Critical Woodcuts

Critical Woodcuts

Critical Woodcuts

Critical Woodcuts

Excerpt

Having carved these twenty-six critical impressions, and having arranged them with various odd intentions in three little galleries, I am to stand for a few moments in the vestibule, exhibiting the artist and chatting about his exhibition with the visitors, the purpose being to lure the curious onward and to satisfy the incurious at the door.

In the present state of criticism, I fancy that most of my visitors will interest themselves in the subjects and not in the treatment, just as, to compare great things with small, the casual visitor at the Metropolitan standing before the portrait of an eminent American falls into a revery on Mr. Rockefeller rather than on John Sargent. But as the object of my appearance here is to remind the public that even the crudest sketches imply the existence of an artist, this is clearly the occasion for the drumming up, if possible, of a little interest in the workshop and in the point of view at which these "woodcuts" were made.

It has been intimated to me that this book shows significant changes in my point of view and in my opinions. Perhaps it does. If so, I trust that some reviewer, hostile to change, will go patiently through the essays, collect the evidence, compare it with the previously accessible evidence, and point out my aberrations and inconsistencies. I have never taken a vow to carry any opinion unaltered to the grave; and if it can be proved to-night that I have learned absolutely nothing since morning, I shall be dismayed.

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