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ON READING WILLLIAM WATSON'S Sonnets entitled «THE PURPLE EAST » .. Thomas Bailey Aldrich ........... 374

PROVENCE. See « Winter.»>


.L. Frank Tooker.


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MAY, 1896.

No. 1.


BROUGHT face to face with nature, every

painter meets a problem which bears with unrelenting force upon the development of his art. Shall he sacrifice himself to nature and give her the first place in his work, or bid her wait upon the expression of his temperament? Obviously the perfect solution lies in a compromise, but it requires a man of genius to hold the balance true. It is impossible to think of Diaz without thinking of Ziem and Monticelli, the three forming a group of enthusiastic colorists by whom a certain taste for caprice and dream was cultivated in common. But in the long run Diaz detached himself from these men and fell into line with the painters of Fontainebleau. The safest basis for a study of his work is one on which the familiar hypothesis of a fantastic and headstrong colorist is abandoned, and a sincere student of nature is recognized without reserve. There is no man in French art more genuine than Diaz, more sane, more superior to mere impulse and self-will. Sorrow enriched his nature, and made him, above all things, strong.

His troubles began with his birth. He came of a Spanish family, but his mother was an exile in Bordeaux when he was born there on August 20, 1807, and his father was excluded from both Spain and France because of some political mischances in which he had become involved. In his tenth year the boy was left an orphan in possession of a fine, impressive

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otherwise without a single resource. It took him years to win position, recognition, substantial comfort; but they came at last, chiefly through his affiliation with the Barbizon school and through his admiration for Rousseau. The latter became his inspiration, after nature herself, and taught him muchso much that, as the different elements in the naturalistic and romantic movement of 1830 fused and produced a school, Diaz found himself permanently one of its pillars. He improved rapidly under the sympathetic companionship of Rousseau. He was a lesser man than the latter, but he had the same serious spirit, the same spiritualized, clairvoyant feeling for the great forest in which Corot, Millet, Rousseau, and he found their material, and he made himself a lofty place. But the fight had been hard, and all through his life there ran a strenuous vein, as though this were a man who had conquered fortune through pain. Up to the day of his death at Mentone in 1876 there clung to him the atmosphere of a rugged, storm-tossed struggler. Albert Wolff, to whom we owe the most picturesque and interesting of the descriptions of Diaz as he lived and talked, says that in the recital of his past trials «he had the appearance of an old soldier telling the dangerous adventures of his fights.»

name, - Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Peña, but

All this is in anything but agreement with the debonair and careless mood that we genCopyright, 1896, by THE CENTURY Co. All rights reserved.

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