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Was there ever a more romantic time than our own, or a people who took everything more matter-of-factly? The paintings of a period contain all its enthusiasms and illusions. We remember the eighteenth century—at least in England—by Reynolds' and Gainsborough's art, [pg 10] the seventeenth century by Van Dyck's; and when we remember the eighteenth century in France, it is to think of Watteau, who expressed what his world, drifting towards disaster, cared about—an illusion of a never-ending summer's day. These names are expressive of their times, and Sargent's art, with disillusioned outlook, mirrors an obvious aspect of English life to-day. Above all others he has taken his world as it is, with the delight in life, in its everyday appearance, with which the representative artists of any period have been gifted.

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