Studio: international art — 35.1905

Page: 134
DOI issue: DOI article: DOI article: DOI Page: Citation link:
License: Free access  - all rights reserved Use / Order
1 cm
G. Kossiakoff's Water-Colours


(By permission of Messrs. T. Agnew & Sons)

work of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
It has been said of M. Lalique that he should
be called a renovator and not an innovator; and
yet, whilst this may be said, there is no doubt
the whole teaching of his art is that all expressive
art must move forward, it can never stand still.
His teaching in this direction might be taken to
heart by his own followers—those who follow the
new art—who believe in the movement, the re-
naissance in modern design. That it ceases to be
movement by imitation : repetition of the same
motives can stale them, and can bring the most
beautiful of them for a time into disrepute. The
designer must be always going forward, not toward
novelty, but towards a closer and more genuine
knowledge of what is really of himself and of his

M. Lalique restored the use of old-fashion orna-
ments, such as pendants for the neck and brow,
diadems, large necklaces, stout clasps, broad waist-
buckles, and combs—the utilisation of stones
long since abandoned in favour of the diamond.
Besides the reintroduction of enamel, we largely
owe to him the use of ivory again. Disregarding
the idea that the designer should efface his fancy,
in order to display only the precious stone to full
advantage for the parvenu’s delight, he particularly,
as we have pointed out, opposed the use of the
diamond. He allowed himself to be influenced by
everything except the vulgarities of the trade. The
lack of style in M. Lalique’s jewellery has before been
pointed out. Of recent years more of this quality
has come to him, though even now he prosecutes
his art with such an apparently feverish haste

of creation that we often
feel a lack in his work
of a due weighing and
balancing of the effect of
each branch of his de-
sign. This lack of style
is perhaps more in evi-
dence in the designs
where imitation pure and
simple takes the place of
design. Imitation flowers
do not look like real
flowers in a woman’s
hair, though they are so
decorative of themselves
that, their natural forms
selected and used as
motives, they would be
productive of style. In
themselves they are more
beautiful than any jewellery, and jewellery is one
of the most beautiful of the arts; used as an
imitative art it is meaningless.

It is just a want of recognition of these very
obvious truths that spoil M. Lalique's work —
that place it a little lower than we would wish
to place work which betrays such overwhelming
evidence that it is above everything else the work
of an artist possessed of an extraordinary imagina-
tive genius and of a rare and unexampled skill in
the use of the most difficult of all materials.

Leaves from the archi-

Brilliant and thorough in technique, with that
local character which is so fascinating a study in
comparing the work of artists from various countries,
the water colour drawings of architecture by G.
Kossiakoff are most interesting. It will be seen
that his conception of treatment in water-colours is
free and bold and modern, and that a very genuine
sense of colour is shown in his work. A pupil of the
Imperial Academy of the Fine Arts at St. Petersburg,
M. Kossiakoff has travelled much, for the purposes
of work, in Greece, Italy, France, England, and
Germany. In his hands water-colour is a medium
full and rich, with qualities of solidity which can
give, used in certain ways, a richer effect than
some men’s oil painting.

Some further reproductions of M. Kossiakoff’s
water-colours will appear in a future number of
The Studio.

loading ...