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The craftsman
Vol. V, No. 4 (January 1904)

[Book reviews and notes],   pp. 417-422 ff. PDF (2.1 MB)

Page 417

X      BY CHARLES H. CAFFIN. Facts and
       criticism relative to American sculp-
tors and their work, until the present time,
have largely been wanting. But now we
find a solid, valuable contribution to the
subject in the book of Mr. Caffin, the widely
known critic of the New York Sun.
  It is most interesting to follow Mr. Caffin
through his short history of American
sculpture previous to the epoch-making year
of 1876. He comments with skill and pene-
tration upon the Italian influences brought
to this country by Ceracchi and prolonged
by the American artist-colonists in Rome
and Florence, who sent back to their mother-
country the pseudo-classic, insipid types so
familiar to us in the statues of the Boston
Athenaeum and of the Mount Auburn mort-
uary chapel.
  Again, the critic is just and appreciative,
when he says that: "With only a few ex-
ceptions, all our sculptors of the present
generation have acquired their training,
either wholly or in part, in Paris; that is to
say, in the best school in the world ......
For there is not a thought-wave in modern
art that does not emanate from or finally
reach Paris. It is the world's clearing-house
of artistic currency,.
  Among the monographs, which are all
devoted to contemporaneous sculptors, we
naturally first turn to those treating Saint-
Gaudens, Macmonnies and French. In the
first of these sketches occurs a really master-
ly parallel instituted between Saint-Gau-
dens's statue of General Sherman and Du-
bois's "Joan of Arc." Another exquisite
piece of criticism is the description of
French's "Death and the Sculptor ;" while
the quality of Macmonnies's piquant animal-
ism is keenly apprehended. The critic and
the general reader will equally enjoy Mr.
Caffin's work, which should gain for itself
a European as well as an American reputa-
tion. [New York, Doubleday, Page &
Company. Illustrated. Pages, 234; size
6% x 8%. Price, $3.00.]
   BELGIUM: ITS CITIES. These two com-
pact, attractive volumes are undoubtedly
the best books of similar scope and purpose
which have as yet been written upon the
subject in English. They are to be classed
as guides; but they do not seek to give
practical information regarding every-day
material conveniences. They aim, in the
words of the author, "to supply the tourist
who wishes to use his travel as a means of
culture, with such historical and antiquarian
information as will enable him to under-
stand, and therefore to enjoy, the architect-
ure, sculpture, painting, and minor arts of
the towns he visits." The text of the books
has previously been published, but it is now
embellished with illustrations which can not
fail to please alike the traveled and the
untraveled. The work is accurate in state-
ment and logically arranged. It includes
a critical chapter upon the origin of the
Belgian towns, which shows wide research
and much power of judgment. This chap-
ter lays chief stress upon industrial and
and municipal facts, and deserves to be read
by all supporters of the movement for civic
improvement. [Boston, L. C. Page & Com-
pany. Illustrated. Two volumes; pages
448; size 43% x 65/%. Price, $3.00.]

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