IT must be understood that the American Section is not alone intended to have aesthetic value, but to have some measure of educational interest in endeavouring to present an historical review of all known American painters up to the men of the present day.
Besides these works of the early Americans we have the collection of works by living American artists, founded by Mr. George A. Hearn, to which he has already given over fifty canvases. This collection, together with the contemporary American paintings already owned by the Museum presents an array of work which stands well the comparison with that of modern artists of other nationalities. Although far from complete for at least a half-hundred men have produced work as good as that of the majority represented here, and better than several still the examples which have been selected prove that present-day American art cannot be passed over slightingly; that the day of a patronizing consideration is passed.
The G. A. Hearn collection is a dignified presentation of the claims of modern American art which has suffered greatly from those who protest too much, who with neurotic Chauvinism would have all American art supreme the artists them-selves (at least the mediocre ones) being the chief sinners. American art will never be pushed into the front-rank by loud pretensions, and the befuddling and cajoling of those who give the tone in picture-buying.
None of the earliest American artists excels greatly in his art. Stuart was a good portrait painter, and Copley occasionally did creditable work. For the rest there is nothing to boast of in the products of the latter part of the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries; which is not surprising when we consider the nation’s embryonic state. Frontier-fighting and city-building give little time for the nourishing of aesthetic ideals. Still for sentimental reasons the collecting of examples of the early work must be regarded as a creditable effort.
The first painters of any note had British training, and naturally exhibited the conventional character in vogue in England among the second rate painters. Jonathan B. Blackburn (1700-1760), of whom we have a ” Portrait of Theodore Atkinson,” will not detain us ; and ” The American School,” by Mat-thew Pratt (1734-1805) is, as far as merit goes, on a par. This stilted group with ill-drawn figures gives a view of Benjamin West in his studio, correcting the work of a pupil. Still as the first-known American portrait group it is of interest.
Benjamin West can scarcely be considered to belong to the American school, since he left New York at the age of 22, and after a few years’ travel settled in London, where he died at the age of 82. But it is a peculiarity, not rare in occurring, that while foreign-born painters who come to reside in the United States are greedily taken into the fold, natives who expatriate themselves, often giving up their American citizenship, are still considered to belong to the American school a pretty good example of Jingoism.
The work of Benjamin West (1738-1820), shown in a religious and in a symbolic subject, calls for no comment. It is in the pure French academic style, which leaves us cold no matter how ardent the subject.
It may be interesting to insert here an opinion of the work of West, expressed by a contemporaneous art critic, which shows that it is possible to judge of work correctly, even without the perspective of years. This critic wrote thus West’s artistic obituary: “He had great power; and a reputation much greater than he deserved. His fame will not increase, it will diminish. His composition is, generally speaking, confused difficult of comprehension and compounded, about in equal proportions of the sublime and ordinary. He was prone to exaggeration ; a slave to classical shapes ; and greatly addicted to repetition. His capital pictures are often deficient in drawing; and yet, extraordinary as it may appear, his drawings are generally fine, and in some cases wonderful. His execution seldom equalled his conception. The first hurried, bold, hazardous drawing of his thoughts was generally the best ; in its progress, through every successive stage of improvement, there was a continual falling off from the original character in the most material parts so that, what it gained in finish, it lost in grandeur, and what it gained in parts, it lost in the whole.” And the writer goes on to declare that West’s ” Death upon the Pale Horse ” is ” feeble, commonplace, absolutely wretched.”
All this was written in the face of West’s unprecedented popularity at the time but the ” perspective of years ” has spoken the critic, not popular estimate, true.
To J. Singleton Copley (1737-1815) we owe the portraits of notable men of pre-revolutionary times. His portraits of Miss Mary, and of Mrs. Elizabeth Storer, and those of Mr. and of Mrs. Isaac Smith, are dry and hard, without atmosphere; defects which even adhered to him after he had been abroad in middle-life. His later portraits possess a certain distinction of bearing, while his colour, faulty though it be, was still in advance of that of any other native painter.
Charles Wilson Peale (1741-1827) painted more portraits of George Washington from life than any other artist; one of these, a life-size, full-length, being in the Museum. He was also a pupil of West, retaining all the peculiarities of his early instruction to the end. His son Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860) painted the ” Portrait of Mr. John Finley ” rather cold, formal and wanting in fleshiness.
The most prominent of the early portrait painters was Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828). While working in London for twelve years as a fashionable portrait painter, and for five years in Ireland, he fell into the way of Romney and Gainsborough, closely reaching their excellence. When at the age of thirty eight years he returned to New York (in 1793) he became at once popular, and had many sitters. Two of the portraits he painted at this time, those of Don Josef de Jaudenes y Nebot, the first Spanish Minister to the United States, and of Dona Matilde Stoughton de Jaudenes, his American wife, are in the Museum. His art was still English, with elaborate attention to the costume, and lacking the broader and softer manner which developed soon afterwards. Although both these sitters are evidently posing, the pose is at ease in the man, and rather pleasing in the woman. The faces form the best part ; they show a masterhand ; the rest is of a skilled and clever craftsman.
The inspiration in painting Washington’s portrait seems to have given liberation to his power. Washington sat for him the next year, in the fall of 1795, when Stuart painted a head showing the right side of the face. The artist expressing himself not satisfied, the President sat again for him in the spring of ’96, when Stuart painted the full-length portrait which he sold to the Marquis of Lansdowne (still called the ” Lansdowne Washington “) and another head showing the left side of the face. This is the famous ” Atheneum head,” now in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Although Stuart later, with the glibness of social equivocation, assured the Lansdowne family that theirs was the only original portrait he had made of Washington, having destroyed the others, it is also known that he sold the first head to his personal friend Colonel George Gibbs, of New York, making also four or five replicas therefrom; and that he kept the third head, from which he made copies whenever he needed the money, which was quite frequently.
This ” Gibbs ” portrait passed to the Colonel’s sister, Mrs. Channing, whose son, Dr. William F. Channing, sold it to the late S. P. Avery, from whom the Museum acquired it.
Comparing this famous portrait with the Boston Atheneum head, it is apparent that the Gibbs-Channing portrait is the more faithful presentment of the man, whereas the Atheneum head is more idealized.
The advance in Stuart’s portrait work is further visible in the two busts of Judge and Mrs. Joseph Anthony, Jr., and in the portraits he painted after he removed to Boston, those of Mr. David Sears, and of Captain Henry Rice, who served in the war of 1812. Another Washington portrait, painted for Daniel Carroll, of the District of Columbia,. in 1803, has been given to the Museum by Mr. H. O. Havemeyer.
The traits for which Stuart is most to be praised are the vitality and character he infuses into his portrait, and the excellent colouring when he is at his best. Then his flesh glows and is transparent. But he neglected composition, caring for nothing but the heads, slighting all details.
A portrait of ” Lady Williams and her Child,” seen without the artist’s name, would strike us as being a conventional picture by a rather poor painter. But the tablet tells us that it is by Ralph Earl (1751-1801), and the art-writers declare him to have been “one of the strongest of our native American portrait painters of the 18th century.” And in the face of this poor performance I cannot quite agree with them.
Col. John Trumbull’s (1756-1843) ” Portrait of Alexander Hamilton ” must be greatly admired, for it is one of the best portraits he ever did. After working under West in London, he came home, and executed historical paintings for the Capitol in Washington. His historical work is a feeble imitation of West’s grandiose style, and for his portrait work I would refer to his ” Governor Clinton ” in the New York City Hall a most awe-inspiring spectacle; only a whit less dreadful than Morse’s ” Lafayette,” which also hangs in the City Hall. One would almost feel like admiring the art-connoisseurship of the various Mayors and Boards of Aldermen of the City of New York of the past, who were so parsimonious in their support of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Being constantly confronted by such images as this Trumbull and this Morse, one cannot blame them, when Art was mentioned they would have none of it.
Washington Allston (1779-1843) was a landscape painter with melodramatic tendency see his ” The Deluge,” in which the gloom and desolation seem even worse than it must have been. When he essayed figure work, of which we have an example in his ” Spanish Girl,” he is glaringly at fault in drawing and colour. One cannot help thinking that the boldness and the fervour of his composition are artificial, elaborated with great care and much difficulty, not at all like proceeding from an inward, fiery spirit that flashes into spontaneous combustion, whenever it is roused.
Little need be said of M. H. Jouett (1783-1827), John Neagle (1799-1865), S. F. B. Morse (1791-1872). Portraits by these men are in the Museum. Morse at least shows here that he was not always as bad as displayed in the New York City Hall.
Thomas Sully (1783-1872) was called the ” Sir Thomas Lawrence of America,” which is a fair, but not complete commentary on his artistic powers. It is not known that Sully had any intercourse with Sir Thomas during his nine months’ stay in England. Still his general style is similar to that of the famous painter of English women. If any-thing Sully was the better artist. His women have not that elegant foppery, nor that exquisite flattery we find in the work of Lawrence, although there is flattery enough in Sully’s brush. The “Portrait of Mrs. Katherine Mathews ” is a fair example of his work ; the three male portraits indicate greater strength.
The ” Flower Girl,” by C. C. Ingham (1796-1863), declares the loosening of English influence, and the greater leaning towards French convention. In this colourful panel we even detect the pains-taking accuracy of the Dutch still-life painters. Henry Inman (1801-1846) painted President Martin van Buren, and, during his sojourn in England, the actor William Charles Macready, in the character of Macbeth, which is a strong piece of characterization. W. Page (1811-1885 ), C. L. Elliott (1812-1868), G. P. A. Healy (1813-1894), Joseph Kyle (1815-1863), all were portrait painters of merit, without an astonishing display of talent. They have portraits in the Museum of some interest.
Daniel Huntington (1816-1906) outlived his associations with these earlier men, and painted portraits to the last, without being much influenced by later propaganda. His ” Mercy’s Dream ” has been a favourite household-decoration, by engravings, since it was painted in the 50’s. It is very pretty.
Emanuel Leutze (1816-1868) was the strongest exponent of Düsseldorf training, with all that this implies. His ” Washington Crossing the Delaware ” is an heroic story, well-told.
The stagnation of artistic feeling, and the stiltedness of its expression, so manifest in the landscapes of the time, as we shall see later on, still continued to find expression in figure and portrait work. The Americanized Giuseppe Fagnani (1819-18731 exemplifies this in his presentation of the Muses, which were portraits of society women, and are supposed to represent types of American beauty. George A. Baker (1821-1880), Jacob H. Lazarus (1823-1891) showed in their portraits a style which we have now outgrown they are altogether too documentary.
We must now go back a few years to witness the start of landscape painting. Unlike portraiture landscape art does not seem to have been fostered at first by foreign training. It was a spontaneous expression, more national, perhaps, than any art movement that has taken place in this country. The adaptable, facile American soon went far afield for his inspiration, and after foreign travel he has almost invariably returned a Düsseldorfer, a Dutch-man, or a Barbizon painter. Even to-day, when paint-tubes are imported from Paris, ideas come with them. It was not so with these fore-runners of American landscape art, Doughty, Durand and Cole. And even the much maligned Hudson River School, with all its similarity to Düsseldorf methods, still retained its national impress in the ruddy autumn glow and other local qualities of its can-vases, which astounded incredulous Europe when it saw them. Doughty, the path-finder, chipped the trees, and the rest followed his course. It was to present nature as it was truly with a narrow vision, blind to many of its subtleties, but still nature, pure and simple. They might have profited much if they had but known all that had been discovered in landscape art, for Constable had wrought, and Fontainebleau had spoken. But they did not know, the great traditions of the past were a sealed book to them, and they searched, and explored for themselves, and without help found. And out of them, out of their conventions, out of their discoveries, their imperfections, grew Inness, and Wyant, and Martin, and Murphy, and Shurtleff as contrasted with those who paint American landscape in a Barbizon or Dutch way.
Two paintings by Thomas Doughty (1793-1856) are still somewhat weak and finicky, hesitating in expression. Asher Brown Durand (1796-1886) is stronger in his ” In the Woods ” even sterner. He was an able artist, who also painted portraits acceptably. Thomas Cole (1801-1848), English-born, died near Catskill, N. Y., and many of his canvases bear scenes of that picturesque region, one of which, ” In the Catskills,” is found here. The ” Oxbow ” of the Connecticut also shows his sincere feeling and love for the romantic aspect of nature. Foreign travel diverted him somewhat from the simplicity of his earlier work, and rocks and trees became mixed with symbolism, whereof the ” Titan’s Goblet ” is a good example.
Several men followed their conventions, and those who clung nearest to their methods, without making any progress, have been grouped under the name of ” the Hudson River School.” There is much similarity in their work, only a few topped the average mediocrity.
John W. Casilear (1811-1893) and J. F. Kensett (1818-1872), the brothers Hart, William (1823-1894) and James McD. (1828-1901), and J. F. Cropsey (1823-1900) have the characteristic landscapes that go by the school-name I mentioned. Frederick E. Church (1826-1900) sometimes rose above the commonplace of the traditions he followed, as in ” The Heart of the Andes,” which is considered his masterpiece. . ” The Aegean Sea ” smacks of the school to which he belonged. Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) was born in Germany and had studied at Düsseldorf before he emigrated. The similarity of art expression between the Düsseldorf and Hudson River schools is apparent in his work. Still he sometimes felt heroic striving, and he surely expressed this in his fine canvas ” The Rocky Mountains.”
Still a few genre painters among these early men claim our attention. They owed at first a little to foreign training, and they sought in a modest way to give some native expression to the domestic manners of the Americans.
William S. Mount (1806-1868) was one of the first to essay these pictorial anecdotes. His ” Raffling for the Goose ” reminds one of a Wilkie or a Nicol. He alone had native training. Edwin White (1817-1877) went to Paris and Düsseldorf. ” The Antiquary ” represents him here. Henry Peters Gray (1819-1877) also painted genre in a foreign way; but the stories he tells are not impressive, notwithstanding the appealing titles, as : ” Cleopatra dissolving the Pearl,” ” Wages of War,” and ” Greek Lovers. Edward Harrison May (1824-1887) has a ” Mary Magdalene,” and a ” Brigand,” which were very much liked ; they are smoothly painted. Thomas W. Wood (1823-1903) always retained his old-school manner, which still should demand respect and attention. This is not wasted on his War Episodes,” a triptych that presents scenes of a generation ago with intense feeling, and by no means deficient either in colour or execution. Also the ” Corn-Husking,” by East-man Johnston (1824-1906), who was well-known as a portrait painter, and whose style was founded on Düsseldorf study, has local colour.
But although there are subjects that few save our countrymen have attacked the negro, the Indian, the Rockies and Niagara, the treatment of such subjects or localities must not be considered to have created a national school.
While many of these artists, whose exploits to us seem now so poor and meagre, were still working, men were appearing here and there to whom American Art in its widest national sense, may look as champions for more serious recognition. George Fuller, William Morris Hunt and George Inness produced work that has withstood the corroding influence of passing fads, and which today is recognized, far more than in their life-time, as expressing the highest ideals.
George Fuller (1822-1884) was not wanted by the National Academy of Design, when he returned from his studies abroad. Apparently he had not learned enough ; he had not sufficiently adopted foreign manner, so dear to the heart of the old Academicians; he showed the temerity of trying to be himself a cardinal sin in their eyes. So Fuller retired to his father’s farm at Deerfield, Mass, where he painted his own visions of nature as dreams, for his was a dreamy temperament. His ” Nydia,” his ” Hannah ” may be vague in outline, they are the result of his groping to express his thoughts in that poetic enveloppe, in which they are so elusively shrouded. More of an artist than a painter, his canvases have the distinction of personal feeling.
William Morris Hunt (1824-1879) certainly learned his technic from Millet, but in every other way is nothing but himself. His Bathers,” or ” The Girl at the Fountain,” are spirited and vigorous. The ” Girl ” has grace of natural pose, the ” Bathers ” a morbidezza that is masterful. Hunt’s place in art can never be overestimated, for his power of personality made him exert tremendous influence on the students that flocked around him.
George Inness (1825-1894) was a pure product of his own talent ; his art was wholly a matter of inward growth and development; his work was all original, all of his own soil. He never knew the men of Fontainebleau until his own art was fully formed, and only then recognized in Corot, Rousseau and Daubigny men who were solving the problems he was working out in much the same way. All he got from them was encouragement and renewed enthusiasm to persevere. Still his occasional European trips were helpful in a broadening of his methods of painting, and a strengthening of his hold on the mysterious heart that stirs the universe a deeper insight into the beauty, the glory, the sublimity of nature.
Note his ” Peace and Plenty,” in the Hearn collection what a panorama of nature is there spread before us; a landscape of autumn with its imperial vestments of purple, crimson and gold ; the slumberous silence brooding over drowsing, wheat-stacked fields; fertile meadow lands bearing bread beside the watercourses ; a cunning hand with witching sorcery, with magnetic power draws us to worship and give thanks, for the barns shall have plenty, man shall be fed, and all is well with the beautiful world.
All the landscapes of Inness bear his individual stamp. They are the reproductions of what is palpable and material, seen in an emotional and spiritual mood. He mingled colour, light and air especially moisture-laden air and these alone, bound in balanced harmony, passed through his poetic brain, and subtly showed with a burst of quiet splendour the earth rioting in its own richness, or convulsed by the coming storm.
A few of the later men, whose work is ended, must now be considered. Next to Inness in landscape art stand Wyant and Martin.
Alexander H. Wyant (1836-1892), at the age of twenty one, visited George Innes in New York, and received then that lasting impression which opened his eyes, and ever after enabled him to see the beauteous visions of nature, serene and unadorned. Nor did the few years he spent at Düsseldorf in the least affect him. The stamp had been placed on the character of his art, and it was indelible. His four landscapes in the Museum are like the four strings of a violin, each one a different note reverberating to the touch of the gentle master.
The three landscapes by Homer D. Martin (1836-1897) are as musical, but in a different key. An-other mood is back of the poetic vision, another light dwells in the eyes of the artist’s imagination. And who will choose between these hymns of nature’s glory that set our souls vibrating?
Of a far different temperament was Thomas Hovenden (1840-1895), an accomplished painter, indeed, who preferred prose to poetry. His stories have generally a sentimental streak in them. ” Breaking Home-ties ” was, therefore, one of the most popular paintings at the Chicago Fair it is now in Philadelphia. This feeling is not lacking in ” Jerusalem the Golden,” found here; the hymn being played by the young lady at the piano in the shadow, to cheer the reclining young lady in the red armchair, who, if she needs that kind of music, must be far from convalescing, as the catalogue surmises. In fact, the problem is so perplexing that we forget entirely to notice the excellent light effects in this room. His ” Last Moments of John Brown ” may be called patriotic sentimentality. The kind of emotion it will arouse will, however, depend greatly on which side of Mason and Dixon’s line one is standing. It is a most offensive canvas to the many Southern visitors to the Metropolitan Museum.
R. Swain Gifford (1840-1905), who clung for a long time to the Hudson River school, broadened considerably in his later years, and painted some fine landscapes, far better than his ” Near the Coast,” in the Museum.
Theodore Robinson (1852-1896), in many of his works, especially in ” The Girl and Cow,” a gift of Mr. W. T. Evans, shows the real benefit the Impressionist doctrines may convey to those whose individual strength repels ill-digested imitation. He, too, revelled in light, and analyzed it with subtle intuition, growing emotional at every sunburst ; but he kept colour and composition well in hand, and produced paintings that are not only attractive, but ennoble the most commonplace scene. Robinson had the faculty to impress one with the spontaneity of his expression. His work always seems to be done au premier coup. He possessed the true tonality of nature, the green of leaves and grasses, toning with the tints of the treebark, with the white and dun of the animal’s hide, and the rosy cheeks of the peasant girl. That same tone of nature is found in his ” Winter Landscape.”
J. H. Twachtman (1853-1902) does not owe more to the Giverny school than Robinson did, but he followed it closer; there is more of Monet in ” The Waterfall ” than is consistent with an individual cachet. It is a peculiarly pleasing ca-price, with tintillating colour, vibrating light, and full of atmosphere, where we stand on the border-land between illusion and reality.
Robert Blum (1857-1903) let fall his brush just when he had completed his initial effort at the highest perfection of art the magnificent mural paintings in Mendelssohn Hall, illustrating the ” Moods of Music.” His ” Japanese Candy Vender,” in the Museum, is full of colour, with exactitude of line, and a charming sense of foreign parts.
Standing alone in a niche of the temple of fame is James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), whose work, tardily enough, is now honouring the Museum. To write here Whistleriana would be but repeating what is known, for few there be who have not sometime or other read about this unique genius. Suffice it to point out that lovely little watercolour, ” A lady in Gray,” a harmony in one chord. Two of his Nocturnes are here, the ” Nocturne in Green and Gold ” and the ” Nocturne in Black and Gold,” both of the Cremorne Gardens night-series. By sheer dint of gazing our confused perception becomes aware of an orgy of precious stones set cunningly. The mysterious shadow masses evolve into colour-harmonies of penetrating power.’ The purple hollow of the night is peopled with golden caravans seen by the spent sparks of an expiring rocket. That is Whistler.
The remainder of the paintings in the American section are by living men. They are being selected for they are constantly being added towith consummate taste, and more notably, with catholicity of spirit.
I will only mention a few of these living men, who have attained to acknowledged greatness, leaving the rest to speak by their own works surely with greater eloquence than I can command.
In John La Farge the country possesses that rare phenomenon, a great colourist, who expresses in the language of colour all the emotions of the human soul. And yet, we scarcely think of him as such because of the many sidedness of his character. His horizon seems to be unlimited. Life in all its aspects whispers to him the secrets it would have him reveal by his brush. Whether we see him in his flower-paintings, which Fantin-Latour could not match, or in his Oriental scenes, in his figure-work, or rise with him to the sublime height of his mural paintings he is always the master, who has placed an indelible mark upon American art. Only one of his small Samoan subjects is in the Museum, but there are vast wall spaces on which the Master might yet sing one grand song to the Glory of the Arts.
It has been said that ” Winslow Homer typifies in painting what Walt Whitman does in poetry, and Abraham Lincoln in statesmanship.” If so, he is the typical American painter and those who know will not gainsay. There is no locality in his marines, nor do we find specific subjects that might not with equal truth be assigned to almost any part on the globe under the temperate zone. But Homer becomes typically American in that he is not an imitator; in that he hoes his own row, and ploughs his own field in his own way; in that he abjures conventionalism and goes straight to the mark, clean-cut, with extreme individualism, and distinctly modern. And though all this applies with equal force to men of other nationalities that only goes to prove that art knows no boundaries; and that Homer is to be called a typical American painter is to distinguish him from other American painters who might as well be French, Dutch or Irish.
Homer’s ” Cannon Rock ” is one of the greatest works he has painted. A colossal breaker with creamy foam and intense, translucent sheen is combing over to pound upon the iron shore a rock like a mosaic, a wave like a diamond crest. His ” Gulf stream ” comes nearest telling a story to any picture he ever painted. But it is a gripping one. The wrecked fishing-boat, without rudder or sail, is rolling in the trough of the swell; on the tipped deck a negro is stretched in the resignation of despair, while sharks sport around waiting for their prey. An ominous significance is found in the water-spout approaching on the horizon. But the painting! What colour, what tonality, accentuated in contrast by that touch of vermilion upon the hull. Here indeed is a master-brush, and a master-mind ! And there are still other examples of his in the Museum.
Wm. M. Chase is fitly represented by the two subjects he knows best to paint. There is a magnificent still-life of ” Fish,” which van Beyeren could not have bettered ; and his portrait work may be seen in Carmencita,” and two other portraits of women.
Chase’s portrait, by Sargent, who is still by courtesy claimed by the Americans, is a virile, sincere performance. There are Sargents and Sargents, but this portrait is not the work of a virtuoso. Nor can we make that charge against the Marquand portrait. Sargent is a consummate technician, who works with astonishing rapidity and alas, some-times falls into the resultant snare. But even after this is said we stand admiringly before the work of one who knows colour, values, drawing every-thing that makes the painter, and has the observing eyes that makes the limner of portraits.
That other portrait painter and mural painter of renown, John W. Alexander, has that within his reach, which is the prize of the Masters. I may only bid you look at his Study in Black and Green,” a fine picture.
To single out a few landscapes, we turn to ” The Old Barn,” by J. F. Murphy, foremost in the rank of American landscape painters. A canvas of his has the effect of a day in the country, when one smells the fresh earth, and the breezes of field and forest drive the city-smoke out of the lungs. There is always art, there is always quality in his work a stream of elegance, a thrill of style, a hint of the unseen. His is not a topographic study of detail, but of the more subtle qualities of the law of enveloppe, and of values.
Horatio Walker handles his brush broadly. His colour is always rich, pure and true, whether inclining to the sombre and deeper notes, or to brighter keys, when it is joyous and vibrating, full of the intimate charm of sunshine. His ” Sheepfold ” here is one of his tender passages, while at other times he can be rugged, bold, energetic, with largeness of style and vigour of composition.
But this must suffice. Critical comments on the work of our own men, still living, and many yet in a formative period, must not be demanded in a work of this kind. Enough to record that pictures may be found here of the Bostonians, Ben-son, Tarbell, Thayer and Tryon. Also of Elihu Vedder, De Forest Brush, and Blakelock ; and of those somewhat spiritually related artists, Albert P. Ryder and Arthur B. Davies. There are pictures here by Carlsen, Charles H. Davis, Shurtleff, Bunce, Crane, Dessar, and Dearth ; and a magnificent marine by Waugh. Whittredge, Schofield, Bogert, Daingerfield, Ranger and Loeb are represented; as also Boggs, Julian Alden Weir, Robert Reid, Charles H. Miller, Kendall, Volk, Mary Cassatt, Sartain, Parton, Williams, C. Y. Turner and Smillie. The Museum has also owned for some time the work of Maynard, Eakins, Wiggins, Marr, Picknell, Will Low, Coffin and Fitz.
We will find in many of these canvases the skilled eye and the trained hand ; in others the gropings of talented seekers after truth. These men tell us their stories with the pathos of colour, with the delicacy of chiaroscuro, with the suggestion of form — all elements the artist perceives in nature, or vainly wishes to improve upon by imagination. Of very few of these artists the last word of fame or failure could now be written; and we must wait until the balance is struck between the favour that placed their work in their present surroundings and the ultimate verdict of critical analysis.