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Studio: international art — 36.1906

Seite: 146
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http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/studio1906/0164
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The Country Cottage

art with such earnestness, such conscientiousness,
and such zeal.

The young artist was ever advancing. In 1899
he produced a portrait bust which is remarkable
for its keen psychology, for its grip of essentials,
and its powerful characterisation. As much may
be said of the statuette portrait of a Munich
gentleman in Alpine costume, which is full of
brilliant qualities. Wirsing obtained his first great
success in 1900 with a marble statue of Eve
offering to Adam an apple which she holds in her
right hand, while she has another in her left. The
nude figure is finely poised, and the rhythmic lines
of the body give it an air of nobility and dignity.
It may perhaps be urged against the artist’s work
up to this period that it had partaken too much of
what is termed genre, and this reproach applies
particularly to his Eve; certainly there is imagina-
tion in the idea of the two apples, but it is some-
what artificial, deliberate, and therefore inartistic.
The artist himself was conscious of these defects,
and realised that he was on the wrong road; he
resolved to get out of the groove. And here
Hildebrand served him as an exemplar. He
steeped himself in Hildebrand’s wonderful know-
ledge, in the meaning and the causes which
resulted in the perfect harmony of his work, and
made himself fully acquainted with those experi-
ments and investigations which Hildebrand has
collected in his book, “ The Problem of Form.”
The master was especially useful to him in relation
to style in relief and direct wmrk in stone. Hilde-
brand’s thesis with regard to the display of relief is
exemplified in a relief sketch in stone produced
by Wirsing in 1899. Also in the spirit of Hilde-
brand, but freer, more mature, is a bacchantic
scene in stone relief, wrought by the young artist in
1902, and placed in his villa in the Taunus.
Once again he relapsed into a less controlled
manner, but this time not from weakness nor
unwittingly. He was impelled to fashion a figure
in full movement: a woman stooping as she runs.
For this, the most difficult of plastic problems, he
chose as his subject Atalanta, famed for her beauty
and her swiftness, who in her race with Hippo-
menes picked up the golden apples which he
threw in her way. Wii sing’s Atalanta is indeed a
truly happy solution of this complicated problem ;
but the double motion hardly strikes one perhaps as
impetuous enough, as it seems to be weakened
somewhat by reason of the harmonic scheme to
which the artist attached more importance than to
anything else.

In the same year (Wirsing at this time being
146

busily engaged, and with the happiest results, in
plaquette work) appeared the portrait bust of
Geheimrath Professor Dr. Wiederstein, in bronze,
a grave and most expressive work, which betokened
the growing maturity of the young sculptor. It
is refreshing to know and to realise how quickly
Wirsing overcame all difficulties, and steadily
developed his powers until he arrived at the
lovely marble bust of his young wife, produced
in the autumn of 1903.

In the International Art Exhibition in the
Munich “ Glas Palast ” this year the portrait
bust of an Italian in grey piet>a siena marks a
further stage in the development of the young
artist’s achievement. The queer, characteristic face
of this Italian lad is most feelingly portrayed, the
fine head firmly placed on the long, graceful neck.
This work displays feeling, but its most remarkable
feature is a certain austerity in treatment and in
technique. This must be regarded as a most favour-
able sign ; it means that Wirsing is possessed of
individuality, and that he can now attain all that
in which he was once lacking. He works now in
a manner that completely satisfies the public taste.
But popular as he is, the artist has not yet worked
out his destiny. New problems are constantly
arising, and with new problems come new technical
questions. Meanwhile Wirsing is working at an
idealised female figure, whose naked beauty is dis-
played against a dark grey background of park-
land. She has thrown aside her head-covering,
and her rich, luxuriant hair ripples over her
shoulders. The sweet, pure face is full of the
grace of maidenhood. In her left hand she carries
a shawl. The artist has hewn this work straight
out of the marble, and when it is finished it will
mean another and a universal success. For years
past Wirsing has been the most promising of the
young Munich sculptors, and there seems to be
every reason to believe that he will fully justify all
the hopes that have been formed in his favour.

The country cottage and

THE MATERIALS USED IN ITS
CONSTRUCTION. BY G. LL.
MORRIS AND ESTHER WOOD.

“ One has to look,” says Mr. Reginald Blomfield,
“ to cottages, farm buildings and the like, in order
to trace the permanent building tradition of the
country.” Their charm, simplicity, variety and
picturesqueness are admirable, and are the out-
come of that “assured tradition which results from
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