Artists and their Work
Munsey's Magazine
March 1896


Contemporary notes upon the movement of the world of art
in America and Europe, with a series of engravings
of representative canvases.

When the National Academy's committee on site reported in favor of an amalgamation - or at least a close alliance - with the Fine Arts Society, and a joint tenancy of the latter's headquarters on Fifty Seventh Street, the suggestion, though unexpected, seemed at first glance an attractive one. The united resources of the Academy and of the bodies already established on the proposed site would, no doubt, have given New York a splendid house of art; but it was scarcely reasonable to request the Academicians to consent to a plan that involved the ending of their indepedent existence. With so long and distinguished a history, with its present prestige, and with more than half a million dollars in bank, it is not strange that the Academy should regard such a step as an uncalled for confession of weakness, and should vote so emphatically to maintain its autonomy.

We hope to see an alternative presented that will establish it in quarters worthy of its mission and its prospects, without submitting it to the loss of its identity. It is a crisis at which boldness is the truest prudence, and ill advised economy could prove the sure forerunner of decadence.


It is well known that Paris is as great a center of Russian art as St. Petersburg or Moscow. Muscovite painters seem to find the atmosphere of the city on the Seine more congenial than the keener airs of their native land. There are other reasons for their expatriation, in some cases. Verestchagin, for instance, has been practically an exile from Russia since his daring brush ventured upon subjects that offended the authorities. In one of his grimly realistic renderings of an execution scene - a them that may be termed peculiarly Verestchaginesque - he introduced the figures of Roussakoff, Michailoff, Jeliaboff, and Sofia Perofskaia, the four nihilists who were hanged in St. Petersburg as accomplices in the murder of Alexander II. At about the same time he painted a characteristic "Apotehosis of War" - a bitter satire on the glories of Russia's triumph over the Turks. It portrayed a huge and ghastly pile of corpses, whose uniforms showed them to have been soldiers of the Czar and the Sultan, heaped together in death and decay, while above the gruesome heap of victims to the ambition of monarchs a great vulture flapped its wings.

To satirize the heaven sent institution of military despotism, and to immortalize the features of the unspeakable nihilist, are dangerous proceedings in the land of the Romanoffs. It would hardly do to send to the Siberian mines a man whose genius is the pride of contemporary Russian art; but his offense was made so plain to the daring artist that he found it advisable to remove to Paris, which has been his home ever since.

Verestchagin has seen many adventures in many lands, and of some of them he bears the marks in person. His right hand was injured by a bullet during the Turkish war, and again, on one of his hunting expeditions, by a leopard's bite. At another time, while sketching on the Steppes, he broke his right arm, and was obliged to trust to peasant surgery for its setting.


New York is to have the most magnificent art galleries in the world, according to the plans now definitely formulated for the Metropolitan Museum. The institution's growth has been rapid, and its present proportions are remarkable as the result of one generation's labor; but the existing building will be completely overshadowed by the additions now contemplated. It will ultimately stand in the center of a vast series of galleries, which are to surround it on all sides, fronting upon Fifth Avenue, and inclosing a total space of about eighteen acres.

With a million dollar appropriation, and plans that were drawn by the late Richard M. Hunt just before his death, the Fifth Avenue front is to be commenced at once. The facade is to be of marble and classical in style; and the trustees promise that it will be a new ornament to the city, as it certainly should be.

When Lydia Smiles
When Lydia Smiles, Joseph Coomans

Emile Eisman Semenowsky
Solitude, William F. Hulk

The Victors' Return
The Victors' Return, Simm
Enchantment, Pierre Andre Brouillet

Talking Over Their Wedding Journey
Talking Over Their Wedding Journey, Paolo Bedini

Morning, Jules Joseph Lefebvre
A Roman Singer
A Roman Singer, E. Forti

Baby Visits its Foster Mother
Baby Visits its Foster Mother, Augusto Corelli

A Winter Blossom
A Winter Blossom, Jules Frederic Ballavoine
Liberty, Gabriel Max

Master Paintings

Munsey's Magazine Index



Site Map
Art-related Parts of This Site

IME logo Copyright © 2007, Mary S. Van Deusen