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THE POINT OF VIEW
WELL-KNOWN publisher's entire serve in life-a blinking or an avoidance of the advertising space in a recent issue of disagreeable side of the inevitable. 5* The
a London weekly is given to the name history of literature has taught us,” says Mr. and author of a certain novel, with the an Bliss Perry, “that men have always craved nouncement, in script type and double leads, what I may call the fiction of compensation, that it " tells an original and pathetic story the fiction that yields them what life cannot of deepest human interest, but with a happy yield them.” If this be true of any of the ending." The final word is what fixes the comparatively few who take their fiction seriattention. Is the taste of the novel-reading ously, to what an overwhelming extent must
public returning to the once popu- it apply to the great reading public, to whom The "Happy
lar but outgrown view ? Is the Ending"
a story is simply a story, to be classed either “happy ending" again to be em as interesting or as uninteresting. phasized in an advertisement in order to pro The apparent paradox is that to the unmote the success of a given tale as a "seller”? formed and uninformed heterogeneity which For it is many years, and things have we call the “popular taste," appeal may so changed, since Mr. James described the point often be made with confidence, in spite of, of view of some of the “many people who read and even against all these general tendencies, novels as an exercise in skipping.
not only by mere story-tellers, but by artists, They would say that a novel depends for a provided they have the courage of their conhappy ending' on a distribution at the last victions and deal with something really vital. of prizes, pensions, husbands, wives, babies, And this public verdict against momentary millions, appended paragraphs and cheer- conditions has a co-ordinate value in deterful remarks.”
mining the status of great work in fiction. It would be a matter of small surprise, The story which appeals only to the crowd is indeed, of small significance, should there even by it recognized for what it is, whether be return of public liking to the story whose the story passes its eightieth or its one “pathos” and “deepest human interest” hundred and eightieth thousand. But on ended happily, even with conventional ac the other hand, the novel which appeals only companiments. It has taken generations to the few is as finally recognized for its lack for the novel to develop through Mr. Brander of the “deepest human interest,” as our pubMatthews' stages of the novel of the Impos- lisher says, which in an art that deals with life sible, of the Improbable and of the Probable, is a vital lack. to the novel of the Inevitable—the novel of A popular vogue, like that for the “happy which we say, in modern phrase, that it is ending,” or for its reverse, is chiefly of con“convincing”; and also, as many add, that sequence for its hidden dangers. The sinit is "unpleasant.” For not a few who cere artist recognizes his métier and, conclearly recognize in a certain story that, given sciously at least, follows it stoutly. But the the characters, the circumstances, and the temptation to be easily and pleasingly conenvironment, the ending must be what it is, ventional is none the less alluring. It was wretched or indifferent, yet protest inwardly Stevenson first, among moderns, in the infiat such acknowledgment of the necessity. nite painstaking of devotion to his art, who They feel that the artist ought to have been wrote of this temptation: “The old stock ingenious, if not truthful; that he should incidents and accessories, tricks of workmanhave found a way out by which, without ship and schemes of composition (all being doing too great violence to our knowledge admirably good, or they would long have of the actualities, he might dispose in more been forgotten), haunt and tempt our fancy, pleasing fashion of his characters and good offer as ready-made but not perfectly appropossibilities. Persons of this attitude some- priate solutions for any problem that arises, times frankly, sometimes half-consciously and and wean us from the study of nature and apologetically, seek in fiction what will not the uncompromising practice of art.”
THE CHICAGO ART INSTITUTE COLLEC
and twenty, and fall under the following TION OF PAINTINGS
heads. The old masters, chiefly Dutch; the REMEMBER being startled in 1899 by Field collection of paintings, of the Barbizon a remark of Dr. A. B. Meyer, the well- school; the Munger collection, of diverse
known museum director of Dresden, that schools; the Nickerson collection, in which "the American public collections of modern the paintings accompany a valuable collecpictures far surpassed any European collec- tion of Oriental objects; the miscellaneous tions with which he was acquainted." We collection. There may be fifty pictures were walking through the galleries of the Art among these that can well be spared as the Institute of Chicago, and Dr. Meyer had institution expands, but the most of the colbeen inspecting the eastern American mu lection would be pronounced by any compeseums in behalf of the Saxon Government, tent critic worthy of a public art gallery. which was contemplating the rebuilding or The galleries themselves are well adapted to replacing of the famous Zwinger. For the exhibition and the paintings are hung with first time my attention was called to what plenty of space. reflection showed to be true, that these re As we enter the gallery of old masters cercently formed American collections were tain reflections may well occur to us. This among the most important and comprehen- little group of pictures, numbering about sive collections in the world. Most of the thirty examples, including loans, is the only foreign collections are confined to a single representation of the golden age of the art school.
of painting accessible to millions and millThe paintings of the Chicago museum are ions of people. Let the amateur recall his much the most important part of the collec own excitement the first time he saw a real tions. Oil paintings are always the most popu- old master! It is like one's first cathedral, lar part of any museum, and the management so laden with associations and romance as of the Art Institute is eminently popular. strangely to affect the sensibilities. It must
The collection of sculpture is extensive and be remembered that the people of the Midrepresentative, and especially strong in con dle West look to Chicago and not to New temporary works and in architecture, but it York as their capital. Here, then, they are is in large part composed of the familiar re to gain their first impressions of the art of the productions of standard subjects. The col- past, and here also we may see what kind of lections of original antique objects, classical acquisitions the Art Institute will seek when it and Egyptian, of textiles, jades, and Japan- is untrammelled. The most important of these ese and other Oriental objects, are more than pictures were selected from the well-known respectable in quality, but are not extensive. collection of Prince Demidoff, of Florence, in It is upon the paintings that such title as the 1890, and have been presented on the sugmuseum has to distinction must rest. gestion of the Art Institute by individual cit
The Art Institute picture collection is not izens, whose names are inscribed upon them. exempt from the influence of accident, to Most of them are by Dutch masters. In sevwhich all art museums are subject in their eral cases, such as Hobbema and Van Ostade, early days. Gifts and opportunities of ac- they are among the most important works quisition have often fixed the character of produced by the artist, and in every case accessions rather than selection upon a defi- they are good and adequate examples of the nite plan. Certain great advantages the painter. Among the artists thus represented institute has enjoyed from the beginning. It are Rembrandt, Hobbema, Van Ostade, Frans has had no bad inheritance; the gifts have Hals, Rubens, Van Dyck, Ruysdael, Terburg, in general been fortunate and they have often Teniers, Jan Steen, A. van de Velde, and been guided by the management; no picture Van Mieris. in the collection is so conditioned that it can Perhaps the most important picture (and not be withdrawn whenever it is discredited. I am inclined to think it the most important The paintings number about two hundred in the whole museum) is the “Portrait of
a Girl" by Rembrandt, a picture formerly color, and especially the consistency and the called “The Child of the State," because the pearly-gray envelopment which have caused picturesque costume is that of the orphans of modern critics to place Hobbema in the very North Holland. The young woman, not ex- front rank of landscape-painters. actly beautiful, but prepossessing, two-thirds While Van Ostade was not of the class of length, and nearly full-front, rests her hands Rembrandt and Hobbema, the little picture upon the cross-bar of a door and looks side- by him, “A Golden Wedding," less than long to the left. A coral necklace, deep twenty inches square, is probably the most red sleeves, and red lacings give color to the costly picture in the museum. It is one of dress. It is of the middle period of Rem- the artist's most elaborate and important brandt and impresses the beholder not so works and is of the class of pictures sought much with the compelling and brilliant ex- by foreign museums. It represents peasants ecution of “The Gilder" or of Mr. Ellsworth's dancing and feasting. The jollity and nat“Portrait of a Man,” as by a certain general uralness of the scene will strike all observers, suavity and richness. Its charm is one that while the artist will stop to study the manwill not tire.
ner in which the numerous little rustic figThe “Water Mill” of Hobbema is one of ures are put together and the whole immersed his largest pictures and is of the first class-- in air. a tile-roofed mill, water running from a sluice, “The Guitar Lesson" of Gerard ter Borch much foliage, and sky. It has not the ex- (or Terburg) is an entirely characteristic pictreme and striking simplicity of composition ture, not quite like that in the National Galof the picture in the National Gallery in Lon- lery, but so similar that it has been said to be don, “The Avenue, Middelharnis,” but it a replica. The white satin and red velvet of has the atmosphere, the rural beauty, the full the sitting lady, the dark clothes of the VOL. XL.-41
standing teacher, the table-cloth, the sleep- ure of girls at a well, “ The Fountain,” the ing spaniel, are all painted with the usual other a snow picture. perfection of the master.
By the side of the “Song of the Lark" The picture by Frans Hals, the portrait of hangs one of the important works of Jean his son, a young man with abundant brown François Millet, “Bringing Home the Newhair, light mustache, black soft hat, and broad born Calf” (see the illustration, page 381), white collar, has the freedom and frankness representing two peasants carrying on a handof the artist both in painting and character barrow a little calf, the mother cow following ization. Close by it, as if to show that there along, licking the calf. The accustomed pair is more than one way to do things (though of little children look on from the doorway not all equally good), is a picture by Van and a peasant woman accompanies the cow. Mieris, of a mother and child and the interior The composition is rather rectilinear, with upof a room, in which everything is finished to right and horizontal lines. It has the Millet the last degree, every strand of the wicker atmosphere and it is easy to invest it with the work cradle, and even the fuzz upon the Millet pathos, but perhaps what actually inblanket, yet without destroying the large re terested the artist was the action of the men lations or the atmosphere of the painting. bearing their burden. Nor does it possess
Jan Steen's “Family Concert,” Rubens's eminently that grandiose quality which is “Portrait of the Marquis of Spinola,” Ruys- likely to constitute one of Millet's chief titles dael's “Castle,” (see page 383) and Van to permanent fame, and which is better exemDyck's “Helena Du Bois” are all good and plified by the little “Woman Feeding Chicksufficient pictures.
ens" hanging near by, and by “The Bather,” Similar in importance to the old masters a loan picture in the next room. is the Henry Field Memorial Collection, con There are three Corots (and two more in taining forty-one pictures, mostly of the so- other parts of the collection): one a large, called Barbizon school. Mr. Henry Field, rather brown, landscape with water; one the younger brother of the late Marshall somewhat unusual, a half-nude woman preField, was a trustee of the Art Institute, and paring for an outdoor bath; and the third, died in 1890. After his death Mrs. Field a small and altogether characteristic and (now Mrs. Thomas Nelson Page) placed his charming landscape full of silvery lights, and picture collection in the Art Institute and accented in precisely the right degree by little caused it to be beautifully installed in a room figures of women. richly and quietly decorated for the purpose. The sources of the inspiration of these arSome of the pictures are small, but each is tists are illustrated by two pictures each of a good representation of the artist. The most the brilliant Delacroix and Decamps, and conspicuous work, perhaps, is “The Song more remotely by a somewhat singular pictof the Lark," by Jules Breton, which has ure by the English Constable, representing a been made familiar by many reproductions. wooden dam with a waste-gate, in the midst A French peasant girl, barefoot and bare of dense foliage. headed, stands erect, her head thrown back, There are fine pictures by the artists who her lips parted, her sickle hanging in her may be called the regulars of the Fontainehand, listening intently to the lark, with the bleau group-Diaz, Dupré, Daubigny, Trosun just rising behind her. The composition yon, and Rousseau—and no less than four is simplicity itself. The expression of listen works by Cazin, their successor. Troyon's ing is so definite that a little child upon see “Returning from Market” is a very noticeing it, after regarding it attentively, said able picture, an upright canvas occupied by gravely, “It is Joan of Arc !” He did not a flock of sheep pushing forward on a road, a notice the little bird in the sky, but thought woman on a mule advancing in the midst of she was “hearing the voices.” Some critics the flock, a boy on foot, a man on a horse think it the most successful picture of the in the rear, the whole strongly lighted from artist. In the miscellaneous collection of behind by a low sun and embowered in trees. the institute there is another picture by Bre The brilliant light, the sharp, gay color of the ton, “ The Shepherd's Star," of very similar figures, and the happy and refined unity of makeup and quality, but with less appeal to the whole, make it one of Troyon's most the sensibilities. The Field collection con- agreeable works. tains two other Bretons, one a fine little pict The Munger collection consists of only
thirty-six pictures, which constituted the best order of Chapman's old drawing-book, but part of the collection of Albert A. Munger, one would like to admire the blue sky and a life-long citizen of Chicago, who died in clouds if the present fashion of art criticism 1898 and bequeathed his pictures to the Art permitted it. Institute, with no other condition than that It would be far from fair, however, to rest they should constitute a separate collection the claims of the Munger collection upon under his name. There is only one example of each artist. One of the chief merits of the collection is its comprehensiveness and variety. It includes pictures by French, German, British, Belgian, Austrian American, Dutch, Italian, and Russian artists. The paintings are rather large and occupy a spacious, handsome gallery, finished with marble and mosaic. As usually happens in such mixed collections, some of the paintings are by masters whose fame has already begun to decline, such as Meissonier, Bouguereau, Rosa Bonheur, Koekkoek and Verboeckhoven. The picture by Meissonier, • The Vidette,” is of unusual size, 42 x 36 inches, and represents a mounted French dragoon on outpost or sentry duty, in a simple landscape under a tender blue sky mottled with clouds, the whole painted with the plain, unromantic
Castle truth of Meissonier.
From the painting by Ruysdael The Bouguereau is a large upright picture of two life-size nude pictures of this order. A large, bright-blue female figures upon the seaside, called “The picture by Michetti, called “Springtime and Bathers.” It is irreproachable in execution Love,” is sure to catch the attention of layand sentiment, and has great beauty both of man and artist alike, and here we find plenty line and color. The liberal-minded, middle- of fantasy and modernity. Upon a high, aged artist, knowing the difficulties of art, will grassy shore of the blue Mediterranean, under find much in it to admire, but the up-to-date a fair, blue sky, a crowd of half-nude chilyoung critic will affect to despise its cold and dren, big and little, disport themselves, academic qualities. “Does your master," said climbing trees, wrestling, dozing on the Bouguereau to a pupilof Carolus Duran, "does ground. Plainly it is affected by the Japyour master ever require you to draw ?” anese, and plainly it is affected by Fortuny.
The Rosa Bonheur and Verboeckhoven The draperies, such as they are, and the are not important examples, but the Koek- trees are Japanese. The color is of the gaykoek is perhaps as good a picture as the ar- est and the small figures are touched in with tist ever painted. Trees, castle, and country delicious ease. A touch of grotesque is inare detailed and hard and finished, after the troduced in the quaintest way in a little sit