Studio: international art — 5.1895

Page: 89
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Art at the Champ de Mars

chant the praise of the calm and placid beauty of
earth and Nature. What tender poetic melancholy
in this Maison de Pecheurs I Everything tells so
plainly of the frugal, hard and cruel life beside the
grey sea behind the flowerless moorland. Our
great school of landscape may indeed be proud to
add to its glorious roll—to Corot, Dupre, Diaz,
Rousseau—the name of Jean-Charles Cazin.

M. Roll.—It is surprising and painful to see an
artist with so vigorous a painter's temperament—I
italicise the words deliberately—make such a mis-
take, go so far astray, as M. Roll has done this
year. He had established a firm reputation from
the bold and confident handling of his materials.
His pictures were full of sap, and despite the little
aesthetic interest usually to be found in his com-
positions, no one could afford to despise or blame
him, for in all he did there was evidence of a rich,
healthy, sincere view of things, and often glimpses
of truth which deserved esteem. But what are we to
say, what to think, of this enormous decorative panel
which he calls Les Joies de la Vie ? Commonplace
in point of arrangement, still more commonplace
in execution, it is bewildering in its incoherence.
What is the meaning of these frenzied musicians,
clothed in black, in this scene-painter's glade,
sprawling with nude Bacchantes? Here, em-
bracing couples are dancing under the trees; there,
women are disporting in the water. The whole
thing is soft and woolly, with no regard for that
general harmony which is indispensable in all
decorative work. As for the symbolical idea, it
seems gross and shallow. Indeed, there appears to
be very little that is attractive in these " Joys of
Life," if this is what they are in reality. It is
simply music-hall or beer-house decoration; nothing
more !

M. A. de la Gandara.—Extreme Whistlerism
minus the genial freedom of the creator of
Carlyle and Lady Meux is the characteristic
of this painter. The Portrait de Mine. Sarah
Bernhardt attracts attention more for the sake of
the sitter than from any intrinsic merit in the
work itself. And was it the great tragedienne's
coquetry, or simply an admission of weakness on
the part of the painter, that made him confine
himself to this back pose, a profil perdic ? It is
hard indeed to understand what his idea can have
been in painting this portrait in which Madame
Sarah Bernhardt's very features are subordinated
to her gown, with a white satin train—well and
dexterously painted it is true, but in no way com-
pensating us for losing a sight of the great actress's
expressive face.

M. de la Gandara, despite his excellent gifts,
chooses to copy Whistler in his portraits ; in his
still-life he imitates Chardin, and it must be ad-
mitted that he succeeds remarkably well in re-
producing that species of atmosphere in his
colouring which is peculiar to the incomparable
painter of the Benedicite. But one may seek in
vain for any indication of a genuine personality, a
real artistic originality in M. de la Gandara.

M. Dagnan.—After his triumph of last year at
the Champ de Mars, M. Dagnan is very meagrely
represented so far as the number of his exhibits is
concerned; but when their real merit is consi-
dered the quantity is forgotten in the quality. If
his Eros may be passed by almost without remark,
how, on the other hand, can one help dwelling
long before his delightful Lavoir Breton ? Here
is a striking instance of how a great artist may
transform reality into poetry by sheer power of
vision and force of brush.

The refined and delicate talent of M. Duez has
gone oddly astray this year in the dull piece of
realism, entitled L'heure de la Tetee a la Maternite.
One finds none of his customary qualities here.
The faces stand out hard and detached, with a
complete absence of atmosphere, while the attitudes
are commonplace and wanting in character. The
whole thing smacks of artificiality and convention.
We may hope that M. Duez will not remain long
in this new manner.

What is there to say of M. Lhermitte, save
that he draws and paints well, according to the
taste of the day, and that his charcoal drawings
and his pastels are preferable to his huge picture of
Les Halles, illustrating M. Zola's "Ventre de
Paris," and intended to adorn the walls of the
Hotel de Ville ?

Our great Watteau's glory might, I think, have
easily dispensed with the pretentious "apotheosis"
which M. Gaston La Touche has taken the
trouble to dedicate to him. It is an orgie of false
colouring, absolutely out of harmony, straining
after originality of effects, but displaying a complete
incapacity for dealing successfully with the sonorous
gamuts of light. One can only recall with regret
his delicate Benediction of last year, so charming
in its harmony of whites.

Three canvases, signed Guillaume Roger, de-
serve mention, notably Une Basse de Bhc and Vert
et Rose, in which the artist's efforts to realise certain
subtle effects of colour have produced the happiest

Where are we to stop next amidst this confusion
of walls? Before the exhibits of M. J. E. Blanche,

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