Jonathan Forbes.

Recent disturbances and military executions in Ceylon online

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52SD

UC-NRLF




N

352

W5271

1921

MAIN




THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA



GIFT OF



Professor Edna W. Bailey



A CLASS AT
PROFESSOR
CIZEK'S



Subject —
"AUTUMN



By

FRANCESCA M. WILSON.



CHILDREN'S ART EXHIBITION FUND
MCMXXI.



JtpAN STACK




l.-Z'XK'EfxHAN^



H. Zlokkkmann. A(iED 14.

" Something incomplete, it is true, but pull ok poetky."

(See p. 13 of Text.)




Helena Klaunzner.



Aged 16 years.



"Monumental like her native mountains."

{See p. IS of Ttxt.)
2



A CLASS
AT PROFESSOR CIZEK'S



%9P



THERE were from 50 to 60 children, boys and girls,
of all ages from 6 to 15. Each one of them
had a piece of paper of the same size in front
of him, a charcoal pencil, and a box of paints.
It was the day for the " Klassenarbeit " — no choosing of
their own medium of expression to-day. Autumn was
the subject Cizek proposed to them. It was a fine Novem-
ber day with the sun coming through after a week of
mists, and it was a good day, he thought, to do Autumn
on. They must represent Autumn by a figure. First
they must draw a narrow margin round their paper, and
the figure must be big enough for its head to reach the
top of the margin, and its feet the bottom, for, as be
explained to them afterwards, when discussing their
work with them, a picture looks poverty-stricken and
miserable when it has only a tiny figure in it, and is mostly
empty. The size of the figure was law of the Medes and
Persians, but otherwise they might make their Autumn
just how they liked.

112



He wondered how Hans would represent it. Hans
said at once he would have an old man with baskets full
of apples. Franz, after this suggestion, got on his feet,
and said he would have someone blowing very hard at
the trees so that the leaves blew off. Elizabeth, a small,
determined, little party, with a pale face, and two straight
pigtails, declared with great decision that she would have
an old man with pots of paint, painting the leaves bright
colours.

Cizek approved all these suggestions, declared them
each as they came up very fine, and full of possibilities
but as the children were already straining at the leash,
so to speak, with eagerness to start, he closed the
discussion, and told them to begin.

This they did with a speed and a lack of hesitation
that surprised me. I could imagine myself toying with
my charcoal and paper for half an hour wondering what
I was going to do, but they made up their minds at once,
and attacked the subject straight away. No doubt the
constant encouragement of their Professor has developed
this self-confidence and courage in them.

After a few minutes every child had a head on the
paper, and some the whole figure. Cizek then reminded
them that the figure must exactly fill the whole sheet.
Several of them, he said, were starting without remember-
ing this, and were making their heads too big or too small.
They ought to sketch out very lightly the whole figure
at once, before spending time on an}^ detail. He then
wandered up and down, an extraordinarily encouraging
presence amongst them with his gentle, whimsical ex-
pression — mostly amused by what they were producing,
but not in the detached, superior grown-up way, much





Martha Zehenter,






Aged 14 years.



One of our own NiederosterreIch maidens."

(See p. 12 of •Text.)

5



more in the serious child's way. He takes his children
very seriously, as seriously as they take themselves, indeed.
He never touched any of their drawings, nor did he go up
to the black-board as most teachers do, to draw something
for them himself in order to illustrate some question of
proportion or anatomy. Where he could, he induced the
children to stand up to their work as it would give them
more freedom and boldness.

There was an extraordinary atmosphere of zest and
joy in the whole room.

The smaller children worked away with great absorp-
tion, adding all sorts of interesting details to their original
sketches just as ideas came into their heads. One boy
made his Autumn a girl running against a strong wind,
and he threw her pigtail out behind her and blew her
bright ribbon off the end of it with chuckles of delight,
lyittle Elizabeth had her old man wearing a deep red cloak,
and painting the leaves gold and orange in a very brief
space of time — and he really was there. Childish as the
whole thing was, you could see what she meant if you
stood at the end of the room, 20 feet away. Some of the
older, more experienced artists daubed away with a dreamy
expression, and when their figures were complete, began
adding flowers and coloured leaves to their pictures,
without having drawn them first. They wore an air
of negligent ease that was most impressive.

After an hour and a quarter, the pictures were all collected
and piimed against the wall, and the children squatted roimd
in a circle full of the most eager expectation, for the
discussion of their works is always the most thrilling part
of the whole lesson. It was certainly a most motley
collection. I^ots of the sketches would have been passed



over hastily by most teachers as childish daubs. A few
condescending words might have been found to say, but
the serious attention that Cizek proceeded to turn on to
them would hardl}^ have been accorded.

Of the sixt3^ sketches, there were about a dozen that
attracted one's attention either for skill of execution, the
liveliness of the fancy they expressed, or for some charm
of line or colour. These dozen had a full share of Cizek's
appreciative comment, but he saw something in all the
others as well. He discussed them one by one, dwelling
on them affectionately, sometimes with the amused
pleasure of a humorist, sometimes with an artist's sheer
delight in beauty, but alwa^^s as seriously as though they
were his own creations. Not that he was uncritical.

" Here is a woman in pale green and misty blue, a
pleasing figure, but is she Autumn ? " he asks — " but that
is Doris Gunther's, of course, and Doris is so much
the Spring herself, how can one expect her to make an
Autumn ? It is true the leaves are falling about her
little woman in the musical Autumn way though the
flowers are still blooming in the grass. She is the Indian
Summer — the second Spring that blossoms in the heart
of Autumn. (See illustration p. 14.)

" Here is an indeterminate figure — one is not quite
sure if it is man or woman, nor on which side of its
body the head is placed. But Karl is a new boy, he will
soon learn that the sexes are quite distinct, and that
heads are on definite sides of bodies. Here is a very
sprightly man leaning against a tree with the smartest
curling moustaches, and baskets of apples beside him,
but * was schaust Du mich an ? ' (' What are you looking
at me like that for ? ') " cried Cizek, while the children






t:




Marie Kind.



Aged 14 years.



" Thr Little Tanzmeister."

(See p. 12 of Text.)
8




Mada Primavesi.



Aged 15 years.



Wholesome as the soil she spkings feom."

(See p. 13 of Text.)

9




Melitta Primavesi. Aged 12 years,

"A Jolly Toper."



(See p. 12 of Text)



10




Trautel Konrad. Aged 16 years.

" A Nymph amid gay colours."

(See p. 1 1 of Text. J
11



shouted with laughter, for, indeed, we suddenly all saw
the little man looking at us with a most impudent and
provocative expression. " Certainly, the impudent little
man wants to sell his apples, and get good prices for them
too. There is much humour in the picture, but is it quite
Autumn — Autumn who gives ever>i;hing to us so lavishly
without asking for anything in return ?

"Margarete's old woman is surely a truer Autumn —
she is old and bent because she has all the months of the
year on her back; see how she sniffs the winter from afar —
and how the cold wind blows her! Her dress is orange
and red — it has all the true colours of Autumn in it. (See
illustration p. 17.)

"And what about this little * Tanzmeister ' of Marie
Kind's — how rh\'thmically he moves, how beautiful he is
with his arms full of Autumn flowers and fruit." (The
little Tanzmeister is in truth an exquisite creation, perfect
in proportion, colour and fancy, and as rhythmical as the
words Tanzmeister can suggest.) (See illustration p. 8.)

" And here is a jolly toper with his barrels full of the
grapes that have been trodden in the winepress, and
already he is drinking a glass of the year's new wine,
and * er hat recht ' (the master's voice is full of zestful
approbation). (See illustration p. 10.)

"And here Vri,. Uhlmann has given us again
one of her elegant and fashionable creations. Behold
Madame Autumn walking towards us as it might be down
the Karntnerstrasse.

"And IVIartha Zehenter, though she has been in
Holland, has not been lost to us — she has painted, not one
of the Dutch children she found there, but one of our own
Niederosterreich maidens. And that is very important.

12



for * man versteht das Heimatliche am besten * ; it is
right that we should have roots in our own soil, and that
we should paint the things we know and understand, rather
than strive after something exotic that we do not really
know or understand, {See illustration p. 5.)

*' Mad A Prima vESi has given us another splendid
peasant type. Look at her expression — wholesome as the
soil she springs from, sound as the apples in her baskets !
And what splendid colour — like an orchestra of wind
instruments ! I am glad that Mada remembers the coimtry ;
that she hasn't forgotten the earth she belongs to —
this dear earth of ours, which gives us rich fruits and
wines, strong colour and joy in all our hearts. {Se^
illustration p. 9.)

"HEiyENA Ki^AUNZNER has remembered. Here is one
of her strong Tyrolean women, monumental like her native
mountains. {See illustration p. 2.)

" And here is Herta Zuckermann who lamented all
the lesson that nothing would succeed for her to-day. She
has given us something incomplete, it is true, but full
of poetry — a child standing, raising her hand, with a
gesture most musical; a child who will, no doubt, be
painted and finished to-morrow, and yet it is almost
regrettable, she is so fresh and poetic and expressive just as
she is. {See frontispiece.)

" Trautei, Konrad has given us one of her own graceful
and delicate creations, a nymph amid gay colours, but
with a wind that is cold blowing at her. We are always
glad to see these creations of Trautel's and we are glad
to have her back sharing this joyful and merry hour with
us (' f reudevoUe, lustige Stunde'). {See illustration p. 11.)

** Here is a man rushing ' geschwind, geschwind ' with

13




Doris Gtinther.



Aged 13 years.



"The Indian Summer — the second Spring
that blossoms in the heart op autumn."

(See p. 7 of Text-)

14



all the fruit he must bring to market, and the wild ducks
are flying above him just as I saw them last week at
Grinzing with the sun making them shine white, and a great
noise of wings. And no doubt the artist has seen them
flying like that, too. . . Richard has not yet learnt to give
us things he has felt and experienced. One must paint things
cherished in the heart, otherwise they are not interesting.
And his poor young Autumn in a bathing costume, he must
be so cold.

" Magda's old woman is picturesque and full of
character. It is true she is wrongly proportioned, but
Magda is quite right to make her just how she feels her."

So he passed from one to the other, and the delighted
children listened, hearing their own imaginations made
articulate, as it were, and their thoughts interpreted and
explained as they scarcely would have kno\Mi how to
explain them themselves. It was the children who had
trifled, because they had had nothing to express, or because
they had striven after some artificial effect from a memory
of some picture they had seen, who found their work
passed over without appreciation or encouraging comment.

No description of this lesson can give a full impression
of what it was. Cizek is evasive and cannot be quite
written down. But I felt, after I had attended it, that I
understood a great deal of his secret. He is not only
intensely an artist, he is also a keen and incisive critic.
But his criticisms have their root (as all true criticisms
should have) in understanding and sympathy. He is
gifted with a rare understanding and sympathy with the
child mind. The only thing that finds lack of response
from him is insincerity and artificiality. He is profoundly
sincere himself, and he demands it of his children.

15



At the same time one feels, after seeing such a lesson,
that there is no reason why there shouldn't be groups
of happy children all over the world revealing the treasures
of their hearts and minds with the aid of a little charcoal
and paint. There is only one Cizek in the world, but
there are a number of art teachers who have both sincere
artistic sensibility and an understanding of children;
and to these the work of Professor Cizek and his class
will be an encouragement and inspiration.

Francksca M. WiIvSON.




16




Margarete Hanus.



Aged If) years.



All IHE MONTHS OF THE YEAR ON HER BACK.

(See p. 12 of text.)

17



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Online LibraryJonathan ForbesRecent disturbances and military executions in Ceylon → online text (page 1 of 1)