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ers, chiefly railroad advertisements, having a quality of their own, a national note, perhaps best to be characterized as a broad richness of color not unlike that to which we are accustomed in Roman scarfs and Bellagio rugs. In the brilliancy of some of these posters I thought I detected the influence of the little group of Hispano-Roman painters; and I noted also the decorative methods of the lithographic designers who have devised the showy but not inartistic covers for the sheet-music issued by the Milanese publisher, Signor Ricordi. M. Maindron declares that Signor Simonetti, the water-colorist, is to be credited with the elaborate posters announcing the Exposition of Turin some six or seven years ago. Something of this Italian richness is to be found in Spanish bull-fight advertisements.
As to contemporary German work, M. Maindron is silent, as becomes a patriotic Frenchman; but there is little in contemporary German art which should give a patriotic Frenchman a thrill of envy. I have seen no German posters which compare with the finer French work, nor any which have the brio and swing of some of the Italian. For the most part the German posters are hard and dull; even when they are learned and scholarly, they are academic and frigid. In the single-sheet bill advertising an exhibition of fans at Karlsruhe in the summer of 1891, there was an ingenious combination of red and black; and a poster made for the Munich exhibition of the same summer, and representing a stately winged figure of Art advancing solemnly in a chariot drawn by two stalwart steeds, was not without a certain twilight harmony of tone.
ous tints; but its emblematic decoration is too ingeniously combined to allow me to pass it over in silence. Even this is less characteristic than his "Librairie Romantique," done in the very spirit of 1830. And it is M. Grasset's stained-glass manner which M. Carloz Schwabe has imitated in his "Salon Rose Croix."
Any one who spends even twenty-four hours in Italy-as it was my good fortune to do a year ago-must observe not a few Italian postVOL. XLIV.-98.
British art is as lifeless as Teutonic; the triviality of most of it, and its dominant note of domesticity, are to be observed also in its posters, which are devoted chiefly to things to eat, and to
things to drink, and to things for household use. The brutal vulgarity of a London railway terminus, foul with smoke, is emphasized by the offensive harshness of the posters stuck upon its walls, with no sense of fitness and no attempt at arrangement. Bariolé and criard are the epithets a French art-critic would inevitably apply to the most of these advertising placards. Oddly enough, the poster is still outside the current of decorative endeavor which has given us the Morris wall-papers, the Doulton tiles, the Walter Crane book-covers, and the Cobden Sanderson bindings. So it happens that one sees in Great Britain but little mural decoration of this sort which is not painfully unpleasant. Even when the advertiser seems to have taken thought and spent money, his effort is misdirected more often than not. Thus a firm of soap-makers has plastered up all over London, and in a printed gilt frame, an elaborate chromolithographic facsimile of an oil-painting by Sir John Millais,called "Bubbles," of which the merits, such as they are, are purely pictorial and in no wise decorative. As a great price was paid for the painting, and as the reproduction was obviously costly, attention was no doubt attracted to the soap-makers, and so the purpose of the advertisement was attained; but no artistic interest was subserved. The same firm of advertisers was far better advised when it procured from Mr. H. Stacy Marks a single black-and-white sketch showing two monks washing themselves with the soap to which attention was to be attracted. Thus it is in Great Britain, in matters of art, good work is ever sporadic. There is no healthy organization and no steady development in England as there is in France; individual posters may be commonplace or distinguished or ugly, as luck will have it; and one suspects that public opinion rather resents than welcomes the stronger effort.
Besides his poster for the soap-maker, Mr. Marks did two of his quaint birds in black and white, for the backs of the sandwichmen who were calling the attention of the public to a collection of his works on exhibition at the Fine Art Society's galleries. For a similar occasion Mr. Walter Crane made one of his delightful decorative designs. For his exhibition of
From collection of George B. De Forest. (30% x 69% inches.) "Life and Work in Bavaria's Alps" at the same gallery, Professor Hubert Herkomer also prepared a poster in black and white. But Professor Herkomer's most ambitious composition is the huge eight-sheet poster he designed in 1881 to announce the starting of the "Magazine of Art." Ten years later Professor Herkomer made another poster, more unpretending, for "Black
and White." These posters of Professor Herkomer were all woodcuts to be printed in black; and so were the posters made by Mr. E. J. Poynter for an insurance company, and the poster made by the late Frederick Walker for the dramatization of the "Woman in White"a single female figure of dignity and power.
And the American posters of the last generation were all woodcuts. It was in the United States, indeed, that the art of color-printing from a set of pine blocks had been carried to
American circus in Paris during the Exposition of 1867, that opened M. Chéret's eyes to the possibilities of this department of decorative art. Probably again it was an echo of M. Chéret's success in Paris which waked up the American printers, and led to the substitution of the softer lithographic stone for the harsh wood block.
This substitution was made about ten years ago by the Strobridge Company of Cincinnati, a city to which we already owed the ad
LITHOGRAPHED BY FRIEDRICH GUTSCH, KARLSRUHE.
an extreme. This polychromatic printing, of which the circus poster of a dozen years ago was a favorable specimen, was not without a rough effect, although it was hopelessly unattractive when considered seriously. American show-printing revealed much mechanical dexterity, but little or no knowledge of the principles of design, although I can recall more than one of these ruder posters not without merit. The one which I most readily remember advertised Mr. Augustin Daly's drama, "Divorce," and its central figure was a Cupid weeping within a broken wedding-ring. Probably it was the rather startling, and somewhat violent, American posters, hard and dry woodcuts all of them, which proclaimed the advent of an
From collection of Brander Matthews. (28% x 341⁄2 inches.)
mirable Rookwood pottery; and the credit of the change is probably due to the late Matt Morgan, an English draftsman of great fertility and abundant fancy. Having caricatured the Prince of Wales in the "Tomahawk," he had come to this country to caricature General Grant in "Frank Leslie's." As a caricaturist he labored under one great disadvantage; he could never draw any but a cockney face; his Irishmen and his negroes, do what he might, were always Englishmen made up for the character: no man may step off his shadow. But Morgan was an accomplished designer with a fine sense for color, as he had shown in England by his scenery for Covent Garden pantomimes. Here in the United States he had come
AN EXHIBITION OF
THE FINE ART
5148 NEW BOND
From collection of Brander Matthews. (13 X 194 inches.)
graphic press. The result is of varying value, of course. It is often commonplace, dull, empty. It is sometimes violent and vulgar. It is frequently beautiful and delightful. There are many purely decorative posters, printed in soft and gentle tones, which are a delight to the eye both in design and in color, and which now give a zest to every chance ramble through the streets of New York. Consider, for example, the striking and suggestive poster "From Chaos to Man," printed by the Springer Company. Consider, again, the "stand of bills" which Mr. H. L. Bridwell devised to announce the coming of the Lillian Russell Opera Comique Company; note the tenderness of the tints and the fastidious grace of the design; and confess that here is a brilliant mural embellishment of a new kind. Akin to this and due to the same firm, the Strobridge Company, were smaller posters for Mr. W. H. Crane and for Mr. Francis Wilson, delightfully decorative in their simple lettering.
"That there is a character in American design which is hardening into style, I think every one who has had much to do with American designers will agree," wrote the lady who is the chief of the Associated Artists, a year or so ago; and Mrs. Wheeler went on to declare that this American style seems to possess three important qualities: "First, absolute fidelity and truth, as shown in Japanese art; second, grace of line, which perhaps comes from familiarity with the forms of the Renaissance; and third, imagination, or individuality of treatment." In its own way the American pictorial poster has felt the influence of this movement forward; and it can be called to bear witness in behalf of Mrs. Wheeler's declaration, just as her own embroideries and textiles can, or the La Farge and Tiffany stained glass, or any other latterday development of the art instinct of the American people.
under Japanese influence. So it came about that he and other artists employed by the Strobridge Company, and by the other lithographers who sought to rival the earlier firm, evolved a new style of poster, lithographed like M. Chéret's, effective and picturesque like his, and yet composed according to formulas different from his. In the ten or a dozen years since the first posters were put on stone here in the United States, there has been developed a form of mural decoration wholly unlike anything which existed before-unlike the Parisian, as I have just asserted, and unlike the American woodcut which preceded it and made it possible. The new work is founded on a thorough knowledge of design, of the harmony of color, and of the technical possibilities of the litho
"STRANGE TO SAY."
VAST network of iron rods and girders overhead; long spirals of white steam rising through the gray smoke from a score of locomotives panting and puffing as if impatient to be gone; avenues of railway-carriages in yellow, brown, and black; hurrying, pushing multitudes jostling one another; tired-looking travelers at the end of their journeys; hopeful-looking travelers braving the possibilities of the unknown; luggageporters, in caps of flaming red and blouses of blue, staggering under Brobdingnagian loads; parting messages drowned in the babel of sounds; shrill, warning whistles of departing trains; the clanking of iron wheels on the turn-tables-then,
suddenly, as Soon, however, his mood changed, and as we if by magic, were crossing the trestle over the Hollands-Diep the multitude he began a sort of sermon upon life, delivered, has vanished. it seemed to me, in order to show his familiarity Guards run with the English tongue, and apropos of nothalong the ing. "As t'e eye of t'e morninck to t'e larg, as lines of car- t'e honey to t'e pee, or as garrion to t'e fulture, riages, slam- efen such iss life undo t'e heart of mangind." ming doors This was profound, but ere long it became and turning also tiresome, as I endeavored to show him pothe brass keys. The door of litely, by extracting a yellow-covered Tauchone second-class carriage at nitz of one of Bret Harte's latest stories from the end of the line is open. Into my shawl-strap, and burying myself therein this I pitch my rug and valise, and scramble in after them; the guard slams the door, screams out a hoarse word, and the long train glides out of the Rhijn Spoorweg Station at Rotterdam on its way to Paris.
A person who was curled up in the corner let his feet down upon the floor and helped me to stow my valise in the racks, and, when this preliminary was settled, produced a cigarcase, and inquired in tolerable English if I affected tobacco. We exchanged cigars. His was excellent, while the one from my case wasan ordinary three-center that I had purchased in Amsterdam. Still, he did not complain. I could see in the dim light ofthe winter
evening that he was short. He could hardly have been five feet in height, but the feature that most impressed itself upon me was his head, which was entirely out of proportion to his body, and surmounted by a fanciful traveling-cap.
Between the puffs of his cigar, which he consumed furiously, he informed me that he had been in America, in New York, several years before; indeed, he was a great traveler, I fancy, for he had some sort of yarn of half a dozen countries to relate, in his queer English, which was broken with as fully queer French and Italian. He longed for "gompany," he said, and was delighted that we were to be traveling companions. While he was rather inquisitive, there was nothing in his questions at which one could take offense; indeed, he was quite as amusing as voluble, and all I had to do was to listen quietly, with an occasional "Yes" or "No" for politeness' sake.
quite a transparent subterfuge, for it had become entirely too dark to read. He had curled his legs up under him, and I fancied and hoped that he might be preparing to go to sleep. He made me nervous with his drone, and with his immense head with the ridiculous cap perched upon it. It seemed as if I could not keep my eyes away from him. We were slowing up at a small station, and finally, with a grinding of the brakes, stopped altogether. There came a pounding noise of feet on the roof of the carriage, a crash, and then a lamp was thrust into its socket overhead, and the footsteps passed on.
My companion looked positively hideous in the dim yellow light of the lamp overhead, which feebly illuminated the carriage. Where I knew his eyes to be were two huge, black patches, from which now and again came a flash, and his cheek-bones stood out with ghastly prominence. As the train gathered momentum his singsong voice rang above the noise of the swiftly moving wheels. "Gomplain nod vith the fool off t'e shordness off dy time. Rememper-" Confound the man! Was I to be annoyed with this sort of thing all the way to Brussels? "Vishest dou to haf an obbortunity off more wices-" I turned in the seat, and, resting my head against the cushioned side, pretended to close my eyes as if to sleep. Of no avail. Still the hissing s's rang upon my senses with maddening reiteration I fancy that in spite of my nervousness I must have dropped off to sleep for an instant, for a touch awoke me, and, starting to my feet, I found that my companion had moved to the seat exactly opposite my own, and with his hand upon my knee,-a large, bony hand it was, with enlarged joints, and nails bitten to the quick,-had thrust his face forward until it was not more than six inches from my own. He was still chanting his infernal proverbs: "Not life a telusion, a zeries off mizatventures, a bursuit off ewils linked togedder on all sides-"I thrust him away from me with an exclamation of disgust. "In heaven's name, man, what ails you? I wish you would oblige me by stopping your infernal gabble!"