Studio: international art — 8.1896

Page: 102
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The Salon of the Champs-Elystes

and completest in contemporary art, and that in
the most striking fashion.

There is nothing to be compared to this in the
Champs-Elysees. At the very entrance of the
vast glass hall, where the fat cattle used to rumi-
nate, where the annual concours hippique runs its
fashionable course, M. Falguiere's statue La Dan-
seuse strikes the key-note of this Salon, suggests the
atmosphere befitting the rest of the works displayed
therein. As is always the case here, the anecdotal
picture, grave or gay, reigns supreme. Whether
the subject be historical, or religious, whether it
be decorative work, or genre, or landscape, the
insignificant points of details, the "up-to-date"
touches, are always predominant. The mise-en-
scene is everything. Here one sees a loud repro-
duction of the latest scandal; there the face of the
most-discussed actress or statesman or "Society
woman ; " with the best place to the best adver-
tised ! One feels at once that art is here in
direct touch with the powers that be, with the
society of to-day. It is simply a race for the
Grand Prix and the accompanying medals. Art
in itself has only a secondary importance; it all
depends on the connections of the artist, on his
capacity for intrigue, on his skill in diplomacy.

Thus we see a sculptor of the ability of M. Fal-
guiere—this may be said without exaggeration—
with honours and distinctions thick upon him,
exhibiting, under the influence of a strange craving
for advertisement, the statue of one of the most
popular, but one of the least talented, of opera
dancers. According to the scandal of the hour,
the ballerina is not particularly flattered. She
declares she sat for the head only, not for the
entire figure ; while M. Falguiere, interviewed by
the reporters, maintains the contrary. The result
of course is that M. Falguiere's Danseuse is dis-
played in every shop window, and published by all
the illustrated papers. All this is a very signi-
ficant sign of the times; and of all the works dis-
played at the Champs-Elysees there are not more
than fifty which have been produced without regard
to this most questionable advertisement and
notoriety. M. Jean Beraud was wrong to leave
the Champs-Elysees for the Champ de Mars, for
in the former he was indeed at home !

The difficulty is to know where to make a halt
in these forty galleries, full of noisy incongruity.
How can one pick out and appreciate justly the
works worth consideration ? These latter are few
enough, to be sure, but some of the others must


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