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BeingBrief Appreciations Of Some AmericanSculptors And Of Some PhasesOf Sculpture In AmericaWith only a few exceptions all our sculptors of the present generation have acquired their training, either wholly or in part, in Paris; that is to say, in the best school in the world. For France, ever since the Middle Ages, has never been without a succession of great sculptors. When the Gothic spirit had spent itself, that of the late Italian Renaissance was imported; and the art, continually adjusting itself to the changing conditions of national life, has been held in uninterrupted honour to the present time. It is in this branch of the fine arts that the French genius has found its most individual expression. Corresponding with the maintenance of fine traditions is the excellence of the system of teaching. The Institute and the École des Beaux Arts perpetuate a standard, characterised by technical perfection and elegance of style, while the tendency to academic narrowness is offset by the influence of independent sculptors; for there is not a thought-wave in modern art that does not emanate from or finally reach Paris. It is the world’s clearing-house of artistic currency.On the other hand, the working upon American themes in the American environment can draw nothing out of the artist that is not in him; and this higher mastery over form and composition, being a gift of the gods, is necessarily rare. Perhaps only in a few American sculptors, as only rarely in other countries, will you discover it; while skill in modelling, elegance of design and a generally sensitive taste will be found more diffused through American sculpture than through that of any other country except France. The reason, unquestionably, is the peculiar aptitude of the American to impressions and his study in the best of modern schools.
Charles H. Caffin
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