Studio: international art — 15.1899

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The Illustration of Music

set, Henri Riviere, Cheret, Auriol, and Steinlen, to
whom, for some years past, intelligent music pub-
lishers have had the good sense to entrust the
illustration, or rather the decoration, of their publi-
cations—the artistic value of which often enough
lies solely in the draughtsman's skill, as exemplified
on the covers of these songs, scores, piano pieces,
waltzes, and quadrilles—thanks to them the history
of the " applied engraving "—if one may so express
it—is in course of being enriched by yet another

But interesting as these things may appear,
praiseworthy as may be the spirit shown by certain
publishers in supporting this movement, I cannot
rid my mind of a somewhat melancholy reflection
inspired by the general tendency of things pertain-
ing to applied art at the present time.

Among the numberless reproaches sadly urged
against this dying century one at least must hence-
forth be blotted out. No, our age can no longer
be justly accused of having opposed the diffusion
of art in any one of its many varieties, of having


impeded its entry into any one of the various
branches of human activity and everyday life. On
the contrary; indeed, you will soon find that
minority which nothing ever satisfies proclaiming
that matters have been overdone in this direction,
and that the methods employed to make up for
the indifference of past generations will end in
rendering the expiation worse than the original
offence. The day will come when, without exag-
geration, one may parody the well-known cry:
" Que d'art! Que d'art! " By dint of striving to
introduce art everywhere we have succeeded in
having rather too much of it.

Can it be said that taste has advanced as much
as people think, that public intelligence has become
refined to the extent we pretend ? Unfortunately,
no ! It is only a matter of fashion after all, and the
proof of this has once more burst upon us only
recently. It may well be that certain classes are
no longer content to live amid the sumptuous
horrors, the oriental rubbish from the bazaars, the
mediaeval bric-a-brac, in which they delighted in
their youth j it may be too that these same classes
prefer now—but, you may be sure, not for artistic
reasons—to hang on their walls, say, a dry-point by
Helleu instead of some inferior etching " after"
the latest patriotic or anecdotic sensation from the
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