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The Edition De Luxe of the Catalogue
Even as the Exposition set a new mark for world's expositions, and as its Fine Arts Department created new values for similar international exhibitions, so, too, does the illustrated edition of the official catalogue establish a standard for works of this kind which probably will not soon be surpassed.
When in the fullness of time another great art exhibition is planned, no matter in what part of the world, this volume will set the standard by which it must be built in order to compare favorably with San Francisco, or to surpass San Francisco. And all students of art, all writers, all those who must know with precision and definiteness just what San Francisco showed the world in 1915, will turn to this monumental book.
The joint editors are John E. D. Trask, the chief of the Fine Arts Department, and J. Nilsen Laurvik, the Fine Arts Commissioner for Norway. Under their direction a notable group of experts dealt with various phases of the undertaking, and the intricate, difficult and exceedingly laborious task of collecting biographical material was carried to completion.
The book is published by Paul Elder, and the publishing is as notable as the editing. The most competent judges declare that the volume is the best ever issued in commemoration of an international art exhibition.
There are about 900 pages in the work, which is issued in two volumes, on the very finest paper procurable, and with the typography expressing the last degree of perfection in the printer's craft. There are 192 illustrations, the quintessence of the most remarkable and memorable works exhibited, and in 150 pages of critical text, divided into thirty chapters, all the main aspects of the Exposition's art exhibition are discussed by authorities.
John E. D. Trask contributes the introduction, and also a chapter on the art of the Argentine, with which he has an especially intimate knowledge, due to his having been detailed by the United States Government as its Commissioner-General to the Universal Exposition of Art in Buenos Aires in 1910. Chief of the Department of Fine Arts at the present Exposition, secretary and manager of the famous Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1905 to 1913, and connected officially with other international exhibitions, Mr. Trask's competency to deal broadly with a survey of world art is unexcelled.
Leonce Benedite, the Director of the National Museum of the Luxembourg, and author of works on Manet, Whistler and Modern French Art, one of the very foremost art writers in the world, is author of the chapter on French Art.
Florence Wheelock Ayscough, of Shanghai, China, writes the chapter dealing with Chinese art. Honorary Secretary of the Royal Asiatic Society, a director of the Asiatic Museum of Shanghai, and of the International Institute of the same city, Florence Wheelock Ayscough is a recognized authority on her subject.
Japan's marvelous art is dealt with by H. Shugio, Commissioner of Fine Arts to the Exposition and holder of an unquestioned place of authority. He has represented his country at many international exhibitions, is a member of the board of directors of the Japan Fine Arts Association of Tokyo, and several other leading art societies.
Dr. György Bölöni, Budapest, Hungary, author of "Modern Hungarian Art," and a foremost art writer in his own country, with a widespread reputation in Europe, deals with the extremely interesting and important art of Hungary, which is represented at San Francisco by the most complete retrospective section of any foreign nation.
Dr. Leon M, Guerrero, of Manila, deals with the art of the Philippines. He was president of the Philippine board to the Panama-Pacific Exposition, and is in many ways one of the most distinguished men his country has produced.
The other chapters of the book are handled by J. Nilsen Laurvik, co-editor with Mr. Trask, and Robert B. Harshe, the assistant chief of the Department of Fine Arts.
Mr. Laurvik has written the main portion of the critical material, contributing seventeen chapters dealing with various aspects of the exhibition, together with a final chapter on new tendencies in art. Save for graphic art, which Mr. Harshe treats, Mr. Laurvik's work constitutes a complete critical study of American art, retrospective and contemporary, together with chapters on the art of Holland, Italy, Norway, Sweden and of Axel Gallen-Kallele, the powerful Finnish genius to whom a large separate gallery is allotted. In the chapters dealing with American art, besides three main studies which treat of American portrait and figure painters, landscape painters and sculptors, there are individual studies concerned with great figures, such as Whistler, Chase, Duveneck, Melchers, Sargent, Redfield, Tarbell, Twachtman and Hassam. Of these, the chapters on Twachtman and Whistler are probably the most notable; that on Whistler, indeed, being a new interpretation of that much-discussed artist which will stir up a hornets' nest of discussion.
These chapters on American art supplemented by the studies of the great individuals while predominatingly critical include also a concise history of our native art, linked in a vital manner to the history of the growth and development of American life itself.
Born in Norway, and thoroughly familiar with European life and thought and art by reason of long residence and repeated visits abroad, Mr. Laurvik is at the same time vitally American, having been art critic for such papers as the Boston Transcript, the New York Evening Post, and the New York Times, as well as a constant contributor to the leading American magazines, both art periodicals and general reviews; he has also organized many important exhibitions. Being an artist in creative literaturefiction, essays and dramaas well as a critic, he gives to his work a charm and vital quality which similar studies too often woefully lack.
A Pictorial Souvenir of the Exposition
If the Edition de Luxe of the Official Catalogue remains as the literary memorial of the art of the Exposition, it may with equal justice be said that the exceptionally notable and magnificently well-done volume, "Paintings of the Exposition," by Kate Montague Hall, which has been published by John E. D. Trask, is by far the most adequate artistic memorial of the Exposition so far produced.
There are twelve of these paintings, reproduced in an artist's proof edition, limited to one thousand sets, each set containing twelve color prints signed by the artist.
They represent a round dozen aspects of the most colorful and artistic ensembles created by modern civilization. There is the Fine Arts Palace seen across the enchanting mirror of the Lagoon; there is the gay, giant crowd gathered in Mullgardt's most beautiful "Court of Abundance," on "Actors' Day." There is the noble aspiration of the "Column of Progress," which is to be preserved permanently, as it deserves to be. And there are many other well-rendered views.
The volume is a sumptuous one, selling for fifteen dollars a copy, and published by John E. D. Trask, at 109 New Montgomery Street, San Francisco.