Puslapio vaizdai

should support his family, than that he themselves the privilege of reading his should attain to—or preserve—distinc- work. But if a man be sensitive to this tion in the arts. But if the pressure wild praise, we must suppose him equally comes through his own fault, he has alive to that which often accompanies stolen, and stolen under trust, and stolen and always follows it—wild ridicule. A (which is the worst of all) in such a way man may have done well for years, and that no law can reach him.

then he may fail; he will hear of his And now you may perhaps ask me, if failure. Or he may have done well the debutant artist is to have no thought for years, and still do well, but the of money, and if (as is implied) he is to critics may have tired of praising him, expect no honors from the State, he

or there

may have sprung up some new may not at least look forward to the de- idol of the instant, some “dust a little lights of popularity? Praise, you will gilt,” to whom they now prefer to offer tell me, is a savory dish. And in so sacrifice. I will be very bold and take a far as you may mean the countenance modern instance. A little while


the of other artists, you would put your name of Mr. Howells was in every paper finger on one of the most essential and coupled with just laudations. And now enduring pleasures of the career of art. it is the pleasure of the same journalBut in so far as you should have an eye ists to pursue him daily with ineffective to the commendations of the public or quips. Here is the obverse and the rethe notice of the


be sure

verse of that empty and ugly thing called you would but be cherishing a dream. popularity. Will any man suppose it It is true that in certain esoteric jour- worth the gaining ? Must not any man nals the author (for instance) is duly perceive that the reward of Mr. Howells criticised, and that he is often praised lies in the practice of his fine and solid a great deal more than he deserves, art, not in the perusal of paragraphs sometimes for qualities which he prided which are conceived in a spirit to-day himself on eschewing, and sometimes by of ignorant worship, and to-morrow of ladies and gentlemen who have denied stupid injustice ?


By Will H. Low.

I am glad that in the eager questioning For this reason, my ideas, which in some which naturally precedes a decision that respects differ from those of your friend, may fashion your life for good or for ill, may be of value to you ; and as he has you have chosen to acquaint me with taken the career with which he is most your friend's letter of advice, and that familiar, and speaks from the stand-point you ask me to add to it what my ex- of the author, I, from the same motive, perience may suggest. On a subject so will take that of the painter. momentous the homely old adage that The artist remains to-day almost alone, “Two heads are better than one,” is the embodiment of an idea. The warpeculiarly applicable ; for in the practice rior, except upon some miserable quesof his art (and independently of success tion of territory, stands idle. The priest or failure) the artist gains an insight no longer leads a crusade, or by fastthat is largely personal, and the dreariest ing and vigorous penance, serves as a and least applauded of the vieux saltim- beacon-light for weary seekers after banques has yet his point of vantage truth. Kings govern by consent of a from which to spy into the fair gardens parliament largely elected from the comof the Palace of Art. The view may be mon people; and “noble lords of high obscured, the horizon hazy ; but still it degree" become farmers and ranchmen, is from his own point of view that he confounding themselves with the averbeholds the wonders within, of which age man. The artist, who has coexisted he will descant with infinite satisfaction with all of these in the heyday of their to himself, with possible profit to others. prosperity, alone remains ; and now,

as in the late instance of Mr. Besant, by the like. Charming pictures they are, the power of his imagination brings full of color and of great truth of into existence the People's Palace; or movement, but if Millet had never prolike Wagner, holds the civilized people duced aught else he would never have of the world in his power, subjugating been facile princeps, the first of modern some, alienating others, but interesting painters. He was past his thirty-fifth all ; or like Millet shows us for the first year when chance -or shall we call it time, the man of the fields, and with Fate—took him to Barbizon, where he consummate art, the enveloping atmos- saw clearly for the first time his life phere, the light and air of the open work, and gave us in rapid succession country. His task is more difficult, he the Gleaners, the Grafting (with its no longer carols in the gardens of Loren- Madonna-like mother) and the Angezo the Magnificent, but serves a hydra- lus, to name a few among many masterheaded master who in this work-a-day pieces. It is to repeat a story already world, intent on material gain, too often told to refer to his lack of success at turns from him to listen to the more first ; but in trying to do what he could enchanting music of the stock telegraph. best do—in “living up to the level of

But if his task be harder the career his best thought”—he ended by subjuis more noble. The artist of to-day, gating his bourgeois. independent of the sovereign pleasure That the success came too late, that of some petty prince, carries a message this son of joy ate to the end the bitof beauty and truth to all comers ; the ter bread of Poverty and died in the Louvre has ceased to be a lounging early morning of his fame and fortune, place for the jaded courtier ; and the was an accident, from which I pray

that South Kensington Museum brings a you may be preserved; but to you, as greater concourse of worshippers to to your friend or to myself, the same the shrine of Michael Angelo and Do- privilege is offered as to Millet—the life natello than came to them in their life- that you will lead will be its own suffitime. Nor is it so necessary to consult cient reward. the good pleasure of the bourgeois as I would not, however, for a moment your friend would have you believe ; think of urging you to consider your art for voyez-vous, you might in the re- before the duties common to us all. search of the particular quality in de- There I may safely send you back to mand wear yourself to the bone, and what your friend has said so well. You yet, though happily endowed, fail to must at the risk of losing your talent (if attain your object. Of far more im- it be so weak) fulfil your duty as a citizen portance, it seems to me, is to know before you have the right to consider yourself, to question your aptitudes, to your Art. There are many ways of dodo what you can do the best; and being this within the limits of your techsure, if it be worth the doing, your hy- nical acquirements. Ilustration, reprodra-headed bourgeois will turn one of ductive etching, and teaching of drawhis heads and smile approvingly on you, ing and painting, are among the many Corot, though every other eye is fixed branching paths along which you may and every other mouth gapes admira- gather sustenance; but the graphic arts tion on-shall we say Frith? If it be demand such a technical equipment, that worth doing ?-the question which your apart from employments directly confriend says, and says most truly, you nected with them I would not advise the must never ask yourself—it must decide artist to venture. I have heard of bank itself; and lest I should confuse you let clerks producing creditable water-color me call to your mind the history of sketches in their spare moments, and Jean François Millet.

there is at this time in Paris a landscape You have seen undoubtedly examples painter of considerable eminence who of the early manner of this painter,– has earned his living as a professor of mostly nude figures of nymphs, gener- mathematics, but such cases are rare, ally employed, after the engaging habit and work of a kind akin to your art, of the wood-nymph, in bathing, in ar- which strengthens your métier while it ranging the hair, in disarming Cupid, or gains your bread, is preferable.

And now supposing that the die is more plausible ; and who knows but what cast and that you are fairly embarked on this side of the Atlantic, with the most in your career as a painter, let me exhort of our history yet to be made, some unyou to paint for your art in the noblest born painter, sculptor, or author may and highest sense that you can conceive. in that future keep alive the memory of If you are among the fortunate few who the captains now living or lately dead, by doing their best work can yet find for whom to-day no meed of praise is favor with the general public, so much great enough and before whom no comthe better; but if, as is but too probable, parison dares lift its head. your most serious work remains unsold, then turn cheerfully to your breadwin All passes,--Art alone ner. You can design honest wall-paper

Enduring stays to us;' and count with some certainty on do

The Bust out-lasts the throne

The Coin Tiberius." ing a given amount which has a market price; you will be honest in reproducing even a poor picture with your etching

Here, in the midst of my supposititious needle; you can draw honest illustra- case, and my perplexity in the practice tions where the subject and even the of an unfamiliar art, there comes to me a manner of treatment is imposed upon document having such a bearing on this you. You can teach honestly. But you old question that I cannot forbear from cannot paint honest pictures if in their translating it. It is a letter addressed production you relent for a moment to an unknown aspirant for artistic honfrom an unflinching effort to do your ors, from the late André Gill, the wellbest. Surely it is better to remain out- known caricaturist, who during the last side the ranks, than to join in creating days of the Second Empire and the much that cumbers our exhibitions with troublous times following the establishalleged works of art where this ques- ment of the Republic did most excellent tion of artistic honesty is evaded-poor work. Few who were in Paris during filles de joie indeed, perhaps the more these years can have forgotten the tellto be pitied when their wares are pur- ing broadsides of the Eclipse and La chased.

Lune Rousse which bore his signature. It is this faltering in the path of rec- The original of the letter can be found titude that belittles the artist, and in the Paris Figaro bearing the date of breeds the belief that his career is the 12th May, 1888. less noble than that of the soldier. Certainly it would be hazardous to state,

89 rue Denfert-Rochereau. impossible to find belief, that any artist

30th August, could be the peer of a successful general You are twenty-two years

of age

and if we were to seek confirmation of our be- you have a good position; your future lief at a period when the memory of the is assured. Let me beg of you not to soldier's deeds is yet alive. But only abandon this reality which you hold for last year Padua saw a strange sight. It a chimerical idea difficult of attainment, was grande festa in that city and on and in nearly every case deceptive. I the piazza di San Antonio enthusiastic am forty. From my childhood I have groups clustered around the equestrian loved art and since my school day have statue of the General Erasmo Gatta- followed it with unrelenting ardor. I melata, which was the centre of the cele- have suffered for it hunger and humiliabration. In honor of the general ?—Not tion; I have been forced a hundred at all, brave general though he was un- times to deviate from my chosen path doubtedly in his day, and commemorated and practise inferior branches of my with a statue by a master of his craft, one profession. And it has only been at Donatello, in whose honor on the fourth rare intervals and for brief periods that centenary of his birth all Padua, all I have been permitted to return to the Florence, and a good part of Italy was pursuit of my ideal. It is barely six agog with excitement. Shakespeare years since my pictures have been acagainst Wellington, Molière for Napo- cepted in the Salon and at the price léon, seem on the face of the proposition of what sacrifices! And if chance has

[ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

And the UNITED STATES MUTUAL ACCIDENT ASSOCIATION, 320, 322, and 324 Broadway, gives the best protection against them.

[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« AnkstesnisTęsti »