Art Young, His Life and Times

Art Young, His Life and Times

Art Young, His Life and Times

Art Young, His Life and Times

Excerpt

Paris was like some lovely young hostess with arms outstretched that September afternoon as Clarence Webster and I strolled along the boulevards, crossed the bridges over the Seine with its gay Exposition-bound boats, and revelled in the sound of the animate voices all around us, the musical cries, the bright faces, and the cracking of cabmen's whips--a continual cracking above all other sounds. For months I had been hungering for all this, but my visions had never come near the reality.

Clear skies and a fresh breeze, and Chicago and New York far behind. Exquisite women passed in magnificent carriages, and on the wide walks were men of leisure topped by silk hats; trim nursemaids with their convoys of children; artists and their girls, known as grisettes , whom my dictionary describes as having "lively and free manners but not necessarily of immoral character." Spreading green trees, statues of historic figures at every turn, fountains pouring forth sun-drenched water. And in the distance, dominating the whole scene, the black outline of the Eiffel Tower. The year was 1889, and I was twenty-three.

As a small boy at home in Monroe, Wisconsin, I had seen only one person who had been to Paris. This was Mrs. Cook, an old lady who occasionally called at our house. She had traveled widely in European countries, an unusual thing for an American sixty years ago, before the day of popular cruises. Mother told me that Mrs. Cook had spent many months in Paris, and had played cards with Victor Hugo. I didn't know who Victor Hugo was, but he sounded important, and Mrs. Cook seemed to me a remarkable woman just to look at because she had traveled and met famous people. Afterward, when I attended art schools in Chicago and New York, the talk was often about Paris--the shining goal of those students who wanted to finish off their educa-

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