Oscar Wilde – The Artist,1894

oscar wilde portrait

ONE evening there came into his soul the desire to fashion an image of The Pleasure that Abideth for a Moment. And he went forth into the world to look for bronze. For he could think only in bronze.

But all the bronze of the whole world had disappeared, nor anywhere in the whole world was there any bronze to be found, save only the bronze of the image of The Sorrow that Endureth For Ever.

Now this image he had himself, and with his own hands, fashioned, and had set it on the tomb of the one thing he had loved in life. On the tomb of the dead thing he had most loved had he set this image of his own fashioning, that it might serve as a sign of the love of man that dieth not, and a symbol of the sorrow of man that endureth for ever. And in the whole world there was no other bronze save the bronze of this image.

And he took the image he had fashioned, and set it in a great furnace, and gave it to the fire.

And out of the bronze of the image of The Sorrow that Endureth For Ever he fashioned an image of The Pleasure that Abideth for a Moment.

 

Oscar Wilde, 1856-1900. The Artist, from, Poems in Prose,1894

Image: Portrait of Oscar Wilde,1892. Photographer: Napoleon Sarony

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Robert W. Service: Artist

He gave a picture exhibition,
Hiring a little empty shop.
Above its window: FREE ADMISSION
Cajoled the passers-by to stop;
Just to admire – no need to purchase,
Although his price might have been low:
But no proud artist ever urges
Potential buyers at his show.

Of course he badly needed money,
But more he needed moral aid.
Some people thought his pictures funny,
Too ultra-modern, I’m afraid.
His painting was experimental,
Which no poor artist can afford-
That is, if he would pay the rental
And guarantee his roof and board.

And so some came and saw and sniggered,
And some a puzzled brow would crease;
And some objected: “Well, I’m jiggered!”
What price Picasso and Matisse?
The artist sensitively quivered,
And stifled many a bitter sigh,
But day by day his hopes were shivered
For no one ever sought to buy.

And then he had a brilliant notion:
Half of his daubs he labeled: SOLD.
And lo! he viewed with queer emotion
A public keen and far from cold.
Then (strange it is beyond the telling),
He saw the people round him press:
His paintings went – they still are selling…
Well, nothing succeeds like success.

Robert W. Service, 1874 – 1958

Image: Sonia Delaunay, 1885-1979