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overlook the essential weakness of have written of his art. I had gone his composition, the essential unpro into the Knoedler Galleries to see the gressiveness of his art. He is to be Sargent portrait of Rockefeller, and commended for having extricated Blakelock was there, accompanied himself from the influence of that by his attendant; a physically resur . highly artificial painter, Diaz (who rected Blakelock, but bereft of all seems most to have influenced him), that fire of soul that makes for but we do not observe in his record genius. His expression, pathetically that metamorphosis into a memor complaisant, his feeble little ameni. able and distinctive uniqueness that ties of conduct seemed curiously we observe in Inness, Murphy and alien to the bustling aggressiveness Weir. It is certain that he is held by of his surroundings. "Like a wraith," significant critics of painting in less I thought. No one paid very much high esteem than any other Ameri attention to him; superficial attencan painter of his generation, and it tion was directed to the Sargent (alis possible that his prices have though I do not suppose one person touched inflated levels. Personally, out of ten observed the incredible I should not be surprised to find that triviality of the work of the redoubtTime will deal less favourably with able Sargent). Later, some one him than with Martin possibly, with showed me a little thing that BlakeBlakelock certainly.
lock had recently painted, a blatant, For we find in this latter painter a inharmonious daub, the sort of thing wealth of executive ability which, in one has seen on dinner cards. I am so far as I know, has been insuffi- told he paints occasionally, even ciently estimated. I myself do not
I myself do not though his original powers are percare for the kind of painting he manently impaired, paints like a tenoffers us, but that is beside the point. year-old child! A great master When, on the night of the Lambert stricken! a living dead man! It was sale, Mr. Thomas Kirby, auctioneer one of those contrasts that, as Stevenof the American Art Association, re son says in his Across the Plains, “we ferred to his famous Moonlight as count too obvious for the purposes the “finest work ever done by an of art." American artist," he said something
For a great painter Blakelock unthat cannot easily be gainsaid. This doubtedly was in an imaginative picture, purchased by the Toledo
sense; greater, it may be, than any Museum for twenty thousand dollars,
of his contemporaries.
Even his is monumental. Again I intrude the opalescent dream worlds do not immatter of personal preference. To
portune our good graces, perhaps, me the art of Blakelock is displeas- but they command our respect. His ing because it is an art that too ex
colour here is less hot than is usual clusively subordinates nature to a with him, more tender, more dif. pattern, a pattern of unrealities arbi.
fused. Place him, however, in juxtatrarily evolved out of egoisms often
position with Twachtman, for examexquisitely and unfamiliarly beautiful but human never with a free, ple, and the antithesis will throw
into sharp relief the essential artifi. fresh beauty of living fields and pel ciality of his art. It is the difference lucid streams and hospitable valleys. between a kind of painting that need His art is a kind of metallic virtu
never have sought the out of doors osity; it has affinities with the paint for its inspiration, a kind of painting ing of Dupré and Monticelli. And
essentially literary in its genesis, and yet, remembering Blakelock as I saw another kind of painting, delicate to him recently, I am tempted to can. the point of evanescence, risen out of cel any word of disparagement I nature like a mist over a field. At
first sight the juxtaposition of two still-life or an interior be painted, so diametrically opposite kinds of and that is, precisely, what Blakepainting may appear discrepant, but lock does and what Twachtman does to compare them is not to place the not do. Paint may be put on copione above the other in the sense of ously, fluently, and yet give an imultimate value, but merely to direct pression of radiant, luminous, viattention to the dominant attribute brant aliveness (the later Manet, for of the modern point of view, instance), and it may be put on too namely, its preponderating predilec- thinly and result in an impression of tion for a light, high colour scale and downright penuriousness (Whistler, a more delicate handling of colour at times, and, in particular, the poras opposed to the thick, dark, pasty trait painter John W. Alexander). consistency of paint characteristic of To my taste the supreme satisfaction older methods. To compare is not, is derived from a middle course of necessity, to disparage, and there wherein a superb and inspirational will, no doubt, always be a place in equilibrium is achieved. In the most art for the glazings and varnishings proficient examples of Inness, and heavy layings on of pigment Murphy and Weir, you are not concharacteristic of the work of Ryder, scious of paint. Beauty has accomFuller and Blakelock. Nor must we plished a miraculous emancipation fall into the easy error of assuming from substance, and no one element that all older painting conformed to that has gone to make up the finthe one manner, and that all mod. ished picture intrudes at the expense ern painting conforms to another. of the whole. The majority of This, of course, is manifestly untrue. Twachtman's later canvases
err As we look over the history of art we through their very excess of delicacy. realise that art is as much a rever. Where we should like to perceive an sion as it is an evolution. The bane ultimate refining of colour, we per. of art criticism is hard and fast ceive, instead, a scant, ill-nourished rules; art is a matter of individuali- canvas, Twachtman's art fails in its ties, not of systems, and the painter sum-total to command the recogni. of to-day may find it essential to the tion that its individual efforts enfulfilment of a perfect self-expres- title it to. The general impression sion to express himself in a manner one gets of it is of a too tenuous, too manifestly antithetical to the aggre. fragile beauty. Perhaps the most gate manifestations of his age. There aristocratic temperament in Ameri. are pictures of Corot, for example, can painting (less robustly so than that have anticipated all that con Martin, less fantastically so than temporary landscape has accom- Blakelock), Twachtman echoed in plished toward that appearance of this country that quivering someevocation, of apparitional evanes- thing of acute and recondite sensi. cence that we see in the finest ex bility that we feel to be the peculiar, amples of Inness, Murphy and Weir. esoteric projection of the art of I have in mind many a Corot in Whistler. I am inclined to suspect which there seems to be no tangible from unsubstantial data that Twachtlaying on of paint; the effect is com man laboured under difficulties of an parable only to the tremulous im- emotional and pathological nature. ponderability of breath receding However this may be, his is one of from silver surfaces, pictures in the rare, unique notes in our paintwhich we seem to see impermanence ing. When he has successfully perpetuated. To me, personally, I achieved (as, for instance, the exfind that I cannot enjoy the out of quisite Snow Bound exhibited in doors painted as I would ask that a the season of 1917 at the Montross
Galleries, and purchased from Mr. sonal preference. George Moore has Montross by the Friends of American pointed out in his essay on Balzac Painting for the permanent collec (Impressions and Opinions) that tion of the Chicago Art Institute), criticism is more the story of the he is, perhaps, far more a new im. critic's soul than it is an exact pulse than Ryder or Fuller, I had science. The observation is accurate. almost_said Martin and Wyant. No principle has yet been formuHere, Twachtman surprises us with lated by which we may infallibly the full import of what elsewhere judge the work of art. We detect he hints at only. It is a catch phrase beauty through our instincts; we apof criticism to say that Twachtman praise it only in proportion to the paints the "soul" of nature. Only
Only fineness of our spiritual developthe God of us all, the God of “things ment. Personally, I believe that as they are” knows the soul of na painting, because of its inherent ture. Twachtman merely does what contradictoriness, is, of all the arts, every artist does; he paints the re the one most difficult to appreciate. actions to nature of his particular Take the case of Fuller, for example. temperament, but in this case his Reviewing the exhibit of “Deceased temperament happened to be an ex American Artists," held in March quisitely sharpened nervous system, of 1914 at the Macbeth Gallery, that saved from facile adulterations by excellent critic, Royal Cortissoz, the chastity inherent in earnestness says: “George Fuller is represented, of purpose. His predilection for a and, as always, his work has somepeculiarly meagre, thin, pinched thing to say to us
but the aspect of winter-a winter devoid of technical weakness which dogged invigoration, of the gracious glow him marks all three of the paintings of sun-may be noted. It is his shown." In the Ichabod T. Williams characteristic note. Perhaps I have Sale, 1915, Fuller's Romany Girl erred in including him in a consid sold for ten thousand five hundred eration of our dead painters, for his dollars. In the Alexander C. Humwork hangs more appropriately with phreys Sale, 1917, the same painter's the work of Weir, Hassam and Girl with Turkeys sold for fifteen Murphy than with work of an older thousand six hundred dollars. Surely order. The frugal, primitive work this points a moral. Manet, in 1867, of Fuller, the rather mechanical, un excluded from the Exposition Uniessential, artificial art of Albert verselle, arranged a private exhibition Ryder (a painter famous for his less of his works, complete up to that valuable paintings, and not for such date, and in the sober plea prefixed a painting as the little barnyard that to his catalogue, he disclaims the passed almost unnoticed in the Wil. name of revolutionary. “The artist,” liams sale, its beauty obscured by the he says, “does not say to-day, Come spurious prestige of the Toilers of to see faultless works, but, Come to the Sea), fail to supply us with so see works that are sincere.” Now if precious a personality, with so keen the end of art were to be sheerly a sense of that valuable, indefinable beautiful regardless of extraneous something we call “being different significances such as point of view and from the rest."
attitude of mind, there would seem It is, of course, hardly necessary for to be no place for an art technically me to remark upon the obvious fact otherwise than flawless. Obviously, that the discriminations set down painting is not the disembodied abin this, perhaps, too cursory sur straction so many theorists would vey of the work of our older painters have it; its contents and various are merely the expressions of per extraneous considerations, quite apart
from the question of technical dex- and feeling as a virtue in itself and terities, manifestly exert a consider quite apart from any degree of techable, possibly a preponderating in nical excellence. Their common posfluence upon our decisions. I say session of an innate dignity, a noble this because I believe our older sensitiveness would, we have no painters, many of them, hold, for the doubt, have prevented them from expresent at least, their prestige from ercising their talents in the impudent the matter of their nobility of inten manner so notoriously characteristic tion and view-point. I repeat my of our contemporaries. What would original contention that they are they have thought, I wonder, of the often less satisfyingly beautiful than flagrant impertinences on view remuch of the work that is being done cently at the MacDowell Club (Mr. to-day. Prophecy is both futile and John Sloan and his pig pens, for impertinent, but taking them at their example)! They were of an older present valuations, we are inclined order that approached nature with to believe that their eminence is a kind of secret solemnity. To them only partially ascribable to their in it retained its rituals of brooding, its trinsic artistic worth. Frankly, I can subtle, sensitive mysticisms, its deep, not see one-tenth the beauty in a inscrutable omnipotence. Their picture such as the Girl with Tur- period was a period different from keys of Fuller that I see in a sea ours in the quite prosaic and con. scape by Dearth or a landscape by crete difference of a slower rhythm to Murphy. Values are not made and life, a less of luxury, extravagance and maintained in art exclusively by materialism, a more of illusion, sentiartistic considerations. Perhaps this ment and reverence.
We shall reought not to be so, but the fact re member them always respectfully, mains that it is so. The chief justifi although we must go elsewhere for cation of the men I have so briefly what is most representatively vital, summarised in these pages appears to
valuable and compelling in our paintme to exist in their manner of seeing ing.
SNAP-SHOTS OF FOREIGN AUTHORS: ROLLAND
BY RICHARD BUTLER GLAENZER
They are our intimates
OF THE MAKING OF LITERARY CRITICISM PROFESSOR SHERMAN AGAIN AND THE FOLLETTS AND A FEW
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS EVER since man began to think, far guarded ruthlessness of blind social back through the dim vistas of his forces. geologic past, his thoughts have
Reformers there have been in taken two courses, two divergent lines of development. On the one
every age—but their reforms passed hand the exigencies of keeping alive
with them; priests and hermits—but compelled him to take thought how
they left no purity; philosophershe should get his food, his shelter
but they did not bring happiness. and his mate—such a thinker was
They only carried man the further the first realist; on the other hand,
from the elemental conditions of his the development of imagination af.
keeping himself alive. Yet the inforded man a tool by means of which domitable human spirit rises again he could escape from the duress of
and again to cast aside these futili. life in the spinning of fancies and
ties, to get at grips with the hostile ideals to charm him away from the
world, to try to organise society for bitter realities of a hard-won exist
stability and well-being; though ence—such a thinker was the first
never has man's grasp of reality romanticist. And ever since, all
reached a fifty per cent. consumption down through the course of human
of his energy, always has his romanevolution and human history, this
tic impulse maintained a claim upon schism in man's thought has gone on
the greater part of his capacities. So its twofold way, calling him now to
the Athenian Golden Age, the Roman strenuous efforts in the conflict with
Empire, the Renaissance in southern nature, now to flights of imagination
Europe, all stand out as peaks in in his anxiety to escape from the
Western history, for in them man's trouble of living.
attention to the art of living rose, let
us say, to a twenty-five or thirty per But ever has romanticism claimed
cent. consumption of his vitality. As
for the East, hardly has it expended the far larger part of man's time and
two per cent. of its thought in maknerve-energy and thought, ever has he
ing itself at home in the world. devoted his godlike capacities of memory and desire to the dreaming But to-day the proportion between of dreams, the weaving of fanciful romanticism and realism bids fair to tapestries of beauty, the designing of be different. The change began with heavenly cities and utopias. And the industrial revolution of the last while he built up his dream-world, century and the rise of the scientific while he evolved his schools of ideal. spirit of inductive research. Machine ists, his Platos and his Kants, while technology compelled a matter-ofhe fastened his eyes upon the mys fact, "cause and effect" investigation teries of the stars, his poor stumbling into the laws of our environment, feet were carrying him aimlessly competition in the production of through his world of reality, through goods forced to the top the master of the stress and harshness and cruelty the practical difficulties and laws of of Nature's realm, through the welter nature and tended to eliminate the of the unguided savagery of his own man of hysteria, superstition, dreams biologic inheritance and the un and passion. The exigencies of ma