« AnteriorContinuar »
modern tendency to use pigment as a means of expressing sentiment and emotion rather than of telling a story.
There must, indeed, be lying latent in the mind of every industrial giant a kind of sense: What were this if this were all?" which urges him finally to provide for his fellows a means of enjoyment that he has missed, consciously missed, perhaps, amid the pressure of great business schemes and financial combinations. These giants have schemed and combined until, lo! in possession of colossal fortunes, they cast about them to open up those other horizons faintly discerned through the smoke-filled air their own enterprise has contributed to augment. The poetic justice of this may naturally strike one, it is obvious enough; but the particular interest in this situation is, that the same thoroughgoing spirit which marks the industrial life of Pittsburg now characterizes its efforts in the field of art.
THE ANNUAL EXHIBITIONS.
The Institute building, which was of good dimensions ten years ago, now reopens with a holding capacity enormously increased. With its extended sweep in the natural sciences it is now forging ahead as an art museum, and likely, with its financial resources and administrative talent, to take its place as one of the most important in the country. For years the annual exhibition there has been one of our strongest art shows. The policy of the Art Institute is to secure a jury selected by the vote of the exhibitors, and international in its constituents, as the exhibition is international in character. Each year artists from England, France, and Germany have been chosen, and their expenses paid to come here and serve with the American members in passing on the work to be shown. This has resulted in an exceedingly high standard, besides establishing a cordial feeling of "camaraderie" between native and foreign painters. The exhibition lapsed in 1906, owing to the derangement caused by the work of remodeling the building. It will doubtless return to the yearly exhibitions with renewed spirit in the coming autumn, for the Art Institute seems in a fair way, using an irreverent expression, "to make art hum"; but I hasten to add that this department is in no sense open to light comment on its methods in spite of its remarkable success, and of whatever may be said of some others of earlier origin.
This is perhaps due to the fact that it has
Under his wise directorship and through the munificence of the founder, the Art Institute has grown from a small collection of pictures to two splendid halls of painting, a vast rotunda devoted to architectural casts, and a gallery or hall of sculpture, supplied with reproductions of the world's great masterpieces of plastic art, including a complete collection of the Neapolitan bronzes.
An interesting feature of the architectural hall is the reproduction, full size, of the porch of the Church of St. Gilles, in the provençal town of that name. This is a beautiful example of Romanesque, full of treasures of detail, wonderfully preserved, in the minutest particular, through this perfect. reproduction. Thus transported from the French town, one has but to step from Forbes Street, Pittsburg, to be in the presence of one of the finest specimens of that distinguished order of architecture.
The hall of sculpture is arranged with great judgment, and is impressive in dimensions and lighting. As it is mainly furnished with the great works that have stood the test of time, and are to be seen to a greater or less extent in most art museums, we will pass on to the galleries of paintings that have become the property of the Institute during the last ten years, and note with some particularity the quality and tendency displayed in their selection.
THEMES OF THE MODERN PAINTER.
As painting is rapidly passing out of its anecdotal and story-telling period, and devoting its medium to expressing the sentiment and moods of the natural world,--the wonders and beauties revealed to trained and cultivated vision,-one must not look here for those phases of mental enjoyment that more properly belong to literature. The art of painting is confining itself more to its legitimate means of expression. For it is not legitimate to endeavor to divert the mind by portraying in paint that which the medium of words could more effectively express,
picturing a situation, dramatic it may be, or pathetic, which if verbally told would touch the feelings more powerfully than
the work than in the finer phases of for- subject of admiring comment. There is selestry, as taught in the schools. dom any jealousy among cowboys in this particular, and all are outspoken in admitting COWBOY CANDIDATES AND THEIR INSTRUC- the superiority of some man who can more
The examinations, which are held in scores of places throughout those States and Territories that have forest reserves within their boundaries, are practically all alike. The technical men in charge have been given certain instructions which they follow to the letter. An examination lasts three days, and one which was held a few months ago at Hot Sulphur Springs, Colo., will serve as an example:
The candidates were about sixteen in number, most of them cowboys who had been used to riding the range in Colorado. Some of them had ridden many miles, across a rough country, and all of them were certain they could come up to the requirements, as far as the outdoor part of the work was concerned. It was only the "schoolhouse work" which seemed to awe them. Nearly all were bronzed, hardy young men, used to life in the open, under all conditions of weather. One, a tall, fair-haired young Swede, had won fame as a breaker of wild horses, and his feats as a "bronco buster" were soon the
INSTRUCTOR G. W. CLEMENT.
than equal them in feats of skill in the saddle. The ice was soon broken between the instructor and his pupils. The broadshouldered, athletic young man who was delegated to represent the Government in the work was G. W. Clement, technical assistant on the great Pike's Peak Forest Reserve. Although all business," the instructor was good-natured and patient, though literally raked fore and aft for three days by a cross-fire of questions. Many of these questions would have floored one not well posted in forestry, or given some experts a chance to air their opinions, but this young man answered every question that his instructions permitted him to answer, and he did it simply and to the point. As a result he handled those independent cowboys with as little friction as a capable teacher might make manifest in dealing with a class of infants.
DUTIES OF THE RANGER.
The examination lasted three days, the first being given over to the "schoolhouse work," as it was termed by the candidates. It is necessary for a forest ranger to be well grounded in the common branches, especially in arithmetic. The Government permits a restricted sale of timber on all reserves. Sawmills are set up in some of the reserves, and it is the ranger's duty to see that the growth of the timber is not injured by injudicious or wholesale cutting. The ranger must select the trees to be cut, and he must be able to scale the timber at the mill, to see that cutting in excess of contract is not being done. So much timber is being cut from some reserves that they are more than paying for the expense of maintenance. The ranger who works on one of these reserves where much timber is being cut must indeed have a "good head for figgers," as one of the cow-puncher candidates put it. To allow the wily sawmill men to trick the Government out of an excess cutting of timber would mean a speedy loss of the ranger's position.
PRACTICAL FORESTRY TESTS.
The tests of the second and third day were more to the liking of a majority of the candidates. Early in the morning of the second day a start was made on horseback, the candidates being taken several miles in the moun
in charge of the examinations.)
fort, with which other talents construct a scene and present it with more or less force through the medium of form and color. Such a contrasting canvas is found in E. A. Abbey's "Penance of Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester." Here, if you will, is a literary theme, for it is not a work painted for the sheer beauty of the subject, for the mere pleasure of mind that may be aroused by the play of light on noble forms and fascinating surfaces. This is not the single and inspiring motive of the painter; for has he not told us in the title that it is "The Penance of Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester "?-and to fully render the artist due appreciation we must have a conception of what this penalty is expiating, and admire the ingenuity of the painter for other qualities than those which belong properly to the painter's craft.-for the skill with which he portrays, through facial expression, the workings of the mind of the punished and the punisher. This is far and away from the rôle painting is called upon to play and by just so much misleads the mind and distracts the attention from a purely critical and artistic enjoyment of the canvas as a work of the painter's art. This is, however, competently wrought, and possesses richness of color, but fails to move directly through its confusion of mingled arts.
Let us now consider another instance of pure emotional painting which may be found in Dwight W. Tryon's "May." This transcript of a season is a composition of great simplicity,-a reach of hillside, an intervening row of stately trees, the trees rising above the hills and showing against the sky-in the near foreground separate trees rising still higher and bordering a brook which is touched in here and there with a taste and reserve that is highly distinguished. All this is given with an appreciation of the fragile and evanescent charm of the season depicted, which stamps this work as a beautiful exponent of the true function of painted art. These are the manifestations of the outside world that painters of to-day seize upon as the true material offered for the employment of their medium. These are the canvases that refresh jaded spirits and excite those sensibilities it is the province of painting to evoke in the human mind. And it is just here that this collection is so strong. The director and those associated with him are truly working on wise lines, and the city of Pittsburg, through them, is in the way of building up a repository of art that will be of incalculable value to the community.
We have space only to speak of one more remarkable work in this same poetic vein. To turn from this to the "Mirror in the J. H. Twachtman, that rare painter for Vase," by Edmond Aman-Jean, is to be con- whom nature seemed to exist to furnish for scious of what is fitting for the brush, unal- him themes that were the very poetry and loyed by literary reminiscence. This is a essence of "things seen," has here a winter decorative composition of great sweetness of subject, “Greenwich Hills," which is a dim, color and of line. In a bosky, tempered light, mysterious, snowy vision of a half-buried trees or shrubs serving as a background, and farmhouse and snow-filled road and field. It relieved against the sky, it may be at some is a little masterpiece of the cold and muffled garden end, two female figures are grouped appearance of a winter's day; everything is about a huge vase-like fountain or cup of soundless, silent, still; but the restrained sugwater. One leans over the farther lip of gestiveness of this phase of nature, the perthe cup to find her reflection mirrored in vading sense of quiet, seclusion, detachment, the pool, while the other, in a listless and that one is conscious of on a blurred day like dreamy attitude, sits at the near-side base, this, when the noises, the activities of the chin resting on wrist of upturned arm, the world are perforce, for a time, in abeyance, elbow supported by the up-drawn knee. is given with a sympathy, a feeling that none These figures are the opulent forms of full- but an artist who loves nature and is master grown womanhood, and they make the dis- of his craft could present with such poetry position of lines by which the vase ties them and power. This is a true example of what together in the whorl of its standard and the right uses of pigment may do for the circle, in perspective, of its brimming mouth, emancipation of the spirit, the uplifting of an ingenious, graceful design, essentially the mind through art. Towards portrayals lovely in its unobtrusive artfulness. The like this is the direction in which art is movcolor is of a delicate and subdued tone, and ing to-day, and this was hinted at in the the emotion this work inspires is one that has been stirred only through the legitimate uses of pigment, the emotion that responds to an object of created beauty.
opening of these paragraphs on the tendency of present-day painting. This significant art Pittsburg is encouraging through the agency of the Carnegie Institute.