Puslapio vaizdai


This process has been familiar to us for centuries in architecture and music, every one of the great works of which is such an organism as I describe. In the masterpieces of the past the organization called 'cubistic" is to be found. It is for this reason that we feel that such men as Picasso, Derain, and Duchamp-Villon are to be taken as representatives of the classic school of to-day. The fact that they have turned more and more to ideas incompatible with objective painting has surely no more bearing on their place in art than any other question of the subject of a picRaphael is classic when he finds one of his great harmonies in the line and plane and mass of an imagined Madonna; Degas is classic when he turns into design the incidents of the daily life about him; Duchamp-Villon is classic when he achieves his "phrasing" of the elements of motion, mass, and accentuation in such a picture


as the "Nude Descending a Staircase," even though the nature of his subject and those phases of it that he wished to render led him, after experiments with the older forms of painting, to choose his entirely unrealistic one. Every critic has at some time used the phrase, "art is a means of expression." The Cubists have already shown the possibility of an expression in painting without representation; it will be long before the future arrives at the limit of ideas to be rendered by such an art.

We are constantly made to wonder at the intellectual accomplishment of our time. It is one of intense activity, and our progress in science has made us only the more eager for a corresponding advance. in other realms of thought. When I said at the beginning of this paper that we live in an era of the greatest artistic importance it is because the people who have come to appreciate the greatness of the

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For more than thirty years, Mr. Prendergast's joyous vision of nature has gone on in its development and intensity. His design and color are among the most beautiful of present-day art.

modern movement in art see in it a value equal to that of any other manifestation of modern life. One fact that makes us feel that such an idea is sound is the parallelism that exists between the art I have discussed and the great currents of the world's thought in recent years.

As Romanticism tinged the mind and the art of the, early nineteenth century, and Realism, or the scientific spirit, its later years, so every indication to-day points to a deepening interest in the matters which go beyond self-conscious reasoning, and are dealt with by the power of intuition. If there is mysticism in the work of a Redon or a Picasso, it is that supreme mysticism to which Latin clarity gives a precision of its own. The great movement which began with painting has spread to sculpture in such noble works as those of Brancusi and Duchamp-Villon. The latter, a man whom Cézanne could claim with pride as his disciple, has produced what I shall call the first piece of architecture essentially of our time.

"A WORK should have within itself its full meaning," writes Matisse, "and impose it on the spectator even before he knows what the subject is. When I see the frescos of Giotto at Padua, I do not bother about knowing what scene of the life of Christ I have before me, but I understand at once the sentiment that emanates from it; for it is in the lines, in the composition, and in the color, and the title. will only confirm my impression." (In "La Grande Revue," December, 1908.)

The so-called minor arts are affected in every branch. The movement is worldwide. On the day that I write these lines an exhibition opens in the Montross Gallery of New York, where the first fruits of the American interest in the new ideas are shown. Men are working with them in Paris and in Tokio. The Orient helped us not only to find the lost sense of design on surfaces which we first thought of as the message of its art, but to find the design of life which we of Europe had in pre-Christian days. Matisse's color is as beautiful as that of a Persian ceramist, and the pagan joy of life he paints with is found again in our demand for more games and dancing and music. And, what is best in it all is the vitality of the "new" art. It did not expend itself with the perfection of Renoir or with the grandeur of Cézanne. It is inventing and living in the great French people who fostered it, and from their hearth comes the generous fire which to-day is surely kindling in every land.

"FROM the beginning," says Redon, "I have always striven for perfection, and, if you will believe me, perfection in form. But let me say now that no plastic form -I mean one perceived objectively, for itself, under the laws of light and shade, through the conventional means of 'modeling' is to be found in my works. . . . My whole originality consists in placing, as much as possible, the logic of the visible at the service of the invisible." (In "La Vie," December 14, 1912.)

"STUDY," writes Cézanne, “modifies our vision to such an extent that the humble and colossal Pissarro is found to be justified in his anarchistic theories. . .

"We must become classic again through nature. Imagine a Poussin completely repainted according to nature; that is the classic that I mean." (In the "Mercure de France," October, 1907.)





UBISM is an attempt to dissolve facts entirely in design," some one has remarked. It is a pregnant phrase that sticks in the mind and touches many veins of thought. After decades of paintings from Salon and academy, suave, superficial, blatant with the wearisome technical daring of the virtuoso, or smeared thick with a syrup of pretty sentiment, we are ready for nearly anything, provided it smacks of really creative art. The artistic mind has for so long assiduously degraded itself to the position of an observant human camera that only a strong reaction can restore something of its original self-respect. That reaction takes place among certain men who are so alive to our artistic degradation that they feel realism to be a disgusting and intolerable thing; they eschew it completely, and take refuge in pure symbolic design. At least this ultra-idealism comports more with the dignity of creative art than ultra-naturalism. It is better that an artist be poeti



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By permission of "L'Art et les Artistes "


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would destroy. They have no design language; they have cut out their tongues in order to talk. Apparently well versed in the psychology and metaphysics of design, and equipped with a sane propaganda, they do not succeed in translating their theory into real artistic terms.


In each individual case their work would seem to be the result of a union between an elementary geometry and those orthodox rules of composition that have been taught in art schools for many decades. And the forms that result from this curious union are applied not according to any principles of organization, but under the guidance of personal caprice. The Cubist's criteria of design are purely subjective. They rest less upon original, wellordered, and deep foundations than upon old studio formulæ, and they are built from the outworn sticks of that very realistic and superficial art the CuMODERN COMPOSI- bists profess to con

demn. Cubism is at bottom not radical, but blindly, haltingly conservative.

That type of the new art, for example, which in painting and sculpture merely aims to cubify actual form, to convey an impression by a ceaseless bald emphasis of planes, is as old as the schools of This and Memphis, when the Pharaohs first


By permission of "L'Art et les Artistes "

placed their royal approval upon artistic conservatism. So the Egyptian sculptors cut heads and bodies, legs and arms, in flat planes, according to a rigid traditional procedure;. and so all sculptors with a strong sense of design have done since.

It is part of the preliminary blocking necessitated by sculptural technic. Among painters,

the most conspicuous instance of the method is Albrecht Dürer, who theorized to the length of several books on geometry in art, and who left numerous Cubic studies among his sketches. As M. Louis Thomas suggested in an article in "L'Art et les Artistes" last year, what more complete Cubism could there be than certain of Dürer's sketches, here reproduced? Indeed, such a method of blocking out was taught for many years in some American art schools, and students still turn to it spontaneously. It is not a new method, due to profound scientific discoveries, as a few apologists of the movement would have us believe; rather, it places in the position of a finished product part of the age-old paraphernalia of all those who work in form.

The case is somewhat different with that other Cubism of Picasso, which discards even So slight a connection with reality, and

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composer. Indeed, he has

no science; he stands upon a foundation of tenuous intellectualities, where the musician has a foundation of rock. A Cubist painting, with its nice adjustment of planes and angles and curves, fails to convey the impression that a symphony con

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By permission of "Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration" SCHEMATIC PAINTING BY HANNS PELLAR

deals in bare lines, circles, and angles, abstracted from any save a subjective and symbolic connection with the external world of tangible things. The pictures of Picasso aim at expression by pure design and symbolism; but the design they use fails because it is irritatingly capricious and personal. That great romanticist Plato, who reduced all things ultimately to ideal geometrical forms in a search for the geometrical soul of reality, in spirit furnishes Picasso with a working inspiration. Plato is reborn in Picasso, who consciously or not attempts to express the Platonic ideal pictorially. Out of mathematics we are to make art; with mathematics we may set forth our inner feelings and our attitude toward external solidities. It is a splendid conception, a daring attempt. In music it is accomplished daily, for here pure number, cut loose from any bond of materiality, stirs up direct emotion. Yet it is scarcely necessary to say that the Cubist painter cannot manipulate mathematical elements with the GEOMETRIC ADVER- unerringly efficient

Raguhn-Anhalter Metalllocherei

gelochte Bleche


science of the musical

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By permission of "Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration" GERMAN WALL-PAINTING


By permission of "Deutsche Kunst
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veys, because the means do not fit the ends.


In other words, the follower of Cubism is forced to utilize whatever broken and inefficient tools he can command for the building of his superstructure, because he has no scientific, coördinated principles of design. This applies also to the devotees of any of the new movements that insist upon the preeminence of design in graphic art. On the one hand, we have those who employ a confused elementary geometry after some esoteric fashion of their own; on the other, those who resort to the empirical methods of composition that have been stored up by generations of art schools, where the primary aim has always been to teach not design, but realistic representation. Gauguin, Van Gogh, and Matisse all stress rhythm of line, all play with this idea of expression by composition. Naturalism for them is only a fortuitous prop to design. Very well; but the difficulty is

that they have ad- MEDIEVAL COMPOSIvanced no further in TION-GIOTTO

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