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AMERICAN ARTIST SERIES.
CARL MARR, J. H. DOLPH, AND HERBERT ADAMS.
"THE FLAGELLANTS," BY CARL MARR. ERHAPS no picture was ever placed with better effect than Carl Marr's "The Flagellants" in the Munich Exhibition of 1889. Entering the building from the street, one passed through a vestibule which by the aid of Eastern rugs and other textiles had been converted into a mass of soft, richly subdued harmonies. From the vestibule one entered a room whose screened skylight diffused a twilight effect on groups of palms and other exotics. From this dimly lighted apartment a door perhaps eight or ten feet wide gave entrance to the picture-galleries, and on the wall opposite, filling the entire opening of the doorway, was the picture. The contrast of the well-lighted gallery with the subdued light through which one had to pass, the fact that "The Flagellants" was not only the first to catch the eye, but the only picture that could be seen until one had advanced some distance into the antechamber, together with the light key of the picture, gave the effect of looking out of a window on the self-tortured, VOL. XLIV.-14–15.
fanatical wretches who, scourge in hand, led by the hermit Rainier, overran Italy in the thirteenth century. So strong was the illusion, so intensified by the picture's realism, that it required only a slight exaltation of the senses to hear the hiss of the scourge as it fell on the lacerated and bleeding back of the devotee, the praying, the groaning, and the weeping. It was certainly no small honor to the picture to place it thus in an exhibition which represented not only the best of German, but also much of the best of French, art. But it was, together with the gold medal awarded the painting, an honor which was well deserved. An excellent composition containing over two hundred figures, all well drawn; a story requiring much historical research, well told, although not without some warrantable artistic license; stirring and dramatic action without a suggestion of the stage; the whole, if not vigorously, at least well painted-the artist had produced in this work a picture which in its technical qualities easily took rank with the average in the exhibition, and in its quality of invention stood almost alone.
At the date of this exhibition Carl Marr was thirty years of age. Early in his teens he had
gladly left school to learn wood-engraving in his father's office, for a serious defect in his hearing had made him a lonely boy and a dull scholar. His father seems to have early recognized that the lad was cut out for an artist, and, when he was eighteen, sent him to Germany to study. After spending a year at Weimar, he went to Berlin to work under Professor Gusson; from Berlin he went to Munich, where he became a pupil of Seitz, and, later, of Gabriel Max. While with the last named he painted the "Mystery of Life," one of his two pictures now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In 1880, considering himself fairly equipped, he returned to his native town, Milwaukee, with this picture as the key to unlock the door of the temple of fame. A very few months disillusioned him. Nobody wanted the picture. There was no resource for him in engraving, and had it not been for his ability as a pianist, his career, artistic and other, would in all probability have come to an end at that time. At the expiration of eighteen months of precarious existence he secured from Boston and New York publishers enough illustrating to enable him, by careful economy, after five months, once more accompanied by the "Mystery of Life," to cross the ocean. Soon after his return to Munich he painted his "Episode of 1813," and with it scored his first success, the picture being purchased by the (German) Society of Historical Art. In 1885 he began work on "The Flagellants," and finished it in 1889. It won a gold medal. One year later he produced" 1806 in Germany," now in the Royal Gallery at Königsberg, and for which he was awarded by the Royal Academy of Berlin another gold medal. As was to be expected from the influence of the masters under whom he has studied, Carl Marr's work is intellectual, serious, and thoughtful. His pictures are the work of a faithful and diligent student, of one who takes life seriously. His work, which possesses imagination and invention, excellent drawing, composition, construction, and masterful story-telling, has fairly won for him the recognition he has received.
"AN AFTER-DINNER NAP," BY J. H. DOLPH. CARL MARR has been more fortunate in his environment than has J. H. Dolph. He also, while a mere boy, made his hands minister to his necessities in a field other than that of fine art. Born in 1835 on a farm in the interior of New York State, by the death of his parents he was left to shift for himself when only ten years of age. From that time until he went abroad in 1870 he had a very varied experience: at first as a painter of ornamental cards, later as a scene-painter, and, in a very broad sense, as
a marine painter also, for he is fond of telling that on one occasion he painted on the stern of a schooner a composition, "Agriculture and Commerce," that was nearly thirty feet wide.
By 1860 he had made a reputation as a painter of easel-pictures, and in 1870 had saved enough money to pay for a course of study abroad. He entered in Antwerp the studio of an animal-painter of some celebrity, Louis Van Kuyck, where he worked for two years, and then returned to America. His is also a story of disappointment upon his return home. His penchant was for scenes of country life, the barn-yard, the country blacksmith shop, etc. These subjects he painted well, but the public would not buy them. When his resources were almost exhausted, a picture of a kitten, a studio pet, found a ready purchaser at a fair price, and from that time his success in this genre has been such that he rarely paints any other class of subject, and the knowledge that he is a good portrait- and figure-painter is confined almost to his brother artists and intimates. It is hardly to be wondered at that Mr. Dolph should be kept painting puppies and kittens, he paints them so well, as is shown in his picture on page 64; his knowledge of their construction, of their action, of their ways is so intimate; there is so much "cattiness" in his cats, that one must like them.
PORTRAIT BUST, BY HERBERT ADAMS.
It seems necessary in art to discriminate between the imaginative and the inventive, between the poetical and the tentative. An artwork may possess much invention, and yet lack imagination; may possess this latter quality, and yet no invention. Thus a work by Watts possesses imagination; one by Doré, invention. Many a so-called poetic work is poetic simply because the power to execute is lacking. The thought that projected the work may have been commonplace and literal enough, but the lack of technical ability on the part of the worker left it vague and illusive. The thought that inspired Watts's "Love and Death" was poetic. The execution embodied the thought. The thought was a dream. Had the execution been bold and vigorous, the vigor of the technic would have robbed the dream of its poetry.
Mr. Herbert Adams seems to understand these distinctions, and to have combined happily the imaginative, inventive, and technical in the marble a reproduction of which is printed on page 121. This bust is quite in the spirit of the Renaissance, and yet is thoroughly modern. There is such a sweet, womanly, simple grace in it; such a real unreality; such thoroughly good modeling and construction, with a conscious letting go of convention when the strength of
[THE death of Herman Melville, which took place in New York soon after midnight on the morning of September 28, 1891, was the signal for an outpouring of articles on the life and writings of an author whose vogue had temporarily subsided, partly through his own self-seclusion. Melville has rightly been called the pioneer of South Sea romance, and his "Typee " and "Omoo" gained an international reputation at an earlier date than the writings of Lowell, although both authors were born in the same year-1819. These books, with "Moby-Dick; or, the White Whale," soon became classics of American literature, and are likely to remain such. They have been continuously in print in England, and new American editions are now in course of publication. Melville's art of casting a glamour over scenes and incidents in the South Pacific, witnessed and experienced by himself, has not been exceeded even by Pierre Loti. The Civil War first turned his attention to lyrical writing, and many of his "Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War" (1866) obtained a wide circulation. Near the close of his life he had printed for private distribution a few copies of two little books of miscellaneous poems, the last fruit off an old tree, entitled "John Marr and Other Sailors" and "Timoleon." From these volumes the following pieces have been selected.