N. Z. Exhibition.
(By a Souflhlander). Turning a corner, we see the Exhibition at last—a veritable “thing' of beauty.” With its tall towers, great white' walls, green grass, and coloured gardens, placid river, and spreading willows, the mere external impression is one that cannot be adcquatefy described, but possesses that something called chai'm. In the white sunlight, and all the flags unfurled, the paths crowded with enthusiastic pleasure-seekers, every day seems a gala day, and the night that follows is always the evening of a great carnival. Once within, we revel in a fantasia of superlatives, for the Exhibition cannot be too highly praised and recommended. Perhaps the first call for attention comes from THE ART GALLERY.
In this Britain’s greatest areists are represented, and it brings a thrill of pleasure to realise that here one is in the midst of art in its noblest phases—British art of the latter portion of the 19th a,ad the beginning of the 20th century. The gallery can be divided into two departments, viz., the colonial art section and the British Government exhibit, and the latter is subdivided as follows : —Oil paintings, water colours, miniatures, drawings, etching's, engravings, sculpture, architecture, arts and crafts. Of the whole art gallery the British exhibit of oils and water colours undoubtedly holds first place.
Amongst pictures that appealed particularly to us the Hon. John Collier’s magnificent creation, ‘‘The Prodigal's Daughter,” may first he mentioned. The idea is not more than a very human incident —that of a daughter who has evidently joined the stage, and returns to the old home full of wealth and honours, but it is so capably interpreted by the artist that none can fail to be touched from the double forte of pathos and art. Thou we have Walter Crane’s “The Conquerors,” a work of very different order. In it the glamour of battle and success looms out from the large decorative design. “Teresina,” a portrait by the late Lord Leighton, presents something more than one is generally able to discover in a human face, and gives some idea of the consummate skill and genius required to master the art of portrait painting. ‘'Clarissa,” by Millais, can certainly be classed with the above, though the famous P.R.B. handles his model in a very different manner —the opposing standpoint of a contrasting temperament. ‘‘Snow in Spring,” by J. W. North, A.R.A., is the kind of picture (with many others) one would like to buy for one’s drawing-room —it is a melody in green and white. “Psycho,” by Solomon J. Solomon, R.A., presents the goddess as a young woman lying down either very fast asleep or dead, and in the colours, contrasts of light and shade, the. mimicry of nature is so keen that it more than surprises—a thing which high art is often blamed for being - incapable of doing. But it is weary work to go on with mere descriptions. Let it suffice to say that such great artists as AlmaTadema, Sir Wyke Ray] iss, Frank Bramley, A.R.A., Bourne-Jones, G. Clausen, W. P. Frith, Herkomer, Holman Hunt, Miss Lucy Kemp-Welch, Leader, Poynter, and G. F. Watts arc represented, and those who have not availed themselves of the golden opportunity should certainly refrain from further delay. Space 'does not permit of further notice of the art gallery, though to do it justice many columns would be required. Coming to THE ORCHESTRA, which a critic has dubbed “Mr Hill’s expensive fraternity of cat-gut scrapers,” we arc agreeably surprised. Much harsh criticism has certainly been misplaced, and Mr Hill's “fraternity” is a combination of which wo can be justly proud. It is a good orchestra —in fact, the best wo have had the pleasure of listening to iln this country, and one that none can fail to appreciate. Good music is, 'after all, the best music, and the comic wail of “too high-class” has no foundation in commonsenso. The orchestra is strong in most points, and is wonderfully skilled in producing quaint effects, while in the much-talked-of heresy of working up a crescendo it can hold its own, and its own has little in comm d,a with the average affair going under a similar name. “Expensive !” Sixty pounds a day !” and similar exclamations seem to leave out all consideration of art—and art is after all the yellow specs in the sands of life that make it rich. As to THE GENERAL EXHIBITS, side shows, and even “Wonderland,”-
we must be excused for terming ay! kind of glorified cattle show. Unless j a person has a special interest in | some particular section the glamour' of a magnificent bazaar soon fades, and when we consider that (human nature in some instances is little better than hog nature one is not surprised to find a grunting specimen in- , diting such an insult as, “absolutely rotten” in the visitors’ book. It is very noticeable that' the show soon palls and fails to grip, but the interest is maintained day and night by various “draws,” such as fire-works, babv shows, and the like. But one thing always holds good, and that is the atmosphere of the Exhibition—a thing potent and inexplicable.
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N. Z. Exhibition., Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 50, 2 March 1907
N. Z. Exhibition. Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 50, 2 March 1907
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