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[Ill.u.s.tration: FLEMISH SCHOOL, CONTEMPORARY STUDY OF STILL LIFE: GRAPES AND PARTRIDGES.
AFTER A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE ORIGINAL PAINTING Mademoiselle Berthe Art, Painter]
[Ill.u.s.tration: FLEMISH SCHOOL, CONTEMPORARY PORTRAIT STUDY OF THE COUNTESS FLORENCE FABBRICOTTI Baroness Lambert de Rothschild, Painter]
[Ill.u.s.tration: PORTRAIT OF MONSIEUR GEVAERT. REPRODUCED FROM THE ORIGINAL PAINTING Baroness Lambert de Rothschild, Painter]
[Ill.u.s.tration: FLEMISH AND DUTCH SCHOOLS, CONTEMPORARY PORTRAIT OF MLLE. DETHIER. AFTER A PROOF OF THE ORIGINAL ETCHING Mlle. Louise Danse, Painter-Etcher Belgium]
[Ill.u.s.tration: A DUTCH PEASANT WOMAN. FROM A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE ORIGINAL PAINTING Madame Suse Bisschop-Robertson, Painter Holland]
[Ill.u.s.tration: FLEMISH SCHOOL, CONTEMPORARY "THE LAST MOVE." REPRODUCED FROM THE ORIGINAL PAINTING BY PERMISSION OF MESSRS. BRAUN, CLeMENT & CO., PARIS, OWNERS OF THE COPYRIGHT Madame Henriette Ronner, Painter]
[Ill.u.s.tration: FLEMISH SCHOOL, CONTEMPORARY NEW TENANTS--NOUVEAUX LOCATAIRES. AFTER THE ORIGINAL PICTURE, FROM A CARBON PRINT BY BRAUN, CLeMENT & CO., PARIS, OWNERS OF THE COPYRIGHT Madame Henriette Ronner, Painter]
[Ill.u.s.tration: FLEMISH SCHOOL, CONTEMPORARY STUDY OF A HERON. FROM A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE ORIGINAL PAINTING Mlle. Georgette Meunier, Painter]
[Ill.u.s.tration: THE Ma.s.sACRE OF THE INNOCENTS. AFTER MATTEO DI GIOVANNI DA SIENA Madame Marie Destree-Danse, Etcher]
[Ill.u.s.tration: FLEMISH SCHOOL, CONTEMPORARY A SUNSET IN THE CAMPINE. REPRODUCED BY PERMISSION FROM AN ETCHING AFTER THE PAINTING BY JOSEPH COOSEMANS IN THE BRUSSELS MUSEUM Mademoiselle E. Wesmael, Etcher]
[Ill.u.s.tration: FLEMISH SCHOOL, CONTEMPORARY LILIES IN THE COURTYARD OF A HOUSE OF REST AT BRUGES.
AFTER A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE ORIGINAL PAINTING Madame Juliette Wytsman, Painter]
In Germany and Austria, in Russia, Switzerland and Spain
By Wilhelm Scholermann. Translated into English by Wilfrid Sparroy
When we look into the past history of the present subject, the first German name we come upon is that of the Nun of Nuremberg, Sister Margareta, who worked from 1459 to 1470, and who copied many religious works. A century later, at Udina, in Italy, Irene von Spilimberg was born, descending from a n.o.ble German family; and although Irene died at the age of nineteen, she yet lived long enough to win the hearty admiration of her great master, t.i.tian. As a picture by Irene von Spilimberg could not be obtained for this book, the editor has begun the German section with Anna Maria Schurman and with Maria Sibylla Merian. The first was a clever painter-etcher as well as the most learned lady of her time; the second was the daughter of Matthew Merian, and the exquisite studies she made, in water-colour, of insects and of plants and flowers, have never been excelled in their own line.
From Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) we pa.s.s on to an admirable mezzotint, after Morland, by Maria Prestel, who died in 1794; and then we are brought into the heart of the 19th century by the searching industry and skill of Anna Maria Ellenrieder, a very capable painter-etcher, who lived between the years 1791 and 1863. Ellenrieder looked to the past for her inspiration, going to the art of the early Dutch masters. She has little or nothing in common with the other German women artists of her time. How different is her ideal, for instance, from that of the well-known painter of historical subjects, the Baroness Hermione von Preuschen, whose dramatic and sensational spirit appeals so strongly to the great public, as in that canvas in which is represented the Corpse of Irene von Spilimberg, young and beautiful, lying in state in her Venetian gondola, draped with black and covered with flowers. Artists do not often care for pictures of this romantic type; and they find higher and more subtle qualities in the quiet wisdom of Julie Wolfthorn, a Berlin painter of note, and a follower of the modern school of psychological portraiture. Julie Wolfthorn combines depth of feeling and refinement of taste with keenness of penetration into the mystery of individual character. Her portrait of a young sculptor, given in the ill.u.s.tration on page 304, is a good example of the painter's methods.
Another Berlin artist of note is Fraulein Kathe Kollwitz, whose princ.i.p.al field of artistic expression has. .h.i.therto been restricted to the burin and copper plate. She has studied etching almost entirely by herself, and by dint of persistent courage and skill has developed her gifts in a direction all her own. The subjects that appeal most forcibly to her mind are taken with scarcely an exception from the darkest and most painful sides of social life and social unrest. Take a glance at the father, mother, and child, reproduced on page 302, and ent.i.tled "Dest.i.tution and Despair." Are you not inclined to marvel, almost, how a woman had the courage to depict, without flinching, the sad truths of such bitter poverty? Can you not fancy that you hear the moan of misery, the shrill scream of starvation, the cries of rebellion and death, as when, on the outbreak of the strike, the bulk of the working cla.s.ses casts itself upon the streets? Such ma.s.ses in motion have been made real to us in her series of plates from the "Peasants' War."
An artist of considerable versatility and intuition is Dora Hitz, of Berlin. Born at Altdorf, near Nurnberg, she began her studies at Munich, afterwards continuing them at intervals in Paris. In 1878 she acted upon the invitation of Carmen Silva, the Poet-Queen of Roumania, and executed a series of decorative panels for the royal castle of Petes, at Sinaivo, the pictorial subjects of which were chosen from the literary works of her Majesty. Four years later she settled in Paris, and there she remained till 1891. During all that time her industry never flagged, and she was much indebted to the friendly interest which Eugene Carriere took in her work. The portrait of a little girl which may be seen here on page 303, belongs to the modern collection in the Berlin National Gallery.
Our next lady painter, though of German descent, her grandfather being a native of Hamburg, was herself born in Sweden. Her name is Jeanna Bauck. When she was twenty-three years of age she saw the fulfilment of her life-long yearning to go to Germany for the purpose of studying painting, and there, with a few short breaks, she has remained ever since, first in Dresden and Dusseldorf, and then at Munich, where she has now taken up her abode. She was also in Paris for a while, for the sake of study. At first exclusively a landscapist, she afterwards turned to portrait painting, an example of which may be found on page 300. For seven years (1897-1904) she lived in Berlin, and painted landscapes and portraits alternately, whilst superintending a flourishing school of art for ladies. In drawing your attention to her landscape on page 301, I should like to add that Jeanna Bauck takes rank among the most serious women painters of to-day.
There is yet another portrait painter who deserves a memory for the sake of her refinement and sensibility. I refer to the wife of Wilhelm Jensen, the historical novelist and poet of Schleswig-Holstein. Now, Frau Marie Jensen (Munich), once a pupil of the late Emil Lugo, devotes herself to her art in private. Most of her portraits, too, give proof of this same love of retirement, originating as they do in the family circle (see page 303).
The portrait of a lady, on page 300, is the work of that very gifted portrait painter, Fraulein Maria Davids. This capable artist has produced some excellent likenesses; among others those of the poet Gustav Frenssen, of Professor Weber, of Freiburg, of Fraulein von Sydow, a daughter of the Minister of State, and of Frau Vermehren of Lubeck. Another portrait painter of fame and much power of expression, is Frau Vilma Parlaghy, her draughtsmanship being particularly good.
Hungarian by birth, she lives and works for the most part in the German capital. Her handling of the brush is vigorous, yet sober, her colouring is warm and harmoniously balanced, and her insight into character quite strikingly true and convincing. The finest and most successful efforts, in my opinion, are the portrait of the aged Field-marshal Count von Moltke, taken in his eighty-ninth year, shortly before his death, and that of Windhorst, the German statesman.
In Austria, in the dominions of the Emperor Francis Joseph, women painters are numerous, but those of more than average gifts are not perhaps so plentiful as elsewhere. In the Bohemian capital of Prague, Fraulein Hermine Laucota has worked her way up to a position of distinction quite on her own grounds. Leading a most retired life, devoted chiefly to the pursuit of natural history and art, she studied first in Prague, and then partly at Antwerp and in Munich, but since the year 1888 she has resided altogether in her native town. It is not in colours so much as in etching on the copper plate that she has found her medium of artistic expression, and the subjects she has chosen are for the most part of a symbolical character, as in the distinguished etching on page 307.
To come to Vienna, a couple of names of good repute occur to me: Frau Olga Wisinger-Florian and Frau Tina Blau-Lang, the latter a refined landscapist (see pages 306 and 308). The two views of the Prater will speak for themselves. With their charming freshness and their genial breadth of handling, they tell us as plain as words that "all's right with the world" in the springtime. Every touch is so bracing that it needs no praise. Frau Blau-Lang is an optimist beyond a doubt, and that as much by temperament as by choice of motive.
And when we look beyond Austria and Germany, we find everywhere among women the same enthusiasm for art, and the same unflagging courage in mastering the difficulties that thwart their every effort. That their persistence has been crowned with much success is shown in a very remarkable manner by this present book. How admirable, for instance, is the work done in Finland by Maria Wiik and Helene Schjerfbeck! In Switzerland, too, if we take a glance at the country where Anna Wa.s.ser, at the beginning of the 18th century, achieved fame by her paintings--there, too, we are welcomed by a particularly interesting painter's painter, Mdlle. Louise Breslau, who, with her thorough knowledge of modern realism, never truckles to the taste of the general public; and there, also, we find another woman painter whose art has been inspired on several occasions by the life of Christ: a woman painter so much occupied with the conception of her pictures that her technique has a tendency to lag behind the almost literary eloquence of her design. But Mdlle. Ottilie Roederstein is nevertheless an artist of real ability.
From Switzerland we must turn to Spain if we would do for ourselves what the accompanying ill.u.s.trations will do for us in the pleasantest of pleasant ways. Take, for example, the airy, fresh, excellent landscape, a "Scene at Comillas," painted in water-colour by the Infante Dona Paz de Bourbon. Then, again, the "Carriage Race at Naples," by Dona Stuart Sindici, with its splendid dash and dexterity of composition, and the court outside a "Roman Hostelry," by Elena Brockmann, likewise a sunny scene, simply teem with warmth and colour, and with life and beauty. Not quite so strong and independent are the "Fisher Boys," by Antonia de Banuelos, the conception and the execution alike being apparently inspired by that mild and n.o.ble master of Spanish painting, Esteban Murillo. Again, in Russia, we meet with a portrait-painter, Olga de Boznanska (page 316), whose work unites a certain independent character of its own with the influences of her Parisian training: qualities that marked in a much higher and more perfect degree the pictorial appeals of that young and marvellously spirited genius whose premature death cut short a career of infinite promise: Marie Bashkirtseff, the friend of Bastien Lepage, and a realist full of subtlety and of penetration.
Some Finnish Women Painters
By Helena Westermarck, Critic and Painter
Art in Finland, pictorial art, like much else in that country, is a young growth. It is in the nineteenth century that we are first able to verify its existence, and it is only in the year 1840, or thereabouts, that we find any traces of women who seriously devoted themselves to the study of painting. The pioneers in this may be said to be Mathilda Rotkirch and Victoria Abey.
Somewhat later, in or about 1870, f.a.n.n.y Churberg, after working in Dusseldorf and Paris, evinced much independent and original talent in landscape painting, her art having also an inaugural character, in that she was the first who applied herself to the decoration of textile fabrics, adapting to her purpose the old national Finnish patterns, a practice which has since then had a large following in the field of applied design. Her career, unfortunately, was soon ended by illness and an early death. After her came the generation of women artists who are at present carrying forward a young school of enthusiastic workers.
In the sphere of painting, the women artists of Finland study under much the same circ.u.mstances as their male comrades. The Schools of Art subsidized by the State are open both to male and to female pupils, and this applies also to all prizes and rewards of merit. Some account of the princ.i.p.al women painters may be of interest.
Maria Wiik (1853), after an apprenticeship in the Finnish Schools of Art and in Professor Becker's Private Academy, spent several years of study in Paris--occasionally moving her easel in the summers to Brittany, to Normandy, or even to St. Ives, in England. She has further developed her art in later years by visits to Holland and to Italy. Her talent lies in the direction of portrait and genre painting and she has now the name of being among the best Finnish portrait painters. She has executed many public commissions, such as the portrait of the Professor at the Rein University in Helsingfors, for the Finnish Literary Society, and that of the poet, Z. Topelius, for a large public school for girls. Many will remember her portrait of the School Inspector, Ohberg, which now hangs in the Helsingfors Board School. Maria Wiik has exhibited at the Paris Salons, and at picture exhibitions in Moscow, Copenhagen, and Dresden, and besides the prizes awarded her in her own country, she has received a bronze medal in Paris (1900) for a picture painted in St. Ives, called, "Out into the World."
Helene Schjerfbeck (1863), also a pupil of the Finnish Schools of Art and of Prof. Becker's Private Academy, continued her studies in Paris and afterwards visited Brittany, England, Austria and Italy. She has painted some important historical pictures, taking her subjects from Finnish and Swedish history, as in her two admirable paintings, "Liukoping's Prison in 1600" and "The Death of W. v. Schwerin." She has also painted a few landscapes and a number of genre pictures, many of them with subjects taken from French and English life. Helene Schjerfbeck has exhibited both at home and at the Paris Salons, has twice been awarded the lesser money prize given yearly by the Finnish State (for the two historical pictures mentioned above), while at the Exhibition in Paris in 1889, she received a bronze medal. She has also held an appointment as teacher in the Finnish Academy of Art, in the department of painting and in the drawing cla.s.s from the living model.
Her many pictures have been among the best that our women artists have produced.
Venny Soldan-Brofeldt (1860) is another pupil of the Finnish Schools of Art and of Prof. Becker's Academy, and has studied later in Paris, and in Spain and Italy. Her best work is in the genre style, many of her pictures being very characteristic and true scenes of Finnish peasant life, such as "Meal time in a Peasant's Hut" and "Pietists."
Her landscapes, too, are remarkable for a sensitive conception of Nature; especially is this true of her pictures of our coast scenery, with its low granite rocks, washed over by the sea waves. Mrs.
Soldan-Brofeldt has ill.u.s.trated also some books for children, among others a part of a large Scandinavian edition of Topelius' Saga tales for children. At the Paris Exhibition of 1889, she received a "Mention Honorable," and in 1900, a bronze medal. She is the wife of the author, Juhani Aho. Brofeldt. Mrs. Soldan-Brofeldt's work is not ill.u.s.trated in this book, as a photograph of her most important picture was broken into fragments in its journey from Finland to London.
It is characteristic of all these painters that their artistic bias was determined by their study in Paris of the French naturalists, who inspired them with a stern respect for drawing, and taught them to study Nature seriously. Starting from this common standpoint, they have, whilst working in their own way, developed along their own individual lines.
Many another woman artist deserves mention, but the limited s.p.a.ce at my disposal permits me to give only a list of their names.
There is Ellen Thesleff, a figure painter; there is Elin Danielson-Gambogi (wife of the Italian painter, R. Gambogi), well-known for her portraits and landscapes; there is Julia Stigzelius de c.o.c.k (wife of the Belgian artist, Cesare de c.o.c.k), a clever landscape painter; there is Amelie Lundahl, figure painter; and Ada Thilen, with her landscapes; and Hanna Ronnberg, with her subject pictures and outdoor scenes; and Anna Sahlsten, a figure painter; and last, but not least, I name Annie Torselles-Schybergson, a good painter of animals.
[Ill.u.s.tration: SILHOUETTE BY NELLY BODENHEIM.]
[Ill.u.s.tration: RUSSIAN SCHOOL, 1884 "A MEETING." AFTER THE ORIGINAL PAINTING IN THE LUXEMBOURG, PARIS, FROM A PHOTOGRAPH BY LEVY & SONS, PARIS Mademoiselle Marie Bashkirtseff, Painter 1860-1884]
[Ill.u.s.tration: GERMAN SCHOOL, XVII CENTURY PLANT STUDY PAINTED IN WATER-COLOUR ON VELLUM. AFTER ONE OF THE MANY DRAWINGS BY THE SAME ARTIST IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM. THEY ONCE BELONGED TO SIR HANS SLOANE, WHO PURCHASED THEM AT A HIGH PRICE.
Maria Sibylla Merian (Frau Graff), Painter 1647-1717]
[Ill.u.s.tration: GERMAN SCHOOL, XVII CENTURY PORTRAIT ETCHED BY HERSELF OF ANNA MARIA SCHURMAN PERHAPS THE MOST FAMOUS LINGUIST OF HER TIME IN EUROPE Anna Maria Schurman, Painter-Etcher 1607-1678]
[Ill.u.s.tration: PLANT STUDY PAINTED IN WATER-COLOUR ON VELLUM.
REPRODUCED FROM THE ORIGINAL DRAWING IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM Maria Sibylla Merian (Frau Graff), Painter 1647-1717]