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Modern Painting   By: (1852-1933)

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E text prepared by Eric Eldred, Marc D'Hooghe, Charles Franks, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team

MODERN PAINTING

By

GEORGE MOORE

TO SIR WILLIAM EDEN, BART.

OF ALL MY BOOKS, THIS IS THE ONE YOU LIKE BEST; ITS SUBJECT HAS BEEN THE SUBJECT OF NEARLY ALL OUR CONVERSATIONS IN THE PAST, AND I SUPPOSE WILL BE THE SUBJECT OF MANY CONVERSATIONS IN THE FUTURE; SO, LOOKING BACK AND FORWARD, I DEDICATE THIS BOOK TO YOU.

G. M.

The Editor of "The Speaker" allowed me to publish from time to time chapters of a book on art. These chapters have been gathered from the mass of art journalism which had grown about them, and I reprint them in the sequence originally intended .

G. M.

CONTENTS.

WHISTLER CHAVANNES, MILLET, AND MANET THE FAILURE OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY ARTISTIC EDUCATION IN FRANCE AND ENGLAND INGRES AND COROT MONET, SISLEY, PISSARO, AND THE DECADENCE OUR ACADEMICIANS THE ORGANISATION OF ART ART AND SCIENCE ROYALTY IN ART ART PATRONS PICTURE DEALERS MR. BURNE JONES AND THE ACADEMY THE ALDERMAN IN ART RELIGIOSITY IN ART THE CAMERA IN ART THE NEW ENGLISH ART CLUB A GREAT ARTIST NATIONALITY IN ART SEX IN ART MR. STEER'S EXHIBITION CLAUDE MONET NOTES MR. MARK FISHER A PORTRAIT BY MR. SARGENT AN ORCHID BY MR. JAMES THE WHISTLER ALBUM INGRES SOME JAPANESE PRINTS NEW ART CRITICISM LONG AGO IN ITALY

WHISTLER.

I have studied Mr. Whistler and thought about him this many a year. His character was for a long time incomprehensible to me; it contained elements apparently so antagonistic, so mutually destructive, that I had to confess my inability to bring him within any imaginable psychological laws, and classed him as one of the enigmas of life. But Nature is never illogical; she only seems so, because our sight is not sufficient to see into her intentions; and with study my psychological difficulties dwindled, and now the man stands before me exquisitely understood, a perfect piece of logic. All that seemed discordant and discrepant in his nature has now become harmonious and inevitable; the strangest and most erratic actions of his life now seem natural and consequential (I use the word in its grammatical sense) contradictions are reconciled, and looking at the man I see the pictures, and looking at the pictures I see the man.

But at the outset the difficulties were enormous. It was like a newly discovered Greek text, without punctuation or capital letters. Here was a man capable of painting portraits, perhaps not quite so full of grip as the best work done by Velasquez and Hals, only just falling short of these masters at the point where they were strongest, but plainly exceeding them in graciousness of intention, and subtle happiness of design, who would lay down his palette and run to a newspaper office to polish the tail of an epigram which he was launching against an unfortunate critic who had failed to distinguish between an etching and a pen and ink drawing! Here was a man who, though he had spent the afternoon painting like the greatest, would spend his evenings in frantic disputes over dinner tables about the ultimate ownership of a mild joke, possibly good enough for Punch , something that any one might have said, and that most of us having said it would have forgotten! It will be conceded that such divagations are difficult to reconcile with the possession of artistic faculties of the highest order.

The "Ten o'clock" contained a good deal of brilliant writing, sparkling and audacious epigram, but amid all its glitter and "go" there are statements which, coming from Mr. Whistler, are as astonishing as a denial of the rotundity of the earth would be in a pamphlet bearing the name of Professor Huxley. Mr. Whistler is only serious in his art a grave fault according to academicians, who are serious in everything except their "art". A very boyish utterance is the statement that such a thing as an artistic period has never been known.

One rubbed one's eyes; one said, Is this a joke, and, if so, where is the point of it? And then, as if not content with so much mystification, Mr... Continue reading book >>




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