Press enter after choosing selection

Esthetics At A Premium

Esthetics At A Premium image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

Our good Aniericans who flook to Eu rope every year usually return prepared to talk about the absorption of tLo now world in practical affairs, and the lack of esthetic element in American lile. It is not to be oxpected, thejr say, in a tono whioh carries any amount of patronage and )fii'dn with it, that a people vlu havo foreststo feil, and railroad tobuiliï, and prairies to plant, and cilios tt. pear, and mines to uncovrr, and a grett ex periment to mak e in democratie gnrernment, shuuld have time to devote to matters of taste. These latter tilinga i une with accumulated wcalth and centones , of culturo. Wo are necessarily in tlie ruw now. The wholo nation, under the stimulus of a greed for wealth and ihe faciiities i'or procurüig it, is base. he almighty dollar is the national gou it is confidently expected and predicted that we shall do better by and by. Let us see if there are not a few ovidences that the better day is dawriing. New York hns lier Central Park, in which may bo seen more genuine art and i taste thau have beeudevoted to any purk i in the world. The Shainps Elysées of Paris, the Thiergarten of Berlín, and Hydo Park in London, are all inferior to the Central Park in every respect. Now, I to show how the element of taste in oni lift ia surpassing thr element of use - how the spirtual predominates over the material and practical - we havo only to refer to our docks. It must be a matter of the serenest satisfaetion and the most complacent pride that we, who have the reputation of being a city of money getters and worshippers of the useful and material, enn point to our docks as the dirtiest, tho most insufficient, and the Í least Bubstantial of any io-s' -sm "1 by any first-class city on the face of the globe. To the strangers who visit usfrom abroad we can proudly say : You have aocused us of supreme devotion to the material grandeur of our city and land. Look at our rotten and reeking docks, and seo how little wo tare tor even the decencies of commercial equipment, and then, ii' you can get safely on shore, come up to our Central Park, and forget all the oarser elementa of Ufe in the appointments and atmosphere of taste which will then surrounrl you! Havo wo nut just foundcd a Metropolen Museum of art? Have we not 68ablished thcnueleus of a collection that s to go on gathering to itaelf the cont ribuions of the world and the ages 't Are ot our capitalists hoarding money for ;Y Do not our merchant ]jrinee go on )iling up their millions with the proud esign of romembering it in their wills.' Nay, is not América the art market of be world 't Do wc not run liome as ve vt'ould run a mili? Havo we not ransformed Munich, with lier thonsand rl:sts, into a manufactory 't Is not all 'aris under tribute to us':1 Is t not our old that mftkes yellower than annshine he air in the studios of Florence 't Yet ve are aceused of supreme devotion to ie material, and tisis, too, ia face of the iet that our city markets would be aoountod a disfixace to "■ ■ ■■■ '''-:- endom ! V ao not even tindertake fo liivc markets that are deeently clean.' The costliest viiuidsthat crown our feasts come from realmsfonl with impure odors, j ' and from stalls past which a olean skirt never sweeps without disaster. To the caitiff asonóng us of a gross and sonsual lite, and of devition to tho matten of eating :i i 'I drinking, we would say : look at Fulton Market,- the meanest shed that ever covered a city's fooi - nul ' then, when you have .een how little we care for even the appearanoe of cleanlilese, go with us to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to a huudred private galleres on Fifth and Madison Avenues, and ;o the walls of drawing-rooma that are covered with m'llions of dollars woith of ñotuxes, and acknowledge that the eaihfltio rtill holds us in absolute tlnull, while we take no cro for what we eat and what wo drink ! New York a city devoted to the materal! Whyj it has not a single well-kept street ! There is not ouo street in the wholo city that is as clean any day as every principal street of Paris is every day. There are scores of stroets that are piled with garbage from onc end to the other. There are scores of streets so rough with worn-out pa vemen ts that no ordinary carriage can be driven though them at a rapid rato without the danger of breaking it. There are streets by the hundreel that hold people so thougbtleaa of even the common decencies of life that they keep their ash barrels constantly on the siilewalks, where they stand in long rows, - linos of eloquent monunients - testifying to tho absorption of our oitizena in purely esthetic pursuits. When we p:iss from suoh streets m these into honees holding the best-dressed men and women in the world, surrounded by every appointment of tasteful luxury, men and women whose feet press nothing but velvet, and whose eyes see nothing but forms of beauty (except when they happen to look out of the window), we may well point the flnger of seorn at thosc who taant us with being devoted to the gratification of our sennes. New York devoted to the Bensea ! Why, it is not even eourteous to the senses : it does not hold its noso ! We inight procoed with tlio illustrationx of our point, but they wonld be interminable. We ruight phow how vo havo so let't out of considc rution the matter of utility in tho erection of beautiful church es that we have spent all ovir available re - ources without giving half our people ittings, and in doing so h:ivo made the ittings so expensive that not half of hem are oooupied. There is money onough invested in churches in Now fork to give evory man and woman a itting, and support the ministers, without costiug a poor man a cent. Can 1 his ustly be oalled supreme devotion to prac;ical affairs ? Our love of fine architectui i' has even led us to forget our religión, and vet we are accused of having no love :'or art ! Why do the Jenny Linds umi jontags and Nilssons come here to sinfr if there is no love of art here ? But we forget. Tho musical illustration belongs to 15oston. We regret that we have not, for the purposes of this articlc, Gilmore and his twenty thousand, but we oaiiliot have overything, and it is enough to know that we have arrived at that pitoh of civilization whioh enables us to hold an even head with Komo, wliose atinosphere of art is malaria; or with old Cologne, whose exquisite oathedral bathes lts feet in gatten that reek with the vapors of disease, and the nastwess of a people absorbed in making Cologne w;iter, and in tho worship of elevon tliousand virgins, none of whom niü living, - Dr. J. (j. Holland, in Btribner's for May A man named bpringer, in Torre Haute did all this: He married a oouple one dav ; sold them thoir furniture the nezt ; jn a short time aftorwards attended the wifi; medically ; attended he fB an undortaker, and the following Bftbbat-h preached her funeral sermón - and .' in a HUort time murricd tho tonner liusband to another lady, and ngnin soll them the furniture which he sold at tho i tiine of the flrst marriage. I Timothy Titcomb Holland has given üp country lifo and purchased a residonce pi New York.


Old News
Michigan Argus