Art of War

There is a sad beauty in these artworks drawing the tragedy of war.

Harry R. Hopps (1869-1937)
Destroy This Mad Brute-Enlist, 1917
Colour lithograph


French, early 20th century
The Great Nave: Wounded Soldiers Performing Arms Drill at the End of Their Medical Treatment, 1916
Gelatin silver print

During WWI, Paris’ magnificent Grand Palais, a Beaux-Arts structure that opened in 1900 as an exhibition hall, was repurposed as a temporary military hospital that served injured French soldiers. It held one thousand beds and had two operating rooms, as well as an extensive physical rehabilitation centre where soldiers could recover from their injuries, exercise and practice military drills before returning to the front. 


John Copley (1875-1950)
Recruits, 1915
Lithograph


Léon Spilliaert (1881-1946)
Rockets, 1917
Watercolour, gouache, graphite

Spilliaert served briefly in the Belgian civil guard after the German invasion. A pacifist by nature, he was greatly affected by the violence of war. Here, he depicts a deep blue sky illuminated by the flare of rockets, an image witnessed by both soldiers and civilians in occupied territories. The artist concentrated not on the rockets’ violent potential but on the graceful forms they generate and their resemblance to stars and comets


French, 20th century
After the Victory (Au Lendemain de la Victoire), 1918
Printed by Imprimerie Kapp
Published by Librairie Hachette & Co.
Colour lithograph

Many children lost loved ones to the war and were traumatized by the sounds and sights of combat. Ostensibly, celebrating victory, this book, like much wartime propaganda for children, reflects these dark events. Its interior presents images of rebuilding: each page shows a scene of destruction, but when a flap is raised, it shows the same site restored. 


Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945)
The Parents (Die Eltern), from War (Krieg), 1921-22
Printed by Fritz Voigt, Berlin
Woodcut

Pain,” Kollwitz noted, ”is totally dark.” This raw images portrays the profound grief of parents who, like the artist, lost a child to war. Kollwitz began working in this medium after seeing an exhibition of woodcuts by Ernst Barlach and being inspired by their graphic power; the War series is considered her most important in the technique. Kollwitz spent fifteen years working on a sculpture based on this print. The Grieving Parents, located in the cemetery for German soldiers in western Belgium where her son Peter is buried, is composed of two separate sculptures, showing the parents isolated in their despair.


George Grosz (1893-1959)
Background (Hintergrund), 1928
3 out of 17 photolithographs with printed portfolio


Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945)
Mothers (Muetter), from War (Krieg), 1919
Lithograph

In Mothers, women and children huddle together, their linked bodies forming a solid structure that fills the composition. Kollwitz drew herself in the centre, eyes closed and arms wrapped protectively around her two sons: Hans, the elder, and Peter, who was killed in combat at eighteen.


Images from ”World War I and the Visual Arts”, an exhibition exploring ”the myriad and often contradictory ways in which artists responded to the first modern war”.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

August 6th, 2017

All that Jazz

Delectable, capricious and very very Stylish. American taste with a strong European touch. Flapperdom reigning supreme.

Muse With Violin Screen, 1930. Designed by Paul Fehér. Manufactured by Rose Iron Works Collections, LLC. Wrought iron, brass; silver and gold plating, featuring a stylized figure of entertainer Josephine Baker
_
Daybed (USA), 1933–1935. Designed by Frederick Kiesler, commissioned for a domestic interior by textile designer Marguerita Mergentime. Birch-faced plywood, tulip poplar, nickel-plated steel
Peacock Side Chair, 1921–22. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for The Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. Oak, leatherette upholstery
Gift Kodak Camera And Box. Designed by Walter Dorwin Teague. Manufactured by Eastman Kodak Company. Leather-covered metal, chrome-plated and enameled metal, glass (camera); lacquered cedar, chrome-plated and enameled metal (case)
Chanin Building Pair Of Gates (detail). Designed by René Paul Chambellan. Wrought iron, bronze
Skyscraper Bookcase Desk, ca. 1928. Designed by Paul T. Frankl. California redwood and black laquer || Armchair from the International Exposition of Art and Industry 1928. Designed by Walter von Nessen. Aluminium, brass, leather
Evening Dress And Underslip, 1926. Designed by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. Blue silk chiffon with applied blue ombré silk fringe
Boucheron Brooch, 1925. Diamonds, platinum, carved lapis, onyx, coral, jade
Cocktail Bar Perfume Presentation. Designed by Jean Patou. Manufactured by Brosse Glassworks. Presentation case: burlwood; four larger flacons: molded glass; seven smaller flacons: molded glass, metal.  This bar-form set held a selection of liquor bottle–like perfume bottles entitled “Bittersweet,” “Sweet,” “Dry” and “Angostura no. 1” through “Angostura no. 7” that equated the sensuality of perfume with drinking in a not-so-subtle reference to the illicit cocktail culture during American prohibition. The empty bottle entitled “My Own” was provided to encourage the owner to mix and match her own scent. In 1928 Patou installed a women-only cocktail bar in his Paris boutique for clients, many American, to enjoy while making final decisions on garments and waiting for fittings and alterations.
Actaeon, 1925. Designed by Paul Manship. Gilt bronze. This work captures a climactic moment of transformation, as Actaeon has just been hit by Diana’s arrow, which is turning him into a stag.
Chandelier, ca. 1925. Designed by William Hunt Diederich. Cut steel and wrought iron

Canapé Gondole, ca. 1925. Designed by Marcel Coard. Carved indian rosewood, indian rosewood-veneered wood, brass, and linen velvet
Temple Dress, Mer Ka Ba Collection, 2013. Designed by threeASFOUR in collaboration with Bradley Rothenberg. Laser-cut bonded silk organza, nylon power mesh underdress
_
Trans… Armchair, 2007. Designed by Fernando Campana. Wicker, iron, found objects (plastic, rubber) Commissioned from the designers by Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum The designers created this chair from a collection of discarded objects
_

From  The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, an exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt, April through August 2017.

Paired with contemporary objects of laser-cut technology: modern, streamlined and still very stylish. I just wish we had a little bit more of that Jazz in our lives.

July 30th, 2017

Infinite Blue

Intercontinental, Intercultural, Intemporal, Infinite Blue. My favourite colour.

Bodice, ca. 1840-60
Tailleur Filles & Cie, France
Silk, linen, metal


William Merritt Chase
Girl in a Japanese Costume, ca. 1890
Oil on canvas


Wedding Dress, ca. 1860
United States
Silk, cotton

Sarah Elizabeth Fish (1824-1901) of Waldoboro, Maine, wore this elegant full-skirted dress, with stylish pagoda sleeves and a blue and silver jacquard pattern, as her wedding dress. The blue colour was probably achieved using an early synthetic organic dye. It was not uncommon for women in eighteenth- and nineteenth- century America and Europe to wear wedding dresses in colours other than the white that is now customary, and to wear them again after the wedding for other special occasions. Blue was a popular wedding dress colour for its strong association with loyalty, purity and virtue; this is echoed today in the traditional ”something blue” that brides may wear.


Booties, 1898
Probably France
Leather, silk, linen

Embellished infant’s booties of this type would have been worn at a christening or some other important event. The same baby girl who wore this pale blue kid leather pair also wore a matching pair in pink (not shown), suggesting that the code of blue for boys and pink for girls was not yet firmly established at the turn of the twentieth century. Historically, pink had been favoured as a more vigorous and thus ”masculine” colour, suitable for boys and blue as a passive and thus ”feminine” colour, suitable for girls.


Portrait of a Child of the Harmon Family, ca. 1840s
United States
Oil on canvas


Boot, ca. 1795-1810
Europe
Leather


”Current” Chair, 2004
Vivian Beer
Steel, automotive paint


Nun Vessel, ca. 1539-1493 BC
Egypt
Blue faience with black-painted details

In ancient Egyptian origin myths, dark blue and black were colours of the primordial waters that the Egyptians called ”nun”, or nonexistence.


Day Dress 1915. Blue dress with printed fabric
Fashion sketch, Henri Bendel, Inc.


Helen Cookman for Reeves Brothers Inc.
Maintenance Worker’s Uniform and Cap, 1948
United States


Kuosi Society Elephant Mask, early 20th century
Bamileke artist
Grassfields region, Cameroon
Textile, glass beads, plant fiber

Elephants are often associated with political power in the highly stratified kingdoms of the Cameroon grasslands. Because imported beads were historically rare and costly, beadwork is also associated with high social rank, making this mask a potent symbol of power.


The O’Keeffe exhibition was only one of the wonders waiting to be discovered in the various galleries of the Brooklyn Museum.

Infinite Blue, was an array of objects and works of art featuring blue in every possible shade, size and texture, a visual narrative that would expand over the following months, eventually filling the Museum’s first floor.

Brooklyn Museum

July 22nd, 2017

Georgia before O’Keeffe

An icon in the making. Georgia O’Keeffe 
Woman with blue hat, 1916-1917
Watercolour, gouache and graphite on paper

O’Keeffe may have created this watercolour for classroom use. The work demonstrates the application of flat, stylized designs of fashion illustration. In this same period, the magazine Vanity Fair published similar stylized illustrations by O’Keeffe, who was searching for additional ways to turn her art skills into income. 


Hilda Belcher
The Checkered Dress (Portrait of O’Keeffe), 1907
Watercolour and gouache on cream laid paper, with JW watermark, mounted on paperboard

To pose for Hilda Belcher, who had also studied at the Art Students League of New York, O’Keeffe wore a stylish checkered dress that she most likely made for herself, in the black and white palette she would favour throughout her life. This watercolour, with its tour-de-force detailing of the dress, won Belcher membership in the male-dominated New York Water Colour Club. Several years later, a female writer composed a love poem to the then unknown sitter shown in the image; it reads in part:

”Could you know, did you guess/Such a daring rhythmic dress/Gleaming here, darkening there,/Would but render you more rare?”


Eugene E. Speicher
Portrait of Georgia O’Keeffe, 1908
Oil on canvas

When Eugene Speicher, an older student at the Art Students League, asked O’Keeffe to model for him, she wore a three-piece outfit associated with the so-called New Woman: a white shirtwaist, black skirt and jacket, and black bow at her neck. This combination allowed women to move with greater ease than in conventional Victorian dresses and was a style of reform dress widely endorsed by budding women artists and professionals. In 1948, Life magazine ran an image of the sixty-one-old O’Keeffe posed next to the portrait (in a different frame), noting, ”she has changed from an unknown youngster to one of the foremost painters in the U.S.” Her personal style, however, had remained the same. 


Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern, Brooklyn Museum

July 22nd, 2017

Meanwhile, New York was doing ‘OK

Thanks to Brooklyn Museum at its curators who had organised an extraordinary exhibition about the work and lifestyle of Georgia O’Keeffe. It was truly extraordinary because, refreshingly and for the first time ever, it focused on her wardrobe, showing some of her signature garments alongside her paintings and photographs. In doing so, the show was successful in capturing the spirit of the woman behind the artist, her steely determination to be in charge of her own life and work, the reinvention of herself as a style icon. I went into the exhibition an avid admirer of the work by one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century. I came out full of new images, knowledge and a better understanding of her intriguing personality. Coming back from Los Angeles, I couldn’t have asked for a smoother landing into the frenzy of New York City. 

Alfred Stieglitz
Georgia O’Keeffe at 291, 1917
Platinum print


Georgia O’Keeffe
Shell and Old Shingle VI, 1926
Oil on canvas


Georgia O’Keeffe
Black Pansy & Forget-Me-Nots (Pansy), 1926
Oil on canvas


Cecil Beaton
Portrait of Painter Georgia O’Keeffe, 1946
Gelatin silver print

Black remained her favourite colour throughout O’Keeffe’s life. Her reason was described in one article in 1929: ”She wears black almost invariably – not, she says, because she prefers it, but because, if she started picking out colours for dresses, she would have no time for painting.”


Alfred Stieglitz
Georgia O’Keeffe, 1932
Gelatin silver print

A modernist in dress as well as art, O’Keeffe liked to wear white blouses partially covered with a black sweater to create defined blocks of light and dark. 


Alfred Stieglitz
Georgia O’Keeffe, probably 1919
Gelatin silver print

O’Keeffe considered her neck and head as integral shapes in arranging her dress. She frequently used the necklines of her blouses as visual framing devices for her long neck, and headdresses or her neatly wound hair to bring closure to her sartorial composition.


Georgia O’Keeffe
Manhattan, 1932
Oil on canvas


Georgia O’Keeffe
Brooklyn Bridge, 1949
Oil on masonite

Just before moving to New Mexico permanently in 1949, O’Keeffe painted this farewell salute to New York, her home for thirty years.


Arnold Newman
Georgia O’Keeffe, Ghost Ranch, N.M., 1968
Dye transfer on paper


Apron, 20th century
Denim

This apron was probably bought off-the-rack, but O’Keeffe added the lower section using her own scraps of denim. Though she had kitchen help much of the time, she was a good cook. She used fruits and vegetables from her own gardens and prepared food as she dressed, simply with few adornments.


Claudius Lafond jacket & red and purple cotton madras dress, 1950s

O’Keeffe rejected the synthetic fibers that were popular during and after WWII, such as nylon, acrylic and polyester. When traveling in the 1950s and 1960s, she continued to seek out natural cottons and silks in either a single colour of sometimes with stripes, checks or plaids. She may have bought this heavyweight cotton-work jacket when she went to Franc for the first time, in 1953. She most likely designed the plaid Madras dress for herself. 


Don Worth
Georgia O’Keeffe with Chair, 1958 (printed 1968)
Gelatin silver print

Customarily, O’Keeffe wore black and white when photographers came to visit, but in 1958, she made an exception for Don Worth. She wore her white French work jacket over the red plaid dress, we saw above.


Armi Ratia for Marimekko
”Mother’s Coat” Dress with matching belt, designed mid-1950s.


Annika Rimala for Marimekko
”Varjo” Dress, ca. 1963


Georgia O’Keeffe
Ram’s head, White Hollyhock-Hills (Ram’s Head and White Hollyhock, New Mexico), 1935
Oil on canvas


Georgia O’Keeffe
In the Patio IX, ca. 1964
Oil on canvas mounted on panel


Emilio Pucci
”Chute” Dress, ca. 1954

This was one of the first Pucci dresses to be sold in the American market, testifying to O’Keeffe’s interest in and awareness of contemporary fashion.


Alfred Stieglitz
Georgia O’Keeffe, 1918
Gelatin silver print


Alfred Stieglitz
Georgia O’Keeffe, 1918
Gelatin silver print


Paul Strand
Georgia O’Keeffe, Texas, 1918
Platinum print

Paul Strand, a young photographer supported and mentored by Stieglitz, was the first to capture O’Keeffe sleepy-eyed and slightly disheveled, wearing a kimono. The fact that kimonos were sleep and bath wear for her gives this photography its frisson; her letters to Strand show that the two were briefly attracted to one another and may have had a short-lived dalliance.


Georgia O’Keeffe
Green, Yellow and Orange, 1960
Oil on canvas


Philippe Halsman
Georgia O’Keeffe, 1967


Philippe Halsman
Georgia O’Keeffe, 1967


Tony Vaccaro
Georgia O’Keeffe with the Cheese, 1960
Gelatin silver print


Ansel Adams
Georgia O’Keeffe, Carmel Highlands, California, 1981 – printed 1982
Gelatin silver print

In 1981, O’Keeffe visited Ansel Adams in California for the last time. They were very dear friends and had known one another for over fifty years. He unfailingly got her to look directly at him and his camera for portraits that characteristically are straightforward and natural, without the mythos that attended photographs of her as a solitary and remote figure of the desert.


Alexander Calder
Pin, ca 1938
Brass

Sculptor Alexander Calder, who also made hand-wrought metal jewelry, created this brass pin for O’Keeffe. It first appears in a 1938 photograph and, from then on, O’Keeffe wore it often for photo shoots. When her hair turned grey, she found the pin’s copper colour less flattering and, on a trip to India in 1959, she found a craftsman to make her a silver version, which she wore for the rest of her life. She was known to boast that the copy cost her only five dollars.


Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern was running in Brooklyn Museum until July 23rd, 2017. I caught it one day before closing.

July 22nd, 2017

San Francisco is… ”Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle”

You may not know the name Eyvind Earle but you certainly know his work, if Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan or Lady and the Tramp sound at all familiar. A visit to the Walt Disney Family Museum was firmly on our map, but Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle, a retrospective about the life and work of the artist behind some of Disney’s timeless stories that marked the childhood of kids all over the world -myself included- was a double win.

The exhibition featured more than 250 works, including concept paintings for Lady and the Tramp and artworks for Sleeping Beauty. But, more importantly, it included an extensive collection of Earle’s lush landscapes in the artist’s very distinctive style, as well as serigraphs, watercolours, sculpture, commercial illustrations (two examples of which we saw in the teaser, yesterday) – the extend of Earle’s work seems limitless.  Self Portrait Sketch, 1925 (age 9-10)


Botticelli Woman, 1936
Graphite on paper


Scratchboards created for
Horizon Bound on a Bicycle:
The Autobiography of Eyvind Earle (1991)
Ink on scratchboard


[In 1937, at the age of 21, Eyvind Earle bicycled across the country from Hollywood, California, to Monroe, New York, on a 45 day trip. He painted 42 water colors and wrote a 10,000 page diary along the way. At the conclusion of the expedition, Charles Morgan Gallery in New York exhibited all the watercolors.

Eyvind created many water colors during his life; during certain time periods they were his primary focus.  Occasionally he had shows which solely exhibited his watercolors, some of which have been declared to be his finest work.] (source) New York, 1939
Watercolour on paper


Little Girl, 1939
Watercolour on paper


Winter Oak, 1997
Oil on Masonite


Face 2, 1981
Ink on scratchboard


Bearded Man, 1980
Ink and varnish on scratchboard


Portrait of a Woman, 1981
Ink on paper


Portrait of a Woman, 1975
Ink on paper


[The sleek glow of his acrylics and oils is the result of a custom-made formula Earle created himself for the varnishes he used, often tinting them with glues. He also experimented with marine varnishes which were impervious to water and did not require the addition of glue. Because he needed to wait for the layers to dry, Earle often worked on up to thirty paintings at the same time.] (source)

”In nature when I look I see trees, some of them are such that they thrill me with their perfection and their sweeping lines and certain mood they seem to have. Windswept plains give me something that can’t be seen. In every tree I feel as though I could see the soul of that tree. It is alive. It is a person. And if beauty be related to the truth, harmony and balance must be there, and there must be movement because in nature all things move. And there are certain laws such as the law of duality. Everything has its opposite. Nothing is without its opposite. If I want a bright light in a painting, I must have a dark shadow. If I want a color to look very warm, I must have also a very cold color, and so on and on forever. But when I paint, I forget the things I know. I just sit there painting away, trying to get the feeling into my painting that I feel inside. Whatever beauty is, I feel it, and as long as I can I shall try to find more and more beauty, and to put it down so that others can see what I have seen.” – Eyvind Earle

Blue Tree, 1994
Oil on masonite


Tall Tree and Barn, 1969
Oil on canvas on wood


Green Forest, 1970
Acrylic on Masonite


Pastures in Early Spring, 1996
Oil on masonite


Mustard Field, 1974
Oil on masonite


Coastal Paradise, 1995
Oil on masonite


Where Eagles Fly, 1993
Oil on masonite


Giant Oak, 1996
Oil on masonite


Flower Fantasy, 1980
Watercolour on paper


Three Noble Horses, 1993
Oil on masonite


Hillside Magic, 1976
Oil on masonite


Orchard, 1984
Oil on canvas


Three Live Oaks, 1983
Oil on canvas


Concept paintings, c. 1959
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Gouache on paperboard


Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle was on show at The Walt Disney Family Museum, until beginning of January 2018.

July 8th, 2017

San Francisco is… keeping its hats on

[In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, hats were a social obsession, subjects of acclaim and critique. The Paris millinery industry was at its financial and creative peak between the mid-1870s and 1914, the period between the Franco-Prussian War and the outbreak of the World War I, decades that coincided with the ear of French Impressionism. The women who made and sold hats – milliners, or modistes in French – as well as those who purchased them, fascinated Edgar Degas and other artists in his circle.] Bonnets of the 1880s by Mangin Maurice (left) & Cordeau et Laugaudin (right)


Bonnet, ca. 1894 by an unknown designer, France


Jean Béraud, 1849-1935
Fashionable Woman on the Champs-Élysées, n.d.
Oil on canvas


Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Woman Adjusting Her Hair, ca. 1884
Oil on canvas


Hat by Maison Virot, ca. 1900 (with alterations)


Hat by Camille Marchais, ca. 1895


Bonnet by Mesdemoiselles Cotel, ca. 1885 (left) & Capote by E. Gauthier, ca. 1890


Hat by Caroline Reboux, ca. 1904-1905 (left) & by Au Bon Marché, retailer, ca. 1884


Capote by Auguste Poussineau, known as A. Félix, ca. 1880-1885 (front) & Hat by Monsieur Heitz-Boyer, 1898 (back)


Hat by an unknown designer, ca. 1890


Édouard Manet (1832-1883)
Berthe Morisot, ca. 1869-1873
Oil on canvas


Louise Catherine Breslau (1856-1927)
The Milliners, 1899
Pastel on paper mounted on board


Paul-César Helleu (1859-1927)
The Final Touch, ca 1885
Pastel on paper


Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade exhibition ran until September 2017 @ the Legion of Honor*

July 07th, 2017

*If, by any chance, September 2018 finds you in San Francisco, please do make me jealous and go see the current exhibition, Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters!

“Cabin crew, please take your seats for landing”

Ladies & Gentlemen, welcome to San Francisco!

You know you’re in the right place when -on touch down- you’re greeted with a display of some of the most iconic antique typewriters ever produced. Japanese Typewriters

Chinese and Japanese script are logographic and utilize characters that represent elements of words or meanings. Chinese is one of the most ancient forms of active writing, with over 80.000 characters identified throughout different eras and regions of China. Modern Chinese is simplified. Around 3.500 characters are defined in the List of Frequently Used Characters in Chinese, with approximately 2.500 in Common-use Character lists published by the Chinese government.

In 1915, Japanese printer and inventor Kyota Sugimoto (1882-1972) patented a typewriter that printed in both Chinese and Japanese. Manufactured by the Nippon Typewriter Company, the machine featured a large, sliding tray to room for 2.450 individual type-slugs. 


The Chinese typewriter

Typing in Chinese or Japanese on a flatbed typewriter is a complex procedure. Operators of these machines must familiarize themselves with the location of more than 2.000 type-slugs, and most early typists averaged twenty to thirty characters per minute. Typing speed substantially increased with the arrangement of type-beds by operators to suit their individual needs. In the early 1950s, the New Typing Method introduced ”radiating compound” organization to Chinese typists. Depending on subject matter, associated characters were arranged around central, primary characters in radiating patterns. Typists were responsible for their own layouts, and organization differed dramatically. For instance, a layout for a government office would be quite different than for a factory, with names of officials substituted for company names and technical terms.

Throughout the 1950s, most Chinese language typewriters were manufactured in Japan. The Chinese government restructured typewriter production under the new communist regime and in 1964, the Shanghai Chinese Typewriter Manufacturers Association introduced a flatbed typewriter. Based on the Japanese typewriter produced by Nippon Typewriter Co. in Tokyo, the revitalized machine was branded the Double Pigeon DHY and made by Shanghai Calculator & Typewriter. Available with either ribbon-or roller-inking mechanisms, the DHY was the iconic typewriting machine of the People’s Republic of China and was manufactured until 1992.


Olivetti Design

The Valentine is perhaps the most iconic Olivetti typewriter, envisioned by designer Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007) as an inexpensive and simple-yet-stylish portable.


Royal Quiet De Luxe with carrying case, 1949
Royal Typewriter Company, Inc. Hartfort, Connecticut


Bar-Lock No. 6, 1895
Columbia Typewriter Company, New York

Double Keyboards

Modern typewriters use a shift-key mechanism to select upper- and lower-case characters. Many models introduced during early typewriter production utilized a double-keyboard arrangement, with two banks of keys organized by upper and lower cases. Initially, makers of double-keyboard machines promoted their potential speed and efficiency. The Smith Premier was the best-selling typewriter of this group and advertised ”a key for every character”. Like the Sholes & Glidden Type Writer and early Remington models, the Smith Premier was an upstroke machine and did not print within the user’s view – its carriage had to be lifted to reveal the paper and printed text.


Williams No. 1, 1895
The Williams Typewriter Company, New York


Crandall New Model, c. 1890
Crandall Machine Company, Groton, New York


Chicago No. 2, 1905
Chicago Writing Machine Co.


Underwood Standard Portable Typewriter with hand-lettered case, 1926
owned by Orson Welles
Underwood Typewriter Company, New York

Typescript for Citizen Kane, 1941


Royal Model P, 1932
owned by Ernest Hemingway
Royal Typewriter Co., Inc. New York

Our amazing trip to the West Coast had just began in the best way possible – in San Francisco International Airport.

July 4th, 2017

My imaginary wish list

Sometime ago I mentioned how much I enjoy wandering about the period rooms at the Metropolitan, so painstakingly reconstructed by the museum curators that they compete in authenticity and splendour with the original ones. Today, let’s go for another walk to see some of the objects high on my imaginary wish list (and a couple of no-nos).

The pianoforte:Pianoforte, New York City, 1810-15
Patented by John Geib and Son. Case attributed to the workshop of Duncan Phyfe (1768-1844). Mahogany, rosewood, satinwood, ivory, gilded gesso, brass with white pine, maple, ash


The Square Piano (when more is too much – too complicated for my wish list, yet very impressive woodwork): Square Piano
Robert Nunns and John Clark (active 1833-58)
New York City, 1853
Rosewood, mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell

{Lavish decoration and opulent materials distinguish this extraordinary piano…. Its immense scale and excessive decoration make it quite unlike the small and economical upright pianos that became fixtures of middle-class parlours in the second half of the nineteenth century.}


The Four Seasons cabinet: Cabinet
Herter Brothers (active 1864-1906)
New York City, ca. 1869
Rosewood, maple ebonized wood, porcelain plaques, oil on panel, brass

{This rich and imposing cabinet is from a ten-piece parlour suite made by Herter Brothers in 1869 for Jay Gould’s house on Fifth Avenue. Incorporating a design vocabulary taken from the architecture of the day, it is a tour de force of cabinetmaking, combining sophisticated marquetry, assured carving and delicately modeled ceramic plaques depicting the Four Seasons.}


The Étagère in Rococo Revival style: Alexander Roux (active 1843-86)
New York City, ca. 1855
Rosewood, chestnut, poplar, bird’s-eye maple veneer


A Girl’s best friend (not just diamonds): Necklace with Pendant, ca. 1910
Louis Comfort Tiffany
Tiffany and Company
Moonstones, Montana sapphires, platinum


The Gilded Kennel (with the mark of Marie-Antoinette, no less): Kennel
Gilded beech and pine. Signed by Claude Sené (1724-1792): stamped with the mark of Marie-Antoinette’s garde-meuble. French, ca. 1775-80


The Copper Lamp: Dirk Van Erp (1859-1933)
San Francisco, California, ca. 1912-15
Copper base, mica and copper shade


The dressing room (gown included): Worsham-Rockefeller Dressing Room
New York City, 1881-82
George A. Schastey & Co. (1873-97)

{In 1881, Arabella Worsham then-mistress of railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington, hired the cabinetmaking and decorating Firm George A. Schastey & Co. to create a series of distinctive artistic interiors for her townhouse at 4 West 54th Street. The resulting decor, including that found in this dressing room, was the height of cosmopolitan style in the early 1880s and emblematic of Worsham’s quest to fashion her identity as a wealthy, prominent woman of taste.}


The octagon table:Probably New York City, about 1860
Walnut, marble


The Richard and Gloria Manney Greek Revival Parlour:

The Richard and Gloria Manney John Henry Belter Rococo Revival Parlour:

The Working Girl’s table:Worktable
Salem, Massachusetts, 1800-1810
Mahogany, mahogany veneer, ivory with white pine, maple

{Worktables were one of few gender-specific pieces of furniture used in the home. Women relied on them for storing sewing supplies and for conducting correspondence, as such tables often contained a hinged writing surface in a drawer.}


The Richmond Room, 1810-11:

The yellow chairs and the sleek Federal era sofa:Side Chairs
Attributed to the workshop of John Finlay (1777-1851) and Hugh Finlay (1781-1830)
Baltimore, ca. 1815-25
Maple with painted and gilded decoration

{Originally part of a large set, these brilliantly conceived and handsomely executed chairs derive their broad, deeply curved crest tablets and sweeping rear stiles from the ancient Greek klismos form.}

Center Table
Labeled by Anthony G. Quervelle (1789-1856)
Philadelphia, ca. 1830
Mahogany, marble and brass with painted decoration

The Art Nouveau mantelpiece: Attributed to Jean-Désiré Muller (French, 1877–1952)
Glazed stoneware, ca. 1900

The Minimal-Tidy-Closet-I-will-Never-Have-But-Always-Dream-Of:  Sara Berman’s Closet

{The meticulously organized, modest closet in which Sara Berman (1920–2004)—an immigrant who traveled from Belarus to Palestine to New York—kept her all-white apparel and accessories both contained her life and revealed it. Inspired by the beauty and meaning of Berman’s closet, the artists Maira and Alex Kalman (who are also Berman’s daughter and grandson) have recreated the closet and its contents as an art installation.

This exhibition represents Berman’s life from 1982 to 2004, when she lived by herself in a small apartment in Greenwich Village. In her closet Berman lovingly organized her shoes, clothes, linens, beauty products, luggage, and other necessities. Although the clothing is of various tints—including cream, ivory, and ecru—it gives the impression of being all white.}

And, finally, his made-to-order Little Red Hood’s cloak:Child’s cloak
American, 180s
Wool and silk

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

July 2nd, 2017

summer of mischief

there were turtles and peacocks and ethereal angels,
a huge creepy face and menacing eagles,
smiling piglets and playful hounds,
proud looking stags and graceful felines –

all kinds of furry, feathered and mischievous creatures
dancing and stalking and flying –
sweeping across from wall to sacred wall
of one of the world’s largest cathedrals ”Ursus”, Dan Ostermiller


‘Sun Face”, full scale production section by Greg Wyatt, Plaster cast


”River Mates”, Tim Cherry


”Circle of Friends”, Gary Lee Price


”Trouble”, Bob Guelich


”Eagle Rock”, Kent Ullberg


”Peacocks”, Dan Chen


”Stella”, André Harvey


”High Four” and ”Tickled”, Louise Peterson


”Two Peacocks”, Greg Wyatt


”Hope”, Elwira Jarecka, La Guardia Community College


”Hidden Behind”, Chitra Mamidela, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts


”Scottish Stag”, Wesley Wofford


”Top Gun”, Stefan Savides


”Wild Instinct”, Joshua Tobey

A Summer of Sculpture was an exhibition that featured Cathedral Artist in Residence Greg Wyatt’s Peace Fountain and Animals of Freedom; A Blessing of Animals, curated by the National Sculpture Society; and the Art Students League of New York’s Model to Monument Retrospective. It ran in the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, until September 2017.

June 29th, 2017