In the last of the Italian galleries, on the west wall, we observe the unusual spectacle of a whole family of artists distinguishing itself in a group of pictures. There is Beppe Ciardi, the father; Guglielmo, the son; and Emma, the daughter. All of their pictures are conspicuous for their saneness and big feeling. The father, Beppe, with the center canvas, has not the breadth and bigness that is so typical of both the son’s pictures of similar subjects. The skies in the younger man’s pictures are particularly fine. The daughter’s single canvas, on the left, to me seems even better than those of both father and brother. A certain imaginative quality, shown in this big formal garden, constitutes Emma Ciardi’s superiority over the rest of the family. On the whole the showing of this family is excellent in every way.
The landscapes in this gallery are far above those mentioned in the Tito gallery. In fact there are so many other good pictures that a mere mention of names must suffice. From the Ciardi group on toward the right, Guido Marussig’s “Walled City”, Italico Brass’ “Pontoon Bridge”, and particularly Scattola’s “Venice” are all worthy of comment. Scattola’s picture is very sensitively studied, discreetly painted and full of the poetry of a summer night. Before leaving the Italian section, Mentessi’s big imaginative architectural study should be appreciated. It will crystallize the visitor’s opinion of the general excellence of Italy’s contribution to the exhibition.
As a matter of racial tradition, and not so much because of similarity of standards, we are almost obliged to continue our investigations into the other nations most closely allied with the Latin people, of Southern Europe and elsewhere. There is much room to believe that in a contemporaneous art exhibition the Paris influence should make itself felt in more than one way. Paris, after all, is the Mecca of all art students, particularly of the foreign Latin countries. The technical superiority of the French school of painting has for years caused an influx of foreign students into Paris, who are now giving us, in such national sections as those of Portugal, Argentina, Uruguay, Cuba, and the Philippine Islands, the result of this contact. It will easily be seen that unless a distinct national outlook, based on scenery, climate, history, and tradition generally, is added to the mere technical performance, no matter how clever, a national art can hardly develop. So we find that with all the good intentions in the art of any of the countries mentioned, very little typical national expression is brought out. In choice of subject and colour scheme the art of all of these countries is very much alike.
The Portuguese section does not present any great painter such as Spain, for instance, has produced in Sorolla or Zuloaga, though both seem to be very much admired by all Latin painters, as well as by some of the Germanic artists, as a certain canvas of a Dutch lady in the Holland section will demonstrate.