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of a very high order, and not a few of them are remarkable as the first earnest of enduring reputations; among these the works of Laugier and of Prevost deserve especial notice.
The annual subscription to this society is 50 francs, and the works of art are purchased by a committee elected from amongst the subscribers. There are similar societies in many of the provincial cities and towns of France; that of Rouen, in particular, has been exceedingly prosperous.
In most of the German States associations of this Germany. kind have been established still more extensively than in France, and generally under the denomination either of Kunst-Verein (Art-Union), or of Verein der Kunstfreunde (Association of the Friends of Art.) The plan of these societies is often very comprehensive, and in this respect resembles the original scheme of M. Hennin.
The “ Verein der Kunstfreunde im Preussischen Art-Union Staate” was founded in 1825. The usual subscription to it is 5 Rixthalers, or about fifteen shillings sterling. In 1836 it numbered 2119 subscribers, subscribing 12,335R, or about £1850 sterling. In this, and in most of the similar societies of Germany, the management of its affairs is confided to a committee composed, in nearly equal proportions, of artists and amateurs. In Berlin there is besides, a special committee formed exclusively of artists, to which are entrusted all purs chases and other business purely artistical. In Munich this special committee is composed of four artists and of seven amateurs; while the general committee consists of artists and amateurs in equal number; and such a division appears to be the more general practice throughout Germany.
In addition to the purchase from artists of works already executed, the Art-Union of Berlin gives com
missions and offers prizes for competition. In every case the artists employed must be Prussians, either by birth or by naturalization. At the outset, while its funds were very limited, this society confined its patronage to artists visiting Italy for the completion of their studies, thinking it of great importance “to provide the artist during his period of study, and in the country which affords him the best facilities for improvement, with employment of a purely artistical character.”*
The Art-Union of Munich occupies a field which, in some respects, is still more extensive. In addition to the purchase of works of art for appropriation by lot, and an annual engraving for its members, its plan includes a series of conversazioni for promoting the intercourse between artists and amateurs; the formation of a collection of drawings, and of a collection of journals and other publications concerning art; and a permanent exhibition of the works of living artists. All these objects appear to have been pursued with success.
The commission and purchase of pictures for public
purposes--and especially as altar-pieces for churches Art-Union -forms a prominent feature in the plan of the Art
of the Union of the Rhine-provinces and Westphalia, (KunstRbine-pro
Verein für die Rheinlande und Westphalen.) Within ten years of its establishment (in 1829) it had presented either to churches or to museums, works by Overbeck, Bendemann, W. Schadow, Götting, Deger, Zimmermann, Müche, Meister, Settegast, Hübner, and Stielcke.t Several of these works are amongst the pictures which have been engraved for the subscribers,—the number of whom for the year 1838 amounted to 3420, subscribing £2565 sterling. The amount devoted in that year to the purchase of pictures for appropriation by lot, somewhat exceeded £1400.*
vinces, &c. verein Jur
* See Statut für den Verein, etc., 1832. & 5.
+ See list in Appendix.
Societies similar to these exist in nearly all the principal cities of the several states of Germany. Differing from each other in minor respects, they, for the most part, possess three leading features in common: 1st, The purchase of works of art—either by commission or by selection—to be appropriated by lot amongst their members; 2d, the production of an engraving
-generally once in every year-expressly for their members; and 3d, the creation of a reserve-fund for the direct encouragement of historical and religious art, by the commission or purchase of pictures for a public purpose.
These societies had long been in beneficial operation both in France and in Germany, before they excited so much attention in this country as to induce imitation. Great BriTo Scotland belongs the honour of having taken the tani first step.
The council of the Scottish Academy in their sixth Report, issued in 1833, lamented the small extent of the sales which had of late years been effected at their annual exhibitions; and stated that, unless means were adopted by the friends of art to afford more efficient support, “the artists who now devote themselves with enthusiasm to the production of works of a higher class will either engage in less precarious walks of their profession, or send the fruits of their skill to more certain marts for their disposal. In either case the same interest, and consequently the same success, will not attach to the Edinburgh exhibitions; and the progress of a national school of design, worthy of the name, will be checked and retarded.”
• See Central-Blatt der Deutschen Kunst-Vereine, edited by Gropius, of Berlin. No. 2.
Association This appeal was quickly responded to: in the course for the promotion of of 1834 proposals were issued for the formation of a the Fine
society for the purchase of works of art, to be appropriated by lot amongst the members; subscription lists were opened and a general meeting was convened. At this meeting the “Association for the Promotion of the Fine Arts in Scotland” was definitively organized. The subscription was made one guinea annually, and the selection of the pictures and other works of art for purchase was intrusted to the committee of management;—such selection, however, being limited to the
exhibition of the Scottish academy. 1834-5. During the first year (1834-5) the sum subscribed
was 694 guineas, and twenty-seven pictures were purchased, varying in price from £170 to £2. But, in addition to the sum thus expended on works of art directly by the society, a new impulse was given to private purchases. The whole amount of sales from the exhibition of the Scottish academy which, during the years immediately preceding, had averaged scarcely £300, in this year reached £1200, and thus afforded a gratifying promise of the results to be expected when the society should become firmly established.
In the second year, 1210 guineas were subscribed; thirty-five pictures were purchased at prices varying from £120 to £4; and about £250 were devoted to engraving in mezzotinto, for the members, the picture of “ The taking down from the Cross,” by David Scott, a member of the Scottish academy. The engraving was a new feature in the society's plan, and, although this first example was not a very successful one, it greatly increased the number of subscribers. This year the entire sales from the Scottish academy amounted
to £1600. 1836-7. For the third year the subscriptions amounted to
1974 guineas; forty-three pictures were purchased at
prices from £250 to £3, and two pieces of sculpture; amounting to £40. Mr. Bonnar's picture, “The strayed children,” was engraved in mezzotinto by Mr. Lupton, at a cost of £300, and twenty casts were taken from Mr. Marshall's statue of “Hero guiding Leander across the Hellespont,” the mould being immediately destroyed. The total amount of purchases from the exhibition of this year was about £1900.
In the fourth year of the operations of this society its subscriptions amounted to 3094 guineas,—of which about 500 were devoted to engraving in line Mr. Harvey's masterly picture, “The trial of Shakspere.” The engraving was entrusted to Mr. Robert Graves, and was admirably executed. About £2300 were expended in the purchase of pictures. The gross amount of sales from this year's exhibition is believed to have exceeded £3600, or twelve times their amount prior to the establishment of the association.
The subscriptions for the fifth year were increased to 4448 guineas; one hundred and three pictures were purchased at prices varying from £200 to £2; and three pieces of sculpture from £100 to £15;the total amount expended in these purchases being £2898. The sum of £800 was retained to meet the cost of engraving Mr. M‘Culloch's picture, “ Loch-an-Eilin.”
The present is the sixth year of the society's operations, and rapid as has been its progress hitherto, it is still increasing. The subscriptions for the year (ending in May, 1840) amount to £6118,-exclusive of a considerable balance accruing from the last year ;-one hundred and twelve pictures and works of sculpture have been purchased, at prices varying from £500 to £5, and amounting in the whole to £4208. Allan's picture “ Heroism and Humanity, an incident in the life of Robert the Bruce” (purchased for £500), is to be engraved for the subscribers of the year, and the sum of £1000 has been reserved to meet the cost of this