Smith, Walter (ed.) / The Masterpieces of the Centennial International Exhibition illustrated: industrial art
The lesson of the exhibition., pp. 497-521 ff.
THE INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION, 1876. mild agony of an intentional discord,'but would be exasperated and gesticulant over the clanging and horrors of half a dozen brass bands playing that number of tunes at the same time, under the windows. In reasoning, when there is danger of missing conviction by traveling towards the positive, the reasoner obtains the result he wants by going towards the negative pole, and by the process of reductio ad absurdam, proves conclusively what a thing is not-the first step towards proving what a thing is. Let us take this step in order to arrive at some definite conclusions regarding ornamental art, the fruition of industrial design. The point stated is, that design of ornament for objects of use should be adapted, not imitated, from nature, or from accepted types of good historic ornament; that to fine art belongs the imitative and natural, to industrial art the adaptive and conventional. When this is reversed, let us see what happens. A man made wealthy beyond all counting of money, by oil-wells discovered on the wilderness in Which he kept cattle, was determined to have an up-town mansion in the metropolis most elegantly furnished-not in the style approved of by the quiet gentlemen who work for nothing in the great universities, and dispense Greek thoughts and create the love of Greek art at a slight advance on starvation, for the love of art, but in the grand smashing way of a bank- president who only means to enjoy it for a year, and then seek permanent seclusion in some country which has no extradition teaty with the United States. Feeling the burden of untold millions accidentally his own, the instruc- tions to the upholsterer are always in the same key-"Spare no expense; make it lively and cheerful; don't have nothing in the house but the most splendid stuff you can get." House-furnishers are human, but they measure men and women as well as rooms and windows. They are also sometimes skilled in judgment, and will measure a man for his furniture with as much precision 'as the boot-maker measures his foot for a pair of boots, and will fit him as well. So when Mr. Kerosene Crcesus gives an order for the furnishing of Shoddoleth Mansion, the upholsterer takes the gentleman's measure of taste, and in order to fit him furnishes somewhat as follows:- The carpet in the reception-room is ornamented by enormous groups of the largest kinds of flowers, spread widely apart, so that the inquiring visitor, 514
Based on date of publication, this material is presumed to be in the public domain.| For information on re-use, see http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright