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been taken off the nude for us, because we are beginning to realize It was In our own eyes, — a sort of shadow of the clothes with which the form was wont to be covered.
When the grinning Chicago crowds blocked traffic to stare at "September Morn," it was not because the picture had any great value as a painting, nor merely because the lady therein was uncovered by any garment. Rather it was because of a certain feeling that the lady should have been dressed—that she had a regular modern costume back on the shore somewhere which she would soon run back and shiver Into. The crowd had a sense of peering into a scene forbidden—and that is just what the artist intended, and the reason that "September Morn," as a painting, is not a work of art, but a vicious trick in the name of art, which every lover of the nude resents. Yet this picture in the end worked its good. It became famous and popular on penny postcards, and the ordinary public learned that they might look upon a nude picture without being stricken by a bolt from the blue. They finally got used to it, and there was the blessing—they immediately lost interest in it, and in any other nude that appealed merely because it was unclothed. After that a nude would have to be clothed in the artist's intellectuality and conception of beauty, before they could again be Interested.
The first nude figure by an American artist to be exhibited in America, was the "Greek Slave," by Hiram Powers. A picturesque incident was the securing by Powers of a round-robin signed by several prominent Philadelphia ministers of the gospel, that the "Greek Slave" was "pure" and wouldn't hurt the public by being gazed at. There is no doubt about the figure being Innocuous. Poor Powers in his determination to thoroughly sterilize his work from any bad associations had to destroy all trace of personality or beauty. It is a woodeny, stupid thing enough, that "Greek Slave." It missed being a real work of art by exactly the opposite method to that taken in case of the painting just mentioned, but we must, nevertheless, be grateful
to Powers. He did his best. The main desideratum was to get the American people to gaze at a nude, as a rightful and good thing to do. He accomplished that. He overcame the tabu, and started a movement to destroy a fetish.
But Powers' and most sculptors and painters reach only the "exclusive and cultured" stratas of our society. Their work in correcting and making sane our ideas of some of the most vital things in life, do not penetrate very far.
(Of course the sculptors and painters have no idea—at least, many of them have not, that they are doing anything of the sort. Very few artists are moralists. They create the beautiful as they see it, and their social use is incidental.)
But the art of photographing the nude has reached so high a point in America, and especially on the Pacific Coast, that it promises to do great "missionary work." These reproductions are as good as "originals" — they have the advantage, really of being originals, and the prices are not too high to place them out of reach of the general public.
The personalities and temperaments of the artists who have taken this art upon the coast have been most fortunate. Such artists as Emma B. Freeman and Jesse Banfleld have succeeded in steering safely between the two evils that beset the path of every student or portrayer of the nude. Without making their studies so innocuous as to be meaningless and lacking in personality, they have nevertheless succeeded in avoiding any lewd suggestiveness In subject or treatment.
True enough, Banfield is a believer in glamourie. He invests his plates with an atmospheric softness and illusion. His figures seem almost shadows—spirits of the wood, that will fade into the background and disappear should we rub our eyes too briskly. He is a veritable poet of the place.
Miss Freeman's plates show a more realistic, and perhaps intellectual treatment of the relation of the human nude to nature in its primitive forms. She loves to catch her dryads In the deep woods, and she gives them a certain solidity, as of the warm brown earth.
By Henry Meade Bland
Because there is a rosy memory
Of stream and flower and a face divine
Woven with high crag and lilied lea,
I, Inno, child of the Dawn and the White Sunshine
Write these soft rhymes and dare to call them mine.
Now in sweet fancy I am again a boy,
And lose myself among the ancient pine,
Climbing the highest cliff in silent joy,
Lone as lorn Paris driven by fate from song-built Troy.
How can I read the glacier chronicle,
Of heaped moraine, or rock-wall scarred and seamed:
Its story seems to fall sardonical
Upon the yearning soul that once has dreamed
On labyrinthine mind or once has deemed,
That he has found perfection in a face:
And all the magic of that face is reamed
Into his brain, woven in immortal lace,
Whose beauty only an eternal love can trace.
Too many memories ensnare the heart,
And seem to hold it from the days to be.
I shall forget the things of which I was a part:
I turn my gaze upon the flowered lea,
The joyous thrush is rhyming now for me,
The waterfall is singing hour by hour:
Make me, oh Crag, of thine eternity!
Give me, oh Vale, the glory of thy dower!
Touch me, I pray, with thy strong majesty and power!
Clear as a star reflected in the deep
Of silent Mirror Lake, that face to me!
No breath of air breaks in upon the sleep
Of jewelled water, shining radiantly:
Thus in that quiet lake of memory
(As in the silver pool) upon the star
I look with eager wondering eye and see
The meteor-flash of beauty from afar;
And fain would turn the key, the sacred past unbar.
I walk in silence by the mossed stream,
The ousel sings, the summer clouds are high;
My mind runs only to a single theme—
An eager face that ever flashes nigh.
I gaze the long prospect to the tender sky:
Lo, it is there, and ever seems to rise.
Then comes the gray dove's plaintive loving cry
Only to be broken by a sweet surprise;—
Through the dark oak leaves gleam those eager talking eyes.