International studio — 55.1915

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Drawings by Arthur J. Gaskin

The drawings of Arthur
The drawings of Arthur J. Gaskin are chiefly
notable for the extraordinary refinement in the
quality of their line, and, where they are more
complete, for a rare sense of tone and colour.
That is not to say that Mr. Gaskin lacks the power
of completing his modelling, or of dealing with
the problems of light and shade. It results rather
from that pure delight in line and colour, so
beautifully displayed in the art of Asiatic countries
and in the painting of mediaeval Europe. Now
these qualities are inevitably obscured when strong
effects of light and shade are introduced. More-
over the expression of relief and shadow belongs
rather to the province of sculpture than to that of
painting and drawing.
It is obvious that an
artist who works in such
a method as that of Mr.
Gaskin can appeal only to
those who have the faculty
of attentive and penetrative
vision. To those who ex¬
pect to see startling effects
of light and shade or figures
which stand out from their
background, such design is
incomprehensible and, in¬
deed, almost invisible. Yet
it is not, in the deepest
significance of the term,
less real or less true, but
rather is more so. The
business of an artist is not
to produce work “like
nature ” ; this is alike im¬
possible and needless, for
nature is prolific enough.
His business is to describe
what he sees, whether
with his outward eyes or
with the inward vision
of his soul, that others
may partake of his reve¬
lation. For this pur¬
pose it is necessary to
select, to design, and to
compose, so as to secure
beauty and rhythm with
intelligibility. A great
truth is enunciated by

Browning in his “ Fra Lippo Lippi,” when he
says :
For don’t you mark ? We're made so that we
First when we see them painted, things we have
Perhaps a hundred times nor cared to see,
And so they are better painted—better to us,
Which is the same thing.
Now look at the two drawings, A Country Boy
and A Village Lad (p. 30), and note how in these
apparently unpromising subjects Mr. Gaskin has
discovered for us not only a great fund of character
but also classic folds of drapery, not unworthy to
be set beside the monumental drawings of the
great Albert Diirer. Look again at the delicate
drawing of the ear and the living growth of hair in
Derek. These drawings and the drawing of a baby
six weeks old are reduced almost, though not


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