Page 20 - The Studio First Edition - April 1893
P. 20

The Growth of Recent Art

                     representatives of this movement and of its growth  later, handed on the tradition. There can be no
                     and modification in England. But I can do no  doubt that Sargent has formed many young English
                     more than indicate that Englishmen labour  painters. Moreover, Bastien Lepage's  Les Fans,
                     earnestly although they began at the eleventh  Sara Bernhardt,  and several portraits shown in
                     hour. The rest of Europe enlisted long ago.  English galleries, educated Mr. Clausen and
                     Our country and our popular artists were devoted  painters who, like him, had not actually studied
                     to pious or domestic stories told to amuse the  abroad. We must not forget exhibitions of im-
                     artless without care for pictorial style or truth.  pressionistic work by Monet and others, as well
                     The artistic few were agitated by movements  as a show containing Sargent's  El Juleo  and
                     destined to die out. The sincerest of these were  several portraits, together with work of the Gretz
                     the Pre-Raphaelite, The Walker, Pinwell and  school. This small section is perhaps responsible
                     Scotch schools ; and the splendid if reactionary  for some of the recent developments of English
                     attempts of Rossetti, B. Jones, Leighton, Watts,  painting. Enfield, O'Meara, the Harrisons, and
                     &c., to galvanise old traditions by the infusion of  others led the way; but Stott, of Oldham, with his
                     their strong personalities. I must not forget the  Bathers,  made it a public thoroughfare. The
                     John the Baptists of the early Academies and  group considerably influenced younger men, as one
                     Grosvenors who prepared people to understand  might note in the shows of the New English Art
                     the coming change. Though I cannot mention  Club. This society was the first definite expression
                     all, nevertheless, I will not omit J. C. Hook, Alma  of a change of front in England, which, virtually,
                     Tadema, Whistler, Legros, H. Moore, Buxton  had been long effected. Various tendencies have
                     Knight, W. J. Hennessey, Mark Fisher, G. Bough-  operated on its exhibitions; among others, the new
                     ton, and a later batch, J. Reid, Leslie Thomson,  Scotch or Glasgow school, which partly owes its
                     J. M. Swan, Picknell, Parton, Parsons, E. Ellis, A.  direction to the initiative of the late P. Chalmers
                     Lemon, Clausen, M. Hale, and J. Collier. I will go  of Edinburgh, Mr. Whistler's personal pupils, and
                     no further or I touch the present day, when men  the followers of Monet or Degas. More it is im-
                     who see truly and broadly are become like locusts.   possible to touch on here. I would, however,
                       Though I cannot speak fully, I shall mention  induce people to inquire for themselves whether
                     some channels through which this spirit has been  modern art is a " fad " or something serious. Is it
                     propagated, either directly or, any way, at second  as we sometimes hear " a baseless novelty," an
                     hand. Bonnat, Carolus Duran, Henner, Whistler,  " ephemeral fashion," " wholly personal and ori-
                     and Legros have been the main cause of our  ginal," an " utter eccentricity " ? I think it a
                     advance. Most of these men are well known  logical outcome of the past, read in the light of a
                     exhibitors in this country. There is a square  genuine change of feeling about nature. Our art
                     touch with melted edges which the public recog-  is no more " eccentric " than the art of any vital
                     nise as a kind of badge of "the French School."  period. Every one must learn somewhere and
                      This has undoubtedly sprung from the mosaic  build on some foundation. Again, there are not
                      taught by Regnault, Duran, &c., modified by the  more than two or three original men at any one
                      more fluid brush of Henner. It may be noted  time, not two Whistlers or two Monets. The
                      that Henner used to visit at Duran's studio,  majority are neither more original nor more
                      though I lay no stress on it, as this technique  eccentric than those who, in their day, followed
                      under different aspects sprang up everywhere.  Constable. On the other hand they are no more
                      Sargent, Hale, Lemon, Bloomer, and others of  to be despised as copyists.
                      Carolus Duran's personal pupils who came over                   R. A. M. STEVENSON.

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