An Art-Lover's Guide to the Exposition
Explanations of the Architecture, Sculpture and Mural Paintings, With a Guide for Study in the Art Gallery
By Sheldon Cheney
Berkeley At the Sign of the Berkeley Oak 1915
Copyright 1915 by Sheldon Cheney
Printed and Engraved by Sunset Publishing House San Francisco
Foreword The Architecture and Art as a Whole Court of Abundance Court of the Universe Court of the Four Seasons Court of Palms and Court of Flowers Tower of Jewels, and Fountain of Energy Palaces Facing the Avenue of Palms Palaces Facing the Marina, and the Column of Progress Palace of Machinery South Gardens, Festival Hall, and Palace of Horticulture Palace of Fine Arts Outdoor Gallery of Sculpture Fine Arts Galleries State and Foreign Buildings, and Scattered Art Exhibits Index
This handbook is designed to furnish the information necessary for intelligent appreciation of the purely artistic features of the Exposition. It is planned first to explain the symbolism of the architecture, sculpture and painting; and second, to point out the special qualities that give each artistic unit its individual appeal. It is made for the intelligent observer who, having enjoyed the purely aesthetic impression of the various works of art, feels a legitimate curiosity about their meaning.
Everything possible has been done to make the volume a guide rather than merely a general treatise. The chapter groupings are the most obviously serviceable ones. Running heads will be found at the tops of the pages, and the sub-headings and catch-titles in each chapter are designed to make reference. to individual features as easy as possible. A complete index is added at the end.
Purely destructive criticism and ridicule have been carefully avoided. But if the writer did not pretend to a power of artistic discrimination which is lacking in the average layman who has not specialized in art and architecture, there would be little excuse for preparing the guide. The praise and criticism alike are such, it is hoped, as will aid the less practiced eye to see new beauties or to establish sounder standards of judgment.
Acknowledgment is made to the official Exposition press bureau for courtesies received, and to those artists who have supplied information about their own work. For obvious reasons no material has been accepted direct from articles and books already published. If certain explanations of the symbolism seem familiar, it is only because all wordings of the ideas echo the artists' interpretations as given out by the press bureau.
Acknowledgment is due also to the Cardinell-Vincent Company, official photographers, since most of the illustrations are from their prints.
The Architecture and Art as a Whole
In the art of the Exposition the great underlying theme is that of achievement. The Exposition is being held to celebrate the building of the Panama Canal, and to exhibit to the world evidences of the progress of civilization in the decade since the last great exposition-a period among the richest in the history of civilization. So the ideas of victory, achievement, progress and aspiration are expressed again and again: in the architecture with its triumphal arches and aspiring towers; in the sculpture that brings East and West face to face, and that shows youth rising with the morning sun, eager and unafraid; and in the mural paintings that portray the march of civilization, and that tell the story of the latest and greatest of mankind's triumphs over nature. But perhaps the most significant thing of all is the wonderfully harmonious and unified effect of the whole, that testifies so splendidly to the perfect co-operation of American architects, sculptors and painters.
The dominant note artistically is harmony. At no other exposition have the buildings seemed to "hold together" so well; and at no other has there been the same perfect unity of artistic impression. The Chicago Exposition of 1893 focused the artistic expression of the nation at that time. It brought about the first great awakening of the country in artistic matters, and it practically revolutionized American architecture. The St. Louis Exposition of 1904, while less unified in plan, gave another great stimulus to architecture, and especially to sculpture. But the Panama-Pacific Exposition should have a more far-reaching effect than either of these, because its great lesson is not in the field of any one art, but in showing forth the immense value of coordination of all the arts in the achievement of a single glorious ideal. The great thing here is the complete harmony of purpose, of design, and of color, in the combined work of architects, sculptors, painters, and landscape gardeners. The sensible plan that results in perfect convenience in getting about, the clothing of this plan in noble and fitting architectural forms, the use of sculpture and painting as an integral part of the architectural scheme, the tying in of buildings to site with appropriate planting, and the pulling together of the whole composition with harmonious color-these are the things that will leave their impress on American art for all time to come. If each student of the art of the Exposition takes home with him an understanding of the value of this synthesis, of this co-ordination of effort, he will have the key to the Exposition's most valuable heritage to the American people.
Physically there are three distinct parts to the Exposition: the main group of exhibit palaces, the Zone, and the state and foreign buildings. The art-lover will be concerned almost entirely with the first of these; for artistically the Zone expresses anarchy, and the state and foreign pavilions are given over almost entirely to social and commercial interests.
The architecture of the central group of palaces and courts is a notable departure from that of most of the expositions of the past. There are none of the over decorated facades, none of the bizarre experiments in radical styles, and little of the riot of extraneous ornament, that have been characteristic of typical "exposition architecture." The whole spirit here is one of seriousness, of dignity, of permanency. The effects are obtained by the use of long unbroken lines, blank wall spaces, perfect proportioning, and a restrained hand in decoration. Color alone is relied upon to add the spirit of gayety without which the architecture might be too somber for its joyous purpose.
The ground plan is remarkable for its perfect symmetry. On the main east and west axis are grouped eight palaces, about three interior courts. At the east end the axis is terminated by the Palace of Machinery, which cuts off the main group from the Zone. On the west the axis is terminated by the Fine Arts Palace, which separates the central group from the state and foreign buildings. The main cross axis is terminated at the south by the Tower of Jewels and the Fountain of Energy, and at the north by the Column of Progress on the Marina. The two minor cross axes end at the south in the Horticulture Palace and Festival Hall-the two great domed structures that naturally would separate themselves from the main plan and at the north these axes open on the Marina and the beautiful bay view.
This plan is admirably compact. It has the effect of a walled city, giving a sense of oneness from without, and a sense of shelter from within. The plan eliminated the usual great distances between exhibit halls, at the same time providing protection against the winds that occasionally sweep over the Exposition area. More important still, the throwing of the finer architectural effects into the inner courts allowed freedom in individual expression. In the court system the architects obtained unity with great variety of style, and harmony without monotony.
The plan was worked out by a commission of architects. But the greatest credit must be given to Edward H. Bennett, who first conceived the walled-city idea, and who brought his long experience in city-planning to serve in determining the best method of utilizing the magnificent site.
The style of architecture cannot be summed up in any one name. Practically every historic style has been drawn upon, but there are very few direct copies from older buildings. The old forms have been used with new freedom, and occasionally with very marked originality. As one looks down on the whole group of buildings, the Oriental feeling dominates, due to the many Byzantine domes. In the courts and facades the Renaissance influence is strongest, usually Italian, occasionally Spanish. Even where the classic Greek and Roman elements are used, there is generally a feeling of Renaissance freedom in the decoration. One court is in a wonderful new sort of Spanish Gothic, perfectly befitting California. In the styles of architecture, as in the symbolism of painting and sculpture and in the exhibits, one feels that the East and West have met, with a new fusion of national ideals and forms.
The material used in the buildings is a composition, partaking of the nature of both plaster and concrete, made in imitation of Travertine, a much-prized building marble of Italy. This composition has the warm ochre tone and porous texture of the original stone, thus avoiding the unpleasant smoothness and glare which characterize stucco, the usual Exposition material.
In one way more than any other, the sculpture here surpasses that of other expositions: it is an integral part of the larger artistic conception. It not only tells its individual stories freely and beautifully, but it fits perfectly into the architectural scheme, adding the decorative touch and the human element without which the architecture would seem bare.
The late Karl Bitter was chief of the department of sculpture, and although there is no single example of his work on the grounds, it was he who, more than any other, insisted upon a close relationship between the architecture and the sculpture. A. Stirling Calder was acting chief, and he had charge of the actual work of enlarging the models of the various groups and placing each one properly.
The material of the sculptures is the same as that of the buildings, Travertine, thus adding to the close relationship of the two.
The mural paintings as a whole are not so fine as either the architecture or the sculpture. The reason can be traced perhaps to the fact that painting does not readily bow to architectural limitations. In this case the artists, with the exception of Frank Brangwyn, who painted the canvases for the Court of Abundance, were limited to a palette of five colors, in order that the panels should harmonize with the larger color scheme.
Never before was there an exposition in which color played such a part. Here for the first time a director of color was placed above architect and sculptor and painter. Jules Guerin, chief of color decoration, has said that he went to work just as a painter starts to lay out a great picture, establishing the warm buff of the building walls as a ground tone, and considering each dome or tower or portal as a detail which should add its brilliant or subdued note to the color harmony. Not only do the paintings and sculpture take proper place in the tone scheme, but every bit of planting, every strip of lawn and every bed of flowers or shrubs, has its duty to perform as color accent or foil. Even the gravel of the walks was especially chosen to shade in with the general plan.
As seen from the heights above the Exposition-and no visitor should go away without seeing this view-the grounds have the appearance of a great Oriental rug. The background color is warm buff, with various shades of dull red against it, accented by domes and columns of pale green, with occasional touches of blue and pink to heighten the effect.
In the courts the columns and outer walls are in the buff, or old ivory, tone, while the walls inside the colonnades have a "lining color" of Pompeian red; the ceilings are generally cerulean blue; the cornices are touched with orange, blue and gold; and occasional columns of imitation Siena marble, and bronzed statues, set off the whole.
In connection with the color scheme, great credit must be given to John McLaren, chief of the department of landscape gardening, who has worked so successfully in co-operation with architects and color director. The Exposition is built almost entirely on filled ground, just reclaimed from the bay; and it was a colossal task to set out the hundreds of thousands of flowers, shrubs and trees which now make the gardens seem permanent, and which set off the architecture so perfectly.
When one's soul has been drenched all day in the beauty of courts and palaces and statues and paintings, dusk is likely to bring welcome rest; but when the lights begin to appear there comes a new experience-a world made over, and yet quite as beautiful as the old. Walls are lost where least interesting, bits of architecture are brought out in relief against the velvet sky, and sculptures take on a new softness and loveliness of form. Under the wonderfully developed system of indirect illumination, no naked light is seen by the eye; only the soft reflected glow, intense when desired, but never glaring. If this lighting is not in itself an art, it is at least the informing spirit that turns prose to poetry, or the instrumental accompaniment without which the voice of the artist would be but half heard. Too much credit cannot be given to the lighting wizard of the Exposition, W. D'Arcy Ryan.
The Court of Abundance
The Court of Abundance is the most original, and perhaps the most consistently beautiful, of all the Exposition courts. No other is so clearly complete in itself, without the intrusion of features from surrounding buildings and courts. No other has the same effect of cloistered seclusion partly because each of the others is open on one side. And certainly no other indicates so clearly the touch of the artist, of the poet-architect, from the organic structural plan to the finest bit of detail. Even the massive central fountain, though conceived in such different spirit, has no power to dispel the almost ethereal charm that hovers over the place.
The distinctive note of the court is one of exquisite richness. As one enters from any side the impression grows that this is the most decorative of all the courts; and yet one is not conscious of any individual bit of decoration as such. Everything fits perfectly: arches, tower, cornices, finials, statues, planting-it all goes to enrich the one impression. Someone has said that the court is not architecture, but carving; and that suggests perfectly the decorative wealth of the composition.
The style of architecture has been guessed at as everything from Romanesque and Gothic to Flamboyant Renaissance and Moorish. The truth is that the court is a thoroughly original conception; and the architect has clothed his pre-conceived design in forms that he has borrowed from all these styles as they happened to suit his artistic purpose. The spirit of the court is clearly Gothic, due to the accentuation of the vertical lines-and one will note how the slender cypresses help the architecture to convey this impression. The rounded arches, modified in feeling by the decorative pendent lanterns, hint of the awakening of the Renaissance period in Spain, during the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries, when the vertical lines, and decorative leaf and other symbolic ornaments of the severer Gothic, were so charmingly combined with classic motives.
The architecture here is inspiring as a symbol of the American "melting-pot." It is a distinct and original evolution, recalling the great arts of Europe, and yet eluding classification. The court shows that the designer was master of the styles of the past, but refused to be a slave to them; at the same time he had an original conception but did not let it run into the blatant and bizarre. It is from such fusions of individual genius with the traditions of the past that a distinctive American architecture is most likely to flower.
The tower is a magnificent bit of architectural design. It is massive and yet delicate. It dominates the court, and yet it fits perfectly into the cloister. The rich sculpture is so much a part of the decorative scheme that there is no impression of the structure having been "ornamented." One must search long in the histories of architecture to find a tower more satisfying.
The architect who designed the Court of Abundance is Louis Christian Mullgardt, one of the two most original geniuses among California's architects.
It is well to enjoy this court at first for its beauty alone, without regard to its rich symbolism. One who has thus considered it, merely as a delight to the eye, usually is surprised to find that it has a deeper underlying meaning than any of the other courts. The present name, "Court of Abundance," is not the original one. The architect conceived it as "The Court of The Ages." It is said that the Exposition directors, for the rather foolish reason that a Court of the Ages would not fit into the scheme of a strictly contemporaneous exposition, re-christened it "The Court of Abundance." But it is the former name that sums up the thought behind the decorative features.
The underlying idea is that of evolution. The tower sculptures, which will be more fully explained in following paragraphs, represent successive ages in the development of man-the Stone Age, the Mediaeval Age, and the Present Age. The decoration of the cloisters may be taken as symbolizing the evolution of primitive man from the lower forms of life. Thus the ornamental garlands that run up the sides of the arches are of seaweed, while other parts of the decoration show crabs, lobsters and other of the lower forms of sea life. Higher up the ornament includes conventionalized lilies suggestive of higher plant life. And surmounting the colonnade, one over each pier, are the repeated figures of primitive man and primitive woman. It is at this height that the tower sculptures begin, carrying on the story of man up to the present age. At a level between the Stone Age group and the Mediaeval Age is a row of cocks, symbols of the rise of Christianity. Perhaps the whole aspiring feeling of the court is meant to further suggest the upward rise of man-but after all, the purely sensuous beauty of the architecture is sufficient to warrant its being, without any straining after symbolism.
Groups on the Tower. The three main groups typify the rise of man, and especially the rise of man's civilization through religion. The lowest group, over the main arch, is called The Stone Age. Along the base are prehistoric monsters, and above are figures representing various phases of primitive life, as a man strangling an animal with his hands, and a figure that may suggest the rude beginnings of art or industry. The heads indicate a period of evolution when man was not very different from the ape; but the central figures suggest the development of family life, and a new outlook and a seeking for something higher.
The middle group, The Mediaeval Age, shows an armored figure with sword and shield, a crusader perhaps, with the force of religion symbolized in the priest or monk at one side, and the force of arms suggested by the archer at the other, these being the two forces by which man was rising in that age.
The third and highest group represents The Spirit of the Present Age enthroned. At one side a child holds the book of learning, while at the other a child holds the wheel of industry. The group also carries inevitably a suggestion of motherhood.
Flanking the middle group are two figures, in which the whole idea of human evolution is suggested by a modern man and woman outgrowing their old selves. On the east and west faces of the tower are figures representing "Thought."
All the sculpture on the tower is by Chester Beach.
Figures Surmounting Colonnade. Two figures of "The Primitive Man" and one of "The Primitive Woman" are repeated above the cloister all around the court. The woman carries a child on her back, one man is feeding a pelican, and the other is a hunter returning with a club in one hand and his quarry in the other. These figures are remarkably well suited to their purpose, balancing one another exactly; they are so much a part of the decorative scheme, indeed, that the average person is likely to overlook their merits as individual statues. Albert Weinert was the sculptor.
The Water Sprites. At the tower side of the court, flanking the stairway that leads to the archway under the tower, are two free-standing monuments that were designed as fountains. The original plan called for cascades from below the Stone Age group on the tower to these monuments. Although the elimination of this feature made the court more simple and satisfying as a whole, the figures of the Water Sprites were left high and dry, so that now there is a certain incongruity in their position. Still one may admire the very spirited girl archers surmounting the two columns, even if they are apparently launching arrows at their sister sprites below, instead of into jets of water as was intended. The figures at the bases of the columns, while lacking the grace and the joyous verve of those above, still are very decorative. All are the work of Leo Lentelli.
The Fountain of Earth. In the large basin in the center of the Court of Abundance is Robert Aitken's "Fountain of Earth." While plainly out of keeping with the spirit of the court, this is in itself one of the most powerful and most interesting sculptural compositions at the Exposition. It is deeply intellectual, and more than any other group it requires an explanation of the symbolism before one can appreciate it.
The fountain is really in two compositions. The larger, and central, one is composed of a globe representing the earth, with four panels of figures on the four sides, representing certain of the incidents of life on earth, or certain riddles of existence. The secondary composition lies to the south of the central one, on the same pedestal; and this is divided into two groups by a formalized wing through the center. The two scenes here represent life before and after earthly existence. The two huge arms and the wing are all that can be seen of Destiny, the force with which the allegorical story begins and ends.
To "read" the fountain in proper sequence, one must start with the west face of the secondary group. This represents The Beginning of Things. The arm of Destiny is calling forth life and points the way to the earth. The three women figures next to the hand show the gradual awakening from Oblivion. The adjoining two figures represent the kiss of life or of love, and the woman is holding forth to the earth the children created of that love. The entire group on this west face, considered in relation to the main composition, may be taken as representing the peopling of the earth.
There is now a gap which one must pass over, to reach the South panel of the central composition. This gap represents the lost period of time between the peopling of the earth and the beginning of history.
The South panel of the main structure has as its central figure Vanity with her hand-glass. Whether the artist intended it as a pessimistic commentary on all human life, or not, his series of episodes on earth begins and ends with the figure of Vanity. Reading to the left on this same panel one sees a man and a woman starting the journey of life on earth, apparently with suffering but certainly with courage perhaps for the sake of the children they carry.
The West panel now shows the first of three incidents or problems of life on earth. This is entitled Natural Selection. Two women turn to one man who is clearly superior to the two men they are leaving. The two who have been spurned as mates cling to the hands of the women even while they are turning away.
The North panel represents The Survival of the Fittest. Two men are in combat, the woman at the left evidently to be the prize of the victor. At the other side a woman tries to draw away one of the combatants. The sculptor has given this group a second title, "The Awakening of the War Spirit," which is equally applicable.
The East panel is entitled The Lesson of Life. A young man and a young woman turn to each other through natural impulse, while an older woman with the experience of life attempts to counsel them. On the other side an old man restrains an impetuous youth who evidently would fight for the girl.
Turning the corner now to the South panel again, there are two figures representing Lust trying to embrace a reluctant woman. Then one comes to Vanity once more, and the story of life on earth is done. Again there is a gap, and the scene leaves the earth for the unknown world after physical death.
The East face of the minor group first shows the figure of Greed, with his worldly goods now turned literally to a ball of clay in his hands, gazing back at earth in puzzlement. The next two figures show Faith offering the hope of immortality (as symbolized in the scarab) as consolation to a sorrowing woman. Finally there are two figures sinking back into Oblivion, drawn by the hand of Destiny. Thus the cycle from Oblivion through life and back to Oblivion is completed.
In the same basin, at the far south end, is a figure of The Setting Sun. This was part of the artist's conception of the Fountain of Earth, the relation to the main group being found in the supposition that the earth is a mass thrown off by the sun. Thus is emphasized the idea that the earth and life on earth are but a very small part of the wider unknown universe and life.
At the four corners of the main composition of the fountain, separating the four panels, are Hermae, terminal pillars such as the Greeks and Romans were fond of, decorated with the head of Hermes, god of boundaries.
Having worked out the story, it is well to go back to appreciate the purely aesthetic qualities of the fountain. Note especially the feeling of strength in the figures, the firm modeling, and the fine way in which the figures are grouped. The composition of the west face of the minor monument is especially fine, and the very graceful lines here make an intimate appeal that is not evident in some of the other groups. The whole monument is austere and strongly compelling rather than intimately charming. If it is the first duty of art to make people think, this is the most successful bit of sculpture on the grounds.
The mural paintings in, the Court of Abundance consist of eight panels by Frank Brangwyn, perhaps the greatest living mural decorator, placed in the four corners of the cloister. Though not entirely in key with the color scheme and not an integral part of the court as a whole, these are distinctly the works of a master. Ultra-learned critics will tell you that they fail as decorations, since they are interesting as individual pictures rather than as panels heightening the architectural charm. But their placing shows clearly that there was no intention that they should appear as part of the architectural scheme. It is better to accept them as pictures, forgetting the set standards by which one ordinarily judges mural painting.
The eight paintings represent the elements: two panels each for Fire, Earth, Air and Water. There are no conventional figures here personifying the elements, but scenes from the life of intensely human people, typifying the uses to which man has put the elements.
Fire. Beginning on the tower side of the court, at the northeast corner, are the two panels representing Fire. The one on the north wall is called "Primitive Fire." A group of figures surround a fire, some nursing it and some holding out their hands to the heat, while a man at the back brings fagots. Note the color accents in the robes of the three standing figures.
"Industrial Fire," on the east wall, represents the bringing of fire into the service of man. In some particulars this is among the finest of the paintings, but the transverse cloud of smoke seems to break it awkwardly.
Earth is represented in the two panels in the northwest corner. The one on the north wall is entitled "The Fruit Pickers," typifying the wealth of products that man obtains from the earth. This is perhaps the richest of the panels, in the profusion of color and of alluring form.
The panel on the west wall is "The Dancing of the Grapes," a variation of the theme of "The Fruit Pickers." It tells the story of the grape: above are the pickers and the harvesters with baskets; at the right two figures dancing to crush the juices from the grapes; and in the foreground a group with the finished wine. The confusion of figures at first is puzzling; but viewed simply as a spotting of bright colors there is no finer panel among them all. It is better to stand well back along the colonnade, and forgetting the subject, to delight in the purely sensuous impression.
Air is represented in the two panels in the southwest corner. The one on the south wall is called "The Hunters." The theme is suggested in the idea of the arrows fleeing on the wings of the air, and also by the flight of birds above.
The panel on the west wall is called "The Windmill." Note how the feeling of moving air is suggested everywhere: in the skies at the back, in the clouds and the kites, in the trees and the grain-field, in the draperies, and even in the figures themselves that are braced against the wind. The coloring is glorious, and the composition fine. The disposition of masses of light and dark is notable the dark figures grouped against the golden grain, and the gold-brown windmill against the dark sky. No panel in the grounds will better repay intensive study.
Water is represented in the panels of the southwest corner of the court. The one on the south wall is called "The Net," and typifies the wealth that man draws from the water. A group of fishermen are hauling in a net, and carriers bring baskets at the back.
"The Fountain," the panel on the east wall, shows a group of people who have come to fill their jars at a spring. The colors here are softer, though quite as rich as elsewhere. The lower half of the painting is, indeed, like a richly colored mosaic.
After examining "The Fountain" at close range it is well to step back to the middle of this south corridor. Look first at "The Windmill" and then turn to look again at "The Fountain." Note, how, when the subjects are once understood, the great distance increases rather than decreases the charm of the paintings. Note especially how beautiful each one is when considered merely as a pattern of color. These two panels, if not the finest of all, at least must take rank among the best three or four.
The North Court of Abundance
Passing under the tower from the Court of Abundance one comes out in the little north court that is conceived in the same spirit, and which likewise is dominated by the Mullgardt tower. The architecture here is like an echo of that of the main court, the decorated spaces alternating with bare spaces. The tower sculptures are all repeated on this side. The only sculpture within the north court is Sherry Fry's personification of Aquatic Life. The statue is of a heavy sort that should be anywhere but in this place of ethereal mood and exquisite detailed workmanship. Blot out the background and you can see that the figure has a certain solid grace. But if designed for this court it fails of its decorative purpose.
Court of the Universe
The Court of the Universe is the most magnificent of the courts. Considering the many units-the noble arches, the long colonnades with their corner pavilions, the sunken garden with its fountains and decorative sculpture, and the vista to the Column of Progress and the Marina-it is by far the richest in artistic interest. But is it so imposing, so vast, that it necessarily lacks the sense of quiet restfulness and intimacy of appeal of the smaller courts. It is in a sense the Civic Center of the great Exposition model city, and as such it offers many suggestions of wise planning-and one or two of poor planning, as in the case of the obtrusive band-stand.
The meaning of the court is to be found in the symbolism of the groups surmounting the two triumphal arches-the Nations of the East meeting the Nations of the West. With the opening of the Panama Canal the peoples of the universe have met at last; West faces East on this shore of the Pacific. The idea is finely expressed in the lines by Walt Whitman, inscribed on the west arch, in which the spirit of the Aryan race, having traveled this far, is supposed to speak as she gazes westward to Asia, "the house of maternity," her original home:
Facing west from California's shores, Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound, I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity, the land of migrations, look afar, Look off the shores of my Western Sea, the circle almost circled.
Variations of this theme may be found in the murals under the arches, and in those under the Tower of Jewels near by. Other universal themes are treated in the Fountains of the Rising Sun and of the Setting Sun, and in The Elements at the edge of the sunken garden. The idea of achievement, of victory in conquering the universe, is also suggested in the triumphal arches.
The style of architecture is in general Roman; though, as is true almost throughout the Exposition buildings, there is an admixture of Renaissance motives. Even on the massive Roman arches there is a trace of Moorish lightness and color in the green lattices; and the domes of the corner pavilions are clearly Eastern in feeling.
The East and West arches are, of course, reminiscent of the triumphal arches of the Roman Conquerors. A comparison with pictures of the famous Arch of Constantine and the Arch of Titus at Rome, will show how thoroughly the architects have mastered the feeling of the classic examples, while largely modifying the decorative features. To properly see either of the arches in this court as a single unit, it is best to stand at the side of the sunken garden, near one of the figures of "The Elements," where the fountain columns do not obstruct the view.
The long colonnade, with its fine Corinthian columns and its surmounting row of "Star-girls," can best be appreciated when one stands facing north, with back to the Tower of Jewels-since the architecture of that was clearly conceived by another mind and built in a different spirit. It is from the two corner pavilions on the tower side, perhaps, that the best general views of the court can be obtained. Unfortunately the attractive view down the straight colonnades of the north extension of the court is marred by a gaudy band pavilion, which is quite out of keeping with the pervading mood of simple dignity. The little corner pavilions are worthy of study alone, as a graceful and unusual bit of architectural design.
The Court of the Universe was designed by McKim, Mead and White.
The Court of the Universe has more than its share of the best sculpture of the Exposition. In this court more than anywhere else one can obtain an idea of the remarkable scope of the sculptured groups. It is a good place to linger in if one has heretofore had pessimistic doubts about the ultimate flowering of the art of sculpture in America.
The Fountain of the Rising Sun is at the east end of the sunken garden. Its tall shaft is surmounted by the figure of a youth typifying the Rising Sun-a figure of irresistible appeal. The morning of day and the morning of life, the freshness of the dawn and the aspiration of youth— these things are remarkably suggested in the figure. With head up and winged arms outstretched, the youth is poised on tiptoe, the weight thrown forward, as if just on the point of soaring.
The Fountain of the Setting Sun is just opposite, at the west end of the sunken garden. The surmounting figure here, though officially called "The Setting Sun," is more appropriately named "Descending Night"-the title the artist has given to the bronze replica in the Fine Arts gallery. The closing in of night-that is what is so perfectly suggested in the relaxed body, the folding-in wings, and the remarkable sense of drooping that characterizes the whole statue. There is, too, an enveloping sense of purity and sweetness about the figure.
These two statues which surmount the Fountains of the Rising Sun and the Setting Sun are among the most charming sculptures at the Exposition. They have not the strength of the figures of the Elements, or the massive nobility and repose of the Genius of Creation, or the purely modern native appeal of the works of Stackpole and Young and Fraser. But for those of us who are sculpture lovers without asking why, they come closer to our hearts and dwell more intimately in our minds than any of these. "Descending Night" especially has a sensuous charm of graceful line, a maidenly loveliness, that appeals irresistibly. Both figures are by Adolph A. Weinman.
Above the higher basin of each fountain the column drum is decorated with figures in relief. While the two friezes are meant to be decorative primarily, the artist has employed in each case a symbolism in keeping with the crowning figure. The frieze in the Fountain of the Rising Sun represents "Day Triumphant." The symbolic figures typify the awakening of man's finer instincts and energies at the call of the morning, and the shrinking of the vices when the darkness of night gives place to the light of day. The relief-frieze of the "Fountain of the Setting Sun" is entitled "The Gentle Powers of Night." It represents Descending Night bringing with her the Stars, the Moon-goddess, Dreams, and similar beautiful things. The lower basins of both fountains contain figures of centaurs (a new sea-variety, with fins) holding sea-monsters.
Groups surmounting arches. The monumental groups surmounting the two triumphal arches are "The Nations of the East," on the Arch of the Rising Sun, and "The Nations of the West," on the Arch of the Setting Sun. The symbolic idea behind the two compositions thus placed facing each other, is that of the nations of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres at last meeting on this Pacific shore.
The Nations of the East is made up of five mounted and four unmounted figures, all typical of the Orient. Reading from the spectator's left to right, the mounted figures are: 1. an Arab tribal chief on a horse; 2. a Mohammedan standard bearer on a camel; 3. the East Indian on his richly-caparisoned elephant; 4. another Mohammedan standard-bearer on a camel; 5. a Mongolian horseman. Between the mounted figures are the following on foot: 1. a servant with a basket of fruits; 2. an Arab falconer; 3. a Thibetan lama or priest; 4. another servant with fruit.
The Nations of the West represents typical figures from the European nations which have helped to develop America, together with two American Indians and an Alaskan. A central composition shows the Mother of Tomorrow and a surmounting group typifying the Spirit of Enterprise which has led the Aryan race to conquer the West. The figures, from left to right, are: 1. the French-Canadian (sometimes called "The Trapper"), on horseback; 2. the Alaskan, carrying totem poles, on foot; 3. the Spanish-American conqueror, mounted; 4. the German-American, on foot; 5. the Mother of Tomorrow, on the tongue of the ox-drawn prairie schooner; 6. the Italian-American, on foot; 7. the English-American, mounted; 8. an Indian squaw; 9. the American Indian, mounted. On top of the prairie schooner the Spirit of Enterprise is represented by a spirited winged figure, with a boy at either hand.
The way in which the two groups balance each other at the two ends of the court is worthy of study-the elephant of the one offset by the prairie schooner of the other. Indeed each feature of one is balanced in the other so that the two will mass against the sky with the same general decorative effect. "The Nations of the East," considered as a whole, seems the more satisfying group-richer in feeling, more unified in design, and more massive; in short, more monumental and therefore better fitted to crown the noble arch. But if this fits its setting better, and masses against the sky more satisfyingly, "The Nations of the West" will be found on close examination to contain the better individual figures. The Alaskan (unfortunately almost lost to view in the present placing of the group), the Canadian Trapper, and the mounted Indian are all worthy of prolonged study; and the figure of the Mother of Tomorrow is one of the finest bits of sculpture at the Exposition. In these figures, and only slightly less so in the other figures of this and the opposite group, there is ample evidence that the American sculptors have outgrown the traditions of by-gone "schools" and have developed a genuine native medium of expression. The two groups are the work of A. Stirling Calder, Leo Lentelli, and Frederick G. R. Roth in collaboration.
Figures at north and south of sunken garden. Flanking the stairways to the sunken garden at north and south are four large figures by Robert Aitken, typifying "The Elements."
Air is at the west end of the south stairway, and is represented as a huge winged female figure putting a star in her hair. Two birds, old-time symbols of the air, complete the suggestion. At the back a man has tied himself to the wings of the figure typifying man's effort to put to his own use the wings of the air.
Earth is placed at the east end of the south stairway. A huge female figure rests on conventionalized rocks, and a formalized tree partially supports her. At the back two small struggling figures are seen, typifying man's struggle with the forces of earth.
Water is placed at the east end of the north stairway. The sea-god, with his trident in one hand and sea-weed in the other, rides on a wave, with a dolphin beside him.
Fire at the west end of the north stairway-is typified by the figure of a man in agony, with one hand grasping the flame, and with jagged lightning in the other, symbolizing man's terror of fire as well as his conquering of it. A salamander completes the main design, while at the back the phoenix, bird fabled to rise from fire, helps support the figure.
These four figures are of the sort of art that is likely to turn the unthinking person away, though a study of them will bring out new beauties with riper acquaintance. Because people fail to get far enough away from them to obtain the proper perspective, the statues seem too huge, too strong, too terrible, ever to be attractive. They are, it is true, out of scale, and thus mar the effect of the court to a certain extent. But there is in them something of the noble and compelling strength of the statues of Michael Angelo-to whom the sculptor clearly owes his inspiration. Stand between the columns at the corner of the Transportation Palace, and you will see that the figure of Fire not only is imaginatively conceived but is a fine line composition as well. Study of the other three from corresponding viewpoints will well repay in increased understanding and pleasure.
Figures at east and west of sunken gardens. Flanking the east and west stairways are two groups by Paul Manship. The one representing two girls dancing or running is called sometimes "Festivity," sometimes "Motion." Here the artist has welded the figures into an ornamental design in a way unparalleled in the work of other American sculptors. Note the finely varied outline, the sense of rhythmic motion, and the rich feeling that every part is decorative. The opposite group is called "Music" or "Music and Poetry." It lacks the flowing grace and something of the richness of feeling of the other, though it is more dignified. There is the same conventionalization in treatment, again charming. These groups are not for people who look for realism in art above all else; but for those who care for the classic, who see in formalization a short-cut to the expression of the spirit of a thing, there are few more appealing groups in the grounds. The figures are repeated at the east and west entrances to the garden.
Minor Sculptures. The slender "Stars" along the top of the colonnade are the work of A. Stirling Calder. When one remembers that this is the Court of the Universe, they seem to fit in with the meaning of the whole, and architecturally their symmetry of form fits them well for repetition. The low relief friezes on the corner pavilions represent "The Signs of the Zodiac," and are by Hermon A. MacNeil. A formalized Atlas is represented in the center, and at each side are seven of his daughters, the Pleiades and the Hyades, whom the gods changed into stars. Twelve of the maidens have plaques bearing the symbols of the Zodiac. The frieze is well composed and beautifully modeled, but the rough Travertine does not do it justice. The minor sculptures on the triumphal arches consist of a repeated winged angel with sword down-turned, by Leo Lentelli; spirited spandrels over the arches, representing "Pegasus," by Frederick G. R. Roth; and two well-adapted medallions by A. Stirling Calder and B. Bufano. All of these decorative features are repeated on both sides of both arches.
The four mural paintings of the Court of the Universe, two under each of the triumphal arches, represent the progress of civilization from the old world to the American far West. The two under the Arch of the Rising Sun, at the east of the court, represent the nations that crossed the Atlantic and their ideals, while those under the western arch show the march of the pioneers from New England to California. To obtain the proper sequence of thought the ones under the eastern arch should be examined first.
Murals in Arch of the Rising Sun. On the south wall of the arch is a panel representing the nations that have dared to cross the Atlantic to bring their civilization to America. The figure farthest to the spectator's right represents the spirit of adventure or "The Call to Fortune." Then follow representatives of the nations, in this order: 1. the half-savage of the lost Continent of Atlantis; 2. the Roman conqueror; 3. the Spanish explorer, typified by a figure resembling Columbus; 4. the English explorer, resembling Raleigh; 5. a priest, typifying the bringing of European religion to America; 6. the artist, bringing the arts; and 7. the workman-immigrant of today. Then follows an allegorical veiled figure, with hand to ear, listening to the hopes and ideals of the men who are following the call to fortune.
The opposite panel shows what the veiled figure has heard-depicts the hopes and ideals that have led men to cross the Atlantic. At the far left are figures symbolizing True Hope and False Hope. Soap bubbles are being scattered by False Hope, and the third figure, typifying Adventure, tries to pick them up. Then follow the true ideals and hopes in this order: 1. Commerce 2. Imaginative Inspiration; 3. Truth and Beauty (one figure); 4. Religion; 5. Wealth; and 6. Family joys (a woman with babes). In this panel the background contains suggestions of Asiatic and American cities. In the other panel the background shows a group of ships, ranging from those of the earliest times to the modern liner.
These two paintings are worthy of study for the historical and symbolic interest. Artistically they are notable chiefly for the remarkable freshness of coloring and rich mosaic effect. Both are by Edward Simmons.
Murals in Arch of the Setting Sun, at the west side of the court. The painting on the north wall should be viewed first. This represents pioneers from a New England village starting for California. There are four groups of figures, as follows: 1. two workmen, and a woman holding a child; 2. a symbolic figure of the Call to Fortune; 3. a group showing the types of those who crossed the continent-the driver first, and then the Preacher, the Pioneer, the Judge, and the Schoolmistress (there are four children also in this group, and at the back is a wagon filled with household goods); and 4. a youth bidding farewell to his parents as he starts to join the band of emigrants. At the back of the last group is seen a typical New England home, and in the distance a New England meeting-house.
"The Arrival on the Pacific Coast" is the title of the painting on the opposite wall, which represents the immigrants being welcomed as they reach California. Here again there are four groups of figures. The first shows two Spanish-American soldiers and their captain, following a priest, typical of the days of Spanish rule in California and of the Mission period. Second, there is a symbolic figure, "The Spirit of Enlightenment." The third and main group shows types of immigrants. The men here are: 1. the scientist; 2. the architect; 3. the writer; 4. the sculptor; 5. the painter; 6. the agriculturist; and 7. the miner (or other manual worker). A woman and several children complete the group, and at the back is a prairie schooner, from which a girl waves a flag. The fourth group represents California welcoming the immigrants, the state being symbolized by tokens of the wealth it has to offer settlers: the orange tree, sheaves of grain, and fruits-the figures including the miner, the farmer, fruit pickers, and the California bear. This last group is the most colorful, and in many ways the most appealing, of all those in the two panels under the west arch. It is interesting to compare the golden warmth here and indeed throughout the California panel-with the cold atmosphere of the New England one.
Those who are familiar with the historical characters of the West will be able to recognize in the California panel idealized portraits of William Keith as the painter, Bret Harte as the writer, and Junipero Serra as the priest. In the New England panel may be found William Taylor, famous street preacher of the early days in California, as the preacher, and "Grizzly" Adams as the pioneer.
Both murals under the Arch of the Setting Sun are by Frank Vincent Dumond.
The Side Courts
The two small connecting courts, or aisles, at the east and west of the Court of the Universe are known as the Florentine Court and the Venetian Court respectively. Both are in Italian Renaissance architecture, and both are remarkably rich in color. The patterns on the shafts of the columns, while doubtless adding to the feeling of richness, are a little too pronounced, tending to destroy that restfulness which is felt in the other Italian courts, the Court of Flowers and the Court of Palms. In both the Florentine Court and the Venetian Court the planting schemes harmonize unusually well with the architecture.
Size of the Court of the Universe
For the sake of those who find added interest in knowing on what scale a work of art is built, the following facts are added:
The area of the Court of the Universe is about seven acres. On its east and west axis, from arch to arch, it is six hundred and fifty feet; on its north and south axis, from the Tower of Jewels to the Column of Progress, it is nearly twelve hundred feet.
The Arches of the Rising Sun and the Setting Sun have a total height, to the top of the surmounting sculpture, of two hundred and three feet.
The Tower of Jewels is 433 feet in height, while the main archway beneath is 110 feet high.
Court of the Four Seasons
The Court of the Four Seasons, unlike the other main courts, does not immediately call forth one's exclamations of surprise and delight. It is not so compellingly beautiful as either of the others. Nevertheless it has a distinctive charm of its own-a reposeful atmosphere and a simplicity of form that become more and more appealing with riper acquaintance. It is a good place to come to when one is satiated with the beauties of the other courts, for restfulness is the keynote. The simple massive style of the architecture and the simple planting scheme combine to produce a spirit of calm. The ideas of energy, achievement, progress, effort-so insistently emphasized elsewhere-are left behind, and everything breathes a sense of peace and orderliness, of things happening all in good season.
The primary idea underlying the decorative features of the court is sufficiently indicated in the name, "The Four Seasons;" and this idea is symbolically expressed in the sculpture and mural paintings in the four corners of the colonnade. But a study of the other decorations shows that the idea of abundance, or fruitfulness, was equally in the minds of architect and sculptors. The purely architectural ornaments, such as the capitals and the running borders, employ the symbols of agriculture and fruitfulness, while no less than five of the main sculptural groups or figures deal directly with harvest themes.
The style of architecture is in general Roman. The half-dome and the colonnades are almost severely classic. The column capitals are Ionic. But in the freedom of some of the architectural forms, particularly in the archways at east and west, there is a suggestion of Renaissance influence. The plan with its four cut-corners with fountains, and its half-dome facing down the long colonnade to the bay, is ingenious. The half-dome itself, dominating feature of the court, is exceptionally dignified and impressive. To obtain the best view of it as a single unit, one should stand between two columns of the colonnade near either the Fountain of Summer or the Fountain of Autumn-as from these points the eye is not carried through the doorway at the back of the dome, to the detriment of a unified impression.
Henry Bacon is the architect who designed the Court of the Four Seasons.
Bulls on pylons. The finest sculpture here is to be found in the groups capping the pylons at the entrance to the minor north court. Though called by the artist "The Feast of Sacrifice," these are commonly known as "The Bulls." The group, which is duplicated, shows a bull being led to sacrifice by a youth and a maid, and is reminiscent of the harvest-time celebrations of ancient peoples. But it is just as well to forget the subject, and to admire purely for the sensuous charm-for the beauty of outline, the fine modeling, and the remarkable sense of spirited action. Note the three figures individually: the nobly animated bull, the magnificently set-up youth, and the strong yet graceful maiden; then note how the sacrificial garland holds the whole group together and makes it richer. Note, too, how the forward-moving lines of the bull are accentuated on one side by the similar lines of the youth's body, and on the other by the contrasting lines of the girl's. Putting aside any question of meaning, there is not in any of the courts a nobler bit of decorative work than this. Albert Jaegers was the sculptor.
Figures surmounting columns. On the two columns before the half-dome are Albert Jaegers' figures of "Rain" and "Sunshine." At the right, as one faces the dome, Rain is typified by a woman shielding her head with her mantle and holding out a shell to catch the water. At the left Sunshine is represented by a woman shielding her head from the sun's rays with a palm-branch. Both figures are characterized by a sense of richness, of fullness, that is perfectly in keeping with the spirit of the court. In commenting on these statues, in one of his lectures on the art of the Exposition, Eugen Neuhaus, the well-known California painter, suggested very appropriately that the court should have been named for them "The Court of the Two Seasons" since in California the only noticeable seasonal change is from a sunny period to a rainy period.
Group surmounting half-dome. This shows a conventional seated figure of Harvest, with an overflowing cornucopia. At one side a child-figure bows under a load of fruit. This group also is by Albert Jaegers. Here, as in "Rain" and "Sunshine," there is a sense of fruitfulness, of profuseness, a maternal suggestion that helps to carry out the symbolism of the court. In all three of these statues, too, there is something of the nobility and massiveness that distinguish the same artist's "bull" groups across the court. All are eminently suited to the massive Roman architecture; nowhere else have sculptor and architect worked together more successfully.
Fountains of the Seasons. In the niches formed at the corners of the court by the diagonal colonnades are novel fountains, surmounted by groups representing the four seasons. It is well to go first to the southwest corner, to the "Fountain of Spring"; then to the northwest corner, for "Summer"; and so on around the court. If one is ever puzzled to understand from the figures which season is represented, a glance at the labeled murals up above in the corridor will give the proper title for statue and murals of each season are grouped together.
Spring. A young woman draws a floral garland over her head, while at her right a love-lorn youth turns a pleading face to her, and at her left a girl brings armfuls of flowers.
Summer. To a man a woman holds up a babe, symbol of the summer of human life, while at one side a crouching figure holds a sheaf of full-headed grain.
Autumn. The central figure is a woman of generous build with a jar on her shoulder-quite the usual personification of Autumn or fruitfulness. At one side a young woman holds a garland of grapes, and at the other is a girl with a babe. This last figure is perhaps the most graceful in all the four groups, though the same sort of loveliness distinguishes to a certain extent the two flower-girls of "Spring." Altogether, this "Autumn" fountain is probably the finest of the four.
Winter. The central figure is Nature, in the nakedness of winter, resting after the harvests of autumn and waiting for the birth of spring. At one side a man with a spade rests, while on the other a man with a seed-bag is already beginning to sow. Although all the figures of "The Fountains of the Seasons" are nude, there is about this group a sense of cold nakedness that well accords with the season it portrays.
These four groups are very properly alike in composition and feeling-suggesting perhaps that the differences between the seasons in California are but slight. There is throughout a conventional touch, and all are in pastoral mood. The groups are by Furio Piccirilli.
The Fountain of Ceres is in the north extension of the court, between the Palace of Food Products and the Palace of Agriculture. The surmounting figure is of Ceres, Greek goddess of the fields and especially of corn. The bas-relief frieze represents a group of dancers, suggestive of the seasonal festivals of the Greeks. The main figure has been much criticized, but an unbiased critic may find much in the fountain to praise. The pedestal and the crowning figure are well thought out, and the proportions of the whole are good; and there is a feeling of classic simplicity throughout. The frieze of dancing girls, too, is exceptionally graceful. If, then, one discovers that Ceres is more mature than a goddess ever ought to be, or that her face suggests that of an exasperated school-teacher, or if one finds the cornstalk in her hand a realistic thing incompatible with any poetic conception, it is well to step back until one gets only the general effect. For there is much to admire in the poise of the figure, in the decorative outline, and in the sculptor's lightness of touch. The fountain was designed by Evelyn Beatrice Longman.
Minor Sculptures. On the archways at east and west of the court a high-relief figure by August Jaegers is repeated eight times, and the spandrels over the arches are by the same artist. In both cases the idea of abundance or fruitfulness again supplies the motive. The boxes at the bases of the columns on which "Rain" and "Sunshine" stand are decorated with agricultural scenes in low relief. The capitals at the tops of these columns are enriched with groups of agricultural figures. Within the archways at east and west the ceilings are decorated with delicate bas-relief designs, patterned after the famous ones at Villa Maderna, Rome.
All the murals in the Court of the Four Seasons are by H. Milton Bancroft. In general they are less interesting than those of any other court.
The Seasons. In the four corners of the colonnade there are eight panels, grouped by twos as follows: Spring and Seed Time; Summer and Fruition; Autumn and Harvest; and Winter and Festivity. There is little to hold the attention either in richness of color or in unusual grace of composition. Moreover, the artist has left nothing to the imagination in the symbolism by which he expresses the several ideas. The devices are so hackneyed, and the meaning so obvious, that any sort of interpretation would be entirely superfluous.
Panels under half-dome. On the east wall under the dome is the panel Art Crowned by Time. Father Time crowns Art, while on one side stand figures representing Weaving, Jewelry, and Glasswork, and on the other Printing, Pottery, and Smithery. On the opposite wall is the panel Man Receiving Instruction in Nature's Laws. A woman holds before a babe a tablet inscribed "Laws of Nature," while on one side are figures of Fire, Earth and Water, and on the other figures of Death, Love, and Life. These two larger panels are more pleasing than the eight representing the Seasons, both in coloring and in figure composition; and they make pleasing spots of bright color in the dome. But again the artist is tediously careful to make his meanings plain. Not only does each figure hold its obvious symbol prominently in view, but there are labels naming the figures. To the art student the painter's stipple-and-line method, producing vibration of light and a certain freshness of atmosphere, will be of interest, as being out of the usual run of mural technique.
Before leaving the Court of the Four Seasons one should stand under the central arch of the triple portal at the east, and look first to the east through the Arch of the Setting Sun to the group "Nations of the East;" and then to the west along the vista that ends with the kneeling figure before the Fine Arts temple. The arrangement of architectural and sculptural units in both vistas is worthy of study.
The Court of Palms and the Court of Flowers
In these two courts, which pierce the walled city on the south, opposite the Palace of Horticulture and opposite Festival Hall, is to be found the purest expression of that spirit of the Italian Renaissance which hovers over so much of the Exposition architecture. Here, too, one finds Jules Guerin's color scheme at its richest. Both courts necessarily lack the cloistral charm of the Court of Abundance, since they have the fourth sides open. But what they lack in the sense of enclosure they make up in sunniness and joyous color. They are restful and warm and quiet-and artistically they are among the most perfect and most harmonious units on the grounds.
The Court of Palms
The Court of Palms is directly opposite the Palace of Horticulture, between the Education and Liberal Arts Palaces, and adjoins the Court of the Four Seasons. The charming sunken garden and simple pool reflect the colored colonnade, arches and towers with a sense of rest that is a relief and stimulant after walking miles of exhibit halls. Although really nearly two acres in area, the court seems small and intimate. The proportions are good, and the planting particularly fortunate.
The architecture is Renaissance, and is suggestive of the interior courts of the palaces of the Italian nobles. The colonnade columns are Ionic. The high attic story or frieze above the colonnade is remarkably rich, with its orange brown panels garlanded with green and red fruits, and decorated with Caryatid pilasters. It is worthy of study for the way in which architect, sculptor and color director have co-operated. The Italian Towers, terminating the colonnades, are among the finest bits of architectural design in the whole building group. Though only a fraction of the height of the Tower of Jewels, they convey much better the impression of reaching high into the heavens, of aspiration and uplift. They are more satisfying, too, in their combination of architectural forms, and they carry out notably well the delicate but luxuriant color scheme of the court. The unusual repeated pattern which fills the large wall panels of the towers is worthy of attention.
The architect of the court was George W. Kelham.
Sculpture. The only really important statue in the court is that which stands at the opening on the Avenue of Palms-called The End of the Trail. An Indian, bowed at last under the storm, sits astride a dejected horse utter weariness, discouragement, lost hope, expressed in every line of man and animal. Some see in the statue only the abject despair of a horse and rider when the consciousness finally comes that the trail is definitely lost in the wilderness; and it is notable enough as an expression of this tragic theme. But others, remembering the history of the Indian, see here an eloquent and pathetic reminder of a race that has seemingly come to the end of its trail. As a portrayal of this racial tragedy the group is even more remarkable than as an expression of the hopelessness of a lost man and horse.
The statue is hardly in key with its architectural surroundings; but its comparatively isolated position prevents it from seeming an intrusive element in the court. Considered alone it is more individual, more expressive of independent and deep moving thought, than any other sculpture in the grounds. There is far more of real earnestness here than is usual in exposition sculpture. The thing is significant, too, for the native note. It is worthy of serious study as indicating one of the most important tendencies of American sculpture when not tied to the purely decorative. The sculptor was James Earl Fraser.
The minor sculptures in this court consist of the Caryatides by John Bateman and A. Stirling Calder; the spandrels, by Albert Weinert; "The Fairy," by Carl Gruppe, which crowns the Italian Towers; and the classic vases at the portals.
The mural paintings in this court are disappointing. Two are surprisingly poor, considering the high reputation of the artists, and the third is badly placed. The tympanum in the portal at the east side of the court is filled by Charles W. Holloway's panel, The Pursuit of Pleasure. This is a conventional treatment of the subject, in which a number of youths and maidens turn lackadaisically to a winged figure of Pleasure. There is a pleasing lightness of touch, and the bright reds and blues are in keeping with the spirit of the court-but the thing is, somehow, insipid. This panel is more pleasing under illumination. In the opposite portal is Childe Hassam's painting, Fruits and Flowers. This again is a conventional treatment, showing very obviously vegetable and human fruits and flowers. The arrangement is tediously symmetric, the coloring is rather weak, and there is a wooden stiffness about the figures. The panel makes a pleasant spot of color, but is by no means up to the standard of the canvases in Hassam's room in the Palace of Fine Arts.
The panel over the main doorway, at the north end of the court, is by Arthur F. Mathews, and is far superior to the other two, though unfortunately placed in a dark spot. It is called by the artist A Victorious Spirit. The central figure, gorgeously suggesting the Spirit of Enlightment, protects Youth from the discordant elements of life from materialism and brute force, as represented by the rearing horse and militant rider. Youth is attended by the peace-bringing elements of life, by Religion, Philosophy or Education, and the Arts. The symbolism here is sound, the composition and drawing unusually good, and the coloring quite wonderful-especially in the orange-yellow robe of the Spirit. The full deep colors are in sharp contrast with those of most of the Exposition murals.
No one should leave this court without first pausing to enjoy the vista through the north doorway, showing Albert Jaeger's spirited Sacrificial Bulls on the Agriculture and Food Products Palaces, the long colonnade of the Court of the Four Seasons, and the bit of bay and hills beyond.
The Court of Flowers
The Court of Flowers is opposite to Festival Hall, between the Mines and Varied Industries Palaces. The first impression, as one comes to it, is that here is a replica of the colorful Court of Palms. But many differences become evident after a few moments' study.
The architecture is Italian Renaissance, but of a more richly decorative sort than in the Court of Palms. There is more overlaid ornament, and on the whole, less simplicity and quietness and more varied interest. The columns here are Corinthian, arranged in pairs. The gallery above the colonnade adds to the suggestion of the sunny South. The Italian Towers, while similar in feeling to those of the other court, are different in the arrangement of elements, though equally successful. The color decoration is again notable.
It is hardly necessary to add that George W. Kelham designed this court too.
Sculpture. The center of the court is dominated by Edgar Walter's Beauty and the Beast Fountain. The surmounting statue is a curious combination of graceful lines and grotesque effects. The strange Beast is no less fantastic than the young lady herself-she who has adorned her fair body with nothing more than a Spring hat and a pair of sandals. It is probably this near-nudeness, without pure nakedness, that creates the jarring note of the group Certainly there is a bizarre touch that somewhat offsets the sinuous charm of the figure. Under the upper basin are four piping Pans, not notable individually, but adding to the decorative effect. The wall around the lower pool carries a playful frieze of animals in low relief.
The Pioneer is the title of the equestrian statue at the south end of the court, on the Avenue of Palms. The man is typically the Western pioneer, as every resident of the Pacific Coast has known him-a patriarchal figure who foreran civilization here in the West of America as he has in all other new lands. Head up, axe and gun in hand, looking straight forward, he is a fine visualization of the "Forty-niner." He is, too, an interesting racial contrast to the Indian of "The End of the Trail." One wonders, however, about the horse, with the elaborate trappings that clearly belong to another era-to the days of Spanish conquest, perhaps. Certainly horse and rider do not seem to be conceived in the same spirit. The group lacks, too, that vital intensity of feeling and that emotional strength which distinguish "The End of the Trail," the companion-statue in the Court of Palms. The "Pioneer" is by Solon Borglum.
The minor sculpture here consists of A. Stirling Calder's attractive "Flower Girl," repeated in the niches along the loggia; dignified Lions, by Albert Laessle, flanking the three portals; and again Carl Gruppe's "The Fairy," atop the Italian Towers.
The Tower of Jewels, and the Fountain of Energy
It was planned that the Tower of Jewels should be the great dominating feature of the architectural scheme of the Exposition; that this unit more than any other should stand as a triumphal monument to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal. The mural paintings, the sculpture and the inscriptions all carry out this idea, but the tower, in its architectural aspect alone, fails to live up fully to its purpose. It serves well to "center" the whole scheme, and to afford an imposing pile at the main entrance. Nevertheless it falls short of the high architectural standard of the courts and palaces.
The architectural forms used in the design of the tower are in general classic; but the architect has shown considerable originality in their arrangement and massing.
The lower portion, embracing the imposing arch and flanking colonnades, is very dignified and quite satisfying. Standing close to the structure, on the south side, so that one is conscious chiefly of this lower portion, there comes the proper sense of nobility-the feeling that one obtains from a successful triumphal arch. The chief fault of the tower above is that it lacks the long lifting lines that would give a sense of aspiration. It seems just a little squat and fat-as if it were too heavy on top and splayed out at the sides and bottom. It is also somewhat "showy," with too much hung-on ornament; and the green columns against red walls are not satisfying-this being one of the very few failures of the color scheme in the entire group of buildings.
At night the tower takes on a new and unexpected beauty. The outline softens under the illumination, and the feeling of over-decoration and broken lines is lost. The whole structure becomes a huge finger of light, reaching up into the dark heavens-with softer indirect lighting below, and glowing brilliantly above. Even the hundred thousand pendent jewels, which at best are but flashy in the day time, add to the exquisite fairy like effect at night. The illumination here is such, indeed, that it must be one of the most impressive and lasting memories to be carried away by the visitor.
The Tower of Jewels was designed by Thomas Hastings, of the firm Carrere and Hastings of New York.
The sculpture, like the mural paintings, deals in general with the winning of the Americas and the achievement of the canal project.
Sculpture on the tower. As one stands in the South Gardens facing the tower, one sees above the first cornice, reading from left to right, four statues of The Adventurer, The Priest, The Philosopher, and The Soldier. These finely realized figures, which are by John Flanagan, represent four types of the early conquerors of America. On the next story is a repeated equestrian statue of the Spanish Conqueror, called The Armored Horseman, by F. M. L. Tonetti. These five statues are repeated on the other three faces of the tower. There is much other sculpture of a purely decorative sort, the motives used being those usually found in triumphal monuments, such as eagles, wreaths, and the beaks of ships with which the Romans ornamented the columns celebrating their naval successes.
Equestrian statues at entrance. In front of the two side colonnades are spirited equestrian statues. As one faces the tower, the figure at the left is of Pizarro, who conquered the richest portion of South America for Spain. This figure is heroically decorative, and is by Charles Carey Rumsey. At the other side of the main arch is Charles Niehaus' vigorous statue of Cortez, who won Mexico for Spain. This figure, carrying a flag and pennon on a lance, and perfectly seated on the strong horse, has a live sense of movement, and the whole group is informed with the spirit of the lordly conqueror.
Fountains under the tower. Within the colonnades to east and west of the main archway are respectively the Fountain of Youth and the Fountain of El Dorado.
The Fountain of Youth consists of a central figure on a pedestal, and two rounded side panels with figures in relief. Youth is symbolized as a girl, an immature figure, beautifully modeled. She stands, perfectly poised, among rising blossoms. On the pedestal are more flowers in relief, and two dimly indicated half-figures of a man and woman may be discovered. The side panels show old people being drawn away in ships manned by cherubs-old people who gaze back wistfully at the Youth they are leaving. Really the fountain is far more charming if one forgets all but the central figure. There is in that a sweet tenderness, a maidenly loveliness, that makes it the perfect embodiment of Youth-an embodiment to be remembered with delight again and again.
The fountain was designed by Edith Woodman Burroughs.
The Fountain of El Dorado is on the other side of the archway, and is by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. It represents, as a whole, mankind's pursuit of the unattainable. The legend of El Dorado is that there once lived in South America a prince, "The Gilded One," who had so much gold that daily he had his body covered with gold dust. Many Spanish explorers spent fruitless years in search of the fabulously rich country of this prince. The idea of the fountain is that the Gilded One, representing the unattainable, the advantages of wealth and power which deluded men and women seek without value given to the world in return, has just disappeared through the gateway, the gates closing after him. On either side processions of seekers who have glimpsed the Gilded One, strain toward the gateway. Some loiter in love or play, some drop from fatigue, some fight their way along; and the first two, finding that the pursuit is fruitless after all, have dropped to their knees in anguish. The two standing figures beside the gates are said by the sculptor to have no significance beyond the fact that they are "just guardians."
The fountain is notable for its symbolism and for the modeling of the many nude figures. The panel on the right is especially decorative, and has some notably fine individual figures and groups. The spirit of the fountain, with its realism and its note of hopelessness, is not in keeping with that pervading most of the Exposition sculpture. After looking at the work for a time, turn and look back through the two archways at the central figure of Youth at the other side. Certainly no figure in the Fountain of El Dorado has the appeal and charm of that.
On the walls of the archway under the Tower of Jewels are eight paintings celebrating the building of the Canal. All are by William de Leftwich Dodge.
On the west wall the first panel is called Discovery. It portrays the discovery of the Pacific Ocean by Balboa.
The second panel is called Atlantic and Pacific. A huge figure of Labor, having brought together the oceans, is opening a waterway from West to East. On the left an ox-drawn prairie schooner has arrived at the shore, with types of Western civilization. On the opposite shore types of the nations of the East, in a colorful group, are straining forward to meet the West.
The third panel is entitled The Purchase. A figure representing the United States is taking over the canal project from France. The French laborers are throwing down their tools, and Americans press forward to take them up.
In the group on the opposite wall the first panel is called Labor Crowned. Victorious Labor is being crowned by the angel of Success, while soldier and workers come to pay homage.
The second panel is entitled The Gateway of All Nations. Figures symbolizing Progress call the world to pass through the Canal. Neptune holds garlands by which he draws ships of the various nations toward the waterway. Two laborers rest on their machines and watch the procession which they have made possible.
The last panel is called Achievement. A woman with the symbols of knowledge, or wisdom, sits enthroned, while about her are grouped figures representing the forces instrumental in building the Canal. At the left are laborers; at the right figures typifying Engineering, Medical Science (with the Caduceus, the wand of Mercury, god of medicine), and Commerce or Munificence.
These mural paintings are among the most interesting and most imaginative of all those at the Exposition. Some of the groups are particularly fine in coloring. Note the method of obtaining the right effect of "flatness" by employing a conventional diaper pattern for the background throughout. The panels here are much more effective under full illumination at night than by daylight.
The Fountain of Energy
The Fountain of Energy in the South Gardens was designed to be the crowning feature of the sculpture of the Exposition, just as the Tower of Jewels was designed to dominate the architectural scheme; and it fails of its high purpose in much the same way. It is closely allied with the tower in symbolic meaning, celebrating man's victory over the forces of nature in the successful building of the canal.
In the pool at the base of the fountain are a number of graceful groups of water sprites on dolphins, and four larger groups representing the four great seas. The one to the east of the main fountain represents The Atlantic Ocean as a woman with sea-horses in one hand and coral like hair, on the back of a conventionalized dolphin. At the north The North Sea is represented by a sort of sea-man, with occasional fins and with a three-pronged spear in hand, riding on a walrus. At the west The Pacific Ocean is typified by a woman on a remarkable sea monster. And on the south a sea-man with negro-like features, and with an octopus in one hand, rides on a sea-elephant, representing The South Seas.
The main pedestal of the statue is a globe, representing the earth. This is supported by a series of figures of mermaids and mermen. The Eastern and Western Hemispheres are represented by figures reclining on the globe, the one to the east a cat-headed woman, the one to the west a bullheaded man. The band, decorated with aquatic figures, which encircles the globe, suggests the final completion of a waterway about the earth.
Energy, the Victor, the surmounting group, typifies the indomitable spirit that has achieved the building of the Canal. The nude figure of Energy with arms outstretched rides a horse through the waves, while on his shoulders stand smaller figures of Valor (with a wreath) and Fame (with a sword) heralding the triumph. These small figures are unfortunate they hardly belong, and instinctively one is worried for their equilibrium.
The whole fountain is instinct with energy, and expresses joyous achievement, as was meant. Moreover it is remarkable in its breadth of conception, in imaginative interpretation of the theme. But it lacks that sense of repose which would make it intimately satisfying.
The fountain was designed by A. Stirling Calder.
Palaces Facing the Avenue of Palms
The adoption of the "walled-city" plan for the Exposition meant the grouping of the more imposing architectural effects in the interior courts, the outer facades simply forming parts of a practically continuous wall about the whole. Inspired by Spanish architecture of the Renaissance, the intention was to keep the wall spaces in general quite bare, concentrating the decorative effects in rich "spots" at carefully chosen intervals. Thus the outer facades of the central group of palaces combine a simple general form with a series of richly ornamental portals. The architect who as entrusted with the designing of the wall and all the portals was W. B. Faville of Bliss and Faville.