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tions, by portrait sitters and by picture he declared to be his superior. The collectors. This foreign Art has an un- kindly service produced but brief patrondoubtedly distinct character at its bighest, age. The dealers could sell nothing of as well as its lowest, and many young men Wilson's then, and the only mercbant who —even before the appearance of the article later ventured upon the purchase of works referred to—had been persuaded by the at 16s. each after a term refused further general tone of appreciation it gained to investment in the wares on the ground set themselves the task of cultivating the that he had never sold a single canvas of particular ideal adopted, and of imitating all which he had bought previously. The the manner of realizing this.
fashionable class have, since this painter's On such a wide scale the rule is a safe subsequent neglect and death, slowly recone among merchants, that what is the ognized Wilson's worth, as is proved by best in quality is the most in demand, and the prices they have accorded to the pictherefore the dearest, so that it seems a tures so determinedly neglected at first. natural prejudice to sustain the principle Hogarth's works had as strangely gone to the very utmost extent as omnipotent. begging in his lifetiine ; one example is It applies in the first instance to articles convincing. The six pictures of “Marof food and clothing, which are accepted riage à la Mode,” in their beautifully by experienced sight and judgment as of carved frames, were bought from the great the brand and locality which before have painter for 110gs., and in forty.seven produced the most nourishing and deli- years they sold for £1381 ; and now, notcious food or the best wearing materials withstanding the verdict by a great critic, and finest fabrics for dresses. The mer- Chesneau, against Hogarth, what would chant has such respect for the knowledge they not fetch ? To come to later times— and judgment of his customers that he passing over, by the way, many other exfeels he would not be acting in his own traordinary examples of utter contempt of interest to purchase inferior articles, ex work in the beginning, which reflective cept at a lower price—for everything is years have estimated as among the most put to the test of use and cost and wear precious pearls in the nation's crown of by the first and second buyers, and thus glory, and also the wonderfully high apthe dealer would quickly destroy his repu- praisements of works which accorded with tation with the consumers were he to the taste of the passing day, and which select spurious or over-price goods. have since sunk in commercial value to no
This rule extends to weapons, to harness, more than the value of the frames—we to tools, and materials for practical work have one glaring example of the uncerof all kinds, and to building materials of tainty in the minds of picture merchants all descriptions, to all articles, in fact, of inore value to our argument, because it consumed by contemporaries ; but when puts France on the same level with Engwe come to works of Art we ought to ask land in this matter. It is the wide differtwice, at least, before we conclude that ence between the first and final valuation we are on equally safe ground with our by dealers of Millet's Angelus." This test, since we are confronted with one the painter offered in vain to successive very startling difference on the threshold of Parisian picture shops for £100, until he our inquiry : for we never heard of the first was compelled to accept about £75. It and the later opinion of the worth of any was brought to this country soon after, commodity of daily utility being appraised and refused by an amateur dealer at £200 ; so differently at first sight and afterward and in another ten years or so it was sold, (within a few years it may be) as we con after Millet's death, at £27,000. As stantly do of a work of Art. Within our further evidence of the uncertainty of own national experience there is in illus. dealers and buyers' judgment at first tration the case of our first landscape sight, let it be remembered that Turner's painter, Wilson, who, when in Rome, was bequest to the nation consists of pictures momentarily rescued from poverty by the which had been declined by the connoisgood-hearted championship of Vernet, the seurs, speculative or otherwise. In his Life seaport painter, who reproved the throng by Walter Thornbury, a contributor tells of English admirers and would-be patrons of Turner replying to a remark on some of his studio, of the fashionable class, for paintings standing in the passage of bis their disregard of their compatriot, whom house, which had recently been brought
in, “Yes, I send them to exhibitions, but that in contributions to Continental exhithey all come back again," and it is well bitions the works of Parisian inspiration known that bis exquisite painting of by foreign artists settled in London appear “Crossing the Brook” was refused by in quantity, and to these with official Engthe gentleman for whom it was painted at lishmen the grand prizes are always first the price of £300. Yet this work at an given. auction would now certainly bring more What has given ground for the prejuthan twenty times the original sum. dice is certainly the established indifferWith such facts before us we have to ask ence of the ruling classes to the claim that which judgment of the picture-dealers we British artists have honestly earned, that shall accept, the first or the second ? they might be allowed to work on a scale
In any investigation as to the ideals of deserving to be regarded as national. Art it is ever of the first importance to There is a difficulty in any practica! determine how far the taste of the day is artist taking upon himself to define what founded upon healthy study of the ques- is true in taste, since naturally it will be tion. I am not able to conclude that concluded he defending h own artists themselves, who ought to be cau choice and manner of work. In a degree tious as weil as broad-minded, have not, this must, indeed, be allowed for, but at and do not, come to opinions with but the worst it cannot be so misleading as small care for their future reputation for the ipse dixit of professors who never show judgment, for they have too often adopted you on what level their words describing the prejudices of the day without inquiry. the shore being explored are to be read, On the Continent the claims of England and whether they are standing on vessels to Art excellence have been but grudg- of good burthen, or are floating only on ingly acknowledged.
corks or feathers up and down the twistThere is a frieze on the Palais de ing currents of the bestained and much l'Industrie bearing the names of many polluted stream of passing life. The ideal great artists of the Continent, but among of Art in this day has to be eliminated all, as I am assured, there is not that of from a confusing jumble of misrepresentaone Englishman. To the concoctors of tion, which imagines the defiling flood as that list Hogarth, Reynolds, Gains- the crystal of the pure river it once was, borough, Romney (the three last wisely and which it should ever be. I do not singled out by the Duke of Marlborough claim more than that my work, such as it for some laudation), Wilson, Flaxman, is, ought to have enabled me to sift many Stothard, Wilkie, and Turner had worked hundreds of times iny first theories, and altogether in vain. Bavarian artists, to come to mature convictions which at again, seem to have encouraged a similar my start in life it would have been a blessprejudice, as any one may now see in the ing to me to have had demonstrated by an Pinacothek at Munich, for in a gallery elder of real experience. painted about 1836 to do honor to the Art I have no word of blame for the dealof the world, while, Italy, France, Spain, ers. Of course, they are not all of one Holland, and Germany hare representative grade in any respect. Some, indeed, men to stand for them, in the compart- within certain lines, acquire an indepenment devoted to England the figure of dent knowledge of Art, but their business, Sleeping Genius is portrayed, as he is just whatever they may feel privately, is to being aroused by a blast from the trumpet learn the taste of the day, and to adapt of Fame tingling in his startled ears. It their course to meet this. At times they is true that the Dome of St. Paul's make mistakes even from over-desire to Cathedral is in the background, but this be safe. You could not expect that any one is there to localize the scene rather than of them would declare his prime motive as a triumph of Art. I do not know that in his dealing Often-not altogether even now there is much advance on this falsely—he uses the protestation of intense point, although, indeed, about two years devotion to the interests of Art in the since in a letter from Berlin I observed a largest sense as a stalking horse for his questionably complimentary phrase to the nearest interests, but no sensible person effect that England was certainly now be. would take him seriously as a perfect ginning to develop a School of Art : a de- guide to the nation for reaching its highcision arrived at, perhaps, from the fact est pinnacle of glory. For an artist so to
adapt himself to the market is a prostitu- potentates have spent not only their own tion of all honest aims; it is the selling but also the public money in encouraging of his soul alive, and when the example is one dishonest quack after another, and it followed, believe me that Art is on the seems to have given them more joy when road to the grave. The corpse may be the impostor was a foreigner ; and thus fair and well decked out, but never more the public prejudice against native power will it be raised up from the bier. His has been increased. The fact is that our Grace has apportioned some well-deserved misfortune is in the general flippant estipraise to a few members of the English mate by the great of the importance of Art school, mixed with his strictures on to a country. The. Duke gives evidence of others. He will quickly see that the mer- this in the following sentence “We itorious are not of the number turning out may be, and no doubt are, in matter of of their way to catch the favor of the Empire, the Romans of modern Europe ; “shrewd Scotch and Americans' who but in Art and all that pertains to Art bny in obedience to the fashion of the teaching the French are the modern time. There are too many caterers to Athenians, and Paris is the modern spoilt children of fortune who pass for Athens.” He is perfectly unaffected with true artists. They have learned the trick any feeling that perhaps there is fault of the trade. They know all the stock somewhere outside the circles of workers sentiments. They offer the faded tints when he brings himself to decide that the and lines worn out and discarded by the country which made its sacrifices, and truly inspired, and they can delight in the showed its iron will under the leadership evidence of the ease, even, too, of the of his great ancestor, that Europe should perfection, with which they have done not be given back to Cæsarism (as it did their work. However they may display again in the great war against Napoleon), their well-drilled powers, their god is the inust now go down to posterity branded market, and to this they sacrifice, having as a set of warriors fighting for no great no fear of losing, and the largest reward object, that is, so far as any evidence in being offered ; but the end is not yet. beauty of design left for the New Zealander
To prepare at closer hand for the in. to see could save them from the slur, and vestigation of the true ideal in Art, we he never acknowledges the extreme immust consider the matter in a manner par- probability of such incapacity in a race allel to that which Socrates recommends which bas produced incontestably the about philosophy. If the whimsical and greatest poets the world has yet known. ignorant infant patients imagined by the Surely he must see the absurdity of such Athenian dialectician were asked for their a sweeping condemnation while the array favorite provider of food, would they of great masters England has produced in choose the physician whose experience the face of the indifference of the great made him a wise adviser for the training stand before all honest eyes, so that some of youth destined for great athletic even are quoted in his paper. What of achievements? They would rather, it is use the rich have done in Art bas mainly justly pointed out, choose the confectioner been to patronize portraiture. The result who would indulge them with sweetmeats in the highest examples has been so noble and pastry for their food, and demur that this alone has established the greatest loudly to the wholesome food which the aptitude of our race for the Art. What guardian of health would supply. There other modern country has come near to are surely but few among the rich back- the greatness of our portraitists of a cening the dealers who are beyond the stage tury since? In other branches of the purof these children. The stomach soon suit the workman has had to embrace consends retribution for folly in too great in- tinual poverty. Yet what Frenchman has dulgence in sweetmeats and other upwhole- painted a picture equal in living movement some dainties ; but where does the penalty to Wilkie's “Blindman's Buff," one in fall for transgressions of good judgment sweetness like Leslie's “Mother and in taste! Not on the culprits at all, but Babe"? Who has done one equal in only on the national Art, which many honest and dignified pathos to F. Walker's poor men are giving their lives to keep “Vale of Rest"? Or let it be asked, vigorous and to enlarge. It would not be what Turner have they had ? In one difficult to prove that often misdirected other interest than portraiture the rich here
way as to be
have also indulged their lust for painting. spectator sees the whole scene vividly as Sport with us is a kind of cult. Every any historic penetration could present it. kind of hunting has a poetic phase, and Every detail is accurate, costume, accessothe pastime should, and does, in many ries, and architecture ; every figure is in persons lead to the growth of a love of its right place and costume. I delight in Nature, yet in sporting pictures it is conning such a tableau over, and am grateastounding how rarely there was at first ful to the painter for a most useful piece anything but the baldest record of some of illustrative information, yet I look in details about the shape of a horse or other vain for the divine breath which animates animal when stretched in a position like a the living world. When the fact is of no butterfly, in a naturalist's case, pinned out historic or dramatic interest, with men to show his points. Landseer appealed to doing what amounts to nothing, or otherthis love of the chase more capably with wise the intention is to excite the latent Art ; he had a strong, if a sinister, poetic brute in man, it is ingenious and curious, strain in him, which at times reached but not edifying, either as Ait or as ingreat heights, but the productions of his formation. When no play is going on the most in favor were of scenes dwelling figures are only dead pawns off the board. upon the butcher-like side of the pursuit. Constable is thought by many French Hounds tearing poor deer to their death, painters to have been a compatriot ; so enand terriers digging their teeth into rab- tirely, since he was honored by their predbits or hares, or stags standing in such a ecessors in 1820, have they followed him,
a good shot” for a sports- not in spirit, but in manner. He had not man-for a whole generation these were a mind of the greatest range ; his was an regarded by the rich as the noblest pro- instrument with no high notes, but it was ductions of the English school, and I think in direct resonance to Nature's lightest they did much to lower the conception of touch. His French followers, as all folthe purpose of painting and design ; per- lowers do, find their admirers waiting. haps, too, they led to the very sudden They accept given patterns to copy more rush of prejudice for Continental Art as proudly than our painters of name do. A found in Rosa Bonheur, who had not any theme once found acceptable is repeated spark of the English painter's poetry, who like a lesson. A moonlight under clouds, could not draw form so well, but who with the herding of sheep or cattle, was never descended to the vulgarity which first etched divinely in two or three forms frequently marred our animal painters' by our own Palmer. Then it was too new conceptions.
to be understood. Now it is welcomed as The tide, once having set in, flows on is a thrice-told tale by the dull. I have with a constantly increasing rush, so that often read that among French landscape now I am not exaggerating in saying that painters there are charms in the realism of Englishunen are being driven from the pos- this painter, or in the sentiment of another ; sibility of continuing this profession. If but I find the first too self-asserting. the judgment is right which says that There are none of Nature's surprises. She foreigners are our superiors, then our race has been tained and trained to serve the must bear a stigma of incompetence in school ; and the second bears reminiscence one point, which is a great reversal of the of previous favorite effects. Troyon is a judgment on its first efforts.
manufacturer of metallically cver-colored What is this French Art with which in foliage to give effect to some white the matter of design Europe is now to be patched cows. Israels is a man with one Caesarized! I have no lack of interest and good undertaker's stock in trade, without admiration for it on its own ground in its any eye for the world but what is funereal. highest examples. It is an expression, as In any case, there is no painting in the all Art should be, of the nature of the sense that the work of Titian, Rembrandt, race. We see the same spirit in its litera- De Hoogh, Reynolds, and Turner is paintture and on the stage. The situation is ing ; there is no joy of thankfulness in the object of aspiration. Figure-painting spirit, and no subtilty and profundity of is used as the means of representing a dra- variety in the handling and the treatment matic situation ; every point is made the of ocular impressions. There is not an most of for the case. A fact in history is example of what truly constitutes the artis. chosen, it may be by a master mind; the tic stamp, the presence of human expres
sion and tenderness, which makes the spec- to Paris and lose all the character of the tator forget everything but a thrill of divine common race by their training in delove passing through him in tacitly ac- nationalizing mannerism. The Chinese knowledging a new appeal to his heart. soldier, after the storming of the Tekoa When you have looked your best at forts by the English, gave as his reason Gerôme's gladiators, do you feel that you for the hasty flight of the defenders, “No have singled out one of the victims to won- two people stand in one place ; you come, der abont, as Byron did of the Dying we go." However righteous and valiant Gladiator, as to his distant home and loved an army may be, there is no resistance ones ? The merit of French work com- possible after betrayal. mends itself greatly to the literary mind, The ideals of Art are best shown by and so all our Press praise it to the skies. example. Men write about the matter too The detail of Meissonier's work they can much without showing what they really peer into and estimate ; it is too perfect mean, and so they darken counsel with for human eyes. You need a magnifying words, like the celebrated critic Ruskin reglass to see its fullest beauty, but the fers to, who, praising a landscape with strongest lens will bring you no nearer to quadrupeds in it, to justify their particular the true artist's limitations. In other shape said they were not exactly sheep, cases the French advocates take palpable nor cows, nor horses, but animals, as they dabs, all of one shape and size, with un- should be. I have ventured to refer to disguised paint as a sign of masterliness in the Duke of Marlborough's article because the school that indulges in dash. As well it so frankly and typically states his case might the meaningless scribbling of chil- that there could be no hesitation in the dren, done in imitation of the hasty writ- conclusion that he would be glad to have ing of parents, be regarded as a sign of it as freely examined. accomplishment. I know that in writing The true ideal of Art is the outcome of thus broadly there is some injustice done a spirit of love and reverence for Nature. to many modest masters of France. One It must be inexhaustible in its illustration painting by Jules Breton of “Les Mois- of the variety and perfection of life and sopeurs” is really great, poetically and the world. Walt Whitman somewhat artistically. I pass by some others that amusingly speaks of the true poet as being deserve commendation, but then how many part of everything of vital force he meets I avoid to cite that could only be mentioned with in his walks. He is just, for the poet with execration. Yes ! honest eyes, in- must sympathize with all the earth, not deed, there are in France who look with like the passer-by, but as being part of perfect bewilderment upon the rage among himself, and he must give what his suryoung men of England to turn from the roundings have taught him, as his own individualism of their predecessors and the eyes show them, and as they affect the exquisite taste for human beauty in English nature which with his fellows he inherits work, to acquire instead the trade of paint- from his ancestors. Every great Art so ing as it is taught in Paris. But the con- far has been strictly national. It is by mon critics, playing into the hands of honest emulation among different races French and Frenchified picture-dealers, are that progress and culture is obtained, and responsible, who have so cried up the the fact forms a great reason against Croûtes as to take away the fair chance of Cæsarism in thought and invention, any English painter getting a living with Every race is diverse in its nature, and the competition from abroad, unless be in each can only truly express its own. some way will adopt the style. For this There are outside of this line large prinis a fact that is too much ignored, there is ciples common to the aim of all nations. not demand enough in England for Art These are to be studied by the serious as for her own sons ; not now even to keep of universal value, and the want of them the disappointed among foreigners from must be condemned because no great Art taxing the funds of the Benevolent So- has been destitute of them. If Art deals ciety ; and many most capable English with the misfortunes and wickednesses of artists are driven from the opportunity of the human race, it must do so to illustrate continuing their profession by the inroad the irrepressibleness of the soul of good of foreigners, among whom Americans fighting against evil, not as though it would not be classed did they not first go gloated over the vice. It may be humorous