Woman in Art/Chapter 13 - Wikisource, the free online library
European Artists Continued from 1850 to the Present.
Again we find a genius in art born to Holland parents in Amsterdam, 1852. In her early working years Therese Schwartz was known as the daughter of her father, John George Schwartz, a good portrait painter. He was her teacher until his death in 1874; after that loss to her heart and her art she went to Munich and became the pupil of Gabriel Max, Piloty, and Lenbach. Sometimes the things we do not like to hear result to our best good, and so it was with this young artist. One day Piloty said to her, "If you were a man you would accomplish many things; your feminine want of self-confidence will always stand in your light unless you learn to throw off this timidity and become an independent being." That kindly suggestion carried truth to her need, and she gained her independence and has ever since worked out her own ideals in her own way. Joseph Israels was a tried and true friend of Therese's father and his wise hints and suggestions were valuable additions to her growing experience. Portrait painting was her chosen line of art, but some most successful figure-pictures have made their way from her easel to choice private collections and museums of art.
A typical Holland group is a mother and little daughter watching the father's return. "He Comes" is apparently the exclamation of both. The costumes of mother and child show emphatically that they are arrayed in their "Sunday best" in honor of his coming.
"The Orphan Girls of Amsterdam" in costumes of red and black give another feature of Holland, provocative of a soul-developing characteristic of Dutch folk from their entrance into history. The old and young, those entering the experiences of life and those worn out by what life had to teach them, have ever been cared for in Holland. The orphan girls in the painting are singing from the 146th Psalm:
"The Lord preserveth the stranger;
He relieveth the fatherless and widow."
The sweet expression on some of the faces as they sing carries the thought of a child's faith and simple trust; and to the mind comes also the precarious lives of the fishermen of the deep sea, the thought that doubtless animated the good mothers of hundreds of years ago, who considered the condition of the little children of the fishermen who never came back, and were the first people to build homes for the orphan and the aged. That canvas, when at the World's Columbian Fair in Chicago, produced a world-wide sympathy that has had its influence in helping to make this present the "Age of the Child." It is now in the Rijks Museum at Amsterdam.
In recent years, Miss Schwartz's work has been largely of so-called society portraits, of both men and women, and in 1910 she received an order for that of H. M. Queen Wilhelmina of Holland.
The portrait of the Queen speaks for itself. The setting for her queenly personality is all it should be in the matters of robe and gems. She is the Queen, listening to what you have to say. A glimpse of The Hague is seen from the window. A commanding portrait.
Miss Schwartz has given the world a most attractive representation of Frl. Dr. Van Dorpp. It is a work of art, freely and suggestively painted, portraying a woman of charm, a woman of straight-forward outlook on life and duty, of happy disposition, with that strength of character especially needful to a physician.
The Doctor looks ready to be your friend.
Therese Schwartz has the honor of having her self-portrait in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. There is force—vital force in the fine-featured face that she is shielding from the strong light with her left hand, which is holding her brush as she looks directly at her sitter. Palette and brushes are in the other hand, and one feels that the artist is just ready to make the next masterly stroke on the canvas.
One of Miss Schwartz's strongest portraits is of General Piet Joubert in the National Gallery at Amsterdam.
Virginia Demont-Breton found herself in the home of her father, Jules Breton, who gave to the world that soulful picture, "The Song of the Lark." Born to the environment of art, the sequence naturally followed. As a child Virginia Breton always painted; painted in the open, painted peasants and little children and incidents; studied with her illustrious father till she was spoken of as the daughter of her father. She painted until she gained honors at the Salon, and now that her work is represented in the Luxembourg, and her father has passed on, he is spoken of as the father of Virginia Demont-Breton. Her grandfather was Felix Virenalt, a Belgian painter.
So far we have noticed that women of achievement in the art of any country have been sporadic and in harmony with national thought and characteristics. This fact increases world interest in every showing of international art.
Art is a large drawing factor in any world's fair, and such grouping of art works proclaims the advancement of the world; each recurrence of such assembling of art and architecture has proved a potent influence for nearly half a century. But we need to keep in mind the artists and their art, the craftsmen and their craft that glorified the preceding exhibitions, whereby to measure the advance of the world.
The art of Mme. Breton continues. She married M. Adrian Demont, the landscape painter, but retained her name in connection for the sake of her art work. Her summer home is on the Brittany coast, and her heart and hand have always gone out to the fisher-folk in her neighborhood. Illustrative of her painting in that environment, is "Her Man Is On the Sea," full of pathos that fills the lives of hundreds of the wives of the sea-faring folk,—the mother by the pitifully small embers, her sick baby on her lap, waiting—waiting.
In that bleak, barren Northland of France, in the extreme West of North, stand the mystic Cromlechs and Dolmens of the French Stonehenge, which, for more centuries than history records, have been attributed to certain rites and ceremonies of pre-historic Druids or Celts. Tradition and Cæsar's diary are responsible for our knowledge of some of their religious beliefs.
Mme. Breton has added interest to fragments of such beliefs in a painting she has called "Le Gui." (The Mistletoe.) The oak was considered sacred by the Druids, hence the mistletoe, a tenacious parasite of that tree, was supremely sacred in their esteem. For certain ceremonies the mistletoe was necessary; it must be cut by a priest, robed in white with a golden girdle. It was cut with a sickle of gold. A priest was chosen from childhood for his office, his education covering twenty years, and never must his hair be cut.
The artist has condensed all this in her painting, and art visualizes for us what tradition hints at.
Pathos seems to have come to the human world on the storm-clouds that met our first parents on their downward way from the gates of Paradise. Sorrow and Regret are the twin sisters that accompanied the souls of the first humans from Eden, and Pathos, their shadow, stays only at the door of the tomb. You will find Pathos shadowing humanity from Genesis to Revelation and ever since. Here is a Bible story in point, Mme. Breton's brush giving her expression of it.
"Hagar and Ishmael" are seen after many days of travel over the hot sands of the desert of Paran. The lad is near perishing for water. After praying and seeking for water she has found it, and the boy will live. In the picture he is limp from exhaustion and heat,—the hands express it; the mother holds his head to the lip of the water-bottle. It was the period of tribesmen in the land of Canaan, and Hagar, the bond-servant of a potentate, rich in camels, sheep, and oxen, wears the sign of her bondage in the large earrings and ringpins that fasten her garment over the shoulders. Nothing in her picture seems opposed to the time or place; it is in harmony with the Scripture story.
The law of opposites holds in art as well as in nature. Mme. Breton gives us a present-day subject, "A Dip In the Sea." A strong robust mother she is, herself fearless of the in-rolling surf as she holds her tiny boy while it breaks its green into white spray over his little body. She is teaching him to love water, and within her muscular arm he feels safe to enjoy it.
This picture was a bright, fresh motif in the French Salon and afterward made a brilliant showing at the Columbian World's Fair, in 1893.
Mme. Breton has received many honorable mentions, and medals in her own France and from other nations. One at least homes in the United States, that all lovers of children should see:
A tired, barefoot mother sits on the sand-girt sea shore. Four happy children have been playing in the water and are playing on the sand. The baby is asleep over the mother's shoulder, and she looks sideways to make sure he is asleep. At her knee stands a dear little two-year-old girl, with arms folded across her forehead shading her eyes that look askance at the baby in mother's arms, and thinks the baby is in her place, for she too is sleepy.
You say Mme. Breton has portrayed these charming phases of child-life in too realistic a manner? Could the art of a modernist, an impressionist, a cubist, tug at your heart-strings as do the pliable, velvety, dimpled bodies, with sparkling eyes and a laughter you can almost hear?
Another French artist is the daughter of a painter, following more closely in the steps of her father in choice of subject and technique,—Marie van Marcke, born in 1856 at Sevres, France. Her father, Emile van Marcke, was a painter of cattle, and his twin business was raising of fine stock. The mother of Marie was the only daughter of Constant Tryon, so Marie came rightly by her artistic gift. Again we consider an artist who from earliest childhood lived in the atmosphere of the studio, the wide out-of-doors, and with the breath and nature of the kindly cows. She painted from the same life that her father did, learning technique and observation from him, one result being the difficulty in later years of telling their pictures apart if they were not signed. Her work, however, is signed with her married name, Marie van Marcke-Dieterle.
As early as 1874 she exhibited excellent work in the Paris Salon, and has since received honorable mention and medals. Several of her paintings may be seen in American Galleries.
Unlike Rosa Bonheur, the animal world as a whole has not interested her, but she has confined her allegiance to the bovine family.
Doubtless France had many women working along the lines of art during the latter half of the nineteenth century and has even at this present time; but this is not an encyclopedia of artists. However, walking through field and forest, by hedgerow and in highly groomed gardens, we find variety in form and color, en masse at times, till groves and field seem carpeted with blue lupin or the gold and white of daisies and buttercups; or the sweetbrier climbing above its hedgerow leafage nods and showers the breeze with its pink petals and exquisite perfume. Thus tall flowers or the pansies in their shade, or the scented valley lillies all but hidden in their sheath of green, are flowers, heaven endowed with beauty and God's thought for the uplift and happiness of humanity.
So it is with woman and her manifold gifts; wherever she finds herself and her work, that is her home, her sphere, her center for radiating her best.
Kate Greenaway was born at No. 1 Cavendish Street, Hoxton, England, on the 17th of March, 1846—the daughter of John Greenaway, wood-engraver and draughtsman, whose chief work is to be found in the Illustrated London News.
At the age of twelve Kate won a prize at the South Kensington Art School (the Islington branch) and later won several medals, including the "National" medal. She attended life classes at Heatherley, and the newly opened Slade School. Among her fellow students and friends were Elizabeth Thompson (Lady Butler) and Helen Paterson (Mrs. Allingham).
Kate Greenaway's first work was designing Christmas Cards and Valentines. Not until 1868 did she exhibit her work, and then it was at the Dudley Gallery. Six little drawings on wood attracted the attention of Rev. W. J. Loftie, who had them written up and published in the People's Magazine.
It was then that she began to realize the possibilities that lay in her grandmother's gowns. These she made up with her own hands and costumed her models and lay figures. It was largely due to the thoroughness in the beginning that she achieved ultimate success. In 1870 she exhibited for the first time in Suffolk Street. In 1871 she illustrated Madame d'Aulnoy's Fairy Tales for Messrs. Cronheim. In 1873 she began work on "little folks" and was employed by Marcus Ward to design Christmas Cards, which proved an immense success. The next year she exhibited and sold "A Fern Gatherer" at the Royal Manchester Institute. In 1877 she sold her first Academy picture, "Missing," and was working for the London Graphic and the Illustrated News.
Those were the days when woman was doing next to nothing in art, but Kate Greenaway kept steadily at her art for little people. Her work of greatest importance just then was the beginning of her long business connection with Mr. Edmund Evans, the well-known color printer. The turning point in her career was his publication of her book, "Under the Window"—both letterpress and illustrations were hers. Of this, more than seventy thousand copies were sold. This was followed by "A Birthday Book," "Mother Goose" (1881), "The Pied Piper Of Hamelin," "A Day In a Child's Life" (1887), and a dozen more.
An idea of the success of the Greenaway-Evans partnership may be gathered from the fact that in the space of ten years the number of copies of her printed works reached the grand total of 714,000.
In 1881 the Empress Frederick of Germany and the Princess Christina sought the acquaintance of the gifted artist, and received her at Buckingham Palace.
In 1883 Miss Greenaway had made enough money (four of her books alone having brought her eight thousand pounds) to build herself a fine house and studio at Frognal, Hampstead, which was her home until her death November 7, 1901.
In 1885 she did some extra illustrating for the old ballad, "Dame Wiggim of Lea," with an introduction by John Ruskin. In 1889 Miss Greenaway was elected a member of The Royal Institute of Painters in Water-colors, to which she frequently contributed genre subjects and portraits. In 1891. 1894, and 1898, she held exhibitions of her own work at the Fine Arts Society in Bond Street, and sold several thousand pounds' worth of paintings.
Technically Kate Greenaway was not a great artist, but she had a great influence on the art of the nineteenth century in England and America, especially in art and literature for children, and she revolutionized in character and comfort the costumes of children in many lands, the art of which is with us in the present century.
Says Ruskin, concerning Kate Greenaway, "She has a genius which has grasped the spirit of foreign lands, no less than our own. With a profound sentiment of love for children she puts the child alone on the scene, companions him in his solitude and shows the infantile nature in all its naiveté and touching grace."
Another woman who has furthered the pictorial art of England is of the noted Dicksee family, and her work belongs to the latter half of the nineteenth century. It is story-telling of the most interesting sort. Many of her works have been engraved, thus becoming familiar in America also. By Margaret Dicksee, one canvas represents Sir Thomas Lawrence as a child, at work on his "First Commission." He seems a boy of six or seven seated at the drawing board, sketching from the sitter who seems to be a lady of quality, in the person of Lady Kenyon. Thus early did the master of portrait painters begin his career. Another by Margaret L. Dicksee is of great interest to music students: "The Child Handel" at the harpsicord in the attic. His love for music called for expression, and in his robe de nuit he is discovered at his hidden instrument.
Another painting harks back to the seventeenth century, and shows Dean Swift teaching his young pupil Esther Johnson, whose name he poetized as "Stella." "Swift and the Child Stella" are pictured in a charming interior, a sixteenth century library.
Margaret Dicksee's paintings show the nicety of detail customary in the period of her painting. "The Sacrifice of Vanities," taken from the "Vicar of Wakefield," is full of the minor things of art and the absolute naturalness of the two ladies and the two boys makes a charming ensemble. The artist loved to portray childhood just at the bud-opening stage of genius, and did it with enjoyable success. With older folk she painted "The First Audience," and one almost hears Oliver Goldsmith reading to the two appreciative ladies his manuscript, "She Stoops to Conquer." It has a literary interest surely, as well as of art, and, like the other canvases, from the brush of this artist, a fascinating lure for the interior decorator.
When natives of a country tell you that you must meet the greatest woman painter of their land, you are bound to take their valuation of said artist, for they have known her and her work from her student days, have watched her progress and shared in her successes, and rejoiced in her honors.
Laura Knight of England is so honored. At the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, in 1922, she gave to American art lovers pictured children on the river wharf, the wharf that might border any city where the heat of Summer drives from stuffy housings to the feel of limpid cool water on the supple bodies. A small boat is made fast to the wharf, and from the gunwale small humans can trail legs, arms, chips, and boats on the lapping wavelets. From sun and stone their dog absorbs the heat into his slim outstretched body, where he seems to guard their finny "catch" that lies wilted in the sun. When weary with a short swim, human ducks cling to an anchored boat not far from shore. You feel the sunshine, you see happy children, and the glint of the water. The artist calls it "Summer." It is realism painted with consummate knowledge. It takes the beholder out among the children without the inconvenience of travel or the discomfort of sun or wind.
Pictures are often so full of the artist's spirit that they exert a contagion. Such an one is the "Laughing Lady" by Laura Knight. From the artist's choice of subjects we take her to be a woman of the world, in the sense that the human world has an art interest in most things. Her art sense was greatly enthused with the wonderful beauty and grace of Pavlowa, and since one cannot paint action, Mrs. Knight has caught the graciousness of the danseuse at the instant she acknowledges the "Curtain Call" sustained by Volinine. The rich colors of the curtain form a most impressive background, though seeing but two figures in the painting, such is the handling of the art expressed that one seems to be in the center of the parquet to obtain the scene.
Anna Pavlowa must have been the inspiration back of Mrs. Knight's pencil when she made the drawing of "La Mort du Cygne." When Pavlowa in filmy white impersonated La Cygne, she was more of an aerial illusion than human or bird; and so has the artist penciled her—delicately, as a violin, graceful as a lily. No medium, it seems, other than the pencil could produce that effect, even in the hand of so skilled an artist as Laura Knight.
Her touch is equally effective in water colors. "The Untrodden Sands" depicts this touch, and shows her consummate knowledge of sand, sea, and sky. The artist is as familiar with a rocky shore as the smooth beach, and "Daughters of the Sun," on the rocks or in the water, are in a wonderful sunlight.
One knows at a glance at "The Beach" that Holland and the North Sea have aided her knowledge, and no less have the barefooted, wind-blown, happy children, in the water and out of it. Reflected lights and nature's shadows among the little folk produce a delightful picture. The touches of high light on this canvas are of real value, and are not daubs of paint.
It is of interest to know that Laura and Harold Knight began their art study in their early days in the Nottingham Art School, and from Wilson Foster learned the foundation of an art education—"the capacity to imitate nature faithfully." Later they felt that too close imitation was not the end and aim of art. They were married in 1903, and soon after, broadened their art during a sojourn in Holland. That year Laura Knight sent her first picture to the Academy. It was called "Mother and Child," and was bought by Edward Stott, A. R. A., a distinction of which any artist might be proud. The influence of the Dutch art and artists enriched the art and knowledge of the two painters, as indeed it could not be otherwise. They gained in the long, low horizon, the broad sweep of wind and cloud, and the altogether different life and people; and the palette was set differently.
The next move was to Newlyn, with another group of painters on the Cornwall coast. There the environment produced another change. The rock-bound plowshare of Cornwall sets due South-West, saving England from the unruly tides of the Atlantic. Here if anywhere abounds pure air, billowing clouds and water, and a wealth of baptismal sunshine, in which Laura Knight and her numberless children worked and played, drinking health and joy, and for the artist, building up an enviable reputation.
A number of her paintings of children and glorious sunlight have been purchased by George Claussen, R. A., and sent to the Cape; "Flying a Kite" was one, and "Boys" is shedding its influence in Johannesburg. "The Green Feather" is in the National Gallery of Canada.
Laura Knight is gifted with interpretive skill in dealing with a great variety of subjects. She is not afraid of color, nor does she use it too lavishly Some critics pronounce her an impressionist; then it remains for others to consider her work normal, for all painting is an impression of some phase of nature, applied to the canvas according to the whim of the painter, or to defective eyesight.
In 1922 Mrs. Knight's ability as an artist was acknowledged by her appointment as a juror on the International Art Exhibition at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
She is a born artist, her love of life and most phases of life give an exuberance of spirit that flows from her mind to hand, and even to the tip of her brush in colors that seem to write "joy and gladness." And after seeing Sorolla's well-peopled canvases in the Hispanic Museum in New York, one feels that while he has been capturing brilliant sunlight in Spain, Mrs. Knight has been doing much the same thing for England (where it is much more needed), and both artists depict with quick characteristic brush the universal happiness of children in its glow and warmth. Her love of color also reminds one of the wonderful Spanish painter.
Mrs. Knight's work is represented in most public galleries in England; Manchester, Oldham, Leeds, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Brighton Fine Arts Gallery, in Ottawa, Canada, Melbourne, New Zealand, Cape Town, and in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
One of her recent canvases, "By the Sea," is a charming rendering of three children on a cliff by the rippling sea. The water is a most adroit painting of the soft summer ripples of the blue-green and gray, the sunlight centers on the little ones, most natural in their play.
First there was Lawrence Alma-Tadema, born in Holland, educated in Belgium, married a French lady who died in 1869, leaving the artist with two little daughters. Then with his children he went to England and in time became a British subject and Sir Lawrence. In 1871 he married Miss Laura Theresa Epps, whose striking features and wonderful red-gold hair have been the glory of many paintings from the easel of Alma-Tadema.
Laura Theresa Epps had been a pupil with Alma-Tadema two or three years before her marriage to him, her artistic gifts being such that in the opinion of the English critics she would have made the name Tadema well known in art, even had it not been illumined by the genius of her distinguished husband.
For twenty years Laura Alma-Tadema was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Persuasion," "The Shadow of the Future" (purchased by H. R. H. the Prince of Wales), "The Ring," "Sisters," "The Pain of Parting," etc. At the Berlin exhibition, 1896, her canvas entitled "Satisfaction" received the gold medal for its admirable work and its no less pleasing subject. At the Paris Exhibition Universay, 1920 her painting was awarded the silver medal.. The best known of her paintings are perhaps "Carol," "
As is absolutely natural, the work of Laura Alma-Tadema improved rapidly after her marriage to the great artist, yet in no way did the instructor interfere with her expressed individuality. One infers that it was the criticism of technique, and the sympathetic suggestion that was of real help to the younger artist, that such help counted, for their subjects remained as distinct as do the rivers Rhone and Arve in confluence.
Another natural consequence marking a distinct period in her painting was the fact of her beautiful mothering of her two little step-daughters, Laurence and Anna Alma-Tadema, of whom she was exceedingly fond. She painted them many times. One piquant little sister has climbed from a chair to the deep window seat, one slippered foot resting on the edge of the chair as she sits looking out into the beautiful green. An orange in one hand is prophetic of another pleasure later on. She is indeed "Looking Out o' Window."
"Love's Beginning," bought by the German Emperor, depicts a young lady of an earlier Holland period, sitting with her embroidery frame and entertaining a young man of refinement, for he has on "short clothes" and a Dutchess lace neckerchief for the occasion.
"Well Employed" is a charming canvas in more ways than one. Mother and daughter seated by the quaint massive table of the seventeenth century pattern of Holland's best, the high-backed chairs matching it in carving and finish. A portion of tapestry, seen above the paneled wainscoting and next the door frame, is a fitting background for the mother at the end of the table with her knitting, and the young girl seen in profile reading aloud from a large volume. A fur-covered cushion gives the right height for her graceful pose. Charm number two is in the sweet faces framed in the dainty lace caps of the period, and the spirit pervading the ensemble, of mutual interest in the reading, and in the loving companionship of mother and daughter. Charm number three is the composition which is a joy, and number four is the technical excellence of every part. Certainly the artist was well employed working on the canvas; and as a work of art it might be called Harmony, for the characters are in harmony, the composition most harmonious, and the color scheme most satisfying. Hands are acknowledged to be one of the greatest difficulties in portraiture, but the hands of this young girl are in drawing and color.
The real feminine instinct and refinement in art is expressed in a picture which Lady Alma-Tadema called "Bright Be Thy Noon." Here again the interior and furnishings of the room indicate the choicest of old style carving. The mother has taken the little babe from the quaint cradle beside her bed on which she sits, as she holds the pearl of humanity close to her breast; one tiny hand on mother's face with a finger-tip on her lip as mother and child love each other with their eyes. The bed and cradle-linen and the mother's white gown embellished with lace indicates the woman artist, yet in no way does it weaken the dignity of the picture, but is an added note in the harmonious ensemble.
Lady Alma-Tadema's pictures are all in the way of a loving home life. A catalog of her subjects would also be proof, for all inspire happiness.
America has long been fond of the paintings of Lady Alma-Tadema, and those of Sir Lawrence, and it is surprising that not one of her pictures adorns the National Gallery of British Art. The United States, Germany, and France have been the most appreciative of her art. It may be called a distinctive feminine art, or a story-telling art, yet it is high in the scale of technique, its value in home influence, its insight of character, and its charm of spirit upon other spirits.
The subjects of Sir Alma-Tadema hark back to affluent Greece, and the wife ventures no further into history than the days of besieged Holland, each in keeping with the beauty and truth of the period and national characteristics.
Laura Theresa Epps, Lady Alma-Tadema died August 16, 1909.
More humans are dreamers than the world dreams of. We are all dreamers in various degrees. We make use of our dreams in various ways, according to our age and temperament. In the long ago, in our grandmother's day, there were two ways of looking at dreams: one with a certain amount of superstition, banal or otherwise, night dreams; or day dreams, when fancy worked its will and amused the child with impossible visions and ideas, or, dreaming was a sign of indolence, even laziness in adolescent years. Grown-ups have their day dreams, they always have had, also a great king in exile would not have let the cakes burn on the hearth while he dreamed away the barriers to his throne.
There is a great hue and cry these days for something new and original in art. You must not paint from nature as it is, or you will be a copyist and your canvas will be too crowded; just get an idea or outline. As for color, no two pairs of eyes see color alike; one sees a red cow, another paints the same blue or purple. One can see the exquisite palpitating beauty in the human form divine; others see it gross or emaciated to a skeleton in a death dance. Some see the poetic, the imaginary aspect of life, still others cling to the practical, the commonplace, the stereotyped or even the cubic. Some make use of the symbolic, drifting into the mists of humanity's background of ancient and medieval centuries, for a motif and its treatment. The philosopher-poet spoke a truth for all time when he said, "There is nothing new under the sun." All forms of nature may be hauled in at the studio gate and pass out elongated or discolored as decorative. All these things are permissible, but not all are beautiful. The ultimate of art is beauty.
When a dream motif combines the elements of art in well-balanced harmony—proportionate to the subject—we have indeed a work of art.
England has furnished the world with such an artist.
Miss Jessie Bayes has made dreamland very beautiful with her combination of a dreamed-of world haloed with the colors of dawn, or veiled with the approaching mists and purpling shadows of evening. She has peopled her lands with a psychic throng, as human and birdlike symbols of invisible attributes of spirit, of soul. She has transcribed the poet's dreams into the colors and actions of dreams, on sheets of vellum. She has been in league with "The Erl King's Daughter," as she sent her fairy servants to their several tasks. She has painted the fairy queen on a milk-white stag, in a forest made royal with mauves and blues, and produced a ray of sunset gold to glint her form and her waving hair. The spiring spruce trees, too, are a dreamed-of blue against the blue of a Northern sky.
The decorations for the "Marriage of La Belle Melusein" are fairies and goblins and elves, with floral fastoons and the chest of her dower to unite them. A glance askance at the many-twinkling feet of the fairies, the eye chases the hare and the squirrel for fleetness, bound also for the wedding. 'Neath the canopied chariot rides the queen to her bridal, drawn by two milk-white deer, and the white love-birds fly above them.
Miss Bayes' work is full of poetry of color and of action. She has a rare imagination. It is easy to fancy her as a child, poring over books of fairy tales and ancient lore, as food for her active imagination. Her craftsmanship is choice. To her the ideal is indeed real, and her art has made it suggestively real to the rest of us. She was made for her art, and it has grown under her hand and experience rather than under a school or a master. Her father was a painter, and her two brothers are artists. Her choice of subjects comes naturally to her, and her life has been lived in the environment and atmosphere of art. Her real instruction has been from her brother, Mr. Walter Bayes, a distinguished painter and critic, and for a short time she studied evenings at the Central School of Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. She was enormously aided, too, by travel to such centers of art as were allied to her own interests.
In the decorative line Miss Bayes has accomplished a beautiful mural for a Vienna house; its message, "For lo! the Winter is past, the rain is over and gone." Worked into that motif she has painted slender trees sparsely leaved with tender green, that blend with the turquoise blue of the melting sky that spreads beyond the soft, pale purple of the distant hills. The foreground with flower-sprinkled grass is gracefully figured with Spring's maidens, browsing sheep, and birds on the wing are as quavers in the air.
Another artistic design from her fertile mind is a unique bedstead. Of course it is made of wood, but if you were not told, cedar would not come to your mind; it has been so thoroughly prepared, so lavishly painted and gilded, that it is indeed a work of art. The supporting pillars of the canopy-frame rest on a four-paneled portion of the legs. On the big panels are painted scenes and figures from "The Song of Solomon." The variety and harmony of colors and the burnished gold give a very unusual and attractive effect.
Another of her designs is in water color; a kneeling damsel at the foot of a high cliff is feeding a pair of doves. The whole is a harmonizing of soft pink and blue, a lavender atmosphere resulting.
To facilitate her artistic kinship with the fairy element and their ilk, Jessie Bayes got as close to nature as she could by spending a long time on Cahill Island among the Celtic folk, who on that remote and desolate spot still cling to their belief in those imaginary beings that are said to haunt their glens and groves—a reality to them, as we all accepted Scott's White Lady of Avenel in our younger years, and longed to watch for her coming to the spring, when evening deepened the shadows of the yew.
Miss Bayes has accomplished more serious and dignified work than fairies and illuminated manscripts. Many of the Psalms of David have given her pictorial motifs, and some of her best paintings have resulted,—"The Dayspring from On High"; "I Sleep But My Heart Waketh"; another, of which the artist is especially fond, is a suggestion from the old Celtic runes, "The Cross of the Nine Angels."
"Adeste Fideles" is the beautiful painting on a churchly maghogany triptych, glorious in its gilding and border decoration.
An altar for a memorial chapel portrays another branch of Miss Bayes' art, that of wood carving. Four reliefs of angel form serve as caryatides as supports for the altar table, thus forming three panels of the front, the center one square with gilded radiations from the center symbolizing spirit. The whole is simple and harmoniously beautiful, even to the carved lettering:
"God is in His Holy Temple, Let All the Earth Keep
Silence Before Him."