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Studio: international art — 30.1904

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J. E. Blanche

JACQUES EMILE BLANCHE: of this kind ! The truth is, because M. Blanche
PORTRAIT PAINTER. BY has never concealed his admiration of the English
HENRI FRANTZ portrait-painters, because he has spent a long time

in England, and shown appreciation of certain sides
In essaying to study certain aspects of M. Jacques of English life, he is accused of plagiarism, and
Blanche's talent, more particularly the recent por- classed by his own people as an imitator of Lawrence
traits by which his work, already very consider- and Reynolds and Gainsborough ; whereas in Eng-
able, has been enriched, I am fully conscious land, where Blanche has always exhibited largely,
of the difficulty of my task. The art of this such an opinion has never been expressed. On
painter, composed as it is of so many diverse earlier the contrary, it is precisely the native grace, the dis-
elements — and despite the excellence of certain tinction, and the elegance of the most thoroughly
examples, seeming not to have arrived until these French of our painters that has been chiefly admired
last few years at its definite formula—is not of the in his work by English critics. Although this work
kind to be judged straight away ; for ignorance of of his is quite capable of defending itself, this is a
the stages reached and passed by the artist, with point which cannot be too strongly insisted on.
his successive evolutions—ignorance, in a word, of Undoubtedly Blanche has been inspired and in-
the long patience which has resulted in the expan- fiuenced in a certain measure by the open-air
sion seen to-day—would expose one to the risk of portraits of Romney, Opie, and Lawrence. Thanks
judging him incorrectly. Moreover, it is a very to them it is that he realised all that could be made
delicate matter to deal with a subject after a master- of a portrait which stands out against a horizon of
writer like M. Maurice Barres, who has examined park-land and forest. These old masters furnished
and analysed the talent of Jacques Blanche in one him with a starting point : that is all. Let us add
of those fine pieces of prose rendered precious by that many other painters of our period owe just as
their richness of form and impeccable " documen- much to these very painters, without any one having
don." Therefore I would not attempt to add even thought of urging it as a reproach against
ought to M. Barres' masterly pages, were it not that, them. It is enough to look closely at these masters'
during the eighteen months that have
elapsed since that appreciation appeared,
M. Blanche has, in a whole series of new
works, shown that he has taken another
step upwards in his determined climb
towards his artistic ideal; has reached,
perhaps, the final rung of the ladder, if
one may say so of one so energetic and so
impassioned. Again, it may be well, see-
ing how easily the public falls into error,
to insist on the excellence of the work of
an artist of such engaging personality.
" The truth always needs repeating, be-
cause error is for ever being preached,
and not by a few remote voices, but by
the crowd." Thus remarked Goethe to
his faithful Eckermann.

Goethe's saying is verified once more.
No one has been judged more hastily
than the artist whose work we propose
to examine. How often has one heard
urged against Blanche his alleged imita-
tion of English art, thus showing com-
plete misconception of long years of
effort and research and so many remark-
able canvases ! How much that is at
random, how little that reveals conscien-
tious investigation, we find in judgments portrait of paul adam by j- e. blanche
XXX. No. 129.—December, 1903. I91
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