American Art – Part I of III: Colin Campbell Cooper, Jr.
Died 6 November 1937 – Colin Campbell Cooper, Jr., an American Impressionist artist best known for his architectural paintings.
“Progress would be wonderful – if only it would stop.” – Robert Musil, Austrian novelist, who was born on 6 November 1880.
Set in Vienna on the eve of World War I, Musil’s intricate and unfinished novel “The Man Without Qualities” both chronicles the moral and intellectual decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and hints at the cultural catastrophes that would envelop Europe following the conflict.
Some quotes from Robert Musil:
“The difference between a healthy person and one who is mentally ill is the fact that the healthy one has all the mental illnesses, and the mentally ill person has only one.”
“All still lifes are actually paintings of the world on the sixth day of creation, when God and the world were alone together, without man!”
“Anything that endures over time sacrifices its ability to make an impression.”
“It is reality that awakens possibilities, and nothing would be more perverse than to deny it.”
“It is, all in all, a historic error to believe that the master makes the school; the students make it!”
“It will always be the same possibilities, in sum or on the average, that go on repeating themselves until a man comes along who does not value the actuality above idea. It is he who first gives the new possibilities their meaning, their direction, and he awakens them.”
“Layer by layer art strips life bare.”
“Life is to blame for everything.”
“Philosophers are people who do violence, but have no army at their disposal, and so subjugate the world by locking it into a system.”
“The thought came to me that all one loves in art becomes beautiful. Beauty is nothing but the expression of the fact that something is being loved. Only thus could she be defined.”
“What is the use of good painting? We want a spell cast upon the optical part of our existence! We seldom really see the world, but when we do, we become as still as a picture.”
“Truly there would be reason to go mad were it not for music.” – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Russian composer, who died on 6 November 1893.
Below – the “Finale” to “Swan Lake,” one of the most stirring pieces of music in the classical repertoire.
Born 6 November 1923 – Clay Jones, British horticulturalist and broadcaster for the BBC. Jones was the host of the program “Gardener’s Question Time,” during which amateur gardeners could put questions to a panel of experts. This is exactly the sort of show for which I should be the perfect host. People could call in their questions, listen to my advice, and then do the opposite of what I had suggested. I would call the program “Ask Dr. Black Thumb.” Believe me – that title would be more than appropriate.
In the words of one critic, “Maya Burman (born 1971) is a contemporary artist of Indian parentage living in France. She works mainly in pen and ink, and watercolor; her paintings are delicate and usually have a strong fantasy element. The striking
thing about her paintings is the amount of detail in them. In formal terms Maya Burman’s paintings have a tapestry-like effect where everything is subordinate to patterning, reminiscent of the French art nouveau tradition. The figures have an archetypal aura about them and their rendering in a clean decisive manner has its sources in Picasso’s later classical period, his return after the war into an idyllic land inhabited by healthy and young boys of Athenian ideal.”
“It is eternity now. I am in the midst of it. It is about me and the sunshine.” – Richard Jefferies, English naturalist, novelist, essayist, and author of “Wild Life in a Southern County” and “Story of My Heart,” who was born 6 November 1848. In the words of one critic, “(Jefferies is) noted for his depiction of English rural life in essays, books of natural history, and novels. His childhood on a small Wiltshire farm had a great influence on him and provides the background to all his major works of fiction. (He) valued and cultivated an intensity of feeling in his experience of the world around him.”
Some quotes from the work of John Richard Jefferies:
“Never, never rest contented with any circle of ideas, but always be certain that a wider one is still possible.”
“A kestrel can and does hover in the dead calm of summer days, when there is not the faintest breath of wind. He will, and does, hover in the still, soft atmosphere of early autumn, when the gossamer falls in showers, coming straight down as if it were raining silk.”
“When even the most strictly logical mind looks round and investigates the phenomena attending its own existence, perhaps the first fact to attract attention by its strongly marked prominence is the remarkable loneliness of man. He stands alone.”
“If every plant and flower were found in all places, the charm of locality would not exist. Everything varies, and that gives the interest.”
“No tyrant, however evil, has yet lacked ready hands to execute his most abominable will. To read how eagerly men have rushed to serve the despot is the bitterest, the saddest matter of history; it is the saddest sight in our own day.”
“Ever since the world began, it has been the belief of mankind that desolate places are the special haunt of supernatural beings.”
“This sunlight linked me through the ages to that past consciousness.”
“To the soul, there is no past and no future; all is, and will be ever, in now. For artificial purposes time is mutually agreed on, but there is really no such thing.”
“The heart has a yearning for the unknown, a longing to penetrate the deep shadow and the winding glade, where, as it seems, no human foot has been.”
American Art – Part II of III: Heather Sherman
A Poem for Today
“Night in Day,”
By Joseph Stroud
The night never wants to end, to give itself over
to light. So it traps itself in things: obsidian, crows.
Even on summer solstice, the day of light’s great
triumph, where fields of sunflowers guzzle in the sun—
we break open the watermelon and spit out
black seeds, bits of night glistening on the grass.
American Art – Part III of III: Derek Harrison
Artist Statement: “My aim is to convey the inspiration and beauty in the subjects and settings I paint. Art has the amazing capacity to connect with all people. My hope is to bring the amazing qualities that many years of study and experience has lead me to understand and now express through my work.”