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The craftsman
Vol. XXIII, Number 2 (November 1912)

The decadence of the practical arts in France,   pp. 238-240 PDF (1.4 MB)


Page 239


DECADENCE OF PRACTICAL ARTS IN FRANCE
for the Germans, Austrians
and Hungarians of today are
heartily interested in Seces-
sion Art. They believe in it
and they want it.   The fan-
tastic spirit of it is in their
architecture, in their house-
hold fittings, in their paint-
ings, in their sculpture.  It
really is  encroaching  upon
their drama, as we feel in the
work of that new stage di-
rector who is little short of a
genius, Max Reinhardt. If
Reinhardt were not touched
by Secession Art we should
feel him almost the greatest
creator of stage beauty of the
century.  Although   here in
America    we   teel  that  the  eccentric
whimsicality  known    as  Secession  Art
impulse has passed over with      us and
has been short-lived because it was without
root in real conditions, Germany clings to
it, and as it has in a way rejuvenated the art
interest of the whole nation, and has domi-
nated every phase of life, we must accord
it a certain position in the art history of
modern Europe. We hope, as France evi-
dently does, that Germany will recover
from it and refuse this orchid growth as a
final expression, however interesting and
stimulating it may have been.
  And it is just possible that in Paris, the
fact that the artists are working along lines
of their own initiative, refusing an archi-
tecture that would suggest birth in Art
Nouveau ideas, refusing the binding of the
arts and crafts movement to Art Nouveau
inspiration, may at least leave the field frFee
NEW STYLE DESIGN FOR FRENCH FABRICS.
FRENCH LAMPS IN WROUGHT IRON.
for whatever big or honest art impulse may
spring into existence. It is hard to say just
what is best for a nation,-such a fallow
time as France is having or the growth of
such an earnest unimportant movement as
the Secession Art condition in Germany.
  In this present article we are presenting
illustrations which were shown in Paris in
the Summer Salon -,f 1912, feeling that
whatever is done the world over along craft
lines must be of interest to our readers, and
also because the writer of the article which
included these illustrations was so frankly
critical of conditions as they exist today
in his native land. It is such criticism
which will stir up eventually the real
craftsmen to the production of work suited
to their lives, and may possibly stimulate
their imagination toward a more vital inter-
est in the actual beauties so well trained an
art is capable of revealing.
  Of course, in any criticism of art con-
ditions in Paris today Ren6 Lalique is
exempt. He is the great craftsman of
France and one of the greatest she has ever
had. His art is wholly individual, and even
though it has been ranked with the Art
Nouveau movement, it in no way should be
incorporated in it, although undoubtedly it
has inspired many of the Art Nouveau men
toward a finer development of their art.
  We feel in all the work we are presenting
in this article the sort of elegance that
France will probably never get away from.
There are good lines and appreciation of
the ultra refinement of art, but with the
exception of the wrought-iron work, the


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