Promenades of an Impressionist
James Huneker

Part 4 out of 5

Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born at Limoges, February 25, 1840. His
father was a poor tailor with five children who went to Paris hoping
to better his condition. At the age of twelve the boy was painting on
porcelain--his father had picked up some rudiments of the art at
Limoges. Auguste did so well, displayed such energy and taste, that he
soon fell to decorating blinds, and saved, in the course of four
years, enough money to enable him to enter the atelier of Gleyre.
There he met Sisley, Bazille--afterward shot in the Franco-Prussian
war--and Claude Monet. They became friends and later allies in the
conflict with the Parisian picture public. Renoir made his first
offering to the Salon in 1863. It was refused. It was a romantic
bit--a nude lady reclining on a bed listening to the plucked music of
a guitar. It seems that the guitarist, and not the lady, was the cause
of offence. It is a convention that a thousand living beings may look
at an undressed female in a picture, but no painted man may be allowed
to occupy with her the same apartment. In 1864 Renoir tried
again--after all, the Salon, like our own academy, is a
market-place--and was admitted. He sent in an Esmeralda dancing. Both
these canvases were destroyed by the painter when he began to use his
eyes. In 1868 his Lise betrayed direct observation of nature,
influenced by Courbet. Until 1873 he sent pictures to the Salon; that
year he was shut out with considerable unanimity, for his offering
happened to be an Algerian subject, a Parisian woman dressed in
Oriental costume, and--horrors!--the shadows were coloured. He was
become an impressionist. He had listened, or rather looked at the
baleful pyrotechnics of Monet, and so he joined the secessionists,
though not disdaining to contribute annually to the Salon. In 1874 his
L'allee Cavaliere au Bois de Boulogne was rejected, an act that was
evidently inspired by a desire to sacrifice Renoir because of the
artistic "crimes" of Edouard Manet. Otherwise how explain why this
easily comprehended composition, with its attractive figures, daring
hues, and brilliant technique, came to have the door of the Salon
closed upon it?

The historic exposition at Nadar's photographic studio, on the
Boulevard des Capucines, of the impressionists, saw Renoir in company
with Monet, Sisley, and the others. His La Danseuse and La Loge were
received with laughter by the discerning critics. Wasn't this the
exhibition of which Albert Wolff wrote that some lunatics were showing
their wares, which they called pictures, etc.? (No, it was in 1875.)
From 1868 to 1877 Renoir closely studied nature and his landscapes
took on those violet tones which gave him the nickname of Monsieur
Violette. Previously he had employed the usual clear green with the
yellow touches in the shadows of conventional _paysagistes_. But
Pissarro, Monet, Sisley, and Renoir had discovered each for himself
that the light and shade in the open air vary according to the hours,
the seasons, the atmospheric conditions. Monet and Pissarro in
painting snow and frost effects under the sun did not hesitate to put
blue tones in the shadows. Sisley was fond of rose tones, Renoir saw
violet in the shadows. He enraged his spectators quite as much as did
Monet with his purple turkeys. His striking Avant le bain was sold for
one hundred and forty francs in 1875. Any one who has been lucky
enough to see it at Durand-Ruel's will cry out at the stupidity which
did not recognise a masterly bit of painting with its glowing,
nacreous flesh tints, its admirable modelling, its pervading air of
vitality. Renoir was never a difficult painter; that is, in the sense
of Monet or Manet or Gauguin. He offended the eyes of 1875, no doubt,
but there was in him during his first period much of Boucher; his
female nudes are, as Camille Mauclair writes, of the eighteenth
century; his technique is Boucher-like: "fat and sleek paint of soft
brilliancy laid on with the palette-knife with precise strokes around
the principal values; pink and ivory tints relieved by strong blues
similar to those of enamels; the light distributed everywhere and
almost excluding the opposition of the shadows; vivacious attitudes
and decorative convention."

Vivacious, happy, lyrical, Renoir's work has thus far shown no hint of
the bitter psychology of Edgar Degas. His nudes are pagan, child women
full of life's joy, animal, sinuous, unreasoning. His _genre_ tableaux
are personal enough, though in the most commonplace themes, such as
Dejeuner and The Box--both have been exhibited in New York--the
luminous envelope, the gorgeous riot of opposed tones, the delicious
dissonances literally transfigure the themes. In his second manner his
affinities to Claude Monet and impressionism are more marked. His
landscapes are more atmospheric, division of tones inevitably
practised. Everything swims in aerial tones. His portraits, once his
only means of subsistence, are the personification of frankness. The
touch is broad, flowing. Without doubt, as Theodore Duret asserts,
Renoir is the first of the impressionistic portrait painters; the
first to apply unflinchingly the methods of Manet and Monet to the
human face--for Manet, while painting in clear tones (what magic there
is in his gold!), in portraiture seldom employed the hatchings of
colours, except in his landscapes, and only since 1870, when he had
come under the influence of Monet's theories. Mauclair points out that
fifteen years before _pointillisme_ (the system of dots, like eruptive
small-pox, instead of the touches of Monet) was invented, Renoir in
his portrait of Sisley used the stipplings. He painted Richard Wagner
at Palermo in 1882. In his third manner--an arbitrary
classification--he combines the two earlier techniques, painting with
the palette-knife and in divided tones. Flowers, barbaric designs for
rugs, the fantastic, vibrating waters, these appear among that long
and varied series of canvases in which we see Paris enjoying itself at
Bougival, dancing on the heights of Montmartre, strolling among the
trees at Armenonville; Paris quivering with holiday joys, Paris in
outdoor humour--and not a discordant or vicious note in all this
psychology of love and sport. The lively man who in shirt sleeves
dances with the jolly, plump salesgirl, the sunlight dripping through
the vivid green of the tree leaves, lending dazzling edges to
profiles, tips of noses, or fingers, is not the sullen _ouvrier_ of
Zola or Toulouse-Lautrec--nor are the girls kin to Huysmans's Soeurs
Vatard or the "human document" of Degas. Renoir's philosophy is not
profound; for him life is not a curse or a kiss, as we used to say in
the old Swinburne days. He is a painter of joyous surfaces and he is
an incorrigible optimist. He is also a poet. The poet of air,
sunshine, and beautiful women--can we ever forget his Jeanne Samary? A
pantheist, withal a poet and a direct descendant in the line of
Watteau, Boucher, Monticelli, with an individual touch of mundane
grace and elegance.

Mme. Charpentier it was who cleverly engineered the portrait of
herself and children and the portrait of Jeanne Samary into the 1879
Salon. The authorities did not dare to refuse two such distinguished
women. Renoir's prospects became brighter. He married. He made money.
Patrons began to appear, and in 1904, at the autumn Salon, he was
given a special _salle_, and homage was done him by the young men. No
sweeter gift can come to a French painter than the unbidden admiration
of the rising artistic generation. Renoir appreciated his honours; he
had worked laboriously, had known poverty and its attendant
bedfellows, and had won the race run in the heat and dust of his
younger years. In 1904, describing the autumn exhibition, I wrote: "In
the Renoir _salle_ a few of the better things of this luscious brush
were to be found, paintings of his middle period, that first won him
favour. For example, Sur la Terrasse, with its audacious crimson, like
the imperious challenge of a trumpet; La Loge and its gorgeous
fabrics; a Baigneuse in a light-green scheme; the quaint head of
Jeanne Samary--a rival portrait to Besnard's faun-like Rejane--and a
lot of Renoir's later experimentings, as fugitive as music; exploding
bouquets of iridescence; swirling panels, depicting scenes from
Tannhaeuser; a flower garden composed of buds and blossoms in colour
scales that begin at a bass-emerald and ascend to an altitudinous
green where green is no longer green but an opaline reverberation. We
know how exquisitely Renoir moulds his female heads, building up, cell
by cell, the entire mask. The simple gestures of daily life have been
recorded by Renoir for the past forty years with a fidelity and a
vitality that shames the anaemic imaginings and puling pessimisms of
his younger contemporaries. What versatility, what undaunted desire to
conquer new problems! He has in turn painted landscapes as full of
distinction as Monet's. The nervous vivacity of his brush, his love of
rendered surfaces, of melting Boucher-like heads, and of a dazzling
Watteau colour synthesis have endeared him to the discriminating." He
may be deficient in spiritual elevation--as were Manet, Monet, and the
other Impressionists; but as they were primarily interested in
problems of lighting, in painting the sun and driving the old mud gods
of academic art from their thrones, it is not strange that the new men
became so enamoured of the coloured appearances of life that they left
out the ghosts of the ideal (that dusty, battered phrase) and
proclaimed themselves rank sun-worshippers. The generation that
succeeded them is endeavouring to restore the balance between
unblushing pantheism and the earlier mysticism. But wherever a Renoir
hangs there will be eyes to feast upon his opulent and sonorous colour


In the autumn of 1865 Theodore Duret, the Parisian critic, found
himself in the city of Madrid after a tour of Portugal on horseback. A
new hotel on the Puerta del Sol was, he wrote in his life of Manet, a
veritable haven after roughing it in the adjacent kingdom. At the
mid-day breakfast he ate as if he had never encountered good cooking
in his life. Presently his attention was attracted by the behaviour of
a stranger who sat next to him. The unknown was a Frenchman who abused
the food, the service, and the country. He was so irritable when he
noticed Duret enjoying the very _plats_ he had passed that he turned
on him and demanded if insult was meant. The horrible cuisine, he
explained, made him sick, and he could not understand the appetite of
Duret. Good-naturedly Duret explained he had just arrived from
Portugal and that the breakfast was a veritable feast. "And I have
just arrived from Paris," he answered, and gave his name, Edouard
Manet. He added that he had been so persecuted that he suspected his
neighbour of some evil pleasantry. The pair became friends, and went
to look at the pictures of Velasquez at the Prado. Fresh from Paris,
Manet was still smarting from the attacks made on him after the
hanging of his Olympia in the Salon of 1865. Little wonder his nerves
were on edge. A dozen days later, after he had studied Velasquez,
Goya, and El Greco, Manet, in company with Duret, returned to Paris.
It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship.

About eight years ago Duret's definitive biography of Manet appeared,
Histoire de Edouard Manet et de Son Oeuvre. No one was better
qualified to write of the dead painter than Theodore Duret. A critic
of perspicacity, his enthusiasm was kindled during the birth throes of
impressionism and has never been quenched. Only a few years ago, after
a tribute to Whistler, he wrote of Manet in the introduction to his
volume on Impressionism, and while no one may deny his estimate, yet
through zeal for the name of his dead friend he attributed to him the
discoveries of the impressionists. Manet was their leader; he would
have been a leader of men in any art epoch; but he did not invent the
fulminating palette of Monet, and, in reality, he joined the
insurgents after they had waged their earlier battles. His
"impressionistic" painting, so called, did not date until later;
before that he had fought for his own independence, and his method was
different from that of Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, Cezanne and the rest.
Nevertheless, because of his notoriety--fame is hardly the word--he
may be fairly called the leader of the school.

As a rule he was not an irascible man, if the unpleasant nature of the
attacks upon him is taken into consideration. With the exception of
Richard Wagner and Ibsen, I know of no artist who was vilified during
his lifetime as was Manet. A gentleman, he was the reverse of the
bohemian. Duret writes of him that he was shocked at the attempt to
make of him a monster. He did not desire to become _chef d'ecole_, nor
did he set up as an eccentric. When he gave his special exhibition his
catalogue contained a modest declaration of the right of the artist to
his personal vision. He did not pretend to have created a new school,
and he asked the public to judge his work as that of a sincere
painter; but even that mild pronunciamento was received with jeers.
The press, with a few exceptions, was against him, and so were nearly
all the artists of influence. Zola's aggressive articles only made the
situation worse. Who was this Zola but a writer of doubtful taste and
sensational style! The whole crowd of realists, naturalists, and
impressionists--the Batignolles school was the mocking title given the
latter--were dumped into the common vat of infamy and critical vitriol
poured over them.

The main facts of Manet's career may be soon disposed of. His mother
was Eugenie Desiree Fournier; she was the goddaughter of Charles
Bernadotte, King of Sweden. Her father, a prefect at Pau, had rendered
services to Bernadotte which the latter did not forget. When she
married, in 1831, Auguste Manet, a distinguished judge of the Seine
tribunal, Bernadotte made her many valuable presents and a dowry. Her
three sons were Edouard, Eugene, and Gustave. They inherited from
their rich grandfather, Fournier. Edouard was born at Paris, Rue
Bonaparte, January 23, 1832. His brother Eugene became a doctor of
medicine and later married one of the most gifted of women painters,
Berthe Morisot, who died in 1895, after winning the praise of the most
critical pens in all Europe. Edouard was intended for the bar, but he
threw up his studies and swore he would become a painter. Then he was
sent abroad. He visited South America and other countries, and kept
his eyes wide open, as his sea-pieces proved. After his mother became
a widow he married, in 1863, Susanne Leenhoff, of Delft, Holland. She
was one of the early admirers of Schumann in Paris and played the A
minor piano concerto with orchestra there, and, it is said, with
success. She was an admirer of her husband's genius, and during all
the turmoil of his existence she was a friend and counsellor.

The young couple lived with the elder Mme. Manet in the Rue de
Saint-Petersbourg, and their weekly reception became a rallying centre
for not only _les Jeunes_, but also for such men as Gambetta, Emile
Ollivier, Clemenceau, Antonin Proust, De Banville, Baudelaire,
Duranty--with whom Manet fought a duel over a trifle--Zola, Mallarme,
Abbe Hurel, Monet, and the impressionistic group. Edouard entertained
great devotion for his mother. She saw two of her sons die, Edouard in
1883 (April 30) and Gustave in 1884. (He was an advocate and took
Clemenceau's place as municipal councillor when the latter was elected
Deputy.) Mme. Manet died in 1885. The painter was stricken with
locomotor ataxia, brought on by protracted toil, in 1881. For nearly
three years he suffered, and after the amputation of a leg he
succumbed. His obsequies were almost of national significance. His
widow lived until 1906.

_Manet et manebit_ was the motto of the artist. He lived to paint and
he painted much after his paralytic seizure. He was a brilliant
raconteur, and, as Degas said, was at one time as well known in Paris
as Garibaldi, red shirt and all. The truth is, Manet, after being
forced with his back to the wall, became the active combatant in the
duel with press and public. He was unhappy if people on the boulevard
did not turn to look at him. "The most notorious painter in Paris" was
a description which he finally grew to enjoy. It may not be denied
that he painted several pictures as a direct challenge to the world,
but a painter of offensive pictures he never was. The execrated
Picnic, proscribed by the jury of the Salon in 1861, was shown in the
Salon des Refuses (in company with works by Bracquemond, Cazin,
Fantin-Latour, Harpignies, Jongkind, J.P. Laurens, Legros, Pissarro,
Vollon, Whistler--the mildest-mannered crew of pirates that ever
attempted to scuttle the bark of art), and a howl arose. What was this
shocking canvas like? A group of people at a picnic, several nudes
among them. In vain it was pointed out to the modest Parisians (who at
the time revelled in the Odalisque of Ingres, in Cabanel, Gerome,
Bouguereau, and other delineators of the chaste) that in the Louvre
the Concert of Giorgione depicted just such a scene; but the mixture
of dressed and undressed was appalling, and Manet became a man marked
for vengeance. Perhaps the exceeding brilliancy of his paint and his
unconventional manner of putting it on his canvas had as much to do
with the obloquy as his theme. And then he would paint the life around
him instead of producing _pastiches_ of old masters or sickly
evocations of an unreal past.

He finished Olympia the year of his marriage, and refused to exhibit
it; Baudelaire insisted to the contrary. It was shown at the Salon of
1865 (where Monet exhibited for the first time) and became the scandal
of the day. Again the painter was bombarded with invectives. This
awful nude, to be sure, was no more unclothed than is Cabanel's Venus,
but the latter is pretty and painted with soap-suds and
sentimentality. The Venus of Titian is not a whit more exposed than
the slim, bony, young woman who has just awakened in time to receive a
bouquet at the hands of her negress, while a black cat looks on this
matutinal proceeding as a matter of course. The silhouette has the
firmness of Holbein; the meagre girl recalls a Cranach. It is not the
greatest of Manet; one could say, despite the bravura of the
performances, that the painter was indulging in an ironic joke. It was
a paint pot flung in the face of Paris. Olympia figured at the 1887
exhibition in the Pavilion Manet. An American (the late William M.
Laffan) tried to buy her. John Sargent intervened, and a number of the
painter's friends, headed by Claude Monet, subscribed a purse of
twenty thousand francs. In 1890 Monet and Camille Pelletan presented
to M. Fallieres, then Minister of Instruction, the picture for the
Luxembourg, and in 1907 (January 6), thanks to the prompt action of
Clemenceau, one of Manet's earliest admirers, the hated Olympia was
hung in the Louvre. The admission was a shock, even at that late day
when the din of the battle had passed. When in 1884 there was held at
the Ecole des Beaux-Arts a memorial exposition of Manet's works,
Edmond About wrote that the place ought to be fumigated, and Gerome
"brandished his little cane" with indignation. Why all the excitement
in official circles? Only this: Manet was a great painter, the
greatest painter in France during the latter half of the nineteenth
century. Beautiful paint always provokes hatred. Manet won. Nothing
succeeds like the success which follows death. (Our only fear nowadays
is that his imitators won't die. Second-rate Manet is as bad as
second-rate Bouguereau.) If he began by patterning after Hals,
Velasquez, and Goya, he ended quite Edouard Manet; above all, he gave
his generation a new vision. There will be always the battle of
methods. As Mr. MacColl says: "Painting is continually swaying between
the _chiaroscuro_ reading of the world which gives it depth and the
colour reading which reduces it to flatness. Manet takes all that the
modern inquisition of shadows will give to strike his compromise near
the singing colours of the Japanese mosaic."

What a wit this Parisian painter possessed! Duret tells of a passage
at arms between Manet and Alfred Stevens at the period when the
former's Le Bon Bock met for a wonder with a favourable reception at
the Salon of 1873. This portrait of the engraver Belot smoking a pipe,
his fingers encircling a glass, caused Stevens to remark that the man
in the picture "drank the beer of Haarlem." The _mot_ nettled Manet,
whose admiration for Frans Hals is unmistakably visible in this
magnificent portrait. He waited his chance for revenge, and it came
when Stevens exhibited a picture in the Rue Lafitte portraying a young
woman of fashion in street dress standing before a portiere which she
seems about to push aside in order to enter another room. Manet
studied the composition for a while, and noting a feather duster
elaborately painted which lies on the floor beside the lady,
exclaimed: "Tiens! elle a done un rendezvous avec le valet de


New biographical details concerning Jean Antoine Watteau (1684-1721)
may never be forthcoming, though theories of his enigmatic personality
and fascinating art will always find exponents. Our knowledge of
Watteau is confined to a few authorities: the notes in D'Argenville's
Abrege de la Vie des Plus Fameux Peintres; Catalogue Raisonne, by
Gersaint; Julienne's introduction to the Life of Watteau by Count de
Caylus--discovered by the Goncourts and published in their brilliant
study of eighteenth-century art. Since then have appeared monographs,
etudes, and articles by Cellier, Mollet, Hanover, Dohme, Muentz,
Seailles, Claude Phillips, Charles Blanc, Virgile Joez, F. Staley,
Teodor de Wyzewa, and Camille Mauclair. Mauclair is the latest and one
of the most interesting commentators, his principal contribution being
De Watteau a Whistler, a chapter of which has been afterward expanded
into a compact little study entitled Watteau and translated from the
French text by Mme. Simon Bussy, the wife of that intimate painter of
twilight and poetic reverie, Simon Bussy, to whom the book is

It is the thesis put forth and cleverly maintained by Mauclair that
interests us more than his succinct notation of the painter's life. It
is not so novel as it is just and moderate in its application. The
pathologic theory of genius has been overworked. In literature
nowadays "psychiatrists" rush in where critics fear to tread. Mahomet
was an epilept; so was Napoleon. Flaubert died of epilepsy, said his
friends; nevertheless, Rene Dumesnil has proved that his sudden
decease was caused not by apoplexy but by hystero-neurasthenia. Eye
strain played hob with the happiness of Carlyle, and an apostle of
sweetness and light declared that Ibsen was a "degenerate"--Ibsen, who
led the humdrum exterior life of a healthy _bourgeois_. Lombroso has
demonstrated--to his own satisfaction--that Dante's mystic
illumination was due to some brand of mental disorder. In fact, this
self-styled psychologist mapped anew the topography of the human
spirit. Few have escaped his fine-tooth-comb criticism except
mediocrity. Painters, poets, patriots, musicians, scientists,
philosophers, novelists, statesmen, dramatists, all who ever
participated in the Seven Arts, were damned as lunatics, decadents,
criminals, and fools. It was a convenient inferno in which to dump the
men who succeeded in the field wherein you were a failure. The height
of the paradox was achieved when a silly nomenclature was devised to
meet every vacillation of the human temperament. If you feared to
cross the street you suffered from agoraphobia; if you didn't fear to
cross the street, that too was a very bad sign. If you painted like
Monet, paralysis of the optical centre had set in--but why continue?

It is a pity that this theory of genius has been so thoroughly
discredited, for it is a field which promises many harvestings; there
is mad genius as there are stupid folk. Besides, normality doesn't
mean the commonplace. A normal man is a superior man. The degenerate
man is the fellow of low instincts, rickety health, and a drunkard,
criminal, or idiot. The comical part of the craze--which was
short-lived, yet finds adherents among the half-baked in culture and
the ignorant--is that it deliberately twisted the truth, making men of
fine brain and high-strung temperament seem crazy or depraved, when
the reverse is usually the case. Since the advent of Lombroso
"brainstorms" are the possession of the privileged. Naturally your
grocer, tailor, or politician may display many of the above symptoms,
but no one studies them. They are not "geniuses."

All this to assure you that when Camille Mauclair assumes that the
malady from which Antoine Watteau died was also a determining factor
in his art, the French critic is not aping some modern men of science
who denounce the writings of Dostoievsky because he suffered from
epileptic fits. But there is a happy mean in this effort to correlate
mind and body. If we are what we think or what we eat--and it is not
necessary to subscribe to such a belief--then the sickness of the body
is reflected in the soul, or vice versa. Byron was a healthy man
naturally, when he didn't dissipate, and Byron's poems are full of
magnificent energy, though seldom in the key of optimism. The revolt,
the passion, the scorn, were they all the result of his health? Or of
his liver? Or of his soul? Goethe, the imperial the myriad-minded
Goethe, the apostle of culture, the model European man of the
nineteenth century--what of him? Serenity he is said to have attained,
yet from the summit of eighty years he confessed to four weeks of
happiness in a long lifetime. Nor was he with all his superb manhood
free from neurotic disorders, neurotic and erotic. Shelley? Ah! he is
a pronounced case for the specialists. Any man who could eat dry
bread, drink water, and write such angelic poetry must have been quite
mad. Admitted. Would there were more Shelleys. Browning is a fair
specimen of genius and normality; as his wife illustrated an unstable
nervous temperament allied to genius. George Borrow was a rover, a
difficult man to keep as a friend, happy only when thinking of the
gipsies and quarrelling when with them. Would Baudelaire's magic verse
and prose sound its faint, acrid, sinister music if the French poet
had led a sensible life? Cruel question of the dilettante for whom the
world, all its splendor, all its art, is but a spectacle. It is
needless to continue, the list is too large; too large and too
contradictory. The Variations of Genius would be as profound and as
vast a book as Lord Acton's projected History of Human Thought. The
truth is that genius is the sacrificial goat of humanity; through some
inexplicable transposition genius bears the burdens of mankind;
afflicted by the burden of the flesh intensified many times, burdened
with the affliction of the spirit, raised to a pitch abnormal, the
unhappy man of genius is stoned because he staggers beneath the load
of his sensitive temperament or wavers from the straight and narrow
path usually blocked by bores too thick-headed and too obese to
realise the flower-fringed abysses on either side of the road. And
having sent genius in general among the goats, let us turn to
consumptive genius in particular.

Watteau was a consumptive; he died of the disease. A consumptive
genius! It is a hard saying. People of average health whose pulse-beat
is normal in _tempo_ luckily never realise the febrile velocity with
which flows the blood in the veins of a sick man of genius. But there
is a paradox in the case of Watteau, as there was in the case of
Chopin, of Keats, of Robert Louis Stevenson. The painter of
Valenciennes gave little sign of his malady on his joyous lyrical
canvases. Keats sang of faery landscapes and Chopin's was a virile
spirit; the most cheerful writer under the sun was Stevenson, who even
in his Pulvis et Umbra conjured up images of hope after a most
pitiless arraignment of the universe and man. And here is the paradox.
This quartet of genius suffered from and were slain by consumption.
(Stevenson died directly of brain congestion; he was, however, a
victim to lung trouble.) That the poets turn their sorrow into song is
an axiom. Yet these men met death, or what is worse, met life, with
defiance or impassible fronts. And the world which loves the lilting
rhythms of Chopin's mazourkas seldom cares to peep behind the screen
of notes for the anguish ambushed there. Watteau has painted the
gayest scenes of pastoral elegance in a land out of time, a No-Man's
Land of blue skies, beautiful women, gallant men, and lovely
landscapes, while his life was haunted by thoughts of death.

The riddle is solved by Mauclair: These flights into the azure, these
evocations of a country west of the sun and east of the moon, these
graceful creatures of Watteau, the rich brocade of Chopin's harmonies,
the exquisite pictures of Keats, the youthful joy in far-away
countries of Stevenson, all, all are so many stigmata of their
terrible affliction. They sought by the magic of their art to create a
realm of enchantment, a realm wherein their ailing bodies and wounded
spirits might find peace and solace. This is the secret of Watteau,
says Mauclair, which was not yielded up in the eighteenth century, not
even to his followers, Pater, Lancret, Boucher, Fragonard, whose pagan
gaiety and artificial spirit is far removed from the veiled melancholy
of Watteau. As we see Chopin, a slender man, morbid, sickly, strike
the martial chord in an unparalleled manner, Chopin the timid, the
composer of the Heroic Polonaise, so Watteau, morbid, sickly, timid,
slender, composes that masterpiece of delicate and decorative
joyousness, The Embarkment for Cythera, which hangs in the Louvre (a
gorgeous sketch, the final version, is at Potsdam in the collection of
the German Emperor). In these works we find the aura of consumption.

None of Watteau's contemporaries fathomed the meaning of his art: not
Count de Caylus, not his successors, who all recognised the masterly
draughtsman, the marvellous colourist, the composer of pastoral
ballets, of matchless _fetes galantes_, of conversations, of
miniatures depicting camp life, and fanciful decorations in the true
style of his times. But the melancholy poet that was in the man, his
lyric pessimism, and his unassuaged thirst for the infinite--these
things they did not see. Caylus, who has left the only data of value,
speaks of Watteau's hatred of life, his aversion at times from the
human face, his restlessness that caused him to seek new
abodes--Chopin was always dissatisfied with his lodgings and always
changing them. The painter made friends in plenty, only to break with
them because of some fancied slight. Chopin was of umbrageous nature,
Liszt tells us. Watteau never married, and never, as far as is known,
had a love affair. He is an inspired painter of women. (Perhaps,
because of his celibacy.) He loved to depict them in delicious poses,
under waving trees in romantic parks or in the nude. A gallant artist,
he was not a gallant man. He had the genius of friendship but not the
talent for insuring its continuity. Like Arthur Rimbaud, he suffered
from the nostalgia of the open road. He disappeared frequently. His
whereabouts was a mystery to his friends. He did not care for money or
for honours. He was elected without volition on his part as a member
of the Academy. Yet he did not use this powerful lever to further his
welfare. Silent, a man of continent speech, he never convinced his
friends that his art was chaste; yet he never painted an indelicate
stroke. His personages, all disillusionised, vaguely suffer, make love
without desire--disillusioned souls all. L'Indifferent, that young man
in the Louvre who treads the earth with such light disdain, with such
an airy expression of sweetness and _ennui_, that picture, Mauclair
remarks, is the soul of Watteau. And, perhaps, spills his secret.

Mauclair does not like the coupling of Watteau's name with those of
Boucher, Pater, Lancret, De Troy, Coypel, or Vanloo. They imitated him
as to externals; the spirit of him they could not ensnare. If Watteau
stemmed artistically from Rubens, from Ruysdael, from Titian (or
Tiepolo, as Kenyon Cox acutely hints) he is the father of a great
school, the true French school, though his stock is Flemish. Turner
knew him; so did Bonington. Delacroix understood him. So did Chardin,
himself a solitary in his century. Without Watteau's initiative
Monticelli might not be the Monticelli we know, while Claude Monet,
Manet, Renoir are the genuine flowering of his experiments in the
division of tones and the composition of luminous skies.

Mauclair smiles at Caylus for speaking of Watteau's mannerisms, the
mannerisms that proclaim his originality. Only your academic,
colourless painter lacks personal style and always paints like
somebody he is not. Watteau's art is peculiarly personal. Its
peculiarity--apart from its brilliancy and vivacity--is, as Mauclair
remarks, "the contrast of cheerful colour and morbid expression."
_Morbidezza_ is the precise phrase; _morbidezza_ may be found in
Chopin's art, in the very feverish moments when he seems brimming over
with high spirits. Watteau was not a consumptive of the Pole's type.
He did not alternate between ecstasy and languor. He was cold,
self-contained, suspicious, and inveterately hid the state of his
health. He might have been cured, but he never reached Italy, and that
far-off dream and his longing to realise it may have been the basis of
his last manner--those excursions into a gorgeous dreamland. He
yearned for an impossible region. His visions on canvas are the
shadowy sketches of this secret desire that burned him up. It may have
been consumption--and Mauclair makes out a strong case--and it may
have been the expression of a rare poetic temperament. Watteau was a
poet of excessive sensibility as well as the contriver of dainty
masques and ballets.

In literature one man at least has understood him, Walter Pater.
Readers of his Imaginary Portraits need not be reminded of A Prince of
Court Painters, that imaginative reconstruction of an almost obscure
personality. "His words as he spoke of them [the paintings of Rubens]
seemed full of a kind of rich sunset with some moving glory within
it." This was the Watteau who is summed by Pater (a distant kinsman,
perhaps, of the Pater Watteau tutored) as a man who had been "a sick
man all his life. He was always a seeker after something in the world,
that is there in no satisfying measure, or not at all." Camille
Mauclair eloquently ends his study with the confession that the mere
utterance of Watteau's name "suffices to evoke in men's minds a memory
of the melancholy that was his, arrayed in garments of azure and rose.
Ah! crepuscular Psyche, whose smile is akin to tears!"



The key-note to the character of Paul Gauguin, painter and sculptor,
may be found in his declaration that in art there are only
revolutionists or plagiarists. A brave speech. And a proud man who
uttered it; for unless he wished to avoid its implications he must
needs prove his sincerity. In the short, adventurous, crowded life
vouchsafed him, Paul Gauguin proved himself indeed a revolutionary
painter. His maxim was the result of hard-won experiences. He was born
at Paris June 7, 1848--a stormy year for France; he died at Dominique
May 9, 1904. His father was a native of Brittany, while on his
mother's side he was Peruvian. This mixed blood may account for his
wandering proclivities and his love for exotic colouring and manners.
To further accentuate the rebellious instincts of the youth his
maternal grandmother was that Flora Tristan, friend of the anarchistic
thinker Proudhon. She was a socialist later and a prime mover in the
Workman's Union; she allied herself with Pere Enfantin and helped him
to found his religion, "Mapa," of which he was the god, Ma, and she
the goddess, Pa. Enfantin's career and end may be recalled by students
of St. Simon and the socialistic movements of those times. Paul's
father, Clovis Gauguin, wrote in 1848 the political chronicle on the
_National_, but previous to the _coup d'etat_ he left for Lima, there
to found a journal. He died of an aneurism in the Straits of Magellan,
a malady that was to carry off his son. After four years in Lima the
younger Gauguin returned to France. In 1856 a Peruvian grand-uncle
died at the extraordinary age of one hundred and thirteen. His name
was Don Pio de Tristan, and he was reported very rich. But Paul got
none of this wealth, and at fourteen he was a cabin-boy, feeble of
health but extremely curious about life. He saw much of life and
strange lands in the years that followed, and he developed into a
powerfully built young sailor and no doubt stored his brain with
sumptuous images of tropical scenery which reappeared in his canvases.
He traversed the globe several times. He married and took a position
in a bank. On Sundays he painted. His hand had itched for years to
reproduce the landscapes he had seen. He made friends with Degas,
Cezanne, Pissarro, Renoir, Monet, Guillaumin, and Manet. He called
himself an amateur and a "Sunday painter," but as he was received on
terms of equality with these famous artists it may be presumed that,
autodidact as he was, his versatile talent--for it literally was
versatile--did not escape their scrutiny. He submitted himself to
various influences; he imitated the Impressionists, became a
Neo-Impressionist of the most extravagant sort; went sketching with
Cezanne and Van Gogh, that unfortunate Dutchman, and finally announced
to his friends and family that "henceforward I shall paint every day."
He gave up his bank, and Charles Morice has said that his life became
one of misery, solitude, and herculean labours.

He painted in Brittany, Provence, at Martinique, in the Marquesas and
Tahiti. He had parted with the Impressionists and sought for a new
_aesthetik_ of art; to achieve this he broke away not only from
tradition, even the tradition of the Impressionists, but from Europe
and its civilisation. To this half-savage temperament devoured by the
nostalgia of the tropics the pictures of his contemporaries bore the
fatal stamp of the obvious, of the thrice done and used up. France,
Holland, Spain, Italy--what corner was there left in these countries
that had not been painted thousands of times and by great masters! The
South Seas, Japan, China--anywhere away from the conventional studio
landscape, studio models, poses, grimaces! At Pont-Aven in 1888,
between trips made to Martinique and Provence, Gauguin had attained
mastery of himself; Cezanne had taught him simplicity; Degas, his
avowed admirer, had shown him the potency of the line; Renoir's warm
colouring had spurred him to a still richer palette; and Manet had
given him sound advice. A copy of the Olympe, by Gauguin, finished
about this time, is said to be a masterpiece. But with Degas he was
closer than the others. A natural-born writer, his criticisms of the
modern French school are pregnant with wit and just observation. What
was nicknamed the School of Pont-Aven was the outcome of Gauguin's
imperious personality. A decorative impulse, a largeness of style, and
a belief that everything in daily life should be beautiful and
characteristic sent the painters to modelling, to ceramics and
decoration. Armand Seguin, Emile Bernard, Maurice Denis, Filiger,
Serusier, Bonnard, Vuillard, Chamaillard, Verkade, O'Conor, Durio,
Maufra, Ranson, Mayol, Roy, and others are to-day happy to call
themselves associates of Paul Gauguin in this little movement in which
the idolatry of the line and the harmonies of the arabesque were
pursued with joyous fanaticism.

Gauguin in an eloquent letter tells of his intercourse with Vincent
Van Gogh, who went mad and killed himself, not, however, before
attempting the life of his master. Mauclair has said of Van Gogh that
he "left to the world some violent and strange works, in which
Impressionism appears to have reached the limit of its audacity. Their
value lies in their naive frankness and in the undauntable
determination which tried to fix without trickery the sincerest
feelings. Amid many faulty and clumsy works Van Gogh has also left
some really beautiful canvases." Before Gauguin went to Tahiti his
Breton peasants were almost as monstrous as his later Polynesian
types. His representations of trees also seem monstrous. His endeavour
was to get beyond the other side of good and evil in art and create a
new synthesis, and thus it came to pass that the ugly and the formless
reign oft in his work--the ugly and formless according to the old
order of envisaging the world.

In 1891 and 1892, at Tahiti, Gauguin painted many
pictures--masterpieces his friends and disciples call them--which were
later shown at an exhibition held in the Durand-Ruel Galleries. Paris
shuddered or went into ecstasy over these blazing transcriptions of
the tropics; over these massive men and women, nude savages who stared
with such sinister magnetism from the frames. The violent
deformations, the intensity of vision, the explosive hues--a novel
gamut of rich tones--and the strangeness of the subject-matter caused
a nine days' gossip; yet the exhibition was not a great success.
Gauguin was too new, too startling, too original for his generation;
he is yet for the majority, though he may be the Paint God of the
twentieth century. Cut to the heart by his failure to make a dazzling
reputation, also make a little money--for he was always a poor man--he
left Paris forever in 1895. He was sick and his life among the
Marquisians did not improve his health. He took the part of the
natives against the whites and was denounced as a moral castaway. In
1904 he wrote Charles Morice: "I am a savage." But a savage of talent.
In reality he was a cultivated man, an attractive man, and a billiard
player and a fencer. Paint was his passion. If you live by the pen you
may perish by the pen. The same is too often the case with the palette
and brush hero.

Though Paul Gauguin failed in his search for a synthesis of the ugly
and the beautiful, he was nevertheless a bold initiator, one who
shipwrecked himself in his efforts to fully express his art. With all
his realism he was a symbolist, a master of decoration. A not too
sympathetic commentator has written of him: "Paul Gauguin's robust
talent found its first motives in Breton landscapes, in which the
method of colour spots may be found employed with delicacy and placed
at the service of a rather heavy but very interesting harmony. Then
the artist spent a long time in Tahiti, whence he returned with a
completely transformed manner. He brought back from those regions some
landscapes treated in intentionally clumsy and almost wild fashion.
The figures are outlined in firm strokes and painted in broad, flat
tints on canvas that has the texture of tapestry. Many of these works
are made repulsive by their aspect of multicoloured, crude, and
barbarous imagery. Yet one cannot but acknowledge the fundamental
qualities, the lovely values, the ornamental taste, and the impression
of primitive animalism. On the whole, Paul Gauguin has a beautiful,
artistic temperament which, in its aversion to virtuosity, has perhaps
not sufficiently understood that the fear of formulas, if exaggerated,
may lead to other formulas, to a false ignorance which is as dangerous
as false knowledge."

All of which is true; yet Paul Gauguin was a painter who had something
new to say, and he said it in a very personal fashion.


I once attended at Paris an exhibition devoted to the work of the late
Count Toulouse-Lautrec. There the perverse genius of an unhappy man
who owes allegiance to no one but Degas and the Japanese was seen at
its best. His astonishing qualities of invention, draughtsmanship, and
a diabolic ingenuity in sounding the sinister music of decayed souls
have never been before assembled under one roof. Power there is and a
saturnine hatred of his wretched sitters. Toulouse-Lautrec had not the
impersonal vision of Zola nor the repressed and disenchanting irony of
Degas. He loathed the crew of repulsive night birds that he pencilled
and painted in old Montmartre before the foreign invasion destroyed
its native and spontaneous wickedness. Now a resort for easily
bamboozled English and Americans, the earlier Montmartre was a rich
mine for painter-explorers. Raffaelli went there and so did Renoir;
but the former was impartially impressionistic; the latter, ever
ravished by a stray shaft of sunshine flecking the faces of the
dancers, set it all down in charming tints. Not so Toulouse-Lautrec.
Combined with a chronic pessimism, he exhibited a divination of
character that, if he had lived and worked hard, might have placed him
not far below Degas. He is savant. He has a line that proclaims the
master. And unlike Aubrey Beardsley, his affinity to the Japanese
never seduced him into the exercise of the decorative abnormal which
sometimes distinguished the efforts of the Englishman. We see the
Moulin Rouge with its hosts of deadly parasites, La Goulue and her
vile retainers. The brutality here is one of contempt, as a blow
struck full in the face. Vice has never before been so harshly
arraigned. This art makes of Hogarth a pleasing preacher, so drastic
is it, so deliberately searching in its insults. And never the
faintest exaggeration or burlesque. These brigands and cut-throats,
pimps and pickpurses are set before us without bravado, without the
genteel glaze of the timid painter, without an attempt to call a
prostitute a _cocotte_. Indeed, persons are called by their true names
in these hasty sketches of Lautrec's, and so clearly sounded are the
names that sometimes you are compelled to close your ears and eyes.
His models, with their cavernous glance, their emaciated figures, and
vicious expression, are a commentary on atelier life in those days and
regions. Toulouse-Lautrec is like a page from Ecclesiastes.



The annual rotation of the earth brings to us at least once during its
period the threadbare, thriceworn, stale, flat, and academic
discussion of critic and artist. We believe comparisons of creator and
critic are unprofitable, being for the most part a confounding of
intellectual substances. The painter paints, the composer makes music,
the sculptor models, and the poet sings. Like the industrious crow the
critic hops after these sowers of beauty, content to peck up in the
furrows the chance grains dropped by genius. This, at least, is the
popular notion. Balzac, and later Disraeli, asked: "After all, what
are the critics? Men who have failed in literature and art." And
Mascagni, notwithstanding the laurels he wore after his first success,
cried aloud in agony that a critic was _compositore mancato_. These be
pleasing quotations for them whose early opus has failed to score. The
trouble is that every one is a critic, your gallery-god as well as the
most stately practitioner of the art severe. Balzac was an excellent
critic when he saluted Stendhal's Chartreuse de Parme as a
masterpiece; as was Emerson when he wrote to Walt Whitman. What the
mid-century critics of the United States, what Sainte-Beuve, master
critic of France, did not see, Balzac and Emerson saw and, better
still, spoke out. In his light-hearted fashion Oscar Wilde asserted
that the critic was also a creator--apart from his literary worth--and
we confess that we know of cases where the critic has created the
artist. But that a serious doubt can be entertained as to the relative
value of creator and critic is hardly worth denying.

Consider the painters. Time and time again you read or hear the
indignant denunciation of some artist whose canvas has been ripped-up
in print. If the offender happens to be a man who doesn't paint, then
he is called an ignoramus; if he paints or etches, or even sketches in
crayon, he is well within the Balzac definition--poor, miserable
imbecile, he is only jealous of work that he could never have
achieved. As for literary critics, it may be set down once and for all
that they are "suspect." They write; ergo, they must be unjust. The
dilemma has branching horns. Is there no midway spot, no safety ground
for that weary Ishmael the professional critic to escape being gored?
Naturally any expression of personal feeling on his part is set down
to mental arrogance. He is permitted like the wind to move over the
face of the waters, but he must remain unseen. We have always thought
that the enthusiastic Dublin man in the theatre gallery was after a
critic when he cried aloud at the sight of a toppling companion:
"Don't waste him. Kill a fiddler with him!" It seems more in
consonance with the Celtic character; besides, the Irish are

If one could draw up the list of critical and creative men in art the
scale would not tip evenly. The number of painters who have written of
their art is not large, though what they have said is always pregnant.
Critics outnumber them--though the battle is really a matter of
quality, not quantity. There is Da Vinci. For his complete writings
some of us would sacrifice miles of gawky pale and florid mediaeval
paintings. What we have of him is wisdom, and like true wisdom is
prophetic. Then there is that immortal gossip Vasari, a very biassed
critic and not too nice to his contemporaries. He need not indulge in
what is called the woad argument; we sha'n't go back to the early
Britons for our authorities. Let us come to Sir Joshua Reynolds, whose
Discourses are invaluable--and also to be taken well salted; he was
encrusted with fine old English prejudices. One of his magnificent
sayings and one appreciated by the entire artistic tribe was his
ejaculation: "Damn paint!" Raphael Mengs wrote. We wish that Velasquez
had. What William Blake said of great artists threw much light on
William Blake. Ingres uttered things, principally in a rage, about his
contemporaries. Delacroix was a thinker. He literally anticipated
Chevreul's discoveries in the law of simultaneous contrasts of colour.
Furthermore, he wrote profoundly of his art. He appreciated Chopin
before many critics and musicians--which would have been an impossible
thing for Ingres, though he played the violin--and he was kind to the
younger men.

Need we say that Degas is a great wit, though not a writer; a wit and
a critic? Rousseau, the landscapist, made notes, and Corot is often
quoted. If Millet had never written another sentence but "There is no
isolated truth," he would still have been a critic. Constable with his
"A good thing is never done twice"; and Alfred Stevens's definition of
art, "Nature seen through the prism of an emotion," forestalled Zola's
pompous pronouncement in The Experimental Novel. To jump over the
stile to literature, Wordsworth wrote critical prefaces, and Shelley,
too; Poe was a critic; and what of Coleridge, who called painting "a
middle quality between a thought and a thing--the union of that which
is nature with that which is exclusively human"? There are plenty of
examples on the side of the angels. Whistler! What a critic, wielding
a finely chased rapier! Thomas Couture wrote and discoursed much of
his art. Sick man as he was, I heard him talk of art at his country
home, Villiers-le-Bel, on the Northern Railway, near Paris. This was
in 1878. William M. Hunt's talks on art were fruitful. So are John
Lafarge's. The discreet Gigoux of Balzac notoriety has an entertaining
book to his credit; while Rodin is often coaxed into utterances about
his and other men's work. There are many French, English, and American
artists who write and paint with equal facility. In New York, Kenyon
Cox is an instance. But the chiefest among all the painters alive and
dead, one who shines and will continue to shine when his canvases are
faded--and they are fading--is Eugene Fromentin, whose Maitres
d'autrefois is a classic of criticism. Since his day two critics, who
are also painters, have essayed both crafts, George Clausen and D.S.

Professor Clausen is a temperate critic, MacColl a brilliant,
revolutionary one. The critical temper in either man is not dogmatic.
Seurat, the French Neo-Impressionist, has defended his theories;
indeed, the number of talented Frenchmen who paint well and write with
style as well as substance is amazing. Rossetti would no longer be a
rare bird in these days of piping painters, musicians who are poets,
and sculptors who are painters. The unfortunate critic occasionally
writes a play or an opera (particularly in Paris), but as a rule he is
content to echo that old German who desperately exclaimed: "Even if I
am nothing else, I am at least a contemporary."

Let us now swing around the obverse side of the medal. A good showing.
You may begin with Wincklemann or Goethe--we refer entirely to critics
of paint and painters--or run down the line to Diderot, Blanc,
Gautier, Baudelaire, Zola, Goncourt, who introduced to Europe Japanese
art; Roger Marx, Geoffroy, Huysmans, Camille Mauclair, Charles Morice,
and Octave Mirbeau. Zola was not a painter, but he praised Edouard
Manet. These are a few names hastily selected. In England, Ruskin too
long ruled the critical roast; full of thunder-words like Isaiah, his
vaticinations led a generation astray. He was a prophet, not a critic,
and he was a victim to his own abhorred "pathetic fallacy." Henley was
right in declaring that until R.A.M. Stevenson appeared there was no
great art criticism in England or English. The "Velasquez" is a
marking stone in critical literature. It is the one big book by a big
temperament that may be opposed page by page to Fromentin's critical
masterpiece. Shall we further adduce the names of Morelli, Sturge
Moore, Roger Fry, Perkins, Cortissoz, Lionel Cust, Colvin, Ricci, Van
Dyke, Mather, Berenson, Brownell, and George Moore--who said of Ruskin
that his uncritical blindness regarding Whistler will constitute his
passport to fame, "the lot of critics is to be remembered by what they
have failed to understand." Walter Pater wrote criticism that is
beautiful literature. If Ruskin missed Whistler, he is in good
company, for Sainte-Beuve, the prince of critics, missed Balzac,
Stendhal, Flaubert, and to Victor Hugo was unfair. Yet, consider the
Osrics embalmed in the amber of Sainte-Beuve's style. He, like many
another critic, was superior to his subject. And that is always fatal
to the water-flies.

George III once asked in wonderment how the apples get inside the
dumplings. How can a critic criticise a creator? The man who looks on
writing things about the man who does things. But he criticises and
artists owe him much. Neither in "ink-horn terms" nor in an "upstart
Asiatic style" need the critic voice his opinions. He must be an
artist in temperament and he must have a _credo_. He need not be a
painter to write of painting, for his primary appeal is to the public.
He is the middle-man, the interpreter, the vulgariser. The
psycho-physiological processes need not concern us. One thing is
certain--a man writing in terms of literature about painting, an art
in two dimensions, cannot interpret fully the meanings of the canvas,
nor can he be sure that his opinion, such as it is, when it reaches
the reader, will truthfully express either painter or critic. Such are
the limitations of one art when it comes to deal with the ideas or
material of another. Criticism is at two removes from its theme.
Therefore criticism is a makeshift. Therefore, let critics be modest
and allow criticism to become an amiable art.

But where now is the painter critic and the professional critic?
"Stands Ulster where it did?" Yes, the written and reported words of
artists are precious alike to layman and critic. That they prefer
painting to writing is only natural; so would the critic if he had the
pictorial gift. However, as art is art and not nature, criticism is
criticism and not art. It professes to interpret the artist's work,
and at best it mirrors his art mingled with the personal temperament
of the critic. At the worst the critic lacks temperament (artistic
training is, of course, an understood requisite), and when this is the
case, God help the artist! As the greater includes the lesser, the
artist should permit the critic to enter, with all due reverence, his
sacred domain. Without vanity the one, sympathetic the other. Then the
ideal collaboration ensues. Sainte-Beuve says that "criticism by
itself can do nothing. The best of it can act only in concert with
public feeling ... we never find more than half the article in
print--the other half was written only in the reader's mind." And
Professor Walter Raleigh would further limit the "gentle art."
"Criticism, after all, is not to legislate, nor to classify, but to
raise the dead." The relations between the critic and his public open
another vista of the everlasting discussion. Let it be a negligible
one now. That painters can get along without professional criticism we
know from history, but that they will themselves play the critic is
doubtful. And are they any fairer to young talent than official
critics? It is an inquiry fraught with significance. Great and small
artists have sent forth into the world their pupils. Have they
always--as befits honest critics--recognised the pupils of other men,
pupils and men both at the opposite pole of their own theories? Recall
what Velasquez is reported to have said to Salvator Rosa, according to
Boschini and Carl Justi. Salvator had asked the incomparable Spaniard
whether he did not think Raphael the best of all the painters he had
seen in Italy. Velasquez answered: "Raphael, to be plain with you, for
I like to be candid and outspoken, does not please me at all." This
purely temperamental judgment does not make of Velasquez either a good
or a bad critic. It is interesting as showing us that even a master
cannot always render justice to another. Difference engenders hatred,
as Stendhal would say.

Can the record of criticism made by plastic artists show a generous
Robert Schumann? Schumann discovered many composers from Chopin to
Brahms and made their fortunes by his enthusiastic writing about them.
In Wagner he met his Waterloo, but every critic has his limitations.
There is no Schumann, let the fact be emphasised, among the
painter-critics, though quite as much discrimination, ardour of
discovery, and acumen may be found among the writings of the men whose
names rank high in professional criticism. And this hedge, we humbly
submit, is a rather stiff one to vault for the adherents of criticism
written by artists only. Nevertheless, every day of his humble career
must the critic pen his _apologia pro vita sua_.


Fiction about art and artists is rare--that is, good fiction, not the
stuff ground out daily by the publishing mills for the gallery-gods.
It is to France that we must look for the classic novel dealing with
painters and their painting, Manette Salomon, by Goncourt. Henry James
has written several delightful tales, such as The Liar, The Real
Thing, The Tragic Muse, in which artists appear. But it is the
particular psychological problem involved rather than theories of art
or personalities that steer Mr. James's cunning pen. We all remember
the woman who destroyed a portrait of her husband which seemed to
reveal his moral secret. John S. Sargeant has been credited with being
the psychologist of the brush in this story. There is a nice, fresh
young fellow in The Tragic Muse, who, weak-spined as he is, prefers at
the last his painting to Julia Dallow and a political career. In The
Real Thing we recognise one of those unerring strokes that prove James
to be the master psychologist among English writers. Any discerning
painter realises the value of a model who can take the pose that will
give him the pictorial idea, the suggestiveness of the pose, not an
attempt at crude naturalism. With this thesis the novelist has built
up an amusing, semi-pathetic, and striking fable.

There are painters scattered through English fiction--can we ever
forget Thackeray! Ouida has not missed weaving her Tyrian purples into
the exalted pattern of her romantic painters. And George Eliot. And
Disraeli. And Bernard Shaw--there is a painting creature in Love Among
the Artists. George Moore, however, has devoted more of his pages to
paint and painters than any other of the latter-day writers. The
reason is this: George Moore went to Paris to study art and he drifted
into the Julian atelier like any other likely young fellow with hazy
notions about art and a well-filled purse. But these early experiences
were not lost. They cropped up in many of his stories and studies. He
became the critical pioneer of the impressionistic movement and first
told London about Manet, Monet, Degas. He even--in an article
remarkable for critical acumen--declared that if Jimmy Whistler had
been a heavier man, a man of beef, brawn, and beer, like Rubens, he
would have been as great a painter as Velasquez. To the weighing
scales, fellow-artists! retorted Whistler; yet the bolt did not miss
the mark. Whistler's remarks about Mr. Moore, especially after the
Eden lawsuit, were, so it is reported, not fit to print.

In Mr. Moore's first volume of the half-forgotten trilogy, Spring
Days, we see a young painter who, it may be said, thinks more of
petticoats than paint. There is paint talk in Mike Fletcher, Moore's
most virile book. In A Modern Lover the hero is an artist who succeeds
in the fashionable world by painting pretty, artificial portraits and
faded classical allegories, thereby winning the love of women, much
wealth, popular applause, and the stamp of official approbation. This
Lewis Seymour still lives and paints modish London in rose-colour.
Moore's irony would have entered the soul of a hundred "celebrated"
artists if they had had any soul to flesh it in. When he wrote this
novel, one that shocked Mrs. Grundy, Moore was under the influence of
Paris. However, that masterpiece of description and analysis, Mildred
Lawson in Celibates--very Balzacian title, by the way--deals with
hardly anything else but art. Mildred, who is an English girl without
soul, heart, or talent, studies in the Julian atelier and goes to
Fontainebleau during the summer. No one, naturally, will ever describe
Fontainebleau better than Flaubert, in whose L'Education Sentimentale
there are marvellous pictures; also a semi-burlesque painter,
Pellerin, who reads all the works on aesthetics before he draws a line,
and not forgetting that imperishable portrait of Jacques Arnoux, art
dealer. Goncourt, too, has excelled in his impression of the forest
and its painters, Millet in particular. Nevertheless, let us say in
passing that you cannot find Mildred Lawson in Flaubert or Goncourt;
no, not even in Balzac, whose work is the matrix of modern fiction.
She is her own perverse, cruel Mooresque self, and she lives in New
York as well as London.

In both Daudet and Maupassant--Strong as Death is the latter's
contribution to painter-psychology--there are stories clustered about
the guild. Daudet has described a Salon on varnishing day with his
accustomed facile, febrile skill; you feel that it comes from Goncourt
and Zola. It is not within our scope to go back as far as Balzac,
whose Frenhofer in The Unknown Masterpiece has been a model for the
younger man. Poe, Hawthorne, Wilde, and Robert Louis Stevenson have
dealt with the theme pictorial. Zola's The Masterpiece (L'Oeuvre) is
one of the better written books of Zola. It was a favourite of his.
The much-read and belauded fifth chapter is a faithful transcription
of the first Salon of the Rejected Painters (Salon des Refuses) at
Paris, 1863. Napoleon III, after pressure had been brought to bear
upon him, consented to a special salon within the official Salon, at
the Palais de l'Industrie, which would harbour the work of the young
lunatics who wished to paint purple turkeys, green water, red grass,
and black sunsets. (Lie down, ivory hallucinations, and don't wag your
carmilion tail on the chrome-yellow carpet!) It is an enormously
clever book, this, deriving in the main as it does from Manette
Salomon and Balzac's Frenhofer. The fight for artistic veracity by
Claude Lantier is a replica of what occurred in Manet's lifetime. The
Breakfast on the Grass, described by Zola, was actually the title and
the subject of a Manet picture that scandalised Paris about this
epoch. The fantastic idea of a nude female stretched on the grass,
while the other figures were clothed and in their right minds, was too
much for public and critic, and unquestionably Manet did paint the
affair to create notoriety. Like Richard Wagner, he knew the value of

All the then novel theories of _plein air_ impressionism are discussed
in the Zola novel, yet the work seems clumsy after Goncourt's Manette
Salomon, that breviary for painters which so far back as 1867
anticipated--in print, of course--the discoveries, the experiments,
the practice of the naturalistic-impressionistic groups from Courbet
to Cezanne, Monet to Maufra, Manet to Paul Gauguin. There are verbal
pictures of student life, of salons, of atelier and open air. No such
psychologic manual of the painter's art has ever appeared before or
since Manette Salomon. It was the Goncourts who introduced Japanese
art to European literature--they were friends of the late M. Bing, a
pioneer collector in Paris. And they foresaw the future of painting as
well as of fiction.



There are two new Rembrandts in the galleries of the Mauritshuis, lent
by Prof. A. Bredius, director of the Royal Picture Gallery at The
Hague. Neither is an "important" picture in the professional sense of
that word, but they are Rembrandts--at least one is indubitable--and
that suffices. The more credible of the pair is a small canvas
depicting Andromeda manacled to the rocks. Her figure is draped to the
waist; it is a solid Dutch figure, ugly as the one of Potiphar's wife
(in an etching by Rembrandt), and no deliverer is in sight. The flesh
tones are rather cold, a cadaverous white, but it is a Rembrandt
white. The picture as a whole is sketchy and without charm or mystery.
Nevertheless, the lion's paws are there. The other shows us a woman
reading at a table. The colouring is warm and the still-life
accessories are richly and minutely painted. Not a likely Rembrandt,
either in theme or notably so in treatment. We must bow, however, to
the judgment of the learned Bredius who made the ascription. These two
works are not as yet in the catalogue. It is a pity the catalogue to
this gallery is not as complete as those of the Rijks Museum. To
visitors they offer an abridged one, dated 1904. There are since then
many new pictures, notably a sterling Chardin, marvellously painted,
and an excellent landscape by Van Cuyp, both loans of Dr. Bredius.

Otherwise this little collection is as choice and as entertaining as
ever. The usual tourist makes at once for the overrated Young Bull by
Paul Potter and never looks at the magnificent Weenix across the room,
the Dead Swan, with its velvety tones. The head of a young girl by
Vermeer, with its blue turban and buff coat, its pearl earrings, is
charming. And the View of Delft seems as fresh as the day it was
painted. The long facade of the houses and warehouses and the churches
and towers facing the river are rendered with a vivacity of colour, a
solidity in drawing, and an absence of too marked literalism which
prove that this gifted artist had more than one style. The envelope is
rich; there is air, though it be stagnant. Down-stairs is an
allegorical subject, The New Testament, which is not very convincing
as a composition, but warm in tint. The Diana and Her Companions must
have inspired Diaz and many other painters. But the real Vermeer, the
Vermeer of the enamelled surfaces and soft pervasive lighting, is at

No place is better than The Hague for the study of the earlier
Rembrandt. Dr. Tulp's Anatomical Lecture is, after the Potter bull,
the most gazed-at canvas in the Mauritshuis. It is not in a good
condition. There are evidences of over-varnishing and cobbling; nor is
it a very inspiring canvas. The head of Dr. Tulp is superb in
characterisation, and there is one other head, that of a man with
inquiring eyes, aquiline profile, the head strained forward (his name
is given in the critical works on Rembrandt), which arrests the
attention. An early composition, we are far from the perfection of The
Syndics. The self-portrait of the painter (1629) is a favourite,
though the much-vaunted feather in the head-gear is stiff; perhaps
feathers in Holland were stiff in those days. But the painters flock
to this portrait and never tire of copying its noble silhouette. The
two little studies of the painter's father and mother are
characteristic. One, of the man, is lent by Dr. Bredius. Rembrandt's
brother (study of an old man's head) shows a large old chap with a
nose of richest vintage. The portrait is brown in tone and without
charm. The Susanna Bathing is famous, but it is not as attractive as
Simeon in the Temple, with its masterly lighting, old gold in the
gloom. The Homer never fails to warm the cockles of the imagination.
What bulk! What a wealth of smothered fire in the apparel! The big
Saul listening to the playing of David is still mystifying. Is Saul
smiling or crying behind the uplifted cloak? Is he contemplating in
his neurasthenia an attempt on David's life with a whizzing lance? His
sunken cheeks, vague yet sinister eye, his turban marvellous in its
iridescence, form an ensemble not to be forgotten. David is not so
striking. From afar the large canvas glows. And the chiaroscuro is

The portrait of Rembrandt's sister, the Flight Into Egypt, the small,
laughing man, the negroes, and the study of an old woman, the latter
wearing a white head-dress, are a mine of joy for the student. The
sister's head is lent by Dr. C. Hofstede de Groot, the art expert.

There are only thirty-odd Rembrandts in Holland out of the five
hundred and fifty he painted. Of this number eighteen are in the
Mauritshuis. Holland was not very solicitous formerly of her masters.
Nowadays sentiment has changed and there is a gratifying outcry
whenever a stranger secures a genuine old master. As for the copies,
they, like the poor, are always with us. America is flooded every year
with forged pictures, especially of the minor Dutch masters, and
excellent are these imitations, it must be confessed.

There are only four specimens of Frans Hals here; portraits of Jacob
Pieterez, Aletta Hanemans, his wife; of William Croes, and the head of
a man, a small picture in The Jolly Toper style. The lace collar is
genuine Hals.

Let us close our catalogue and wander about the galleries. German and
English are the tongues one hears, Dutch seldom, French occasionally.
The Potter bull with the wooden legs is stared at by hundreds. As a
picture painted by a very young man it is noteworthy. The head of the
beast is nobly depicted. But what of the remainder of this
insignificant composition with its toad and cows, its meaningless
landscape? The Weenix swan is richer in paint texture. The Holbeins
are--two anyhow--of splendid quality. Of the Rubenses it is better to
defer mention until Antwerp is reached. They are of unequal value. The
same may be said of the Van Dycks. Look at that baby girl standing by
a chair. A Govert Flinck. How truthful! The De Heems are excellent
fruit and flower pieces. Excellent, too, the Huysums, Hondecoeters,
and Weenixes. There is a dead baby of the Dutch school (1661) which is
as realistic as a Courbet. We admired the small Memlic, or Memling,
and, naturally, the Metsus, Mierevelts, and Mierises. The Holy Virgin
and Infant Christ, by Murillo, is tender and sleek in colour. It hangs
near the solitary Velasquez of the museum, a portrait of
Charles-Baltasar, son of King Philip IV of Spain. It is not a
remarkable Velasquez.

The Pieter Lastman, a Resurrection of Lazarus, is of interest because
this painter was a preceptor of Rembrandt. William Kalf's still-life
is admirable, and the Aert Van den Neer moonlight scene (purchased
1903) is a lovely example of this artist. Indeed, all the minor
Dutchmen are well represented. Potter's much-praised Cow in the Water
is faded, and the style is of the sort we smile over at our own
Academy exhibitions. The Van Goyen waterscapes are not all of prime
quality, but there are two that are masterpieces. Amsterdam excels in
both Van Goyens and Jacob Ruisdaels. The Distant View of Haarlem of
the latter proved a disappointment. The colour is vanished quite, the
general effect flat. The Bol portrait of Admiral de Ruyter is a
sterling specimen. The Van de Veldes and Wouvermans are excellent. The
Good Housekeeper of Dou, a much-prized picture, with its tricky light
and dark. The Teniers and Ostades no longer interest us as they did.
Perhaps one tires soon of genre pictures. The inevitable toper, the
perambulating musician, the old woman standing in a doorway, the
gossips, the children, and the dog not house-broken may stand for the
eternal Ostade, while the merry-makings of David Teniers are too much
alike. However, this touch of spleen is the outcome of seeing so many
bituminous canvases.

Probably in no other painter's name have so many sins been committed
as in Rembrandt's. His _chiaroscuro_ is to blame for thousands of
pictures executed in the tone of tobacco juice. All the muddy browns
of the studio, with the yellow smear that passes for Rembrandtish
light, are but the monkey tricks of lesser men. His pupils often made
a mess of it, and they were renowned. Terburg's Despatch is an
interesting anecdote; so too Metsu's Amateur Musicians. There are the
average number of Dutch Italianate painters, Jan Both and the rest,
men who employed southern backgrounds and improvised bastard Italian
figures. Schalcken's candlelight scenes are not missing, though Dou
leads in this rather artificial genre. And every tourist led by a
guide hears that Wouvermans always introduced a white horse somewhere
in his picture. You leave Holland obsessed by that white animal.

Naturally the above notes hardly scratch the surface of the artistic
attractions in this Hague gallery. Not the least of them is to look
out on the Vyver lake and watch the swans placidly swimming around the
emerald islet in the middle. The Mauritshuis is a cabinet of gems, and
months could not stale its variety. There are important omissions, and
some of the names in the catalogue are not represented at top-notch.
But the Rembrandts are there, and there are the Potters, the Rubenses,
the Van Dycks, the Jan Steens--his Oyster Feast is here--the landscape
and marine painters, not to mention the portraiture, the Murillo,
Palma Vecchio, and the Titian. The single Roger van der Weyden, an
attribution, is a Crucifixion, and hangs near the Memlig. It is an
interesting picture. Of the sculpture there is not much to write.
Houdon, Hendrick de Keyser, Verhulst, Falconet, Blommendael, and
Xavery make up a meagre list.

At Baron Steengracht's house--admission by personal card--on the
Vyverberg there is a wonderful Rembrandt, Bathsheba After Her Bath, a
golden-toned canvas, not unlike the Susanna over at the Mauritshuis.
It was painted in 1643, about a year after he had finished The Night
Watch, a jewel of a Rembrandt and the clou of this collection. There
are some weak modern pictures and examples by Terburg, Metsu, Flinck,
Jordaens, Cuyp, Potter, Brouwer--the smoker, a fine work; a Hobbema
mill and others. In the Municipal Museum, full of curiosities in
furniture, armour, and costumes, there is a gallery of modern
paintings--Israel, David Bles, Mesdag, Neuhuys, Bisschop, J. Maris,
Weissenbruch, Bosboom, Blommers, and Mauve. There are also Mierevelts,
Jan Ravensteyns, Honthorst, Van Goyen, Van Ceulen, and a lot of
shooting-gallery (Doelen) and guild panoramas; there are miles of them
in Holland, and unless painted by Hals, Van der Heist, Elias, and a
few others are shining things of horror, full of staring eyes, and a
jumble of hands, weapons, and dry colours. But they are viewed with
religious awe by the Dutch, whose master passion is patriotic

There is the Huis ten Bosch (The House in the Wood), the royal villa,
a little over a mile from The Hague, in which De Wit's grisailles may
be seen. The Japanese and orange rooms are charming; the portraits by
Everdingen, Honthorst, Jordaens, and others are of historic interest.


When we were last at The Hague the Mesdag Museum had just opened
(1903). There was no catalogue, and while the nature of this great
gift to the city was felt it was not until a second visit (in 1909)
that its extraordinary value was realised. The catalogue numbers three
hundred and forty-four pictures by modern artists, and there is also a
valuable collection of objects of art, bronzes, pottery, furniture,
and tapestries. Philip Zilcken (a well-known Dutch etcher) in his
introduction calls attention to the rare quality of the Mesdag Museum
and tells us that Mr. and Mrs. Mesdag van Houten bought for their own
pleasure without any thought of forming a gallery for the Dutch
nation. That came later. W.H. Mesdag is the well-known marine painter
whose paintings may be seen in almost every gallery on the Continent.
A native of Groningen (1831), he studied under Roelofs and while in
Brussels lived with his relative, Alma-Tadema; the latter is a
Frieslander. Mesdag excels in marines, painting great sweep of waters
with breadth and simplicity. His palette is cool and restrained, his
rhythmic sense well developed, and his feeling for outdoors truly
Dutch. He belongs to the line of the classic Dutch marinists, to Van
der Velde, Backhuizen, and Van Goyen. His wife, a woman of charm and
culture, died in the spring of last year. She signed her work S.
Mesdag van Houten. Her gift lies in the delineation of forest views,
interiors, portraits, and still-life. Her colour is deep and rich.

A cursory walk around the various rooms on the Laan van Meerdervoort
impresses one with this idea: with what envy must any curator of any
museum in the world study this collection. Mesdag began gathering his
treasures at a time when the Barbizon school was hardly known; when a
hundred other painters had not been tempted by the dealers into
overproduction; when, in a word, fancy prices were not dreamed of. The
Alma-Tademas are among his best, little as we admire his vital marbles
and lifeless humans. An early portrait of his wife is here.
Bastien-Lepage has a preparatory sketch for Les Foins. Indeed, the
Mesdag Museum is rich in _frottis_, painted-in pictures, by such men
as Rousseau, Daubigny, Diaz, Vollon, Millet, Dupre. As we admire the
etchings of Mari Bauer, it was a new pleasure to see half a dozen of
his paintings, chiefly scenes in the Orient. The same misty, fantastic
quality is present; he manipulates his colour, thinly laid on, as if
it were some sort of plastic smoke. Impressionistic as are these
canvases, there is a subdued splendor in them all. Bauer feels the
East. His etchings recall Rembrandt's line; but his paintings are
miles away in sentiment and handling. Bisschop (1828-1904) is
represented by a fine still-life, and among the various Blommers is
one with children playing in the water and on the sands; vividly
seized, this example.

The late Theophile de Bock was an interpreter of nature and his
brush-work was fat and rich. His work is well known in America and
gains in value every day (he died in 1904). There are fourteen
specimens here of his best period. The Emile Bretons are early and
therefore different from his commercial productions. Of the Corots,
twelve in number, we did not see an insignificant one, not a weak one.
The famous Early Morning and View at Villeneuve-les-Avignon are hung.
The first depicts a group of trees; to the right a narrow stream in
which is reflected a cloudless sky. In the centre two women in white
caps. The second is more elaborate in composition. The middle distance
is occupied by picturesque buildings dating probably from the Middle
Ages. In the foreground four persons are under the shadow of some
trees. An unusual scheme for Corot. His well-known characteristics are
present in the dozen; the tremulous leafage, the bright, pure light,
the Italian softness. And what do you say to a half-dozen Courbets,
all of his strong period, landscapes, still-life, a nude study, a dead
roe, a sunlit path, and a lake scene! Good Courbets are not numerous,
and these are good. The nude is a woman recumbent upon draperies. The
_pate_ is heavy but vital, the flesh tones glowing, and the silhouette
firm, yet delicate. The portrait of the artist by himself is massive.
It was probably painted in Ste. Pelagie.

Coutures two, twenty-five Daubignys, and one of his son Karl. Daubigny
the elder is here in all his manners, dark pictures with big
foregrounds, intimate bits of wooded interiors, sand-hills,
streamlets, moonlights, coast scenes, evening effects, sunsets at sea,
twilights, sheep, broken rocks, and a study in crayon.

Decamps and Delacroix come next in order. There are three of the
former, among the rest his Poacher, and three of Delacroix, one a
portrait of himself. Seven of Diaz, painted when his colour was most
sonorous and brilliant, are here, with a study of an undraped female
figure. La Mare is a sunlight effect in the forest of Fontainebnleau.
Dupre has seven to his account, several of great tonal beauty. The one
Fortuny is an elaborate etching of his Anchorite. The Josef Israels
are strong. Jacque pigs and sheep; Klinkenberg's view of the
Binnenhof; Mancini's bewildering chromatic blurs and sensuously rich
gamut, and seventeen in number. This painter is seldom encountered in
America. He should be better known; while his ideas are not
particularly significant he is colourist for colour's sake, as was
Monticelli. The three brothers Maris, Jakob, Willem, and Matthys (the
latter living in London), are to be seen here in unexampled states.
Mauve, too, with fourteen pictures. Both the Mesdags, Taco Mesdag, a
brother and his wife are present. Also Ter Meulen, a gifted Dutch
artist. We have seldom seen better George Michels. The Monticelli
up-stairs is an unusual subject. It is a mountain path in the south of
France. The sun is disappearing behind a cluster of trees. Rocks in
the foreground. The scheme of colour is low for Monticelli, the forms
sharply accented. He could see line when he wished. The smaller
example is an interior, as rich as Monticelli knew how to lay the
colours on.

Seven Millets, one the large exhibition picture Hagar and Ishmael,
another the wonderful Resting Vintager. Alone these Millets would
cause a sensation if exhibited elsewhere. The Hagar seems a trifle too
rhetorical for the simple-minded painter. Brown predominates in the
colour scale, the composition is rather conventional, an echo,
perhaps, of the artist's Delaroche apprenticeship, but the Vintager is
a masterpiece. Seated among the vines in the blaze of the sun, he is
resting and has removed his heavy sabots. The relaxed attitude after
arduous labour is wonderfully expressed. The atmosphere indicates
stifling sultriness.

Ricard, Roelofs, Theodore Rousseau--halt! There are twelve of this
French master, dramatic and rich. Descente des Vaches dans le Jura is
the celebrated canvas refused at the Salon, 1834. But it is too
bituminous in parts. A greater composition, though only a drawing, is
Les grands chenes du vieux Bas-Breau. Four large trees illumined by
sun-rays. Two Segantinis, a drawing in chalk and pastel; Storm Van's
Gravesande; seven Troyons, one, Le retour du Marche, a masterpiece;
Vollon, still-life, fish, ivory goblets, violets; Weissenbruchs;
Zilcken etchings and two De Zwarts. There is old Rozenburg pottery,
designed by Colenbrander, scarce to-day; Dutch and Gothic brass,
Oriental portieres and brass, old Delft, Japanese armour, various
weapons and lanterns, Gobelin tapestry, carved furniture, Dutch and
Scandinavian, and a magnificent assortment of Satsuma pottery, Cmail
cloisonne, Japanese bronzes, Persian pottery, Spanish brasses,
majolica and bronzes and sculptures by Mattos, Constantin, Meunier,
and Van Wijk--the list fills a pamphlet. Next door is the studio of
the aged Mesdag, a hale old Dutchman who paints daily and looks
forward to seeing his ninety years. In Holland octogenarians are not
few. The climate is propitious; above all, the absence of hurry and
worry. To see The Hague without visiting this collection would be a
regrettable omission.


In writing of Holland more is said of its windmills than its flowers.
It is a land of flowers. Consider the roll-call of its painters who
their life long produced naught but fruit and flower pieces. Both the
De Heems, the cunning Huysums, whose work still lives in the
mezzotints of Earlom--like David de Heem, he was fond of introducing
insects, flies, bees, spiders, crawling over his velvety peaches and
roses--Seghers, Van Aelst and his talented pupil Rachel Ruysch, Cuyp,
Breughel (Abraham), Mignon, Van Beyeren, Van den Broeck, Margaretha
Rosenboom, Maria Vos, Weenix, A. Van der Velde, Kalf, and many others
who excelled in this pleasing genre. Their canvases are faded, the
colours oxidised, but on the highways and by-ways the miracle is daily
renewed--flowers bloom at every corner, fill the window-boxes of
residences, crowd the hotel balconies, and are bunched in the hands of
the peddlers. A cart goes by, a gorgeous symphony of hues. Roses,
chrysanthemums, dahlias, daisies, tufts of unfamiliar species, leaves
that are as transparent lace, blushing wild roses, and what not. Ivy
is used for practical purposes. On the steam-yacht _Carsjens_ at
Leyden a wind screen is composed of ivy; you feel enclosed in a
floating garden. Along the Vivjer berg, fronting the house of Baron
Steengracht, is a huge boat-shaped enclosure of stone. It is full of
ivy growing low. Dutch landscape gardeners are fertile in invention.
They break the flat lines of the landscape with all sorts of ingenious
surprises; bosky barriers, hedges abloom, elm-trees pared away to
imitate the processional poplars of Belgium and France, sudden little
leafy lanes--what quips and quirks we have come across a few miles
away from the town! To see Haarlem and its environs in June when the
bulb farms are alight with tulips must be a delightful spectacle. In
the fall of the year you are perforce content to read the names of the
various farms as the train passes. The many-coloured vegetable carts
remind you that Snyders and Van Steen painted here.

The Groote Kerke, St. Bavo, at Haarlem, is a noble pile with a tall
tower. One of its attractions is the organ (built in 1735-38) by
Christian Mueller; it was until a few years ago the largest in the
world. Its three manuals, time-stained, sixty stops and five thousand
pipes (thirty-two feet the longest) when manipulated by a skilful
organist produce adequate musical results. We had the pleasure of
hearing the town organist play Bach for an hour. He began with a few
Bach chorales, then came A Mighty Fortress is Our God; followed by the
A minor prelude and fugue, and the Wedge fugue. The general diapasonic
quality is noble, the wood stops soft, the mixtures without brassy
squealing, and the full organ sends a thrill down your spine, so
mellow is its thunder. Modern organs do not thus sound. Is the secret
of the organ tone lost like the varnishing of Cremona fiddles and the
blue of the old Delft china? There are no fancy "barnyard stops," as
John Runciman has named the combinations often to be found in
latter-day instruments. You understood after hearing the Haarlem organ
why Bach wrote his organ preludes and fugues. Modern music, with its
orchestral registration, its swiftness and staccato, would be a
sacrilege on this key-board.

The bronze statue of Coster did not unduly excite us. The Dutch claim
him as the inventor of printing, but the Germans hang on to Gutenberg.
At Leyden there is a steam train to Katwyk-aan-See; at Haarlem you may
ride out to Zandvoort, and six miles farther is the North Sea Canal.
But as the Katwyk and Zandvoort schools flourish mightily in the
United States we did not feel curious enough to make the effort at
either town. Regrettable as was the burning of the old church at
Katwyk, perhaps its disappearance will keep it out of numerous
pictures painted in that picturesque region. Of course it will be, or
has been, rebuilt. We walked in the forest of Haarlem and did not once
think of 125th Street; the old town is slightly unlike its modern
namesake. What a charm there is in this venerable forest. The Dutch of
Amsterdam, less than half an hour away, come down here on Sunday
afternoons for the tranquillity and the shade. You must know that the
sun-rays can be very disturbing in July. The canals intersecting the
town are pretty. They may be sinks of iniquity, but they don't look
so. Naturally, they exhale mephitic odours, though the people won't
acknowledge it. It is the case in Venice, which on hot August
afternoons is not at all romantic in a nasal sense. But you forget it
all in Haarlem as you watch a hay barge float by, steered by a blond
youngster of ten and poled by his brothers. From the chimney comes a
light smoke. Soup is cooking. You remember the old sunlit towpath of
your boyhood; a tightening at your heart warns you of homesickness, or
hay fever. Oh, to be on the Erie Canal, you exclaim, as you sneeze.

But the Town Hall Museum is hard by. It is the glory of Haarlem as the
Rijks Museum is the glory of Amsterdam and Holland. A pull at the bell
and the door is opened, a small fee is paid, and you are free to the
room where are hung ten large paintings by the inimitable Frans Hals.
Here are the world-renowned Regent pictures set forth in chronological
order. Drop the catalogue and use your own eyes. The first impression
is profound; not that Hals was profound in the sense of Rembrandt's
profundity, but because of the almost terrifying vitality of these
portraits. Prosaic men and women, great trenchermen, devourers of huge
pasties, mowers down of wine-bottles and beer-tankards, they live with
such vitality on the canvases of Hals that you instinctively lower
your voice. The paint-imprisoned ghosts of these jolly officers,
sharpshooters, regents, and shrewd-looking old women regents are not
so disquieting as Rembrandt's misty evocations. They touch hands with
you across the centuries, and finally you wonder why they don't step
out the frame and greet you. Withal, no trace of literalism, of
obvious contours or tricky effects. Honest, solid paint, but handled
by the greatest master of the brush that ever lived--save Velasquez.
How thin and unsubstantial modern painting is if compared to this
magician, how even his greatest followers, Manet and Sargent, seem
incomplete. Manet, with his abridgments, his suppressions, his
elliptical handling, never had the smiling confidence of Hals in
facing a problem. The Frenchman is more subtle, also more evasive; and
there is no hint in him of the trite statement of a fact that we
encounter in Bartholomew Van der Heist--himself a great painter. Hals
had not the poetic vision of Rembrandt, but he possessed a more
dexterous hand, a keener eye. Judged according to the rubric of sheer
paint, sheer brush-work, not Rubens, not Van Dyck, was such a
virtuoso. Despite his almost incredible swiftness of execution, Hals
got closer to the surfaces of what is called "actual" life than any of
the masters with the exception of the supreme Spaniard.

At Haarlem you may follow his development; his first big picture
painted in 1616; his last in 1664. He died at eighty-four. But at
eighty odd he painted two important canvases, the portraits of the
regents and of the lady regents. More summary as regards the
execution, with a manifest tendency toward simplifications, these two
pictures are very noble. The group of ladies, each a portrait of
character, pleases some more than the male group. They are not so
firmly modelled, and into them all has crept a certain weariness as of
old age; but what justness of expression, what adjustment of puzzling
relations! One lady follows you over the gallery with her stern gaze.
It recalls to us the last judgment look which a maiden aunt was wont
to bestow upon us years ago. The men regents will live into eternity
if the canvas endures. The shiny varnish is not pleasing, yet it
cannot destroy the illusion of atmosphere that circulates about the
vigorously modelled figures at the table. What a colourist! What
nuances he produces on a restrained key-board! The tones modulate,
their juxtaposition causes no harsh discords. The velvet black,
silvery grays, whites that are mellow without pastiness, and the reds
and yellows do not flare out like scarlet trumpets; an aristrocratic
palette. Really you begin to realise that what you formerly considered
grandfather tales are the truth. The great painters have been and are
not with us to-day. It is not a consoling pill to swallow for apostles
of "modernity." Hals is more modern than Sargent.

These corporation and regent pieces are chronologically arranged. No.
88 is considered the masterpiece. It shows the officers of the
Arquebusiers of St. Andrew, fourteen life-sized figures. Again each
man is a portrait. This was painted in 1633. The Regents of the
Elizabeth Hospital (1641) has been likened to Rembrandt's style;
nevertheless, it is very Halsian. Why, that chamber is alone worth the
journey across the Atlantic. Hals shows us not the magic of life but
the normal life of daylight in which move with dignity men and women
undismayed by the mysteries that hem them about. He has a daylight
soul, a sane if not poetic soul, and few painters before him so
celebrated the bravery of appearances, the beauty of the real.



The wonderful Rijks Museum is the representative home of old Dutch
art. The Louvre, the Prado, the National Gallery excel it in variety,
but the great Rembrandts are in it, and The Syndics and The Night
Watch are worth a wilderness of other painters' work. The Night Watch
has been removed from the old room, where it used to hang, facing the
large Van der Heist, Captain Roelof Bicker's Company. But it is only
in temporary quarters; the gallery destined for it is being completed.
We were permitted to peep into it. The Night Watch will hang in one
gallery, and facing it will be The Syndics, De Stallmeesters. Better
lighted than in its old quarters, The Night Watch now shows more
clearly the tooth of time. It is muddy and dark in the background, and
the cracks of the canvas are ill-concealed by the heavy coating of
varnish. If all the faults of this magnificent work are more plainly
revealed its excellences are magnified. How there could have been any
dispute as to the lighting is incredible. The new catalogue, the
appendices of which are brought down to 1908, frankly describes the
picture thus:

"The Night Watch, or the Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and of
Lieutenant van Ruytenburg. The corps is represented in broad daylight,
leaving the Doele of the Arquebusiers. At their head, standing in the
foreground about the centre, are the Captain and his Lieutenant
conversing. The former wears a dark dress, the latter a yellow costume
with a white sash, causing a brilliant effect of light. Near the
Captain, also standing out in full light, is a little girl, a dead
white cock hanging from her waistband."

Then follow the names of the other personages in this strange scene.

A commonplace happening is transfigured by the magic of a seer into a
significant moment arrested in eternity. Rembrandt is a window looking
out upon eternity. It was quite like the logical minded Frenchman,
Eugene Fromentin, himself an admirable painter, to pick this canvas
full of flaws. The composition is, true enough, troubled and confused.
The draughtsmanship leaves much to be desired; hands are carelessly
painted, the grouping haphazard, without symmetry, the general rhythm
full of syncopations, cross accents, and perverse pauses--empty
spaces, transitions not accounted for. And yet this painting without
personal charm--it is almost impersonal--grips your soul. It is not
alone the emotional quality of the paint. There are greater colourists
than Rembrandt, who, strictly speaking, worked in monochrome,
modelling with light. No, not the paint alone, not the mystery of the
envelope, not the magnetic gaze of the many eyes, but all combined
makes an assault upon nerves and imagination. You feel that Captain
Cocq is a prosaic personage and is much too tall in proportion to the
spry little dandy Lieutenant at his side. Invested with some strange
attribute by the genius of the painter, this Dutchman becomes the
protagonist in a soundless symphony of light and shadow. The waves
that emanate from the canvas suffuse your senses but do not soothe or
satisfy. The modern nervous intensity, missing absolutely in Hals and
his substantial humans, is present in Rembrandt. We say "modern" as a
sop to our vanity, but we are the "ancients," and there is no mode of
thought, no mood that has not been experienced and expressed by our
ancestors. Rembrandt is unlike any other Dutch painter--Hals, Vermeer,
Teniers, Van der Heist--what have these in common with the miller's
son? But he is as Dutch as any of them. A genius is only attached to
his age through his faults, said a wise man. Rembrandt is as universal
as Beethoven, a Dutchman by descent, as Bach, a Hungarian by descent,
as Michael Angelo and Shakespeare. But we must go to Leonardo da Vinci
if we wish to find a brother soul to Rembrandt's.

There is a second child back of that iridescent and enigmatic girl
with the dead fowl. And the dog that barks as Jan Van Koort ruffles
his drum, what a spectre dog! No, the mystery of The Night Watch is
insoluble, because it is the dream of a poet. Its light is morning
light, yet it is the mystic light of Rembrandt, never seen on sea or
land. In The Syndics, that group of six linen-drapers, Rembrandt shows
with what supreme ease he can beat Hals at the game of make-believe
actuality. Now, according to the accustomed order of development, The
Night Watch should have followed The Syndics. But it preceded it by
two decades, and the later work contains far better painting and a
sharper presentment of the real. The Night Watch is Rembrandt's Ninth
symphony; but composed before his Fifth, The Syndics. One figure in
this latter picture has always fascinated us. It is of the man,
Volkert Janz, according to Professor J. Six, who stoops over, his hand
poised on a book. Rembrandt has seldom painted with more sensitiveness
eyes, subtle corners of the mouth, and intimate expression. This
syndic is evidently superior to his fellows, solid, sensible Dutch men
of affairs.

There is a landscape, purchased in 1900, a stone bridge, lighted by
rays darting through heavy storm clouds. It is the Rembrandt of the
etchings. Lovely is the portrait of a young lady of rank, though the
Elizabeth Bas, in another gallery, will always be the masterpiece in
portraiture if for nothing else but the hands. The Jewish Bride is
bulky in its enchantments, the phosphorescent gleams of the apparel
the chief attraction. The Toilet is heavy Rembrandt; while the
anatomical lecture is repulsive. But the disembowelled corpse is more
corpse-like than the queerly foreshortened dead body in the picture on
anatomy at The Hague. The warrior's head, supposed to be a portrait of
his father, is an ancient copy and a capital one. Old dame Elizabeth
Bas, with her coif, ruff, and folded hands, holding a handkerchief, is
a picture you return to each day of your stay.

Hals at Amsterdam is interesting. There is the so-called portrait of
the painter and his wife, two full-length figures; the Jolly Toper,
half-length figure, large black hat, in the left hand a glass; and the
insolent lute-player, a copy, said to be by Dirck Hals, the original
in the possession of Baron Gustave Rothschild at Paris. And a fine
copy it is.

The three Vermeers are of his later enamelled period. One is a young
woman reading a letter; she is seen in profile, standing near a table,
and is dressed in a white skirt and blue loose jacket. The Letter
shows us in the centre of a paved room a seated lady, lute in hand.
She has been interrupted in her playing by a servant bringing a
letter. To the right a tapestry curtain has been looped up to give a
view of the scene. The new Vermeer--purchased from the Six gallery in
1908--is now called The Cook; it was formerly known as The Milkmaid. A
stoutly built servant is standing behind a table covered with a green
cloth, on which are displayed a basket of bread, a jug of Nassau
earthenware, and a stone pot into which she is pouring milk from a
can. The figure, painted almost full length, stands out against the
white wall and is dressed in a lemon-coloured jacket, a red-brown
petticoat, a dark-blue apron turned back, and a white cap on the head.
The light falls on the scene through a window to the left, above the

This masterpiece is in one of the cabinet galleries. It displays more
breadth than the Lady Reading a Letter, and its colouring is
absolutely magical. The De Hoochs are of prime quality. Greater art is
the windmill and moonlit scene of Hobbema, as great a favourite as his
Mill, though both must give the precedence to the Alley of
Middleharnais in the Royal Academy, London. But where to begin, where
to end in this high carnival of over three thousand pictures! The
ticketed favourites, starred Baedeker fashion, sometimes lag behind
their reputation. The great Van der Helst--and a prime portraitist he
is, as may be seen over and over again--is The Company of Captain
Bicker, a vast canvas. When you forget Hals and Rembrandt it is not
difficult to conjure up admiration for this work. The N. Maes Spinner
is very characteristic. Cuyp and Van Goyen are here; the latter's view
of Dordrecht is celebrated. So is the Floating Feather of
Hondecoester, a finely depicted pelican. The feather is the least part
of the picture. Asselijn's angry swan is an excellent companion piece.
We wish that we could describe the Jan Steens, the Dous, the Mierises,
and other sterling Dutch painters. There is the gallery of Dutch and
Flemish primitives about which a volume might be written; their
emaciated music appeals. In expressiveness the later men did not excel
them. The newest acquisition, not mentioned in the catalogue
supplements, is the work of an unknown seventeenth-century master,
possibly Spanish, though the figures, background, and accessories are
Dutch. Two old men, their heads bowed, sit at table. Across their
knees are napkins. The white is from a Spanish palette. A youth
attired in dark habiliments, his back turned to the spectators, is
pouring out wine or water. The canvas is large, the execution flowing;
perhaps it portrays the disciples at Emmaus.

The portraits of Nicholas Hasselaer and his wife Geertruyt van Erp, by
Hals, in one of the cabinets, are painted with such consummate
artistry that you gasp. The thin paint, every stroke of which sings
out, sets you to thinking of John Sargent and how he has caught the
trick of brush-work--at a slower tempo. But not even Sargent could
have produced the collar and cuffs. A Whistler, a full-length, in
another gallery, looks like an unsubstantial wraith by comparison. Two
weeks' daily attendance at this excellently planned collection did no
more than fix the position of the exhibits in the mind. There is a
goodly gathering of such names as Israels, Mesdag, Blommers, and
others at the Rijks, but the display of modern Dutch pictures at the
Municipal Museum is more representative. The greatest Josef Israels we
ever saw in the style is his Jew sitting in the doorway of a house, a
most eloquent testimony to Israels' powers of seizing the "race" and
the individual. Old David Bles is here, and Blommers, De Bock,
Bosboom, Valkenburg, Alma-Tadema, Ary Scheffer--of Dutch
descent--Roelofs, Mesdag, Mauve, Jakob Maris, Jongkind, and some of
the Frenchmen, Rousseau, Millet, Dupre, and others. The Six gallery is
not so accessible as it was some years ago. No doubt its Rembrandts
and Vermeers will eventually find their way into the Rijks Museum.


Who was Herri met de Bles? Nearly all the large European galleries
contain specimens of his work and in the majority of cases the
pictures are queried. That fatal (?) which, since curators are more
erudite and conscientious, is appearing more frequently than in former
years, sets one to musing over the mutability of pictorial fortunes.
Also, it awakens suspicions as to the genuineness of paint.
Restorations, another fatal word, is usually a euphemism for
overpainting. Between varnish and retouching it is difficult to tell
where the old master leaves off and the "restorer" begins. Bles, for
example, as seen in the Rijks Museum, is a fascinating subject to the
student; but are we really looking at his work? The solitary picture
of his here, Paradise, is so well preserved that it might have been
painted a year ago. (It is an attribution.) Yet this painter is
supposed to have been born at Bouvignes, 1480, and to have died at
Liege, 1521. He was nicknamed Herri, for Hendrick, met de Bles,
because he had a tuft of white in his hair (a forerunner of Whistler).
The French called him Henri a la Houppe; the Italians
"Civetta"--because of the tiny owl he always introduced into his work.
He was a landscapist, and produced religious and popular scenes. Bles
has had many works saddled upon him by unknown imitators of Metsu,
Joost van Kleef, Lucas, and Duerer--who worked at Antwerp between 1520
and 1550. Thierry Vellert was also an imitator. In the old Pinakothek,
Munich, there is a Henricus Blesius, which is said to be a
counterfeit, and others are in Karlsruhe, Milan, Brussels, and at the

The circular picture in the Rijks shows us in various episodes Adam
and Eve in the Garden of Eden from the Creation until the Fall. Around
the edge are signs of the zodiac. The colour is rich, the figures
delicate. The story is clearly told and is not unlike a "continuous
performance." You see Adam asleep and over him stoops the Almighty;
then Eve is shown. The apple scandal and the angel with the flaming
sword are portrayed with a vivid line that recalls the miniaturist. A
rare painter.

Roeland Savery is an artist whose name, we confess, was not known to
us until we saw his work in the Rijks. The rich _pate_ and
bouquet-like quality of his colour recall Monticelli. His compositions
are composed, like Monticelli's, but much more spirited than the
latter. A stag hunt, a poet crowned at the feast of animals, Elijah
fed by the ravens, and the fable of the stag among the cows prove the
man's versatility. He was born about 1576 and died at Utrecht, 1639. A
pupil of his father, he first worked in Courtrai. The Bronzino Judith
holding the head of Holophernes is a copy, the original hanging in the
Pitti Palace. At Vienna there is a replica. Among the Bols (Cornelis,
1613-66) the portraits of Roelof Meulenaer and his wife, Maria Rey,
attract because of their vitality and liberalism. Then we come across
the oft-engraved Paternal Advice, by Gerard ter Borch (1617-81). Who
doesn't remember that young lady dressed in white satin and standing
with her back to you? The man in officer's uniform, admonishing her,
is seated next to a woman drinking from a wine-glass. The texture of
the dress and the artfully depicted glass are the delight of amateurs.
As a composition it is not remarkable. The man is much too young to be
the father of the blond-haired lady, and if the other one is her
mother, both parents must have retained their youth. The portrait of
Helena van der Schalcke is that of a quaint Dutch child standing; a
serious little body carrying a basket on her right arm like a good
housewife. It is a capital Ter Borch. Two beautiful Albert Cuyps are
painted on the two sides of a copper panel. On one side two merchants
stand at a wharf; on the other two men sit sampling wine in a cellar.
The colour is singularly luminous.

Let us pass quickly the Schalckens and Gerard Dous. Dou's
self-portrait is familiar. He leans out of a window and smokes a clay
pipe. The candle-light pictures always attract an audience. Govert
Flinck (1615-60, pupil of Rembrandt) is a painter who, if he lived
to-day, would be a popular portraitist. Wherever you go you see his
handiwork, not in the least inspired, but honest, skilful, and genial.
Look at the head of the tax-collector Johannes Wittenbogaert, covered
with a black cap. So excellent is it that it has been attributed to
Rembrandt. Boland, we believe, engraved it as genuine Rembrandt.
Gerard van Honthorst's Happy Musician is another picture of prime
quality, and a subject dear to Hals. Hoogstratten's Sick Lady is an
anecdote. The young woman does not seem very ill, but the doctor
gravely holds up a bottle of medicine and you feel the dread moment is
at hand. How to persuade the patient to swallow the dose? She is
stubborn-looking. The Pieter de Hoochs are now in the same gallery
with Rembrandt's Jewish Bride. These interiors, painted with a minute,
hard finish, lack the charm and the colour quality of Vermeer. With
sunlight Hooch is successful, but his figures do not move freely in an
atmospheric envelope, as is the case with Vermeer's. The Small Country
House is the favourite. In front of a house a well-dressed man and
woman are seated at a table. She is squeezing lemon juice into a
glass. Behind her a servant is carrying a glass of beer, and farther
away a girl cleans pots and pans. The composition is the apotheosis of
domestic comfort, conjugal peace, and gluttony. We like much more The
Pantry, wherein a woman hands a jug to her little girl. The adjoining
room, flooded with light, is real.

There is one Van der Helst we could not pass. It looks like the
portrait of a corpulent woman, but is that of Gerard Bicker, bailiff
of Muiden. A half-length figure turned to the left, the bailiff a
well-fed pig, holds a pair of gloves in his right hand which he
presses against his Gargantuan chest. His hair is long and curly. The
fabrics are finely wrought. Holbein the younger is represented by the
portrait of a young man. It is excellent, but doubtless a copy or an
imitation. To view five Lucas van Leydens in one gallery is not an
everyday event. His engravings are rare enough--that is, in good
states; "ghosts" are aplenty--and his paintings rarer. Here they are
chiefly portraits. Rachel Ruysch, the flower painter, has a superior
in Judith Lyster, a pupil of Frans Hals. She was born at Haarlem, or
Zaandam, about 1600, and died 1660. She married the painter Jan
Molener. Her Jolly Toper faces the Hals of the same theme, in a
cabinet, and reveals its artistic ancestry. Judith had the gift of
reproducing surfaces. We need not return to the various Maeses;
indeed, this is only a haphazard ramble among the less well-known
pictures. Consider the heads of Van Mierevelt; those of Henrick Hooft,
burgomaster of Amsterdam, of Jacob Cats, and of his wife Aegje
Hasselaer (1618-64). Her hair and lace collar are wonderfully set
forth. Must we stop before Mabuse, or before the cattle piece of the
Dutch school, seventeenth century? A Monticelli seems out of key here,
and the subject is an unusual one for him, Christ With the Little
Children. The Little Princess, by P. Moreelse, has the honour, after
Rembrandt, of being the most frequently copied picture in the Rijks.
The theme is the magnet. A little girl, elaborately dressed, is
seated. She strokes the head of a spaniel whose jewelled collar gives
the impression of a dog with four eyes. In Vermeer's Young Woman
Reading a Letter is a like confused passage of painting, for the
uninstructed spectator. She wears her hair over her ear, an ornament
clasping the hair. At first view this is not clear, principally
because this fashion of wearing the hair is unusual in the eyes of a

Jan van Scorel was born at Schoorl, near Alkmaar, 1495. He studied
under Jacob Cornelis at Amsterdam and with Jean de Maubeuge at
Utrecht. He died at Utrecht, 1562. When travelling in Germany he
visited Duerer at Nuremberg; resided for a time in Italy. The Italian
influence is strong, particularly in his Mary Magdalen, which formerly
hung in the town-hall of Haarlem. A replica is in the residence of the
head-master of Eton College, England. Mary is shown seated, richly
attired. She holds in her right hand a box of perfume, her left hand,
beautifully painted, rests on her knee. Behind is a mountainous
landscape, distinctly Italian, beside her a tree. The head is north
Lombardian in character and colouring, the glance of the eyes
enigmatic. A curiously winning composition, not without _morbidezza_.
Scorel has five other works in the Rijks. The Bathsheba is not a
masterpiece. Solomon and the Queen of Sheba is conventional, but the
Harpsichord Player was sold at Paris as late as 1823 as a Bronzino.
Perhaps it is only attributed to Scorel. It is unlike his brush-work.
The Painting of a Vault, divided into nine sections, five of which
represent the Last Judgment, is a curiosity. The portrait of Emperor
Charles V. as Pharaoh is pointed out by the gallery attendant, who
then retires and diplomatically coughs in the middle distance.

The Mancini (pupil of Morelli and W.H. Mesdag) is entitled Poor Thing.
A little girl stands in a miserable room; mice run over the floor. The
colouring is rich. There are admirable Jakob Marises; but we wish to
follow in the track of the old fellows. Adrian van Ostade's Baker is
so popular that it is used for advertising purposes in Holland. The
baker leans out of his door, the lower half closed, and blows a horn.
Palamedes evidently repainted the same picture many times. An interior
with figures, seated and standing; same faces, poses, accessories.
Same valet pouring out wine; variants of this figure. A Merry Party is
the usual title. At The Hague in the Mauritshuis there is another such
subject; also in Antwerp and Brussels. But a jolly painter. Steen and
Teniers we may sidestep. Also the artificial though graceful
Tischbein. There is a Winterhalter here, a mannered fashionable
portrait painter (he painted the Empress Eugenie), and let us leave
the Titians to the experts. When you are in Holland look at the Dutch
pictures. A De Vos painted topers and fishermen with gusto, and there
is Vinckboons, who doted on scenes of violence. Fancy Vollon flowers
in the midst of these old Dutchmen. The Frenchman had an extraordinary
feeling for still-life, though more in the decorative Venetian manner
than in Chardin's serene palette, or the literalism of Kalf.
Whistler's Effie Deans, presented by the Dowager Baroness R. van
Lynden in 1900, is not one of that master's most successful efforts.
It is a whole-length figure painted in misty semi-tones, the feeling
sentimental, un-Whistlerian, and, as we before remarked, wraith-like
and lacking in substance when compared to Hals.

There is actually a Wouverman in which no white horse is to be
discovered. On Van der Werff and the romantic landscapist Wynants we
need not dwell. The miniatures, pastels, and framed drawings are of
goodly array. Of the former, Samuel Cooper (portrait of Charles II.),
John Hoskins, Peter Oliver, Isaac Oliver, Laurence Crosse, and others.
English, Dutch, and French may be found. The Liotard and Tischbein
pastels are charming. In the supplements of the catalogue we find
underscored a Descent from the Cross, an anonymous work of the Flemish
school (fifteenth century, second half). The dead Christ is being
lowered into the arms of his mother. It is evidently a copy from a
lost original in the style of Rogier van der Weyden. There are such
copies in Bruges and elsewhere. Another composition is labelled as an
anonymous work of undetermined school. The Christ hangs on the cross,
on His right are the Virgin Mary, the holy women and St. John; on His
left jeering soldiers and scribes. On either side of the composition
is the figure of a saint much larger in size than the other figures;
St. Cosmus on the left, St. Damian on the right. The background is a
hilly landscape. An authority ascribes the work to the Catalonian
school, date about 1440. There were giants in those days. Antonello da
Messina has the portrait of a young man. It is an attribution, yet not
without some claim to authenticity. The Jan Provosts are mostly of
close study, especially The Virgin Enthroned. A certain Pieter
Dubordieu, who was living in Amsterdam in 1676 (born in Touraine),
painted the portraits of a man and a woman, dated 1638. Vivid
portraits. We must pass over the striking head of Hanneman, the Lucas
Cranach (the elder), and the thousand other attractive pictures in
this gallery. The Rijks Museum could be lived with for years and still
remain an inexhaustible source of joy.


After passing Dordrecht on the way down to Antwerp the canals and
windmills begin to disappear. The country is as flat as Holland, but
has lost its characteristic charm. It has become less symmetrical;
there is disorder in the sky-line, more trees, the architecture is
different. Dutch precision has vanished. The railway carriages are not
clean, punctuality is avoided, the people seem less prosperous, few
speak English, and as you near Antwerp the villas and roads tell you
that you are in the dominion of the King of Belgium. But Antwerp is so
distinctly Flemish that you forget that bustling modern Brussels is
only thirty-six minutes away by the express--a fast train for once in
this land of snail expresses. No doubt the best manner of approaching
Antwerp is by the Scheldt on one of the big steamers that dock so
comfortably along the river. However, a trip to the vast _promenoir_
that overlooks the river gives an excellent idea of this thriving
port. The city--very much modernised during the past ten years--may
easily be seen in a few days, setting aside the museums and churches.
The quay promenade brings you to the old Steen Castle, and the Town
Hall with its _salle des marriages_, its mural paintings by the
industrious Baron Leys--frigid in style and execution--will repay you
for the trouble. The vestibules and galleries are noteworthy. We
enjoyed the facades of the ancient guild houses on the market-place
and watching the light play upon the old-time scarred front of the
cathedral that stands in the Place Verte. Then there are the
Zoological Garden, the Plantin Museum, the Theatre Flamand, the
various monuments, and the spectacle of the busy, lively city for
those who do not go to Antwerp for its art. You may even go to
Hoboken, a little town in the suburbs not at all like the well-known
Sunday resort in Jersey.

The Royal Museum is displayed in a large square. It is a handsome
structure and the arrangement of the various galleries is simple. The
Rubenses, thirty-odd in all, are the _piece de resistance_, and the
Flemish and Dutch Primitives of rare beauty. Bruges is better for
Memling, Brussels for Van der Weyden, Ghent for the Van Eycks, yet
Antwerp can boast a goodly number of them all. She exceeds Brussels in
her Rubenses for the larger altar pieces are here, just as at
Amsterdam the Rembrandts, while not numerous, take precedence because
of The Syndics and The Night Watch. The tumultuous, overwhelming Peter
Paul is in his glory at Antwerp. You think of some cataclysm when
facing these turbulent, thrilling canvases. If Raphael woos, Rubens
stuns. In the company of Michel Angelo and Balzac or Richard Wagner he
would be their equal for torrential energy and vibrating humanity. Not
so profound as Buonarroti, not so versatile as Balzac, he is their
peer in sheer savagery of execution. Setting aside the miles of
pictures signed by him though painted by his pupils, he must have
covered multitudes of canvas. Like men of his sort of genius, he ends
by making your head buzz and your eyes burn; and then, the sameness of
his style, the repetition of his wives and children's portraits, the
apotheosis of the Rubens family! He portrayed Helena Fourment and
Isabella Brandt in all stages of disarray and gowns. He put them
together on the same canvas. He did not hesitate to show them to the
world in all their opulent nudity. Their white skins, large eyes with


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