Studio: international art — 60.1914

Page: 301
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The New English Art Club


When, in April 1886, the first exhibition
of the New English Art Club was opened at the
Marlborough Gallery, 53 Pall Mall, it may be
questioned whether any of the artists who were
concerned in the venture realised that they were
commencing an important chapter in the history
of British art. Indeed, at the outset the Club
was nearly wrecked by the inability of some of the
men who belonged to it to appreciate the nature of
the responsibility they had undertaken or to per-
ceive what was the policy which they ought to
follow. But these preliminary difficulties were
soon overcome and the society, once securely
established, became a real power in the art world.
It occupies to-day a position of great authority • it
has a large following, and it exercises a dominating
influence over certain tendencies and developments
of the art of this country.

What brought the New English Art Club into
existence was the conviction, strongly held by the
younger artists a quarter of a century or so ago, that
they were denied by the then existing art societies
adequate opportunities for the public display of

work which was not strictly in accord with the
accepted conventions of the moment. These
younger artists were anxious to make a direct appeal
for popular attention and it seemed to them that
the best way to do this would be by means of an
association which would be free from the restric-
tions of officialism and which would encourage
independence of effort. So in the first exhibition
there was a rather remarkable gathering together of
paintings which represented nearly all the newest
schools of practice—a collection which covered the
widest possible ground and proved what a number
of coming men there were who had the fullest
right to consideration.

A list of the names of the exhibitors in this exhi-
bition includes, indeed, a surprisingly large propor-
tion of those which are to-day inscribed upon
the membership rolls of the older art societies—
such names, for instance, as Solomon J. Solomon,
J. J. Shannon, F. Bramley, G. Clausen, A. Hacker,
J. S. Sargent, A. Parsons, Stanhope Forbes, H. S.
Tuke, T. C. Gotch, H. La Thangue, R. W. Allan,
S. Melton Fisher, Edward Stott, W. Logsdail,
James Clark, T. B. Kennington, with others like P.
W. Steer and Fred. Brown, which are still on the
New English Art Club list. Others equally notable


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