Pollard excels in these, although the example of his work in this book (pi. 33) has not so beautiful a background as is usual with him. Some years ago, when he first worked for Vogue, his figures used to be placed before marble pedestals, lacquer cabinets and the like. With the purification in the treatment of his figures, the backgrounds have become simpler too, and it is not unusual for him to place his figures in a space that is completely blank, save for a faint wash, surrounded by two or three lines of various thickness. Sometimes he cuts up this space into simple shapes, dividing it, perhaps diagonally, perhaps vertically ; occasionally the floor is paved with marble, sometimes tesselated in black and white ; more rarely a " head and shoulders " is placed before a sky in which float a pair of clouds that could not possibly presage rain. Thus Pollard, while almost invariably making use of a background of some kind, has reduced it to its simplest terms, always decorative, and always subservient to the figures and at the same time complementary to them.

Pollard occupies an isolated position among fashion artists, having a distinctive and unmistakable style which is yet sane and unexaggerated. But it is not that which makes for isolation. It is his positive midway between the naturalism of Erickson and the completely stylised treatment of Luza or Benigni, and the fact that he has only one imitator, whose work, though it appears in a rival paper, is little more than a travesty. Distortion to some extent he does make use of (note the necks and the ear), but always with the object of making his women more lovely and their clothes more graceful, and not simply to make them conform to some preconceived vision. There can be no reason to doubt what I was once told, that the couturiers in Paris would rather have Pollard than anyone else to draw their clothes for the press. He cannot draw an ugly dress. If, indeed, he has ever been asked to do so, he must have refused, because no such drawing has ever appeared. The style of his women, and his treatment of them, makes his work unsuitable for the display of sports clothes or tweeds. Afternoon and evening dresses drawn by him have an almost classical beauty, since his simplification of drapery is in the best tradition.

A very notable feature of Pollard's work is the great size of the originals. The drawing reproduced in this book was more than 20 inches in height, and has gained in fineness by being reduced. It is presumably far easier to get a flowing graceful line with a brush if the drawing is not too small.

Another artist who rarely concerns himself with a background that is anything but decorative is Luza. Occasionally they are inconspicuous or non-existant, but usually his backgrounds are more violent and striking than Pollard's ; but his figures, which are simplified further, and to some extent distorted, are better able to hold their own against the distractions of a background such as that on pi. 26. This particular example, however, in which the dresses are in broad simple tones and are not broken up by a small pattern (like pi. 34) they form a strong enough contrast for the background, and the whole drawing forms a brilliant and compelling arabesque on the page. The example by Luza of a single figure (pi. 34) set against curtains has great decorative beauty. One is not conscious here of any sense of the blankness of the white curtain, which occupies more than half the picture, but only of the accentuated brilliance of the figure, that will, the next instant, pass before it. The succession of wavering vertical lines, both in the figure itself and in the folds of the curtains, are amply supported by the wedge of the floor which is given a certain solidity by the perspective of its design. But this drawing represents a use of space that is too extravagant for any but a distinguished and trustworthy artist, working for a luxurious magazine. A beginner would be obliged to crowd three figures into such a space. Luza is also a master of colour, and his beautiful and very unusual portraits of women have earned him a great reputation in Paris.

Rhys (pi. 35) has carried the decorative background a stage further by giving

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it a certain degree of finish and solidity. All his work has great beauty of finish. Nothing is skimped. Like Luza, he does his drawings from a croquis supplied him by somebody else. With Luza one has the feeling that simplification is the essence of his style and that a dozen sketches done from the actual dress would not modify his conception or his execution of it. But with Rhys there is a suspicion that the authentic fold of a blouse or swing of a skirt is missing. If there were not such a sense of texture and solidity, one would never miss the accent of reality that can never really be imagined or reconstructed. This is, however, an unfair cavil, and only the unusual beauty of Rhys' work makes one want as well the little ordinary touch that is perhaps alien to it. Certainly no one else could have produced heads so exquisitely lovely as those by him on pi. 5. At the exact reproduction of textures he has no rival, as his treatment of the two hats and the dresses that go with them shows. There is no short cut to work of this kind ; after a pen outline, infinite stippling is used to get the soft peach-like bloom in the faces, and in the folds of the drapery. For an artist so pre-occupied with details, Rhys is unusually successful in his lay-outs, this arrangement of two heads and the page of shoes (pi. 13) being perfect.

But none of the artists we have been considering (except Pages) has ever paid much attention to placing his figures in a world that has any reality. We have now to consider five artists, Martin, Monvel, Benigni, Mourgue and Erickson who, each in a very different way, can put their people in a world that has a complete existence of its own, whether in their picture or on the map of Europe, and which would continue to function long after any particular woman wearing a certain dress has passed through it and been forgotten.

Of these Martin (pi. 27 and pi. 36) is the least circumstantial and the most playful. His drawings are certainly works of art : it is less certain that they are fashion drawings. Perhaps it was too much to claim that the places he draws could ever be found on the map of Europe. At least they have the reality of places seen in dreams, and the broiling landscape in which the nymph, watched by her friends, is bathing has surely been described by Wordsworth in the " Excursion." Fortunately Martin's unsurpassed mastery with pen and ink, already discussed, makes him a pattern in this respect for students, but his vision is too poetic for the ordinary purposes of fashion drawing, his ladies too buxom.

But with all this espieglerie it would be idle to suppose that there is not a cast-iron knowledge of anatomy (look at the legs in the bathing picture and the torso in the other) and of drapery. Martin also excels, though there is no example of it in this book, in the difficult art of depicting particular objects in use. I can remember a drawing of his in which, in a very life-like Sleeping Compartment on a French express, a lady in a particular travelling dress unpacked her Vuitton

dressing case. He frequently draws shoes and bags with a care of detail that makes them completely real and unmistakable ; and so it is obvious that a fantastic outlook is not incompatible with detail and accuracy.

This problem of showing real articles in use in a drawing which also shows clothes at the same time is frequently met with in drawing for magazines. Pages calmly overcomes it in his drawing (pi. 30) of a particular suit of pyjamas with a particular chair and bridge table top. When the object to be illustrated is a chair it cannot always be shown in use ; here, for example, the lady would only have to sit in the chair to obscure it completely. The apparent ease with which the problem has been solved gives no idea of the difficulty that the artist must have experienced in grouping this picture.

Cars have sometimes to be shown in connection with a certain costume, and the figure is usually made to stand on the step, about to get in. Another method is to make her sit at the wheel with the door open so as to reveal the whole of the figure. The intrinsic difficulty in connection with combining a full-length figure with a car is that, if the whole of the car is to be shown, the figure will come very small.

Fashion Drawing Sections

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