Studio: international art — 17.1899

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The Munich Secessionists Exhibition

the house lies in the fact that it depends for its
attractions entirely upon its hand-made decorations
—all machine-made ornaments being rigidly ex-
cluded. It is a common fallacy to suppose that no
house can appear satisfactory without wall-papers,
moulded cornices, fancy carpets and machine-made
brocades, and, above all, plenty of framed pictures,
prints, and photographs upon its walls. That
pictures and prints and even photographs have a
charm in themselves is, of course, readily to be
granted. That wall-papers and machine-woven
fabrics have a legitimate place in the economy of
modern decoration is incontestable. But there is
a growing feeling in the minds of many, and
especially among those to whom the question of
expense is not of paramount importance, that a
house, to be in the highest sense an artistic house,
should contain no decorations but those made by
the hands of man, and especially adapted to their
surroundings. Let ornament be used as sparingly
as may be desired, but whatever there is of it,
let it be of the best. Plain structural forms
and plain surfaces add to rather than detract
from the beauty of a house, provided their
proportions are duly considered and that they
are so placed that they relieve in effect some
object of consummate decorative value. Most

houses at the present day suffer from being over-
ornamented by cheap machine-made patterns ; and
if people would only think out these things for
themselves, and not be content to leave the decora-
tion of their houses to those who are generally
lacking in knowledge of the first principles of art,
there would be some prospect of an advance in
national aestheticism. Mr. Menpes’ Japanese de-
corations are full of interest, and those who are
wise may learn many lessons from them. But his
experiment is one that should not tempt the
copyist. To introduce wholesale into the West
Japanese methods of decoration would be to
stultify our own national art. We may seek to
understand the principles which govern Japanese
work, and even adopt them, but we must express
them in .our own way to suit our own conditions
of existence.


There is no lack of art exhibitions
this summer in Germany. Berlin has
its “ Grosse Ausstellung” and its “Secession”;
Dresden, its “ Deutsche Kunstausstellung,” and


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