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The Annex to the Fine Arts Palace: Norwegian, Austrian, Hungarian, Spanish, English, Finnish, Italian, Futurist, Besnard.
From the point of view of modernity, the new building erected to house the works collected abroad and brought here after the outbreak of the European war - a most remarkable enterprise which reflects special credit upon Commissioner J. N. Laurvik, who, as a special representative of the Department of Fine Arts, carried it through - is the most interesting portion of the Fine Arts department. Here are brought together works which show the ferment and the most extreme examples of all the tendencies in contemporary art abroad which witness to the strength and directions of the period of storm and stress through which art, in common with all other branches of human culture, is today passing, to what unknown ends who shall say?
The principal things to be seen in this new building are the following:
The Hungarian exhibit, on the ground floor.
The Hungarian Exhibit
Entering by the door opposite the main fine arts building if you will turn to your left you will find in the first room the retrospective section of the very notable Hungarian exhibition. The two next rooms on the same side of the building as the retrospective gallery contain works by the painters of the Academic schools of Hungary. Leaving the third of these you turn to your right and enter one of two central rooms which contain modern works. In the room directly opposite the retrospective room are the ultra-modern pictures, and communicating with this room are two others which contain Hungarian sculpture and drawings and other "graphics," etchings, and prints.
In a smaller room opening from the last of those devoted to Hungarian graphics are paintings by two Austrian artists. One is John Quincy Adams, a lineal descendant of the famous American statesman, and a naturalized citizen of Austria. He is the winner of a Gold Medal granted for the work shown here, two portraits, one being of his wife. Another Austrian artist, Horatio Gaigher, exhibits in this room two interesting portraits, one of Pope Benedict XV, and the other of the late pope Pius X, both made from life. Mr. Gaigher has been granted a Silver Medal.
Other winners of high honors in the Austrian and Hungarian sections are the following:
Istvan Csok, Hungarian, Gold Medal, who exhibits eight pictures among the modern works, and who occupies a place of the utmost importance in European art today.
Lajos Mark, Hungarian, Gold Medal, who has five works in the modern gallery. Ede Telcs, Hungarian, Gold Medal, for sculpture.
Janos Vaszary, Hungarian, Gold Medal, who exhibits six canvases, among the representative moderns.
The winners of Silver Medals among the Hungarians were as follows: Count C. Y. Batthyanyi, Gyula Glatter, Baron F. Hatvany, Oszkar Glatz, Pal Javor, B. Karlovsky, Ferencz Lipoth, Baron Mednyansky, Geza Vastagh, and Horatio Gaigher, an Austrian. Silver Medals for Sculpture were awarded to O. Fulop Beck and Guyla Muranyi, Hungarians.
There are three rooms devoted to paintings from Spain.
The Medal of Honor award was granted to Elisee Meifren, whose large land-and-seascape occupies nearly all of one of the walls.
Gold Medals were won by three Spaniards, Carlos Vasquez, Valentin de Zubiarre, and Conde de Aguiar.
A Medal of Honor was granted to Frank Brangwyn, the English artist, for etchings. Brangwyn is given a special place in a room on the ground floor. Eminent as mural painter (his work may be seen in the Court of Abundance), Brangwyn is also one of the leading etchers of today.
The rooms on the northern side of the upper floor are devoted to the remarkable exhibition sent to this country by the artists of Norway.
The first room to be visited should be the one in the northeast corner, which contains works of the academic school, plus more modern tendencies. The next room contains modern work, notably that of Henrik Land and Edvard Munch. The next is given over to Fritz Thaulow, the famous Norwegian master, who was, of course, hors concours. Next comes another modern room, Halfdan Strom and Christian Krogh pro-eminent (a very interesting note in this room is supplied by the work of a Norwegian son of the French innovator, Gauguin, Pola Gauguin). The next is the Harald Sohlberg gallery.
To the last, Harald Sohlberg, was granted a Medal of Honor. The large nocturnal landscape, where a huge ice mountain looms beneath the mystical moonlight, is perhaps the most striking of Sohlberg's tremendously vital work, but it is all highly notable.
To Halfdan Strom was awarded a Gold Medal.
Silver Medals were granted to Edvard Diriks, Otto Hennig, Christian Krohg, Henrik Lund, Sigmund Sinding, and Marie Tannoe.
For work in Water Color a Medal of Honor was granted to Olaf Lange, a Gold Medal to Edvard Munch, and Silver Medals to Kristofer Ericksen and H. Hammerback.
Three rooms are given to the British painters.
Six of them were granted Gold Medals, these being: George Santer, C. W. Simpson. Harold Knight, Laura Knight, Harold Speed, and H. Hughes Stanton.
To Axel Gallen-Kalella was granted a Medal of Honor. He is a native of Finland, and one of the most interesting and vital of modern artists. A very large number of his paintings, ranging from his earliest work to that of his latest phase, are shown in a special gallery on the top floor.
The works of the Italian Futurists are shown in a separate gallery on the top floor. This work is the output of that group of artists of whom Marenetti, the poet and pamphleteer, is the acknowledged leader, and which most uncompromisingly pursues the strange paths of this newest form of art. To those who consider the subject worth studying is recommended a very comprehensive study by J. N. Laurvik, entitled "Is It Art: Post-Impressionism, Futurism, Cubism?" It may be said that the men of these schools, at least of Cubism and Futurism, desire to break clear away from all formal and traditional forms of art and to create entirely new expressions of subjective emotions. That they do not succeed appears obvious, but that possibly some worth-while form of the use of color and line may develop from this desperate experimenting, who may deny?
In a separate room near the English galleries are hung a number of works by Albert Besnard, the eminent French artist, head of the French school in Rome, the result of his observations in India.
The pictures of Oskar Kokoschka, an Austrian artist of the ultra-modern school, are in the room at the southeastern corner of the top floor. He is a portrait painter who is the subject of much controversy.