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· THE FIELD OF ART.
THE PRINT-ITS CHARM AND style, and of technical methods. The last plays ITS QUEST
an important part in the charm of the print.
As in painting we have oil and water color and MID the multitude of exhibitions of pastel each with its distinct characteristics and A paintings which are offered us every potentialities, so in black-and-white prints (not
season, the apparently increasing in- to speak of color work for the present) etchterest in prints does not make itself felt with ing, line engraving on copper, mezzotint, any striking force, but it is yet evidenced un- aquatinting and other like methods, wood-enobtrusively. The
graving and lithogelements of color
raphy, each preand tone and com
sents quite different parative complete
effects and possibilness of effect give
ities. The limits the painting a hold
that each medium on the public, an
imposes on those appeal to larger
who use it yet circles, which the
leave great freeprint cannot read
dom within their ily attain. Its size
bounds. Witness and nature, and the
such obvious confact that it must
trasts as Whistler's be studied at close
Thames series and range, make it a
his later Venetian thing to be enjoyed
scenes in etching in a small exhibi
(or, say, Meryon's tion gallery, in the
visions of Paris and quiet of a print
Bracquemond's room or of a private
glorification of collector's study.
“The Old Cock,” Like any work of
if comparison of art, the print de
different personalmands the thought
ities be preferred), and sympathy of
· Sargent's unctuous the beholder, in
blacks, the bravura order to insure
of Isabey, and the full appreciation.
silver-point deliThere must be as From the wood-engraving by Dürer.
cacy of Legros in thorough a con
lithography, the ception as possible of the artist's viewpoint severe restraint of Mantegna, and the brilliant and intention. Two general principles which tours de force of Drevet in line engraving; the govern all good art are in force here as well: Teutonic vigor of Dürer (who worked with the artist must respect the limits of his medium, a full understanding of the possibilities of facand he must tell something worth saying. In simile cutting on the block), the sensitive decother words, the expression of individuality orativeness of the Japanese or the remarkable should manifest itself within the limitation set American translations of paintings into the by the tools used.
language of the burin in wood-engraving. The field of the print may seem restricted at Each medium, then, has its own distinct charfirst sight, but even the slightest survey of four acter and attraction. centuries of achievement discloses an enormous The taste for prints may be more or less a variety of artistic individuality, of subject, of specialized one, but how broad a specialty it is, Vol. L.-48
and what a wide range of varied delights it offers! delicate sureness of Whistler with his touch of Many collectors are attracted by, and procure, feminine intuitiveness, Meryon's sombre yet mainly work in a particular medium, and in living interpretation of the spirit of old Paris, that again by preference the productions of a Hayden's incisive and sympathetic presentation particular group of artists. One may be devoted of English landscape, the straightforward views especially to line engraving, with its formality of Dutch life given by Ostade, the landscapes in statement and distinction of utterance, which of Claude, the portrait etchings of Van Dyck, fitted it so well for the reproduction of works are so many outlooks on strong individualities of art in the period of its greatest development. seen at close range. And the minor men, from In his portfolios we may find the earlier work, the seventeenth century to the present day, by Raimondi, translating Raphael with adapt- offer a wealth of material. ability, reserve and beauty of line, or by DürerL ithography has a strong attraction for some. (delineating with loving care the German in- Not so incisive as the etching, it yet offers a terior in which he places St. Jerome), or the ready response to the artist's touch; a supstately portraits by Nanteuil, Edelinck, Masson, pleness, a pliancy, that adapts it equally well the Drevets, or other French engravers of the to the pearly grays of the early masters of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Perhaps stone, the joyous lightness of a Whistler, the the reproductions, by Raphael Morghen and vigorous yet free crayonnage of Gavarni the other Italian burinists, of canvases by their little giant Menzel's masterly handling of compatriots, or even the minutely delicate plates brush and scraper. by later Englishmen after Turner. Another is A similar range of effects may be exhibited in particularly attracted by the painter-etching, wood-engraving, a reproductive art ever close with its often summary statement of essential to the people from the early block-books to its fact, its spontaneity, its direct expression of extensive use for book illustration in the ninethe artist's self. Among the various media teenth century. To-day it, too, serves as a used in the production of prints, etching holds painter art, a means of original production, a a high place. It has offered so much to the vehicle for the direct expression of an artist's artist and has become, above all others, a vehicle own ideas. for the direct conveyance of his impressions. There is also the eclectic collector, who
For that reason the field of painter-etching is procures the good thing of any time or country, particularly broad and inclusive. It offers an who possesses lithographs by Whistler, plates astonishing array of individualities, differing in from Turner's mezzotinted “Liber Studiotheir message, in their manner of expression, rum,” etchings by Hayden, Morghen's “Last in the variety of effect which they draw from Supper" after Da Vinci, and examples of the the combination of copper-plate, etching- seventeenth century French portraitists. ground, etching needle, and acid. The man- Æsthetic enjoyment of prints and the apliness and mastery of Rembrandt, the deft and preciation of technique are closely connected, and the subject interest likewise plays Kaufmann. Similarly the eighteenth century an important part in the charm of the print. French prints form a pictorial comment on To the delight in the sympathetic craftsman- national characteristics shown in the lightship of the British mezzotinters who, in the hearted, charming frivolity of Fragonard and second half of the eighteenth century, were per- Boucher, and the veiled voluptuousness of
petuating and reproducing the record of state- Greuze's idyls of home life and youthful inliness, dignity, and beauty, which their com- nocence. The French color-print of that peripatriots painted, there is added the interest od, again, has its distinct special note of charm. in the very life of the day which is thus pictured. The quest of the collector may be directed The mezzotinters of this period, especially in toward the subject without regard to medium the widely popular plates after Morland, gave or school or period of art. Such tendency to form also to British scenes of country life, just specialization has many outlets: Portraits of as Bartolozzi and other stipple engravers of his some individual (Washington, Napoleon, day expressed the sentimentality and taste for Franklin), a period of history (the American allegory as shown in the designs of Angelica Revolution), some phase of human activity
(ballooning, transportation), some aspect of Tastes vary, and it is well that each one of social life (costume), views of particular places, us should exercise his own freely, provided he sporting prints.
does it thoughtfully. The collector who can All of this is of necessity the barest indication afford to gratify his desire for the unique early of the varied pleasures that the study of prints state, for the series of trial proofs of a particular holds out. The collector's opportunities are print, gives himself pleasure and certainly adds many and they are adapted to pocket-books to the documentary material for the history of of various sizes. It is the unusually big price the individual artist's development. The one that gets the most
of less ample means publicity, but we
will direct- his at. cannot all, nor need
tention toward such we, think of acquir
"states" (usually ing the most expen
the early finished sive prints. They
ones) of a given are not the only
print as represent ones worth having.
the artist's final Rembrandt, Whis
intention. Rarity tler, Meryon are
and merit may or great figures in the
may not be coinciannals of etching,
dent. The early but they are not the
state does not only artists who
always show the etched. We do not
print at its best. read Shakespeare
The average color Goethe or the
lector of moderate Bible or even a
means will wisely “hundred best
seek the good imbooks” exclusively.
pression whether it The graphic arts
be the early or rare are living arts, prac
state or not, and rest ticed to-day by men
content to let the whose work is
curiosity go to those worthy of notice.
that want it. There is certainly a
And if he further. wide diversity in
more keeps his head prices and a large
in print shop and field to choose from.
auction room, and From an engraving on copper by Ficquet, The lover of art who
makes haste slowly, cannot afford paint
he will be in a fair ings has a wide and inexpensive field in which way to prove the truth of the statement that to cultivate, gratify and show his artistic tastes. even to-day a collection can be formed on a com
We cannot all hunt big game. To Hayden's paratively small outlay. And the best, most advice to collectors of very moderate means- satisfactory selection will always be based on namely, that they hunt in old numbers of English the collector's mental response to the individumagazines for wood-engravings after the noted ality and intention of the artist. The whole British illustrators of the sixties—there may be secret then is to see with understanding eyes and added the hint that examination of American an unprejudiced mind. Possession is, after all, magazines of the seventies and eighties will dis- a secondary matter. The rich source of pleasure close much work by the wood-engravers whose is the loving study of the print, the entrance into productions caused such éclat in those days, and the world of beauty and human interest which that back numbers of art publications such as it offers, the acquaintance with the mind and Hamerton's Portfolio, L'Art, Zeitschrift für Bil- heart that lie back of its production and make it dende Kunst will yield many an interesting etch- a human document. ing. Discrimination is necessary, of course.