Studio: international art — 51.1911

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James Paterson, R.S.A., R. IV.S.

Prosperity, Education, and Luxuries of Modern
Lije, being seen to bring their tributes to the
city of railroad energy. But the treatment is
mainly and intentionally realistic, and the crowds
of working men and women who fill the panels of
the great stairway show the type of the working
people of America who throng her busy factories
and streets.

I have alluded above to the Minnesota State
Capitol. This fine building, domed and in white
marble, was completed in 1895, and on its deco-
rations were engaged Blashfield, Kenyon Cox,
La Farge, and Edward Simmons, whose four fine
panels of the Progress of the American Spirit in
developing the North-West deserve more than a
passing notice. But I must reserve my remaining
space for some notice of a great public building
still in progress. I refer to the new State Capitol of
Pennsylvania at Plarrisburg. Some of Miss Violet
Oakley’s panels for this building were on view when I
was in Philadelphia in 1906. Their
subject is the movement of re-
ligious freedom which found one
expression in the settlement of
that country by William Penn.

Careful and sound in drawing,
they possess elements of decorative
beauty, and it is a pleasure to me
to be able to include them in my
illustrations. But these are only
a portion of the great scheme in
view. The sculpture has been
placed in the hands of that brilliant
artist, Mr. Barnard, and Edwin
Abbey is responsible for much of
the internal decoration. We may
regret the financial troubles which
have delayed the completion of
this fine building, but at least in
America—as this notice may have
shown—the formative arts are not,
as in modern England, starved for
want of adequate private, or still
more, of public support. A move-
ment is there in progress, across
the Atlantic, which is creating a
great school of decorative painting
and sculpture, which is filling the
land with palaces, not of private
delight only, but of public pleasure
and profit; and reviving for modern
life the great Renaissance tradition
of the “Stanze” and the Sistine



I think it was no less a critic than Mr. E. V.
Lucas who said that the French know how to
paint but not what should be left unpainted, while
the English know what to paint but not how to
paint it. This dicta, so simple on the surface,
goes a long way towards explaining what is un-
satisfactory in both the French and English schools
of to-day. Put in a nutshell, it reasserts the
obvious truth that the Briton trusts too much to senti-
ment—to what Mr. Cecil Raleigh calls “triumphant
virtue ”—the Gaul too much to a dazzling technique.
There are exceptions of course. That the subject of
this article, Mr. James Paterson, cannot be ticketed
and tabulated with any ready-made phrase needs
no demonstration. A Scotsman, animated with
the grit and fervour which seem the birthright of


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