A Primer For Critics by George Boas

By George Boas

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Academies represent on the whole the standards of the past; their teaching staff must be conservative, for their pupils drum out must succeed. Hence young pianists and the Liszt Lhbestraume^ the Chopin walzes and young painters paint variations on a theme by Sargent, and young architects make renderings of Second Empire opera houses, and young sculptors model naked babies holding various amphibia. absurd to deny this or to maintain that such works of art are not real or true works of art. They are It is as real and as true as works of art which do not sell, they leave people of advanced taste cold.

In justice to Tolstoy it may be observed that artists who have nothing to communicate do often to others lose themselves in kindergarten work or pretty decoration. One finds such works of art in the elaborate conceits and obscurities of the Marinis age. One finds contrapuntists them who and Lycophrons of every some of the in the arabesques of could write fugues to be played back- wards and forwards and upside down. One in the paintings of the late finds them Renaissance where per- spective and foreshortening and intricacies of pattern became, one would judge, the end of the art.

In the first case, works of art to earn his living; in the second, to influence the behaviour of his fellow men in other ways or to We spread ideas. are concerned here only with conscious propaganda. few 1) All artists, with selling their works of art. or the highly eccentric exceptions, are interested in The exceptions who care more are the wealthy for their own appreciation of their works of art than for that of others. The fact that artists are in the class of artisans is often deplored, and is it sometimes maintained that did not have to earn their livings, their art purer, less commercial, It and a number of other does not follow necessarily that produce, he makes it to sell.

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