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|The Art of the Exposition
Personal Impressions of the Architecture, Sculpture, Mural Decorations, Color Scheme & Other Aesthetic Aspects of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition
University of California
Chairman of the Western Advisory Committee and Member of the San Francisco Jury in the Department of Fine Arts of the Exposition
Paul Elder and Company
Publishers - San Francisco
Copyright, 1915, By
Paul Elder & Company
Third Edition, Revised
To the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. A Great Work of Peace.
These lines are appreciatively dedicated May the First 1915
The following pages have grown out of many talks given during the year by Mr. Neuhaus to his students at the University of California. Presented to the public in the form of a series of evening lectures at the University, and repeated before many other organizations throughout California, his interpretation of the Art of the Exposition roused a demand for its repetition so widespread as only to be met by the aid of the printing press.
San Francisco, California May 1, 1915
The architectural scheme, the setting and the style of the architecture.
Its relation to the architecture, its artistic meaning and its
The Color Scheme and the Landscape Gardening
The color elements as furnished by the artist and by nature; the
The Mural Decorations
The intellectual emphasis of the color scheme, and the significance of
the mural decorations.
The Illumination - Conclusion
The Exposition at night.
Guide to Sculpture, The Mural decorations, Biographical notes.
List of Illustrations
The Tower in the Court of Abundance. Louis Christian Mullgardt,
Under the Arch of the Tower of Jewels. McKim, Mead and White, Architects
View Through the Great Arches of the Court of the Universe. McKim, Mead and White, Architects
Niche Detail from the Court of the Four Seasons. Henry Bacon, Architect
The Court of the Four Seasons. Henry Bacon, Architect
Northern Doorway in the Court of Palms. George Kelham, Architect
Entrance into the Palace of Education. Bliss and Faville, Architects
Detail from the Court of Abundance. Louis Christian Mullgardt, Architect
The Palace of Fine Arts. Bernard R. Maybeck, Architect
Colonnade, Palace of Fine Arts. Bernard R. Maybeck, Architect. Portal of Vigor in the Palace of Food Products (in the distance). Bliss and Faville, Architects
Colonnade, Palace of Fine Arts. Bernard R. Maybeck, Architect
The Setting Sun. Adolph A. Weinman, Sculptor
The Nations of the West. A. Stirling Calder, Frederick C. R. Roth, Leo Lentelli, Sculptors
The Mermaid. Arthur Putnam, Sculptor
The Adventurous Bowman Supported by Frieze of Toilers
Details from the Column of Progress. Hermon A. MacNeil, Sculptor
The End of the Trail. James Earl Fraser, Sculptor
Autumn, in the Court of the Four Seasons. Furio Piccirilli, Sculptor
The Pacific-Detail from the Fountain of Energy. A. Stirling Calder, Sculptor
The Alaskan-Detail from Nations of the West. Frederick C. R. Roth, Sculptor
The Feast of Sacrifice. Albert Jaegers, Sculptor
Youth - From the Fountain of Youth. Edith Woodman Burroughs, Sculptor
Truth - Detail from the Fountain of the Rising Sun. Adolph A. Weinman, Sculptor
The Star. A. Stirling Calder, Sculptor
The Triton - Detail of the Fountains of the Rising and the Setting Sun. Adolph A. Weinman, Sculptor
Finial Figure in the Court of Abundance. Leo Lentelli, Sculptor
Atlantic and Pacific and the Gateway of all Nations. William de Leftwich Dodge, Painter
Commerce, Inspiration, Truth and Religion. Edward Simmons, Painter
The Victorious Spirit. Arthur F. Mathews, Painter
The Westward March of Civilization. Frank V. Du Mond, Painter
The Pursuit of Pleasure. Charles Holloway, Painter
Primitive Fire. Frank Brangwyn, Painter
Night Effect - Colonnade of the Palace of Fine Arts. Bernard R. Maybeck, Architect
Official Poster. Perham W. Nahl
Ground Plan of the Exposition
The Art of the Exposition
It is generally conceded that the essential lesson of the Exposition is the lesson of art. However strongly the industrial element may have asserted itself in the many interesting exhibits, no matter how extensive the appeal of the applied sciences may be, the final and lasting effect will be found in the great and enduring lesson of beauty which the Exposition so unforgetably teaches.
The visitor is at once stirred by the many manifestations of art, presented so harmoniously by the architect, the sculptor, the landscape architect, and the painter-decorator, and his attention is kept throughout by artistic appeals at every turn. It must be said in the very start that few will realize what is the simple truth - that artistically this is probably the most successful exposition ever created. It may indeed prove the last. Large international expositions are becoming a thing of the past on account of the tremendous cost for relatively temporary purposes.
There is still much of the popular conception abroad that the West has only very recently emerged from a state of semi-civilization inimical to the finer things of life, and to art in particular. But we may rest assured that the fortunate outsider who allows himself the luxury of travel will proclaim that the gospel of beauty has been preached most eloquently through the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.
The critic who prefers to condemn things will find small opportunity here, no matter how seriously he may take himself.
The first sight of that great mosaic, from the Fillmore-street hill, at once creates a nerve-soothing impression most uncommon in international expositions, and for that matter, in any architectural aggregate. One is at once struck with the fitness of the location and of the scheme of architecture. Personally, I am greatly impressed with the architectural scheme and the consistency of its application to the whole. I fear that the two men, Mr. Willis Polk and Mr. Edward Bennett, who laid the foundation for the plan, will never receive as much credit as is really due them. I hope this appreciation may serve that purpose in some small way.
It was a typically big western idea, an idea that as a rule never gets any farther than being thought of, or possibly seeing daylight as an "esquisse" - but seldom any farther than that. The Burnham plan for San Francisco was such an unrealized dream, but here the dream has achieved concrete form. The buildings as a group have all the big essential qualities that art possesses only in its noblest expression. Symmetry, balance, and harmony work together for a wonderful expression of unity, of oneness, that buildings devoted to profane purposes seldom show.
I do not know how many people who visit the Exposition are so constituted as to derive an aesthetic thrill from artistic balance, but I imagine that any person, no matter how inexperienced in matters of art, will rejoice at the fine feeling of orderly arrangement of major forms which runs through the entire grouping. It is simplicity itself, and it serves an excellent practical purpose, enabling one to visit the Exposition without being left a nervous wreck at the end.
The main entrance leads one into the physical center of the Exposition. From there, on the first visit, one realizes the existence of an equally large area on either side, covered with objects of interest.
The main exposition, composed of a compactly arranged group of large buildings of approximately equal size, is symmetrically placed on either side of the main central court, the Court of the Universe. This sends out its avenues into two equally proportioned side courts - the Court of the Four Seasons on the west and the Court of Abundance on the east. While the main court rests right in the center of the eight buildings, the side courts fit snugly into the center of the four buildings on either side. This arrangement of large masses, comprising the bulk of the Exposition, creates a grateful feeling of repose and of order, without being in the least uninteresting, for while there is perfect symmetry, on the one hand, in the larger masses, there is plenty and ever changing variety in the minor architectural forms and embellishments. The same balance, the same interesting distribution of architectural masses, continues on either side of the main building. In Machinery Hall, on the one hand, and the Fine Arts Palace on the western side, perfect balance is again maintained. That is, however, not the end of it all. Loosening up in a very subtle way, we find cleverly arranged the buildings of the various States of the Union and of Foreign Nations on the western side of the Fine Arts Palace, while at the other extremity of the main group, screened by Machinery Hall, is the amusement section, officially labeled "The Zone."
I do not suspect that the Zone is intended to give any artistic thrills. If so, I would propose to call it "The Limit," and so I drop it as a subject for further artistic, reference. It is invaluable, however, as an object lesson in showing the fatal results of the utter disregard of all those fundamental laws of balance, harmony, and unity so uniformly and persistently applied through the seriously designed main body of the Exposition. There is no harmony whatever in the Zone anywhere, either in the form, style, or color, unless it be the harmony of ugliness which is carried through this riotous mêlée of flimsiness and sham. I cannot help but feel that this hodgepodge will convince the most doubting Thomas who might believe in the mob rule of hundreds of conflicting tastes. The Zone is not an improvement on similar things in former Expositions. Save for certain minor exceptions at the entrance, it will serve as a wonderfully effective illustration of the taste of the great masses of the people, and as a fine business investment.
So far, we have moved only along the east and west axis of the Exposition. The north and south development is not without its charm. The terraced city of San Francisco, on the south, without a doubt looks best on a densely foggy day. With its fussy, incongruous buildings - I hesitate to call them architecture - it serves hardly as a background for anything, let alone a group of monumental buildings. The opposite side, where nature reigns, atones for multitudes of sins that man committed on the city's hills. But how great an opportunity there was lost! There are, however, some indications at the western end of Broadway that give fine promise for the future.
The bay and its background of rising hills and blue mountain sides provide, the wonderful setting that so charmingly holds the Exposition. The general arrangement of the Exposition pays its respects to the bay at every possible angle. The vistas from the three courts towards the bay are the pièces de résistance of the whole thing. It was a fine idea, not alone from an economic point of view, to eliminate the two arches which appeared in the original plan at the end of the avenues running north from the Court of the Four Seasons and the Court of Abundance. There is hardly anything more inspiring than to stand in any of the three courts and to look north through those well proportioned colonnades over the blue bay towards the purple foothills of Marin County, crowned by the graceful slopes of Mount Tamalpais on one side and the many islands of the bay on the other. It is surprising into how many enchanting vistas the whole arrangement resolves itself. For the city-planner the Exposition contains a wonderful lesson. What fine cities we might have if some artistic control could be exercised over the buildings which are to stand opposite the junction of one street with another, not only at right angles, but also at lesser degrees - for instance, in all cases of streets running into Market street from the northwest.
To point out some particularly fine vistas, among many, we should mention that from the Orchestral Niche in the Court of the Four Seasons, looking toward the bay, or from the same court toward the Fine Arts Palace - and many more. The natural background seems to have been considered always, even in the arrangements of the smallest apertures. One should not overlook the two open courts which run off the main avenue, like charming coves in an island, into the main group of buildings, connecting at their ends with the Court of the Four Seasons at the west and the Court of Abundance toward the east. These two, the Court of Palms and the Court of Flowers, have not so much the charm of seclusion of the more centrally located courts, but their architecture makes them of great interest.
As to the style of the architecture of the main group of eight buildings, it has been called classic. If one means by that something excellent, something in good taste, we must admit that it is classic indeed. However, on closer examination it becomes very evident that the individuality of many men has found expression in the architectural structural forms, as well as in the minor and decorative forms.
The main Tower of Jewels, by Carrère and Hastings, marking the center of the whole scheme, has a distinct character of its own. There is no doubt that it is effective, but while its chief merit lies in its colossal proportions and its relative position, I feel that it lacks that oneness of conception that characterizes almost every other architectural unit in the Exposition. One feels too much the stacking up of story after story, that effort to fill the requirements of a given great height, very much as a boy sets up blocks of diminishing size, one on top of the other, until he can go no further because there are no smaller blocks. The whole effect of the tower is too static. Of its architectural motives, almost too many seem devoid of much interest, and like the column motive, repeated too often. The very effective and decorative employment of "jewels" tends to loosen up and enliven the structure very much. On a sunny day the effect is dazzling and joyous. The tower has a feeling of dignity and grandeur, commensurate with its scale and setting. However, its great height is not apparent, owing largely to its breadth of base. The Sather Campanile in Berkeley looks higher, though it is actually one hundred and thirty-three feet lower. The side towers at the entrances of the Court of Palms and the Court of Flowers, while not so imaginative as the main tower, are far more sky-reaching. As towers go, John Galen Howard's tower at the Buffalo Exposition in 1901 stands unsurpassed in every way as an Exposition tower.
The main Court of Honor, or Court of the Universe, as it is also called, designed by McKim, Mead and White, impresses by its tremendous dimensions, which operate somewhat against its proper enjoyment. I believe that the court is too large - so many things are lost in it, and it does not convey the quality of shelter that the two lesser courts possess in such marked degree. The Court of the Universe will never be the resting place of the masses of the people, in spite of the recently added attraction of the band stand, a mixture of Roman and Arabic architecture out of keeping with the surroundings. The conventional architectural motives of this great court do not help very much in tempting one to stay, and if it were not for the great arches on the east and west and the very fine view toward the Column of Progress, I would feel tempted to classify it as a piece of architectural design of the stereotyped variety. It has all the great qualities and faults of the court in front of St. Peter's in Rome. There is too little play of landscape gardening in and near the Court of the Universe, a condition which will remedy itself with the breaking into bloom of the great masses of rhododendron which have been installed in the sunken garden in the center.
Like all careful interpretations in the classic architectural traditions, the Court of the Universe has a great feeling of dignity and grandeur, which gives the visitor a feeling of the big scale of the rest of the architecture. The court lacks, however, the individual note of the two side courts.
Toward the west, passing through a very characteristic avenue, in the style of the happiest phases of the Italian Renaissance to be found in Florence, one enters the Court of the Four Seasons, by Henry Bacon of New York. The chief quality of this court is that of intimacy. While by no means so original as the Court of Abundance, it has a charm all of its own, in spite of its conventional architectural characteristics, which are really not different from those of the main Court of Honor. However, a very happy combination of gardening effects and architecture, together with the interesting wall-fountains, screened by stately rows of columns, make for a picture of great loveliness. Of all the courts, it has the most inviting feeling of seclusion. The plain body of water in the center, without statuary of any kind, is most effective as a mirror reflecting the play of lights and shadows, which are so important an asset in this enchanting retreat. During the Exposition it will serve as a recreation center for many people who will linger in the seclusion of the groups of shrubbery and watch the shadows of the afternoon sun creep slowly up the surrounding walls.
As an Exposition feature, the Court of the Four Seasons is a decided innovation. At St. Louis, for instance, in 1904, everything seemed to have been done to excite, to overstimulate, to develop a craving for something new, to make one look for the next thing. Here, in the Court of the Four Seasons, one wants to stay. Most emphatically one wants to rest for awhile and give one's self over entirely to that feeling of liberation that one experiences in a church, in the forest, or out on the ocean. I could stay in this court forever. To wander into this Court of the Four Seasons from any one of the many approaches is equally satisfactory, and it will prove a very popular and successful Exposition innovation.
Speaking of the courts, one is bound to yield to the individual note of Louis Mullgardt's Court of Abundance, on the east of the Court of the Universe. Of all the courts it has, without a doubt, the strongest individual note. It seems on first acquaintance to be reminiscent of the Gothic, of which it has, no doubt, the quality of lightness, the laciness, and the play of many fine apertures and openings. It has, however, neither the Gothic arch nor the buttresses of that period, and so far as its ground plan goes, it is thoroughly original. It looks as if carved out of a solid block of stone. This monolithic quality is particularly well brought out in the tower on the north. While not quite so intimate as the Court of the Four Seasons, it conveys, a feeling of shelter and seclusion very well by showing an uninterrupted wall motive on all sides. The sculpture symbolism of this court is particularly fine. We shall return to it in a consideration of sculpture.
The two minor courts by George Kelham are particularly fortunate in their open location toward the south. Their sheltered and warm atmosphere is quite in keeping with the suggestion of Spanish Renaissance which has been employed in the constructive and in the many decorative motives. The western court, or Court of Palms, is made particularly attractive by a sunken garden effect and pool. The effect of the Court of Flowers is similar in every way to its mate on the east.
A consideration of these two courts, with their towers, leads easily into a study of the outer façade, which, so to speak, ties all of the eight Palaces together into a compact, snug arrangement, so typical of the Exposition.
Bliss and Faville of San Francisco are responsible for the very skillful use of simple, plain surfaces, accentuated and relieved here and there by ornate doorways, wall-fountains, niches, and half-domes. On the south, along the Avenue of Palms, are found some very fine adaptations of old Spanish doorways, which deserve to be preserved. It is regrettable that we have no large museum on the coast where these fine doorways in the outer walls of the Palace of Varied Industries could be preserved permanently. The travertine marble has nowhere been used more effectively than in just such details. The entrance of the Palace of Education at the western end of the south façade is also of great beauty of design.
On the western end two huge niches or half domes command attention by their noble beauty and fine setting amidst great clumps of eucalyptus. On the north, no special effort has been made. There is, however, a decorative emphasis of the doorways along the entire front. On the east, facing the Palace of Machinery, some very fine doorways, very much like some of the minor ones on the south, furnish the decoration. It was no small task to bridge the many diversified architectural motives which penetrate into the outer wall from within, in the shape of many avenues and courts, and one can appreciate the difficulties of the designer who met so well these conflicting requirements.
Of the detached palaces outside of the eight forming the rectangular block nucleus, the Palace of Machinery attracts by its enormous size. I am not interested in how many kegs of nails and iron bolts and washers went into its anatomy. They add nothing to the artistic enjoyment of this very massive building. One point, however, in connection with the liberal use of the raw material is of artistic significance, and that is that the internal structural aspects of this great palace, as well as of the others, are not without charm and interest. It is only in recent years, and particularly in America, that the engineer has dared to invade the realm of the artist by attempting to make the constructive, anatomical material, like uprights, bracings, trusses, and beams, assume artistic responsibilities. It has been for many years the custom to expect the engineer to do his share in obscurity with the idea that it ultimately will be covered up by the work of the architect. The extraordinary development of engineering in this country, to meet new and original problems, sometimes of colossal proportions, particularly in the field of concrete design, has resulted in some conditions heretofore entirely unknown. I feel with much satisfaction that the unobscured appearance of the wood construction in the Palace of Machinery is very pleasing, owing to its sound constructive elements, as well as to a very fine regard for pattern-making in the placing of the bolts and braces. Here we discover the engineer in the role of the artist, which he seems to enjoy, and which offers endless new opportunities, particularly in the field of concrete construction, as well as in wood. The great size of the Machinery Palace is much more enjoyable from within, on account of the constructive patterns left in the raw, than from without, where there is not enough animation in the many plain surfaces of the outer walls. I do not know that it is customary to put the engineer's name, together with that of the architect, on a building; the time s approaching very rapidly when we shall be in duty bound to do so.
Aside from the structural charm of the inside, the outer façade of Machinery Hall is not entirely devoid of architectural interest. Its general forms are apparently those of an early Christian church, although its decorative motives are all indicative of the profane purposes for which it is used.
Festival Hall, by Farquhar, of Los Angeles, at the east end of the south gardens, does not look particularly festive, and it is not original enough to shine by itself, like its very happy mate at the south end, the Horticultural Palace. There is nothing like this Horticultural Palace anywhere on the grounds in its gorgeous richness of decorative adornment. It has no relation to any other building on the site. It is very happy, with its many joyous garlands, flower-baskets, and suggestions of horticultural forms - all very well done - so very much better done than so many of the cheap period imitations so common to our residence districts. It is so decidedly joyous in character that people looking for Festival Hall wander over to the Horticultural Palace, attracted by the very joyousness of its scheme.
Good rococo ornamentation is rare abroad and even rarer in this country, which is essentially opposed in its tendencies and in its civilization to those luxurious days of the French kings who created the conditions under which this very delightful style could flourish.
The Horticultural Palace is a great success as an interpretation of a style which rarely finds a sympathetic expression in this country. I do not feel at all that it ought, but in a case of this kind where a temporary purpose existed, it was happily chosen.
Of all isolated units, none causes greater admiration than the Fine Arts Palace. It presents the astounding spectacle of a building which violates the architectural conventions on more than one occasion, and in spite of it, or possibly for that very reason, it has a note of originality that is most conspicuous. Everybody admits that it is most beautiful, and very few seem to know just how this was accomplished. Many of the "small fry" of the architectural profession enjoy themselves in picking out its faults, which are really, as suggested above, the reason for its supreme beauty. Save for Mullgardt's court, it is the only building that seems to be based on the realization of a dream of a true artistic conception. With many other of the buildings one feels the process of their creation in the time-honored, pedantic way. They are paper-designed by the mechanical application of the "T" square and the triangle. They do not show the advantage of having been experienced as a vision.
With Bernard Maybeck's Palace of Fine Arts, one has the feeling that this great temple is a realized dream; that it was imagined irrespective of time, cost, or demand. Like all of Maybeck's buildings, it is thoroughly original. Of course the setting contributes much to the picturesque effect, but aside from that, the colonnades and the octagonal dome in the center of the semicircular embracing form of the main building present many interesting features There is a very fine development of vistas, which are so provided as to present different parts of the building in many ever-changing aspects. On entering the outer colonnade one forgets the proximity of everyday things; one is immediately in an atmosphere of religious devotion, which finds its noblest expression in that delicate shrine of worship, by Ralph Stackpole, beneath the dome. This spiritual quality puts the visitor into the proper frame of mind for the enjoyment of the other offerings of art within the building. Mr. Maybeck has demonstrated once again that his talent is equal to any task in the field of architectural art. I wish we had more of his rare kind and more people to do justice to his genius.
Not far from the Palace of Fine Arts, on the shores of the bay, the monumental tower of the California building fits well into the scheme of things. Seen from a distance, from numerous points across the lagoon, it offers a great many effective compositions in connection with some very decorative groups of old acacia trees, the legacy of an old amusement park of the bygone days of San Francisco - the old Harbor View Gardens. In the shade of these old trees a fine old formal garden of exquisite charm, screened from the eyes of the intruder by an old clipped Monterey cypress hedge, really constitutes the unique note of this typically Mission building. The architect, Mr. Burditt, deserves great credit for an unusually respectful treatment of a very fine architectural asset. This very enchanting old flower garden, with its sundial and cozy nooks, has an intimate feeling throughout, and it furnishes the delightful suggestive note of old age, of historical interest, without which it would never have been convincing.
Aside from the outdoor features, the building, exclusive of the county annex, discloses a very fine talent in a very happy combination of classic tradition and modern tendencies. The building is altogether very successful, in a style which is so much made use of but which is really devoid of any distinct artistic merit. Most of the examples of the so-called "Mission style" in California are very uninteresting in their decorative motives, however big their ground plans may be in their liberal use of space.
The Oregon building is just across the way from the California building, and as an object of artistic analysis it is a most interesting single unit. Personally, I am not enthusiastic over it. It was most decidedly a very illogical idea to select a building to represent Oregon from a country which has nothing whatever in common with this northern state. One could hardly discover a more arid country, devoid of vegetation, particularly of trees, than Greece; and to compare it with the apparently inexhaustible wealth of virgin forests of Oregon makes the contrast almost grotesque. Besides, a building like the Parthenon, designed to grace and terminate the top of a hill, is surely not adapted for a flat piece of ground like the Exposition field. And in the choice of material used in its construction it shows a lack of appreciation for the fitness of things generally. The Parthenon was designed to be made in stone, as much for the construction as for the light color effect of the marble. Only the light color play of its exterior would do against a placid blue sky to relieve the otherwise exceedingly simple rigidity of its massive forms of construction. To make an imitation of this great building in uncouth, somber, almost black pine logs of dubious proportions is hardly an artistically inspired accomplishment.
There must always be a certain regard for the use of the right material in the right place. A wooden bridge will disclose its material even to the uninitiated at a very great distance, because everybody knows that certain things can be done only in wood. A stone, concrete, iron, or cable bridge, for example, will each always look its part, out of sheer material and structural necessity. A log house would have been far better and more successful than this pseudo Parthenon. It is in the same class with the statues of Liberty made from walnuts that are the great attractions in our autumnal agricultural shows. The State of Oregon, however, is well represented by a fine immense flagpole, which could hardly have been cut anywhere else than on the Pacific Coast.
Of other state buildings in this neighborhood, a number are impressive by their cost, like the New York building; others, again, by historical suggestions of great charm. There are several which reflect in a very interesting way the Colonial days of early American history; and buildings like those of New Jersey and Virginia, in spite of their unpretentiousness, are very successful. Nobody would take them for anything else but what they represent.
The Pennsylvania building shows a very fine combination of the classic and of the modern. It was originally designed to hold the Liberty Bell. In order to avoid the necessity of building a fireproof building, the open hail was adopted, with its inviting spaciousness, and two lower enclosing wings at the side. The arrangement of the Pennsylvania building is formal, owing to its symmetry, but not at all heavy. Its decorative detail is full of interest, and to discover Hornbostel of New York, the designer of the Oakland City Hall, as the author of this building, is a pleasant surprise.
Of most of the other state buildings, really nothing original could be claimed. They are, on the whole, dignified in their classic motives, and in most cases, in better taste than the many foreign buildings.
Among these, the buildings representing Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Italy, and Bolivia, must claim particular attention. It must seem strange that the three northern countries named first should excel in originality of architecture, as well as in the allied arts.
The Swedish building, designed by Ferdinand Boberg, presents admirably his great talent. The name "Boberg" means nothing to most people out here, but anybody at all familiar with the development of modern architecture abroad will always think of Boberg as the greatest living master of Swedish architecture. His very talented wife, Anna Boberg, is equally well represented in another department, that of the Fine Arts.
The plan of the Swedish building is unsymmetrical, but well balanced, nevertheless. The typical northern wood tower, at one side, has a very fine outline, and like the roof, has a very fine decorative shingle covering, interesting in pattern as well as in color. I am very much tempted to speak of the treasures found inside of this building, but we must go on to Denmark's building.
This building, situated near the southern end of the Fine Arts Colonnade, has a far more advantageous location than the Swedish building. Situated on a narrow tongue of triangular shape, the architect has taken the fullest advantage of this original piece of ground. The building gives a very good idea of some of the very best tendencies in the modern art of Europe, without being bizarre, like some recent American attempts, in the most wrongly labeled of all art expressions - the "Art Nouveau."
The Norwegian building, somewhat remotely situated, back of the French building and near the Presidio entrance, has very much in common with the Swedish building, and offers the same attractive features of wood and stone construction as the building representing its sister state. Historical traditions and everything else are so much alike in these two countries that it must not surprise one to find the two buildings have so many points of interest in common.
The north of Europe has given to the world many very excellent and genuine expressions of architecture, which, owing to their fine constructive qualities, have been absorbed wherever wood is the principal building material. The art contributions of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark will long remain in the memory of all Exposition visitors.
Holland makes considerable pretensions as to originality of style in a curiously incongruous creation at the north of the Fine Arts Palace. During the last twenty years a peculiarly inadaptable type of building has been developed in Holland by a group of younger architects. Many of these buildings are suggestive of stone rather than of brick construction, and they do not fit in very well into the architectural traditions of the Dutch - builders traditionally of the finest brick structures in the world.
The Holland building at the Exposition is not typical of that great and independent people. It looks cheap and has all the faults of the Art Nouveau, which has, unfortunately, been much discredited, by just such things in our own country, where classical traditions are so firmly and so persistently entrenched.
While structurally this building is of a peculiar, affected, ultra-modern note, the general scheme of decoration inside as well as outside compels much praise. The general feeling of refinement, of serenity, that so strongly characterizes the interior is due to the able work of Hermann Rosse, a capable decorator-painter, who designed and supervised the entire color scheme.
The color scheme inside the Holland building, while daring, is most original in using an unusual combination of steel-blue and warm grey silver tones. These two relatively cold notes are enhanced in a complementary color sense by touches of orange and yellow. A constructive stencil pattern based on the two national plants of Holland, the orange tree and the tulip, add richness to the general effect. Mr. Rosse's very decorative wall painting opposite the main entrance represents the Industries of Peace. While somewhat severe, it adds dignity in motive as well as in treatment.
On the outside some fine decorative tile panels reflect one of the chief industries of the Dutch and also tell of the influence that Dutch art has long received from Holland's East Indian possessions. These tile panels are very decorative. To us, out here, they suggest artistic ceramic possibilities for architectural purposes of which we have taken little advantage. Considering the fact that we have quantities of good clay and that so much original good decorative design is lying idle, this inactivity in architectural ceramics in California is distressing. So far as I know, Batchelder, in Pasadena, still has the monopoly on architectural tiles for the entire Pacific coast.
Other European countries besides Holland are interestingly represented. The Italian building is a dignified building of pure Florentine Renaissance lines, with here and there a modern note.
This should rather be called a group of buildings, since it is a combination of some of the finest bits of Italian Renaissance architecture. The architects of this building succeeded admirably in giving a feeling of antiquity to the general treatment of the whole arrangement, which, under the blue sky of California, brings one straight back into the land of sunshine and artistic tradition. The whole arrangement of this Italian group seems somewhat bewildering at first, but on closer inspection resolves itself into a very interesting scheme which takes full advantage of the irregularly shaped site.
There is a most impressive noble dignity in the hall of the main building, where mural decorations of figural character add much to the sumptuousness of the general effect. It is remarkable how in this age of low ceilings a return to great height for rooms, as in these, Italian chambers, produces a marked note of originality. The light effect created in this way, in all of these replicas of the mansions of the wealthy of the Renaissance period, is most helpful in the display of a multitude of lovely objects - furniture, jewelry, ceramics, tapestries, and yet more. The sculptural imitations of so many old pieces of statuary are not in very good taste. They bear too much the traces of the pneumatic drill, and most of them are cold and devoid of the spirit of the original. Some of the very modern marbles in the various rooms are almost pathetic in their disregard for the standards established by the forefathers of their creators.
France, unfortunately, does not rise above the commonplace, in an extensive building hastily constructed. And Portugal is shining in all the glory of wedding-cake ornamentation that the plaster of Paris artist could produce.
South America appears in a very typical building representing Bolivia. It is evident that it was not a costly building, but its dignified Spanish façade and the court effect inside are far more agreeable than the pretentious palace erected by the Argentine Republic.
The Orient, with the oldest art traditions in the world, can justly be expected to outdo the rest of the world. We find Japan again, as on previous occasions, excelling in its typical arrangement of a number of small pavilions in an irregular garden. The entire Japanese display, architectural and all, is so perfect a unit that one cannot speak of the buildings alone without thinking of the gardens. The Japanese sense of detail and love of the picturesque are disclosed at every turn. We still have with us in San Francisco, as a memento of the Midwinter Fair of 1894, the Japanese Garden in Golden Gate Park, and while this new creation at the Exposition is not so extensive, it is none the less charming.
In contrast to the Japanese wonderland near the Inside Inn, the new Republic of China seems to be very unhappily represented, not very far away. The whole Chinese ensemble seems a riot of terrible colors, devoid of all the mellow qualities of Oriental art. If China's art was retired with the Manchu dynasty, then I hope the new Republic will soon die a natural death.