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"As it is understood that Harvard University, the Boston Athenæum, and other public bodies represented in this board propose to deposit in this museum the works of art belonging to them, it may be expected that, when first opened to the public, it will contain the following collections:
“1. A collection of mediæval armor, carved furniture, and majolica, made by the late T. Bigelow Lawrence, esq., and bequeathed by him to the Boston Athenæum. (This collection was, unfortunately destroyed in the great fire of November 9, 1872.)
"2. The precious collection of engravings, by the most eminent Italian, Dutch, and Germaŋ masters, made by the late Francis C. Gray, esq., and devised by him to the University at Cambridge.
“This collection is one which any European city would be proud to possess. "3. The pictures and casts belonging to the Boston Athenæum.
“4. Such parts of the collection of engravings made by Cardinal Tosti, and given by T. G. Appleton, esq., to the Boston public library, as Mr. Appleton and the trustees of that insti. tution may deem it advisable to deposit in the museum.
“5. Such works of art as individuals may feel disposed to give to the museum or to deposit there for a longer or a shorter period.
"6. A commencement at least of what is intended ultimately to become a comprehensive gallery of reproductions, through plaster-casts, of the many treasures of antique and mediæval art, and of photographs of original drawings by the most renowned artists of all periods now accessible at small cost.
“As all agree that such an art-museum ought to be a popular institution in the widest sense of the term, it should be opened to the public without charge, on as many days in the week as a proper regard for its interests and for the obvious necessity of reserving certain hours for students will allow.”
It will be seen that these “objects” are comprehensive and, if successfully carried out, must result in a model institution.
The plan of combining the several collections of the public library, Harvard University, and the Athenæum, together with such collections as the trustees may be able to procure, into a working-museum, accessible to the students whom the trustees propose to instruct, looks directly to building up an American institution of similar purpose to the Kensington Art Museum and Art-Training School.
In a circular-letter, the trustees further say of the museum :
“ It aims at cultivating the public taste for all that is excellent in form and color by a free and permanent exhibition of the best models of design in every department of art, hoping that their influence will eventually bring about a notable improvement in all home-products of art and manufacture.
“It cannot be denied that at the present moment our great American cities offer fewer means for cultivation in art than most of the second-rate towns of England, France, and Germany."
They also refer to the facilities now afforded, through the modern processes of reproduction, for procuring copies, casts, and photographs of many kinds of art-treasures, affording nearly the same facilities to students as the originals, for a moderate expenditure.
This fact makes general art-education possible and will enable small com munities to possess such collections for educational purposes, thus affording te their citizens advantages formerly impossible in this country.
In their first annual report, March 20, 1873, the trustees regret the loss of the Lawrence collection of armor by fire, but state that the sum received for insurance is to be expended (with Mrs. Lawrence's approval) for the purchase of works of art for the museum; and Mrs. Lawrence still purposes to decorate a hall in the new building with the carved wood-work fortunately saved from the fire, which hall will contain the collection of enamels, majolicas, and other objects purchased with the above-mentioned funds.
The loss of this collection was also partly compensated to the museum by the acquisition, through the gift by Mr. C. Granville Way, of the very valuable and complete collection of Egyptian antiquities, well known as the “ Hay collection,” formed in Egypt between 1828 and 1833 by Mr. Robert Hay, of Linplum, East Lothian, which was purchased by the late Mr. Samuel Way, of Boston, in 1871, and presented to the museum by his son in June, 1872.
The trustees, finding that some time must elapse before they could establish their proposed schools, adopted a resolution warmly indorsing the petition to the legislature for the establishing of the State Normal Art-Training School.
The present collections in charge of the museum, either owned by them or loaned by private owners, are exhibited in two rooms of the Athenæum gallery. They consist
ist, of the Way Egyptian collection, which numbers about 2,000 objects and occupies an entire room ;
2d, antiquities from Cyprus, collections of ancient vases, &c., making about 600 pieces ;
3d, a collection of coins, comprising some very rare antiques, 922;
8th, marble group of Hebe and Ganymede, by Crawford, and casts of the Eleusis bas-relief, presented by C. C. Perkins; a few pictures and casts; ten volumes of Roman photographs; and some wood-carvings, and a few miscellaneous articles.
The following additional particulars about the building and its progress are contained in a letter of recent date :
“ The building designed by Messrs. Sturges and Brigham is now in process of erection; but it progresses slowly, owing to the limited means at the disposal of the building committee.
“Some large subscriptions have never been paid, owing to the losses through fire and financial crises, which have happened since they were made.
“The land on which the building stands was given by the city and a sum of nearly $300,000 was subscribed. The money paid in amounted, however, to about $260,000, of which $100,000 was invested by the trustees as a permanent fund, leaving about $160,000 at the disposal of the building committee, a large portion of which has already been spent in laying foundations, raising a portion of the walls, and in purchasing terra-cotta enrichments from England. The building is to be built of brick and ornamented with terra-cotta made by Messrs. Blashfield, of Stamford, England.”
As it is anticipated that the Grey collection of engravings belonging to Harvard University and the Tosti collection of engravings belonging to the public library, as well as the pictures and casts belonging to the Boston Athenæum, will eventually be in charge of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, a brief enumeration of them will be given.
The Grey collection, which I have previously described, numbers 6,000 engravings.
The Tosti collection, the gift of Mr. Thomas G. Appleton to the library, was made by Cardinal Tosti, and was esteemed the finest in the city of Rome. It is especially rich in examples of Italian engravers, apd there are many portraits. Some 600 of the engravings are framed and displayed in the various rooms of the library-building; 5,100 are in bound volumes and several hundreds in portfolios. The library also possesses several portraits, among them two originals of Franklin, by Greuze and by Duplessis, both painted in France; several marble busts; three marble statues; and a large painting by Copley.
The Athenæum, which for fifty years has given annually a public exhibition of works of art, comprising those belonging to it and a loan-collection of the works of modern artists, possesses 122 paintings, among them works by Sully, Stuart, Copley, Allston, and West.
CORCORAN ART-GALLERY. The Corcoran Art-Gallery, at Washington, D. C., is unique in its origin. This, the most richly-endowed art-gallery in the United States, is the gift of one man to the public. The handsome building which contains the rapidlyincreasing collections was begun in 1859; but, having been occupied for several years by the Government, it was not till 1869 that it was formally handed over by the donor, W. W. Corcoran, esq., of Washington, a former member of the well-known banking-firm of Corcoran & Riggs, to a board of nine trustees, which was incorporated in 1870.
The building, facing that of the War Department, stands on the northeast corner of Pennsylvania avenue and Seventeenth street, with a frontage of 104 feet on Pennsylvania avenue and 1247 feet on Seventeenth street. It is of brick, with freestone trimmings, in the renaissance-style; and, with its profuse ornamentation and high French roof, suggests one of the new pavilions of the Louvre. The architects were James Renwick, jr., and R. T. Auchmuly, of New York. It is of two stories, the lower devoted to sculpture, the upper to picture-galleries. All the rooms are spacious and well lighted, the picturegalleries with sky-lights. The galleries are connected by lofty arched doors and afford a continuous passage around the floor. The main hall for sculpture is 96/3 feet long by 25 wide. The cost of the building was $600,000. The endowment-fund is estimated at about $900,000 and the present annual income at about $55,000.
The nucleus of the collection was the private gallery of Mr. Corcoran, which cost $100,000. Mr. Corcoran possessed over ten large paintings from the Joseph Bonaparte collection; Huntington's “Mercy's dream;" good specimens of some of the best American artists; and some admirable portraits by Sully, Inman, Peale, and Elliott; the Greek slave, by Powers; and some fine marble busts.
The collections, although opened to the public a year ago, are not yet arranged at all in their proposed order, because the modern paintings and the splendid collection of casts of the finest antique sculptures are constantly
arriving. The plan is eventually to exhibit the casts of the Greek, Roman, and the modern sculptures each grouped by themselves, and to give in the picture-galleries specimens of the best works of all modern schools, replacing poorer pictures by better ones from time to time, and in the other departments to give such specimens of art-work in bronze, porcelain, majolica, &c., as shall give some idea of the world's art-treasures, for the object of this collection is the improvement of taste and to afford to a public hitherto deprived of such advantages opportunity for studying the best works of ancient and modern art. Whatever the plans of the trustees may comprise in the future, there is at present no provision for affording any technical instruction in art, nor any immediate purpose of establishing schools of art or design. '
The hall of sculpture now contains some 88 casts made in the Louvre at Paris and in Rome. When it is understood that one of the 88 casts consists of 180 feet of the frieze of the Parthenon, which, placed in the upper part of the wall, surrounds the room on three sides; that another is the cast from the west bronze gate of the Baptistery at Florence by Ghiberti, which occupies one end of the hall, a fac-simile of that possessed by the Yale Art-School at New Haven; that a third is the group of the Laocoon, and that the others are casts of the most famous statues, some idea may be realized of the completeness and value of this part of the collection.
The “hall of bronzes, ceramic ware,” &c., contains in a glass case “ the Hildesheim treasures,” electrotype-reproductions by Christofle & Co., of Paris, of some thirty articles, vases, drinking-cups, saucepans, tripods, salt-cellars, &c., forming a treasure of ancient vessels of gold and silver, discovered near the remains of a Roman camp near Hildesheim, Hanover, in 1868. Some are extremely ancient and several of great beauty. As relics of the table- and kitchen-furniture of the ancients and also as beautiful specimens of the modern art of electrotypy, they are of great interest. Here are eight specimens of taïence-ware, after Bernard Palissy; a superb Minton majolica vase, four feet high, called the “Prometheus vase," on which the story of the old myth is graphically delineated in sculpture and haut-relief; four exquisite vases of Sèvres porcelain ; and a collection said to be the most complete in the world of the very wonderful bronzes of Barye, Paris. There are seventy pieces, most of them animals in repose or action; though several statuettes and groups indicate his skill as a sculptor outside his specialty. For many years attached to the Jardin des Plantes, his observation of the animals there has given him a marvelous power in delineating their characteristics. These bronzes, each of a few inches in size, force one to realize the power and ferocity of these denizens of the jungle and desert. The tearing, ravenous rage of the famishing beasts is shown in many a forest-episode. Wild beasts, serpents, and birds of prey are seen either in the act of seizing their prey, in contests with each other and with man, or in repose. This collection is in every way remarkable and will repay careful study.
The galleries of pictures contain at present about 110 paintings; some 15 or 20 of these are important specimens of the greatest French artists of the modern school, and were recently selected in Europe by Mr. William T. Walters,
of Baltimore, one of the trustees, whose well-known private collection of modern art furnishes the best guarantee for his selections. These include specimens of Ary Scheffer, Gérôme, Émile Bréton, Japy, A. Vély, Couder, Von Thoren, Portaels, Schreyer, Brion, Leroux, Saint Pierre, Bail, A. Rebouet, Collette, and Henri Martin.
The octagon-room, 25 feet in diameter, contains in the center the beautiful marble statue of the Greek slave, by Hiram Powers, and around the walls marble busts, “Il Penseroso,” by Rinehart; “Bacchante,” by Galt; “ The veiled nun;" the bust of Shakespeare. Two of Powers's imaginative busts in marble, the “ Proserpine ” and the “Genevra," are in the main hall of sculpture below.
But it is useless to attempt a catalogue of collections which is so constantly receiving such valuable and important additions. With the income at their disposal, the trustees have it in their power to create in time a museum worthy the broadest designs of its founder; whether this noble benefaction shall reach its highest possible use rests wholly with them.
These collections are open to the public daily from 10 a. m. to 4 p. m., from October to April, and from 10 a. m. to 6 p. m., from April to October. Admission Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 25 cents; Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, free. An excellent descriptive catalogue is sold at a moderate price. Large descriptive cards are placed on new works not included in latest edition of the catalogue.
SAN FRANCISCO ART-ASSOCIATION. The San Francisco Art-Association, San Francisco, Cal., a society of artists and amateurs, was organized March, 1871, for the purpose of holding receptions and exhibitions and ultimately of establishing a school of design. Members are chosen by ballot; a president, two vice-presidents, secretary, and a treasurer, with six directors, are to be elected by ballot annually from the board of direction. Every member pays an admission-fee of $2 and monthly dues of $1. A subscription of $100 to the academy-fund constitutes a life-member, free from all further dues.
“All moneys arising from exhibitions, fees of members, donations, unless otherwise directed by donors, and from other sources, over and above the ordinary expenses of the association, shall be devoted to the establishment of an academy or school of design, the formation of a permanent gallery and art-library, the purchasing or leasing of a lot of ground, and the erection of suitable buildings thereon, to be the property of the association.
“Schools for the instruction of students in art shall be established and continued, as the means and apartments of the association permit, under the control and regulation of a standing committee on schools, a majority of whom shall be artists in the practice of their profession, to be appointed by the directors."
Originally founded by about thirty persons, it has now more than seven hundred members and about one hundred life-members.
Its quarterly receptions are attended by about one thousand persons and its semi-annual exhibitions, continuing for two months each, have been well attended. Number of visitors to gallery, 7,145. Income for 1873, $8,784.45. The society has no debt; has $5,000 invested in the academy-fund; has a library