Studio: international art — 49.1910

Page: 277
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Sir Hilbert von Herkomers Lithographs



A debt of gratitude is always due to the
artist who can invent a new mode of expression or
improve upon one already in use. The addition
he makes to the common stock of artistic know-
ledge may be in itself of striking importance, or it
may be merely a suggestion, opening up possi-
bilities which other men can develop; but either
way it is to be welcomed as something which
marks a step forward, and by which fresh influences
can be brought to bear upon the activity of the
art world. Such a welcome is certainly to be given
to the remarkable results which have been attained
by Sir Hubert von Herkomer, after some twelve
months spent in investigating the capabilities of
the art of lithography, for he has not only pro-
duced a quantity of work which, if judged solely on
its merits, has a quite indisputable value, but he
has also pointed the way in which this fascinating,
but comparatively neglected, black-and-white art
can be raised to a far more honourable and re-
sponsible position than it has hitherto been allowed
to occupy.

It is characteristic of him as an art worker, that

in examining the properties of a medium which is
new to him, he should strive always to discover
fresh ways of developing it along legitimate lines,
and it is not less characteristic of him to set before
other workers the conclusions at which he has
arrived, and to submit these’1 conclusions, without
any concealment of his methods, to the judgment
of his fellow artists. Therefore it is not in any way
surprising that his lithographs should be distin-
guished by eminently personal qualities of intention
and achievement, or that he should have already
published a detailed explanation of the various
working processes by which these qualities have
been secured. This explanation he has put into
the form of a lecture, describing fully his methods
step by step, and accounting completely for the
technical and mechanical devices he has employed.
The whole matter is so plainly stated in this
lecture, that no one who has had any experience
of even the rudiments of lithographic work could
fail to understand his meaning, or could be under
any misapprehension about the reasons for the
evident difference between his lithographs and those
which so far have been produced by other artists.

Fundamentally, this difference is due to a con-
viction of his own that the scope of lithography
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