Puslapio vaizdai


Veldes and of Van de Neers. dag's monotony is entirely Dutch. The author of "Dutch Art in the Nineteenth Century" complains of the harm which is done by the commercial, the American influence in picture-buying, "that degrading market which now, as in Mauve's day, asks one year for 'sheep going to pasture' and in the next for 'sheep returning.' Jacob Maris would receive a commission for four pictures all of the same size, all four to contain white clouds.

Gabraels and Weissenbruch are asked for windmills to the exclusion of all else." But one wonders what was the market in the days of Van de Velde or of Teniers. Cannot one imagine the former asked in one year for vessels sailing to the right and in the next for vessels sailing to the left, and Teniers painting for one amateur three, for another four, rustics drinking round a barrel? With us it is known that white marble is exacted as a sine qua non in the pictures of Sir Alma Tadema. But then Sir Alma Tadema is himself by birth at least of the "Dutch school." May it not then be something placid and obliging in the Hollander nature that makes him conform to the market requirements, or perhaps not to dislike repeating himself? This may account for Mesdag's sameness, but that same sameness makes his work a difficult matter for the critic.

The influence of The Hague school is felt in the work of such painters as Albert Neuhuijs and B. J. Blommers. Neuhuijs' "First Lesson" is a gem of simplicity and delicacy very evidently of the school of Israëls, but free from the too obvious mannerisms of Joset Israëls, as, for example, the obvious atmosphere of which he is fond of surrounding his people. The influences which reformed Israëls' painting came to Neuhuijs at a still later date; and

though the latter was born in 1844 he did not come to his own, to the work for which he was really fitted, until 1870. Blommers was about the same age as Neuhuijs. A less imaginative painter, his technique is extremely strong; he has about him a good deal of the character of Dutch genre painters of the seventeenth century, with just the same striking contrast to their workmanship that distinguishes the painting of Mesdag from (say) that of Van de Velde. A third painter who must be mentioned in this company is A. C. Artz. He was, Mr. Marius tells us, Israëls' principal pupil. The same writer contrasts, in the following words, the work of pupil and master, and the appreciation is interesting in that it allows Mr. Marius once more to tell us how much he finds in Israëls' work:

In a picture such as "Mourning," despite the fine expression of sorrow, we are struck by the fact that this sorrow does not, as it would have done were the picture painted by Israëls, permeate the whole figure, the fall of the folds of the woman's dress, the fall of the light, every detail of the apartment, which would have been dramatized as it were in and through the human tragedy; we see that Artz is more positive and more practical, that he prefers to follow his model, to give his attention to each object, and that, from this point of view, the folds of that dress are beautifully painted, beautiful, too, and seventeenth century those squat little baby shoes on that empty floor. a detail upon which Jan Steen could not have improved.

We have never (it has been said already) succeeded in finding all this. merit in Israëls' work, and are disposed to think that in him the human or dramatic element runs more toward the sentimental than the sublime.

There are two landscape painters. whose works in their fashion very

much resemble that of Anton Mauve. One is Weissenbruch, the other Phillp Sadée. In the case of the former, we again come across the epochal year 1870 as marking the development of his characteristic and really successful painting, although the painter was born so far back as 1824. And this fact once more suggests a connection with the French plein-air school. Sadée was born in 1837. His landscape painting is more distinctly plein-air than that of any other Dutch painter.

For most amateurs of painting the work of The Hague painters still probably represents "modern Dutch art," although its principal masters are either dead or quite old. From it through a succession of painters we pass on to a style which is really modern, though certainly anything but distinctive of Holland, the slap-dash manner which leads directly to Impressionism. J. B. Jongkind is indeed a kind of father of Impressionism, and Pissarro is reported to have said that if Jongkind had not existed "none of us would have been here." Jongkind was born as far back as 1819. His work has long been familiar to frequenters of French exhibitions, and it is hard to class him among Dutch painters; for he spent, we believe, most of his life in France, and died there in 1891. The twin painters David and Peter Oyens are of the same class. They were of rather a later date, born in 1830, and dying, one in 1894, the other at the beginning of the present century. A third in this group is later still. G. H. Breitner, who was born as late as 1857, is a painter of great vigor and sometimes great success. In all these modern brushwork tends to become more and more obtrusive. It is as if these slap-dash painters conceived that there were two separate processes in art: one to produce the picture as a whole, the other to pro

duce a pattern of various pigments; just as in a certain school of modern poetry we are conscious of two separate endeavors in the writers thereof, not of one effort to combine meaning. and charm of sound into an inseparable whole, but a further care to make sure that their skill as versifiers should never be overlooked.

With regard to the question we asked at the beginning of this article, How far does modern Dutch art allow us to speak of it as a school of painting? the answer is not easy. What seem movements within the country come to appear, when we take a wider view, but fragments of larger movements which have affected all modern painting, and whose origins are to be sought if anywhere in France. Yet distinctive characteristics are not altogether wanting in this art. We agree with Mr. Marius that landscapepainting remains to-day, as it was at the outset, a birthright of the nation, and that if the eyes of the modern Dutch painters have been purged by French influence, they still see in a genuine and, one may say, a national manner, distinct from the way of the English as of the French. Again, if Israëls owes much to Millet, he owes much too to Rembrandt. Not only Rembrandt, the greatest of Dutch painters, but the lesser Dutch masters also have influenced the work of the Hague school and its immediate following. It is always the earliest work of a modern painter-of Matthew Maris or of the two Oyens-whichr shows the ancient influences the most (that we should expect), but the influare traceable throughout the whole of life. Nevertheless the balance of the art (as we may say) in Holland, as in most modern countries, is not national but international.


It would not do therefore if the latest phase of continental art was unrep

resented here also; that latest school which we believe may well in future times come to be known by some such title as the Bedlam School. As typical a representative thereof as is Gauguin in France is Van Gogh in Holland. Both these names are well known among a certain class of art-critics, the votaries of the last new thing, the dernier cri. But to the average English picture-lover they are probably unknown, so that a word or two on them and on the origin of the school which they represent may not be amiss.

The Avatar of this body of fantastics gone mad was first made known to the world by the opening of the Salon des Indépendants some half a dozen years ago. Men had heard (in Paris at least) something before that of Gauguin and good deal a of Cézanne. The former, it was reported, had discovered that the only living modern art was to be found in the Pacific Islands, and had long taken to putting on his canvas figures which did no discredit to his savage masters. Cézanne had exaggerated the old trick of the blue shadow (Henley talks of painters "who had just discovered the blue shadow") till it had become a deep purple in ordinary daylight; and even white in shade, as the inside of a white teacup, Cézanne would paint a pure ultra-marine. Deep purple, one does not quite know why, calls for bright pink as its counterpart; and so the portions of Cézanne's pictures which were in light were generally of that tint. Roughly speaking, his canvases were divided between these two colors. At first men went to the Independent Salon to smile and pass on, but lately a change has come in a certain section of art criticism. It came very suddenly. In the course of two years about half the art critics of Paris, including some very respectable names, had made a complete golte-face. If they did not burn what

they had adored, at any rate they found a whole pantheon of new gods to place in the artistic Olympus. Some few of these were men not without genius who had been neglected; all of them were men whose work up to that moment could be purchased almost for a song, but in whom some of the great dealers in Paris had begun to make a corner. And the fortunate if not wholly fortuitous change in the taste of the Parisian critics had its echo in a notable rise of the market for which the dealers had prepared. Since then the ball has gone on rolling, and it asks almost as much courage now to question the merits of the new heroes as it would formerly have done to support them. We need not suppose that Mr. Marius is insincere in his admiration of the Dutch representative of this fantastic art, but the paragraphs which he devotes to Van Gogh show how difficult it is to find sane and sober words of praise for this insane painting.

The work of Vincent van Gogh (he tells us) fell like a meteor into the plains of our national art in the winter of 1892, two years after the painter's death. A meteor in very truth! Here was no question of gradual, technical, artistic development that had been followed out year by year. That which first greeted our eyes was the most passionate, desperate, and impulsive work, the technical part of which, as it then appeared, before time had matured it, seemed beyond the power of the painter's art. It was the evidence of the artist's struggle with his medium, of his struggle with nature; it was the act of despair of a fanatic; it was the revelation of a visionary.

Van Gogh's work represents not so much a creed as a man-to-man struggle; his color is not the result of a wellthought-out scheme, but is an effort rather to grasp the light, to hold it fast, to suggest color in light without the use of brown or bitumen. And, as it was his chief object to render life, to express what he saw rather than to

produce an harmonious painting, he strove to filing his impressions, as it were, upon his canvas in one breath.

What is singular is that Richard Muther uses almost the same words to express his appreciation of this painter. We may conclude then that of the ordinary pictorial qualities, harmony of color, drawing, and so forth, not much must be asked for from Van Gogh and the painters of the dernier cri.

It is impossible to give any notion of this sort of painting to those who have seen no specimen of it. But the two illustrations of Van Gogh given by Mr. Marius-a group of PolynesianThe Edinburgh Review.

like figures crammed into a parlorand some cypresses whose wavy outlines (like a sort of black flames) are repeated horizontally among the clouds, perpendicularly in the two figures of the scene, are sufficiently enlightening. Those who think "meteors," "man-to-man struggles with nature," "an effort to grasp the light and hold it fast," are satisfactory substitutes for the beauties, the sanities, the temperate aims and great achievement which distinguish the work of masters in all ages, may take pleasure in this last cry of modern art. We predict that their pleasure will be short-lived.


It was near noon when they sighted the cape that, from a distance, looks like a gigantic breakwater built by man, with its level top and perpendicular sides, seven miles in length and never a tenth of that in breadth. Several leagues north of the cave-riddled point the Haakon began to cruise in search of the hoped-for Nordkaper. Here and there, their white hulls gleaming in the sunshine, lay French schooners taking toll from the fishingbanks. These were the laggards, the less lucky, for the majority of the Dunkirk and other fleets had already sailed for home with full holds of salted cod, the reward of six months' toil and peril.

Kaptein Schroeder brought the Haakon within hailing distance of one of the schooners, and bawled his question.

Yes, the Franskmand skipper had seen whales that morning early. The whales had gone. He pointed to the nor'-east.

Schroeder knew that the French

man wanted the whaler far away from the banks, but he decided to try nor'east, and accordingly the Haakon's course was shaped in that direction.

The hour of middag had come, and he went below to the usual repast of sweet soup, followed by salt-beef, followed by a second supply of sweet soup. The engineer joined him; the mate was still in the lookout, by his own desire, with which Schroeder had not sought to interfere.

"You think we may get a Nordkaper, kaptein?" remarked the engineer.

"It is only a chance. I intend to try for two days, and if nothing comes of it we shall go west again."

"It is worth while trying," said the engineer. "What is the matter with Thorstein?" he asked later.

Kaptein Schroeder wiped a drop of syrup from his yellow beard. "Matter with Thorstein?"

"Ja. Have you not noticed how strange he looks?"

The other shook his head. "Thorstein is always a little queer."

"But he looks as if he were afraid of something. I thought perhaps he had got notice to leave the Haakon at the end of the season. It would be a pity for him. I do not think any other whaler would have him for styrmand now."

"Thorstein has not got notice," said Schroeder. "Maybe he is not very well; maybe he is troubled about his son. Do not ask him any questions, Keller. He does his work well, and we have no business with anything else."

The cook came clattering down the narrow stairway and put his head into the cabin.

"En hralbaad kommer, kaptein." Schroeder finished his meal hurriedly, and went on deck. Far ahead was a trail of smoke.

From the mast-head Thorstein was peering through a telescope. “Ja. It is a whaler," he said at last, "and with a dead whale, for it is coming slowly."

The captain went into the steeringbox and slightly altered the Haakon's course. In a little while he was able to distinguish the approaching whaler through his glasses. Her hull was green, and ber funnel pinky-yellow with a broad black top. She was not making more than four knots.

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informed him that he had been hunting the two whales for more than a day, and had killed both within two hours of each other. For the Nordkaper usually succumbs easily to the bomb-harpoon, and, moreover, does not sink when death takes him.

"It is good luck for our last trip of the season," bellowed the Vopnafjord man gleefully. "I suppose I shall see you in Tönsberg soon. I leave Island next week."

"Are you not going after more Nordkapers when you have got these two to the station?"

"There are no more Nordkapers, my good Schroeder. There were but two. and I killed them both"; and the speaker roared with laughter.

Kaptein Schroeder bawled a friendly enough farewell, waved his hand, and gave the order for full speed. He believed his friend, and the disappointment was a heavy blow. It had been a wild-goose chase.

He altered the course to west, and descended to the deck, where he walked up and down for half-an-hour, casting many a disgusted glance at the dead sejhval wallowing alongside. It was indeed galling. Two great Nordkapers-and he had been a few hours too late. And the weather was not looking so well. Away in the north-west the horizon had taken on a brownish hue. In all probability he would reach the neighborhood of the ice, only to get fog-bound. He went forward and climbed up the rigging.


Thorstein, peering over the edge of the barrel, did not take his gaze from the sea.

"You see I am going to the ice," said Schroeder.

"Ja, kaptein."

Schroeder looked over his shoulder. He could still perceive Langanaes, or at any rate, the mountains beyond it. "Where is your knöl?" he asked roughly.

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