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The Recent Sale of Pictures by the Son Recalls the Method by Which The Father Built Up His Famous and Comprehensive Collection
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when he was buying, as some people saw it, "like a drunken sailor."  The younger J.P.——who has not been an ardent accumulator except of items to enrich the library, his peculiar care——knows his own mind, too, when he sells six of his best (and best-selling) pictures.  Another man might have combed the collection for items that never would have been missed——or missed very much less.  The head of the house of Morgan, when he puts up pictures for sale, puts up pictures that will sell and sell well and find buyers at once.  The report is that he took no more advice about selling than his father took about buying.

* * *

  There was a flavor of the pirate about the father, which obviously tickled his own fancy, pillar of the Episcopal Church though he was and prop of the world-fabric of responsibility.  Else he would not have named Corsair the big rakish black steam yacht aboard which he took his pleasure upon the salty element that had fed the fortune of his namesake, Sir Henry of the Spanish Main.  But he was a true Victorian, and entangled with the hard-boiled business man and brusque autocrat was a strain of simple sentiment.

  As a schoolboy in Boston, before he went to Vevey to collect stained glass, they say he wrote poetry.  But his graduation essay was about Napoleon.  Good Victorians were curiously fascinated by Napoleon.  This Napoleon of finance and overrunner of the world for the conquest of art used, like the Little Corporal, to play patience——or solitaire——to assist thought or allay impatience.

  Dealers used to come to the library which was his lair with what they had to offer.  Once when he had refused over a voyage to Europe and back to make up his mind, or to declare his mind, about the purchase of a collection of MSS. of American authors——Thoreau, Poe, Whittier, Hawthorne, Longfellow, Holmes——the dealer on a third or fourth essay found the great man seated at a little table engaged with the cards.  A log in the big fireplace dropped, as logs burned through into chunks do, and a flame shot like a rocket up the chimney.  Mr. Morgan harking back to his verse-writing youth, no doubt, quoted:

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to Earth I know not where——

Whereat the dealer remarked that what he had to offer was just exactly that——among other things this very bit of doggerel set down in Longfellow's own hand.  The sale was promptly concluded, though the Morgan mind was probably made up before the poetry intruded.

  Another story is, however, that the poem which won the battle was "The Children's Hour":

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower——

  This, it is said, reached the mark because of the grim banker's fondness for his grandchildren.  In either case, sentiment wins.

* * *

  A CLEARER clue to the elder Morgan's methods with "prospects" in the art line is this:  A Vermeer was brought to the library——the one now hanging in the Morgan House at Glen Cove.  "Who was Vermeer?" asked the collector paramount.  The accomplished countryman of Rembrandt was duly placed, including the not immaterial circumstance that very few Vermeers ever came into the private collectors' market.  Mr. Morgan took a good look, asked the price, which turned out to be $100,000
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and said:  "I'll take it."  That was all.

 At the time of this summary transaction art circles in America we're not yet Vermeer-conscious, though a few examples of the painter's work had already reached particular collectors in this country.  Mr. Morgan's art education was proceeding——somewhat in advance——along with that of his countrymen of less opportunity.  And he had just got to Vermeer.

  As he proceeded with his collecting his knowledge grew apace.  He was the czar of bankers because he had learned the banking business from the ground up.  He applied himself to the business of cornering art was equal thoroughness, assisted by a natural aptitude or flair and a Napoleonic power of attention to detail.

  When he began to buy pictures——you may read their titles and find handsome reproductions in one of the mighty volumes of the catalogue de luxe of his paintings——they were exactly the sort of pictures that a Victorian-American gentleman with money and civilized associations was expected to buy and did usually buy at that period to hang upon the walls of his house.  They were pictures that were pleasant in subject and "right" in sentiment——pictures of dogs and cows and agreeable-looking ladies.  The painters were those in contemporary esteem, ranging from Landseer to Troyton and extending to Villegas.

  The extent of Morgan's collection of British portraits——forty, including for Gainsboroughs (the Duchess of Devonshire, of course), three Lawrences, six Reynoldses and four Romney's——two Lady Hamiltons among them——shows the persistence of the sentimental streak on the higher, or at any rate higher-priced, plane.  There were also a Hogarth and a couple of Turners.  The Dutch and Flemish gallery (before the Vermeer arrived) included four
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Halses (two of which are among the pictures in the recent sale), two Hobemas, three Rembrandts and two Rubenses——one of which also went in the last lot along with Miss Farren among the Lawrences.

  The French section included the ten Fragonards done for DuBarry but left on the painter's hands; Bouchers, Greuzes and Vigee Le Brun.  There were also a Goya and a Velasquez, showing the esthetic ascent in the prevailing modern scale of such matters.  Finally, there were the fifteenth century Italians like the Ghirlandaio portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni, counted the high watermark of the entire picture collection, and the "St. Lawrence," by the way, was almost the last of Mr. Morgan's purchases, acquired just before he went away to Europe on the trip which was cut short by his death in Italy.

* * *

The "St. Lawrence," which will hang in the Metropolitan, was bought in the library and had its home there along with the Ghirlandaio.  Only a few of the many Morgan pictures ever hung on those library walls.  But the entire span of the great collector's career of scouring the world for what he wanted lies between the tryptych of the saint and the stained glass in the windows of the white marble pavilion built to house the things he loved best.

  Some of that stained glass is the glass bought with the pocket money of the schoolboy of Vevey.  It got rather broken up, being carried around in the boy's luggage, but the bits have been arranged in very lovely patterns set in the plain glass through which the light falls on the bindings of the old books rising in tiers around the great room.  The light falls also on the portrait of Morgan the Magnificent, placed there by his son.
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The Theatre and opera lovers of provincial Lower Austria have recently been provided with a special transportation service to Vienna, national capital and seat of the Federal Theatre and the State Opera.  Three government agencies——the Home Service, the Federal Theater Administration and the National Tourists League——have combined to inaugurate the effort which seeks to bring together, cheaply and efficiently, the people of the provinces and the art established by their government in the capital.

  Several months ago the Home Service installed agents in all the communities of Lower Austria, the largest province in the country.  With its population of about 1,600,000, it lies directly south and west of Vienna.  The agents were intrusted with the task of organizing groups in their respective territories and selling them subscriptions for performances in the Federal Theater and State Opera.  Prices were arranged to meet the purse of the poorest enthusiasts.

  It soon became apparent that the public response to the plan warranted further steps.  The Home Service then arranged a regular autobus and railroad service between the various communities and the capital which would bring subscribers to Vienna's theaters and after performances take them home again.

  Despite the fact that the Opera and the theatre are national institutions, the folk of provincial Austria have not had an opportunity to visit them as much as they would like.

  The Austrian Federal Theater traces its origin to the last quarter of the eighteenth century when Emperor Joseph II established it
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in Vienna as a national institution.  The State Opera goes back to 1640 when musical plays were first performed in the dancing hall of the Imperial Castle.

  During the World War their activities were curtailed and afterward both the Opera and the theatre became Federal instead of Imperial.  Their répertoires are cosmopolitan.  In one recent season the State Opera played 168 musical works of foreign composers, while the Federal theatres devoted 279 performances to the works of foreigners, in which Bernard Shaw with thirty-five and William Shakespeare with twenty-eight performances were the leaders.
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