“Other friends have flown before— On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”*

To Mr. Poe

Thank you for all your brilliant madness.
Pain and destruction births many great artists, but ultimately causes their demise.
I wonder if you are somewhere in the great ether(?), witnessing the events that you set in motion.

Nevertheless, rest easy

– anonymous artist

Poe’s Memorial Grave, Baltimore

* The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe

April 26th, 2017

Forget Viagra Eat Oysters

Also, if you’re really hungry, you might want to try those utterly delicious, palate titillating lump crab cakes of Faidley’s, this Baltimore Institution that has remained a family affair for three generations, today owned and operated by Bill and Nancy Devine.

Mrs. Devine, grandaughter of the founder John W. Faidley, Sr., is still very much actively involved; a lovely sight behind the counter, supervising, tasting, adjusting, dressed to the nines and self-assured, exuding the kind of confidence achieved by a life-time of work and an experience passed down from one generation to another.

Faidley’s is located inside Lexington Market, one of the oldest continuously operating food markets in the country and a a not-to-be-missed landmark on its own right. A pair of Faidley’s crab cakes is an added bonus – you just can’t leave Baltimore without tasting them at least once!

Faidley’s Seafood

April 26th, 2017

Baltimore – First impressions

Baltimore reminded  me of an old aristocratic lady who, over the years, saw her fortune shrink to a mere fraction of its original grandeur and now poor, charmingly shabby but perfectly coiffed, watches the world go by from her porch sipping tea from her last remaining heirloom fine bone china.

It is easy to fall for the charms of this lady, her innate elegance evident even in unexpected places. Like this incredible waiting room in Baltimore’s Penn Station, bathed in light filtered through three stained glass domes, in place of a ceiling.

April 26th, 2017

I got my eyes on you D.C.

Three days in the capital were just enough to whet our appetite for more. I don’t know when that will be, because there so many places in America we want to see before leaving the country, and the more time we spend here the longer the wish list gets; but I do hope we make to D.C. again, if only to explore Georgetown which we missed this time due to, well, rather unfriendly weather conditions (read rain, tons of it!).

But time to hop on a train again; not yet back to Manhattan, that will have to wait a little longer.

Our next stop: Baltimore.

April 25th, 2017

Fear & Love

Go hand in hand. See, for instance, how beautifully these works complement each other –

From the powerful painting by Maynard Dixon, giving shape to fear,

Maynard Dixon, Shapes of Fear, 1930-32, oil on canvas

to the subdued and delicate works by Joseph Cornell, who took his fear of this world and placed it inside wooden boxes, each one containing a mini universe,

Joseph Cornell, Soap Bubble Set, 1949-50, glasses, pipes, printed paper and other media in a glass-fronted wood box

or his magical homages to Tamara Toumanova, Cornell’s way of expressing his great affection for the world of Romantic Ballet.

Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Marine Fantasy with Tamara Toumanova), c. 1940, collage and tempera on paperboard
Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Tamara Toumanova), c. 1940, collage with tempera on paperboard

Embracing Life @ Smithsonian American Art Museum

April 25th, 2017

Man in a Vest

William H. Johnson, Man in a Vest, 1939-40, oil on canvas

“And even if I have studied for many years and all over the world, . . . I have still been able to preserve the primitive in me. . . . My aim is to express in a natural way what I feel, what is in me, both rhythmically and spiritually, all that which in time has been saved up in my family of primitiveness and tradition, and which is now concentrated in me.” — William H. Johnson

With its minimal palette of contrasting colours and clean, simple lines Man in a Vest expresses brilliantly Mr Johnson’s quote, don’t you find?

Smithsonian American Art Museum

April 25th, 2017

Will o’ the Wisp

My, oh, my… those fans! This is one of the most exquisite quilts I have ever seen! I wonder if I could borrow it for a day or two…

Harriet Hosmer, Will o’ the Wisp, modeled 1858, marble
Residents of Bourbon County, Kentucky – Fan Quilt, Mt. Carmel – 1893 – cotton, wool, silk, velvet, lace, ribbon, silk thread, paint, chromolithographic paper decals and canvas
Residents of Bourbon County, Kentucky – Fan Quilt, Mt. Carmel – 1893 (detail)

If not the quilt, how about this Greek Evzone costume?

Walter Gould, Portrait of John B. Carmac in Greek Evzone Costume, 1853, oil on canvas

”Walter Gould painted this image in Florence in 1853, soon after he returned from Greece and Turkey. He posed his sitter wearing Greek military costume associated with the crack troops that fought the Turkish occupation of Greece. Such costumes alluding to Greek independence became popular with visiting American tourists, who fondly saw parallels to their own war of independence. Gould portrays Carmac as if he were a local resident, holding a long-stemmed pipe; a hookah, or water pipe, rests on the floor beside the window.”

I seem to be in need of some counseling!

John Rogers, The Council of War, modeled c. 1873, painted plaster

 

Smithsonian American Art Museum

April 25th

Bad kitty…!

Scolded and Unamused

Reproof

c. 1878-1880 by Edward R. Thaxter

Marble

”In Reproof a young girl sternly scolds her cat who has just attacked a birds nest. She clutches the cat to her chest and looks at it disapprovingly while waving her hand in discipline. Meanwhile a dead bird lies at her feet and feathers hang limply from the cat’s mouth. This scene is a prelude to the responsibilities of motherhood the young girl who is now reprimanding her cat will have to ensure that her own children are well behaved in the future. Although Edward Thaxter’s life was short, he excelled in creating detailed neoclassical sculpture. He made at least five marble copies of Reproof.”

Smithsonian American Art Museum

April 25th, 2017