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greens, and the varied blues of the distant
It is on such days as these that one most appreciates the bracing, crystalline air, the bold, vigorous colors, the sharp outlines that have, I fear, come to be identified far too rigidly with this island.
For there is another side to the story. Mount Desert is not pure Norway: it is Norway and Italy combined. Days Days come when the atmosphere, in the words of a landscape-painter who knows it well, "has infinite color and softness-has a spongy and velvety feeling to your fingers." (Often it is quite too spongy and velvety, for the island is notorious for its fogs.) Marion Crawford was sadly mistaken. There is atmosphere at Mount Desert; only one must watch and be patient. As for me, I prefer my landscape not fully revealed in a brilliant light, but slightly veiled in a film of suggestion, where more is meant than meets the eye. And it was an experience worth months of waiting to stand on the summit of Sargent one September afternoon, breathing in the ozone of Scandinavia and feasting my eyes on a vision filled with the dreamy poetry of the South.
I have never seen from any high place in the Old World a sight comparable in its melting beauty to that first view. The hard, bold Northern landscape had needed
merely an hour of mellow sunlight and a little soft haze to become tender, mystical, almost Mediterranean in quality. Northeastward the Burnt Bubble cut into the irregular blue-gray of Eagle Lake. Above it the spurs of Green Mountain disclosed the pale lavender of the yacht-studded sea beyond Bar Harbor and little Bald Porcupine Island, decently covered with a wig of woolly cloud. On the far mainland gleamed scattered white settlements, magnified in the uncertain atmosphere into strange, far-off cities of another clime. And behind them rose, in a bulwark, the mysterious mainland peaks.
There was something inexpressibly appealing in such a gracious mood of this austere land of the Desert mountains. But as the eye ranged north and west over the groups of islands at the head of Somes Sound, the scene became by imperceptible degrees bolder and more brilliant, until at length the western sun, striking the waters of the sound into a sheet of burnished steel, lowered its light gradually in Echo Lake and Long Lake, until it turned to reddish gold far out upon the waters of Blue Hill Bay. And immediately to the south this vision of panoplied splendor was presided over by mountains rising tier upon tier, their loftiest peak waving a banner of smoky cloud, like some benign Vesuvius of the New World.
GOLF-LINKS AT BAR HARBOR
RECOLLECTIONS OF MILLET
BY CHARLES JACQUE
BECAUSE of his wide popularity as painter and etcher, any reference to Charles Jacque in the capacity of artist is unnecessary. That he was a very keen and successful business man is, however, not generally known. He turned money out of everything he touched, and he engaged in almost every sort of enterprise connected with art. He was a master of the commercial intricacies of picture-selling, gaining advantage in this way to the day of his death, even preparing for his after-death sale.
He went to Barbison in 1849 with Millet, who loaned him half the money received in advance for a picture. No sooner was he there than he began to buy and speculate in houses and land, and with such success that he tried to "run" the hamlet. He introduced the culture of asparagus, since become of much value to its inhabitants. He was also one of the first to publish a book on the history of the hen from the egg to maturity. This book he thoroughly and excellently illustrated with his own drawings. He painted and etched, and manufactured old furniture, all with success. But his energy was too disturbing for the inhabitants of the hamlet, and they determined to get rid of him, and, as he said, "They did." He kept his breeds of hens in separate yards, divided by picket fences, and when he went to Paris, his enemies made holes in the fences, so that the fowls could run together, thus destroying all certainty of purity of blood. This was one of the many means employed. Jacque thoroughly enjoyed relating his long and varied experiences and his recollections of Millet as well as of many other artists. His memory was a crowded storehouse of personal and general art history. At the time of our interviews he was seventy-eight years of age, had stopped painting, and was preparing for his after-death sale. As will be seen, he spoke with almost brutal frankness of himself, as he did of others. He was most contemptuous of picture-buyers generally, and concerning writers on art and art organizations he was quite as bitter. He was a very agreeable man to meet, an attractive talker. He had, he said, "got rid of illusions; life is like a caricature.". TRUMAN H. BARTLETT.
[ILLET was so self-conscious and sensitive that he thought every one was looking at and thinking of him. As one of many instances, take the incident where he happened to hear a thoughtless passer-by say that he painted only the nude, and see how much he and others have made of it. No healthy mind would have paid the slightest attention to the remark, but he must run home and make a scene of domestic misery with Mrs. Millet. And Sensier dwells on this trivial incident as a vital turning-point in the painter's life.
Millet need not have been ashamed of painting the nude, for he has done it as has no other modern artist, and as no one is likely to do until another like him comes, perhaps in the next century. I say this because eyes that can really see the nude
form, can really divine its peculiar character, come only about once in a century. It is only a great master who can see the subtle movement of the nude, see that the human figure is never still, though it appears so to the common artist. Millet's nudes are among the very best things he ever made, and what has become of them is one of the mysteries of art commerce, for very rarely is one seen in public sales. I say they are among the best, because to make a good nude is the very greatest thing in art, and Millet had an immense sense of the nude; he saw right through a living figure. His nude work seems to be more spontaneous in many respects than almost anything else he ever did, though, as a matter of construction, all of his figures are dominated by this sense, no matter how thick and rude were the garments
covering them. This surpassing merit of Millet's work is almost entirely overlooked, though it is a basic quality of the utmost importance. It explains somewhat why he simplified costume, why he kept close to what is fundamental, the human form itself. I have often wondered if the spur of necessity-need of bread—had not something to do with the freshness and living character of these little affairs. If Millet had devoted himself to the nude simply and solely as an expression of art in its highest phase, he would have been not only the greatest artist of his time, but his fame would have escaped the vulgar notoriety which the ignorant public has attached to it-that of a peasant painter.
Millet's work is occasionally heavy or labored, cottony in execution, too austere in many ways. He needed more joy, less of Norman sanctitude. Yet, as it was, he cut a wide swath. Corot was all joy. I said that Millet's sense of the nude was immense, since it is the embodiment of unconsciousness, the sum of congruity in pose, movement, and action. Many of his best figures are quiet, except the first "Sower." That picture is a symbol of his declaration of the supremacy of the individual, the right of himself. In it he burst all bonds. Restraint was thrown to the winds. It was a pearl thrown to swine. It went to the color-dealer to pay for paints, was kicked about and sneered at in his shop for years, and finally bought by an American from Boston. Occurrences of this kind happen every day in Paris. I used to sell for francs pictures and prints such as I now get thousands for. In some of Millet's early work, like "The Hay-Binders," there was an extreme of action,-too much for the actual need, but in another picture of some men sawing a fallen log there was really a demoniac purpose shown, in perfect keeping with the subject. That picture, "WoodSawyers," is a masterpiece in every respect. Enough of itself to insure fame, like many others, it was buried in some private collection or stowed away in the back room of a patient and wise picturedealer. Soon after these works were made, there was less action, then a repose that was silence itself. In the "Woman Sewing" you can hear a pin drop.
After all, what I think should be spe
cially emphasized in a study of Millet is his sense, knowledge, and comprehension of the human figure as the basis of his greatest accomplishment. Note that his best things, however clothed, are in deep reality nudes standing or sitting. All this is of much greater importance than any attention to mere detail. Millet had a surpassing impression of the large aspect of things, of their just combination to make a whole, either of landscape or figures; and he could carry his impressions a long way. In this he was really great. There are few who can do this, and it is a quality never seen by most people. Not one critic in a hundred knows what it is. Millet was just as sensitive of these qualities as he was of haphazard events or mere incidents. Men of this stamp are not born for peace.
Millet was an out-of-door man, a piece of nature, and city life, as it is generally lived, was not for him. The fields were his home, and he found it in Barbison. Everything there was wild-rudely soand barbarous. The place itself was hidden in trees and bushes; we had much difficulty in finding it when we sought it from Fontainebleau through the forest. Outside of the life he found there he floundered like a fish out of water. He would have gone to Barbison despite the nude incident, for I had heard of the place when I was a soldier in Fontainebleau, and we had constantly talked the matter over long before we left Paris. Everything about Millet was antagonistic to the cheap and hypocritical ways of the world, and suffering was as inevitable as fate. One can see this in his work, and in it is the place to look for him. He ought to have had a quiet life, instead of a turbulent one.
At heart, as a man, Millet was sympathetic, and he desired sympathy from the very few who could understand his aim; but he was brought up by a Jesuit who was himself under a ban, and he acquired a shy, uncertain, and secretive manner toward others from which he never became wholly free. Such a bringing-up would spoil a saint as well as a pig. He was a Norman, and that race has always been notorious for bickering and lawsuits. He was a difficult man to get along with. He was an intelligent man and a great artist - much greater than I. He had a fearful time in Barbison for the first few years;