« ZurückWeiter »
it behind a false stone screen; still, it is decorated with some very fine sculpcannot be denied that it injures the ef- ture; a figure over the principal enfect of the building. The Petit Palais trance representing Science, by M. opposite, designed by M, Girault, is a Carlés, a panel representing the City of finer work of architecture than the Paris surrounded by the Arts, by M. large palace; it is somewhat in the same Injalbert, and bas-relief figures in the character of architecture externally, spandrels of the doorway arches, by but has escaped the deteriorating effect M. Peynot. Altogether, the Petit Palais of glass roofing, and is, on the whole, is a building well worth seeing for its more refined in detail. But the beauty own sake, independently of its contents, of the building is only fully appreciated which may be passed over here. As after making acquaintance with the in- far as it is filled, it is an archæological terior, which is a most original archi- museum, and not directly connected tectural conception. Going through the with the main objects of the 1900 Exprincipal entrance, at the top of a lofty hibition. After the Exhibition is over, flight of steps and furnished with fine- the building will become the property ly-designed gilt metal folding gates, we of the Municipality of Paris, and be find ourselves in a central vestibule used as a museum; this is a quid pro roofed by a dome, and with a great quo for the subscription of twenty milgallery of the same width, but raised lion francs given by the Municipality several steps above the floor of the towards the cost of the Exhibition. vestibule, stretching on either hand the Coming out again on to the central whole length of the building; the pilas- roadway between the palaces, one ters on the walls are of a pink veined should not omit to notice the fine effect marble, the roofs being covered with of the view looking southward from modelled decoration in plaster, rather this point; the two stately palaces, one too restless in style, but showing that on each hand; then the pylons of the facility and invention in decorative de- bridge, with their gilt sculpture; then tail which meet us at every turn in the the variegated outline of the two parExhibition. Opening from the back of allel lines of white buildings of the this front block is a semi-circular open Exhibition, flanking the lower portion court, laid out as a garden, and sur- of the Esplanade des Invalides; and in rounded by an open colonnaded walk the extreme distance the dome of the with marble columns, raised two or Invalides closing the vista. It is not three steps above the garden. Outside often one sees such a stately piece of of this semi-circular colonnade is a effect; and then, as an enthusiastic double range of galleries on the plan young American lady observed, “It is of a semi-hexagon, the sides tangent to so interesting to think that Napoleon the walls of the semi-circular colon- rests under that dome.” nade. Seen from the garden, this col- The large palace is to be the permaonnade, with the loftier wall of the nent home of the annual Salon, and is gallery sing behind it, and crowned certainly the finest which the “Société with a balustrade and beautifully de- des Artistes Français" has ever had, signed colored and gilt vases, has a though, when one looks at the immense charming effect, and strikes
extent of wall space in these ranges of something quite new in modern archi- galleries, one rather trembles to think tecture. The front of the small palace of the possible results of an attempt to
2 A "spandrel,” in architectural phraseology, is the nearly triangular space left on each side of an arch between the outer curve of the arch
and any horizontal line, such as a cornice, above it. It is a favourite position for sculptural decoration.
fill them all. It is the weak point of are represented, but their comparatively the Salon that its exhibition spaces, small and delicate work is completely ever since it went into the Palais de lost amid the crowd of huge and often l'Industrie, have always been too large violent compositions of the sculptors of to be filled except by the more than some other nationalities-French includdoubtful expedient of admitting a great ed, unhappily, for French sculpture is number of paintings of very mediocre showing alarming signs of forsaking merit; and here we have, as far as the its first love and running after sensaeye can judge, the promise or threat of tionalism. even larger spaces, except in the cen- One piece of American sculpture chaltral sculpture court, which is not so lenges attention, as it is placed sepalarge as that of either the Palais de rately in the balcony, outside the Amerl'Industrie or the Galerie des Machines. ican picture galleries-namely, Mr. St. And in this present Universal Exhibi. Gaudens's alto-relief called the Shaw tion there is no doubt that the sculpture monument, representing an officer riding court is inconveniently and undesirably with drawn sword, a group of young crowded, especially as a considerable infantry soldiers, who troop along with number of the exhibitors seem to have him, forming the background of the been aiming at quantity rather than subject. This has been illustrated and quality, and making bids for fame by greatly praised in American magazines colossal monuments and equestrian (which have a way of blowing very statues. The result is a crowd, in large trumpets for American art), and which you cannot isolate
it unquestionably has the noble and sufficiently to enjoy it; and as, more- excellent quality of sincerity and earnover, the numbers were not even yet estness, but it seems also an indication fixed to the works (eight weeks after that American sculpture has not yet the nominal "opening" of the Exbibi- attained that mystic and indefinable tion), and one could not find out what something called style; it strikes one they were, I will not attempt any re. for its moral rather than its artistic mark on them here, except to note that, quality. according to the catalogue, all the best The French have devoted one-half of French sculptors of the day are repre- the space in the building to French art, sented, though not always by their best the remainder being divided among works; that it is a pity that the late M. foreign nations-an apportionment of Falguière is represented only by two space which can hardly be complained of his portrait statues in costume, “La of; they have had the labor and cost of Rochejaquelain” and “Cardinal La- getting up the show, and it is natural vigerie," instead of by any of his imag. that they should reserve the lion's share inative nudes; and that Italian in it for their own art. The ground sculptor (I forget his name, and indeed floor galleries need not trouble us it is better concealed) has perpetrated much; they contain the padding; the a life-size bronze group of a set of important section is in the top-lighted drunken monks, one of the most de- galleries on the upper floor. On the testable pieces of vulgarity I ever saw
whole, the French show in pictures in sculpture, which has been purchased hardly seems equal to that of 1889, and by the Italian Government for a public certainly a good many works of little museum-a pretty piquant indication interest are hung. Still, there are a of the condition of artistic taste in number of fine pictures to be seen, modern Italy. Most of the leading many of them old acquaintances that English sculptors, Mr. Gilbert excepted, one is only too glad to meet again. M.
Gerome does not exhibit, nor, among has almost ceased practically to belong less celebrated names, does that original to the present generation; some of his and as yet little-known artist, M. Ridel, earlier works also are to be found in whose "Dernières Fleurs" was one of the Centennial Exhibition. M. Char. the most charming pictures in this tran's two great plough-oxen again ilyear's Salon. Among the prominent lustrate "St. François d'Assise au works are M. Gervais's noble "Juge- labor,” a monumental work which one ment de Paris," one of the finest pieces is glad to meet again; his group of porof color in modern painting, and M. traits under the title “Signature du Harpignies's “La Loire;" M. Dagnan- Protocole de Paix entre l'Espagne et Bouveret's “Bretonnes au Pardon!" les Etats-Unis" is obviously a Mdme. Demont-Breton's "Dans l'eau work, which will have historical interbleue;" M. Tattegrain's horrible, but est. M. Detaille's chivalrous picture, probably only too true, picture of a “Sortie de la Garnison de Huningue," chapter in mediæval warfare, "Les one of the most interesting and charBouches Inutiles;" M. Bonnat's remark- acteristic of war pictures, one is glad able portrait of Renan, and M. Béraud's to see again; and M. Rouffet again picture of Christ and the Magdalen affords a cynical amusement to the translated into modern Parisian life, British mind by his immense picture, which has been the parent or sugges
"Fin de l'epopée,” illustrating Victor tion for a number of pictures based Hugo's elaborately worked-up fable on a similar idea, and without the merit (or shall we use a stronger word ?) that of originality which certainly belongs the real cause of the loss of the battle to this one. M. Benjamin-Constant's of Waterloo was the accidental mishap portrait of the Queen, somewhat arti- of the French cavalry in tumbling into ficial in lighting and color, is, in its an unexpected ravine when in full way, one of the most remarkable works charge; the artistic value of the work in the gallery, and his “Urban II enter- is not such as to atone for the bravery ing Toulouse" one of the largest, but of the fiction. Among other remarknot of an artistic value commensurate able works is M. Henri Martin's "Chawith its area in square yards. M. Bou- cun sa Chimère," not a sort of paintguereau, the prince of correct and ele- ing one cares to see too much of-the gant painters, is, of course, largely rep- literary element is too strong in it; but resented, and his small work, “Idylle it broke new ground, and left an inefenfantine," is one of the sweetest things faceable impression on the mind; nor he has painted; it may be a question
has its author since then produced anywhether his children are not better thing equally powerful in an intellecthan his classic nudes; they have ex- tual sense, though he has produced betpression, at all events, while the nudes ter pictures in а decorative sense. serve to show how learned and admir- French landscape is not as largely repable an executant a painter may be,
resented as one could wish, but there and yet leave you perfectly uninterest- are two of the best of J. Quignon's ed in his work. Here, too, the younger works, two by M. Didier-Pouget, two generation may make acquaintance by M. Lamy which I did not sees), and with the work of Jules Breton, who a whole collection of M. Cazin's beau
3 As usual in French exhibitions, it is impos. sible to find any picture you see in the catalogue except by chance. Really a general insurrection ought to be made against that preposterous and exasperating method of cataloguing pictures which the French calmly persist in; the result of num
bering the pictures before they are hung instead of after. It is too ridiculous. You see a num. ber on a picture, but you have not an idea where to find it in the catalogue; you see an artist's name in the catalogue, but you have not an idea where to find his work. At the Salon this year M. Harpignies had only one small and inconspicuous work; seeing his name in the catalogue, I wanted to find this, but after a half an hour's hunt bad to give it up and appeal to an official, who in his turn had to appeal to another; between the two they at last found it. Hlad the pic
tiful small landscapes, works which edræ, black plinth and gold walls, and show the perfection of style in land- frieze of emblematic animals, are very scape painting
effective; but the general style of the The English school-or shall we say paintings hung in these sumptuous English painting? since the French rooms is coarse and their color harsh. critics deny that we have any "school" If Providence had given the Germans -is not as well represented one artistic genius in proportion to their could wish; that is to say, many emi- energy and ambition, there would, innent artists are represented, but few of deed, be another story to tell. them by their best works. The only The block containing the Centennial prominent English artists who are seen Exhibition, examples of French art here at their best are, perhaps, the since the commencement of the cen. late Henry Moore, whose splendid sea tury, is connected with the main buildin “The Race of St. Albans” ought to ing by a portal of communication, be a lesson to French sea painters, and which leads to a very fine central cirMr. Dicksee, whose "A Confession” is cular domed hall in two stories, with certainly the best thing he has ever a wide gallery running round it; on the done. To be sure one must renieinbe: upper floor are wide centre galleries that the selection is limited to the last stretching right and left the whole ten years, and perhaps during that pe- length of the building, with a vista riod “The Return of Persephone" and
from end to end across the domed hall, "The Old Garden" may be considered On the ground floor the central space is adequate presentments of the art of occupied by sculpture halls, and Leighton and Millais respectively; there
both stories there is a range of picture are other works of each, but these are galleries outside of the central halls. the most important. Mr. Watts has
The selection of works has been made only a landscape. Mr. Mark Fisher is on the principle of not admitting any. not represented (he would have been thing which was included in the similar appreciated by the French), and what
department of the 1889 Exhibition, one is still worse, Mr. Sidney Cooper is.
result of which is that this collection But though the English co!le:t on might
is not quite equal to the 1889 one; the well have been a stronger one, there is
best things had been shown already; enough as it is to give one the satis- but still there is a great deal of interfactory feeling that France and Eng- esting work. In the downstairs picture land are ahead of every other country
galleries are placed the earlier paintin painting. The Americans, it is true, ings of the century, including a considhare Mr. Abbey and Mr. Sargent, but
erable number of the works of Ingres they are very exceptional Americans, and Delacroix, some of them rather and, beyond their works, the American passê in style, but others furnish very gallery is a collection of mediocrities. fine examples of the French art of that As to Italy, the less said the better. period. In the centre galleries upstairs The Germans, with their characteristic is a collection of studies and drawings rigor and thoroughness, have got up by French masters-sketches by Chapu, and decorated their galleries better than Legros, Delaunay and others of the any other nation; their columned ex- later deceased artists; a powerful red
tures been numbered consecutively, as at the Academy, it could have been found in half a minute. The fact that most French artists sign their pictures legibly is one's only chance of finding out what they are.
chalk study of nude men at a forge, by of the most picturesque portions of the Puvis de Chavannes, giving a new side Exhibition--the row of pavilions of forof that artist's work; portrait studies eign Powers which line the river bank. by Cabanel, figure studies by Jules Bre- Italy comes first with a sumptuous ton, etc. The opposite side contains erection to which reminiscences of Venstudies by an earlier generation of ar- ice, the Florence Cathedral, and the tists-Prud'hon, Géricault and others. Certosa at Pavia, have all contributed. In the circular hall is a fine collection Turkey follows with its white mass of of French sculpture of the earlier part buildings and colored tiles. Denmark of the century (mostly), not equal, cer- shows a pretty timbered pavilion, with tainly, either in power of modelling or carved woodwork; the United States intensity of conception and expression a stately erection, with a dome over to the finest work of the last twenty which is the eagle with outspread years, but nevertheless containing wings, while internally the stars and much fine work by Rude, Jouffrey, stripes banner is repeated in every posIdrac, David d'Angers (whose statue sible position. If we had flaunted the of Cuvier is a work of great power), Union Jack everywhere in the British Dubois, Giraud and others; while pavilion in the same way, it would among the later men we find Pradier have been called "bad taste," but the and Carpeaux well represented. In British pavilion is a sober reproduction one of the side galleries downstairs is of an English Jacobean mansion, ada collection of furniture, mostly of the mirably finished and fitted internally, First Empire period, but containing and apparently much appreciated by also some very fine examples in Louis the crowds who keep filing through it. Seize style, for the style survived into Belgium shows a Late Gothic Hôtel de the present century, though the unhappy Ville; Norway a red timber building, king for whom it was named did not. with white window frames and an in
To these remarks on the artistic cen- terior redolent of nets, cordage, models tre of the Exhibition we have only of ships, and pleasant sea-faring space to add a few notes on the re- scent over everything (notice the pimainder of the Exhibition buildings quant treatment of the stair-newels, considered in their general aspect. If with their walrus heads); Germany a we follow the aforesaid vista south- sumptuous pavilion, too obviously ward toward the Invalides, we pass be- "made in Germany," and covered with tween two ranges of temporary build- decorative painting of a robustious ings which are rather too exuberant character; Finland a most characterisin style, but which present some fine tic little house, one of the most piquant effects of color from the decorative pic things in the Exhibition. Spain shows tures with which they are adorned. a dignified piece of Spanish Renais. The buildings, flanking the entrance op- sance; "little Monaco" has made a posite the Invalides building, form how- most spirited show; Sweden shows an ever, one of the best bits of the Exhibi.
extraordinary and preposterous erection, with their recessed semi-circular tion covered with red tiles: Greece a porticos, delicate spirelets in white and small building of Byzantine type, with gold sparkling against the sky, and on red-tiled cupolas. Whatever one ma the outside, towards the road, two beau- find to criticize in the individual buildtiful bas-reliefs symbolical of Indus- ings, the whole make a most pictutrial Art. Returning northwards to the resque show, especially as seen from foot of the new bridge, we find, going the river. On the opposite (right) bank westwards along the Quai d'Orsay, one of the river the most noticeable ob
LIVING AGE. VOL. VIII. 417