Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 62.djvu/468

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cities have been 'decorated' with large and beautiful photographs of famous works of art. But the want of harmony in the proportions of the rooms, the ugly color of the walls and woodwork, the hopelessly commonplace paneling, and the inartistic seats, make the pictures as much out of place as mailed knights in a modern regiment. While such incongruity may make the vulgar stare, it can not but make the judicious grieve.

During recent years the cause of art has been espoused by professional esthetes with whom art is merely a fad. They use it as a means of self-advertisement. Such persons have no feeling for art and are blind leaders of the blind with the well-known result. As Mr. Whistler says in 'Ten 'clock': 'The voice of the aesthete is heard in the land and catastrophe is upon us.' For only he can teach, in whom the spirit of the artist dwells.

Considered and taught from the standpoint of appreciation, art becomes a vital force in the lives of men and forms an important factor of their effective environment. Each person, gratified at his growing powers of appreciating art at first-hand, is led to re-survey the surrounding world with this new artistic standard. This quality of expressing its maker's delight, which many objects possess—and nearly all may possess—is sought for without any other stimulus than the pleasure derived from gratifying the esthetic sense. Each object is made to stand a new trial and respond to a new set of demands. All the elements of environment are scrutinized, then condemned or approved; for, contrary to the popular notion, the majority of mankind have a latent power of appreciation for art, but like the water hidden in the rocks in Cyprus, it will come forth only when struck in the right place and manner.

If a woman, with a good esthetic standard, goes forth to buy furniture, she is no longer in a mood to be persuaded to buy an object, unless it comes up to her conception of beauty. Neither gilded ugliness, expensive tawdriness, nor the 'latest thing out' is wanted, but a character which she can live with and enjoy. Such a demand on the part of a goodly portion of purchasers would materially change the character of our manufactured product and leaven our social and industrial life.