International studio — 55.1915

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Still-Life Paintings by Sibyl Meugens

Decorative still-life
Of all the various branches of the art of the
painter it has always seemed to nre that Still Life
affords the artist the most untrammelled occasion
for the exercise of his skill. In every kind of art
we can distinguish between subject and technique,
between the thing done and the manner of doing
it, no matter whether listening to a musician or
looking at a picture. The highest form of art is
surely that in which we find a noble and inspiring
theme handled in a fine and worthy manner ; but
a picture which, though great in subject is poor in
technique, still arouses our interest, as also does the
work in which subject is nothing, the craftsman-
ship all. I venture the opinion, therefore, that
Still Life will be in the main always a “painter’s ”
art, appealing chiefly to the student and to the

need not to be settled in the mind or upon the
canvas, as is, for instance, the case in landscape
painting. But the more personal the outlook of
the painter, and consequently the more indi-
vidual his craftsmanship, the less will the picture
approach to that faux ideal of bald realism, and
the nearer will it become to being worthy to rank
as fine art.
There is a subtle quality of paint about these
little decorative still-life pieces by Mme. Sibyl
Meugens which constitutes their chief beauty.
She depicts with rare skill and cunning the interest-
ing objects, china, glass, jewels, silks, and embroid-
eries with which she loves to compose these
delightful “arrangements” of form and colour;
but she also contrives to give to her paint a texture
and liquid quality which it is difficult to do justice
to in words, but very pleasant to appreciate and
enjoy whilst looking at her work. Her sense of
colour is extremely refined, and very charming are

amateur of fine artistry,
for in pictures of this kind
the subject is often of
minor significance, while
the handling and the tech-
nique are of paramount
importance. The motifs
are a matter of absolutely
free choice of the artist,
the arrangement of the
composition is for the
most part purely artificial
and the outcome of a
personal predilection for
certain schemes of colour,
certain forms, certain
effects of light upon sur-
faces of different kinds,
but the craftsmanship, the
technique, it is that gives
to a sometimes strange
and unexpected agglo-
meration of heterogeneous
objects its meaning and
quality as a work of
Still Life is often merely
imitative and to some
extent rightly so, for all
questions of selection and
composition are capable
of being dealt with by the
artist when handling the
objects in actuality, and

“the owl candlestick” by sibyl meugens
(In the Collection of Edmund Davis, Esq.)

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