International studio — 36.1908/​1909(1909)

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https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/international_studio36/0417
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A N AMERICAN PAINTER IN
/\ PARIS: GEORGE ELMER
/—^BROWNE. BY T. MARTIN
WOOD.
WHEN an American painter comes to London
Paris we anxiousiy await his work to see
whether with American faciiity he has lost aii that
is American on the way. Because this happens
not unoften each new comer is awaited with
curiosity. It wouid mean, if it aiways happened,
that America had nothing to plant in the breasts
of her children that could survive contact with the
Paris ateliers. There theory has usurped the
throne of inspiration; the botanists are pulling the
Hower of art to pieces. Excessive consciousness
seems embarrassing the French mind in art so
that they cannot hnd the unconscious element
from which new art must spring.
From countries that
have advanced far into the
meshes of civilixation
there escapes into art a
cryofhomesickness. The
greater the landscape, the
plainer thiscrywithits
remembrance of people
who have walked under
the trees, of lives lived
and ended as if invisibly
in the obscurity of the
village. This began in
Holland, whichhadcivi-
lized itself so quickly.
Rembrandt expresses it
signihcantly in the slight-
est of his etched land-
scapes. To ftnd art with-
outthisfeelingwemust
turn to America, for the
civilizationofAmericais
a grafted rose. There is
anelementbehindits
curiousflowerwhichhas
not yet expressed itself,
but which must hnd ex-
pressionnow that New
York has broughtback
fromParistheeasels, the
paper, and the methods.
Thelife forcewhichis
underthe light soil of
New York culture is rais-
ing its head in art, pro-
286

mising a national school. It will be something
new to the world, this art of the New World. For
art has only come to nations as they have acquired
age and a great civilization, but the American
continent has borrowed its civilization and the
methods for an art with it. If her painting is
to exist only upon her borrowed European culture
it will never mean anything at all; but if it once
expresses the instincts which have contributed to
her success in other things, it too will be successful,
and there wiH arise an art the fragrance of which
will be like a west wind across her Hat-iron cities
and contagious chimneys ; an art in its own way as
spring-Iike as Greek art—not the decadent con-
vention of spring suggested in a Botticelli, but such
as in the American muse is accompanied by the
rough-voiced pilot, Whitman.
Not living in America, Englishmen take the
worthiest American art that comes to their shores ;


" GATHERtNG KELF

BY GEORGE ELMER BROWNE
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