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The sun. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1833-1916, November 10, 1912, FOURTH SECTION MAGAZINE, Image 46

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Yes, Declare the Supporters of the New
Decorative Art Movement in France,
Among Whom Is Douce t
I'ahis, November 1.
IS the vogue for collecting antiques
passing? Is the Interest that has
been concentrated therein about to
be transferred to the cultivation
of a now stylo of decoration? That
this 1b happening Is the opinion of the
most vigorously progressive artistic
group In Paris, several members of
which have already suited the action to
tho word In entering the Held.
Thero Is no longer n king In France
to further the arts by his patronage
ind set his seal of approval upon a cer
tain style, but wealthy men are now
awakening to a theme in which artists
have for some time been absorbed and
by their orders for Fpcclal designs are
opening up a wider Held than existed In
the old days.
Not many months ago nil Paris was
astir over the dispersing of one of Its
most famous collections of antiques,
that of Jacques Doucet. The question
"For what reason?" has often been
asked. I had recently the good fortune
of finding myself In conversation with
Xt Doucet nnd lost no time In put
ting,' to him the oft repeated query.
Hlstnnswer was the preface to several
Interesting conversations on the same
subject which 1 have had In the last
f i w days. Remember In reading his
words that there Is a greater con
noisseur of decoration than this man
Who has spent his rife collecting, study
h g, surounded by the treasures of the
a: tistlc past.
For some time M. Doucet said he had
b ka drawn toward a study of the Im
p esslonlst -painters and their succes
sors, tho so-called Post-Impresslonlsts.
Tho best work by these artists attracted
him by the beauty of Its strength so
much more than the works of the past
that he gradually experienced a change
In his principles. He realized that In
estimating the value of the art of the
past he, like many others, had been mis
'od. The defect of modern decoration
ay in this fury of things of the past,
heir collecting nnd copying, leaving no
time for developing an art of the pres
ent day.
When the "bcl age" of Greece was
surrounded by its colored statues all
was fresh und guy, Ttie .Marquise de
I'ompadour and Marie Antoinette and
.fosephlno made their coiffure's and
their plays nnd divorces in scenes that
)Vero bright und new us well as sump
tuously fashioned. To be surrounded
constantly by n setting thnt requires
dust and moth holes to muku Its lieuuty
tompletc, Doucet finds, Is to be ex
posed to a weakening moral Influence,
"Make the things of tho prese.nt ns
beautiful as those of the past; In thnt
respect only copy them. Forget the
quantity, think of the quality of tho
output; correct, In other words, tho
' crying sin of thu day. (This last from
a Fronchman to Frenchmen. What
would ho say to our factories In Mich
igan?) Seek for a thing of beauty,
Uot ,a new style; the new style will
Ind Itself, The beauty of antiques,
.vhen they have no special personal
I association, Is seen to best advantage
' 'n museums, where they may bo eon
j mltcd. Kvery new style Is n out
growth of another, following the needs
at the day.
M. Doucet Is occunvlng himself with
lilt? wvuut w. ..v., tin iiipiitiihn
l,la f.rnn n tin rt ment . vhlrh Im tiuu1
. n-nnn .if ....... I .. I . I 4 .
j'.Wipty save for a bed and a bathtub.
Curiously enough, at Just about tho
(time of tho Doucet sale of antiques an
"'Interesting loan exposition of modern
f French artB and crafts was In prog-
CrxVist Art in . EoorWa.y Fcde o gSf j' k J JOS I " "deception Poom Furnishings.
I ress In several historic houses lent for
the purpose to that indefatigable or
ganizer the Countess do Ureffhule.
The Iden, carried out too hurriedly for
I the bent results, gave n somewhat
more popular Impetus thrqugh the few
surprises It contulned to n movement
which had already a strong following
In ocrtnln quarters.
First of all, the movement has noth
ing to do with art nouveau; it might
be said to be In reaction or opposition
to that unhappy phase if elsewhere
than In Jewelry enough Importance
had ever leen given It by serious peo
ple to warrant such an assertion, In
asmuch as strength rather than weak
ness nnd suppression of ornament
rather than Its cultivation although
legitimate ornament Is necessarily not
effaced nro the chief points aimed nt
by these seekers of n new style.
No architecture, either of Interior or
exterior, has suffered like the French
from the valuing of ornamentation over
construction, nnd it Is therefore nat
ural that the most vigorous movement
In an opposite direction should ema
nate from It.
Tho French decorative movement Is
of a much higher and more serious
order than thnt of Munich, with which
It has nothing In common. In Its ef
fort for strength the Munich school
seems to sacrifice almost everything
else; If ugliness is strength Its prod
ucts generally have the result In their
square lines and strong colors. All the
Frenchmen with whom I have talked
about the new movement use tradition
ns their base; with the Germans the
bizarre seems to be the goal.
An amusing story Is told by a wealthy
Frenchman who called In a designer of
the Munich school to make him a din
ing table. Shortly after the man
brought him a design for a table that
swung from the celling on chains, the
motion of which would uncomfortably
recall eating on board ship.
There Is at present at the Salon
d'Automne nn excellent chance to com
pare the work of the French designers
with that of the more talked of German
school, which gave an exhibition at the
same place two years ngo. The Ger-
man exhibition attracted interest, hut
certainly there were few among the
settings that one would wish to live In.
In the details there was much that
wus good und original und, 1 think, of
profit to tho French. Some plans by
Hob MalleS.Htcvcns, consistently in the
Munich style, glvc'u still nearer Illus
tration of the ends of the two schools.
out of tho thirty or more designs
for rooms ut tho Salon there nro two
or threo thut give real promise. It Is
a disappointment that the pioneer of
tho entlru movement, the architect,
Louis Sue, Is not exhibiting tills year.
It nppears his plans could be carried
out only by pushing, and perfection in
such things, according to this brilliant i
young enthusiast, Is very slowly arrived '
nt, A French art critic's recent refer-1
enco to the "feverish search" for a !
style has deeply offended. '
Now that the Salon rooms arc at
last completed tho viewpoint of the
Decorative Art Group begins to make
Itself apparent. Many people feel that
the talk of "a new style," which Is
now occupying Purls, will soon be
changed to "the new iMyle."
Its most accepted authority, whom I
found In his olllco on tho Quul Vol- j
talre. Is very hopeful. According to '
M, Sue the moment has arrived when
something should bo done In the field
of decoration.
This present Salon d'Automne, tho
1 mK tffll H Wl ft
tenth of Its kind, has been lauded by
Its academic rivals for tho control of
Its anarchistic tendencies, its approach
to self-discovery tho decorator's mo
ment. The manners nnd customs of our
times naturally lead us to tho severo;
an uppronch to uco-Greek was notice
able to M. Sue In the style to which wo
seem to drift, necessarily un outcome,
of the Kmplre, the last pure style of
decoration In France. The strength of
present day painting has compelled at
tention after the softness of tho era
Style Dining Eoom.
preceding; tho seeking for definition
is a sure indication of the stability of
the movement, Hut he does not think
all that Is being dona at present Is
beyond criticism, though It Is certainly
inclining toward the development of a
rich, simple style,
A good point brought out was thnt
the finely composed and fashioned mod
ern article should be able to tuko Its
place in a room bcsldo tho most dis
tinguished objects of another ngo. This
well defines the discretion of the view
point. M. Sue thought the right man
Bom rukuuer atbvbms.
tiacMiree.TR. r i
may discover tho thing In Cubism.
Do not start! Cubism Is the gen
eralized term for harmony of line not
necessarily In cubes. For that reason
ho found the so-culled Cubist room by
Andre Mure (which had no more cubes
In It than a picture by Cezanne, the
patron saint of the Cubist) tho most
Interesting of tho exhibit, tho most
perfect In Its harmony of lino and
The theme In this room Is the Ionic
volute, simplified In tho furniture, played
upon In every variation In the hangings
Interesting Specimens of the Work Latest
School of Interior Ornamentation
Shown at the Autumn Salon
and details. The color of the room Is
rich blue; the furniture, beautiful In 1U
discreet carving, Is painted gray nnd blue.
Tho facade of the house by Duchamp
Villon, In which this exhibit Is shown,
has caused much comment among archi
tects and artists who count It the feature
of the entire exhibition, though not the
most perfect piece of work.
In printed hangings Is perhaps found
the nearest approich to perfection of
the new movement. Some of tho
printed window muslins and cretonnes,
of beautiful weave, are splendid In their
Interpretation of a natural motif in
which an artistic avoidance of direct
copying Is one of the chief character
istics. Paul Polret, under the name of
Martlne, has given a surprise In tho
beauty of five or six designs out of an
exhibit a little too large for Its own suc
cess. This remarkable adapter seems
to have found his real expression in In
terior decorating; little does It matter
that the finest of his color schemes are
borrowed from Leon Ilakst,
While they have carefully avoided tho
"Ah, is this Mr. Wllklns?" Inquired
the visitor In a small town, grasping the
other's hand with a Jerking, nervous
shake. He was portly In the equatorial
region, had carefully ttlmmed side whis
kers, wore a it tie and had the air of a
man of authority. Being assured that it
was Mr Wllklns, the newcomer con
tinued: "I am Mr. New Yorker of tho
olllco of Mr. Norton, president of the Na
tional Wholesale Company. I'.ve dropped
In here on a little visit while on a hurried
and extended Western trip to have a little
conference about our shipping arrange
ments. Mr. Norton was very anxious to
i have me see you and talk It over."
I Mr. Wllklns greeted the visitor cordially
and sat him in a big comfortable chair.
The New Yorker seemed anxious to talk.
J "Yes,, you know, Mr. Norton Is presl
i dent," he said, "but he Is such a bus'
man, has so many other Interests, that I,
being his coninientl.il man, have to take
over the active executive work of his
oltlce for the most part. Wonderful busi
ness, the National Wholesale Company.
So much letter writing alone that we
have llfty dictaphones."
A discussion begun between the two
men about tiado conditions, carload lots,
dlfTeientlals, congested freight, excessive
demuriuge, discounts and the like. He
roic the conversation wus well entered
upon the visitor observed with tho air of
a one night stand actor:
"This Is the first time I have visited
your hustling little city, and I must say
that I am somewhat surpilsed over its
evident rapid growth. 1 had no Idea you
had BUch a fine hotel, A monument, no
doubt, some wealthy i evident erected. In
New York, you know, we have thousands
of then i. And some of thorn aro tremen
dous, magnificent. The Astor, tho St.
Regis, the Ititz-Cai lton, the Waldorf and
so on,
"Kverythlng In tho world you wunt.
Wonder ful, wonderful ! They tear down
u fifteen story hotel to put up a forty
story one. There's no telling where it
will end. Have to do It, though. Five and
a half million people there now."
"What do you think of our bank build-
Ing for a small town?" asked Mr. Wllklns.
"It certainly does the town credit. You
ought to see the big ones we have in New
York, though. The Woolwoith llulldlng,
fifty-five stories high ; elevators carry
'.III nl ..n b tU.. .... Anna. O K A A
fun iuiii it, iiti' iii iikui , m,uviv uiiivm i
1,000 windows ; 750 feet from the pave-
ment. There's the Metropolitan it)
feet high ; the Municipal nulldlng, a huge
pile; the Singer and the rest,
"Hy tho way, I notice some rather old
homes In your city. There ought to be a
lot of that there antique furniture in this
I place. My wife, you know, Is quite a col-
ns they are called, arc over reuii
acknowledge the Inspiration given
by thoso wonderful stage settings
Dlnphlle's ballet.
Which brings us to the Theatn
Arts. No reference to tho present
Ject would be complete without at
acknowledgment or what M, Ilouche
Its proprietor, has done In furtheran:
of an Important branch of the move,
ment: the creating of n.modcrn s'yl
of French theatre decoration. Cert iln
of his Interior settings have, In tiiolt
necessarily curtailed manner, been full
of a line suggestion. Tho best, by Mux.
Imo do Thomas, have led Doucet to th
engagement of this artist for the design.
Ing of furnishings for his new home.
M. do Thomas (himself a wenlthy mm
and. until recently a collector) works
out his design; he Is surrounded by th
finest examples of a past art, which lie
says arc Invaluable In firing his miml
tlon to surpass them In beauty.
lector of old furniture and all that sort of
thing. I never could sco much urn- In
gathering it up, scouring all over tlir
world for Just what you want, spending
a lot of money for it ; but It amuses lirr
and as long as she derives any pleasure
from It I've no kick coming.
"I was quite surprised, though, on re
turning home the other day to And that
she had picked up a genulno Louey XIV
from the Chateau d'Oreneaux In France
and a genulno Henry VIII. from the Kw
son Castle In England. Got 'em In a little
store on a side street in New York. Ab
solutely authentic record. I tell you, juu
can And anything in little old New York
If you Just know where to look for It,
"There's a big duty on these things Is
there much agitation over here about the
tariff? It's a serious problem. What a
big farce this American Government of
ours is any way I Some of these days a
mob will form, march right through
Iiroadway and swoop down on the Capi
tol at Washington and take possesion.
It's quite possible.
"You have a fairly good street car sjs
tern here for the place. The subway's
the thing In New York. Seventy-five inll-s
of It altogether. Will cost $300,000,000.
Can carry 5,000,000 passengers a da
Most comprehensive In the world.
"1 see In your dally paper here ths'
they are raising Culn over the parcels
post. That's another big fuko schcm
Not much need of It any wuy; you ca
havo parcels delivered promptly at low
cost anywhere in New York city. Oie.i
system of corporations there.
"I hope it doesn't rain. I'vo got t
make a long Western trip going clear t
Pittsburg, you know. Kver been that fa
West? Ought to run over to Denver ni-i
Milwaukee wife's relatives live then'
but I can't spare tho extra day. Wo New
Yorkers are kept on the Jump, you know
"Speaking of rain: some of these dajs
some fellow will Invent a system to cum
trol the water fall of the country lift the
water from the bay and sprlnklo It ovei
New York Just when needed, you know
lllg cry ahead, but science is making re
markable strides and you never can ten
"Ah, boy. Hlng for a tuxl for me, will
you. What! No taxi system? Itotten,
Well, one may expect such when one gets
Into a provincial town like tills. How
do you get along, Mr. Wllklns?
"Awfully glad I've had this little busi
ness talk with you. Mr, Norton very
anxious about It. Hope our business rela
tions will be closer and more Intlumte
Glad Indeed to have had this tulk about
your town; I am able to understand your
situation over hero exactly and I'll lay It
right before Mr. Norton. Ever In New
York come right to my houso first thing.
Mrs. New Yorker will be delighted to en
tertaln you. Good day"
too great effort for strength !
German colnrlstc In the rich, clenr
of many of their schemes, the Sue g.

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