Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 21 Oct 1888 p. 10 - Statue to Brooklyn Soldiers & Sailors
OCTOBEB 21, 1888. at a a GALLERY AND STUDIO. Plans for the Brooklyn Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Taste and Suitability Displayed, hut Little Originality The Arched Form The Hartford Monument Dutch Pictures Vercst - chagin. The plans for the tt. ers and Sailors Monument on viow at tho offiSsoef tho Park Commission in the City Hall display, on tho whole, ingenuity and taste, but no great amount of originality. Perhaps thoro will be still another output of thorn and a little more force and diversity may bo thereby brought into competition. Tlie favorite device is tho arch, and this is a relief from tho uniform pattern of soldiers' monuments thus far adopted in most cities, namely, a soldier of stone or bronze standing in the position of parade rest and perched on a pedestal that is anywhere from ten to fifty feet high and that is bo narrow at tho apex that the spectator becomes sympathetically dizzy and wonders what would happen to tho soldier if ho wero to move one of his feet a few inches on a dark night. A traveler through New England having seen an untold number of those memorials gave it as his impression that a regiment of stone soldiers having disbanded, the rank and file were distributed among the towns and perpetually exalted in the public squares on posts of stone. It is a trifle amusing to find this established precedent affecting the devices matlo for the Brooklyn monument, for sundry of the arches have niches or towers or platforms at their apices whore stand tho inevitable privates at parade rest. Hartford was tho first city to break through custom and to erect a memorial at once artistic and suitable. It is a heavy arch of red sand stone, tho side walls rounded into partially detached towers that have a suggestion of feudal strength in keeping with the purposo of the structure. A frieze of sculpture in relief extends entirely around tho building, illustrating typical incidents of war and the departure and return of troops. The winged victories at the top of each tower uro additions of dubious worth, not alone because they seem to brag and the North can afford to cease taunting the South with defeat after all these years but because they are unrelated in appearance to tho rest of the monument and look a little insecure. They are not such calm and majestic, figures as Millmore's America, that crowns tho soldiers' monument in Boston. In situation the Hartford monument is singularly fortunate. It spans a bridge of stone that is conducted from one of the business streets of tho city to the principal park, so that, as it is viewed by one about to cross the bridge, the spacious arch is a frame for a swell of green hill, dotted anil crossed with clumps and rows of trees, and bearing on its summit the proud and beautiful State Capitol, snow white and gold in the clear Bunsbine. It is evident that this Hartford monument has influenced some of the artists and architects who have submitted designs for the Brooklyn memorial, while others have been laudably affected by Greek and renaissance temples and palaces, and such neo classic devices as the gate at Hyde Park corner in London. It is a common fault with many of them that thoy have an overlay of ornamental but quite unasked for gingerbread, some of which may be put on for the sole purpose of bringing the cost of tho monument up to the $.100,000 mark that has been established. Creditable plans have been hurt by this sticking on of gimcracks that have a certain symbolry, it is true, but that are not always subjected to the strength and dignity of the main structure. It is a sort of craze with certain architects to use every peak and tower top as a pedestal. They plant their soldiers at parade rest and their wide winged goddesses of liberty and victory and peace wherever they can gain foot room as sure as a woman wil.' pin a 50 cent tidy to a $10 chair, and with a somewhat similar result, from an artistic point of view. Nor do tho detached figures always have this cheap and superfluous aspect; some of tho friezes have a tame, fiat look, such as might be produced by tacking against a space of smooth wall a section of one of the war panoramas that used to travel about tho country twenty year and more ago, and that are. out of architectural relation to the strong and almost rude masonry around them. The Roman arch, with its flanking medallion1!, narrow friezes and close set figures, has an architectural entity; the Gothic gateway, with its flanking bastions or overhanging bartizans has, also; and, while the modern designer is not called on to follow theso ancien.', though always beautiful styles, ho should study their spirit and endeavor to Becurc in his own work the same dignity and harmony. It is a seeming notion of some competitors that the work to stand at Prospect Park entrance is a triumphal rather than memorial structure: an enduring testimony to the fact that we pnnished our own brothers when thev needed correction. This is not the kind of a monument to put up in any Northern city, and the generation now rising will regard such a display of fraternal animosity with astonishment. Tho service of our soldiers, their bravery, their faithfulness to duty and honorable conduct can be recorded without reflections and taunts on those who have suffered defeat. This is one of tho defects of the plan submitted by "Prospect " It is, in its effect on the eye. too flamboyant and rejoicing, as well as too scattered and ornate Mr. Upjohn gives a suggestion of his Connecticut Capitol building, ligh' - and graceful rather than monumental and military. S.W.Dodge sends a pleasing and feasible device, aB Milton Hyatt does, though the hollowing out of rooms in Mr. Hyatt's design detracts from the weight and durability of the edifice. The Hyatt & Hinsdale plan is better in that respect. George Keller has a commendable scheme to offer a large arch in marble, recalling the Hartford monument, though in no respect a copy of it. The largest and best painted plan, and one that gives the most adequate idea of what the completed building would be like, is thai sent in by It. L. Dans, and it is interesting to notice how many are attracted to it by reason of its size and forcible coloring. It represents an arch of wide span supported by heavy towers of sandstonethat spread slightly at their bases, giving to the work an effect of solidity and endurance. In construction the arch is large and strong, and the only radical fault to be found with it is that each tower is capped with a dome like structure of'little intrinsic bpanty, not related to the feudal character of the rest of the structure and a source of needless expense. By omitting these domes the design would be simpler and would wear better with tho spectator. From the Sharkey Monument Works comes a neat device, tho outcome of a study of classical models and conspicuous for the breadth of the main gate. It is light and graceful. Parfitt Brothers have a well drawn, well colored representation of a cross arch two large gates entering a squaro structure at right angles to each other, as in the Arc do Triompho do l'Etoile in Paris, though there is no further resemblance to that monument. The stone work has more of a rustic character, such as the late Mr. Richardson employed with such an admirable resultant of power, and. indeed, this huge, square structure is one that would have pleaded that excellent architect in many ways. Cope & Stewardson have adopted tho heavy spreading towers perforated by windows at the top, but like some of the other plans this one has been over ornamented and is too much broken by statuary groups, though, to be sure, these arc moro conspicuous in an outline drawing than they would be in a colored one or iu the structure itself. If the statuary groups wero executed as they should be the monument would be years a building and the appropriation would certainly be exceeded. Of course the plan could be shorn of some of its statuary. Francis Ellingwood's design is Greek iu feeling and, like Greek architecture, simple and severe. "Mars" sends a picture of a stout Bhaft not unlike the tower of Trinity Church, iu Boston, that is a good thing, but that would not look so well on the proposed site as a wider building. D. C. E. Laub dares a little diversity from the conventional arched form by making one of tho flanking towers low and circular, while the one on the opposite side is square and high. On tho whole, tho plans are respectable, and any one of the principal designs would be an ornament, if not a source of prido to the city, but none of them is more suitable or artistic than the model of a wholly different though moro common character, that waB submitted some time ago by J. Q. A. Ward. Big as the prize is, it would seem that it has hardly evoked the best efforts of our architects. This monument business is slow and unsatisfactory work at best, bnt if Brooklyn is to have a monument to her Boldiers and sailors it should be worthy of tho city, representative of her sharo iu the war, and not a structure that our children would severely criticise. The Stuato for August contains a clearly photo - typed copy from Manet's "Boy With a Sword," an entirely allowable work of tho celebrated impressionist. One forgets the impressionism in tho merits of tho work, and does not trouble himself about composition or texturo when his eye rosts as it is made to do on tho childish, innocent face of the little messenger. The modeling of this face iB especially clear and soft. Tho collection of Dutch and Flemish pictures made by Louis It. Ehrich and deposited by him in the art gallery of Yale College is considered by tho editor, who says with truth that tho painters of Holland and Belgium in tho Seventeenth Century were of tho earth, earthy. "They nover soar, and when they i attempt it, their movements are as awkward as i those of an oagle when ho tries to walk. They I lived in a gross, material atmosphere, and their ! pictures reflect, as iu a mirror, tho dull, animal, sordid life of their time; drinking and carousing, loutish dancing and bawdy singing, in kitchen and on tho village green; and, in the parlors, a starched and artificial bourgeois elegance born of money bags, and with no past behind it. Tho satires of Dryden and Marvell find thoir justificative documents in these pictures, and though fine examples of Terborch and Tenlers and Rembrandt and Rubens and Franz Hals and others of the magnates, would of course raiso tho artistic valuo of the collection to a higher point, tho moral and civilized showing would gain nothing. The stream could not rise higher than the source, and thoro was nothing in the life of Holland at that time to mako other subjects than these possible." Of course, the technical merits of tho work of that country and epoch are conceded. Friedrich Pecht writes about tho American pictures iu the Munich art exposition, and apropos of the approaching exhibit of the Verestchagin pictures Mr. Cook romarkB: "The pictures will cover tho wall space of the whole BeriOB of rooms on tho throe floors occupied by tho Art Association, and will includo the entire work of the artist, with the possible exception of " Christ and His Family," which aroused opposition when it was exhibited in Vienna. We oannot lee any reason for this exception. The opposition to the picture in Vienna was bigotry of the silliest kind, iu keeping with tho character of a city more given over to bigotry than any other place in Europe outsido of Spain. We trust we shaU not bo paid the ill compliment of thinking that New York has reached the intellectual level of "Vienna. We havo our Anthony Comstock and our Elliott F. Shepherd, and a half dozen others, not to mention the trustees and the directors of the Metropolitan Museum. This is a strong team, but it cannot mako a Vienna of us." t Miss S. M. Barstow, who spent part of the Summer at Newport and part of it at Greenport, L. I., has been prolonging her season of out of door work by a visit to tho Catskills with two of her pupils, making her headquarters near Kaaterskill Falls and sketching among tho wild cloves and canons that rive the mountains. She was there in time to see tho full glory of the Autumnal foliage, when from a height the vast expanse of country recalls in brightness aud beauty the dyes of Oriental tapestries, but she made no attempt to reproduce these colors, "It is beautiful to look at," she says, " but rather hard to paint, and not very satisfactory to look at when it is painted. I liko best those quiet effects that come when tho air is gray with haze and mist and the trees aro sufficiently devoid of leaves to reveal their anatomy. Then an artist comes nearer to the feeling and mystery of naturo than when the woods are either full of life, as in Summer, or of sunset colors, as they are now." Tho effects of rain and mist are often so suggestive and picturesque that days that are dreary to other people are full of interest! and charm to the artist, and at the close of a long, drizzly interval, a society lady who exclaimed "What weather!" was answered by Miss Barstow, " Yes. Hasn't it been lovely "." And not until she noted the stare of surprise on the face her interlocutor did she realize that there might be two ways of looking at a rain vailed landscape. Professor F. T. L. Boyle has sent to the Shcrk gallery a full length portrait of a lady known in Brooklyn society that is regarded as one of the best pictures ever painted by the veteran artist. The face is life like, tho drapery elaborate and the figure has considerable relief. The disposal of Mr. Bricher's water colors at the Field gallery last week is but another addition to the list of unsuccessful sales in this city. In tho first place auction sales have been done to death in Brooklyn, and the picture;! sold at auction have often been so bad that people came to regard them as dear at any price; in the second place these studio clearances havo not always brought out the best work that the artist could do, and buyers in such case are apt to judge by the lower than the higher average, while in the third place, water colors have not yet become thoroughly popularize:!, an erroneous idea existing in the miudB of many peopb that they will fario. The International News Company seems to have got hold of a trnly good thing in Paris II - lunlre. which is now printed in English in Paris, with great accuracy, in addition to the excellent engraving, both photographic, and chromo lithographic. The first number succeeded iu presenting Mrs. Cleveland moro attractively than has been her fortune to bo portrayed hitherto, though it was not so successful with the President. The second number has an exquisite bit of young womanhood, tho more delicate and winsome for being itlcal instead of a portrait, called "Tho Letter," after Piot. It is a colored engraving of a girl holding a letter carelessly and contemplatively, in which face, bust, hand, arm and scattered blonde hair, and chiefly the eyes, give an impression of pure and perfect maidenliness that French art has not lost the trick of, with all its alleged degeneracy. The other pictures are photogravures of hunting and similar scenes in the best style of horse, dog and man drawing, with picturesque landscape accessories. J. Ii. Buckingham, formerly of this city, now in Hot SpringB, Ark., has made a picture of tho hospitals, hotels and spring houses in the Government reservation of the hist named placo that has beeu copied in chromo lithography and conveys a good idea of the lay of the laud and appearanco of that resort. To - morrow the De Lemare and Kneeland collections will he exhibited at tlie Liliou Art Gallery, in New York. Pattison':; "Niagara" and other pictures were, loaned by the Canadian Club. Zimmermann, Jacq'ue.Weiser, Dtipre, Doschamps, Bacharach, Bruck Lajos, Diaz, Williamson, Man - telli, Moormuns, Haqnette, Assmus, Munier, Bridgman, Janr;s Hart, David Johnson, Vor - boeokhoven, De Neuville, Schlessinger, Merle, Leo Herman, Innocenti and others are represented. C. M. S. The .Boston, ferntd desires a, change in the present method of electing the President by States and advocates an election by what it terms a plebiscite that is, by the 'majority or plurality vote of all the voters of the country acting as one undivided Presidential constituency. If the Constitution were to bo made over again much could be said for tho adoption of such a method. But the fatal objection to any movement in favor of this change at present is that thoro is not even a remote chance of its success. It. would not bo practicable to obtain a two - thirds vote for it even in one branch of Congress and a ratification by three - fourths of the States could not possibly bo secured. It would be opposed by party interests. The Republican party would become a State Rights party in defenso of the present system which is moro favorable to it. A large number of Democrats would object to it on the ground that it is not in harmony with the party's constitutional doctrines. Small States would oppose it because tho present arrangement gives them a larger representation in the so called Electoral College than thoir population would entitle them to. Large States like New York, Ohio and Indiana, would take exception to it bocause it would lessen and almost destroy their present political importance. In a vote by the whole nation a3 one constituency tho majority in Vermont would have more weight than tho small plurality of an almost evenly divided largo State. If a change is to be made tho only practical plan would be tho abolition of tho olectoral machinery and a direct voting for President and Vice President by the people of the several States oach Stato to be on - titled to as many Presidential votes as it has now electors or Senators and Representatives in Congress. This is tho plan which Andrew Jackson urgently and repeatedly recommended in messages to Congross more than half a contury ago. His suggestions went for nothing, and even now it is doubtul whether so moderato a change, which would not interfere either with State rights or with party interests, can be adopted during tho remaining years of this centnry. SvJTalo Courier.