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Studio: international art — 1.1893

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http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/studio1893/0142
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New Books on Art

qualities of art which it would be hard to parallel.
A complete recognition of Mr. Whistler's import-
ance, to quote a single instance, cannot be lessened
by a eulogy of certain younger men whose tentative
efforts seem to be over-appieciated here. Yet,

FROM A PROGRAMME DESIGNED BY C. W. FURSE

{Pall Mall Pictures of the Year)

although in separate articles, where each is judged
on his own scale, such comparative criticism is
not felt, brought together, the amount of space
devoted to them seems somewhat disproportionate
by comparison.
124

As a careful summary of contemporary taste,
good and bad, it is a document of lasting value ;
as a piece of literature, readable more than once :
while among its sound advice no one should
neglect its recognition of the excellence of the art
of France, coupled as it is with a
warning of the disastrous effects of
French influence upon British paint-
ers. Mr. Moore's intimate knowledge
of modern paintings gives him a right
to deliver judgment; but human
nature, however well intentioned, has
always betrayed unconsciously but
inevitably the personal equation in
considering the work of contempo-
raries ; and while agreeing that the
prophetic vision of the doom of the
present system is, on the whole, both
probable and welcome, yet one is not
quite sure if the founders of that
school, which is to surpass the pre-
sent, and at least equal the highest
record of the past, are those men
whom Mr. Moore, with no little
courage, has nominated for the enter-
prise. But the book cannot be fairly
discussed in a brief notice; enough
to say, that to forbear to read it would
be to own one's indifference to the
art of painting in England to-day, and
that whether one agrees or disagrees
with the author, the volume is emi-
nently readable.

The Birth and Development of
Ornament. By F. Edward Hulme.
(London : Swan Sonnenschein & Co.
1893.)—In the opening chapter of
this book, a phrase arrests one that,
if not written in conscious irony, is
singularly unfortunate. By way of
exalting decorative art to the rank of
fine art, the author says:—" If we
see a group of lilies painted on a
canvas, with a gold frame, and hung
on a wall, we call it a picture; but if
the same flowers, equally well painted,
are placed in the panel of a door, we
call it a decorative design." True, in
the context and in a quotation from
Palgrave, the aim of true decoration
is explained, but nothing distinctly
contradicts the very fatal blunder of
the sentence quoted. For surely the
art of decoration is not that it is
painted equally well, but that it is
treated entirely differently from that
imitation of Nature with its accidents
of light and shadow which is the end
of a picture. The flat surface of a
panel should always be kept, whereas
to simulate a hole in the wall through which one
catches a glimpse of the actual scene portrayed,
is the ideal of pictorial art, the frame being
as it were the architectural treatment of the
window opening. Otherwise for its opinions, its
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