The Westminster Budget from London,  on March 31, 1893 · Page 22
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The Westminster Budget from London, · Page 22

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London, England
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Friday, March 31, 1893
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Page 22
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2o JAN VAN BEERS AT HOME. " PEOPLE say that it's a madman's work, and that nobody will be able to live in it when it is finished." This is what Mr. Jan Van Beers said to the Paris representative of THE WESTMINSTER BUDGET, speaking about the new house that he is building in a little street just off the Avenue du Bois de Boulogne, whither he hopes to move his habitation and his studio about the middle of the summer. Photo. l>vl JAN VAN BEERS. [Stereoscopic Co. DIABLERIE IN DOMESTIC -ARCHITECTURE. " Yes," he continued, " it appears that my house is creating quite a sensation in the neighbourhood, and that groups of people can be seen at all hours of the day standing about it, staring at it with holy awe. The more adventurous have watched their opportunity, and when the back of my excellent architect, Mr. H. Lestrille, has been turned, have darted in and explored. The entrance hall is a great octagon, and there are doors and holes in the walls which puzzle the wits out of the good people. The whole design is mine, indeed I constructed a model of it in cardboard. This I submitted to Mr. Lestrille, who is a young architect of great talent and immense originality, "and, save for some technical details, he accepted my model. There Avas an impossible staircase which he made me take out, for it led nowhere. It is going to be a wonderful place. 1 am investing all my fortune in it. Such mouldings, such arrangement of electric light, to produce effects of colour, electrical and fin de sicclc innovations ! Lestrille is, perhaps, the only man I could have found 4h Paris able to follow the wildness of my fancy—my diablerie, in short. He is a young man of great taste and, I believe, of a fine future." THE TWO VAN BEERS. Van Beers, though forty years old, looks thirty, with his glossy black hair, bright eyes, and fresh complexion. He was dressed in sober black, a tjuiet, modest man, with just a tinge of regretfulness in his voice, and a little sadness about his manner. To the right of the divan on which we sat was a large historical picture triptych, with life-sized figures representing the death of a certain Flemish poet of the thirteenth century, who on his deathbed predicted the overfall of some wicked king. It was signed "Jan Van Beers, 1879," and was in curious contrast to the little " Frileuse" on a neighbouring easel, who holds her muff up to her lips and has the merriest eyes. No more striking proof of how a change of surroundings can completely transform an artist's psychology could be found than the Van Beers of then and the Van Beers of now. FROM ANCIENT HISTORY TO THE MODERN PARISIENNE. " As soon as I had finished my school," said the artist, " my father asked me what I would like to become, and at my request I studied art at Antwerp. All my early pictures were large historical subjects, and the first picture that I sold was ' The Burial of Charles the Good,' which Was purchased by. and is now hanging in the Amsterdam Museum. It sold for 12,000 francs, which was exactly what it had cost me to produce it. Another historical picture which I did about that time was my THE WESTMINSTER BUDGET. 4 Death of Jacques Van Arteveide,' which was bought by Portaels, the director of the Brussels Academy, for his private house. In 1880 I came to Paris, and almost at once abandoned historical pictures. One reason was that these brought me in no money, but a stronger reason was that it had become impressed upon me that one ought to paint what one sees ; and what is the best thing, the most interesting thing, that one sees in Paris if not her women ? So I set to painting women, and my first picture was my ' Soir d'Ete,' with a lady in pink in a park in which there is a flute-playing statue. That eventually sold for 12,000 francs. My next was the ' Yacht la Sereine,' the officer of marine escorting a lady down the steps of a pier. A " MASSACRE DE REPRODUCTION." " This was my first great success, and it has been reproduced ad infinitum. A Mr. Legras purchased from me the right of reproduction, and I was glad to take £50 for that right. Well, with a horrid chromo-lithograph, this Mr. Legras—he told me so himself—made a profit of close upon £4,000. Braun also made heaps of money out of it, reproducing it in every shape and form, on palettes, on bon-bon , boxes—a real 1 massacre de reproduction.' For a long time all that I received from that success of mine was Mr. Legras's £50, because people didn't care to buy a picture which had been so popular­ ised, and it was only about eight months ago that I sold the original to a Chilian lady who lives in London, and who paid me £1,000 for it. My next picture was ' Embarque,' a man and a woman in a boat, the man in a striped jersey seen from behind. MASHERS AS MODELS. " People have often asked me where I see all the pretty women whom I paint. Well, they belong chiefly to the half-world. All my pictures are from models, and I know where to find them whenever I want them. It requires a good deal of diplomacy to get them to pose. One has to pet and coax them, and even then they often leave you in the lurch. But, fortunately, I never need to detain a model long. As to my men, my swells, my mashers, as you call them—as, for instance, the men in my ' Introduction,' ' My friend Mr. White'—they are the MARCH 31, 1893. 0 1 ~, ...JO sCwv «-nauueuiy conic and sit for me, and who don't mind being a little chaffed in consequence." THE FISHERIES EXHIBITION. THE Fisheries Exhibition, which is now open at the Royal Aquarium, is a decided advance on last year's Piscatorial. In addition to the fishing tackle manufacturers, who then made up almost the whole display, we have this year exhibits of river boats, fishing punts, steam launches, electric boats, models of fishing smacks, cruising canoes, life buoys, sea anchors, and oil bags for rendering the mouth of a harbour smooth. When all is so good, it seems invidious to particularise, but the vei v fine display of rods made by Mr. Hardy, of Alnwick, the capital collection of Mr. Slater, of Newark, and the extensive display of Mr. Enright, of Castleconnell, the latter of whom shows that there is one industry, at least, the Emerald Isle can more than hold her own agains, the Saxon—all of these deserve special commendation. Mr. Richardson, of Kingston-on-Thames, has stocked his stand with some very fine specimens, whilst Messrs. Agden & Scotford, of Cheltenham, are in no way behind. Mr. Cooper, of High Holborn, shows, in addition, guns, &.c, all of which repay inspection. Mr. Bernard, of Piccadilly, has brought together a capital set of tackle, &c, and Mr. Ogden Smith has placed on exhibition a show which quite equals any of the others. The Electric Cycle Company are exhibiting a decided novelty in the shape of a skiff propelled by electricity. Amongst the boat builders, Messrs. Hani- merton, of Kingston ; Turk, of Kingston ; Shepherd & Dee, of Henley-on-Thames ; East, of Reading, are each showing the best specimens of their various specialities. Amongst the miscellaneous exhibits may be mentioned the admirable nautical photos of Messrs. Symons, of Portsmouth, and Messrs. West, of Southsea ; the castings of the Phospho-Bronze Company ; the anchors and chains of Messrs. Parkes, of Tipton ; the glasses and telescopes of Mr. Arthur; and the meteorological instruments of Mr. Davis. The Barker Boat Company show specimens of their folding fishing boats ; altogether the display is very varied. The catalogue contains a great deal of interesting information, and the article on the price of fish will doubtless lead to a very profitable discussion. FXHlBTflON

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