Studio: international art — 32.1904

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The Lay Figure

THE LAY FIGURE : ON ARTISTS under your accusations. There are many reasons,

WHOM NO ONE KNOWS. which clearly you do not understand, why we
should not let the world know who are the men in

" I have been investigating lately what our employ. There is, for one, the reputation of

seems to me to be a great injustice to a large class the firm to consider. This can only be built up

of able artists," said the Art Critic, "and I would by securing the assistance of the best men, who

like to hear what you think of the matter." must all work loyally for the advancement of the

" What has the Academy, been doing now ?" house which provides them with a living. What

asked the Man with the Red Tie. sort of standing, do you think, would any firm get

" I did not say anything about the Academy," which was always announcing the fact of its

replied the Art Critic. "You are so blinded by hatred indebtedness to this or that designer for the things

of the Academy that you cannot see that there are which it puts on the market? Another reason is,

other directions in which greater injustices are being that if we allowed the names of our staff to become

done to art than have ever been dreamed of at public property we should be giving away to our

Burlington House. What I am complaining about rivals secrets which are part of our stock-in-trade;

is the manner in which art workers who are employed and another, that to put our employes, even by

by commercial people are denied all opportunities implication, on the same level as the heads of

of making a reputation." the firm would impair the discipline which

"There you have hit upon an injustice indeed," is necessary in every well-conducted business

broke in the Designer; " I know nothing which house. We pay good prices for designs, surely

calls more urgently for immediate reform than the that is enough; we cannot be expected to weaken

scandalous suppression of the artist by the business our position simply to pander to the vanity of

houses for which he works. Why should he never artists who want more than they are entitled to

be allowed to get any credit for what he does ? If claim."

I sell a design to a firm of manufacturers, why " I do not think much of your reasons," replied

should the things which are made from that design the Designer. " All they amount to is this : that

go out to the world as the productions of Messrs. you think it necessary to keep out of sight the

So-and-So, Limited, and without any acknowledge very men to whom you are indebted for success

ment of my services ? I am the only person who in business. You carry the thing so far that I

could have made that particular design, but there really believe the public imagine that you are the

are scores of firms which could convert it into a designer of the things you sell."

saleable object. But I have to submit to seeing "That is not the most important point," said

my conception presented to the world as a joint- the Critic; " the injustice that I object to is that

stock production; and the better I do my work, the the commercial sentiment is allowed to become a

more the firm gains in reputation at my expense." dominant influence, with the result that it con-

" Why do you put up with it ? " asked the Man demns to obscurity a number of men who ought

with the Red Tie. " Surely you can make your to take rank among our leading artists. We who

own terms ! If you allow this injustice to continue are fighting for the acknowledgment of the right

you are as much to blame as the manufacturers." of the designer to a place beside the picture

" Why do I put up with it ?" sneered the painter, and to a share in the popularity which is

Designer. "It is quite evident that you have at present monopolised by the men whose works

never worked for the trade. You cannot fight are exhibited in the public galleries, feel that the

single-handed a huge combination. If anything business houses, by their secretive methods, are

is to be done artists must unite to secure the recog- doing a serious injury to our cause. Just imagine

nition to which they are entitled. But do you what the painters would say if all the things they

think there is much chance of that ? " send to Burlington House had to appear as by

"I perceive," said the Manufacturer, "that this 'The Royal Academy, Limited,' or if an engraving

discussion has been started because I happen to of a picture were issued as being by Messrs.

be amongst you. Perhaps you will allow me to Blank & Dash, Publishers. Do you think that

say a few words on the subject, as it is one with would help the artists to success or improve their

which I am well acquainted. I am an employer position ? I want designers to have the same

of artists, so I suppose I am one of the people who status in the art world as the painters, and this

do to them the injustice of which you complain, but will not be possible until commercial men deal

all the same I confess I am not suffering much fairly by them." The Lay Figure.

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