Wednesday, September 9, 2009

moving again

The oranges are wrapped and ready to go to their new home (click to visit). Hope to see you there.

(Pictured: Wrapped Oranges, William J. McCloskey, 1889 -- Amon Carter Museum)

Monday, August 31, 2009

painting of the month

Red Boat with Blue Sails
(1906-1907) -- Odilon Redon

Thursday, August 20, 2009

sara and georgia

Whenever I see Georgia O'Keeffe's 1927 painting The Radiator Building at Night (pictured here), I think of poet Sara Teasdale's "From the Woolworth Tower," because even though the works focus on different structures, they still give a sense of the glamour and scope of skyscrapers in the early 20th century. Teasdale isn't as well-known as the iconic O'Keeffe, but she was born in St. Louis in 1884, wrote a kind of penetratingly bittersweet poetry, and seems to be often overshadowed by her slightly younger contemporary Edna St. Vincent Millay. (And ironically, according to Wikipedia, novelist Thomas Hardy once noted that America's two major attributes were the skyscraper and the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay.)

Teasdale had a significant relationship with Vachel Lindsday, another poet with strong Midwestern ties, but she did not marry Lindsay and instead opted to make businessman Ernst Filsinger her husband instead. She divorced Filsinger in 1929; Lindsay committed suicide in 1931 and Teasdale herself took a fatal overdose of sleeping pills in 1933. All quite sad, but the eternal moments behind Teasdale's "From the Woolworth Tower" fortunately live on. Here's an excerpt, and click here to read the full text.

Over the edge of eternity we look
On all the lights,
A thousand times more numerous than the stars...

The strident noises of the city
Floating up to us
Are hallowed into whispers.
Ferries cross thru the darkness
Weaving a golden thread into the night....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Someday they will know what I mean."

Tom Thomson -- August 5, 1877 - July, 1917

Painting: Thunder Cloud (1912) -- National Gallery of Canada

Friday, July 31, 2009

painting of the month

July -- Fairfield Porter, 1971 (Spencer Museum of Art)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

almond trees and tragic lives

British artist John William Godward was one of the last great Neo-classicist painters and did not handle the advent of modernism well. In fact, it essentially led to serious depression and feelings of hopelessness, and to Godward's eventual suicide in 1922. Godward was a "beauty painter" and produced many lovely female visions during his career, and he was also considered part of the "marble school" like Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, known for their frequent use of Greco-Roman marble elements and backdrops. This painting (top image) by Godward of a blossoming red almond tree makes me wonder why he was so troubled by changing styles in art, because it almost has Impressionist tendencies. However, it may have been that he dreaded new artistic trends along with changes in social values and attitudes, as the structure and standards of the Victorian era gave way to the intensities of the 20th century.

The other almond blossom painting is by Vincent van Gogh, who was of course so ahead of the curve that he wasn't fully appreciated during his lifetime. Van Gogh too was a suicide and another prisoner of his own troubled thoughts. Neither man married and both experienced feelings of social awkwardness, although Godward was supposed to have been rather conventionally handsome in his day. ** According to the Van Gogh Museum website, this work was done in 1890 by Van Gogh in honor of his brother Theo and Theo's wife Johanna's newborn son, who was named Vincent after Van Gogh himself. Van Gogh wanted to give them a painting that reflected the hopeful beauty of spring and celebrated the birth of their baby boy. Unfortunately, 1890 was also the year when Van Gogh decided that he just could not stand to be in the world anymore, and by July 29th, he was gone.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

days at the beach

Above: Beach Scene -- Jane Peterson, 1935 (National Museum of Women in the Arts)

Below: Summer Sunlight -- Beatrice Whitney Van Ness, ca. 1936 (National Museum of Women in the Arts)