Studio: international art — 76.1919

Page: 129
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Sir Aston Webb, P.R.A.



gjR ASTON WEBB P R A ^n tms matter of preparation for coming

eventualities no institution has a greater respon-

THERE is a certain significance in the sibility than the Royal Academy. It has, during

election of Sir Aston Webb as Presi- its long career, played a part of much prominence

dent of the Royal Academy at this in British art, and it has played this part with

particular moment. The new condi- no little dignity, even if on occasions it has been

tions- of existence which have been created by deficient in breadth of mind. But always it

the war, the new social developments which has ranked as a predominant influence in artistic

must arise out of it in the future, and the obliga- affairs, and it has done much to control and

tion which it has imposed upon us all to take stabilize public opinion. It has established

stock of and, if necessary, revise all accepted itself in a position so strong that it has been

traditions must inevitably affect in a very able to hold its own against persistent criticism

marked manner the position and progress of and to go on its chosen way without any appa-

art in this country. None of our art institutions rent concessions to outside clamour ; and it

can afford to stand still or to leave the future has succeeded consistently in warding off all the

to chance. It is very important that they attacks on its possessions and privileges. The

should recognize the responsibility that lies upon popular voice still acclaims it as the head-

them to make the art that is to come worthy of quarters of that army of art workers by which

what has gone before, and to ensure that in the the aesthetic tradition of the nation is seriously

rearrangement of the national life the artistic upheld, and people of all classes still crowd its

activities of the people shall be encouraged and galleries in the belief that they will find there

guided in the right direction. Slackness or in- the fullest representation of what is being done

difference now would be a mistake in policy by the artists of to-day.

because it would mean the surrender of the But even this strong position might easily be

authority which these institutions have acquired lost by the Academy if it were so ill-advised as

by years of steady work, and it would be a to remain in dignified aloofness, unobservant

dereliction of duty, too, because this authority of the developments in the world outside and"

ought to be not only maintained but extended unconcerned with the possibilities of the chang-

in the general interests of the nation. ing times. Only by bringing itself up to date

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