CHILDREN'S COLLECTIVE PAINTING KOLLEKTIVZEICHNUNGEN VON KINDERN PEINTURES COLLECTIVES D'ENFANTS Francois Stahly [Deutscher Text: Seite 383] [Texte francais: page 386] In the last quarter-century child art has become the centre of a more attentive interest than ever before. It seems almost as though an age that mistrusts all originality in the adult would like to preserve a corner in the garden of childhood where the creative will can thrive in greater integrity and nearer life's secret springs. Institutes have been set up to mea sure and record the vibrations of the infant soul, museums have been founded to collect children's drawings, and extensive documentary material is now available on this category of art. Yet in spite of all these pedagogic endeavoursmany of The painting reproduced on the cover of this number, showing Paris's famous cathedral, is the work of 24 boys, 11 and 12 years of age, each of whom contributed a section of the picture. All the illustrations shown on these pages were painted by groups of between 30 and 50 Parisian school children whose ages range from 11 to 14 years. A description of the way this collective painting is done is given in the Technical Note on the right. Unser Umschlag zeigt ein Bild der berühmten Pariser Kathe drale, das von 24 Knaben im Alter von 11 und 12 Jahren kol- lektiv gemalt wurde. Alle hier wiedergegebenen Arbeiten wur- den von n-i4jahrigen Pariser Schiilern in Gruppen von 30-30 Kindern gemeinsam ausgeführt. Wie sie dabei vorgehen, finden Sie untcr Technische Anmerkungen auf Seite 383 crlautcrt. L'illustration de notre couverture représentant l'illustre cathédrale parisienne, reproduit une peinture due au travail collectif de 24 gargons de xi a 12 ans. Toutes les autres illus trations du présent article sont des reproductions de travaux cxécutés en commun par des groupes de 30 k 30 élèves des écoles de Paris, agés de 11 a 14 ans. L'organisation de ce travail collec tif est expliquéc a la page 387. them admittedly prompted by the mere whim of fashion the child's world does not cease to be astonishing to us. The gates of paradise here seem still to be standing wide. If the accompanying compositions give us occasion to revert to this subject, it is principally because they are the product of a communal enterprise and qualified to yield a body of valuable human experience whose significance extends far beyond the frontiers of child psychology. We owe these collective paintings to the initiative of two Parisian school-teachers, Madame Vige Langevin and Jean Lombard, who have gathered around them groups of children of approximately equal ages. What they have undertaken is an experiment, but an experiment which has proved such an ex traordinary success that it has lent a completely new meaning to the somewhat dubious concept of "collectivity", revealing how deep this concept reaches into the world of common human experience to which the child still has direct access. The drawings are a happy synthesis of personal initiative and willing submission to a guiding theme; in other words, they show a perfect reconciliation of individuality and collec tivism, of freedom and a voluntarily accepted discipline. As appears from the technical particulars, the method applied in the work was made the object of long study, and the two re sponsible adults, who are both reliable judges of art, left none of the rules of education or the principles of child psychology out of count. Yet what one senses most clearly is the love with which these teachers bent over the work of their pupils, a love without which it would no doubt be impossible to impart such radiant force to collective compositions. TECHNICAL NOTE All these pictures were done in leisure hours by Parisian children nine to fourteen years of age. The groups were formed by the two teachers. Each member of a group first makes his own draft composition on a set subject or one chosen by the group. The various drafts are then compared by the group, which selects the one regarded as most suitable for enlarge ment. At this point the collective work proper begins. The draft is divided up into squares of equal size according to the number of children in the group. The children are placed around the table in the order of their squares in the draft. Each of them mixes his own colours but takes care not to deviate too far from the colours of his neighbour when both have to contribute to a common object or background. In the choice of detail, on the other hand, the children enjoy the greatest freedom. In the course of the work the squares of the various members of the group are repeatedly laid alongside each other on the floor and compared. Finally the squares are stuck together and submitted to a last examination. It may often prove necessary to attune individual sheets somewhat better to each other, or 382

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