure pigment. In brief 
the evolution of colour is as follows: it was used 
first for verity; secondly, for ornament; thirdly, 
for drama; fourthly, for its inherent beauty as 
light; and last, for intensifying natural form. 

All this has to do only with the concrete side 
of art's progress. There is also a progress of the 
mental attitude which is inseparable from art's 
concrete development and without which its 
material evolution could not have gone forward 
significantly. This mental progress resulted in 
the emancipation of the artist from the intellectual 
limitations of his public. Up to Gericault and 
Delacroix painting had idealised contemporary 
life, had held itself to the interpretation of biblical 
history, or had spoken in legend and allegory. It 
had expressed itself in the Italian mode of draw- 
ing; it had followed set rules of balance and 
chiaroscuro; and above all it had possessed a very 
definite finish. Naturally the art historians ex- 
pected this style of painting to continue indefi- 
nitely. But with Delacroix it began to change. 
The hard contours grew freer. The depiction 
of the human form halted at approximation. 



282 MODERN POINTING 

Drawing became more arbitrary. Then came 
Courbet who insisted that there was beauty in 
everything if one knew how to bring it forth. 
He turned to the commonplace life about him for 
inspiration, repudiated the suavities of David, the 
romance of Delacroix, the elegance of Velazquez 
and the colour of Veronese; and began to order 
realistic nature. About his name there grew up 
a tempest of adverse criticism; but no man so 
sure of his own genius as was Courbet could be 
weakened by public condemnation; and he made 
no compromise. Manet continued Courbet's free- 
dom of selection and painted nimporte quoi. 
The Impressionists also carried forward this 
modern attitude. They sought for that which 
generally was considered ugly, and made it artis- 
tically enjoyable by drenching it with light and 
colour. Then came Cezanne, Matisse, the Cubists 
and the Futurists, with each of whom subject- 
matter became more and more emancipated. 
Natural objects gradually lost their importance 
and grew more abstract. Form was considered 
for its own sake, and models were not copied 
merely because they filled certain utilitarian 
destinies in the spectator's mind. Objects were 
used by Cezanne to create abstract ensembles. 
In Matisse the form itself became more purely 
aesthetic, though with him there was a residue of 
objectivity for the sake of illustrative consistency. 
With the Cubists natural form was an echo, a 
memory of life, retained because they were not 
sure of how to turn their minds away from it. 
Futurism attempted a rehabilitation of illustra- 
tion, but lately it has been converted into a purer 
vision by the Cubists. 



STNCHROMISM 283 

To sum up: colour reached its highest develop- 
ment in Cezanne; composition attained its highest 
intensity in Rubens; and the greatest freedom in 
material form was represented by the Cubists. 
Thus the art of painting stood in 1912. But at 
that time the development of modern means had 
not reached its highest point. The purification of 
painting had not been attained. The tendencies 
of the past century fell short of realisation. As 
yet there had been no abstract coalition of colour, 
form and composition. Colour had not been 
carried to its ultimate purity as a functioning 
element. Form had become almost unrecog- 
nisable but had just missed abstraction, its inevi- 
table goal. And composition, the basis of all 
great art, had been temporarily abjured in the 
feverish search for new methods. The step from 
the condition of art in 1912 to its final purity, 
in which would be embodied all the qualities 
necessary to the greatest compositional painting, 
was not a long one, but until it was taken the 
cycle must remain incomplete. The last advance 
in modern methods was made by the Synchro- 
mists at Der Neue Kunstsalon of Munich in 
June, 1913. This movement was fathered by 
Morgan Russell and S. Macdonald-Wright, both 
of whom, though native Americans, were partially 
European in parentage and education. Russell 
is more than half French, and Macdonald-Wright, 
whose family name is Van Vranken, is directly 
descended from the Dutch. 

Russell first studied in New York under Robert 
Henri, one of the most sincere and intelligent 
products of American art. There he acquired a 
sound and capable foundation for his later work 



284 MODERN POINTING 

both in clay and paint. He then went to Paris, still 
feeling nature through the inspiration of Manet, 
and like Manet fell under the sway of Monet. 
From the Impressionists he was attracted to 
Matisse with whom he was personally acquainted. 
He did many canvases attractive in colour 
and competent as to form, as well as a number 
of synthetic and obviously disproportioned statues 
which recall the modern "Fauve" to a marked 
degree. Later he began to take an interest in 
Cezanne, and to his study of this master and of 
Michelangelo is attributable his later development 
in colour and composition. These men consti- 
tuted his main influences; but in the course of 
his development he had cast a glance at Picasso 
and even at the Futurists; and it is a significant 
commentary on their methods that they are more 
susceptible of understanding than either Renoir 
or Matisse. Leo Stein, an astute and discerning 
connoisseur of the more modern art movements 
and a man who can see with occasional flashes of 
genius through the aspects of a canvas to its basic 
cause, no doubt had much to do with Russell's 
rapid intellectual progress through the discipleship 
of the student to the creation of individual 
endeavours. 

Macdonald-Wright, to the contrary, had little 
art training in the accepted sense of the word. 
Primarily interested in the purely technical side 
of painting, as were Renoir, Cezanne and Courbet, 
he had been influenced first by Hals, Rembrandt 
and Velazquez and later by their successors, 
Manet and the Barbizon school. Hoping to find 
help in the schools he studied at many academies, 
but after a brief period retired to the seclusion of 



STNCHROMISM 285 

his studio. About this time he began, with the 
aid of Chevreul, Helmholtz and Rood, to make 
experiments in colour in its relation to luminosity. 
Quite naturally the influence of Monet followed, 
and it was not until a year later that his enthu- 
siasm for the Impressionists disappeared. He 
then began the construction of form by large and 
crude planes, building his figures with light and 
dark chromatic blocks. It was this broader 
application, coupled with his love of pure colour, 
that led him to an eager admiration for Gauguin. 
At this period of his development he met Russell, 
his senior by three years, to whom he has always 
admitted his debt for his early appreciation of 
Michelangelo as well as of the modern masters. 
From then on, through many struggles with light, 
he made rapid progress. When Futurism blinded 
the eyes of the younger men he went straight 
ahead in the path he had chosen. 

Shortly after their meeting, Russell and 
Macdonald-Wright reached the end of their 
appreciative and formative period of imitation. 
They were both too intensely desirous of self- 
expression in its broadest and most precise sense 
to vary an already well-learned precept or theory. 
They were colourists, and had been even when 
passing through their most sombre stage. Now 
both turned to colour as to a longed-for goal. 
The art world at that time was being flooded with 
the mournful browns and whites of Cubism; and 
Matisse was too slight an inspiration to attract 
them, for they had consistently conceived form 
in three dimensions. Their desire was to create 
canvases of richly harmonious colour; but the 
difficulty lay in finding a new method of applica- 



286 MODERN PAINTING 

tion. Neither of them was content merely to 
place suites of pure hues on the canvas, as an end 
in themselves. This would be to sacrifice organised 
volume for an ephemeral pleasure. Colour must 
have a formal and compositional significance, other- 
wise it would be but shallow decoration. The 
fact that, like all painters of the day, they were 
still bound to the depiction of natural objects, 
added difficulty to the solution of their problem. 
Their individual interpretation of Cezanne, how- 
ever, little by little showed them the method by 
which they might eventually open the door on 
their desires. Russell approached form through 
light, combining both qualities in a simultane- 
ous vision. Macdonald- Wright approached light 
through form, regarding them as an inseparable 
and inevitable unity. Both painters expressed 
their vision in the purest gamut of colour which 
painting up to that time had seen. Colour with 
them became the totality of art, the one element 
by which every quality of a canvas was to be 
expressed. Even their lines were obtained by the 
differentiation of colours in the same way that 
tempo delimits sound. 

Russell began his Synchromism by extending 
and completing the methods of the Impressionists 
who had observed that one always has an illusion 
of violet in shadows when the sunlight is yellow, 
and who in their painting represented the full 
force of light as yellow, and its opposite extreme 
of shadow as violet. Russell, in observing that 
the strong force of light gives us a sensation of 
yellow and that shadow produces its complemen- 
tary of violet, went further and discovered that 
quarter and half tones also possess colours by 



STNCHROMISM 287 

which they can be interpreted. He thus arrived 
at a complete colour interpretation of the degrees 
of light forces or tones. This method he aptly 
called the orchestration of tones from black to 
white. For it he made no hard and set rules. 
From the first it was a highly plastic and arbi- 
trary manner of depicting objectivity. By modu- 
lating from light to dark (from yellow to violet) 
not only was light conceived forcibly, but form 
resulted naturally and inevitably. This was the 
principle by which Cezanne, although he did not 
completely grasp its import, achieved his eternal 
light which brought form into being. But the 
principle with him was subjugated to the influence 
of local colours, varying milieu, reflections, etc. 
Russell stated the principle frankly and applied 
it purely. Since his form at that period resulted 
from a sensitive depiction of light values expressed 
by colour, his canvases had much the same beauty 
of strongly lighted natural objects seen through 
the three-sided prism by which the transition 
from tone to colour is automatically brought 
about. 

Macdonald-Wright approached his conception 
of Synchromism from the opposite direction. He 
had always been dissatisfied with the endless 
alternation of small shadows and lights which the 
Impressionists had introduced into painting, and 
with the tiny planes and spots which artists used 
for verisimilitude. He desired a method whereby 
the elements of shadow and light could be differ- 
entiated and drawn together in simple masses. 
He had studied pure colour more from the stand- 
point of form than from that of light, and during 
1912 began to take note of the fluctuations of 



288 MODERN PAINTING 

colours, their mobility when juxtaposed with other 
colours, their densities and transparencies. In 
fine, he recorded their inherent tendency to ex- 
press degrees of material consistency. Thus with 
him a yellow, instead of meaning an intense light, 
represented an advancing plane, and a blue, while 
having all the sensation of shadow about it, 
receded to an infinity of subjective depth. The 
relative spacial extension of all the other colours 
was then determined, and a series of colour scales 
was drawn up which gave not only the sensation 
of light and dark but also the sensation of per- 
spective. Thus it was possible to obtain any 
degree of depth by the use of colour alone, for 
all the intermediate steps from extreme projection 
to extreme recession were expressible by means 
of certain tones and pure hues. 

The first Synchromist canvas was exposed by 
Russell in the Salon des Independants early in 
the spring of 1913. It was called Synchromie en 
Vert and recorded a large interior in which all the 
light forces were treated in their purely emotional 
phases. The canvas lacked the complete visuali- 
sation and the solid space-construction which 
characterise his later work, and furthermore it 
revealed many traces of the academic composi- 
tion. However, had there been critics possessed 
of artistic prescience they straightway would have 
sensed in it a new force in painting. But the 
picture's defects obscured their recognition of its 
potential vitality. This was due in part to the 
fact that the work lost much of its effect by piece- 
painting, that is, by the minute treatment of 
details each of which constituted an end in itself 
regardless of the total. Russell counted on the 



STNCHROMISM 289 

line of the different bodies holding it together; 
but he reckoned falsely, for if, in a work where 
colour is so important a part of line, the colour 
and line are not in complete harmony, the line 
alone is inadequate to effect the liaison of forms. 
In this same Salon Macdonald-Wright, not yet 
having arrived at a defined conception, exposed 
two canvases in which his later developments 
were but vaguely foreshadowed. Both pictures 
were formal compositions of nude figures painted 
in three or four flat planes of pure colour, and 
recalled Matisse and Cezanne more strongly than 
they presented a new vision. From the stand- 
point of efficient visualisation all three Syn- 
chromist works were failures, or at least they 
were indications of incomplete progress. In 
Russell's canvas the diminutive breaking up of 
colour negatived what otherwise would have been 
the picture's brilliant effect; and Macdonald- 
Wright's large application of colour served only 
to place him under the banner of an established 
school. But both men realised that this was only 
a start, and set diligently to work on the canvases 
for their first exhibition which was booked in 
Munich for June of that year. 

Between their first pictures and those of a few 
months later there was to be noted an advance 
both in conception and in application. Russell's 
small colour planes, applied wholly from the 
standpoint of light, expanded and took on a new 
effectiveness. His form became more abstract, 
and his colour more harmonious. Also his com- 
positions were more compact, though they were 
ordered rather than rhythmically organised. 
Macdonald-Wright's progress was similar. In an 



290 MODERN PAINTING 

interpretation of one of Michelangelo's Slaves, 
used as the dominant form in an arrangement of 
three figures, all the academism which had marked 
his earlier expression had disappeared. His 
method had been liberated from the exactitudes 
of static principles, and had become consistent, 
not with the new colour knowledge, but within 
itself. The theory of defined colour gamuts, 
which from the first had been applied by these 
two men, had now become a scientific principle. 
Though the truth of it had always been vaguely 
sensed by them, it had not become a definitely 
comprehended formula until they had worked 
out the naturalistic laws governing colour. The 
Synchromist pictures in which these laws were 
boldly applied were first brought together at 13, 
Prannerstrasse, Munich, in June, 1913. 

In November of the same year their work was 
again exposed, this time at the Bernheim-Jeune 
galleries in Paris. The show in Munich, widely 
advertised by coloured posters, had attracted 
considerable interest, but in Paris the exhibition 
created a two-weeks' sensation. Though the 
more discriminating critics saw its importance, 
there was considerable adverse comment due 
largely to the Synchromists' spectacular and 
over-enthusiastic methods of putting forward 
their views and discoveries. In their two speci- 
fically worded prospectuses they devoted much 
space to the shortcomings of Orphism, then in 
vogue; and although their criticisms of that school, 
coupled with the statement of their own tangible 
and logical aims, had much to do with Orphism's 
demise, the impropriety of the attack created a 
feeling antagonistic to the new men. The appear- 



STNCHROMISM 291 

ance of their pictures was entirely different from 
any paintings hitherto exposed; and their concep- 
tion, while being a normal and direct outgrowth 
of Cezanne, marked a revolution in formal con- 
struction. The inspiration of both these new 
artists was classic in that they recognised the 
absolute need of organisation which, if it was not 
melodiously and sequentially composed, should 
at least be rhythmic. Both were striving to 
create a pure art one which would express 
itself with the means alone inherent in that art, 
as music expresses itself by means of circumscribed 
sound. 

There was no precedent for purely abstract 
form that is, form which has no antitype in 
nature any more than there was a precedent 
for the construction of painting solely by means 
of colour and line. This was not due to an 
absence of desire in the artist for an abstract 
language of form, but to a natural diffidence on 
his part to break once and for all with centuries 
of tradition, and with one imperious gesture to 
cast aside the accepted raison d'etre of the visual 
arts. We have seen how form from the first had 
been an imitation of natural objects, how it de- 
developed into synthesis, then into pure composi- 
tion, how it reached a high degree of arbitrariness 
in Matisse, how it disintegrated in Cubism, and 
how in Futurism and Orphism there was a valiant 
attempt to convert it once more into pictorialism, 
to check its elan toward perfect freedom of crea- 
tion. It is not therefore strange that the Syn- 
chromist exhibition should have comprised, with 
the exception of one canvas, figure pieces, studies 
of landscape and still-lives (some almost archaic 



292 MODERN PAINTING 

in their direct and simple statement), and not 
canvases which abandoned all semblance to natural 
form. Russell and Macdonald-Wright were still 
occupied tentatively in expressing the forms they 
knew best, each by his own individual method. 
But despite this compromise with tradition their 
exhibition presented a highly novel impression. 
There were human figures distorted almost out 
of recognition for the compositional needs of the 
canvas and painted in bars of pure colour; still- 
lives which seemed to be afire with chromatic bril- 
liance; fantastic fruits; life-sized male figures in 
pure yellow-orange; and mountains of intense reds 
and purples, warm greens and violets. All the 
pictures, however, displayed decided organisa- 
tional ability, and they possessed a more complete 
harmony of colour and line than had been achieved 
by any of the other younger painters. 

But that quality of Synchromism which struck 
the discerning spectator more than any other was 
the force of volume resulting from the relation- 
ship of colours. For years painters had realised 
that certain colours when applied to certain forms 
rebelled at the combination, that they refused 
to remain passively on the planes assigned them. 
But this phenomenon had never been given any 
penetrating study. The more sensitive painters 
had merely changed their colours to more tract- 
able ones, and had thus avoided the inevitable 
conflict that followed the fallacious commingling 
of two highly affirmative elements. Such chro- 
matic inconsistencies should have taught artists 
the necessity of harmony for the sake of perfect 
order; but the matter was left to personal instinct. 
The clash between colour and form, however, was 



STNCHROMISM 293 

not due to any error or idiosyncrasy of taste, but 
to the absolute character of each separate hue 
which demanded, for its formal affinity, a fixed 
and unalterable spacial extension. At an early 
date artists had recognised that blue and violet 
were cool and mournful colours, and that yellow 
and orange were warm and joyful ones. They 
applied this primitive discovery with the feeble 
results to be found in Neo-Impressionism. That 
these colours had any further character they 
never suspected. Their insight extended only to 
the emotional and associative characteristics of 
the colours; the physical side was overlooked. 
Had the painters been more scientifically minded 
they would have known that these characteristics, 
which were the feminine traits, could not have 
existed in isolation; and they would have searched 
for the colours' dominating and directing prop- 
erties which represented the masculine traits. 
Such a search would have led them to the mean- 
ing of colours in relation to volumes, that is, to 
colours' formal vibrations which alone are capable 
of expressing plastic fullness. 

This vibratory quality Macdonald- Wright found 
and applied. By it he achieved light and shadow 
which resulted naturally by the juxtaposition of 
warm and cold colours. Russell, working alto- 
gether from the standpoint of light as revealed 
by form, attained practically the same results so 
long as his light came from the direction of the 
spectator, for in such a case the highest illumina- 
tion was the most intense salient and, as with 
Macdonald-Wright, had therefore to be painted 
with a warm and highly opaque colour. But 
where the light came from a source at right angles 



294 MODERN PAINTING 

to the line of vision, the expression reverted to an 
intensification of the Impressionistic method. 
Later this accident of light disappeared from 
Russell's work, and consequently his treatment 
became less restricted. This setting aside of light 
as the motif was a necessary departure, for when 
Russell carried his work into the higher elements 
of pure form, a realistic source of illumination 
would have made his suites of abstract volumes 
appear, not poised and relatively solid, but as 
paterae attached to an impenetrable substance. 
Under such conditions painting would merely be 
another and perhaps more beautiful way of making 
effective the ordonnances of ,surface form. But it 
would have no more power to create in us an 
aesthetic emotion than an exquisitely composed 
bas-relief. 

The ambitions of the Synchromists went deeper. 
They desired to express, by means of colour, form 
which would be as complete and as simple as a 
Michelangelo drawing, and which would give 
subjectively the same emotion of form that 
the Renaissance master gives objectively. They 
wished to create images of such logical structure 
that the imagination would experience their 
unrecognisable reality in the same way our eyes 
experience the recognisable realities of life. They 
strove to bring about a new and hitherto unper- 
ceived reality which would be as definite and 
moving as the commonplace realities of every day, 
in short, to find an abstract statement for life 
itself by the use of forms which had no definable 
aspects. The Synchromists' chief technical method 
of obtaining this abstract equivalent for material- 
ity was to make use of the inherent and absolute 




SYNCHROMIE COSMIQUE 



MORGAN RUSSELL 



STNCHROMISM 295 

movement of colours toward and away from the 
spectator, by placing colours on forms in exact: 
accord with the propensities of those colours to 
approach or recede from the eye. The Futurists 
had spoken of drawing the spectator into the 
centre of the picture, there to struggle with the 
principals of the work. They failed in this ambi- 
tion because their canvases lacked the intense 
tactility of volume. The Synchromists, by mak- 
ing the enjoyment of form purely subjective, and 
by expressing form both by objectivity of line 
and the subjectivity of colour, achieved the 
ambition of both the Futurists and Cezanne. The 
latter' s desire was ever toward a pure and sub- 
jective art. Although his colour viewed objectively 
is much like the Impressionists', the pleasure of 
the Impressionistic vision disappears when the 
eye is satisfied, whereas our emotions begin to 
work on a Cezanne only after the visual enjoy- 
ment has run its course. 

Where Cezanne obtained a block solidity by 
the intelligent addition of local colour to light 
and by the subtraction of light from local colour, 
the Synchromists reject all local colour and paint 
only with hues which express the desired form. 
The position of a given volume in space dictates 
to them the colour with which it is to be painted. 
Consequently a receding volume whose position 
is behind the other volumes is never painted a 
pure yellow, for that colour advances toward the 
spectator's eye; and a solid volume which projects 
further than the others is never painted violet, 
for violet expresses not solidity but a quality of 
space, something intangible and translucent. All 
colours and tones and admixtures are answerable 



296 MODERN PAINTING 

to the law of natural placement. This law is not 
absolute; it does not anchor each colour at a 
specific and unchangeable distance from the eye, 
but it determines the relative position of colours 
in space according to the influence of environ- 
mental colours, thereby making their position 
both dependent and directing but none the less 
inevitable. The perfecting of this principle by 
the Synchromists introduced an added element of 
poise and a new emotion in painting poise, 
because, by changing a line or a colour, the 
formal solid constructed by interdependent hues 
would shift and adopt another position answering 
to the needs of the new order: a new emotion, 
because colour in all painting before Cezanne had 
been used for ornament or for the dramatic 
reinforcement of the drawing or subject, and in 
Cezanne colour had been employed to express 
subjectively the emotions of volumes found in 
nature. 

In Synchromism, which was first inspired by 
natural forms, all considerations other than light 
forces (as with Russell) and form (as with 
Macdonald-Wright) and composition (as used 
by both) were abolished. Colour was made a 
functioning element out of which grew all the 
qualities of the pictures. At first, adverse criti- 
cisms were aimed at the Synchromists' polychro- 
matic nudes, still-lives and landscapes. The press 
remarked that the nudes appeared as if adorned 
in Harlequin suits; the landscapes, as if they were 
intended for theatre drops; and the still-lives, 
as if painted through a prism. The Synchromists 
answered that, in order to achieve a strong 
emotion of force and weight, they would "will- 



STNCHROMISM 297 

ingly sacrifice the lovely tints of the flesh and the 
joy of searching for coloured pots in the shops of 
the second-hand merchants." But, despite all 
they could say, there was justice in the public's 
criticism. So long as there was a natural form in 
a picture, the spectator would unconsciously judge 
it from a naturalistic standpoint. To be sure, 
there were canvases in the Munich exhibition 
which were almost unrecognisable as nature; 
but, before the aims of this new movement could 
be fully attained, a style of arbitrary and pure 
form was necessary. In the Bernheim-Jeune 
show Russell exposed one wholly abstract canvas. 
As an indication of a deflection toward pure 
composition, it was important, but the picture 
itself was as manifestly an artistic failure as had 
been his first large Synchromie en Vert hung in 
the Salon des Independants of that year. It was 
not the only failure exposed, however. From the 
point of view of complete and organised concep- 
tion all the early Synchromist pictures were to 
a certain extent fragmentary and tentative. The 
large canvas by Macdonald- Wright, Synchromie 
en Bleu, was a flagrant example of a totally new 
vision unsuccessfully struggling with the objectively 
classic inspiration of a defunct antiquity. The 
group of three males in its foreground, while 
competently and intelligently built, had the 
appearance of allegorical figures struggling against 
a toppling world. Although their position and 
organisation were dictated by the needs of an al- 
most El Greco-like composition, one was too con- 
scious of natural objects to accept, with a clear 
aesthetic conscience, the seeming chaos of the 
elements. 



298 MODERN PAINTING 

In bringing together in a unified emotion all 
the impressions of form, the Synchromists at first 
overlooked the fad: that purity of expression, in 
order to be highly potent, must embody a pure 
conception. Their early canvases demonstrated 
many new formal possibilities, but, while they 
were composed more compactly than those of the 
other moderns, the forms themselves were ob- 
viously naturalistic. Herein the Synchromists at 
their debut failed to take the step from Cezanne 
to abstraction. Cezanne conceived all nature's 
qualities form, colour and tone simultane- 
ously. He was the first great realist, because 
nature dictated to him the colour he was to use. 
The Synchromists, on the other hand, used 
natural objects to create organisations of pure 
colour, thus making formal expression a wholly 
subjective performance. This method contained 
greater emotional potentialities than Cezanne's, 
because where the latter's palette was necessarily 
much subdued in order to approximate to the 
attenuated gamut found in nature, the Syn- 
chromists' palette was keyed to its highest pitch 
of saturation. Cezanne's choice of colour was 
never absolute in the harmonic sense, because he 
depended for accuracy entirely on taste and 
sensitivity. With Macdonald-Wright and Russell 
the palette was completely and scientifically 
rationalised so that one could strike a chord upon 
it as surely and as swiftly as on the keyboard of 
a piano: the element of hazard in harmony was 
eliminated. This knowledge of colour gamuts 
was not employed for ornamental niceties, but 
was converted into a method of creating an 
aesthetic finality other than that of form and line. 



STNCHROMISM 299 

If, in a complete balance of line and volume, the 
colour overweighs at any point into warm or 
cold, the poise of the whole is jeopardised and 
the finality obscured. The perfect poise of all 
the elements of a painting, expressed by the 
single element of colour, is the final technical aim 
of Synchromism. 

In the first arbitrary formal composition by 
Russell the desire was to carry out the continua- 
tions of form from one chosen generating colour 
and at the same time to create linear development 
as well. His compositional theory was that, 
through the inevitable evolution of line from an 
arbitrarily chosen centre, the artist would nat- 
urally and consciously create form which would 
definitely approximate to the human body. In 
his Synchromie en Bleu Violace the composition 
was very similar to that of the famous Michel- 
angelo Slave whose left arm is raised above the 
head and whose right hand rests on the breast. 
The picture contained the same movement as 
the statue, and had a simpler ordonnance of 
linear directions; but, save in a general way, it 
bore no resemblance to the human form. The 
sketch for this canvas was a greater success than 
the final presentation, for its realisation was more 
complete, its order more contracted and intense. 
In both there was but one very simple rhythm 
with two movements; and the size of the large 
picture, which was twelve feet high, was incom- 
mensurate with the slightness of the expression. 

His second large Synchromie, exposed in the 
Salon des Independants in March 1914, was more 
complicated and more sensitively organised, both 
as to movement and to colour, than his first. 



300 MODERN PAINTING 

By his colour rhythms he strove to incorporate 
into his painting the quality of duration: that is, 
he sought to have his picture develop into time 
like music. The ambition was commendable 
although he wrongly asserted that older painting 
extends itself strictly into space. A Rubens, 
while presenting itself to the spectator at one 
glance, is nevertheless more than a block-mani- 
festation of forms, for it never reveals itself fully 
until after many periods of study. In the old 
painters there is a definite formal foundation on 
which the canvas is rhythmically built, and as a 
rule this formal figure is repeated in miniature 
many times throughout the canvas. These form- 
echoes are defined and complete linear orders, 
and into them rhythm is introduced. In Russell 
the process is reversed: with him the rhythm 
brings about the order. In Rubens there is a 
distinct and conscious development of line, but 
no development of form. Russell, in his later 
canvases, sets down a central form which dictates 
both the continuity of the picture and its formal 
complications. His generating centre is not like 
a motif whose character imprints itself on all its 
developments, but rather like a seed out of which 
the different forms grow a directing centre 
which inspires and orders its environment. In 
fine, the surrounding forms are not a development 
of the central one, but a result of it. This type 
of composition corresponds to the melodic com- 
position in music. 

In the later works of Macdonald-Wright the 
motif form of composition is achieved. In Ce- 
zanne there are forms whose parallels are repeated 
in varied development throughout the work and 



STNCHROMISM 301 

are rhythmically ordered into blocks. But while 
these forms resemble motif repetition, they are 
not generated by rhythm but united by it. In 
Macdonald-Wright's canvases the rhythmic con- 
tinuation of a central form constitute the move- 
ment of the picture as well as the final character 
of it. In his Arm Organisation in Blue-Green 
one can discern near the centre a small and 
arbitrary interpretation of the constructional form 
of the human arm. The movement of these 
forms throws off other lines and forms which, 
through many variations and counter-statements, 
reconstruct the arm in a larger way. Again these 
lines of the larger arm, in conjunction with the 
lines of the smaller one, evoke a further set of 
forms which break into parts each of which is a 
continuation or a restatement of the original arm 
motif, varied and developed. 

Macdonald-Wright holds that the forms which 
we have experienced in our contact with nature 
are more expressive and diverse than those which 
are born of the inventive intelligence. But, while 
it is true that every realisation of cesthetic move- 
ment or of the rhythm of form is based on the 
movement of the human body, it is not true that 
the human body is a necessary foundation for 
form alone. However, Macdonald-Wright, in in- 
terpreting the human form, makes use merely 
of the direction and counterpoise of volume; he 
does not indulge in the depiction of limbs and 
torso: the body is only his inspiration to abstrac- 
tion. He changes and shifts its forms out of any 
superficial resemblance to nature. In his desire 
to cling to a solid and immutable foundation we 
recognise an artist who realises how meagre is 



302 MODERN PAINTING 

the incentive to create abstract compositions. 
With centuries of tradition urging him to a 
realistic rendering of the life about him, he finds 
it difficult to break entirely with realism and to 
create without referring to materiality. Perhaps 
some day he will even forgo the inspiration 
found in the combined forms in nature. His 
work is tending toward that ultimate freedom, 
as also is Russell's. 

Such a development, however, cannot be defi- 
nitely predicted, but one can say, without dog- 
matism, that in the future their work will become 
surer, their compositions of a higher and more 
complete order. With their knowledge of the 
fundamentals of rhythmic organisation, which is 
well in advance of that of the other painters of 
today, their progress seems assured. Their postu- 
lates are too definite to permit of the introduction 
of literary or musical transcendentalism; and 
their apports are too significant to permit of any 
retrogression toward metaphysics or drama. 
Their palette has become co-ordinated and ra- 
tionalised. Their composition is founded on the 
human body in movement. And their colour, in 
its plastic sense, takes into consideration space, 
light and form. These factors represent their 
technical assets. With these painters comes into 
being an art divorced from all the entanglements 
of photography, of piecemeal creation, of inhar- 
monic gropings, of literature and of data hunting. 

But they must not be regarded merely as 
inventors of new pictorial methods, for their 
discoveries have already taken significant aesthetic 
form. As Renoir completed the first cycle of 
modern art which was ushered in by Turner and 



STNCHROMISM 303 

Delacroix, so have the Synchromists completed 
the cycle of which Cezanne is the archaic father. 
They have discovered the concrete means where- 
with to bring about his desires. It remains now 
for the painters of today and of the future to 
realise more fully the dreams of a higher art 
history. With the Synchromists there is no 
system or method other than a purely personal 
one. The word Synchromism, adopted by them 
to avoid obnoxious classification under a foreign 
banner, means simply "with colour." It does not 
explain a mannerism or indicate a special trait, as 
do Cubism, Futurism and Neo-Impressionism. 
It is as open as the term musician. As a school 
it can never exist. Indeed it is the first graphic 
art the application of whose principles cannot 
be learned by a course of instruction. Artists 
employing its means must depend entirely on 
their own ability to create. In Synchromist 
pictures the good or bad results cannot be ob- 
scured by the introduction of foreign elements, as 
in the case of pictures wherein nature is copied. 
Russell and Macdonald-Wright have already re- 
pudiated the appellation of Synchromist and call 
themselves merely "painters," for, since Cezanne, 
painting means, not the art of tinting drawing 
or of correctly imitating natural objects, but the 
art which expresses itself only with the medium 
inherent in it colour. 

All significant painting to come must neces- 
sarily make use of Synchromist means, although 
form and composition that is, the creative 
expression may be as arbitrary or personal as 
the artist desires. In the Synchromists' latest 
prospectus are to be found the following com- 



304 MODERN PAINTING 

ments: "In our painting colour becomes the 
generating function. Painting being the art of 
colour, any quality of a picture not expressed by 
colour is not painting. An art whose ambition 
it is to be pure should express itself only with 
means inherent in that art. The relation of 
spacial emotions and of the emotions of density 
and transparency which we wish to express, 
dictates to us the colours most capable of trans- 
mitting these sensations to the spectator. In 
thus creating the subjective emotion of depth 
and rhythm we achieve the dreams of painters 
who talk of drawing the spectator into the centre 
of the picture; but instead of his being drawn 
there merely by intellectual processes he is en- 
veloped in the picture by tactile sensation. We 
limit ourselves to the expression of plastic emo- 
tions. We can no longer conceive of the stupid 
juxtapositions of colours devoid of any rhythmic 
interlinking as art organisations." The Synchro- 
mists do not pretend to have invented new 
qualities for art but to have brought to painting 
a new vision which permits them to express the 
old qualities with a greater potency than formerly. 



XIV 
THE LESSER MODERNS 

DECADENCE is simply the inability to 
create new tissue. In painting it man- 
ifests itself in two ways: either in 
the endeavour of an artist to turn the 
attention from new and precise procedures to 
antiquated and irrelevant ones; or in the artist's 
desire to base his inspiration on the great work of 
an immediate forerunner rather than on the 
foundation of all vitality, nature. In neither case 
is new material being added to the sum of art. 
Decadence usually takes the form of a facile 
imitation of the surface aspect of a master, not 
infrequently making that master's results prettier, 
more fluent and more attractive. This is a 
natural and inevitable consequence of copying 
the objective side of a great work which originally 
was the outgrowth of a profound aesthetic philoso- 
phy. Decadents, as a general rule, are suffi- 
ciently analytic to sense their own paucity of 
constructive genius. In recognising that nature 
can never inspire them to significant co-ordina- 
tions, they are content to accept, with slight 
modifications, the artistic standards of their 
predecessors. They vary the art that has gone 
before to meet the needs of their own tempera- 
ments. In many cases highly meritorious work 
results. 



306 MODERN PAINTING 

The word decadent is not wholly deprecatory. 
Often the decadent is a competent composer in 
the abstract. By presenting in an attractive 
way his own personal tastes, he sometimes makes 
his art both interesting and beautiful. His deca- 
dence lies in his retrogression from the point to 
which the art of his day has arrived and in his 
inability to introduce a new element to com- 
pensate for this retrogression. No amount of 
individuality can bridge this gap. Many painters, 
like Gauguin, have readied against achievement 
but have possessed a tangential vitality which in 
itself has been a new contribution to aesthetic 
endeavour. Other painters, like Renoir, while 
introducing no innovations, have, by talented 
and comprehensive efforts, duplicated and im- 
proved upon the art of the latest creative masters 
and thereby pushed forward the highest stand- 
ards. They are not decadents, for their work 
exhibits no deterioration. Even decadents may 
be excellent artists. Caspar de Grayer was 
undoubtedly a great artist though an offshoot of 
Rubens; and Giampietrino and Cesare da Sesto 
were both solid and intelligent painters, though 
they did not rival their master, Leonardo da 
Vinci. There has undoubtedly been great sculp- 
ture since the Renaissance; but Michelangelo 
closed up for all time the plastic possibilities of 
clay and marble, and consequently, there being 
no new functioning element to be introduced into 
it, all sculpture since his day has been in the 
broad sense decadent. 

Modern painting has had its decadents also 
men who have attempted to revert to a sterile 
past or who have followed in the paths blazed 



THE LESSER MODERNS 307 

by others without approaching the achievements 
of the painters imitated. This latter class has its 
usages, for it tends to lend impetus to the move- 
ment it follows. The men composing it are 
popularly called exponents, and the appellation is 
just. There are painters in all countries today 
who adhere to Impressionist methods, and thereby 
keep ever before us one of the great steps in the 
development of modern painting. Cezanne has 
undoubtedly been given greater consideration 
because of the many artists who follow his 
precepts. And the numerous imitators of Cubism 
have done much to focus on that movement the 
consideration it deserves. In a general way all 
the lesser modern painters, by their feverish 
activities, expositions and pamphleteering, have, 
despite their inherent lack of genuine importance, 
kept the world conscious of the fact that it is 
in the midst of a great aesthetic upheaval, that 
new forces are at work, that the older order is 
being supplanted. 

Today nearly every country has a group of 
men striving toward the new vision. They can- 
not all be innovators of new methods. They 
cannot all carry forward the evolution of modern 
painting. But they can at least give momentum 
to the current ideals and turn out work which 
bears so much personal merit that it becomes 
deserving of more or less serious consideration. 
Degas and his circle are of this class, as are the 
Futurists who, though at bottom decadent, inas- 
much as they turn their art back to illustration, 
are a force which cannot be ignored. In Dresden, 
Munich and Berlin are groups of modern men 
who have repudiated the academies and struck 



308 MODERN PAINTING 

out into new fields. Russia has contributed 
many young artists to the present ideal. Eng- 
land has not been altogether impervious to the 
modern doctrines. America is represented by 
fully a score of artists animated by the new 
vitality. And in France there are a hundred 
painters at work tearing down the older idols. 
While few of these men can lay claim to intro- 
ducing any intrinsically new and significant 
methods or forms into modern painting, their 
work in many instances, while being decadent in 
the strict sense, is nevertheless commendable. 
They are not great artists even in the sense that 
Monet, Manet, Gauguin, Matisse and Picasso 
are great; but many of them are at least genuine 
artists. 

One of the most conspicuous figures among 
the decadents is Wassily Kandinsky. In an age 
when all art was being arraigned before the 
tribunal of biology, physiology, and psychology, 
he came forward and attempted to drag it back 
into the murky medium of metaphysics. The 
generating forces of modern painting, however, 
rest on no metaphysical hypothesis. To attempt 
to define form by transcendental terms, or even 
to credit form with esoteric significance, reveals 
an ignorance of the principles of aesthetic emotion. 
Form in the art sense is a demonstrable proposi- 
tion; it is answerable to physical laws. Michel- 
angelo, El Greco, Giotto, Rubens, Cezanne and 
Renoir based composition on natural causes, and 
as each successive artist has approached intensity 
in organisation, he has come nearer and nearer 
to the rhythm which animates and controls 
corporeal existence. ^Esthetic form, in order to 



THE LESSER MODERNS 309 

become emotion-producing, must reflect the form 
which is most intimately associated with our 
sensitivities. It must primarily be physical. 
There is nothing mysterious about aesthetic 
rhythm, and any attempt to "spiritualise" the 
harmonies of art carries art so much further from 
the truth. The modern tendency to make objects 
abstract and to divest subject-matter of all its 
mimetic qualities, has led some critics and 
painters to the false conclusion that form itself 
is unrelated to recognisable phenomena. But 
even in the most abstract of the great painters, 
the form is concrete. In a broad sense it is 
susceptible of geometrical demonstration; and 
its intensity is in direct ratio to its proximation to 
human organisms. In fact, there are no moving 
forms in an aesthetic organisation which do not 
have their prototypes in the human body in 
action. Were this not true empathy would be 
impossible, and without empathy an artistic 
emotion is purely intellectual and associative. 
The greatest painters, past and present, have 
recognised this principle; and art which does not 
adhere to it is decadent both in the aesthetic and 
the intellectual sense. 

Kandinsky exemplifies this kind of decadence. 
While the innovators up to Matisse had tried to 
discover in nature secrets which would aid them 
in plastic expression, Kandinsky has tried, by 
numerous articles and at least one complete book, 
to turn back the minds of painters to the sup- 
posedly mystical elements of form and colour. 
But although this artist is to be commended 
on his effort to make colour significant in a day 
when angular forms of brown and black were the 



3 io MODERN POINTING 

keynote, his study of colour should have begun 
where Cezanne left off and not with the writings 
of Maeterlinck and the symbolist poets. Kan- 
dinsky recognises that colour has possibilities, 
but he ignores the fact that colour is one of the 
physical sciences, as definite as those of the 
quadrivium, that its inductive qualities have 
become classified and that its functioning is 
precise and answerable to natural laws. Conse- 
quently he cannot co-ordinate its governing 
principles, and in an attempt to rationalise it he 
has sought refuge in music, an art which presents 
to him the same mystical difficulties. So long 
as he was under the healthy influence of Matisse 
his symbology was less evident; but when he 
adopted a metaphysical programme it all came 
to the surface. 

Kandinsky's early "impressions" are heavy 
and insensitive "Fauve" pictures. His "com- 
positions" for the most part are general state- 
ments of some rural scene in Matisse's manner; 
and his "improvisations" represent semi-abstract 
lines delimiting scientifically meaningless colours. 
In his book, The Art of Spiritual Harmony, 
he presents an elaborate explanation of the 
metaphysical basis for colour, but he fails to 
contribute any ideas not to be found in Dela- 
croix and Seurat. And the pictures with which 
he complements the text have been surpassed, 
in their own manner, by the Chinese. There are 
isolated comments on colour theories which are 
separately sound, and there are explanatory 
generalisations; but a diligent search fails to 
reveal any statement which is precise and at the 
same time new. The book refers constantly to 



THE LESSER MODERNS 311 

music, and there are undeniable evidences of 
literary thought; but nowhere is there an ex- 
planation of the plastic significance of colour. 
Kandinsky is a painter of moods, and as such 
encroaches upon the domain of music. He is a 
painter of the vision of an action without its 
objective integument, and as such he enters the 
realm of poetry. He is essentially pretty, and 
despite his idealistic nomenclature, he is at 
bottom illustrative and decorative. What he 
designates the "soul" is only associative memory, 
and his conception of composition is the breaking 
up of a flat surface into irregular compartments 
by lines and more or less pure colour. Like 
Scriabine he has overlooked the formal possi- 
bilities of colour and consequently has failed in 
any aesthetically emotional expression. 

Kandinsky's attempts to create moods are 
largely failures because of the inherent limitations 
of his art medium. The arts may be synthesised 
when a profounder understanding of them has 
come about, but their functionality can never be 
interchanged. The art of literature will always 
be able to tell a story better than the greatest 
sculpture; and even a primitive song is more 
capable of producing a mood than the most 
highly organised painting. Kandinsky, for in- 
stance, fails to achieve what the Marseillaise 
achieves in music, namely: the dramatic presenta- 
tion of an exortation to action. Separate, for 
instance, the phrases of the original version. 
The first verse opens with a rousing appeal which 
culminates on "patrie," a word always welcome 
to the ear and heart of a Frenchman. Then the 
song acclaims the glory of the occasion and 



3 1 2 MODERN PAINTING 

repeats dramatically the cause of the struggle 
"Centre nous de la tyrannic Velendard sanglant 
est leve." Then it recounts the tragedies which 
are befalling relatives and friends at the hands 
of the growling soldiers of the enemy; and 
suddenly, in an unexpected voice it calls, " Aux 
armes, citoyens!" ending in a patriotic and deci- 
sive flourish. The music throughout is subtly 
harmonised with the words: lively during the 
opening call; abated during the first statement 
of the cause; animated with its repetition; minor 
when the tragic words occur; vibrant and imita- 
tive of bugles during the call to arms; and 
highest in pitch at the end. This is the expres- 
sion of the mood intensified. 

Could painting extend itself into time and 
present singly and in sequence the visions of 
objective nature, dramatically synthesised with 
colour and line, it could perhaps influence people 
to emotion in the way music does. But the 
musical quality of time-extension is impossible in 
painting. And since a picture presents a simul- 
taneous vision, which cannot be otherwise except 
through a subjective process, it is incapable of 
working from a prelude to a finale like music. 
Music is abstract, though firmly based on the 
rhythmic movement of all nature, yet it can 
produce moods by far more distant and far less 
tangible associations than can painting. But 
mood in music is no higher a quality than 
illustration in painting, and the highly creative 
artists ignore them both. The great composer is 
the one who, seeing beyond the associative theory 
in music, feels the deeper plasticity of movement 
and form: and his plasticity is this only pre- 



THE LESSER MODERNS 313 

occupation, just as the plastic element of colour 
is the great modern painter's chief concern. 
Kandinsky has only tried to introduce an unim- 
portant element of one art into another art. 
While the procedure has a superficial taste of 
novelty it is no more creditable than if he had 
declared himself frankly for illustration and 
joined the ranks of Degas and his school. He 
has not probed into the pregnant recesses of 
painting and attempted to discover the meaning 
of form. He has contented himself with obscur- 
ing the delineations of natural objects in such a 
manner that the beholder feels led to decipher 
his cryptic realities. The suggestion of actuality 
is there, but there being no other strong attraction 
in the picture, aesthetic or otherwise, the spectator 
sets to work to penetrate its objective meaning. 
In the majority of cases he succeeds, and gains 
thereby a satisfaction similar to that of having 
solved a simple problem in fractions. 

In painting moods, which he refers to as 
"spiritual impressions," "internal harmonies," 
"psychic effects" and "soul vibrations," Kan- 
dinsky does not attempt to depict the dynamic 
forces which produce moods, but strives to inter- 
pret his own emotional impressions by means 
of semi-symbolic and semi-naturalistic visions 
and by inspirational methods. Unable to ally the 
elements of colour and line to a given theme, he 
contents himself with giving us a chaotic impres- 
sion by such means as he personally associates 
with his mood : and since this kind of association 
is largely individual, his depiction of the mood 
is incomprehensible to anyone not tempera- 
mentally and mentally at one with him. Did he 



3 i4 MODERN PAINTING 

understand the inherent psychological dramatic 
significance of colours and lines he could represent 
a universally moving vision, and thereby attain 
in a small degree the end for which he aims. 
But his feeling for colour especially is so vague 
and unscientific that it is, after all, a personal 
thing, and his graphic representation of a mood is 
little more than an individual and purely otiose 
expression. Even Carra, in his colourless Funeral 
of the Anarchist Galli, approaches nearer the 
creation of a mood than does Kandinsky in his 
best canvases, for in Carra there is exhibited a 
certain knowledge of the dramatic use of line 
which, when combined with recognisable subject- 
matter, augments the thematic drama. 

Despite his complete preoccupation with colour 
Kandinsky is decadent more than Van Gogh to 
whom artistically he is closely related, because 
the progress of modern painting is toward purity, 
toward creation by means of a unique element, 
toward an art which expresses only the qualities 
of which that art is the most highly capable. 
When other considerations enter into it, it is at 
once drawn back toward illustration, and its 
final defecation is postponed. Happily Kandin- 
sky, an explorer of the limitless realms of meta- 
physics, has given us no more specific a postulate 
than that colour has meaning. Though he formu- 
lates many vaguely associative theories (such as 
"keen yellow looks sour because it recalls the taste 
of a lemon/ 5 "a shade of red will cause pain or 
disgust through association with running blood," 
and "in the hierarchy of colours green is the 
bourgeoisie self-satisfied, immovable, narrow"); 
he nevertheless relies largely on instinct for their 



THE LESSER MODERNS 315 

application. While attempting to turn painters' 
minds from the precise discoveries of colourists to 
a pseudo-philosophical consideration of colour, he 
is too general and ambiguous to inspire extensive 
imitation. Already painters since him have gone 
forward in the great work of research begun by 
the Impressionists. 

If Kandinsky, as a theorist, is cabalistic and 
illusory, he achieves a certain decorative pretti- 
ness in his work. Though his ideas are old, the 
appearance of his canvases is new: and it is 
merely this novelty of conception, coupled with 
his tendency toward abstraction, which makes 
him of interest, and then only as a theoretical 
deviation from the work of Gauguin, Matisse and 
the Orientals. His colour is not without visual 
charm, and his composition often has the fascina- 
tion of the delicate patterns found in the Chinese. 
In fact, Kandinsky's compositional debt to the 
Chinese is large. His Improvisation No. 29 is 
almost identical with a painting by Rin Teikei, 
and many of his pictures appear like curved-line 
generalisations of Chinese groupings, or the forms 
in Chinese backgrounds. Like the Cubists Kan- 
dinsky is a step toward arbitrariness in formal 
composition, but his advance is less significant 
than theirs. In his desire to illustrate a mood 
and produce a corresponding psychic emotion in 
the spectator he is a transcendentalised Futurist. 
His ontological terminology has given an impetus 
to his popularity, but it has tended unfortunately 
to obscure his worth as a maker of arabesques. 

Of a different decadent type are Bonnard, 
Vuillard and K.-X. Roussel who call themselves 
the Intimists. These artists descend in large 



3 i6 MODERN PAINTING 

measure from Matisse, and though other and 
sometimes stronger influences enter their work, 
they are in a general way more closely akin to 
him than any other modern painter. Their 
appearance is more academic and, in the decora- 
tive sense, prettier than that of Matisse. Also, 
there is in their pictures a greater perpendicularity 
than in the work of their master. The angular 
and the perpendicular always represent the second 
compositional step from symmetricality to order: 
they are indicative of the earliest stage of aesthetic 
consciousness. They are found in the Egyptians, 
Phoenicians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and in all the 
primitive Christians, and in Gauguin and Puvis 
de Chavannes. The artists who use them have 
awakened to the fact that chaos is not conducive 
to emotional satisfaction. In perpendicular lines 
there is a primitive sense of fitness, for one feels 
they are both well-planted and immovable. Not 
infrequently they are employed by the decadents 
of a movement or an epoch because they har- 
monise so neatly and unostentatiously with pretty 
colours and delicate themes. The Futurists found 
in them a ready means to a decorative order. 

Bonnard, the most genuine artist of the group, 
uses perpendicularity of arrangement more con- 
sciously than does either of the others. He stu- 
died in the same class with Maurice Denis at the 
Academic Julien, and his association with this 
painter no doubt explains his compositional pre- 
dilection. He is strongly influenced by Renoir, 
although he has never penetrated beyond Renoir's 
surface. His greys are always rich and sombre, 
and even his simplest works are as artistically 
opulent and lovely as the finest tapestry. Indeed 



THE LESSER MODERNS 317 

his large paintings are more appropriately wall 
coverings than panels, ornaments rather than 
decorations. In them are hot sunlight and cold 
shadow in scintillating succession; and every 
object is put to genuine ornamental use. They 
seem to exhibit an unconscious fluency in the 
employment of bafflingly diverse greys which are 
saturated with colour and applied so as to reveal 
highly their attentuated purity. There are also 
in his work harmoniously horizontal lines and 
pleasing sequences of curves. In Le Jardin a line 
starts with the head of a man on the left, con- 
tinues along his arm and leg and the sofa back, 
and reaches an apex in the child's head to the 
right of the centre, sinks by way of the head of 
the woman on the right to the man's arm, is then 
caught up again by the contour of his legs, is 
paralleled by the outline of the nearest standing 
child's dress and face and the face of the kneeling 
girl, is continued in the bottom of the skirt of the 
child seated on the sofa, and then becomes 
horizontal in a perfect continuation of the table's 
surface. The line is beautiful and studiously 
made, and is pointed out here for the purpose of 
showing the simple ordonnance often found in 
the lesser artists. Nor is it the only line in the 
canvas. There are others as harmonious and as 
beautiful; but what keeps the picture from being 
a great composition, although its forms are solid 
and well adapted to their spaces, is its lack of 
opposition or solution of warring elements. If 
we do not try to class Bonnard with the greatest 
artists, we are forced to praise him. He is 
unpretentious, highly gifted, has a well-developed 
sense of the beautiful, and is possessed of a most 



318 MODERN PAINTING 

sensitive eye. He is neither an illustrator of 
nature nor of moods, but an artist who paints to 
obtain aesthetic expression, without the arriere 
pensee of a theoretical method. He is one of the 
most purely pleasing painters of modern times. 

Vuillard, a painter of interiors, owes his inspira- 
tion as much to Toulouse-Lautrec as to Gauguin. 
Like Bonnard he uses greys of dry and mat 
colour, but his harmonies are slighter and of 
lighter tonality than those of Bonnard. Profiting 
by the Impressionists' light discoveries he has 
done some very admirable interiors; some of his 
works are more modern and artistic Whistlers. 
His art is one in which the spotting of masses for 
the sake of balance supplants any attempt to 
produce generating lines. As with Bonnard and 
Roussel there is in him a striving after beautiful 
surfaces, matieres which in themselves will tempt 
the amateur. In this common pursuit the Inti- 
mists show themselves to be the successors of 
Degas; but they are successors who, having taken 
to heart the teachings of more significant fore- 
runners, represent a sturdier decadence than that 
of Degas. K.-X. Roussel is a feminised Poussin. 
He searches solely for effecT:, and his canvases 
have the singular charm of enamel. Were they 
smaller they would make admirable brooches and 
vases. He too has made tapestries, but in spirit 
they are less modern than the corresponding 
efforts of his contemporaries. His compositions 
embody reddish satyrs and nymphs, intense blue 
sky, yellow-green foliage and yellow ground. 
His drawing never has more than the rudimentary 
charm of school-room talent, while that of 
Vuillard is subjugated to his colour application, 



THE LESSER MODERNS 319 

and that of Bonnard is instinctively deformed to 
the needs of line and decorative necessity. 

Maurice Denis is more directly an outcome of 
the school of Pont-Aven than are the three pre- 
ceding men. His synthetic figures were first seen 
in Courbet, then in Puvis de Chavannes, then in 
Besnard and Gauguin. In Denis they have lost 
much of their significance and have once more 
become primarily academic. There was a time 
about 1890 when Denis's colour was not aggres- 
sively disagreeable. It was subjugated to a 
certain greyness which was applied in little spots 
resembling the black-and-white stippling of some 
of Seurat's drawings. Now his colour has grown 
acid and unpleasant. His line is stiff and vitiated 
and lacks even the quality of a pleasing silhouette. 
He has written a book of theories, but it has 
helped him little in his artistic achievements. He 
is the antithesis of Bonnard, and his colours possess 
almost no harmonious interrelation. In him there 
are a few perpendicular lines, but one may seek in 
vain for evidences of co-ordination. Many of his 
figures are appropriated from the works of the 
old masters, but because he fails to adapt them 
sensitively to his needs, they lose, rather than 
gain, in beauty by the transfer. He is at times 
symbolic and allegoric, and while one might 
overlook this literary phase of his art, provided 
there were other qualities to compensate for it, 
he fails to exhibit a complete appreciation of the 
aesthetic possibilities of his models, and conse- 
quently becomes merely an exponent of adopted 
mannerisms. His popularity has entirely to do 
with qualities unrelated to painting. Judged by 
a purely aesthetic standard he is inferior to an 



320 MODERN PAINTING 

Augustus John, a Desvallieres, a Bourdelle or a 
Wyndham Lewis. 

The highly talented Andre Derain is another 
synthetic painter. He is sincerely moved by 
multiramose tree forms and the sunlight effects of 
Provence, and his admiration for Cezanne led 
him into certain mannerisms which have for their 
object a facilitation of the Aix master's methods. 
In his use of soft yellows, hot earth tones, deep 
warm greens and light blues, he reveals his debt 
to the modern tendency toward colour. By out- 
lining his objects with heavy contours, he has 
acquired erroneously a reputation for virility, 
and though he aspires to composition, he only 
achieves pattern. He is much like the Scandi- 
navian, Othon Friesz, who, having absorbed the 
exteriors of Matisse and Cezanne, and having 
read Cezanne's letter recommending Poussin re- 
made on nature, has turned his attention to this 
old Titian offshoot and endeavours to give us a 
reversion to style. At one time he used colour 
freely, but he now paints with ochres, blues, 
blacks, greens and an occasional red a gamut 
like Derain's, only yellower. He too has a heavy 
technique and a reputation for virility. Maurice 
de Vlaminck is another painter of similar inspira- 
tion and palette. He is much prettier and has a 
finer sense of soft harmonies than either of the 
other two. He reveals a genuine feeling for his sub- 
jects, and always tries to introduce into his works 
a simple oppositional line. He comes direct from 
Cezanne, and it is from paintings such as his that 
Cezanne has acquired a reputation as a maker of 
arabesques. De Vlaminck has a rich and impelling 
matiere and an art sense which is almost coquettish. 



THE LESSER MODERNS 321 

Kees van Dongen has studied the sensual 
drawings of Toulouse-Lautrec and the broad 
exteriors of Matisse, and in combining his two 
admirations has made eminently effective posters 
of nearly harmonious colours in very broad planes. 
De Segonzac also uses attenuated colours in a 
broad manner after Matisse. Manguin, another 
Matisse imitator, is too academic to appeal 
strongly to those who have acquired the modern 
vision, despite the primitive order his canvases 
at times possess. Flandrin is more decorative. 
His works reveal a classic perpendicularity of 
composition, and though they are without a 
sense of form, we feel in them a certain charm of 
space and air. He brushes in his landscapes 
broadly by planes of light and dark, somewhat 
in the very early manner of Matisse. Pierre 
Laprade has arrived at a style of surface which 
may best be characterised as bad tapestry. Jean 
Puy applies his pictures in a broad, somewhat 
bold, manner, and his light tonality and angular- 
ities point to his having lingered over the work 
of Cezanne. Lebasque is the feminine prototype 
of Puy. His colour is faded and unemotional, 
and his exteriors are as flat as the simplest 
decorations. Madame Marval differs from La- 
basque only in theme. 

Modern decadence in Zak, Rousseau, Vallotton, 
Prendergast and Simon Bussy manifests itself 
in a retrogression to primitive ideals. Though 
using the modern methods of simplification, these 
men revert to a static and dead past. Their aim 
is to revive the most ancient manner of painting. 
Of all the modern decadents they are perhaps 
the most devitalising for they tacitly repudiate the 



322 MODERN POINTING 

discoveries of the new men, and strive to turn the 
minds of the public and of painters alike to the 
sterilities of antiquity. They even ignore the 
aesthetic principles of the Renaissance, and by 
pushing creative expression to its furthest limits 
of artlessness, turn to naught the entire achieve- 
ments of the great plastic composers. At best 
these men are dealers in decorative material. 
Simple arrangement is absent from their works, 
and colour, which for nearly a century has fought 
for its true place in painting, is once more used as 
an instinctive means for rilling in drawings. 

Vallotton, though a modern primitive, is not 
allied to any recent school. In appearance his 
work is unlike that of the other moderns. He 
disdains all save the simplest means and the most 
restricted colours. In him there are no delicate 
plays of light, but broad and heavy shadings 
which are not without subtlety. He is a Teutonic 
Ingres a Flandrin made serious as to precision 
and reduced colour. At a distance his nude 
studies are interesting, for there one loses the 
dryness and hardness of their technical manner 
a heritage of Vallotton's days of wood engrav- 
ings. Other modern painters who elude classifica- 
tion, but who are intimately related in a general 
way to the new movements are Charles Guerin, 
Piot, Spiro, Alcide Le Beau, Gustave Jaulmes and 
d'Espagnat. Though they differ markedly from 
Vallotton they are all preoccupied with self- 
expression by means of colour. By making it a 
dominant element in their work, they have 
admitted their susceptibility to the modern ideal 
and thereby have given an impetus to the spirit 
which tends toward purification. Guerin is a 



THE LESSER MODERNS 323 

professor of the Academie Moderne; and though 
clinging close to conventional drawing, he attains 
a slightly novel aspect in all his tapestry-like 
canvases. He is eminently of the Beaux-Arts 
tradition, is artificial and monotonous, and paints 
very large pictures with both idealistic and realis- 
tic themes. 

Of the modern men who have found in Cubism 
their strongest aesthetic fascination de la Fresnay 
is a noteworthy example. So well does he under- 
stand the demands of the Picasso tradition that 
he has come to be looked upon as one of the 
members of the Cubist group. His arrangements 
are soft and pretty and his colour is harmonious. 
He has in fact surpassed in merit several of the 
original Cubists. Frederick Etchells and W. 
Roberts are English exponents of Cubism, and 
the latter has done some work which rivals that 
of Picabia. Wyndham Lewis, another English- 
man, strives for an individual expression, but his 
angularities reveal his debt to Picasso, although 
the general impression of his pictures is Futuristic. 
The hand of the Cubists can be found in many of 
the canvases of the modern Americans. Arthur 
B. Davies, the most popular of the new men in 
the United States, is at bottom a superficial 
academician, but he superimposes shallow Cubist 
traits on his two-dimensional drawings, giving 
them a spuriously modern appearance. Maurice 
Stern treats Gauguin themes with a pale reflec- 
tion of the early geometrical Picasso; and similar 
means are employed by C. R. Sheeler, Jr., though 
both Matisse and Delaunay have contributed to 
his art. 

To name all the modern painters who are con- 



324 MODERN PAINTING 

scientiously battling against formalism and the 
dry-rot of the academies would be impossible. 
The field is too broad: the activities are too 
numerous. Few civilised countries have escaped 
the insistence of the new impetus. By some 
painters the new methods are adopted tentatively 
and by degrees. Others fly to the latest phases 
of art and move forward with the epoch. Today 
there are numerous representatives of all the 
movements from Impressionism to Synchromism. 
Kroll and Childe Hassam, both Americans, are 
emulators of Monet, though Hassam, who appears 
less modern than Kroll, is by far the more sensi- 
tive painter. Marquet has done more than 
imitate Impressionism. He has synthesised 
Monet into a more masculine expression. His 
planes are broad and luminous, and he achieves 
a distinct feeling for air and distance by 
simpler and more direct means than did the Im- 
pressionists. W. S. Glackens combines a Renoir 
technique with a modern purity of colour. J. D. 
Ferguson, the Scotchman, also reverts to the Im- 
pressionists but has learned much from Matisse. 
Duncan Grant, an Englishman, is much more 
modern than Ferguson and more competently 
expressive of the new. Roger Fry has contributed 
much to the modern impetus. His writings reveal 
a wide comprehension of present-day paintings 
and his insight into aesthetics is at times profound. 
Every year adds to the ranks. Besides the 
modern artists already named may be men- 
tioned Bechteiev, Bolz, Lhote, Chagall, Chamail- 
lard, Zawadowsky, Hayden, Ottmann, Lotiron, 
Utrillo, Hartley, Peckstein, Valensi, Jawlensky, 
Knauerhase, Miinter, Tobeen, Bloch, Dove, de 



THE LESSER MODERNS 325 

Chirico, Walkowitz, Boussingault, Kanoldt and 
Granzow. 

One of the healthiest movements of the day, 
though without novelty, is Vorticism whose head- 
quarters are London. The Vorticists are unre- 
stricted as to theories, and have for their aim the 
final purification of painting as well as of the 
other arts. Their creed is an intelligent one, 
and is in direct line with the current tendencies. 
As yet they have produced no pictures which 
might be called reflective of their principles, but 
they have kept before English artists the necessity 
of eliminating the unessentials. Their main doc- 
trines, so far as painting is concerned, were set 
forth by the Synchromists long before the Vorti- 
cists came into public being; but by their in- 
sistence on the basic needs of purification, they 
have done valuable service. The Synchromists in 
their manifesto wrote: "An art whose ambition 
it is to be pure should express itself only in the 
means inherent in that art. . . . Painting being 
the art of colour, any quality of a picture not 
expressed by colour is not painting." A year 
later in Blast, the Vorticists' publication, we 
read: "The Vorticist relies on this alone; on the 
primary pigment of his art, and nothing else. . . . 
Every concept, every emotion presents itself to 
the vivid consciousness in some primary form. 
It belongs to the art of this form. If sound, 
to music, if formed words, to literature; colour in 
position, to painting. . . ." 

All these painters are the leaders of the secon- 
dary inspirations in modern art, and out of them 
grow other painters in Europe and America. 
They do not as a rule go by the name of any 



326 MODERN PAINTING 

school, but they can be classed together because 
in them all is the same desire to create the 
novel, to present a strikingly different aspect 
from the academies, and to differentiate them- 
selves individually from their fellows. They all 
feel their incompetency to create new forms, the 
necessity to follow, the timidity which only 
permits them to modify the surfaces of other 
greater men. They are the creative exponents 
and the decadents of vital movements, and they 
in turn have their own imitators and decadents. 
They have felt the need for change, but lack the 
genius for new organisations. That many of 
them are sound artists it would be folly to deny. 
But they are in no sense of the word innovators. 
Some of them in fact are failures, but theirs is 
the consolation of having failed in attempting 
something vital and representative of the age in 
which they live. 



XV 
CONCLUSION 

IN conclusion there are several points which 
require accentuation if the significance of 
modern painting is to be fully grasped. 
There have been three epochs in the visual 
arts. The first was the longest, and extended 
through more than two centuries. The last two 
epochs have required less than a hundred years 
for their fulfilment. Each epoch dealt with a 
specific phase of painting and developed that 
phase until its possibilities were exhausted. The 
ultimate aim of all great painting was purifica- 
tion, but before that could come about many 
theories had to be tested; many consummations 
had to take place; many problems had to be 
solved. The laws of formal organisation were 
first discovered and applied with the limited 
means at hand. Then came experimentation and 
research in the mechanics of expression the 
search for new and vital methods wherewith these 
principles of composition might be bodied forth 
more intensely. Later the functioning properties 
of colour were unearthed and employed. In the 
course of this evolution many irrelevant factors 
found their way into painting. The men of the 
first epoch used primitive and obvious materials 
to express their forms. When the new means 
means inherent in painting were ascertained, 



328 MODERN PAINTING 

it was necessary to eliminate the former media. 
The subject-matter of painting that is, the 
recognisable object, the human obstacle had to 
be forced out to permit of the introduction of 
colour which had become an inseparable adjunct 
of form. To effect the coalition of pure composi- 
tion and the newer methods was a difficult feat, 
for so long had the world been accustomed to the 
pictorial aspect of painting, that it had come to 
look upon subject-matter as a cardinal requisite 
to plastic creation. 

The first epoch began with the advent of oil 
painting about 1400, and went forward, building 
and developing, until it reached realisation early 
in the seventeenth century. Knowing that organ- 
ised form is the basis of all aesthetic emotion, the 
old masters strove to find the psychological 
principles for co-ordinating volume. Their means 
v/ere naturally superficial, for their initial concern 
was to determine what they should do, not how 
they should do it. In expressing the form they 
deemed necessary to great art they used the 
material already at their disposal, namely: objec- 
tive nature. They organised and made rhythmic 
the objects about them, more especially the 
human body which permitted of many variations 
and groupings and which was in itself a complete 
ensemble. And furthermore they had discovered 
that movement an indispensable attribute of 
the most highly emotional composition was 
best expressed by the poise of the human figure. 
Colour to these early men was only an addendum 
to drawing. They conceived form in black and 
white, and sought to reinforce their work by the 
realistic use of pigments. That colour was an 



CONCLUSION 329 

infixed element of organisation they never sus- 
pecfted. Their preoccupation was along different 
lines. The greatest exponents of intense composi- 
tion during this first epoch were Tintoretto, 
Giorgione, Masaccio, Giotto, Veronese, El Greco 
and Rubens. These men were primarily inter- 
ested in discovering absolute laws for formal 
rhythm. The mimetic quality of their work was 
a secondary consideration. In Rubens were con- 
summated the aims of the older painters; that is, 
he attained to the highest degree of compositional 
plasticity which was possible with the fixed means 
of his period. In him the first cycle terminated. 
There was no longer any advance to be made in 
the art of painting until a new method of expres- 
sion should be unearthed. However, the princi- 
ples of form laid down by these old masters were 
fundamental and unalterable. Upon them all 
great painting must ever be based. They are 
intimately connected with the very organisms of 
human existence, and can never be changed until 
the nature of mankind shall change. 

After Rubens a short period of decadence and 
deterioration set in. The older methods no 
longer afforded inspiration. About the beginning 
of the nineteenth century the second cycle of 
painting was ushered in by Turner, Constable and 
Delacroix. These men, realising that until new 
means were discovered art could be only a 
variation of what had come before, turned their 
attention to finding a procedure by which the 
ambition of the artist could be more profoundly 
realised. This second cycle was one of research 
and analysis, of scientific experimentation and 
data gathering. To surpass Rubens in his own 



330 MODERN PAINTING 

medium was impossible: he had reached the 
ultimate outpost of aesthetic possibilities with 
what materials he possessed. The new men first 
made inquiry into colour from the standpoint of 
its dramatic potentialities. Naturalism was born. 
While Delacroix was busy applying the rudiments 
of colour science to thematic romanticism, Cour- 
bet was busy tearing down the tenets of conven- 
tionalism in subject-matter, and Daumier was 
experimenting in the simultaneity of form and 
drawing. Manet liberated the painter from set 
themes, and thereby broadened the material field 
of composition. The Impressionists followed, and 
by labourious investigations into nature's methods, 
probed the secrets of colour in relation to light. 
The Neo-Impressionists went further afield with 
scientific observations; and finally Renoir, assimi- 
lating all the new discoveries, rejected the fallacies 
and co-ordinated the valuable conclusions. In 
him was brought to a close the naturalistic con- 
ception of painting. He was the consummation 
of the second cycle. During this period the older 
laws of composition were for the most part for- 
gotten. The painters were too absorbed in their 
search for new means. They forgot the founda- 
tions of art in their enthusiasm for a fuller and 
less restricted expression. The essential character 
of colour and light and the new freedom in subject 
selection so intoxicated them that they lost 
sight of all that had preceded them. But their 
gifts to painting cannot be overestimated. By 
finding new weapons with which future artists 
might achieve the highest formal intensity, they 
opened up illimitable fields of aesthetic endea- 
vour: they made possible the third and last 



CONCLUSION 331 

cycle which resulted in the final purification of 
painting. 

Of this cycle Cezanne was the primitive. 
Profiting by the Impressionist teachings, he 
turned his attention once more to the needs of 
composition. He realised the limitations of the 
naturalistic conception, and created light which, 
though it was as logical as nature's, was not 
restricted to the realistic vision. Colour with him 
became for the first time a functional element 
capable of producing form. The absolute freedom 
of subject selection a heritage from the second 
cycle permitted him extreme distortions, and 
with these distortions was opened up the road to 
abstraction. Matisse made form even more arbi- 
trary, and PicasSo approached still nearer to the 
final elimination of natural objectivity, though 
both men ignored colour as a generator of form. 
They carried forward the work of Cezanne only 
on its material side. Then Synchromism, com- 
bining the progress of both Cezanne and the 
Cubists, took the final step in the elimination of 
the illustrative object, and at the same time put 
aside the local hues on which the art of Cezanne 
was dependent. Since the art of painting is the 
art of colour, the Synchromists depended entirely 
on primary pigment for the complete expression 
of formal composition. Thus was brought about 
the final purification of painting. Form was 
entirely divorced from any realistic consideration: 
and colour became an organic function. The meth- 
ods of painting, being rationalised, reached their 
highest degree of purity and creative capability. 

The evolution of painting from tinted illustra- 
tion to an abstract art expressed wholly by the 



332 MODERN PAINTING 

one element inherent in it colour, was a 
natural and inevitable progress. Music passed 
through the same development from the imitation 
of natural sounds to harmonic abstraction. We no 
longer consider such compositions as The Battle 
of Prague or Monastery Bells aesthetically com- 
parable to Korngold's Symphonietta or Schon- 
berg's Opus u. And yet in painting the great 
majority confines its judgment to that phase of a 
picture which is irrelevant to its aesthetic impor- 
tance. So long have form and composition ex- 
pressed themselves through recognisable phenomena 
that the cognitive object has come to be looked 
upon as an end, whereas it is only a means to a 
subjective emotion. The world still demands 
that a painting shall represent a natural form, 
that is, that the basis of painting shall be illustra- 
tion. The illustrative object was employed by 
the older painters only because their means were 
limited, because they had no profounder method 
wherewith to express themselves. And even with 
them the human body was deliberately dispropor- 
tioned and altered to meet the needs of composi- 
tion. When the properties of colour began to be 
understood, the older methods were no longer 
required. Colour itself became form. But so 
deeply rooted was the illustrative precedent that 
no one painter had the courage to eliminate 
objectivity at one stroke. Cezanne took the 
first great step; Matisse, the second; Cubism the 
next; and Synchromism the final one. 

So long as painting deals with objective nature 
it is an impure art, for recognisability precludes 
the highest aesthetic emotion. All painting, an- 
cient and modern, moves us aesthetically only in 



CONCLUSION 333 

so far as it possesses a force over and beyond its 
mimetic aspect. The average spectator is unable 
to differentiate his literary and associative emo- 
tions from his aesthetic ecstasy. Form and 
rhythm alone are the bases of aesthetic enjoy- 
ment: all else in a picture is superfluity. There- 
fore a picture in order to represent its intensest 
emotive power must be an abstract presentation 
expressed entirely in the medium of painting: 
and that medium is colour. There are no longer 
any experiments to be made in methods. Form 
and colour the two permanent and inalienable 
qualities of painting have become synonymous. 
Ancient painting sounded the depths of composi- 
tion. Modern painting has sounded the depths of 
colour. Research is at an end. It now remains 
only for artists to create. The means have been 
perfected : the laws of organisation have been laid 
down. No more innovatory "movements" are 
possible. Any school of the future must neces- 
sarily be compositional. It can be only a varia- 
tion or a modification of the past. The methods 
of painting may be complicated. New forms may 
be found. But it is no longer possible to add 
anything to the means at hand. The era of pure 
creation begins with the present day. 

Those who go to painting for anecdote, drama, 
archaeology, illustration or any other quality which 
is not strictly aesthetic, would do well to confine 
their attention and their comments to the acade- 
micians of whom there is and always has been an 
abundant supply. Let them keep their hands 
off those artists who strive for higher and more 
eternal manifestations. The greatest artists of 
every age have never sought to appeal to the 



334 MODERN POINTING 

lovers of reality and sentiment. Nor have they 
wished to be judged by standards which con- 
sidered only verisimilitude and technical profi- 
ciency. It is the misfortune of painting that 
literary impurities should have accompanied its 
development, and it is the irony of serious 
endeavour that on account of these impurities 
there has been an indefinite deferment of any 
genuine appreciation of painting. It is difficult 
to convince a man who has not experienced the 
great aesthetic emotions which art is capable of 
producing, that there is an intoxication to be 
derived from the contemplation of art keener than 
that of association, sentiment or drama. Not 
knowing that greater delights await him once he 
has penetrated beneath the surface, he has 
doggedly combated every effort to eliminate the 
irrelevant accretions. But if painting was to 
reach its highest point of artistic creation, its 
realistic aspect had to go. When colour became 
profoundly understood, no longer could the artist 
apply it according to the dictates of nature. It 
lost its properties as decoration and as an en- 
hancement of the naturalistic vision. Its de- 
mands freed the artist from the tyranny of 
nature. In becoming pure, painting drew further 
and further away from mimicry; and the superfi- 
cial lover of painting, enslaved by the ignorant 
and rigid standards of the past, protested with 
greater and greater vehemence. 

The misunderstanding which has attached to 
modern painting has been colossal. The newer 
men, because they have dared search for means 
of expression superior to those of the past, have 
met with ridicule and abuse. From Delacroix 



CONCLUSION 335 

to Synchromism the critics and public have fought 
every advance. Immured in tradition, their minds 
have been unable to grasp the meaning of the 
new activities or to sense the artist's need for 
pure creation. No school has escaped the oblo- 
quy of the professional critic who, judging art 
from its superficial and unimportant side, has 
failed to penetrate to its fundamentals. Dela- 
croix was declared crazy by the leading critics. 
The Journal des Artistes said of him, "We do 
not say this man is a charlatan, but we do say 
this man is the equivalent of a charlatan." The 
Observateur des Beaux-Arts, commenting on this 
artist's failure to procure an award, remarked, 
"Delacroix, the leader of the new school, received 
no honours, but in order to recompense him, he 
was accorded a two hours' seance each day in the 
morgue." Gros, Delecluze and Alfred Nettement 
are conspicuous among the academicians and 
critics who bitterly opposed Delacroix's innova- 
tions. Courbet met with a similar reception. 
Gautier, after studying one of his pictures, wrote, 
"One does not know whether to weep or laugh. 
There are heads which recall the ensigns of 
tobacconists and of the menagerie." Clement de 
Ris said of Courbet's work, "It is the glorification 
of vulgar ugliness;" and de Chennevieres called 
one of his finest pictures "an ignoble and impious 
caricature." Even Manet, whose radicalism was 
slight, brought down upon himself the abuse of 
the critics for daring to paint modern themes. 
Claretie drew the following conclusion from the 
Olympia: "One cannot reproach Manet for 
idealising vierges folles, for he makes of them 
merges sales" The remark was characteristic. 



336 MODERN PAINTING 

Manet revolted against classic subjects, and for 
his modernity was excoriated by the moral 
traditionalists. 

The early Impressionists, as pretty as they 
were, did not escape critical abuse. Benjamin 
Constant called them "the school of snobs, the 
conscious or unconscious enemies of art," and 
added, "Their days are numbered." Albert Wolff 
was more venomous. " These soi-disant artists," 
he wrote, "call themselves the intransigents. They 
take canvases, colours and brushes, fling at 
hazard several tones, and then sign the work. 
It is thus that the wandering spirits at Ville- 
Evrard pick up pebbles on the highway and 
think they have found diamonds. Hideous 
spectacle of human vanity straying toward de- 
mentia!" Paul Mantz's remarks were similar. 
His criticism in part read: "Before the works of 
certain members of the group one is tempted to 
ascribe to them a defect of the eyes, singularities 
of vision which would be the joy of ophthal- 
mologists, and the terror of families." (How like 
the recent criticisms of the very modern men 
does all this sound these accusations of in- 
sanity, these hints of defective vision! Such 
comments would seem to have been lifted almost 
bodily by the detractors of Cubism, Futurism and 
Synchronism.) Renoir shared a similar fate. 
One leading critic said it was futile to "try to 
explain to Renoir that the female torso is not a 
mass of decomposing flesh with spots of green 
and violet which denote the state of complete 
putrefaction in a cadaver." Roger Ballu ex- 
plained the appearance of Renoir's work thus: 
"At first view it seemed that his canvases, during 



CONCLUSION 337 

their trip from the studio to the exhibition, had 
undergone an accident." With the exception of 
Manet two years prior to his death and Renoir 
at the age of sixty-eight, not one of the Impres- 
sionists was decorated by the French government. 
They were banished from official Salons, and 
compelled to expose in private galleries. 

To quote from the critics who denounced 
Cezanne would be an endless task. When he 
exposed at the Impressionist exhibition in the 
Rue Peletier in 1877 he was universally regarded 
with disgust and horror and considered a bar- 
barian. The venom of the critics was appalling. 
They attacked him from every standpoint, though 
on one point they seemed in agreement, namely: 
that he was a communard. Nor did the abuse 
cease with his early works. His greatness has 
consistently evaded critics and painters alike. 
Recently the American painter, William M. Chase, 
offered the suggestion that Cezanne did not know 
how to paint. Chase's opinion is not an isolated 
one: it is typical of the minor academic painters 
and the critics who view art through the eyes of 
the past. Henri-Matisse is another painter who 
has received short shrift from the reviewers. 
One need not have a long memory to recall the 
adverse criticisms he provoked. His distortions 
have served as a basis for a display of ignorance 
which has few parallels in art history. Matisse 
himself has fed fuel to the fire. In his interview 
with newspaper men he indulged in much high 
jesting, and the remarks attributed to him were 
in many instances blague. Others, judging him 
by his words, have pinned on him the labels of 
charlatan and degenerate. 



338 MODERN PAINTING 

The Cubists, misunderstood from the first, 
have been a source of ridicule rather than of 
contumely. Systematisers have sought to trace 
them to Diirer, forgetting that Cezanne once 
wrote: "Treat nature by the cylinder, the sphere 
and the cone; the whole put in perspective, so 
that each side of an object and of a plane directs 
itself toward a central point." Even today, after 
the vital contributions of the Cubists have altered 
the whole trend of modern art, there are few who 
see in them aught but the material for laughter. 
The critics who have accepted the Impressionists 
and Cezanne deny the merits of Cubism, venting 
their derision in a manner which recalls the de- 
tractors of the very schools which these critics 
now uphold. Synchromism has perhaps called 
forth the bitterest protests. It was the last step 
in the evolution of modern means. It had no 
affinities with the academies. There was no 
foothold in this new school for the conservatives 
and reactionaries. The Munich critics were first 
to attack it. Later in Paris Andre Salmon 
wrote, "The public will believe that Synchromism 
is the final movement of which it has learned. 
Synchromism is the worst of backward move- 
ments, a vulgar art, without nobility, unlikely to 
live, as it carries the principles of death in itself." 
Les Arts et Les Artistes summed up Synchromists 
with: "The house painter at the corner can, 
when he wishes, claim that he belongs to this 
school." La Plume discovered the fact that 
" Macdonald-Wright copies with a dirty broom 
the Slave of Michelangelo." Charles H. Caffin 
declared, "The whole tenor of their foreword and 
introduction is one of egregious self-exploitation 



CONCLUSION 339 

and self-advertisement. This . . . raises the very 
obvious question: 'Are these men megalo- 
maniacs or charlatans?' Possibly they are 
neither the one nor the other. I am not in a 
position to decide." 

These quotations and comments are set down 
to reveal the opposition which the genuine modern 
painters have had to contend with. The criti- 
cisms of each movement repeat themselves with 
the following one, even to a point of verbal 
similarity. The attacks on Synchromism are 
strangely like those which companioned Impres- 
sionism. The same facetiousness, the same irrel- 
evant denunciation, the same opposition to the 
new, the same antipathy for progress are manifest 
in all the critics of the new painting from Dela- 
croix to date. All arise out of ignorance, out of 
that immobility of mind which cannot judge 
clearly until a thing is swathed in the perspective 
of the years. Art has grown faster than the 
critic's ability to comprehend. Its problems are 
a closed book to him, for, not being a painter 
himself, he requires a longer period in which to 
assimilate the new ideals. Gradually as the new 
methods establish themselves, and become 
accepted (as in the case of Impressionism), the 
critic at last comes abreast of a movement; but by 
that time art has gone forward and left him in the 
rear. Again he attacks the new. All innovations 
are as poison to his system, until he again becomes 
adjusted. Thus can we account for the animosity 
and ridicule with which each modern movement has 
been met. 

Nor are the animadversions of academic critics 
the only obstacles in the path of aesthetic develop- 



340 MODERN PAINTING 

ment. Those who sympathise with the new with- 
out understanding it do more harm than good. 
There are those who always accept the latest 
men irrespective of their individual merit. But 
modernity in itself is not a merit, and the modern 
enthusiasts, in defending the newest painters, 
very often expend their energies on the undeserv- 
ing. Thus the mediocrities are given prominence 
over the truly great; and the lesser artists are 
looked upon as representative of the epoch. 
Again, those who admire without comprehending 
are given to emphasising the less important points 
of departure in the new men, and of ignoring the 
deeper qualities which represent the primary 
importance of modern art. The true meaning of 
the late movements is thereby obscured. Of this 
class of critic Arthur Jerome Eddy may be 
mentioned as representative. By crediting the 
distinctly second-rate moderns with qualities they 
have only absorbed from greater men, and by 
misunderstanding the animating ideals of today's 
painting, he presents so disproportionate and 
biased a history that the entire significance of 
modern art is lost. England, France and Ger- 
many possess critics who feel the grandeur but 
miss the meaning of the new ideals, and their 
books and articles, while crediting the modern 
painters with vitality, go little beneath the 
surface. 

However, there are a few men to whom the 
modernist owes much for intelligent assistance. 
One may name Meier-Graefe as one of these, 
despite his being in reality a pioneer. He has 
shown an eager attitude to do justice, and has 
succeeded in bringing the modern men to the 



CONCLUSION 341 

attention of the world. Guillaume Apollinaire, 
editor of Les Soirees de Paris, has done more 
intelligent service for the younger heretics in 
France than any other man. Clive Bell and 
Roger Fry represent the ablest and most discern- 
ing defenders of the modern spirit in England; 
although Mr. A. R. Orage, by opening up the 
columns of the New Age, has permitted a healthy 
discussion and exposition of the radical art 
theories. In America much credit is due Mr. 
Alfred Stieglitz for his insistent demands that the 
later men be given a respectful hearing. By his 
sympathetic attitude and his ceaseless labours he 
has brought before the American public the work 
of many prominent modern artists; and his 
sincerity and understanding have done much 
toward ameliorating the conventional scoffs of 
American critics. 

But were there no far-seeing defenders of 
modern painting, the signs of the awakening are 
too numerous and too conspicuous to be ignored. 
On every hand we are conscious of the struggle 
for new methods and forms. Not all the inertia 
of the critics and the public has succeeded in 
suppressing the vital spirit. Nor will it succeed. 
The modern tendency in painting cannot be 
dismissed as charlatanism or extremism. The 
ignorant and reactionary may laugh and hurl 
philippics. Such opposition, if it has any effecl:, 
will only prove a stimulus to those who have 
experienced the ecstasy of the new work. The 
old dies hard. Even when the corpse is buried 
(as it has been) the ghost lingers. But the light 
will soon grow too strong. The ghost in time will 
be dissolved. For centuries painting has been 



342 MODERN PAINTING 

reared on a false foundation, and the criteria of 
aesthetic appreciation have been irrelevant. 
Painting has been a bastard art an agglomera- 
tion of literature, religion, photography and 
decoration. The efforts of painters for the last 
century have been devoted to the elimination of 
all extraneous considerations, to making painting 
as pure an art as music. But so widespread is 
the general ignorance regarding art's funda- 
mentals that the modern men have been opposed 
at every step. Public and critical illiteracy in the 
arts, however, matters little. The painter's joy 
lies in the rapture of creation, in the knowledge 
that he is carrying forward the banner of a high 
ideal. 



INDEX 



Adoration of the Wise Men, 40. 

Alexander, John W., 98. 

Altichiero, 191. 

Ambassadors, The, 24. 

Andreiev, 52. 

Angelina, 68. 

Angelus, The, 57. 

Anges au Tombeau, Les, 79. 

Annunciation, 81. 

Anquetin, 197. 

Antwerp Museum, 40. 

Apollinaire, Guillaume, 341. 

Apres le Bain, 212. 

Archipenko, 163. 

Arm Organisation in Blue-Green, 301. 

Art of Spiritual Harmony, The, 3 10. 

Arts et Les Artiste s } Les, 338. 

Ashe, E. M., 221. 

Assommoir, L', 73. 

Assyrian art, 78. 

Augier, 216. 

Augrancf, 175. 

Au Piano, 123. 

Aurier, 193. 

Avignon painters, 108. 

Baignade, La, 203. 
Baigneuse, 1884, (Renoir), I2O. 
Baigneuse, 1888, (Renoir), 122, 123. 
Baigneuse au Griffon, La, 112. 
Baigneuse Brunt, La, 123. 
Baigneuses, 1885, (Renoir), 121, 125. 
Baigneuses, 1902, (Renoir), 125-126, 

1.57- 

Baigneuses, (Matisse), 226, 235. 
Baigneuses, Les, (Courbet), 56. 
Baigneuses, Les, (Gleizes), 257. 
Bain, Le, (Daumier), 60. 
Bain, Le, (Manet), see Dejeuner sur 

FHerbe, Le. 
Bain Turc, Le, 69. 
Balanfoire, La, 115. 
Balla, Giacomo, 276; Dog and Person 

in Movement, 272. 
Ballu, Roger, 336. 
Balzac, 25, 216; Le Cbef-d'(Euvre 

Inconnu, 162. 
Barbizon school, 69, 70, 87, 284. 



Bar des Folies-Begere, Le, 80. 

Bataille de Taillebourg, 40. 

Battle of Prague, The, 332. 

Baudelaire, 43, 53. 

Baudelaire Chez les Mufles, 219-220. 

Bazille, 89, 103. 

Beardsley, Aubrey, 181, 221. 

Beaux-Arts, 153, 165, 223, 323. 

Beerbohm, Max, 62, 221. 

Beethoven, 25, 42, 82, 155, 281; 

Ninth Symphony, 8. 
Bechteiev, 324. 
Bell, Clive, 341. 
Bellini, Gentile, 188. 
Bellows, 221. 
Bernard, fimile, 130, 143, 152, 156, 

175, 182, 195, 197. 
Bernnardt, portrait of Sarah, 216. 
Bernheim-Jeune galleries, 290, 297. 
Besnard, 319. 

Boccioni, Umberto, 275, 276. 
Bocklin, 21, 203. 
Bolz, 324. 
Bonington, 37, 49. 
Bonnard, 315, 316-318, 318, 319; Le 

Jardin, 317. 
Bonnat, 215. 
Bononi, 23. 
Borassa school, 191. 
Botticelli, 21, 22, 28, 93, 203. 
Boucher, 34, 97, 121. 
Bouguereau, 161, 222, 223, 239. 
Bourdelle, 320. 
Bourgeois, 31. 
Boussingault, 325. 
Blanc, 165. 
Blast, 325. 
Bloch, 324. 
Blumenscnein, 221. 
Bracquemond, 165. 
Brangwyn, 21. 
Braque, Georges, 257, 258. 
Bronzino, 187. 
Bruce, 262. 
Bruyas, 53. 
Buen Viaje, 219. 
Bulks de Savon, Les, 80. 
Bussy, Simon, 321-322. 



344 



INDEX 



Buveur d' Absinthe, Le, 66, 68. 

Byron, 43. 

Byzantine art, 9, 35, 40, 51, 93, 204. 

Cabanel, 222. 

Cabaret de la Mere Anthony, Le, 109. 

Cafe-Concert, 215. 

Caffin, Charles ft., 338. 

Caillebotte Collection, 98-99, 104. 

Calvary (Memlinc), 217. 

Canaletto, 188. 

Caprichos, 225. 

Captivite de Baby lone, La, 42. 

Caravaggio, 44, 56. 

Carlopez, 221. 

Carra, Carlo D., 275, 276; Funeral oj 
the Anarchist Galli, 314. 

Carreno, 67. 

Carriere, 60, 73, 194, 198, 223. 

Cassatt, 165. 

Casseurs de Pierres, Les, 57. 

Castagnary, 79. 

Castello, Valerio, 21. 

Cathedral, La, 102. 

Cazin, 209. 

Celesti, 23. 

Cellini, 52. 

Cesare, 221. 

Cezanne, 21, 26, 27, 31, 32, 36, 45, 
56, 61, 75, 96, 97, 104, 115, 126, 
128, 129-163, 175, 176, 180, 189, 
197, 200, 203, 206, 208, 222, 223, 
225, 234, 240, 241, 242, 244, 247, 
249, 250, 251, 253, 254, 260, 262, 
272, 274, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 
284, 286, 287, 289, 291, 295, 296, 
298, 300, 303, 307, 308, 310, 320, 

321, 33L 332, 337> 338. 
Chagall, 324. 
Chahut, Le, 180. 
Chamaillard, 197, 324. 
Champfleury, 56. 
Chanteuse des Rues, La, 79. 
Chardin, 34, 225. 
Charivari, 48. 
Chase, William M., 137. 
Chavannes, Puvis de, 74, 202, 316, 

3I9- 

Chef-d'CEuvre Inconnu, Le, 162. 
Chemin de Per, Le, 80. 
Cheret, 216. 
Chesneau, Ernest, 44. 
Chevelure, La, 114. 
Chevreul, 31, 84, 165, 166, 168, 180, 

285; De la Loi du Contraste Simul- 

tane des Couleurs, 164. 
Chien et Lievres, 51. 



Chinese art, 64, 125, 128, 190, 215, 

3*5- 

Christophe, Jules, 177. 
Chromo-luminarists, see Neo-Impres- 

sionism. 
Cimabue, 29. 
Cirque, Le, 180. 
Claire de Lune, Le, 80. 
Claretie, 335. 
Claude, 50. 
Coco, heads of, 126. 
Coco et les Deux Servantes, 126. 
Coins de Riviere, 100. 
Combat de Cerfs, Le, 51. 
Combat du Kerseage et de I' Alabama, 80. 
Concert Champetre, see Rural Concert. 
Conegliano, 79. 
Conrad, Joseph, 52, 161. 
Constable, 17, 37, 43 , 46, 49, 50, 97, 

i?S 329- 

Constant, Benjamin, 336. 

Cormon, 215. 

Corot, 21, 48, 68, 87, 89, 91, 108, 189. 

Correggio; La Vierge a f&cuelle, 62. 

Courbet, 17, 45, 48, 50-58, 59, 63, 
66, 67, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 
76, 77, 81, 83, 87, 89, 97, 106, 107, 
108, 109, in, 112, 113, 115, 127, 

128, 131, 134, 158, 207, 208, 212, 

239 253, 282, 284, 319, 330, 355; 
Les Baigneuses, 56; Les Casseurs 
de Pierres, 57; Chien et Lievres, 51; 
Le Combat de Cerfs, 5 1 ; Femme de 
Munich, 53; Les Grands Chataign- 
iers, 57; La Grotte, 56; Le Hamac, 
76; V Enterrement a Ornans, 51, 54, 
55. 63. 77. 239; Les Lutteurs, 59-60; 
Le Retour de la Conference, 51; La 
Vague, 101. 

Course de Taureaux, 80. 

Courtesan, The, 217. 

Courtois, 108. 

Couture, Thomas, 66, 161; Methodes 
et Entretiens d' Atelier, 44. 

Grayer, Caspar de, 306. 

Creation of the Sun and Moon, 24. 

Cromwell au Chateau de Windsor, 40. 

Croquet, Le, 123. 

Cross, 174, 224. 

Cubism (Cubists), 97, 187, 222, 227, 
237-262, 274, 275, 277, 282, 283, 
285, 291, 33 307. 3IS 323 33i 
332. 336, 338. 

da Bologna, Giovanni, 41. 
da Bosozzo, Michelino, 191. 
Danseuse, La, 114. 



INDEX 



345 



Dante et Virgile aux Enftrs, 36, 55. 

da Sesto, Cesare, 306. 

Daubigny, 67. 

Daudet, 216. 

Daumier, 17, 25, 58-63, 66, 68, 72, 
97, 106, 126, 137, 144, 182, 200, 
207, 208, 213, 220, 226, 243, 278, 
279, 280, 330; Le Bain, 60, Don 

f \iichotte, 62; Le Dramf, 63; Les 
migrants, 62; Les Lutteurs, 59-60; 

Ratapoil, 62; Le Repos des Saltim- 

banques, 60; La Republique, 61; 

Silene, 63. 

David, 17, 34, 35, 43, 56, 239, 282. 
Davies, Arthur B., 323. 
da Vinci, Leonardo, 44, 60, 306; 

Trattato della Pittura, 148. 
Dead Christ, The, 24. 
Debucourt, 34. 
Debussy, 52. 

Decamps; Sonneurs de Cloches, 62. 
de Chennevieres, 335. 
de Chirico, 325. 
Defoe, 191. 
Degas, 19, 62, 63, 165, 191, 203, 

2O7-22I, 222, 226, 242, 253, 266, 
37> 3!3 3i8; Apres le Bain, 212; 
Cafe-Concert, 215; Femme au Tub, 
212; Musiciens a I'Orchestre, 213; 
La Sortie du Bain, 212; La Toilette, 
212; Torse de Femme S'Essuyant, 
212; Trois Danseuses, 212. 

De Hahn, 197. 

dei Barbari, Jacopo, 223. 

Dejeuner, Le, 79. 

Dejeuner sur I'Herbe, Le, 69-70, 77-78, 

79- 

Delacroix, 17, 25, 27, 30, 34, 35-46, 
48, 50, S3. 56, 57. 58, 59. 62, 63, 
66, 67, 72, 75, 80, 8 1, 87, 88, 106, 
107, 108, in, 112, 113, 114, 128, 

133. 135. 137. 165, 175, 176, 177, 

180, 181, 182, 201, 205, 207, 264, 
277, 278, 281, 282, 303, 310, 329, 
330, 334. 335. 3395 Satailk de 
Taillebourg 40; La Captivite de 
Babylone, 42; Cromwell au Chateau 
de Windsor, 40; Dante et Pirgile 
aux Enfers, 36, 45; Enlevement de 
Rebecca, 40; Entree des Croises a 
Jerusalem, 40; Les Femmes d'Alger 
dans Leur Appartement, 39, III, 
112; La Grece Expirant sur les 
Ruines de Missolonghi, 41; Janis- 
saires a I'Attaque, 40; La Justice de 
Trajan, 40, 42; Justinien Com- 
posant les Institutes, 43 ; La Liberte 



Guidant le Peuple sur les Barricades, 

38, 40; Lion Dechirant un Cadavre, 

41; La Lutte de Jacob avec I'Ange, 

40, 45; Massacre de Scio, 36, 39; 

Pieta, 41; Renaude et Angelique, 

62; Repos, 42. 
de la Fresnay, 323. 
De la Loi du Contraste Simultane des 

Couleurs, 164. 
Delaunay, 259-162, 323; L'&quipe de 

Cardiff, 260; Route de Laon, 261; 

Les Tours, 261; Fille de Paris, 

259-260, 260. 

Delaunay-Terk, Madame, 262. 
Delecluze, 335. 
Delibes, 281. 

Denis, Maurice, 197, 216, 319-320. 
Derain, Andre, 163, 320. 
de Ris, Clement, 335. 
Descent from the Cross, 24. 
De Segonzac, 321. 
d'Espagnat, 322. 
Desvallieres, 320. 
Dethomas, Maxime, 221. 
D 'Eugene Delacroix au Neo-Impres- 

sionnisme, 169. 
Deux Sazurs, Les, 123. 
Deux Tahitiens, 226. 
Devil's Bridge, The, 50. 
Diane Chasseresse, 109. 
Diaz, 68, 89, 108, 182. 
Dimanche a la Grande-Jatte, Un, 180, 

203. 

di Nicolo, Pietro, 41. 
Divisionists, see Neo-Impressionism. 
Dog and Person in Movement, 272. 
Don at ello, 203. 
Donde Vd Mama, 219. 
Don Quichotte, 62. 
Dostoievsky, 52. 
Dove, 84, 324. 
Dramf, Le, 63. 
Dreiser, Theodore, 52. 
Dubois-Pillet, 175. 
Duchamp, Marcel, 257, 258. 
Dumas, 43. 
Diirer, 187, 251, 338; Four Naked 

Women, 24. 
Duret, 102. 

Dutch landscapists, 96. 
Dynamisme d'une Auto, 269. 

Earl and Countess of Arundel, The, 

24. 

East Indian art, 237. 
Eddy, Arthur Jerome, 340. 
&glise a Varengeville, L', 99. 



34^ 



INDEX 



Egyptian art, 64, 78, 205. 

Eichler, R. M., 202. 

El Greco, 20, 21, 22, 51, 95, 125, 
135, 158, 163, 203, 246, 254, 255, 
259, 297, 308, 329; Annunciation, 
81; Obsequies of the Count of 
Orgaz, 55; The Resurrection of 
Christ, 24. 

Emigrants, Les, 62. 

JLmile Zola, 79. 

Emperor Charles V, 24. 

En Bateau,!*)- 

Enfant a I'Epee, L', 67. 

Enfants en Rose et Bleu, Les, 1 20. 

English painters, 99, 116. 

Engstrom, Albert, 221. 

Enlevement de Rebecca, 40. 

Enterrement a Ornans, L', 51, 54, 55, 

63, 77. 239- . 

Entree des Croises a, Jerusalem, 40. 
Equipe de Cardiff, L , 260. 
Erler, Fritz, 202. 
Etchells, Frederick, 323. 
Eva Gonzales, 79. 
Execution de Maximilien, 80. 

Falaise a. Etretat, 100, 101. 

Fantin-Latour, 53, 175. 

Fauche, 197. 

Faust, 8. 

Fauves, Chef des, 233. 

Fauvism, 234. 

Fecondite, 73. 

Femme a la Mandoline, 25 1 . 

Femme a la Perruche, La, 112. 

Femme au Cbeval, La, 258. 

Femme au Miroir, La, 127. 

Femme au Perroquet, La, 79. 

Femme au Tub, 212. 

Femme aux Mangos, La, 75. 

Femme de Munich, 53. 

Femmes Assises a I' Ombre des Palmiers, 

196. 
Femmes d'Alger dans Leur Apparte- 

ment, Les, 39, ill, 112. 
Ferguson, J. D., 324. 
Fielding, 37. 

Fighting Temeraire, The, 47. 
Finger, 197. 

Filles de Catulle Mendes, Les, 123. 
Fillette a la Gerbe, La, 123. 
Fillette a I' Orange, La, 26. 
Fillette Attentive, La, 114. 
fin de siecle movement, 219. 
Flandrin, 321, 322. 
Flemish masters, 137. 
Flight Turning a Corner, 274. 



Folle, La, 55. 

Forain,J.-L.,62,i6s, 213, 219-221,221; 

Baudelaire Chez les Mufles, 219- 

220. 

Fornerod, Rodolphe, 202. 
Forum, The, 9. 
Fouquet, 34. 
Four Naked Women, 24. 
Fragonard, 34, 121, 244. 
French art, 211. 
Friesz, Othon, 22, 234, 320. 
Frost, 262. 
Fry, Roger, 324, -541. 
Fuller, portrait of Loie, 216. 
Funeral of the Anarchist Galli, 314. 
Futurism (Futurists), 257, 259, 264- 

276, 282, 284, 285, 291, 295, 303, 

316, 323, 336. 

Gainsborough, ill, 181; Mrs. Sid- 
dons, 115. 

Gare St. Lazare, La, 50. 

Gauguin, 22, 39, 93, 104, 150, 165, 
183, 184, 186, 187-206, 208, 210, 
222, 223, 225, 226, 227, 231, 243, 
246, 247, 279, 281, 285, 306, 308, 
315, 316, 318, 319, 323; Deux 
Tabitiens, 226; Femmes Assises a 
I' Ombre des Palmiers, 196; La 
Femme aux Mangos, 75; Jeunes 
Bretonnes, 195; Noa Noa, 190; 
Pay sage de la Martinique, 194; 
Ruperupe, 195; Tahitiennes, 195; 
Fairaoumati Tei Oa, 196. 

Gautier, 43, 335. 

Gerard, 17, 34, 35, 56. 

Gericault, 34, 35, 51, 113, 211, 281; 
La Folle, 55; Radeau de la Meduse, 

35.55- 

German art, 211. 
Gerome, 222. 
Ghil, Rene de, 266. 
Giampietrino, 306. 
Gibson, C. D., 221. 
Giorgione, 21, 30, 95, 126, 329; Rural 

Concert (Concert Cbampetre), 69. 
Giotto, 22, 29, 44, 56, 75, 125, 195, 

203, 235, 280, 329; Death of Saint 

Francis, 81; Descent from the 

Cross, 24. 

Girardon, 121, 121-122. 
Girodet, 34. 

Glace sans Tain, La, 231. 
Glackens, W. S., 324. 
Gleizes, Albert, 257, 258; Les Bai- 

gneuses, 257; L'Homme au Balcon, 

257- 



INDEX 



347 



Goethe; Faust, 8. 

Goya, 19, 25, 44, 67, 74, 75, 76, no, 

187, 218, 225, 231, 255; Buen 

Viaje, 219; Caprichos, 225; Donde 

Vd Mama, 219; La Maya Desnuda, 

42. 

Grand Canal Venice, The, 24. 
Grands Chdtaigniers, Les, 57. 
Grant, Duncan, 324. 
Granville, 62. 
Granzow, 325. 
Gravelot, 34. 
Greet Expirant sur les Ruines de 

Missolonghi, La, 41. 
Greek artists, 35, 125, 128, 163. 
Greuze, 21, 34. 
Gris, Jean, 258. 
Gros, 17, 34, 35, 335. 
Grotte, La, 56. 
Guardi, 188; The Grand Canal 

Venice, 24. 

Guariento; The Heavenly Host, 274. 
Guercino, 56. 

Guerin, Charles, 35, 36, 322, 322-323. 
Guillaumin, 89, 96, 103, 104, 165, 

1 66, 194. 

Guitarrero, Le, 67. 
Guizot, caricature of, 62. 

Hallock, Madame Mary, 266. 
Hals, Franz, 70, 80, 89, 187, 284. 
Hamac, Le, 76. 
Hankwan, 127. 
Hartley, 324. 

Hartmann, Sadikichi, 266. 
Hassam, Childe, 324. 
Hauptmann, Gerhart, 52. 
Hayden, 324. 
Haydn, 155. 

Head of a Chinese Lady, 1 27. 
Head of an Old Man, 217. 
Heavenly Host, The, 274. 
Held, portrait of Anna, 216. 
Helmholtz, 31, 165, 168, 285. 
Henri, Robert, 273, 281. 
Henri-Matisse. See Matisse. 
Hiroshige, 73, 99; Series of the To- 

kaido, IOO. 
Hogarth, 19, 116. 
Hokusai, 73, 99, 218; Views of Fuji, 

IOO. 

Holbein, 209; The Ambassadors, 24. 
Homme au Balcon, L', 257 
Horace, 134. 
Houses of Parliament London, The, 

IOO. 

Humbert, 165. 



Impressionism (Impressionists), 31, 
36, 43, 46, 47, 48, 49, 70, 74, 80, 
82, 83-106, 107, 108, in, 112, 

H4, 119, 120, 129, 135, 136, 137, 

139, 141, 144, 156, 158, 165, 166, 
167, 168, 169, 173, 174, 175, 176, 
177, 188, 189, 194, 195, 196, 198, 

199, 202, 203, 208, 209, 211, 222, 

223, 224, 238, 239, 241, 246, 248, 
274, 279, 280, 282, 284, 285, 286, 
287, 294, 295, 315, 318, 324, 330, 

33L 336, 337. 338, 339- 

Improvisation No. 29, 315. 

Ingenue, 115. 

Ingres, 17, 35, 56, 62, 108, in, 112, 
126, 203, 210, 226, 227, 239, 243, 
322; Le Bain Turc, 69; La Source, 
69; Stratonice, 210; Thetis et 
Jupiter, 79. 

Intimists, 315-319. 

Intruse, L', 193. 

Italian art, 56, 82, 97. 

Janissaires a I'Attaque, 40. 
Japanese art, 64, 93, 99, 100, 188. 
Japonaise, La, 98. 
fardin, Le, 317. 
fardin de Bellevue, Le, 80. 
fardin d'Essoyes, Le, 126. 
Jarretiere, La, 75. 
faulmes, Gustave, 202, 322. 
Jawlensky, 324. 
Jeu de Balles, 235. 
Jeunes Bretonnes, 195. 
John, Augustus, 320. 
Jongkind, 48, 69, 91, 96, 175. 
Journal, Delacroix's, 37, 39, 45, 164, 

1 66, 177. 

Journal des Artistes, 335. 
Juanes, Juan de, 51. 
Justice de Trajan, La, 40, 42. 
Justinien Composanl les Institutes, 43 . 

Kandinsky, 234, 264, 308-315; The 
Art of Spiritual Harmony, 3 10; Im- 
provisation No. 2p, 315. 

Kanoldt, 325. 

Keion; Flight Turning a Corner, 274. 

Knauerhase, 324. 

Korngold, 52; Symphonietta, 332. 

Kroll, 324. 

La Fosse, 79. 
Lancret, 34. 
Landon, C. P., 44. 
Laprade, Pierre, 321. 



INDEX 



Largilliere, 121. 

Larson, Carl, 221. 

La Tour, 34. 

Lautrec, see Toulouse-Lautrec. 

Laval, 197. 

Lawrence, 37, 209. 

Lebasque, 321. 

Le Beau, Alcide, 202, 322. 

Leclerc, Julien, 193. 

Leger, Fernand, 256-257, 258; Mai- 
sons et Fumees, 256; Les Toils, 256. 

Legrand, Louis, 213, 218, 218-219, 
221, 227; Maitressf, 219. 

Legros, 209. 

Leibniz, 269. 

Le Moyne, 79, 121. 

Le Nains, the, 34. 

Lewis, Wyndham, 320, 323. 

Lhermitte, 209. 

Lhote, 324. 

Liberte Guidant le Peuple sur ~les 
Barricades, La, 38, 40. 

Liombruno, 223. 

Lion Dechirant un Cadavre, 41. 

List, 109, 109-110, in. 

Liszt, 97. 

Little Dutchmen, the, 188. 

Loge, La, 114. 

Lola de Faience, 68. 

London series (Monet), 102. 

Loti, Pierre, 191. 

Lot iron, 324. 

Louis Philippe, 43. 

Louis XVI, 34. 

Louvre, the, 36, 53, 69, 136, 223, 226. 

Luce, 175. 

Lucretius, 134. 

Lutte de Jacob avec I'Ange, La, 40, 45. 

Lutteurs, Les (Courbet), 59-60. 

Lutteurs, Les (Daumier), 59. 

Luxembourg gallery, 53, 68, 99, 104, 
115. 

Macdonald-Wright, S., 283, 284-285, 
286, 287-288, 289, 289-290, 292, 
293, 296, 298, 300-302, 303, 338; 
Arm Organisation in Blue-Green, 
301; Syncbromie en Bleu, 297. 

Madame T. et Son Fils, 26. 

Mile. Durand-Ruel, 113, 114. 

Maeterlinck, 310; L'Intruse, 193. 

Maisons et Fumees, 256. 

Maitresse, 219. 

Mallarme, 275. 

Manet, 25, 52, 53, 62, 64-82, 83, 87, 
90, 93. 98, 99. 106, 107, 108, 109, 
in, 112, 113, 115, 127, 128, 131, 



134. I3S i9i 204, 207, 212, 225, 
226, 239, 243, 282, 283, 308, 330, 
335 336, 337J Angelina, 68; Les 
Anges au Tombeau, 79; Le Bar des 
Folies-Bergere, 80; Les Bulles de 
Savon, 80; Le Buveur a" Absinthe, 
66, 68; La Chanteuse des Rues, 79; 
Le Chemin de Fer, 80; Le Claire de 
Lune, 80; Combat du Kerseage et 
de I' Alabama, 80; Course de Tau- 
reaux, 80; Le Dejeuner, 79; Le De- 
jeuner sur I'Herbe, 69-70, 77-78, 79; 
Emile Zola, 79; En Bateau, 79; 
L'Enfant d lEpee, 67; Eva Gon- 
zales, 79; Execution de Maximilien, 
80; La Femme au Perroquet, 79; 
Le Guiterrero, 67; Le Jardin de 
Bellevue, 80; La Jarretiere, 75; 
Lola de Valence, 68; Nana, 75; 
La Nympbe Surprise, 66; Olympia, 
74-7S. 79. 335 5 Les Parents de 
I' Artiste, 67; Le Port de Bordeaux, 
80; Rendez-vous de Chats, 77, 80; 
Le Repos, 76. 

Manguin, 321. 

Mantegna; The Dead Christ, 24. 

Mantz, Paul, 336. 

Man with the Hoe, The, 57. 

Marconi, 97. 

Marinetti, 265, 276. 

Marquet, 324. 

Marseillaise, 311-312. 

Martin, Henri, 101, 102, 175. 

Martinet's gallery, 68. 

Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew, The, 

Marval, Madame, 321. 

Masaccio, 22, 42, 329; Saint Peter 
Baptising the Pagans, 24. 

Massacre de Scio, 36, 39. 

Massys, 217; The Courtesan, 217; 
Head of an Old Man, 217; Por- 
trait of a Canon, 217. 

Matisse, 22, 32, 97, 123, 202, 203, 
216, 222-236, 237, 238, 241, 243, 
246, 247, 254, 256, 262, 280, 281, 
282, 284, 285, 289, 291, 308, 309, 
310, 315, 316, 320, 321, 323, 324, 
331. 332. 3375 Baigneuses, 226, 
235; La Glace sans Tain, 235; Jeu de 
Balles, 235; La Musique esguisse, 
235; La Musique (panne au dec or a- 
<(/)> 235. 

Mauve, 182. 

Maya Desnuda, La, 42. 

Mazo, 67. 

Mazzola-Bedoli, 203. 



INDEX 



349 



Meissonier, 53. 

Meier-Graefe, 55, 340. 

Memlinc, 217; The Casting of the 
Lots, 217; Our Lord's Passion, 217. 

Menage Sisley, Le, 109, no-ill, 112. 

Mere et Enfant, 123. 

Merimee, 43. 

Merril, Stuart, 193. 

Met bodes et Entretiens d' Atelier, 44. 

Metzinger, Jean, 257, 257-258; La 
Femme au Cbeval, 258; Le Port, 258. 

Meules, Les, 102. 

Meunier, 62. 

Michelangelo, 27, 36, 42, 44, 60, 61, 
75. 82, 95, 119, 122, 129, 145, 155, 
IS9 163, 165, 235, 236, 237, 254, 
267, 273, 284, 285, 294, 306, 308; 
Creation of the Sun and Moon, 24; 
Slaves, 21, 290, 299, 338. 

Mille et Une Nuits, 231. 

Millet, 57, 182, 188; The Angelus, 
57; The Man with the Hoe, 57. 

Minerva Expelling Mars, 57. 

Miracle of Saint Mark, The, 24. 

Mitsuoki, 77. 

Modern Painters, 47. 

Mokkei, 158. 

Molineri, Antonino, 21. 

Monastery Bells, 332. 

Monet, 47, 48, 49, 50, 53, 80, 82, 90, 
91, 96, 96-102, 103, 104, 112, 113, 
114, 115, 128, 144, 165, 166, 175, 
199, 200, 210, 216, 223, 274, 280, 
283, 285, 308, 324; La Cathedral, 
102; Coins de Riviere, 100; L'figlise 
a Varengeville, 99; Falaise a Atretat, 
loo, 101; La Care St. Lazare, 50; 
The Houses of Parliament London, 
loo; La Japonaise, 98; London 
series, 102; Les Meules, 102; Les 
Nympheas, 102; Les Peupliers, 100; 
Venice series, 102. 

Monnier, 62. 

Moore, George, 25, 52. 

Monticelli, 182. 

Moreas, 193. 

Moreau, Gustave, 190, 221, 224. 

Morgan, Wallace, 221. 

Morisot, 165. 

Moronobu, 274. 

Morot, Aime, 258. 

Moulin de la Gallette, Le, 26, 114, 115. 

Mounet-Sully, portrait of, 216. 

Mozart, 42. 

Mrs. Siddons, 115. 

Miinter, 324. 

Miinzer, Adolf, 202. 



Murillp, 21, 67. 
Musiciens a I'Orchestre, 213. 
Musique aux Tuileries, La, 109. 
Musique esquisse, La, 235. 
Musique (panneau decoratif), La, 235. 

Nadelmann, 163. 

Nona, 75. 

Napoleon, 53. 

Napoleon HI, 69. 

National Gallery, London, 41. 

Natte, La, 123. 

Nattier, 34. 

Negro sculpture, 229, 230, 231, 236. 

Neo-Impressionism (Neo-Impression- 
ists), 164-186, 189, 197, 199, 203, 
208, 222, 224, 234, 260, 275, 278, 
293. 303, 330. 

New Age, The, 9, 341. 

Ninth Symphony, 8. 

Noa Noa, 190. 

Nu a I'&offe Vert et Jaune, 123. 

Nympbe Surprise, La, 66. 

Nympheas, Les, 102. 

Obsequies of the Count of Orgaz, 55. 

Observateur des Beaux-Arts, 335. 

Ode aux Fleurs (d'apres Anacreon), 

126. 

(Euvre, L', 134. 
Olivier, 34. 

Olympia, 74-75, 79, 195, 335. 
Opus II (Schonberg), 332. 
Orage, A. R., 341. 
Orphism (Orphists), 239, 262, 275, 

290, 291. 
Ortolano, 191. 
Ottmann, 324. 
Our Lord's Prayer, 217. 

Padovanino, 23. 

Panneaux, decorative (Renoir), 117. 

Panneaux (tambourine player and 

dancer), (Renoir), 126. 
Parisiennes Habillees en Algeriennes, 

III, 112. 

Pater, 34, 121. 

Paul, Hermann, 221. 

Pay sage de la Martinique, 194. 

Peckstein, 324. 

Persian art, 64, 190, 230, 231, 236. 

Petitjean, 175. 

Petit Peintre, Le, 126. 

Peupliers, Les, loo. 

Philip IV, 24. 

Picabia, Francis, 257, 258-259, 323. 



350 



Picasso, 9, 22, 121, 234, 236, 240, 
243, 246, 247, 251, 252, 255-256, 
258, 259, 262, 274, 284, 308, 323, 
331; Femme a la Mandoline, 251. 

Pitta, 41. 

Plot, 322. 

Pisanello, 28. 

Pissarro, 47, 48, 69, 82, 89, 90, 95-96, 
99, 104, 107, 114, 131, 135, 136, 
165, 166, 180, 182, 192, 194, 199, 
208, 212, 280; Sydenham Road, 99. 

Pissarro, Lucien, 165. 

Plume, La, 338. 

Poe, Edgar Allan, 53. 

Poe, tales of Edgar Allan, 219. 

Pointillism (Pointillists), see Neo- 
I impressionism. 

Polaire, portrait of, 216. 

Pollaiuolo, 203. 

Pont-Aven school, 187-206, 319. 

Port de Bordeaux, Le, 80. 

Port, Le, 258. 

Portrait de Dame, 1 14. 

Portrait d'Homme, 184-185. 

Portrait of a Canon, 217. 

Post-Impressionism (Post-Impressio- 
nists), 234. See also Matisse. 

Poussin, 19, 21, 22, 40, 97, 129, 320. 

Praxiteles, 218. 

Prendergast, 321-322. 

Prevost, 216. 

Puget, 108. 

Putz, Leo, 202. 

Puy, Jean, 321. 

Radeau de la Meduse, 35, 55. 

Raeburn, 89. 

Rafaelli, 188. 

Rain, Steam and Speed, 47, 50. 

Raphael, 19, 21, 22, 165, 255. 

Ratapoil, 62. 

Ray, Louis, 197. 

Rembrandt, 22, 25, 41, 44, 45, 51, 
56, 61, 62, 66, 99, 108, 280, 284; 
etchings, 59. 

Redon, 165, 187. 

Regnault, 21, 34. 

Remberg, Baron, 53. 

Renaissance, the, 26, 29, 39, 51, 
92, 128, 223, 227, 255, 306, 322. 

Renaude it Angelique, 62. 

Rendez-vous de Chats, 77, 80. 

Renoir, 21, 22, 25, 26, 52, 56, 70, 77, 
106, 107-128, 136, 154, 155, 156, 
163, 166, 181, 197, 205, 207, 208, 
213. 235. 237. 238, 244, 284, 302, 
306, 308, 316, 324, 330, 336, 337; 



Au Piano, 123; Baigneuse (1884), 
I2O, 122; Baigneuse (1888), 122, 
123; La Baigneuse au Griffon, 112; 
La Baigneuse Brune, 123; Baign- 
euses (1885), 121, 125; Baigneuses 
(1902), 125, 126, 157; La Balanfoire, 
115; Le Cabaret de la Mere Anthony, 
109; LaChevelure,in; Coco, heads 
of, 126; Coco et les Deux Senantes, 
126; Le Croquet, 123; La Danseuse, 
114; Les Deux Sceurs, 123; Diane 
Cbasseresse, 109; Les Enfants en 
Rose et Bleu, 120; La Femme a la 
Perruche, 112; La Femme au 
Miroir, 127; Les Filles de Catulle 
Mendes, 123; La Fillette a la Gerbe, 
123; La Fillette Attentive, 114; La 
Fillet et V Orange, 26; Ingenue, 115; 
Le Jardin d' Essay es, 126; La Loge, 
114; Lise, 109, 109-110, in; 
Madame T. et Son Fils, 26; Mere 
et Enfant, 123; Le Menage Sisley, 
109, no-ill, 112; Mile. Durand- 
Ruel, 113, 114; Le Moulin de la 
Colette, 26, 114, 115; La Musique 
aux Tuileries, 109; La Natte, 123; 
Nu d I'&tofe Vert et Jaune, 123; 
Ode aux Fleurs (d'apres Anacreon), 
126; Panneaux, decorative, 117; 
Panneaux (tambourine player and 
dancer), 126; Parisiennes Habitt.ee s 
en Algeriennes, ill, 112; Le Petit 
Peintre, 126; Portrait de Dame, 114; 
La Rose dans les Cbeveux, 126; La 
Source, 114; Tete de Jeune Fille, 
1 20; La Toilette de la Baigneuse, 125. 

Repos, 42. 

Repos des Saltimbanques, Le, 60. 

Repos, Le, (Manet), 76. 

Republique 1848, La,6l. 

Resurrection of Cb ist, The, 24. 

Retour de Chris tophe Colomb, 40, 51. 

Reynolds, Joshua, 21, 61. 

Ribera, 21, 51, 108, 187; The Martyr- 
dom of Saint Bartholomew, 55. 

Rigaud, 79. 

Rimbaud, Arthur, 266. 

Rin Teikei, 315. 

Ririomin; Head of a Chinese Lady, 
127. 

Roberts, W., 323. 

Robinson, Boardman, 221. 

Robusti, 79. 

Rodin, 62. 

Roll, 101. 

Romanelli, 223. 

Romney, 116. 



INDEX 



Rondinelli, 79. 

Rood, 31, 165, 168, 180, 285. 

Rose dans Its Cbeveux, La, 127. 

Rossetti, 1 1 6, 221. 

Rotonchamp, Jean de, 190. 

Roubille, 221. 

Rousseau, 68, 89, 108, 205, 321-322. 

Roussell, K.-X., 315, 318, 318-319. 

Route de Laon, 251. 

Rubens, 9, 20, 21, 22, 26, 28, 36, 40, 
4 44 4S> 5i 5 2 > 7i> 81, 82, 87, 
97, 108, 121, 125, 126, 127, 138, 
158, 163, 165, 187, 203, 205, 220, 
245, 254, 273, 277, 283, 300, 306, 
308, 329; The Adoration of the 
Wise Men of the East, 40; The Earl 
and Countess of Arundel, 24. 

Rude, 273. 

Ruperupe, 195. 

Rural Concert, 69. 

Ruskin, 46, 47; Modern Painters, 47. 

Russell, Morgan, 283, 283-284, 285, 
286, 286-287, 288 289, 292, 293, 
294, 296, 297, 298, 299, 300, 302, 
294, 296, 297, 298, 299, 300, 302, 
303; Synchromie, 299; Syncbromie 
en Bleu-Violace, 299; Synchromie 
en Vert, 288-289, 297- 

Russolo, Luigi, 276. 

Saint Peter Baptising the Pagans, 24. 

Salmon, Andre, 338. 

Salon d'Automne, 224, 257. 

Salon des Artistes Independents, 167, 
224, 262, 288, 297, 299. 

Salon des Refuses, 69. 

Salon des Reprowes, 69. 

Santerre, 121. 

S. Vitale, mosaics in, 150, 204. 

Sargent, 18, 98. 

Scarsellino, 203. 

Schonberg; Opus II, 332. 

Schuffenecker, 165, 197. 

Scott, Walter, 43. 

Scriabine, Alexander, 266, 311. 

Seguin, 197. 

Serusier, 197. 

Setting Sun, ioo.' 1 

Seurat, 165, 165-166, 167, 176, 177, 
178, 180, 180-181, 181, 182, 183, 
184, 203, 226, 243, 264, 265, 310, 
319; La Baignade, 203; Le Chahut, 
1 80; Le Cirque,i8o; Un Dimancbe a 
la Grande-Jatte, 1 80, 203. 

Severini, 22, 276. 

Shannon, 98. 

Shaw, George Bernard, 52. 



Sheeler, Jr., C. R., 323. 

Shiubun; Setting Sun, ioo. 

Sibelius, 52. 

Sickert, Walter, 219. 

Signac, 165, 166, 167, 169, 170, 174, 

181, 182, 184, 224, 264; D'Eugene 

Delacroix au Neo-Impressionnisme, 

169. 

Signorelli, Luca, 137. 
Silene, 63. 

Silvestre, Theophile, 44. 
Simon, 18. 

Simultaneism, 262, 276. 
Sisley, 49, 89, 96, 99, 102-103, 4> 

280. 

Slaves, 21, 290, 299, 338. 
Sodoma, 218. 
Soirees de Paris, Les, 341. 
Sonneurs de Cloches, 62. 
Sorolla, 18, 52, 187. 
Sortie du Bain, La, 212. 
Source, La (Ingres), 69. 
Source, La (Renoir), 114. 
Spanish art, 62, 97, HI. 
Spiro, 322. 
Stein, Leo, 284. 
Steinlen, 62, 246, 255. 
Stendhal, 43. 
Stern, Maurice, 323. 
Stevens, Alfred, 209. 
Stieglitz, Alfred, 341. 
Stradivarius, 121. 
Strauss, Richard, 25, 52. 
Stratonice, 210. 

Sun of Venice Going to Sea, The, 49. 
Superville, 165. 
Swift, 191. 
Swinburne, 82. 
Sydenbam Road, 99. 
Symphonietta, 332. 
Synchromie, 299. 
Synchromie en Bleu, 297. 
Synchromie en Bleu-Fiolace, 299. 
Synchromie en Vert, 288-289, 297. 
Synchronism (Synchromists), 32, 97, 

115, 275, 277-304, 324, 325, 331, 

332, 3.35. 336, 338, 339- 
Synthesists, see Pont-Aven school. 

Table au Moulin- Rouge, Une, 215. 

Tahitiennes, 195. 

Taine, 32. 

Tanagra figurines, 218. 

Tete de Jeune Fille, I2O. 

Thetis et Jupiter, 79. 

Thiers, 36. 

Tiepolo, 87, 218, 244. 



35* 



INDEX 



Tillot, 165. 

Tintoretto, 21, 22, 51, 66, 137, 271, 

329; Minerva Expelling Mars 57; 

The Miracle of Saint Mark, 24. 
Titian, 21, 36, 42, 44, 66, 72, 74, 75, 

97, 108, 127, 189, 320; Emperor 

Charles V, 24; Venus Reclining, 

Toba Sojo, 218. 

Tobeen, 324. 

Toilette, La, 212. 

Toilette de la Baigneuse, La, 125. 

Toils, Les, 256. 

Tokaido, series of the, 100. 

Tonr de Femme S'Essuyant, 212. 

Toulouse-Lautrec, 62, 213, 214-218, 
220, 221, 242, 246, 255, 318, 321; 
Une Table au Moulin- Rouge, 215; 
Portraits of Loie Fuller, Sarah 
Bernhardt, Mounet-Sully, Yahne, 
Anna Held, 216. 

Tours, Les, 261. 

Trattato della Pittura, 148. 

Trois Danseuses, 212. 

Trovatore, II, 42. 

Troyon, 67. 

Tudor-Hart, 168. 

Turner, 17, 43, 46-50, 58, 63, 88, 89, 
9i 97, 99. 103, 175, 205, 277, 302, 
329; The Devil's Bridge, 50; The 
Fighting Temeraire, 47; Rain, 
Steam and Speed, 47, 50; The Sun 
of Venice Going to Sea, 49; Ulysses 
Deriding Polyphemus, 47. 

Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus, 47. 
Utamaro, 100. 
Utrillo, 324. 

Vague, La, 101. 

Vairaoumati Tei Oa, 196. 

Valensi, 324. 

Vallotton, 321-322, 322. 

Van de Velde, 175. 

Van Dongen, Kees, 321. 

Van Dyke, 50. 

Van Gogh, 46, 62, 150, 182-186, 187, 

192, 193, 196, 199, 215, 234, 314; 

Portrait d'Homme, 184-185. 



Van Rysselberghe, 174, 175. 

VanVranken,j^Macdonald-Wright,S. 

Vaudeville, the, 193. 

Velazquez, 19, 51, 66, 67, 70, 82, 89, 

110,212,282,284; Philip 1 7,24. 
Venetians, 39, 43, 44, 62, 70, 135, 162. 
Venice series (Monet), 102. 
Venus Accroupie, 226. 
Venus Reclining, 75. 
Verdi; // Trovatore, 42. 
Verkade, 197. 
Verlaine, 193. 

Veronese, 36, 38, 40, 44, 137, 282, 329. 
Veron, Eugene, 44. 
Vien, 34. 

Vierge a l',cuelle, La, 62. 
Views of Fuji, 100. 
Vignon, 165. 

Ville de Paris, 259-260, 260. 
Virgil, 134. 

Vlaminck, Maurice de, 320-321. 
Vollard, Ambroise, 145. 
Vollard collection, 125. 
Vorticism (Vorticists), 325. 
Vuillard, 315, 318, 318-319. 

Wagner, 42, 53, 266. 

Walkowitz, 325. 

Watteau, 22, 34, 97, 112, 113, 121. 

Whistler, 21, 47, 52, 69, 98, 134, 187, 

209,212, 244,258,318. 
William of Orange, 50. 
Wolff, Albert, 336. 
Wright, S. Macdonald. See Mac- 

donald-Wright, S. 

Yahne, portrait of, 216. 
Young, Thomas, 84. 

Zak, 205, 321-322. 

Zanchi, 23. 

Zawadowsky, 324. 

Zola, 52, 73, 131, 133, 134; L'Assom- 

moir, 73; Fecondite, 73; L'GSuvre, 

134. 

Zorn, 52. 
Zuloaga, 21, 98. 
Zurbaran, 50. 



OTHER BOOKS BT WILLARD HUNTINGTON WRIGHT 



WHAT NIETZSCHE TAUGHT 

A comprehensive exposition of Nietzsche's philosophy, book 
by book, with. a complete biographical sketch and a frontis- 
piece of Professor Karl Donndorf's bust of Nietzsche. 

The best book of its sort I have ever seen. James Huneker. 

We know of no other book just like Mr. Wright's, nor any- 
one that, on the whole, we can recommend more heartily. 

The Nation. 

As a presentation in compact form of biographical data and 
certain extracts from the philosopher's writings, the book is 
admirable. Review of Reviews. 

It offers a better and truer report of Nietzsche's ideas than 
any other book either in English or German. H . L. Mencken 
in the Baltimore Evening Sun. 

An excellent survey of the life and philosophy of Nietzsche 
. . . The best summary of Nietzsche that has yet appeared in 
English. Springfield Republican. 

Just as one should begin the study of Nietzsche's works 
with " Human, All-too-Human," so could one most advanta- 
geously undertake the study of Nietzsche with Mr. Wright's 
volume. The Dial. 

Mr Wright's compilation may be warmly recommended. 

Boston Transcript. 

Mr. Wright knows thoroughly what he is talking about, 
and his book is excellent. New York Evening Sun. 



THE PRINCIPLES OF AESTHETIC FORM 
AND ORGANISATION 

(In Preparation) 

An inquiry into the laws governing aesthetic appreciation in 
all the arts. The first basic co-ordination of the factors which 
make for empathy and aesthetic emotion, and the only funda- 
mental rationale for criticism in existence. Mr. Wright, in this 
new and important work, defines aesthetic form and rhythmic 
composition, and establishes a definite foundation for artistic 
judgment. "The Principles of ^Esthetic Form and Organi- 
sation" is by far the most profound and important contribution 
to the science of aesthetics since Kant. 



BOOKS BT WILLARD HUNTINGTON BRIGHT 
THE MAN OF PROMISE 

(To be published January, 1916) 

Mr. Wright has here written one of the most penetrating and unusual 
novels of this generation. Its conception, its point of view, its frankness, 
its freedom from all prejudice, and its form are in accord with the 
highest standards of the best Continental fiction. The central character 
"the man of promise," despite his potentialities of genius, is an intensely 
appealing and sympathetic figure. In his nature are combined weakness 
and strength, cruelty and tenderness, virtue and viciousness. In short, he is 
inherently human, capable of ascending the heights, yet capable also of sink- 
ing to the depths of life's degradations. 

The story, which takes him from early boyhood to middle age, is centred 
about his affairs, phsycological and sexual, with the many women who touch 
his life. Not one of these women is able to assist him in his great work or 
to attain to his high and solitary ideals. In not one of them can he find an 
" inspiration." They are not necessary to his intellectual development. To 
the contrary, each tends to drag him down to the mediocre level of the 
world's criterion of greatness, to sap his vitality, to curb his heresies, to make 
of him a commonplace man. The book, in short, is an undogmatic refutation 
of the theory that great men need the influence of women. It shows how 
women, by their conservatism and social conventionality, interfere with true 
greatness and conspire instinctively and unconsciously against the higher 
nature of the men they love. 

First Mr. Wright shows the cramping influence of mother love, the maternal 
efforts to inculcate conventional and religious ideals into the child. Then we 
are given a glimpse of the influence of the man's boyhood romance. Next 
we see his college sweetheart, in love with life's pleasures and gaieties, turning 
his mind from his work. Later we have the young man's mistress, a selfish 
and calculating woman, ready to sacrifice his career to her personal ends. 
Still later, his wife, a sweet, loving and admirable woman, hinders him by 
her conservatism and constant attentions. In a final attempt to find a woman 
who can wholly appreciate his exalted desires and follow him to the heights 
he has in mind, he deserts his wife for what he thinks is an advanced 
and intellectual woman. But she in the end proves little different from the 
others. She exhibits the same petty jealousies and makes the same demands 
on him, and he sends her away in a last desperate attempt to consummate 
his aspirations. But at this time his daughter, now a young woman, appears; 
and he is forced to make the final sacrifice to her future. 

"The Man of Promise" goes deep into the undercurrents of life, and it is 
not a novel any man or woman can afford to miss reading. It is a powerful 
story and in many ways a ruthless one; but both in conception and execution 
it marks a new epoch in American fiction. 



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