Studio: international art — 28.1903

Page: 69
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MELBOURNE.—Art in Australia is likely
to have a great impetus given to it by
the forthcoming Australian Federal
International Exhibition, to be held in
Melbourne at the Carlton Palace (or Melbourne
Exhibition Buildings). This exhibition has been
initiated with a view to promote the interest of
arts, sciences and industries, to develop their
advancement in the Australasian States, and, more
especially, to afford Australian artists and their
students or pupils an opportunity to bring before
the public the art progress made within the last
decade. Invitations have been sent to eminent
artists in Europe and America to contribute to
this exhibition, and the management are hopeful
that the collection thus obtained will prove one
of the attractions of the exhibition.

The Yarra Sculptors' Society purpose holding its
annual exhibition in conjunction with the Federal
Exhibition, and in addition to the year's work the
leading pieces of sculpture from the previous
exhibitions will be included in the display, so that
it will be the largest exhibition of sculpture that has
been shown by local artists at any exhibition in
Australia. The Victorian Artists' Society, and the
Sydney Art Society intend to hold their Summer
exhibitions also at the same time and place. They
have secured well-lighted galleries, and intend
exhibiting a very representative collection of
Australian pictures.


Die Englische Baukunst der Gegemuart. By
Hermann Muthesius. (Leipzig und Berlin:
Cosmos, Verlag fur Kunst und Wissenschaft.)

Stilarchi, ektur und Baukunst. By Hermann
Muthesius. (Mulheim-Ruhr: Verlag von K.

These two books, both of them proceeding from
the pen and due to the extraordinary fertility of Mr.
H. Muthesius, afford those interested in the
immediate past and the present of English
architecture, and anxious as to its future, the
double opportunity of examining a recensus of its out-
put for the last twenty-five years down to the present
da}', and of considering it from the stand-point
of a German critic, not, on the whole, unfriendly
and certainly well-equipped. The credentials of
Mr. Muthesius may be indicated by the fact that a
few years since he left the editorial chair of the
" Centralblat der Bauverwaltung," the leading
architectural journal in Berlin, to occupy the post

his government offered him of Technical or Art
Attache to the German Embassy in London.

The " Englische Baukunst der Gegenwart," a
large folio volume of one hundred and ten plates
(besides many plans and other illustrations in the
text), includes in its consideration of modern
English secular buildings the names of nearly every
architect of note during the period it passes under
review, and gives on a large scale illustrations of
the works it discusses, in all cases from photo-
graphs especially taken for the work. It thus
escapes the fallacious—and generally intentionally
so—inaccuracies of the work of the "expert per-
spective draughtsman." In his introduction, Mr.
Muthesius shows himself well-posted in the history
of our architectural progress—or otherwise—of the
last quarter of the nineteenth century. He does
not omit even such neglected incidents as that of
the powerful influence wielded on design in the
seventies by Eden Nesfield. It is not his fault if
he is unable to give illustrative evidence of the
reasons for the even stronger influence exerted by
Mr. Philip Webb's forceful personality in design.
Perhaps, some day, a waiting world may have an
opportunity of enjoying, and profiting by, a full
presentment of the life-work of a great and too
modest artist.

But while, in the introductory essay prefixed to
the larger work, he passes in historical and critical
review English architecture alone, the author's
" Stilarchitektur " covers a much wider and more
general ground. It traverses, with such limitations
as a volume of 67 pages must impose, the evolu-
tionary process in architecture as evidenced, for
the most part, in Germany, France, and England,
and finally lands us at the same culminating point
in the present day with regard to each of these

In each men are asking—Mr. Muthesius is him-
self an expression of the tendency—What is this
style—nay, this stylism—to which we are bred up
to submit ourselves passively and unquestioningly ?
Is it a power above and beyond ourselves, to which
we fain must bow—a dogma as true as Truth, and
with the same penalty for defiance and the same
threat of damnation for unorthodoxy? Ought we,
in architecture alone of all the arts, to refrain from
saying hopefully with Browning, "the best is yet
to be," and to recognise as true, and accept as
binding, the sterilizing dictum "the best has been"?

The modern wave of feeling—one dare hardly,
as yet, call it a Renaissance—taking its rise in
England but a few years since, and evidencing
itself in the recrudescence of the various arts

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