AMERICAN ART. The art history of America presents interesting conditions of re ceptivity as well as original productivity; In deed, artistic taste, it may be claimed, was pri marily transplanted or transfused into the bud ding art of "The Fair New True to the traditions of historical repetition, the ideals of ancient Greece inspired an Italian renais sance; French, German and English art respec tively, being viewed moreover at their best periods, give evidence of having been begotten through wsthetic assimilation and fruitful ap preciation of the masterpieces of Angelo, Titian, Tintoretto, Rembrandt, Rubens, Ver onese and Velasquez. The early American school not only emulates these treasured quali ties of the old masters, as far as accessible in painting and sculpture of originals or in replicas, but experienced a healthful art evolu tion, normally stimulated by the contemporary works of GainsborougFi, Reynolds, Lawrence and others at the close of the 18th century. It appears in accord with the artistic spirit of international reciprocity, that America provided the British Royal Academy with its second president in the personality of Benjamin West.
Although it would be intensely interesting to explore the field of Pan-American art, re vealing Aztec and other aboriginal archaeologi cal relics, we are limited to the consideration of the subject coincidental with modern art and civilization. The works of Washington Alls ton, Gilbert, Stuart, West, Copley, Trumbull, Vanderlyn, Jarvis, Peek, Cole, Harding, and, at a later period, of Morse, Eliot, Mount and many others, afford invaluable examples of rare intrinsic value, with chronological evi dences of the early development, impeded by all sorts of obstacles, of inborn genius and unmistakable tendencies of the progressive element even in the province of fine art.
American Classics.— A representative col lection of the famous works by the American painters mentioned, had it been secured, would certainly to-day constitute a rare gallery of aesthetic °Americana) that well might be pre served for all time--"con amoren—apro patria et gloriae; enkindling American art patriotism in line with that shown for the army and navy, agriculture and commercialism. It is too late,
however, to secure the marvelous masterpiece by Allston, The Legend of the Bloody Hand,' it having unfortunately been destroyed by fire, and many other gems of renown are now lost sight of through lack of proper preserva tion and of popular appreciation. Vander lyn's 'Ariadne? however, has fared better in company with invaluable portraits painted by these gifted. men and now in posses sion of the New York Historical Society. 'Marius Sitting Among the Ruins of Car thage,' a work that secured Vanderlyn, in re ward for its merits, a first-class gold medal at the Paris Exposition, was a product of this period. The most important epochs of Ameri can history have been represented by native artistic talent. The sailing and landing of Columbus, the exploits of De Soto, the subju gation of savage life to that of civilization, colonial and Indian warfare, the declaration of national independence, revolutionary battles, Washington crossing the Delaware, and like famous subjects for painting and sculpture, that manifestly should be preserved by governmen tal direction. Although so long and disastrously belated, these facts and conditions logically sug gest the formation of a national gallery of American art. The landscapes of Thomas Cole upheld, as did those of Turner, the traditions of Claude Lorraine; still in the spirit of a pioneer he proclaimed the grandeur of the primeval American forest in paintings direct from nature. His 'The Course of Empire,' now in possession of the New York Historical Society, a work that has never, we believe, been repro duced in any form, presents in four grand paintings the sway of civilization from savage life to an Arcadian period; then onward to the consummation of earthly power and magnifi cence; followed by the decadence occasioned by war of the elements, and that instigated by °man's inhumanity to mane; finally, the literal scene of monumental destruction and sublimely solemn desolation. Before dismissing attention called to this early period influenced, as stated, by foreign methods of technical expression, native American genius found little public ap preciation; still it faithfully progressed.