Studio: international art — 17.1899

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1 cm
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“love the conqueror” (r.a.) by BYAM SHAW

(jBy permission of Messrs. Dowdeswell dr3 Dowdeswell)

cultivation of this spirit will raise the whole move-
ment to a more professional level, and redeem it from
any lingering reproach as to the charity that covers a
multitude of aesthetic sins. The organisation does
undoubtedly help a number of capable but variously
handicapped amateurs, who could not otherwise
compete in the market. But whatever be the
motives which sustain devoted teachers amid the
discouragements of their task, neither to these nor
to any incidents of its fulfilment must the critic
lend a sympathetic ear. This way lies the senti-
mental cul-de-sac into which the sweepings of the
art-world have been gathered from all time, by
such as cherish little Tommy’s painting-book
because he is such a beginner, or find a subtle
charm in a bad basket because its maker was blind.
To judge a piece of art upon its merits is the first
principle of criticism, and to invite such judgment is
the wish of every serious artist and craftsman. It
remains for those who sympathise with the aims of
the association to convince the ordinary purchaser
that home-made goods of genuine value alreadyawait
him in the market, and to encourage him by all
means to seek and prefer them. There should no
longer be any excuse for an English lady to clothe
herself in shoddy material, or for her lover to buy
her engine-turned jewellery at the ordinary trade
shop. How far more gracious is the gift that bears
the stamp of humanity in all its parts—a free,
sincere, and intelligent utterance of the joy of
living !


It was really quite a brilliant thought, nothing
less than inspiration, on the part of the Council
of the International Society of Painters and
Gravers to print on the cover of their catalogue
the dictum of a respectable fossil among critical
organs, which sapiently dismisses the exhibition as
“ a large and not particularly pleasant gallery.” Is it
because it is large it is not particularly pleasant ?
and if not, in what default does it incur the
reproach ? There are certainly no risky pictures
on the walls ; there is scarcely one that would fail
to pass muster before the bar of Mrs. Grundy. It
has been further said that most of the work is ten-
tative—beginnings and promising strivings. Mani-
festly the highly-groomed, stippled-up canvas, the
ideal of the Forty, is conspicuous by its absence.
I think I am right in saying that a landscape by
Mr. H. W. B. Davis is the only picture by a member
of the Academic body in these galleries. No, I am
wrong. I had forgotten Mr. J. J. Shannon’s portrait
group; dexterous, dainty, and of assured excellence.
What we do find at this show is a moderately

* In addition to reproductions of works at the Inter-
national Exhibition, several of those exhibited at other
Galleries, which were crowded out from the May number,
are included amongst the illustrations to this article.

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