Tawny Chatmon @Fotografiska

Black Beauty in 24-karat gold leaf

Inheritance, by Tawny Chatmon (American, b. 1979), invites the viewer to look beyond the decorated and nuanced portraits to examine issues of race and the historical positioning of African American portraiture in the absence of subjugation of the “black body” in Western art. ​

Chatmon, a mother of three black children, draws from her life experiences and belief that children inherit our memories, beliefs, traditions, and the world that we leave behind. Through her photographs, she conveys a message to her children, and to all black children, that they are precious, valued, and loved.

While the camera is her primary tool of communication, Chatmon takes a multi-layered approach in producing her photographs—her process does not subscribe to conventional photography. The photographs are often manipulated and hand-embellished with acrylic paint and 24-karat gold leaf, inspired by Gustav Klimt’s (1862-1918) “Golden Phase.” The use of gold and ornamentation in Klimt’s work evokes feelings of grace, magnificence, and beauty within Chatmon and has remained in the artist’s consciousness. These are the emotions Chatmon seeks to convey to those viewing her photographs. Her portraits are staged vignettes with models, who at times are her own children wearing elegant garments. Chatmon experiments with various art practices and does not restrict herself to follow any set of rules, allowing her to create instinctually and fluidly. The result is a beautiful and powerful iconography that speaks to “the disparities that continue to affect black people around the world.” [source]

Fotografiska, New York

February 22nd, 2020

Captivated at the Michener Art Museum

Outdoors

Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA

February 16th, 2020

Getting inspired at the Michener Art Museum

Indoors

Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA

February 16th, 2020

I Set Before You This Day || George R. Anthonisen

This work, part of the James Michener Museum collection, was created to honour Holocaust survivors and those who risked their lives to protect them from the Nazis during WWII. In all honesty, I didn’t mind the ephemeral intervention (by an unknown ‘artist’) – on the contrary, I thought it was harmless, and quite endearing.

James Michener Museum, Doylestown, PA

February 16th, 2020

Spirit World and Folk Tales || Princeton University Art Museum

It was in February but, somehow, felt like Halloween!

Princeton, NJ

February 15th, 2020

Treasure Hunting || Princeton University Art Museum

A walk through centuries and civilisations.

Princeton, NJ

February 15th, 2020

The Sacred Grove || Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Dating from Toulouse-Lautrec’s student days, this parody of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes’s The Sacred Grove mimics the style and subject of that allegorical composition celebrating the arts and muses but subverts the serious tone. A clockface appears on the ancient portico, a giant tube of paint is held aloft by one of the arts, and a circular loaf of bread, instead of a laurel crown, is held by the kneeling youth. The men advancing from the right are Louis Anquetin, a fellow student; Édouard Dujardin, Symbolist critic and founder of the Revue Wagnérienne; Maurice Barrès, Symbolist author; and Léon Bonnat, Lautrec’s first teacher. Lautrec himself is seen from behind, urinating on the ground, and a police officer tries to keep the intruders in line. [source]

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
The Sacred Grove, 1884
Oil on canvas

Princeton University Art Museum

The lion that was desperate

The painting portrays the four evangelists with their symbols: Matthew with the angel, Mark with the lion, Luke with the ox, and John with the eagle, receiving the divine inspiration to compose their gospels.

All well and good, but what about that poor lion silently begging to be rescued…?

Abraham Bloemaert || The Four Evangelists, ca. 1612–15 – oil on canvas

Enjoying the collection at Princeton University Art Museum

February 15th, 2020

Oscar Hammerstein II Farm

”In 1941, during a lull in his career, Oscar Hammerstein II and his wife, Dorothy, came to Bucks County looking for a retreat from New York City. While driving up the hill to Highland Farm, Dorothy spotted a rainbow and sensed this would be a magical place for her professionally floundering husband and their family. The move proved immensely wise as the bucolic countryside truly inspired Mr. Hammerstein. Legend is told that he was so moved by the views of cattle and corn fields in the early morning that he was inspired to write, “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” the opening song for Oklahoma!, on the front porch. Arguably, his most famous works were written while residing at Highland Farm including South Pacific, The King and I, Flower Drum Song, and The Sound of Music.

The Hammerstein family lived at Highland Farm for 20 years. During their residence, the home was constantly alive with many guests and children. Mr. Hammerstein was known to fly different colored flags as a message to the local children. One said, “Come and swim.” Another meant, “Let’s play tennis.” And still another said, “Stay away today.”

Oscar died at The Farm in August 1960 and was buried in New York. After his death, Dorothy moved from Highland Farm and sold it a year later. By the mid-1980’s, Mary and John Schnitzer had purchased the home, renovated it, and operated a Bed and Breakfast for almost 15 years. Mary sold Highland Farm to Shawn Touhill, a local developer, in 2003.

In 2007, Highland Farm was purchased by Doylestown resident, Christine Cole. While looking for a Bucks County barn to renovate, she was shown Highland Farm and instantly fell in love. Her business plans changed and she embraced the idea of becoming an innkeeper and starting a new venture. She immediately began remodeling and redecorating the home.” [source]

Each guest room has a theme dedicated to one of Hammerstein’s musicals; ours was the South Pacific, once the family’s master bedroom.

While the house is still operating as a B&B, the innkeepers have formed a nonprofit organization in an effort to raise funds to restore the property and build a museum and theatre education centre, in the premises.

Highland Farm B&BThe Oscar Hammerstein Museum

Doylestown, PA

February 14-16, 2020