Studio: international art — 17.1899

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E. M. Simas Decorations for a Bath-Room

words could do, while the delicious blonde and
silvery freshness of their colour are, unfortunately,
quite beyond the power of print and pen.

Their theme is the portrayal of emotions which
are suggested in music by the tempo and form of
certain movements. On the left, as one enters,
the series begins with an Adagio.

A young woman, rich and fair, sunk upon a
garden seat in the melancholy twilight, is lost in a
reverie of whose gloomy theme the sinister beings
in the panels to right and left give the key. Op-
posed to this is an Allegro, in which the hardy
adventurer-knight, mindless of his dingy armour, is
riding forth to dare the chance fortunes of the
way, and waves a gay salute to the nymphs beneath
a flowering tree, behind whose stem one sees a
beckoning faun. The picture is flanked on the
left by a panel with the figure of a youth as
“ Amor.” Over the chimney-breast, between these
two wall-panels, stands the lovely Muse, painted,
as befits the presiding genius of the room, in a
scale above the normal, as the others are some-
what below. She is a northern Muse, and her
garland is of the oak and pine. On the opposite
wall is a lively Scherzo, on a motive of the very
north—some wild fellows on skates scuffling over
the ice with a dancing bear. The chief thing on
this side, however, is a tremendous Furioso—a
fierce conqueror in red harness and crown, scourge
and firebrand in hand, setting his foot on the naked
corpse of the slain; in the background a burning
town, from whose smoking ruins the man of blood
is taking himself off.

“ The rugged Pyrrhus,—he, whose sable arms,

Black as his purpose, did the night resemble.”

In a panel to the left of this the dance is sym-
bolised in a draped dancing-girl, for whom a little
faun with cymbals beats the rhythm. In the
Madonna, glorified in golden rays above the
organ, wearing a northern bride’s crown, and bear-
ing the child upon her arm, we have a symbol of
sacred music or of the eternal womanhood which
the world enshrines.

The painted ornament in the deep cove which
merges wall and ceiling is partly in lowered greens
and in yellows. Close under the ceiling between
•the beast-heads is a runic ornament in red, which
might have run round the taffrail of a viking’s

In a future number of The Studio I hope to
have an opportunity of treating upon other sides
of Fritz Erler’s versatile and comprehensive art.

Burnley Bibb.



One cannot, without injustice, refuse
to recognise the steady progress in the
matter of decorative art which is being made in
France; it is an incontestable fact that to-day,
among a certain class at least, no one would tolerate
for a moment styles and designs, the ugliness, the
vulgarity, the inappropriateness of which less than
ten years ago did not seem to shock the public
taste. Happily, it will be the same five years
hence with marly things now tolerated, and we
shall be asking ourselves how we could possibly
have been content with them for so long. Yes,
five years, or ten at the outside, will be enough,
assuming that public taste continues to develop, to
bring about these changes; and even a shorter
period will suffice to tire us of many of our present
surroundings and to reveal their defects and their
commonplace character.

It is possibly this growing tendency on the part
of the public to change its fashions and its tastes
which more than aught else accounts for the fact
that artists are often disinclined to accept the
responsibility of carrying out any serious and
definite work of decoration. They prefer, un-
fortunately, to devote their energies to the pro-
duction of knick-knacks, simple objects—objets
diart—for the public demands such things. There
is no country where manufacturers and craftsmen
alike display more imagination, more inventive
spirit in the production of ephemeral things of
relative artistic merit than is the case in France.
But what a waste of effort!

As, therefore, complete decorative schemes—
decorations d'ense?nble, as they are styled—are
rarely seen in France, there is every reason why we
should note and study those that do exist, such
for instance as the Bath-Room by M. Simas, work
marked by genuine originality and true decorative
capacity. These pages have on more than one
occasion borne witness to the efforts of this interest-
ing artist, and the occasion now presents itself to
examine his methods somewhat more closely.

For several years past M. Simas has devoted
himself exclusively to decorative work, and
numerous are the wall-papers, the cretonnes, the
stained-glass designs, the mosaic cartoons, the
stencilled friezes, and the pieces of furniture he
has produced. Latterly, at the instance of the
proprietors of the Sarreguemines Factory, he has
applied himself specially to designing articles in-
tended for reproduction in earthenware. Without

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