Studio: international art — 28.1903

Page: 82
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and lined with the bookstalls dear to the heart of
the book-lover. He has recalled the intense poetry
of these massive monuments, these triumphal arches,
these market-halls, these chapels and these temples,
whose architecture seems almost to live. The
squares, the boulevards, the working quarters, have
all been sources of infinite joy to M. Houbron,
who has with wonderful success depicted the block
of vehicles and the crowds of passers-by jostling
one another in their feverish hurry. All this he
has painted, thanks to his very personal and
original manner, with precise and idiosyncratic
expression. If we wished, not to class him —for
talent is not to be classed—but to find some
affinity in art between M. Houbron and the old
masters, it is with Isabey, with Boulard, with
Hervier, and with Jongkind we should associate him.
Like one and all of these he has an eye for curious
detail, and also seeks to avoid commonplace effects
of light. Also he is a little complicated in his facture,
which contains as many elements as his virtuosity
can fittingly employ. Like the masters I have
named, he can catch the deep poetry of some pro-
vincial corner, some antique facade, or blind alley
or dim-lit lane brightened, may be, by a window

full of flowers or by a fruiterer's stall. Isabey,
Hervier, and Boulard excelled in noting, in the
somewhat sombre manner of Decamps and
Daumier, those places which suggested romantic
reverie. Houbron shows more life, more youthful
spirit, in his choice of places and crowds. Jongkind
—a master, alas ! all too late appreciated—even in
his day akin to our impressionists, noted with
marvellous skill the appearance of the town in fog
and in rain. With a vision which is always very
Dutch, Houbron, like the artist named, possesses
the secret of being able to paint his strong city
landscapes either in sunshine or in mist. But in
him this gift is younger, fresher, more tender. He
does not, as Jongkind did, always see Paris through
Amsterdam. He seems to me to be more expres-
sive than any of his predecessors in the truth of
his art.

The genesis of his career and of his labours
enables us the better to approach his noble gifts,
and the more clearly to understand and appreciate
his work.

Necessity compelled Houbron, at first, to under-
take all sorts of uncongenial work, which, being in
the nature of an "order," was in no way suited to his



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