Solomon, Solomon Joseph (1860-1927) by Scholes, Robert

Solomon Joseph Solomon (1860 – 1927) “Solomon J. Solomon was a highly versatile artist who made pictures in many different styles, and was thus able to remain popular over a long period. He produced paintings on historical and contemporary themes, from myth and from reality, religious paintings, harem scenes, and many portraits” (Source: ) He also worked on camouflage for tanks and observation posts during World War I. He was one of the few Jewish artists to be made a member of the Royal Academy of Art. Not afraid of craft, he was in great demand as an illustrator of books, especially tales of adventure by writers like G. A. Henty. Here are the opening remarks from his 1914 book, : The Practice of Oil Painting and Drawing This book is primarily intended for the use of Art Students, but it may also be found helpful to Art Teachers who have not yet reduced their teaching to a system. I have rarely in my experience found drawing systematically taught. The master corrects the student’s errors, but does not show him with sufficient clearness how he might discover them for himself, and so become in time, as he must aim at becoming, independent of assistance. The second part of the volume is devoted to an examination of the methods of painting used in the production of works that have stood the test of time. I hope that from what I have said on this subject the student may be able to gather material on which to base a sound and workmanlike method. This is especially necessary in these days when works of art are produced which, in my opinion, cannot possibly stand the severe test of age. The whole object of this volume is to combat the careless craftsmanship which is too common, and is detrimental to the work of any painter, however gifted. The lover of pictures who has had no technical training may also be helped by a perusal of this second part to discover for himself some of those qualities in a picture that are most attractive to a painter. No one can be said to understand a painting who is ignorant of the principles on which it is executed. The average painter’s interest is centred, perhaps too exclusively, in its technique, and many a picture would have little charm for him if it were not for the surface qualities it displays. But some of this special enjoyment may be shared by the amateur if he will take the pains to examine pictures in the same way as the professional artist. I hope that not these chapters only, but also the preceding lessons in practical painting and drawing, may awaken a new interest by enabling the amateur and picture-lover to gain some insight into the mysteries of the craft, and some understanding of the purely technical means of expression employed by the painter. In a review in , G. R. S. Taylor compared Solomon to the French painter, Bouguereau: “We demand to know the worst at an international exhibition, on educational grounds. If we have the nerve to show Mr. Solomon J. Solomon’s work here, it was really a friendly act on the part of France to relieve the pressure by giving themselves away by sending Bougureeau.” This comparison was probably inspired by such things as the similarity between Bouguereau’s Abduction of Psyche and Solomon’s Ajax and Cassandra. The New Age (NA 3.14:277)

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