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Studio: international art — 30.1904

Seite: 323
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1 cm
Wicker Furniture

memory serves me, during the autumn of 1887 that
I was seized with a desire to make a pilgrimage to
the musk of St. Quentin, the town where Latour
was born, and to which he bequeathed a large part
of his works. Indeed, the St. Quentin gallery
contains no fewer than forty pastels—nearly all of
rare quality—by the illustrious master. At that
date all these masterpieces were not to be seen in
the new musee. They were hung in a sombre
hall—a place altogether favourable, by the way,
to their preservation—under the roof of the
Hotel de Ville. When I asked permission to
inspect them the concierge of the building care-
lessly handed me a key, without raising his
eyes from his newspaper, and simply said, " Go
up." So I climbed the high staircase, and
entered the sanctuary. At first, in the dim
light of the apartment, with its worm-eaten brick
tiles, I could distinguish nought but the gold of
the frames containing so many marvels. Then, .as
my sight became accustomed to the semi-darkness,
the outlines of the faces grew visible ; then, through
the gentle brightness of the colours, came the
expression of the features, until at last I was
conscious of every detail.

Oh! those expressions .... therein I divined,
under the light caress of the crayon, under the
vaporous dust of the pastel—as definitely fixed as
through the keen and penetrating burin of the
graver—all the concentrated spirit of the Eighteenth
Century, all the essential wit of that epoch, all the
intellectual life of a whole century. That age—
eternally ironic and vibrating—enveloped me, so to
speak, in that obscure chamber. And soon, under

the influence of a sort of unconscious disquietude,
a sort of undefinable malaise, I quitted the fplace,
promising myself to return after a walk in the
sunshine. And as I went down those ^stairs I
seemed to hear voices in whispered raillery behind
me — voices as of the Pompadour, of Fel, of
Favart, of Salles, of Camargo, of D'Alembert, of
Diderot, of the Abbe Leblanc, of Jean-Jacques ....
while the Mare'chal de Saxe saluted with a great
burst of laughter the departure of the intruder, the
sound of whose feet had, it seems, interrupted their
tender prattlings, or their "precious" marivaitdages.

Should the reader desire to discover the symbol
of this little story, he will discover very quickly that
the writer of these few introductory lines is deeply
penetrated with this idea: that the frail coloured
crayon, wielded by fingers like those of Latour, and
governed by a spirit of observation like that of the
St. Quentin master, may create marvellous and
eternal masterpieces ; and that the art of the pastel
—apparently so light and ephemeral—may mani-
fest itself as abundantly and as forcibly as the
work of the strongest of painters. A. D.

\M. Dayofs article is the introduction to a series, dealing
with the modern French Fastellists, which will be published in
The Studio. The contributors to the series will include
MM. Frantz Jotirdain, Gustave Geffroy, Octave Uzannc^
Raymond Bojtyer, and HenH Frantz.—Ed.]


Everybody is familiar with the old wicker
chair, with its dimity, or chintz upholstery.

wicker chairs

executed by prag-rudniker. designed by h. vollmer
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