ePub 版

original designs, of

pets, paper-hangings, and

This latter school

industrial drawings in color, partly copies and partly original designs, of muslins, cashmeres, carpets, paper-hangings, and oil-cloths.

This latter school, called the Lowell Free School of Industrial Design, is intended to train young men and women in practical designing for manufactures. The students show rapid progress and evince much aptitude for design.

I have given so much space to a summary of the progress in art-education in Massachusetts under the wise and enthusiastic direction of Mr. Smith, because there the experiment of adding to the studies now taught in our free common schools such training in drawing as will enable the children to become skilled laborers is being tried for the whole country, and under favorable circumstances. It will require several years to produce the fullest results, to show the effect of a course of such training carried through the entire schoollife of the pupil; but it will be hardly necessary for experienced educators to wait until the completion of this experiment to judge accurately of the relative value of the study.

The verdict thus far in Massachusetts seems wholly favorable. Of the feasibility of popular art-education in this country, Mr. Smith has said, in his Art-Education, p. 302:

“In the matter of art-education, we have not much to learn from the remote past. Almost all that has been done in it, except for professional or trade-education, has been initiated in this century. * * But the public and the art-workmen have been ignored in the dispensation of art-education in the centuries gone by so far as means of instruction went."

Mr. Smith qualifies this by referring to the insensible art-education given by the noble buildings and the public art-collections of the old countries. Of the almost immediate deterioration suffered by an art-designer from a deprivation of these familiar art-surroundings he gives a striking instance. Of all this kind of art-training, Americans are and must be long deprived, which is in itself an argument for giving special attention in school to securing some arttraining. Mr. Smith suggests, however, that there must have been a beginning to all these beautiful creations and that the capacity for art-appreciation and for some art-training is universal, and that, “here as well as elsewhere, the inner education must precede and create the outer;" and adds, “ When drawing was by law introduced into the common schools of the State of Massachusetts, there was done by a stroke what it took European nations a good many centuries to accomplish.” (Page 309.)*

* The Massachusetts law is as follows:

CHAPTER 248, ACTS OF 1870. “SECTION 1. The first section of chapter thirty-eight of the general statutes is hereby amended so as to include drawing among the branches of learning which are by said section required to be taught in the public schools.

“Sec. 2. Any city or town may, and every city and town having more than ten thousand inhabitants shall, annually make provision for giving free instruction in industrial or mechanical drawing to persons over fifteen years of age, either in day- or evening-schools, under the direction of the school-committee.

“Sec. 3. This act shall take effect upon its passage. “Approved May 16, 1870.”

To this admirably-worded act, Mr. Smith (pages II, 12) suggests that after the words “industrial drawing" the two words “and modeling" should be added, as that would include practice in industrial art necessary to modelers, carvers, and all workers in solid materials; also that the two words “or mechanical,” following “industrial” as referring to drawing, should be erased, as the general term “industrial drawing” includes the mechanical division and is not a synonym for it, as some have supposed.

The following further extracts from Art-Education, after stating the kind of drawing meant by the law, give a brief but comprehensive view of the result of European experience in general art-training:

“The kind of drawing which the State of Massachusetts requires that its citizens shall have an opportunity of studying is called “industrial drawing,' and wisely so called, for in that lies a justification of its public action in the matter.

“The time has arrived when the government of the State of Massachusetts has viewed the matter in the same light, and thus we are upon the threshold of a new fabric: a system of art-education for the State which will undoubtedly foreshadow a national system of secondary education.

“The means whereby such a system would be best organized to meet the requirements of all classes of society and keep supply and demand in their true relationship, has been a great problem to the educationists of this locality, as it has been previously to the educationists of the Old World. There are three sections of the public to be educated: children; adult artisans; and the public generally, who come under neither of the first two divisions. How this has been provided for in most of the European states I may here shortly describe. For children, elementary drawing is taught as a part of general education in most of the public schools; for adult artisans, night-schools and classes have been established in almost all towns or populous villages; and, for the general public, museums, galleries of art, and courses of public lectures on art-subjects are becoming general. Upon the comparative value of these several means there may be and is much difference of opinion, but upon one point there is a general agreement, viz, that to make national art-education possible it must commence with the children in public schools.

“After several unsuccessful experiments, that is the conclusion at which, twenty years ago, the educationists of Great Britain arrived, and the progress which has since been made in arteducation, and the consequent improvement of industrial art, is evidence enough that the problem had been solved and that they were on the right track. To establish schools of art and artgalleries before the mass of the community were taught to draw was like opening a university before people knew the alphabet; but to provide both of these agencies in conjunction with or as a continuation of the instruction in drawing in public schools was like a logical sequence, going in rational order from strength to strength of an unbroken chain, from bud to branch, and from branch to flower, of natural and educational growth.

"While England has appropriated, in Mr. Foster's scheme, all the features of the Massachusetts system of general education that are worth anything, we are borrowing from Great Britain, as well as from other countries, the most valuable portion of their experience in technical education; and I venture to prophesy that, upon a better general basis, we shall erect an infinitely better superstructure so soon as the development of public opinion in this country will furnish us with the means for its accomplishment."


It is evident that, if we are to have in this country any general knowledge of drawing and of art, especially any of that technical-art-training which shall develop the resources of the country by improving its manufactures and raising up skilled workmen to compete with the skilled artisans of Europe, we must

begin with the primary schools; and to do this successfully art-teachers, who can teach the teachers of the public schools, must be trained; in short, we must apply to this part of our system of public education the same principles and machinery that have already proved so efficient in the general management of our public schools.

Normal schools so called—that is, training-schools for teachers have become a recognized and essential part of the public-school-systems of the several States; and, to give this principle broader scope and fuller action, educational associations and teachers' institutes are everywhere organized and sustained with the best results. Normal art-schools for training art-teachers, artclasses in the present normal schools, and teachers' classes for instruction of the teachers in drawing by the special art-teachers are the means which must be brought into action, if the study of drawing is to be successfully and generally taught in the public schools. Free industrial-drawing-classes for adults and technical schools for the various applications of art to industries and manufactures are and will continue to be essential; their success will be made certain whenever drawing is thoroughly and universally taught in the public schools, for then, and not until then, can they obtain pupils who have had such preliminary training as will enable them to avail themselves at once of the opportunities afforded in these schools.


In the various schools of science, instruction in topographical and mechanical drawing is given, as a matter of course, to those students who are studying civil, mining, or mechanical engineering.

To lay out a plan of grounds; to plot a survey; to map a railroad or canal; to throw a dam across or a bridge over a stream; to build an aqueduct ; to devise methods for draining a mine or to erect machinery for its working; to plan engines and machines : all these, the practical work of an engineer, necessitate a knowledge of drawing-industrial and technical drawing—the artistic power applied directly to the practical needs of the world's work.

That a knowledge of drawing is necessary to the architect, and must be mastered by whoever would become one, is self-evident. In this art, which includes so many of the arts, to which sculpture is but subsidiary and painting an adornment, the skill in drawing demanded advances far beyond that required by the engineer.

A familiar knowledge of the history of architecture, as shown in its varying styles, is requisite, as well as the ability to grasp its resources, to master its minute details, and to shape its stubborn materials into forms whose harmony of proportion and beauty of outline shall compel admiration for generations. The precision of detail required of the engineer is equally demanded here, it is true; but much more is also demanded, and drawing, erewhile the humble handmaid of industry, enters royally the serene domain of art.

Wherever, then, architects are trained, either in the studios and offices of private masters or in special schools, drawing must be thoroughly taught. Nor can he who plans ships, any more than he who designs buildings, dispense

with the draughtsman's power. The lines that give beauty and speed and safety, and with them the mastery of the seas, must grow under the pencil of the skillful designer before ever the keel can be laid, the timbers hewed, or the ductile iron be bent into its shapely curves.

The inventions which result in the machines and mechanical contrivances of which the American mind is so prolific must all take shape on paper before they can take other form. They must be drawn before they can be made. In all things which are made by man, in all manufactures, a knowledge of drawing and the possession of the skill which artistic and technical training give are useful to workman and to master.

But drawing is not the only word art has to say to the workers. In addition to purity of outline and clearness of design, to the marvelous beauty and sig. nificance of form to which drawing opens the eye, art brings her palette, and points to the varied hues with which nature enriches her productions and whispers to the artisan that she will teach him to emulate nature in these her most protean shapes. To all makers of textile fabrics, art has significant words to say about designs and hues.

REFINING INFLUENCE. In seeking to show clearly the usefulness of a knowledge of drawing and its application to so many forms of industry, its convenience, I have thus far failed to notice the higher and more ennobling influence of art, not only upon the manufactures of a people, but upon their character; the latter preceding the former, for, until the workman becomes refined, until his eye is sensitive to see and his hand facile to reproduce the finer lines of form, the more delicate shades of color, his work cannot improve.

That general art-training, beginning with the teaching of drawing to schoolchildren and faithfully followed out in the different industries and professions where it is applicable, will accomplish this, the experience of Great Britain has demonstrated; and, further, that whatever of money and of labor and time has been expended, to accomplish this result, has been more than repaid by the products of the industries created and improved. Mr. Smith, in the following statement, affirms that

“Within the last five and twenty years we have seen a wonderful change take place in the money-value of the manufactures of England."

He says, while, owing to labor-saving processes, &c., the cost of production has diminished one-half, the value of the manufactured article has nearly doubled. He accounts for this by stating that

“Every manufactured article has three elements of value: First, the raw material ; second, the labor of production ; third, the art-character. The two first, in some few cases, are a large proportion of the value of the whole; and, where no art whatever is displayed, it forms the whole value. But, in a vast majority of the manufacturing products of every country, the elements of cost of material and cost of labor are insignificant in comparison with the third element, viz, art-character. It is this which makes the object attractive and pleasing, or repulsive or uninteresting, to the purchaser, and is consequently of commercial value. In many objects, where the material is of little or no intrinsic worth, the taste displayed in their design forms the sole value or the principal, and it has been the general elevation of that element which has nearly doubled the commercial value of English manufactures.”

He states that he has seen an advance in the artistic element from an almost barbaric condition “to the refinement of the greatest artistic epochs, and it has not been an exceptional case or a development in one direction, owing to peculiar circumstances. If we take pottery, glass, porcelain, terra-cotta, metalwork in wrought iron, brass, bronze, silver plate, goldsmiths' work, jewelry, paper-hanging, carpets, parquetry, encaustic tiles, furniture, cabinet-making, upholstery, stained glass, mural decorations, wood- and stone-carving, chasing, enameling, lace-making, embroidery-all show that infusion of taste which has in all cases increased, and in many cases doubled, their value in the market in five and twenty years. Now, just as drawing is the only universal language, so art is an almost universal currency, and among civilized races is universal; with this remarkable characteristic, that let the art in a thing be good art, based upon natural laws and treated with consistency and purity of feeling, and it shall consecrate the material which it ennobles, so that lapse of time will add its value, until antiquity enshrines it.” (Art-Education, pp. 17, 18, 19.)


In order to ascertain what opportunities are afforded for art-training and what public art-collections are at present existing in this country, a schedule of inquiries was prepared and sent out from this Bureau, the returns to which, so far as they admit of tabulation, will be found among the statistical tables in the Appendix to the Report of the United States Commissioner of Education for 1873, which will be found at the end of this circular.*

* The following is a copy of the art-inquiries sent out from this Bureau:

Name of museum ?
By whom now owned ?

1 (City? Location, { County ?

(State ?
When founded ?
By whom founded ?
Amount of endowments ?

From endowments ?

From State- or municipal grants ?
Income for past year, (

From donations ?
(From all other sources ?

Salaries and wages ?
Expenditures for past year, { Rent, repairs, &c. ?

Collections ?
Is admission restricted; and, if so, how?
Number of visitors last year?
Are there special rooms for study; and, if so, how many ?

Are there courses of study in connection with the museum ? If so, please specify the course for each year.

Number of professors and instructors ?

Are lectures delivered in connection with the museum; and, if so, what number, on what subjects, and what are the terms of admission ?


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