Mr. Francis Howard is certainly a wonderful impresario. He manages to put in the field exhibition after exhibition of the greatest piquancy and variety. This time it must have amused him to demonstrate that Boldini is the nonpareil parent of the wriggle and chiffon school of portraiture. It is a pity that Helleu is not represented by a set of his brilliant dry points. It would then be seen that the Franco-Italian master has three sturdy sons, Sargent, Blanche and Helleu, and that none of them quite succeed in the bravura of the décolleté like their master. None of them has lifted the fashionable flic-flac to the nth with the same ring-master’s flourish of the lash as has the wizard of Ferrara and the Boulevard Berthier. His virtuosity and vitality are astounding. An artist can only interpret what inspires him, and his sitters do not bore Boldini. Mr. Francis Howard has gone one better than the new English Art Club in self-abnegation. These have lain down to be flattened out by Mr. Sargent’s landscape sketches. Mr. Howard has invited Mr. Sargent himself to be snuffed out by the sun of which he is one of the major moons. Holocaust for holocaust, Mr. Howard is the wittier critic. Mr. Sargent at the Grafton appears positively domestic and tame.
Though of a retiring and sensitive disposition, he was unmoved by the pseudo-evolution of the early Victorian era, and founded his art on the traditions of the great masters.
Will readers of The New Age, cognisant of other branches of human knowledge, tell me whether in those branches any one writes such nonsense as this? Is it only in our poor art that these are our experts?
“He is unrepresented in the National or Tate Galleries.”
We may, I imagine, await developments. Experts will be moved to write. Drums will be beaten. Being a poor example, I should say the betting is the nation will have to have it.
© Estate of Walter R. Sickert