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- The Art of the Exposition - 6/15 -


The Nations of the East, like the West, in its entirety, is the conception of A. Stirling Calder, who modeled the pedestrian figures. With Mr. Calder, Messrs. Frederick G. R. Roth and Leo Lentelli collaborated. The huge elephant in the center of the group was modeled by Mr. Roth, also the camels. The mounted horsemen were modeled by Leo Lentelli. From left to right the figures are - an Arab warrior, a Negro servitor bearing baskets of fruit, a camel and rider (the Egyptian), a falconer, an elephant with a howdah containing a figure embodying the spirit of the East, attended by Oriental mystics representing India, a Buddhist Lama bearing his emblem of authority, a camel and rider (Mahometan), a Negro servitor, and a Mongolian warrior. The size of the group, crowning a triumphal arch one hundred and sixty feet in height, may be inferred from the fact that the figure of the Negro servitor is thirteen feet six inches in height.

On the arch beneath this group are inscribed these lines by Kalidasa: "The moon sinks yonder in the west, while in the east the glorious sun behind the herald dawn appears. Thus rise and set in constant change those shining orbs and regulate the very life of this our world."

The Nations of the West, crowning the arch of the Setting Sun, is also the conception of A. Stirling Calder, who modeled the imaginative figures of "the Mother of Tomorrow," "Enterprise," and "Hopes of the Future."' Messrs. Leo Lentelli and Frederick G. R. Roth collaborated in their happiest style, the former producing the four horsemen and one pedestrian, the Squaw, and the latter the oxen, the wagon, and the three pedestrians. From left to right the figures are, the French Trapper, the Alaskan, the Latin-American, the German, the Hopes of the Future (a white boy and a Negro, riding on a wagon), Enterprise, the Mother of Tomorrow, the Italian, the Anglo-American, the Squaw, the American Indian. The group is is conceived in the same large monumental style as the Nations of the East. The types of those colonizing nations that at one time or place or another have left their stamp on our country have been selected to form the composition.

The following lines by Walt Whitman are inscribed on the arch beneath the group of the Nations of the West: "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."

It is popularly conceded that these two groups are magnificently daring conceptions, richly worked out. They are probably the largest groups of the kind ever made, the dimensions of the base being fifty-two by thirty-eight feet, and the height forty-two feet.

Looking seaward from the Court of the Universe the Column of Progress commands attention, crowned by the "Adventurous Bowman" and decorated at the base with a frieze symbolizing achievement, or progress. The very fine symbolism in this column deserves to be studied. The position of the column itself is most artistic in its relation to the surroundings. It is too bad, however, to see the view from the main court toward the column spoiled by a music pavilion of dubious architectural merit. The effect of the column as seen from any point is inspiring in its monumental grandeur. The group on top, the Bowman, represents man's supreme effort in life. He is supported on the left by his fellow-man, adding strength and steadiness to his aim, while on the right the crouching figure of a woman watches anxiously the sureness of his aim. She holds ready in her hand the laurel wreath which she confidently feels will be his just reward.

The great Column of Progress is the first column in the world, so far as I know, whose design was inspired by a purely imaginative motive, and the first sculpture column at any exposition. It must be considered the most splendid expression of sculpture and architectural art in the Exposition. Mr. Calder may justly feel proud of this great idea and Mr. Hermon MacNeil has added new laurels to his many accomplishments in the free modeling of the very daring group on top.

The column itself is decorated with the spiral ascending motive of the Ship of Life, while at the base Isadore Konti expresses the striving for achievement in four well modeled panels of huge scale, representing human life in its progressive stages, showing men and women in attitudes of hope and despair, of strength and weakness, in the never ending task of trying to realize human destiny.

The Court of the Four Seasons harbors four groups by Piccirilli, representing the seasons in the conventional way, dividing the year into four distinct parts - spring, summer, autumn, and winter. These four groups of Piccirilli are not equally successful. By far the most effective is the one representing winter. The severe rigidity of the lovely central standing figure expresses well that feeling of suspended activity which we associate with the conventional conceptions of the season of dormant life. The kneeling side figures are in full harmony of expression with the central figure. They support very well the general scheme.

The next best, to my mind, seems "Spring," on account of the very fine psychological quality of the standing figure in giving expression in a very graceful fashion to that invigorating and reviving quality of our loveliest season. The two side figures seem to be gradually awakening to the full development of their powers.

Next to "Spring," "Fall," by the fullness of the decorative scheme, suggests Peace and Plenty in the preparation for the Harvest Festival and in the touch of family life of the mother and child on the right.

Mr. Piccirilli's naturalistic modeling does not express itself so well in "Summer." There is so little strictly architectural feeling in that group. I think that Albert Jaegers, with his two single figures on top of the two columns flanking the Orchestral Niche, actually represents our own two seasons much more successfully than does Piccirilli. Jaegers' "Rain and Sunshine" should be used to name the court properly - "The Court of the Two Seasons," as we know them in California - the dry season, the season of harvest; and the wet season, the one of recuperation. I regret that here an opportunity was lost to add distinction to the many different features of a great undertaking.

Jaegers has contributed also the figure of "Nature" on top of the music niche and the capital bulls on the pylons toward the north of the court. These terra cotta bulls are surely worthy of the adjective derived from them. Their relative size is very good, and to see them in the richness of their color against the upper regions of a dark blue sky is very effective.

Directly north of the Court of the Four Seasons stands Miss Beatrice Evelyn Longman's Fountain of Ceres, originally planned for the center of the court, but so very effective all by itself between the dignified colonnades of the avenue. The fountain is most impressive by its fine architectural feeling, so uncommon in the work of many women sculptors. The general feeling of it is refinement, combined with great strength. It is fully deserving of monopolizing a fine setting of dignified architecture, so richly emphasized by some of the finest old yew trees in the grounds.

In the Court of Abundance a riot of interesting architectural sculptural details invites the attention of the visitor. Beginning with the lower animal forms, such as crabs and crayfish, etc., the entire evolution of Nature has been symbolized, reaching its climax in the tower, where the scheme is continued in several groups in Chester Beach's best style. The lowest of these groups shows the Primitive Age, followed above by the Middle Ages and Modernity. The great charm of this finest of all the towers in the Exposition is its wonderful rhythmic feeling. The graceful flow of line from the base toward the top is never interrupted, in spite of the many sculptural adornments used on all sides. In front of the tower are two very ornate illuminating shafts, showing Leo Lentelli's diabolical cleverness in making ornament out of human figures. Leo Lentelli's style is particularly well adapted to Mullgardt's Court of Abundance. Its care-free, subtle quality, full of animation, presenting new motives at every turn, is most helpful in the general spirit of festivity which characterizes this most interesting of all the courts.

Aitken's Fountain of Life in the center of the court is totally different. Full of intellectual suggestion, it is almost bewildering in the storytelling quality of its many details. Aitken's fountain, which is situated in the center of a basin a hundred and fifty feet long by sixty-five feet wide, rises directly from the water. The main structure consists of a series of four groups of heroic-sized figures, carved in pierced relief, each flanked by colossal bronze Hermes, their arms reaching around the structure and held together by animal forms of reptilian or fishy origin. All these forms and figures surround a globe of enormous size, typifying the Earth, over the surface of which streams of water are thrown from the reptilian chain motive.

Leading up to the main structure is a group of ten crouching figures, symbolizing Destiny in the shape of two enormous arms and hands, giving life with one and taking it with the other. Here, on the left side, are arranged figures suggesting the Dawn of Life, while on the right are men and women depicting the fullness and the end of existence.

In the first, Prenatal Sleep, is the crouched form of a woman, while successively come the Awakening, the Ecstatic Joy of Being - or it may be the Realization of Living; the Kiss of Life, with the human pair offering up their children, representative of the beginnings of fecundity; a female, strong of limb and superb of physique, enfolds in her arms two infants, while her mate, of no less powerful build and rude force, kneeling beside her, gives her an embrace typical of the overpowering parental instinct. Here is the suggestion of the elemental feelings, the beginnings of things.

Between the first group and the central one comes a gap, a space typical of that unknown time in history when conjecture alone permits speculation, and the story is taken up again with the first of the central groups, wherein stands a figure of Vanity, glass in hand, symbolizing the compelling motive of so much in human endeavor. To her left, in enormous contrast, are primitive man and woman, treated with great realism, these two carrying their burdens of life, in the form of their progeny, into the unknown future, their expression that of rude but questioning courage, the man splendid in his virility, superb in the attitude of his awkward strength, ready to meet whatever be the call of earth. His mate meanwhile suggests the overwhelming and eternal instincts of motherhood.

An archaic Hermes, dividing these figures from the next group, allows for a space of time to elapse, and we come to their children, now grown to manhood and womanhood, in their rude strength finding themselves, with the result of Natural Selection. This is a group of five personages, the center figure a man of splendid youth and vigor, suggesting the high state both of physical and intellectual perfection, unconsciously attracting the female, two of whom regard him with favor, while two males on either side, deserted for this finer type, give vent to deep regret, despair, and anger. One attempts by brute force to hold the woman; the other reluctantly gives up his choice, in the obvious futility of his unequal intellectual endowment to comprehend.

From this to the Survival of the Fittest we have a militant group, in which physical strength begins to play its part, and perhaps discloses the first awakening of the war spirit, the woman in this case being the


The Art of the Exposition - 6/15

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