Studio: international art — 32.1904

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The French Primitifs


which Mr. Lindner, Mr. Brabazon, Mr. Francis rpHE EXHIBITION OF THE
James, Mr. Conder, and the men who give distinction I FRENCH PRIMITIFS IN PARIS.

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to the water-colour wall of the New English Art BY L. M. RICHTER.
Club, have found the true expression of themselves.

"Cheerful and sparkling." The words are The exhibition of the French Primitifs at Paris,
Thackeray's, and they certainly describe the which was brought together through the indefatig-
modern school of water-colour, the men who look able efforts of MM. Lafenestre, Bouchot, Durrien,
eagerly at life, at the sunshine and the gaiety of it. Benoit, Guiffret, and other French critics, may well
Thackeray used those words in 1839, in criticising be considered an artistic event of great importance,
an exhibition of this very Society. But he was The thirteenth century was a remarkable epoch in
looking at life, not at the drawings : at living pic- the history of French art. A movement then began
tures, not painted ones. Listen to the gallant and in Paris the far-reaching influence of which has
impressionable critic ! " I know nothing more scarcely been sufficiently recognised. This move-
cheerful and sparkling than the first coup (Tceil of ment flourished especially during the reign of
the little gallery. In the first place, you can never Charles V. (1364-1380), who, with his brothers,
enter it without finding four or five pretty women, Philip of Burgundy and the Dukes of Anjou and
that's a fact; pretty women with pretty pink Berry, never wearied of commissioning works of
bonnets peeping at pretty pictures." art, not only from French but also from Flemish
What a fortunate man ! Looking at life put and Italian masters. The inevitable blending of
Thackeray in a happy mood for looking at pictures, these various elements created the eclectic cha-

C. Lewis Hind. racter of French art in the fourteenth and fifteenth

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