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Lor' ! W'en I grabbed dat 'skeeter I killed
him troo an* troo.
(I swow, Brudder Gripper, I swow !)
But dere ain*t no use in killin*— dat
*skeeter *s livin* now !
(Take keer, Brudder Gripper, take keer!)
An' w'en I die, an' Peter plant dat crown
upon my brow—
(He '11 be dere, Brudder Grip, he '11 be
Yas ! He '11 settle down beside me upon dat

pu' white t'rone,
An' w'en I ride dat chariot, I ain't gwine ter

be alone :
Dat 'skeeter '11 sting in Paradise as sho as
you is bo'n.
('T ain't fair, Brudder Gripper, *t ain't

Margaret Rutherford WilUtt.

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Drawn by E. W. Kemble



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Vol. LXX

JULY, 1905

No. 3



THE history of art in Germany— at
least, so far as it concerns the outside
world— presents many unique features.
In France and in England we can lay our
hand on certain masters— say, Van Dyck,
Dobson, and Walker— and progress for-
ward to the newest impressionist. There
is some sort of sequence in the matter.
But Germany, after producing Holbein,
Diirer, Altdorfer, — in various respects a
forerunner of Tiuner,— and their contem-
poraries, goes to sleep for several genera-
tions, and, excepting for certain commer-
cial and academic purposes, is artistically
lost till the middle of the last century. In
music and in letters there is a continuous
and regular activity, but in art nothing of
consequence save the writings of Lessing,
Winckelmann, Hirt, Goethe, and various
other gentlemen set going by a stay in

In fact, there is far too much writing.
And the poor painters, overpowered by so
strenuous an argument, sink themselves in
attempting to realize the profound theories

of their masters, the critics. These men
forgot that criticism follows art and is
retrospective ; that all art thus expounded
is done and over ; that new art, therefore,
requires new criticism. Their sterility
should furnish a lesson to all subsequent
academies; they have left vast acres of
still-bom canvas and fresco behind them,
an accumulation as pretentious as it is

The next generation, by some process
equally obtuse, also sought salvation in
literature. Their fathers had reveled in a
school-acquired classicism ; the sons, de-
serting Olympus, turned their attention to
genre, the painted anecdote, depicted the
landscapes sung by their poets, or else
filled large canvases with " romantic "
decoration of the gorgeous cafe school.
Nothing in art is more deplorable— laugh-
able, even— than the first floors of the
Berlin and Dresden galleries. You pass
through them with wonder and muttered
sarcasms, asking whether the painters here
interred aimed at replacing the baleful art

Copyright. 1905. by THB CBNTURY Cu. All righu reserved.

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of the oleo-lithographer, or whether the
reverse is the case. Did they work at their
easels with that noxious example before
them, as others have worked hand in hand
with Titian or Velasquez ? Even now I
am in doubt. Light, color, the skilful
manipulation of the brush— all are lost.
Even Knille's favorite " Venus and Tann-
hauser," obviously operatic and cursed
with every vice of the popular perfonner,
is a dead black, despite its decorative
qualities. It is a Dicksee painted in a

Nature, with her thousand intimate
promptings, her problems that mean per-
sonal grapplings and joyous conquest, has
dropped out of the program. Art has be-
come an affair of the studio,, taking no
count of the wonders that persist outside
— the scents and transformations of the
seasons, the sheen of sunlight, the mysteries
of body and soul, the splendors of animate
flesh. The painter has become a clever
mimic, or else an empty rhetorician.

Out of this morass of artifice and theat-
rical sentiment the new men had to emerge.
A new art had to be created, a new public

to be won : the two things have more in
common than is generally agreed. The
difficulties of the artists were enormous.
They had to choose between going back
to Holbein and Durer, a revival of the
old national traditions, and a bold leap into
such modern movements as were agitating
the surrounding art-centers.

Some guidance they had, to be sure ; for,
just as, in our own stagnant period between
Constable, Turner, Etty, and the Preraph-
aelites, a few men, — Phillip, Lewis, and
Miiller,— by betaking themselves abroad,
had thus managed to escape the general
contagion : so, beyond Germany, a Feuer-
bach was producing work individual and
beautiful, figures of a dignity truly Greek,
yet of a charm that recalls the earlier mas-
ters of the Renaissance; while another
exile, Hans von Maries, poet and mystic,
was sincerely recording the visions of a
temperament that has much in common
with that of Bume-Jones. And contem-
poraneous with these stood two men of
abounding genius and vitality: Arnold
Bocklin, the greatest name in modem
German art, the one genuine romanticist

From the painling by Hans Thoma, by pennissiun of Franz HanfstaenKl- Half-tone plate engraved by H. Daridson


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From the patutini; by Vun Uhde. by permission of the PhotoKraphische Uuioii, Munich. Half-tone plate engraved by C. W. Chadwick


of his generation, and Menzel, a realist
and draftsman whose fame has penetrated
even to the Royal Academy. Feuerbach
and Von Marees died after long years
of neglect. Bocklin, another of those
strange and unaccountable figures that, like
Turner, spring up in defiance of all rule,
went his lonely way till, his sixtieth year
behind him, the nation woke to his im-
portance, stock-brokers speculated in his
masterpieces, and, finally, the Berlin Acad-
emy gathered his work together and cele-
brated his jubilee. Menzel, a diminutive
octogenarian, has only lately passed away,
loaded with honors, his funeral a public
ceremonial. He, too, won his way slowly ;
but, treading more conventional paths and
less given to surprises, he escaped much
of the envenomed opposition and ignorant
distrust that crippled the life-work of his
great contemporary.

These four men had rejected the current
standards, and, what is more important,
it is to them rather than to the academies
that the new generation turned for example
and authority. And, despairing of Munich,
where Piloty, of "Columbus at the Mo-
ment when he first set Eyes on the New

World," and other fame, was in command ;
of Berlin, where Anton von Werner, a far
smaller man, directed the academy, they
went even farther. In 1869 young Leibl
moved over to Paris, and after the war
came Liebermann, Von Uhde, Klinger —
all ardent spirits who now, some thirty
years later, have rounded and given body
to the renaissance begun by Bocklin and

For a renaissance it most certainly is
that has quickened the art, and with it the
life, of modem Germany; strange, em-
bittered, passionate, a fight to the death
between the old decadent forces and these
newer ones that have sprung up at their
elbow; a struggle far wider and more
significant than the batde of the French
impressionists or our own Preraphaelites.
Here were groups, there are armies. The
storm is national ; the younger generation
has risen against the old. And what lends
a particular interest— pathos, even— to this
revival is that it has been worked out
under the depressing economic conditions
of our day. No popes and princes have
presided over these labors, but dealers.

Rather pleasant, however, it is to come

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across so stubborn a battle-field, so strenu-
ous a triumph, in these days of indifferent-
ism: especially when one arrives out of
an England fixed on far other goals ; ath-
letic, financial, political, theological, if you
will, but knowing little of this spiritual
ardor and upheaval, dramatic and picto-
rial, which makes Berlin the most stimu-
lating art-center on the globe. Your very
barber discusses Bocklin or the newest
play ; the very music-halls invite poets to
declaim their latest ode.

And this revolt is a revolt of the " out-
siders " ; for it is the " outsiders " who have
stood up to and actually swallowed the
academies. In Germany the academies
are dead. The Berlin and Munich seces-
sionists have first outgrown them, then left
them to their royal and imperial patrons
— just as in England Mr. Ellis Roberts
is left to the peerage and Miss Corelli.
They are a tool rather than a force.
The Kaiser gives them fattish jobs, it is
true; sets them to work on such aids
to history as the Sieges-AUee groups, a
kind of Hohenzollem waxwork show.
" The fellow 's no use to a man who wants
soldiers," he is reported to have said of
Liebermann. So the soldiers and all this
arid marble are left to the academy, and
Liebermann and his associates are allowed
to paint as Providence intended they
should paint, expressing themselves, their
own eyesight, their own feelings, their own
philosophy, as every artist must who would

" Not to break, but to help every form
of individuality toward a free development,
seems to us the chief purpose of our so-
ciety," is written in one of the publications
of the secessionists— in short, the exact
opposite of the purpose of all academies.
The older men have not fought in vain,
nor have they forgotten the hardest lessons
of their own pilgrimage. Thoma, Leibl,
Piglhein, Liebermann, Von Uhde— all
knew the academic process of breakage.
Piglhein spent much of his force in an
attempt at compromise, and yet painted
his gallery pictures without a suggestion
of the model. Leibl, like Ford Madox
Brown, died without doing one half the
work that his gifts demanded. Hans
Thoma, buried in the country, has slowly
asserted the sincerity of his naive yet
charming equipment. Liebermann, Von
Uhde, and Klinger, all men of means and

position, suffered in silence, but could
afford to disregard a hostility that even
now is not entirely overcome. Which
leads to the reflection that a rich father
is the modern substitute for the enlightened
patron of the Renaissance.

All art seems to wind down two main
channels of prose and poetry, realism and
idealism ; occasionally the two meet in one
stream, but the objective or the subjective
is the almost invariable direction — the
subjective, so called because the artist is
the subject of his temperament; the ob-
jective, where he is its master. And so it
has been in Germany. Leibl, a great mas-
ter, and one whose reputation must in-
evitably grow, looks out on his neighbors,
the peasants of a Bavarian village, and
sets them down, with their environment,
exactly as they are; not with any pref-
erence, however, for he paints the sur-
rounding gentry, or even a pollard willow,
with an equal steadfastness. In fact, his
attention seems pretty evenly distributed
between his subject and his medium ; so
that, as with every real painter, to the bare
interest of statement is always added the
subder excitement of a thoughtful and
adventurous presentation.

Beginning with a broad, fluent brush-
work that approaches the most virtuose
of the old masters, Leibl gradually reverts
to a solidity of treatment almost reminis-
cent of Van Eyck or Van der Goes. Mr.
Sandys becomes his nearest British coun-
terpart, and certainly no mean one. And
here it may be suggested that Leibl, seeing
in Bocklin (whose work also grows to a
compactness, a harmonious and material
realization) that it was possible to find
technical developments other than those
of impressionism, was minded to go the
same road, and was interested no less in
the bodily than in the luminous aspects of
his creations. Certainly his later work has
every quality of space and light and move-
ment, despite this positive and definite
method that, at the moment, seems to
have had its day. His peasants, natural,
unposed, no longer characterized in the
showy and superficial manner of his pre-
decessors, are a genuine record of the vil-
lage life of the district, valuable no less
as art than as psychology ; his " Kleinstadt-
er," that most perfect physical and mental
type of the citizen of a small provincial
town, obstinate, of fixed habits, narrow.

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and yet dogmatic, softened by some linger-
ing memory of old-time ardor, is a master-
piece of description and observation; his

of Max Liebermann. Viewed as an influ-
ence alone, he is assured of an honored
place in any history of modern painting ;

Frutn the painting by Josef Scheurenberif, by peniiissiuii of I-ninz Haiifbtaci>t;l. Hall-tone plate cin;r.i\cil \>y 11. C. Merrill


portraits, uniformly good, and varied and
interesting in their manifold execution, all
speak of a master whose early death is a
loss to art as to his country. And, withal,
Leibrs was a healthy and a vigorous gift.
A career of even greater interest is that

as an artist his record is no less secure.
Looking at his " Women Plucking Geese,"
his first exhibited picture, and the first
German instance of a representation of
the common facts of life as opposed to its
humors or heroics, one sees at once why

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Liebermann is ordinarily bracketed with
Millet and Josef Israels. And it is not
here that his influence ends ; for, journey-
ing into France, he returned with the
secrets of " plein -air-ism," the seed that,
in Germany as elsewhere, has revolution-
ized all painting. To him German art
owes the half of its fertility.

His " Women Plucking Geese," a dark
and bituminous canvas, the pigments laid
on, the lights disposed, in the manner then
prevalent, showed only a determination to
break with the conventional school-sub-
jects, to depict the things that he saw, that
attracted him, and not the things pre-
scribed by the doctors. But the paintings
of his quick maturity have a far deeper
significance. It is they that first showed
young Germany that sunlight could be
painted, that it clothed the world as with
a garment, and, lacking it, all life and
semblance of life were as naught. He
came back to a generation of townspeople,
their eyesight dimmed through long resi-
dence in cities, and proclaimed anew the
old wonders that we gaze on from our
prisons. And again, discarding the thread-
bare glamour, the hollow sentimentsof court
and camp, he went deep into the natural
life of those that struggle with sea and
land, that spin and weave, honestly and
with little pomp ; following them through
all their days, to some such closing scene
as the peace and decent order of his
" Home for Old Men at Amsterdam."
The real, silent, continuous work of the
world, that is, was, and ever shall be, Max
Liebermann painted ; withdrawing it from
its silence, surrounding it with this silence
as with a hidden melody. He saw these
dumb, inarticulate figures, the beauty of
their lifelong struggle with the elements,
the quiet discipline of the workshop, their
patient endurance, their unlovely toil. He
came back to Germany with these things—
not the bare prose of them, but that which
was seen in landscapes, in rooms that re-
tained the very light and air and shadow
he had left ; that held the sadness of im-
mense horizons, the green leaves and dan-
cing sunshine of summer, the salt and brisk
smells of the seaboard, the dust and im-
palpable waste of workrooms. And for this
he was called the apostle of the ugly.

Once understand, and you must like his
work; the clear, steady, unfaltering truth
of it, its unforced sympathy, the absence

of all effort to strike the eye with bold color
or vehement gesture. It has the calm, even
repose of nature, neither hurry nor stag-
nation, and yet, sometimes, a gaiety that is
more of the spirit than of the voice. These
quiet figures— the shoemaker at his last,
the women and boys at their flax-spinning
—are set in an interior that we are made
to feel is again set in some wider place ;
his " Net-menders " and " Woman with the
Goats " do not fill the frame, but are in-
separable from a landscape in which they
are passing and fugitive shapes— partici-
pants in the universal drama. Like Millet
and Israels, Liebermann has known how
to find the highest in the lowest, than
which art offers no deeper problem.

And as the feeling, so is the craftsman-
ship. There is no niggling, no flourish of
showy effects; the picture is brushed in
boldly, without hesitation, without any
turning aside. A few broad, haphazard
strokes it seems; yet every one is right,
every one has some new and vital bearing
on a whole that is complete and ready.
Nothing accidental or irrelevant is ad-
mitted ; nothing is allowed to impede or
distract from the one end. Here is an
unswerving and aristocratic simplicity.

Of the artist's method there is little to
say. R. A. M. Stevenson has stated once
and for always the4heory of impressionism
in that classic monograph, " Velasquez," a
work more noteworthy to the real painter
than all the splendid medley that is signed
" Ruskin." Liebermann came back to his
native land with those forgotten truths
that have fathered Barbizon equally with
the Salle Caillebotte ; that Constable knew,
and Don Diego first of all.

That he painted mostly in Holland, a
country whose quiet beauty he was quick
to appreciate, is not of vast consequence ;
but that he planted a seed that has revolu-
tionized the art of modern Germany is.

Of his other work one need but mention
that so great was the truthfulness of the
best- known of his portraits— it represents
a worthy burgomaster in his oflftcial dress
—that the sitter's family objected to its
being hung in the public building for which
it was intended. Also I may add that, Hke
Leibl, he paints no " gallery pictures." The
size of his canvas is always determined by
the subject, and frequently a piece leaves
his easel that could easily find a corner in
an ordinary dwelHng-room.

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Quick to follow after Liebermann was
his friend and pupil Von Uhde, an ex-
cavalry officer and now the president of

much as Hans Thoma, an older man, who
has particularly devoted himself to the
poetry of rural themes, wins you with a

From Ihe paintiiit; by Franz Stuck, by pcriuibhioii o( Irauz HantsUo«njl. Half tunc plate eiit;ravcd by C. W.Chadwick

the Munich group. More a story-teller than delightful, an almost childlike freshness,

his master, and less a painter. Uhde wins that makes you careless of his limitations,

your admiration by the simplicity and Like Thoma, Thde's color is occasionally

goodness that speak from his work; very dull, his drawing defective; but, for all

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that, he paints pictures. Religious pictures
more than any others they are, but not
the rehgious picture of convention, the
gorgeous draperies, graceful saints, and
devout bishops of which always seem to
suggest a respectable compromise with
paganism, but something intimate, some-
thing far humbler. Christ, the comforter
and friend, who visits the poor and the
lowly, entering their daily Hves, softening
their hardships with his presence, is Uhde's
favorite figure; the Christ of the New
Testament, who goes from door to door,
plainly, and innocent of the mysticism and
elaboration of subsequent theology. Him
Uhde draws with a sincerity and convic-
tion that disarm criticism, placing him
among modern surroundings; not those
surroundings affected by change or fash-
ion, but amid some modest group of Ger-
man laboring-folk, where old and young
stand awed at his entry, but unafraid. For
he is their own Christ, such as they have
pictured him all their hves— one of them-
selves, yet different ; and they welcome him
with a trust that hardly admits of surprise,
and watch him with mingled love and
reverence. ** Come, Lord Jesus, be our
guest," says the woman as he stops to bless
their simple meal. This unspoiled faith, this
fine spirituality, Uhde conveys; with no
great skill, perhaps, no great accomplish-
ment, but adequately ; for he says exactly,
and not approximately, what he intends
to say.

A similarly unaffected piety we meet
in Scheurenberg, whose " Mary Meets a
Shepherd Boy " holds all the gaiety of a
spring landscape as well as a rare tender-
ness of presentation. And, before we turn
in a new direction, we must name Firle,
whose Dutch subjects follow Liebermann,
but with an added preltiness; Skarbina, a
young and rising painter of the .same
school, but addicted to a more Hvely pal-
ette; and Max Slevogt, who combines a
fine technical method with imaginative
daring and an inexhaustible curiosity, and
whose most ambitious composition, three
scenes from the life of the Prodigal, is still
on his hands, mainly because the youth is
depicted as wasted by want and evil living
rather than as a repentant athlete.

Parallel with this definite movement,
and, perhaps, more specifically national,
has flowed another. While Liebermann
and his associates were struggling to place

German art on a footing of equahty with
that of neighboring centers, the niore
emotional among his contemporaries were
occupied with a revival hardly less im-
portant. Bockhn had already prepared the
way. On this poet of the elements it is
ohly natural that there should have fol-
lowed other poets. Most of these reach
but to his knee; others again have con-
sulted him without arriving at any very
certain conclusions as to his purpose or
their own. But among those whose work
shows decided traces of his influence are
several that have yet managed to retain a
distinct and remarkable individuality. Of
these the most interesting is Max Klinger.

Klinger is unique. He is best described
as a pictorial polygamist. He seems wed-
ded to all the arts— to music, to litera-
ture, and even to painting ; to every style
as well. Typically German in his desire to
escape the real ; to search, by preference,
in himself for a more visionary and indefi-
nite world,— also in this intermingling of
every form of culture, — he is yet even more
typical of the devouring and breathless
energy of his time. His etchings— the
International Society usually hangs a
group— are well known; he paints, is a
sculptor, a writer, and a musician ; a rest-
less soul, in fact, whose work, proceeding
down no broad, central road of purpose to
some definite end, seems rather the record
of an interesting temperament than that
of a great artist. No man has had more
styles: Japan, Rops, Diirer, Tissot, Men-
zel, Goya, Holbein, the classic, the Gothic
— one feels the pressure of a dozen influ-
ences. And, by turns again, he is poet,
dramatist, humorist, pessimist, philosopher,
or pure decorator. In short, KHnger stands
a varied being, but incomplete in so far
that his work, produced in many and con-
tradictory moods, never combines into one
sweeping and all-inclusive harmony. We
watch a splendid dispersal of forces, not
the painful gathering together that stamps
the great master.

A glance through his numerous produc-
tions may here be apposite. The place of
honor must be given to the many series of
etchings that form his most notable con-
tribution ; not only have they done much
to revive the art in Germany, but they also
illustrate Klinger's personal and charac-
teristic phases as nothing else. They
enable us to follow him through the de-

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lightful and way ward passages of his youth,
the gloomy tragedies of a middle period,
to the involved and obscure complications

Online LibraryA. B. (Alfred Barton) RendleThe Century → online text (page 41 of 120)