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Studio: international art — 7.1896

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Reviews of Recent Publications

must suffice to say that the masters who have chiefly
influenced him are Millet and Israels. While he has
been the first to follow their lead in Germany, he
has at the same time not lost his own individuality.
This sentiment of his is well expressed on the invi-
tation card which he designed for the recent exhi-
bition to which I have referred—the " Ausstellung
der XI." In the foreground is Art, as - it was for-
merly understood in Germany—a pseudo-romantic
Gretchen, with a mass of academic rubbish and
puppets at her feet, while in the distance the rising
sun shines over the smooth landscape, in which a
herdsman a la Millet is minding his cattle.

Ludwig Dettmann is another artist demanding
a word of genuine admiration. From the first he
attracted attention, more especially in his triptychs,
which he treated in the most poetical and delicate
fashion. If one may sometimes have fancied that
his work was a little weak in treatment, it must
nevertheless be admitted that he showed undoubted
power in his water-colours displayed a short time
back at Gurlitt's. Out of England I have never
seen such splendid results in this medium. This
is Dettmann's special domain ; may he explore it
still further. G. G.

REVIEWS OF RECENT PUB-
LICATIONS.

Drawings by Charles Dana Gibson. (London :
John Lane.) It must be about fifteen years ago
that a certain young and coincidentally clever archi-
tect of New York advanced to himself and his friends,
quorum pars fui\ what appeared to be a somewhat
bold proposition. It was to the effect that a
weekly journal might be started in the metropolis
of the Atlantic seaboard, which, while it should be
humorous, need not necessarily be vulgar. The
inherent audacity of this thesis lay in the fact that
up to that time humour and vulgarity had been
synonymous terms, so far, at least, as illustrated
journalism was concerned; and of this fact Puck
and Judge were striking and pecuniarily successful
examples. The theory of the New York architect
was put into practice by the issuance of a small,
well-printed, well-illustrated, and well-written little
periodical called Life, which from its very inception
was cordially received by the better class of the
American people, and completely ousted from
those homes boasting of any degree of refinement,
the crudely coloured cartoons of Joseph Keppler,
which had, anterior to this, made the fortune of
188

Puck. Life was in fact the New York Punch;
brighter, more playful, more subtly humorous in
its tone, and flavoured rather more with the tincture
of a fashionable society more concrete and homo-
geneous than'that of the Old World. We have said
that this Transatlantic Punch was immediately
successful. That it was so was largely due to the
fact that it found almost with its first number an
American Du Maurier. This was a young man
barely out of his teens and one who, at that time,
might have shared with his better known prototype
the reproach of a want of perfection in his actual
technique. But as the years went on he learned
to draw as few youngsters of his age could draw,
and from the very first he reflected with a precision
that was little short of genius, the prismatic
bubble of New York society. To the smaller
cities, to the provincial towns, to the villages of
Eastern America, and to many which lie nearer to
the Rocky Mountains than the Atlantic, Charles
Dana Gibson provided a weekly column of the
fashions and follies of Manhattan Island, which
was appreciated as was no other source of infor-
mation. He not only set the fashion and showed
the country dry-goods clerk and the village store-
keeper's daughter, how frock-coats were cut, and
spring costumes fashioned in the great metropolis ;
but he also showed them how the original wearers
of these garments walked, and how they posed,
and how they bore themselves generally. He did
more than this. It has been said, and with the
degree of truth that most paradoxes have, that
Mr. Du Maurier invented the English girl of the
latter half of this century, as John Leech invented
the maiden of the early sixties. With equal truth
may it be said that Mr. Gibson invented the
American girl of the last decade. If proof of this
be needed, one has only to turn to the pages of the
somewhat imposing volume which lies before us.
On every page one sees the American girl with her
faults, her frivolities, her virtues, and her graces; and
to him who knows her as she walks her beloved
Fifth Avenue or drives through the Central Park
of the city of her birth, the psychological instinct as
well as the artistic talent evinced in this counterfeit
presentment is nothing short of wonderful. But
one has only to cast one's memory back to the
years which lie before 1890 to convince oneself
that before the arrival of Mr. Gibson and the birth
of Life, she did not exist as she is here shown.
It is doubtless a case of the counteraction of cause
and effect, but none the less the curious fact
remains ; and for this fact, if for nothing else, this
sumptuous volume possesses an ethical interest of
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