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

MiMa Brussels

The Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art. Opened just after we’d left for New York in 2016, Brussels’ newest contemporary museum showcasing works by younger artists mainly, it goes without saying that we couldn’t wait to pay a visit. The renovated red-brick building – a former brewery – is amazing; the art on show not so much, but fun nonetheless.

Brussels

October 20th, 2019