Studio: international art — 25.1902

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Liverpool School of Art

accentuates instead of obliterating the knowledge
of oneself, M. Simon found an experimenting
ground more directly in accord with his tempera-
ment, and his love of truth had freer scope.
In this connection the portraits in the Salon
of 190T deserve to endure, first as works of
art, and secondly as constituting a precious
document of bourgeois life at the end of the
19th century. Seated on a sofa of red velvet in
a drawing-room, all that is visible of which ex-
presses in the most suggestive manner the habits,
the intimate life of those to whom it belongs,
one sees an aged couple — husband and wife
—both very simply dressed, in unstudied pose ;
the face of the man is instinct with serious and
meditative dignity, while the woman's features
express the extreme kindliness and indulgence
born of experience, a knowledge of life honestly
lived, of duties faithfully performed—the sort of
expression which clothes with a special grandeur
some middle-class women of the old school.
One divines them both strongly attached to the
traditions of their class, but devoid of narrowness
or self-sufficiency. They should be the parents
of a fine healthy family; they are good sterling
folk, living comfortably and soberly, without
vain parade, all unconscious of appearing a little
antiquated and old-fashioned. This is a fine
work, full of moral and social significance ; indeed
I know few contemporary portraits marked by so
much sobriety or so intensely psychological.

Other works of the same order by M. Lucien
Simon are Les Marguiliersand Le Laurcat—scenes
of provincial bourgeois life, wherein, without losing
aught of its depth, his observation has a touch of
irony, which leads him to bring out the comic or
humorous side of his types and characters. Then
there is La Procession, which must be regarded
more as a group of portraits than as one of the
Breton studies to which I have been referring
Intensely picturesque as it is, this aspect of a most
masterly work is here of but secondary importance,
for the artist was far more concerned to depict
character than mere manners and customs. What
variety of thought in the expressions on these
faces ! How the gestures of each figure accord
with his manner of being! Everything has its
significance ; there is nothing superfluous ; here
we have life expressed in characters of admirable
precision, with a freedom and a suppleness alto-
gether marvellous. The face of the sailor carrying
the processional cross ; those of the cure and his
acolytes ; the rhythmical movement of the crowd
that follows them ; the sort of religious passiveness


marking all these faces ; the composition and the
grouping — all this, in truth, is the work of a
master, and a great master too : work for which
the future can have no terrors.

Thus in picturesque and typical pages, with an
honest brush, and loving truth, M. Lucien Simon
is writing the history of his time. Still young—he
was born in 1861—but with much fine work
already accomplished, he is, in my estimation, one
of the best painters of the age—one of those rare
artists, who, by their probity, by their exceptional
gifts, by their conscientiousness and their loyalty,
have every right to the admiration of their
contemporaries. Gabriel Mourey.


There are many who lose sight of the fact that
original talent is a wayward gift. Thwart it, oppress
it, make its chances of development as doubtful as
they well can be, and it may show an increase of
vigour with every call made upon its capacity for
resistance, eventually coming by its own in spite of
hindrances to its progress. On the other hand, if
you encourage it, and give peace to its years of
training, it may become slack and lethargic, like a
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