July Offerings – Part XIX: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of IV: Robert Brackman

Born in Ukraine, Robert Brackman (1898-1980) immigrated to the United States in 1908. Brackman studied at the National Academy of Design in New York City and the Ferrer School in San Francisco. He is best known for his portraits and still lifes.

Below – “Life About Me”; “Reverie”; “The Toilet”; “Girl from Village”; “Flowers for Jennifer”; “Seated in a Café”; “Still Life with Fruit and Pitcher”; “Self-Portrait.”
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From the Seafaring Archives: SS Great Britain

19 July 1843 – The SS Great Britain is launched. In the words of one historian, “SS Great Britain is a museum ship and former passenger steamship, advanced for her time. She was the longest passenger ship in the world from 1845 to 1854. She was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the Great Western Steamship Company’s transatlantic service between Bristol and New York. While other ships had been built of iron or equipped with a screw propeller, Great Britain was the first to combine these features in a large ocean-going ship. She was the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic, which she did in 1845, in the time of 14 days.”

Below – SS Great Britain in dry dock at Bristol in 2005.
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Born 19 July 1789 – John Martin, an English Romantic painter.

Below (left to right) – “Distant View of London”; “Macbeth”; “Landscape: View in Richmond Park”; “Mountain Landscape with Rocks”; “Shore Scene, Evening”; “The Fire, Edinburgh.”
(c) Glasgow Museums; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) National Galleries of Scotland; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) The Fitzwilliam Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Paintings Collection; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Paintings Collection; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Shipley Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Here is the Artist Statement of Bogdan Prystrom: “”I’m a member of the Union of Polish Art Photographers.
I used to be a chairman of Warmia and Masuria Photographic Association. I live in the north of Poland, in a pretty town of Olsztyn.
At present, I use computer methods to take photos with digital techniques only.
Pictures that I create are the extension of what I was doing earlier tradition using photographic methods.
The theme of my work is usually a man and his portrait. The method I use is a digital fotomontage.
I treat my photos totally different from those created by techniques of photographic materials producers.
I try to do every work with my own ‘particular method.’”
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From the Music Archives: Bernie Leadon

Born 19 July 1947 – Bernie Leadon, an American musician and songwriter best known as a founding member of the Eagles.

American Art – Part II of IV: William Glackens

William James Glackens (1870-1938) was a realist painter and one of the founders of the Ashcan School of American art.

Below – “Girl with Apples”; “East River Park”; “Italo-American Celebration, Washington Square”; “Portsmouth Harbor, New Hampshire”; “Nude with Apple”; “At Moquin’s”; “Bathing at Bellport, Long Island”; “Young Woman in Green.”
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Here is one critic describing the artistry of German painter Franziska Maderthaner: “Her images make the connection that pictorality has always already presupposed some sort of cognitive compression. The image represented is not merely one particular piece of a spectacle, equipped with several attractions of colour and procedures, a look at and into a world of optical opulence. A picture is first of all a form of organisation, the resolute together of sensations, which have always already been within the picture itself.”
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“Here every bird and fish knew its course. Every tree had its own place upon this earth. Only man had lost his way.” – Margaret Craven, American writer and author of “I Heard the Owl Call My Name,” who died 19 July 1980.

In the words of one critic, “(Craven’s) novel tells the story of a young Anglican vicar named Mark Brian who has not long to live, and also who learns about the meaning of life when he is to be sent to a First Nations parish in British Columbia.”

Some quotes from “I Heard the Owl Call My Name”:

“He watched their faces, and he knew each meant desperately what she said because they loved each other, and deep inside surely each knew the words were false, that the true words were those unspoken.”
“Tagoona asked, ‘What is a problem?’ and the white man said, ‘Tagoona, if I held you by your heels from a third-story window, you would have a problem.’ Tagoona considered this long and carefully. Then he said, ‘I do not think so. If you saved me, all would be well. If you dropped me, nothing would matter. It is you who would have the problem.’”
“There was nothing but a lonely magnificence of sea and islands.”
“Already the rain had become an element of life like the air Mark breathed, and when it stopped, he missed it somehow, and found himself listening for the drip, drip, drip that seemed now a necessary and comforting component of his life.”
“How must he prove himself? What was it they wished to know of him? And what did he know of himself here where loneliness was an unavoidable element of life, and a man must rely solely on himself?”
“What a shame that Christianity had come here! If the white man had not intruded where he was not wanted, where he did not belong, even now protected by the mountains and the river, the village would have remained a last stronghold of a culture which was almost gone. Mark tried to say that no village, no culture can remain static. ‘I have often thought that if this lively and magnificent land belongs to anyone, it’s to the birds and the fish. They were here long before the first Indian and when the last man is gone from the Earth, it will be theirs again.’”
“Already the rain had become an element of life like the air Mark breathed, and when it stopped, he missed it somehow, and found himself listening for the drip, drip, drip that seemed now a necessary and comforting component of his life.”
“Past the village flowed the river, like time, like life itself, waiting for the swimmer to come again on his way to the climax of his adventurous life, and to the end for which he had been made.”
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“What a delightful thing is the conversation of specialists! One understands absolutely nothing and it’s charming.” – Edgar Degas, a French artist regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism, who was born 19 July 1834.

Below – “A Cotton Office in New Orleans”; “The Dance Class”; “L’Absinthe”; “Musicians in the Orchestra”; “At the Races”; “Ballet Rehearsal on Stage”; “Fin d’Arabesque”; “After the Bath, Woman Drying Her Nape”; “At the Café Concert: The Song of the Dog”; “Self-Portrait.”
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“It’s not enough to be American. You always have to be something else, Irish-American, German-American, and you’d wonder how they’d get along if someone hadn’t invented the hyphen.” – Francis
“Frank” McCourt, Irish-American teacher, writer, and author of “Angela’s Ashes,” which won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, who died 19 July 2009.

Some quotes from the work of Frank McCourt:

“He says, you have to study and learn so that you can make up your own mind about history and everything else but you can’t make up an empty mind. Stock your mind, stock your mind. You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.”
“I don’t know what it means and I don’t care because it’s Shakespeare and it’s like having jewels in my mouth when I say the words.”
“The master says it’s a glorious thing to die for the Faith and Dad says it’s a glorious thing to die for Ireland and I wonder if there’s anyone in the world who would like us to live.”
“Happiness is hard to recall. It’s just a glow.”
“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.
Nothing can compare with the Irish version: the poverty; the shiftless loquacious alcoholic father; the pious defeated mother moaning by the fire; pompous priests; bullying schoolmasters; the English and the terrible things they did to us for eight hundred long years.”
“I told her tea bags were just a convenience for people with busy lives and she said no one is so busy they can’t take time to make a decent cup of tea and if you are that busy you don’t deserve a decent cup of tea for what is it all about anyway? Are we put into this world to be busy or to chat over a nice cup of tea?”
“I say, Billy, what’s the use in playing croquet when you’re doomed?
He says, Frankie, what’s the use of not playing croquet when you’re doomed?”
“After a full belly all is poetry.”
“You, the privileged, the chosen, the pampered, with nothing to do but go to school, hang out, do a little studying, go to college, get into a money-making racket, grow into your fat forties, still whining, still complaining, when there are millions around the world who’d offer fingers and toes to be in your seats, nicely clothed, well fed, with the world by the balls.”
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Painter Barbara Sipos is a graduate of both the Hungarian University of Design Arts and the Hungarian University of Fine Arts.
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“The truth of art lies in its power to break the monopoly of established reality to define what is real.” – Herbert Marcuse, a German-American philosopher, sociologist, political theorist, and author of “Eros and Civilization” and “One-Dimensional Man,” who was born 19 July 1898.

Some quotes from the work of Herbert Marcuse:

“Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves.” “The means of communication, the irresistible output of the entertainment and information industry carry with them prescribed attitudes and habits, certain intellectual and emotional reactions which bind the consumers to the producers and, through the latter to the whole social system. The products indoctrinate and manipulate; they promote a false consciousness which is immune against its falsehood…Thus emerges a pattern of one-dimensional thought and behavior.”
“Art breaks open a dimension inaccessible to other experience, a dimension in which human beings, nature, and things no longer stand under the law of the established reality principle…The encounter with the truth of art happens in the estranging language and images which make perceptible, visible, and audible that which is no longer, or not yet, perceived, said, and heard in everyday life.”
“The so-called consumer society and the politics of corporate capitalism have created a second nature of man which ties him libidinally and aggressively to the commodity form. The need for possessing, consuming, handling and constantly renewing the gadgets, devices, instruments, engines, offered to and imposed upon the people, for using these wares even at the danger of one’s own destruction, has become a ‘biological’ need.”
“Inasmuch as art preserves, with the promise of happiness, the memory of the goal that failed, it can enter, as a ‘regulative idea,’ the desperate struggle for changing the world. Against all fetishism of the productive forces, against the continued enslavement of individuals by the objective conditions (which remain those of domination), art represents the ultimate goal of all revolutions: the freedom and happiness of the individual.”
“Obscenity is a moral concept in the verbal arsenal of the establishment, which abuses the term by applying it, not to expressions of its own morality but to those of another.”
“One-dimensional thought is systematically promoted by the makers of politics and their purveyors of mass information. Their universe of discourse is populated by self-validating hypotheses which, incessantly and monopolistically repeated, become hypnotic definitions of dictations.”
“Remembrance of the past may give rise to dangerous insights, and the established society seems to be apprehensive of the subversive contents of memory.”
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Italian painter Valentina D’Amaro (born 1966) is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Art of Brera in Milan.
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19 July 1976 – The government of Nepal creates Sagarmatha National Park. In the words of one writer, “Sagarmāthā National Park is a protected area in the Himalayas of eastern Nepal that is dominated by Mount Everest. It encompasses an area of 1,148 km2 (443 sq mi) in the Solukhumbu District and ranges in elevation from 2,845 m (9,334 ft) to 8,848 m (29,029 ft) at the summit of Mount Everest. In the north, it shares the international border with the Qomolangma National Nature Preserve of Tibet and extends to the Dudh Koshi river in the south. Adjacent to the east is the Makalu Barun National Park.
Sagarmāthā is a Nepali word derived from ‘sagar’ meaning ‘sky’ and ‘māthā’ meaning ‘head.’”
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Born 19 July 1895 – Xu Beihong, a Chinese artist known for his ink paintings of horses and birds.

Below – “Galloping Horse”; “Portrait of a Young Lady”;
“Horses under Old Cypresses”; “Double Happiness”; “Portrait of Ms Jenny”; “Hawk”; “Portrait of Lim Loh”; “Eight Galloping Horses.”
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American Art: – Part III of IV: Gregory Mortenson

In the words of one critic, “Gregory Mortenson (born 1976) is a New York-based artist. He received his BA from Southern Virginia University. He then moved to New York City to study at the Grand Central Academy of Art.
Gregory currently works from his studio in New York and teaches at the Grand Central Academy of Art.”
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A Poem for Today

“The Beauty of Things,”
By Robinson Jeffers

To feel and speak the astonishing beauty of things—earth, stone and water,
Beast, man and woman, sun, moon and stars—
The blood-shot beauty of human nature, its thoughts, frenzies and passions,
And unhuman nature its towering reality—
For man’s half dream; man, you might say, is nature dreaming, but rock
And water and sky are constant—to feel
Greatly, and understand greatly, and express greatly, the natural
Beauty, is the sole business of poetry.
The rest’s diversion: those holy or noble sentiments, the intricate ideas,
The love, lust, longing: reasons, but not the reason.
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American Art – Part IV of IV: Scott Christensen

In the words of one critic, “Painting is not simply the passion of Scott Christensen (born 1962); it’s his necessity, like breathing. Mind and body attune, he moves through the process of creating each landscape just as a river flows over rocks, and around islands, all the while seeking a mellifluous whole. Obstacles of composition, color, and tone are transformed into opportunities with each stroke of his brush. Christensen’s goal is to compose an aggregate vision of nature’s beauty, while also delighting in the journey. ‘The process alone,’ he says, ‘is worth the effort.’”
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