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THE WASHINGTON HERALD, , SUNDAY, APRIL, 6. 1913.
KATE CAREW, GAZES HER ECSTATIC FILL ON A POST-CUBIST
The American Studies ' Sublime Elementalism" in the
The Youthful, Attractive Spaniard Proves Shy and Re
tiring, but Prolific of "Ohs!" and Irritable' Only
When His Pictures Are Discussed His VisJ
itor Proves Lucky in Guessing Mean
ing of. Certain Paintings.
Presence of No Less Lofty a Post-Impressionist than
Picasso, Follower of Matisse, Forerunner of
Heaven Alone Knows What in the
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Field of "Advanced Art"
BY KATE CAKEW.
Paxil, March 29.
lOMS a little rearer and look very
Intelligent and soulful, dear ones,
for we are point to talk some
what of the return to "Sublime Elemental
Ism." Rolls out rather -well, doesn't It?
By this time you are busy discussing; It
among yourselves, anyhow,, I Imagine, and
you're having heated arguments as to
whether It is really the "heart of paint
. Ins" or an "Insult to the intelligence,"
" because, of course. They are In your midst
now, or, rather, They have sent over ex
pressions of Themselves for you to see
and judge en masse.
Still, In case you don't follow me I'll
tell you at once what I mean by It and
It is Post-Impressionism and They are
the Post-Impressionists t
In Paris we are saturated with It!
GET IT ON ALL SIDES.
Vulgarly speaking;, we lap it up every
where. We talk of It in the salons, we
lauRh at it on the boulevards and we
quarrel over it in the cafds.
Yes. it's everywhere; In everything.
It's insidious. It's stealthy!
It is influencing ideas, clothes, liter
ature and house decoration. If it con
tinues we'll all be talking in words of one
syllable, and goodness knows what we will
look like. Certainly, brand new ideals of
beauty will come into vogue.
It has wakened the "Boule MIche" to
a conversational era, like to that historic
time when Verlalne and his followers used
to hold frequenters of the cafes spellbound
with their wild ideas and wilder talk of
Now it is eager-eyed young men who
have their favorite tables, and who hold
forth for and against the New Movement
They are awfully emphatic, awfully in
earnest and crazy to fling out words,
words, words !
In fact, I don't see how they have time
for anything else in the way of painting
or writing, for they're so busy chatting
I've studied the Post-Impressionists, the
Cubists and the Futurists. I've been as
painstaking as an eager child in groping
for points of view, but I'm still In the
dark. I can't get into the spirit of It
Maybe I'm old-fashioned, behind the
times and all that, but there it is. You
know the worst
And yet I am not quite bo hopelessly
vague about it all as I was, for I've met
a Post-Impressionist one of the leading
ones, and from a casual study of him I
have advanced a step or two in knowl
edge. PAINTING SOUL OF TANGIER.
I yearned to encounter Matisse, but that
was out of the question, for he has left
Paris and is down in Tangier, painting
the soul of It In red and yellow. I expect
The next was Picasso.
Pjcasbo, who paints In cubes from choice,
who sees souls in cubes, who used to pict
ure normal men and women and then sud
denly took to the cubic system as a
means of expression.
Picasso, the follower of Matisse, the
forerunner of heaven only knows what
Picasso could be seen, said those who
knew him. but it was difficult He was
shy, retiring and mute, especially on the
subject of wis pictures. "Don't," they
added, "don't speak of his pictures, what
ever else you say!"
"Why, what will happen? Will he sim
ply turn and tear me limb from limb, or
will he flee my baleful presence?" I asked
with a perfectly natural curiosity.
1 DON'T KNOW .WHETHER PICASSO WAS SEEING ME. IN. .CUIE
AND QUAREt, .
"Oh.io," they said In chorus, "nothing
like that; but It .Irritates him."
Now does that seem a natural trait?
It doesn't Irritate me a bit to have you
talk to me or writs me about my pict
ures. You can always say just what you
like or don't like.
But. of course, I crossed my heart and
swore three times that I would be on
my best non-1 ntervi owing behavior. " I
would have a simple chat with the timid,
nervous one and. like the walrus. I would
talk of many things, but never a Picasso
I'd merely study the type of man who
paints Buffalo Bill In blocks which look
like slate roofs or any old odds and ends
and puts Kubclik In lsoscles triangles or
whatever it pleases you to call them.
I'd only seek for the soul of him and
see whether he is spoofing us, or whether
he really expects ub to find something
inspiring In his picture puzzles.
Our meeting, so pregnant with possibili
ties, was In a studio, a post-impressionist
studio, owned by an American who buys
. post-impressionist paintings for sheer iove
It was a great long, low room, with
windows high up toward the celling, de
lightful bits of shabby, old-fashioned fur
niture, carved chests with handmade
locks, odd little tables and quaint high
-And the walls were given over to Pi
No. that Is an exaggeration.
There were several of Matisse's efforts
as well, and there was a Cezanne and,
really, so rapidly has the movement
hopped along, the Cezanne, a nude, mis
shapen woman, looked quite a simple and
old-fashioned affair among these later
I got there early, and the Picasso had
not yet come, so I had a chance to satu
rate myself again in his style.
There were some earlier things of his
to be seen a pretty, slender,' little girl
in the altogether, bearing a small buncn
of flowers, and a woman lying on a couch.
There were one or two portraits and
Then commenced the cubic period.
I cannot dwell on those, for I don't
know how to describe them, but one huge
canvas fascinated me. On it were two
enormous red figures all divided Into sec
tions. I should so like to know what they
meant to him, but I never shall, for I
wasn't allowed to ask Picasso, and I
don't think anybody else could explain
it at all.
"Tell me," I said to 'the Hostess. "Do
you understand them?" And I gave a
comprehensive wave of my hand.
EARNEST, UNAVAILING PLEA. T
"Then do give me the key," I pleaded.
"I'vo got an open mind. I like new
movements. I believe they all make for
progress. I may become a disciple of
the sehool if only I can get an Idea what
It all means."
But she simply said sweetly, and with a
slight superiority, methought:
"My dear girl, one can't explain these
things. You must simply find them for
"But don't you sometimes have to ask
him for the first inkling as to what he Is
striving after in his work7" I pursued,
feeling so ignorant and uncouth.
"No," she replied, "dear me, no! I al
ways understand, or course."
I was out in the cold. That was all
there was to it, and me with such an
eager. Inquiring, young mind, too!
I looked at the biggest Matisse.
It showed gentlemen and ladles old
enough to know better, very lightly clad
for the time of year or any time of year.
They appeared to be eating fruit and
"Anything to do with the Garden of
Eden?" I inquired, tentatively.
My first step In the right direction. 1
was getting on, and my head swelled a
Thus encouraged, I progressed still fur
ther. I went and squinted at some pink
and blue and yellow chrysanthemum-like
"Do you know," I said dreamily, "I
seem to get a kind of Japanese feeling
here," and I put my head a trifle to the
side and gazed.
"There you are!" exclaimed my hostess
triumphantly. "That's Just It That's
what I mean. One can't explain these
things one must feel. One must not
look for details, one must get an impres
sion, an emotion. That, is a portrait of
Matisse's wife in her Japanese kimono."
It seemed to have been an excellent
guess. I was in luck.
CAUGHT THE KIMONO, ANYWAY.
Now. between ourselves, I never did
find Mme. Matisse In the picture, but 1
am practically sure that I traceVi the
kimono; I found that among the chrysan
My stock jumped up with alacrity after
that brilliant effort I was treated as an
One or two others strolled lntp the
studio, for it Is a delightful, informal
meeting place for those who have ideas.
You Just lift the latch and walk In and
you find yourself among congenial If ar
If you haven't got ideas, you never dis
cover the way there, for no one ever tells
you about it
Well, the last time the latch lifted it
was Picasso who entered and stood in
the doorway blinking at us in the glare
of the electric light
PICASSO AND HIS COMRADE.
A short stocky, boyish figure with one
hand on the head of a huge snow white
Amid a chorus of welcome. he came fur
ther into the room, nodded amiably to
every one and was presented to me, the
He looks very young. He is thirty-one,
reajly, but hp does not seem anywhere
near that He Is built like an athlete,
with his unusually broad shoulders and
masculine frame, and his hands and feet
are a contradiction, as they are very small
and delicately formed. His hands look
older than his face, for they are veined
and knotted like the hands of the aged;
yet they are artistic, with long, pointed
fingers, and. sensitive, delicate finger tips.
His face is another contradiction.
It is the face' of a Spanish troubadour.
You instinctively long to see him with
a sombrero and a cloak and a red rose
between his lips, twanging a guitar.
He "has a smooth, olive skin guiltless of
hair on cheek or chin or mouth. His
features are perfect A Grecian nose,
beautifully formed mouth, eyes set rather
wide apart under well arched brows, and
thick, black hair cut short except for
one lock which will come straggling
down over his forehead.
It Isn't the face of a fanatic or a
It isn't the face of a practical business
man whq'sees possible sales In sensa
It Isn't ihe face of a humorist who
jtm)a oiy n-ooAafc fuUsitw-pabKo,
EVEN LOCATE THE SOUL OF
No; It Is the very handsome face of a
simple, sincere artist, without much
sense of humor, perhaps, but with1 convic
tion and strength.
How he can ever paint such ugly fig
ures as he does, when he has only to
look in a mirror, copy what he sees, and
turn out something worth the trouble, I
His clothes were still another contradic
tion. They were well built and quite
American In cut that is, they were sort
of loose and baggy and square In the
He wore a sack coat suit of a warm
brown, that golden brown tint the leaves
take on In autumn, a black cravat most
carefully tied, and a quite Irreproachable
Not a touch of the bohemlan here.
Those ctothes might have Just come from
the Stock Exchange or an afternoon at
the Country Club.
I gazed from this nice, neat, little man
to those conceptions of his brain and
works of his hands which hung all around
me, and I couldn't make things fit at all.
A BETRAYAL OF CONFIDENCE.
I consider that Post-Impressionists
ought to live up to their pictures. It is
not fair that they should go around look
ing quite normal and natural when they
are trying to make us see things In ab
Oh, how I wanted to tell him all this
and here was I on my word of honor and
my best behavior!
The dog walked right along with nis
master, and when the artist ensconced
himself in a high-back chair and tucked
his feet up on one of the rungs, doggie
stretched out In front and gazed up at
him In canine adoration.
Will he ever have the heart to paint
that faithful dog soul In cubes and
I didn't find Picasso an easy mankto en
gage in conversation possibly because I
was so limited in what I was to be al
lowed to say to him. I suppose I stared
rather hard at him for a few seconds,
but he didn't seem to mind a bit, he Just
returned the look with a direct glance
from his bright, brown eyes.
A TRIFLING MISTAKE.
"What a lovely dog!" I gushed, for a
beginning. "What kind is he?"
He put me right at once.
"I don't really know what kind." he
responded, "but 'he happens to be a
Just "Oh!" from Katie.
Then another heavy pause fell between
us, and I furtively gazed. at the pictures
and then at him.
My dears,, he has the soul of a wizard,
that -man. He read my thoughts like an
open book and', he straightened up f nd
frowned coldly upon me as,he tossed, back
the errant lock of hair.
Then up came the Hostess In tbe.nlck
of time, gracious and smiling.
"I've seen the report of the exhibition
In -New York," she informed him.
"Ah!" murmured Picasso In bored ac
cents, exactly as if he hadn't inythlng In
the show at all, and you know he has.
"Yes," shs continued, "but It was a
very short one, e.d there was no men
tion of you."
"Ah!" said Picasso, and the subject
tnreaieneo. to arop. g
"I bonder what America will say to the
pictures?" I queried, vivaciously, of no
one In particular. .
"Oh, x tusk popie wUiWy wot-lii-
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tie," volunteered the Hostess. "They
won't dare. They'll be afraid of saying
the wrong thing, of criticising adversely,
lest they prove behind the times."
"Ah!" said Picasso, and the conviction
reached me that he doesn't really care
a bit what we say.
"I don't agree with you," I chimed in
quickly, turning to the Hostess. "Amer
ica dares express opinions for herself. She
is not like England, who never discovers,
but waits to be told what she must like
and dislike. England was really funny
during her first attack of Post-Impressionism.
"Yes." smiled the Hctess- "I remem
ber that, and I remember one daring soul
wanted to know why you had put a vio
lin In the portrait of Kubelik."
Picasso smiled with evident enjoyment
of this Joke, and he showed two rows of
f strong, even, white teeth.
"How did you rind England funny?"
ho asked, turning his head toward me
and fixing me with those steadfast eyes.
He is exactly like a straightforward
schoolboy when he asks a question.
WATCHING THEIR NEIGHBORS.
"Oh. I mean the English didn't like to
commit themselves by criticism. They
walked round and round the rooms in
stolid silence, stealing furtive glances at
their neighbors to see how they were af
fected." "And you think Americans are differ
ent?" pursued Picasso.
"Yes, very. I think you can count upon
them to give their opinions."
"Ah," said Picasso.
He had finished with the subject and
with me for the present so he dismissed
us and leaned toward the Hostess, ad
dressing her in his low, deep voice:
"I didn't get any tickets for the fight
next week," he said. "They were too
dear. I will get some-another time, when
there is a less expensive fight going on."
I stared in surprise. One doesn't think
of artists regularly attending prize
fights. HER DESIRE EXPLAINED.
The Hostess explained.
"I want Monsieur Picasso to take me
to a fight," she said. "I have wished to
see a real o'ne ever since I 'saw the
cinema pictures of the big Johnson fight."
Picasso nodded solemnly.
"They were 'very pretty, those cinema
I looked at him. v
He meant it; but of course, you must
remember the French often use the word
pretty in the sense that we use nice.
"They were good, agreed the Hostess.
"Oh, well, another time we'll surely ar
range to go."
"Ah, yes," said Picasso.
I glanced at the picture above us. It
was of a man, evidently an athlete or a
fighter. He was clad in trunks and had
huge, protruding muscles.
I should like to have said a word about
this In connection1 with fighting, but
there was my honor at stake; so I
simply Inquired discreetly whether the
artist liked boxing.
Ho never dilates qn any subject you
"Did youlver have any ambition to be
a professional boxer when you were a
small boy?" I continued as animatedly as
possible, considering the little encourage
ment I received.
He raised his eyebrows as If he won
dered what possible interest, this could,
taT for xb but unrt4 la fete V
rlous way and In his Spanish-French, i
which is very sibilant and therefore a lit
tle difficult for me to follow.
"Ah, no; 2 always wanted to be a
He put one of those prematurely aged
little hands into the pocket of his coat
and procured a long, slender pipe with a
small, round bowl.
""May I?" he 'said, giving It a graceful
He proceeded to fill it and light it with
"Did you begin to paint when you were
very young?" I pursued, ruthlessly.
"Oh, yes, "and always I was among
painters. My father was one, and was
connected with the Beaux-Arts In Barce
lona, as well."
Then he took me over and showed me
a picture. He didn't really ask me to go.
He got up and I followed him and he
pointed out a small" painting with the
stem of his pipe and explained that he
did It when he was sixteen or seventeen
years of age.
OF HIS EARLIER STYLE.
It was an effective little study of three
figures and was full of grace and skill
and ho stood looking at it a moment with
a sort of amused tolerance.
It belonged to a remote period in the
history of his development.
Personally. I think It Is a pity but, of
course, as I said, this Is not an art
I "couldn't pursue the subject further
without straining a point of honor, so we
went back to our chairs. I sat down, but
he stood leaning over the tall back of his
chair and puffed away at his pipe, while
the dog, taking it as a signal, rose, shook
herself, waited a moment, then settled
down on the floor again.
I don't know whether Picasso was see
ing me in cubes and squares, but he was
certainly placing me as a type.
"What part of America Is your home7"
he asked suddenly.
THAT SUFFRAGE "HIKE."
"Some of your women are walking to
Vashlngton to ask for a vote," he In
formed me, solemnly. "For me I find that
rather ridiculous. How many hours wlli
it tako them to get to Vashlngton?"
''Hours!" I exclaimed. "Why. it will
take them days. I don't know how many,
but several, certainly."
"Ah," and he puffed away at his pipe.
"Perhaps you also are a suffragette,"
"I am," I acknowledged, with pride, "or
rather. I am a suffragist"
"And the difference?" he queried like a
. I explained it to the best of my ability.
"You do not break windows then, eh?"
he questioned, gravely.
"Not many," -Jr assured him cheerfully.
"Have you any suffragettes in Spain, or
don't you have any votes there, anyhow?"
THINKS SPAIN HAS NONE.
"Oh. yes, we have votes there," and
he seemed shocked at my lack of knowl
edge of sunny Spain; "but I think there
are no suffragettes, and I think I am
"Well, there are places where women
have the vote in America, you know," I
"Yes, yes," he nodded. "California and
"Sydney! Why, Sydney Isn't In Amer
ica!" said I, much more shocked at his
lack of knowledge of my country than he
had been at mine.
"Ah," came through a thick haze of
"No, certainly not" I said almost se
verely; "Sydney Is in Australia."
"Well, Reno Is in America," he re
marked, giving me a conciliating smile.
"And, tell me, do you know this English
suffragette family, this mother and her
three daughters, Christabel and Chrysalis
He laughed at this little Joke on Pank
I told him I did, and I painted them In
Post-Impresslonlst style for him, because
I saw that the woman of to-day Is as
great a mystery to his Spanish male mind
as his pictures are to the world.
"You have oneof the Pankhursts In
Paris now." I said. "Christabel. Why
don't you do a portrait of her?"
He took this quite seriously.
"I do not even know her," he replied,
and he seemed "to be considering how to
remedy this; so if you ever see Christabel
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who first mothered the Idea.
"A Frenchwoman, Madame Severlne,
wanted to be President of France," con
tinued Picasso, with his delicious solem
nity and the pipe clutched in one hand.
"No, not Madame Severlne," I corrected
him kindly. "A certain Madame Denlse
something or other, but she did not re
ceive much encouragement"
"Ah," murmured Picasso.
"Have you ever been to England?" I
"Would you like to go?"
"I don't know; there Is everything In
Note the simplicity of that
Why go anywhere If you have every
thing at home?
It is so direct and easy, and that Is Just
the way with Picasso himself. I shall
never believe that he is anything but sin
cere. He has an Idea. He works toward
it He cannot help It if people do not
follow him, he says; he must pursue his
course, and he does.
FRANK AND YET BAFFLIjNG.
He seems Interested In all things, and
there is an inquiring note in his voice and
a sympathy in his glance which make
you want to tell him much. Then back
of all the childlike directness and frank
ness there is a tantalizing shade of some
thing you do not reach, a hint of ideas he
cannot or-will not express, a desire to go
on alone, to keep the door of the Inner
most chamber closed. All that piques
your curiosity to excess, and you long to
search deeper, but, of course, if you are
on your honor you can't
The Hostess felt she had left us alone
long enough, so she came up and com
menced talking books, and behold I Picasso
knew H. G. Wells and several other Eng
lish writers, and for a Spaniard and a
painter that Is remarkable. I assure you
the average Frenchman you meet could
not give you a name In English literature
of to-day, but as I tell you, Picasso Is a
thinker and an inquirer.
Life is of interest to him. There is
nothing Jaded in his point of view, and
the only thing which it rather bores him
to discuss is art
Possibly he pretends It bores him to
protect himself. I am not sure about that,
but I should think he Is not subtle enough
to keep up the subterfuge.
A POSSIBLE SOLUTION.
I should be more Inclined to suppose
that it enthralls him to paint his weird
Imaginings and tires him to discuss them.
It was getting late in the evening and
the room was thick with smoke. Picasso
shook back the lock of hair, knocked the
ashes out of his pipe on the hearthstone
in a nice, neat fashion and murmured to
the Hostess :
"It Is now time I went hom to bed.
I am not a noctarabula" which means an
The dog rose solemnly and stood by her
master, following him to the chair where
he laid his hat
Picasso wrapped a scarf around his
throat, put on a heavy coat and was
ready to face the elements.
"I am glad you are careful," said the
Hostessi "You have been 111 so much this
"Ah, yes," agreed Picasso. "That Is
true but now I am to be much better.
Good night madame; good night, mees."
and he held out his hand to me.
"Good night" and I patted that great,
beautiful dog on the head, but she had
no eyes or instinct for me or for any
body there, only for the well loved
And the little painter and his big dog
vanished Into the night
THE HOSTESS EXPLAINS.
"How could you put me on my honor
not to talk to him about the pictures?"
I protested, when the last idealist had
vanished and we were alone In the big
studio and nestling lii front of the gleam
ing salamander. "I wouldn't have minded
if he had been an ordinary personality,
but he isn't and a few skilful questions
would have elucidated so much."
"No, really," she assured me. "You
would simply have spoiled the evening,
for Picasso would have become morotto
and wouldn't have talked at all."
"Perhaps you're right," I agreed hum
bly. But I wish to say here that when next I
meet a real live Post-Impressionist I am
not going to be put off my usual bent I
am going to question him like a mother
and find out a thing or two as to where
he is going and whither he Is taking us.
(CopjTlsht. 1913. Xew-York Tribune.)
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