Page images
[graphic][merged small]

myself mostly to results. In the light of with early reference to the living model, much experience it is our settled convic- and later to work from life. There has tion that the shortest and best way to been a good deal said about the tediouslearn to draw really well is to work for a ness and waste of time in working from time from the cast of the head and figure, the inanimate cast, but the real waste is

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

in the opposite course, and those teachers cises of the athlete which develop his genand schools which decry this fundamental eral strength, while the special studies practice from the antique may be sus- correspond to the boxing, rowing, runpected of accommodating themselves to ning, which may form his specialty. the inclination of the students rather than There is no escape from this serious work, aiming to promote their real welfare. It nor would any intelligent student desire is true, however, that a defect of Ameri- to escape from it or even consider it can schools, and of the schools of Paris drudgery. In the afternoon there are still and Munich as well, is to be found in too academic classes in which the student may great or rather too exclusive devotion to work, if he prefers, but it is in the afteracademic practice, that is, to the drawing noon that the special classes meet, in stillof the human head and figure from life painting, modeling, illustration, com

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

antique or from life. Six or eight hours position, sketching, artistic anatomy, pera day of hard drawing from the cast or spective, pen-and-ink, lettering, art hiseven from life, as used to be the rule, istory, color theory, etc. This division of more than flesh and blood can endure the day gives opportunity for students without loss of interest. Our practice who are aiming at a specialty, such as now is to require the whole school to spend illustration, to begin at once (in the afterone-half the day, the forenoon, in aca- noon) the study bearing upon that spedemic practice. During this period there is cialty, such as wash-drawing, pen-and-ink, little else going on in the school. Promo- junior composition and figure sketching; tion from one class to another and high and at the same time to lay a firm foundastanding and honors depend upon excel- tion (in the forenoon) of academic drawlence in this kind of work. This academic ing. The change of occupation is in every practice is akin to the gymnastic exer- way advantageous. All students


advised from the beginning to join the mentary students of still-life, in pen-andjunior composition class, in which they ink, wash and water color. attempt to make pictures illustrative of We may now consider the complaint assigned subjects or embodying definite that the aim of the schools is not sufpictorial effects. Such efforts reveal to Such efforts reveal to ficiently definite.

ficiently definite. If this formerly was a the student at once the object of all his just criticism, it is now, I believe, altotechnical studies and everything he does gether without foundation. The profesbecomes an intelligible and interesting sional departments of the school, archi

[graphic][merged small]

means to an end. In the art school of tecture, decorative designing and normal former years the student toiled inces- instruction as a matter of course aim to santly, almost exclusively, upon academic produce and do in fact produce practicing drawing and painting. Little attention architects, designers, and drawing teachwas given to memory drawing, to sketch

ers. Nobody can complain of any ining (rapid studies from nature) or to definiteness of aim here; but something applications of any kind. How greatly similar is true of the departments of porall this is changed will be seen from a trait painting, of sculpture, of mural mention of some of the special classes of painting and of illustration. All these a school which aims to be liberal and students are definitely trained for actual progressive: such as memory classes, in work, and many of them produce profeswhich the model poses but one minute and sional work even before they leave the the student sketches the action from mem- school. The landscape painter is about ory; memory classes, in which the stu- the only specialist whom, on account of dents paint the whole figure from life one the climate, we are not able to take during afternoon and reproduce it from memory our school year beyond the academic practhe next afternoon; illustration classes, tice and still-life painting which conin which the student draws the figures fessedly form a necessary part of his from nature and fills in the accessories training, but he paints from nature in the from memory or imagination; half-hour summer vacation and competes for the poses of the costumed model and of the prizes of the Art Students' League exhibinude model, the work to be completed tion in the winter. It is common for stuwithin the half hour; the moving pose, dents of illustration to compose and exein which the nude model performs repeat- cute in the class-rooms illustrations for edly the same action, striking a ball, books and magazines and designs for postdancing, turning a crank, hammering an ers and book-covers which are published anvil, and the student selects for his study and paid for. The advanced painting any moment of the action which may classes execute mural painting for actual interest him; half-day studies for ele- buildings, of which examples may be found in the Herman Raster school, the possible in the professional manner; and barber-shop at the Union League Club, the in connection with the practical uses of Winnetka public school and the lunch- the school, mention ought not to be omitroom of the Art Institute. The sculp- ted of the great evening school of more tured groups of the modeling classes, the than four hundred members, of whom “Fountain of the Nymphs,” the “Group many are men practicing crafts in which of the Great Lakes," the "Incident in the they constantly employ the knowledge Temple," and the recent park decora- gained in the school. tions have been actual works of sculpture With regard to the passing away of the and have arrested public attention. All apprenticeship system it may be said that, these things are executed as nearly as perhaps the real difference between the old system and the present one is not as ilar to that of apprentice and master. In great as the critics (usually literary crit- the illustration classes the attitude of the ics) suppose.

[graphic][merged small]
[graphic][merged small]

Certainly those students teacher at times resembles that of the pubwho after laying a firm foundation in the lisher, who selects that work which he can art school, are happy enough to associate use to the best advantage. Thus the printhemselves with successful artists in the ciple of apprenticeship is preserved. production of actual mural paintings, The provision for the general culture sculptures, decorations and illustrations of the student can only be indicated very are the most likely to succeed, and this briefly. He lives as it were among the happens in many instances. Nor is it permanent collections of the finest paintimpossible to reproduce these conditions ings, sculptures and other objects of art. to a considerable extent in the class-rooms. He enjoys access to the numerous passing The atelier system gives each teacher con- exhibitions of contemporary art.

He trol over his own classes. In a portrait associates freely with the accomplished class of moderate size the master not only and well-known artists who act as teachsupervises carefully the work of his stu- ers. He uses the books and photographs dents, but occasionally paints a portrait of the Library as if they were his own. from life himself to

demonstrate his He witnesses and participates in the methods.

The modeling classes set up Greek and Renaissance plays and the full-size figures and groups and execute

diversions and societies of the students. them in plaster and staff, and even in

He attends the numerous lectures upon marble, under the lead of the teacher, every practical and theoretical subject exactly as if in a great private studio. connected with art.

He shares with his The advanced composition classes execute

fellow students the visits of eminent mural paintings on a large scale for actual use under the immediate super

artists from a distance, such as Richardvision of the master, and the relation

son, Hubbell, Pyle and Mucha. Such between class and teacher is closely sim

environment ought to do much for a
student susceptible to impressions.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »