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Thistle-down, thistle-down, whither away?
Can you not linger for one little day ?
Wait till to-morrow, my thistle-down, do !
And if I am ready I'll fly away too.
We'll have such a journey as never was seen ;
Now o'er the billows, and then o'er the green ;
Now in the meadow, and then on the hill ;
Flying, and floating, and resting at will.
And some little cloud we'll together pursue,
That seems to be lost in the heavenly blue ;
The dragon-fly chase as he skims o'er the lake ;
The emigrant birds from the north overtake.
We'll learn where the rainbow begins, and the gold
That is buried thereunder, together behold ;
Now doesn't this tempt you, my tfiistle-down bright.
To pause just a day from your wandering flight ?
Will nothing delay you ? Has Nature a need
Entrusted alone to your gossamer seed ?
Then hasten away to your dance on the wind.
And leave me all lonely and longing behind.
— W. W. Bailey.
WOMAN IN ART. — ROSA BONHEUR.
Ninety-three works of art by women in the
fifth winter exhibition of the National Academy of
Design attested the progress made by American
women in drawing, painting and sculpture within the
last few years. Many of our readers can recall the
time, not very reipote, when a woman's name was a
rarity in the Academy catalogues, and when a really
good drawing, or painting, by a woman was regarded
as a phenomenon, and people were inclined to won-
der if it was, indeed, all her own work. Their brother
artists openly sneered at their attempts, and while
utterly contemptible works by men were permitted to
disgrace the Academy walls, the ungallant hanging
committees were extremely loath to admit that wom-
en had any talents they were bound to recognize,
or any rights they were bound to respect. In spite,
however, of many obstacles and discouragements, a
number of young ladies persevered in their art stud-
ies, with an intelligence and industry which have
borne good fruit.
Few people know what it cost the pioneers in this
truly commendable woman's movement to obtain not
recognition as artists, for that came of itself as soon
as they had demonstrated their right to bear the
name, but the privilege and opportunity for study.
Few artists of ability and reputation were willing to
take young ladies into their studios as pupils, and
those who yielded to feminine importunity, or to the
more pressing arguments of impecuniosity (to which
artists are often subject), had but little faith in fem-
inine ability to cope with the obstacles which beset
the path of an earnest student of art. They watched
the progress of their fair pupils with half amused,
half pitying incredulity, and at times, as some of
them have since confessed, with compunction of
conscience for allowing the pretty wilful creatures
to waste the time which might have been better em-
ployed, they thought, in the homelier duties of the
household, or in learning a useful trade. The schools
and academies where young ladies were supposed to
receive a finished education, with all the accomplish-
ments of the fine arts, afforded no real facilities for
the study of painting. The teachers of art were too
generally wretched charlatans, who knew as little of
art as the Chinese, but who had learned a few tricks
of handling and effect, which a bright pupil could
master in a single term. In some boarding schools
it was considered a triumph of art to imitate a steel
engraving with such nice accuracy, that, viewed from
a safe distance, the original and the copy could not be
distinguished by a partial or inexperienced eye ! In
other establishments a hideous system called mono-
chromatic drawing was taught. It consisted in stump-
ing a roughened sheet of white drawing board with
crayon dust, and then scraping out the forms and
lights with a sharp knife, toning down, for the final
finish, with India rubber, or the stump. The advan-
tages of this method were that it could be learned in
two or three lessons, and pictures, it would not be
true to say drawings, could be executed with astonish-
Extraordinary monochromatic pictures are still to
be met with in the parlors of country farm houses.
They are generally copies of Cole's " Voyage of Life."
Monochromatic drawing was succeeded in young
ladies' boarding schools by what was ^Facetiously
styled Grecian Painting, probably because it was a
barbarism with which the Greeks were wholly unac-
quainted. It was likewise a simple art to learn and
practice. The artist had only to make an engraving
or lithographic print transparent by the application
of a prepared varnish, and then daub the colors on
the back. The paper being transparent the colors
showed through, soft and subdued ; and with a very
little skill it was possible to produce a very pretty
effect. Grecian painting was immensely popular for
two or three seasons, and it actually made the fortune
of several picture dealers who happened to have on
hand, when it started, a heavy stock of old steel en-
gravings ,and lithographic prints, which they would
have been glad to dispose of at a slight advance
above waste paper rates !
Thanks to the number of young ladies who, within
the last five years, have graduated from artist's stu-
dios and from schools of design, neither monochro-
matic drawing, nor Grecian painting, is tolerated any
longer in boarding schools where intelligent instruc-
tion has taken the place of charlatanism. Every year
the contributions of female artists to the Academy
exhibitions increase in number, and in merit, and
' that was painted by a woman " is no longer said in
contempt as it used to be. True, women artists have
not yet obtained the full recognition to which some
of them at least are entitled. The Academicians, who
place their pictures on the walls of their stately gal-
lery, decline as yet to admit them into their society,
although the election of Mrs. Eliza Greatorex and
Mrs. Bogardus as " Associate " members may, per-
haps, be accepted as a sign of relenting. But, after
all, it is not necessary to be an Academician in order
to be an artist.
In addition to the facilities offered by the School
of Design at the Cooper Institute, where free instruc-
tion in drawing, painting, wood-engraving, and mod-
eling may be enjoyed by women as well as men,
there is now the Ladies' Art Association, which was
organized about four years ago, with the view of com-
bining the advantages of an academy and a school.
During the first year of its existence, the society met
at the studio of its first president, the late Mrs. Mary
Pope, where they brought their pictures and sketches,
and exchanged criticisms and suggestions. A com-
modious hall was subsequently obtained in Clinton
Hall, where several fine exhibitions have been held,
and where students can hire easel room at a very
moderate rent. Those who avail themselves of this
privilege are allowed to participate in the life school,
which meets once a week in the hall, foir instruction
and practice in drawing from the living model. The
association at present contains about fifty members.
It aspires to have a building of its own, which shall
afford a suitable gallery for public exhibitions, pleas-
ant and convenient studios for members of the asso-
ciation, and, if possible, dwelling apartments for such
lady artists as may desire them in preference to
boarding houses. It may not be generally known
that lady artists have great difficulty in obtaining
eligible studios. Many landlords plumply refuse to
let studios to ladies. When the Young Men's Chris-
tian Association put up its splendid building on the
corner of Fourth Avenue and Twenty-third Street, it
was supposed it would be tolerant and liberal in its
treatment of lady artists, but when ladies of the high-
est character and standing in society, as well as in
their profession, made application to the directors for
studios, they were met by the intelligence that no
rooms in the building would be let to women ! This
narrow-minded and illiberal policy is unworthy of a
Christian Association. It is something to be ashamed
of and abandoned.
There are many who believe, or profess to do so,
that no advantages of training and culture will ever
give women, as artists, rank in the profession by the
side of men. Out upon such folly ! Pray, do all
men who call themselves artists stand upon the sarrie
level ! Think of the immense distance between a
Gifford, a Ward, a McEntee, a Colman, and the
wretched daubster whose spoiled canvases are thrust
into any corner where there is least chance of their
offending the sight, and say there is not room in
some of the intermediate niches for women, who de-
vote their talents and their life to art ! Perhaps
none of the young women who are now assiduously
studying art in this city may hope to attain a posi-
tion equal to that of either of the artists just men-
tioned; but at least a dozen could be named whose
talents and accomplishments entitle them to take
precedence of fifty men who could be named, who
hold rank as artists, and whose works appear on the
walls of the Academy every season. If proof be re-
quired of woman's capacity in art, look at the illus-
trious career of the French rival of Landseer, Rosa
Bonheur. Woman though she is, none will deny
her the possession of genius, or of the very highest
culture, in a most difficult and exacting branch of art.
Her story is so interesting, as well as full of instruc-
tion and encouragement, that a brief outline sketch
will make an appropriate conclusion to this paper.
She was the daughter of a poor but very worthy
and respected artist, in the Department of Gironde,
from whom she inherited a love of art, and by whom
she was carefully trained in the rudiments of drawing
and painting. At the age of eighteen, she resolved
to visit Paris, where she arrived destitute, and a stran-
ger. She went to work with a stout heart, and very
soon the excellence of her studies in the Louvre drew
the admiring notice of critics and artists. It was not
long before she ventured upon an original work —
the picture of a domestic goat feeding in a garden-
It attracted great attention ; a brilliant future was
prophesied for the artist. Her first great painting
was one which represented with equal poetry and
truth the daily labors of the French peasant. It
fairly took Paris by storm. The prophesy was al-
ready fulfilled. The timid, shrinking girl, who only
a few months before sat unnoticed in the galleries
of the Louvre, suddenly became the acknowledged
rival of eminent artists, whom she was destined to
leave behind in the race for fame. Up to this time
the struggle for life had been bitter and depressing ;
but having a brave heart she never allowed herself
to despond, and when good fortune came at length
she was ready to enjoy it. She has put her life into
her works. A country girl, she loves best of all to
portray a peaceful, rural life — laborious but inno-
cent, and therefore happy. She loves, says a French
writer, to depict man as he was placed upon earth by
God, as the chief of all created beings. Her finest
works represent the peaceful union of man and the
nobler class of domestic animals, in the labors of the
field — in one, the ploughing and sowing ; in another,
the harvesting, or the vintage. It would seem as if
the purpose of her life was to declare the dignity and
happiness of labor. There may be no Rosa Bonheurs
among the young women -who are striving in this
country to achieve position as artists ; but there is
certainly much in such a story as hers to encourage
the faint-hearted, and also to rebuke the supercilious
critic, who stands ready to sneer at every woman who
aspires to make use of the talents with which God
intended her to adorn the walks of literature or art.
— Elizabeth B. Leonard.
TWO GAZELS OF HAFIZ.
Wind ! if thou should'st chance to pass the land.
The happy region, where my mistress is.
Bring me sweet scents from ambrosial curls.
By her dear life, 'twould fill my soul with bliss
Would'st thou a message bring me from her heart !
If Heaven refuse this boon — why, then bring dust
To my two eyes from my beloved's house !
1 pray that she may come — unhappy wretch !
When shall my weeping eyes behold her face ?
I tremble like a reed with my desire
To clasp my fair one — stately as the pine.
Although she loves me not, I would not give
One hair of her dear head for all the world !
Though free from trouble, what does Hafiz gain.
Whose heart is but the slave of his beloved ?
O balmy Wind ! hast thou my mistress seen ?
Thou must have stolen that scent of musk from her :
Beware ! — thy fingers are too free by far,
For what hast thou to do with her bright curls ?
O Rose ! how canst thou rival her red cheek ?
Her cheek is smooth, but thine is rough with thorns.
And how canst thou. Sweet Basil ! sport thy locks ?
Her locks are glossy, thine are brown as dust.
And thou, Narcissus ! wherefore gaze at her ?
Her eyes are bright, but thine are dim with sleep.
O Cypress ! when her stately form draws near.
How can'st thou hope to be the garden's pride?
What would'st thou choose, O Wisdom ! — if to choose
Were left thee still — in preference to Love ?
Be patient, Hafiz! — if thy love endure —
It may be thine, some day, to meet thy love !
— Henry Richards.
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