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The vast array of celebrated names which strikes the eye of the visitor as he glances over the catalogue of pictures now on exhibition in Williams & Everett's gallery, makes one almost imagine himself in a European capital enjoying pictures which in America are characterized as "rare." Boston has seldom been favored with such a fine collection. Foremost among them is probably the finest Sehreyer ever seen here. The bright colors of the Arabian costumes, the superb action of the horses, the concentrated attention, go to make up a picture which gives us an idea of true art. The Diaz school is well represented. Diaz by three dark-toned woodland scenes; the pupils, Leon Richet and Watelin, by some good work in landscape and cattle. Richet has much of the spirit of his master; Watelin is more original, introducing some finely drawn cattle.
We have never seen a more complete collection of animal painters: Rosa Bonheur, Peyrol Bonheur, Verboeckboven, Van Marcke, Voltz, Burnier, Ceramano, Jacque and Schenck, master and pupil, all are well represented. Rosa Bonheur's picture is small but inimitable; little variety of color but strong and natural, - a sheep, a black one at that, covered up in a wealth of green grass. There is one of the earlier attempts of Van Marcke. It is not marked by that hard, firm finish which his later works possess.
Probably the richest coloring in the exhibition is to be seen in the two examples of Piot. One is a large figure picture representing two richly dressed Italian peasant women offering an orange to a pretty child, upon whom the attention is centred. The drawing is superb, and the flesh tints, though delicate and soft, do not possess the naturalness of a Bouguereau. Yet many prefer Piot to the latter.
Speaking of Bouguereau, one of his pupils, De Quivieres, a rising young Parisian, has one of the most striking pictures in the exhibition. A more clever combination of drawing and coloring is seldom seen. The idea, too, is pleasing: A young girl resting in most careless fashion on a bank of deep green grass, glancing seaward over a stretch of lighter green water, so natural that one longs for summer to come again that he may experience the reality. The pose of the figure is most graceful, being relieved by a light airy summer dress, dainty gloves a la Bernhardt, a cute little pair of opera glasses, listlessly held, and a love of a poke bonnet.
There is only one small picture by Troyen; but it is large enough to show that impressive solemn evening effect for which he is, among other things, much celebrated. Muncaksy, whose picture of "Christ before Pilate," has been so much heard of lately, has a small woodland scene particularly noticeable for its originality of execution. A real dark green Daubigny, much coveted by connoisseurs, attracts much attention. Hamon, lately deceased, better known in America by engravings of his works, is represented in an idyllic subject, called "L'Amour et les Deux Jeunes Filles aux Bains." Ziem and Frere, the painters of Oriental scenes, have some good work. Desgoffe, foremost among the Parisian still life painters, is seen in a delicate piece of detail, a pot of azaleas, with a background of rich and elegant draperies. Lastly, an Angel, in whose face the soft lines and subdued color indicate purity and a life devoid of earthly pleasure, awakes a profound feeling, made more profound by the fact that it is painted by Cabanel, better known to us by such works of his as the "Birth of Venus." The collection is well worth an afternoon's study.
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