This Date in Art History: Born 24 July 1927 – Alex Katz, an American painter and sculptor.
Below – “Vivien with Hat”; “Ada in Spain”; “Grey Ribbon (Ada)”; “Yellow Flags 4”; “Chance”; “Sunset 1.”
Japanese-themed Art for Today – Kind of Cyan: “Hashiguchi Goya Inspired Japanese Cyanotype”
This Date in Literary History: Died 24 July 1927 – Ryunosuke Akutagawa, a Japanese writer regarded as the father of the Japanese short story and author of “In a Grove,” one of the great short stories in world literature.
Some quotes from the work of Ryunosuke Akutagawa:
“What is the life of a human being—a drop of dew, a flash of lightning? This is so sad, so sad.”
“It’s not so much that I want to die as that I’m tired of living.”
“The human heart harbors two conflicting sentiments. Everyone of course sympathizes with people who suffer misfortunes. Yet when those people manage to overcome their misfortunes, we feel a certain disappointment. We may even feel (to overstate the case somewhat) a desire to plunge them back into those misfortunes. And before we know it, we come (if only passively) to harbor some degree of hostility toward them.”
“It is important-even necessary-for us to become acutely aware of the fact that we can’t trust ourselves. The only ones you can trust to some extent are people who really know that. We had better get this straight.”
“One chilly autumn evening, he was reminded of the painter by a stalk of corn: the way it stood there armed in its rough coat of leaves, exposing its delicate roots atop the mounded earth like so many nerves, it was also a portrait of his own most vulnerable self. The discovery only served to increase his melancholy.”
Japanese-themed Art for Today – Catalin Ilinca: “Spring flower (L’une 108)”
Contemporary British Art – James Cowan
Below – “The Pink Building”; “New York Carousel Horses”; “Style Moderne”; “New York Diner”; “New York Fire Escape with White Ladder”; “The Subway Train New York.”
This Date in Literary History: Died 24. July 1991 – Isaac Bashevis Singer, a Polish-born Jewish-American novelist, short story writer, author of “A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories,” two-time recipient of the National Book Award and recipient of the 1978 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Some quotes from the work of Isaac Bashevis Singer:
“Two important things are to have a genuine interest in people and to be kind to them. Kindness, I’ve discovered, is everything.”
“What do they know-all these scholars, all these philosophers, all the leaders of the world – about such as you? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka.”
“It is a general rule that when the grain of truth cannot be found, men will swallow great helpings of falsehood.”
“Man prays for mercy, but is unwilling to extend it to others. Why then should man expect mercy from God? It is unfair to expect something that you are not willing to give.”
“I did not become a vegetarian for my health, I did it for the health of the chickens.”
“People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times.”
“As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together.”
“There are 500 reasons I write for children…. Children read books, not reviews. They don’t give a hoot about the critics…. They don’t read to free themselves of guilt, to quench their thirst for rebellion, or to get rid of alienation. They still believe in God, the family, angels, devils, witches, goblins, logic, clarity, punctuation, and other such obsolete stuff…. They don’t expect their beloved writer to redeem humanity. Young as they are, they know that it is not in his power. Only the adults have such childish illusions.”
“Literature is the memory of humanity.”
Contemporary Mexican Art – Roque Reyes
Below – “Lighted Clouds”; “Bulls and Wolf”; “Cougar”; “Tlacochahuaya”; “Ancestral Seeds”; “In the Deep.”
This Date in Literary History: Born 24 July 1895 – Robert Graves, an English poet, novelist, critic, memoirist, and author of “Good-Bye to All That,” “The White Goddess,” and “I, Claudius.”
Some quotes from the work of Robert Graves:
“She tells her love while half asleep,
In the dark hours,
With half-words whispered low:
As Earth stirs in her winter sleep
And puts out grass and flowers
Despite the snow,
Despite the falling snow.”
“Marriage, like money, is still with us; and, like money, progressively devalued.”
“In love as in sport, the amateur status must be strictly maintained.”
“There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either.”
“The child alone a poet is:
Spring and Fairyland are his.”
“There are two different ways of writing history: one is to persuade men to virtue and the other is to compel men to truth.”
“Religious fanaticism is the most dangerous form of insanity.”
“The White Goddess
All saints revile her, and all sober men
Ruled by the God Apollo’s golden mean –
In scorn of which we sailed to find her
In distant regions likeliest to hold her
Whom we desired above all things to know,
Sister of the mirage and echo.
It was a virtue not to stay,
To go our headstrong and heroic way
Seeking her out at the volcano’s head,
Among pack ice, or where the track had faded
Beyond the cavern of the seven sleepers:
Whose broad high brow was white as any leper’s,
Whose eyes were blue, with rowan-berry lips,
With hair curled honey-coloured to white hips.
The sap of Spring in the young wood a-stir
Will celebrate with green the Mother,
And every song-bird shout awhile for her;
But we are gifted, even in November
Rawest of seasons, with so huge a sense
Of her nakedly worn magnificence
We forget cruelty and past betrayal,
Heedless of where the next bright bolt may fall.”
Contemporary Argentinian Art – Daniela Rodriguez Vasseur
Below – “Natural Habitat I”; “The Wave”; “Women II”; “(Non Driver)s License”; “Rush Hour”; “Natural Habitat II.”
Japanese-themed Art for Today – Catalin Ilinca: “Memories of a geisha (L’une 104)”
This Date in Literary History: Born 24 July 1886 – Jun’ichiro Tanizaki, a Japanese novelist, short story writer, essayist, and author of “In Praise of Shadows” and “The Makioka Sisters” (a literal translation of the book’s title – “Sasameyuki” – would be “Light Snow”).
Some quotes from the work of Jun’ichiro Tanizaki:
“Whenever I see the alcove of a tastefully built Japanese room, I marvel at our comprehension of the secrets of shadows, our sensitive use of shadow and light. For the beauty of the alcove is not the work of some clever device. An empty space is marked off with plain wood and plain walls, so that the light drawn into its forms dim shadows within emptiness. There is nothing more. And yet, when we gaze into the darkness that gathers behind the crossbeam, around the flower vase, beneath the shelves, though we know perfectly well it is mere shadow, we are overcome with the feeling that in this small corner of the atmosphere there reigns complete and utter silence; that here in the darkness immutable tranquility holds sway.”
“The older we get the more we seem to think that everything was better in the past.”
“With lacquerware there is an extra beauty in that moment between removing the lid and lifting the bowl to the mouth, when one gazes at the still, silent liquid in the dark depths of the bowl, its colour hardly differing from that of the bowl itself. What lies within the darkness one cannot distinguish, but the palm senses the gentle movements of the liquid, vapour rises from within, forming droplets on the rim, and the fragrance carried upon the vapour brings a delicate anticipation … a moment of mystery, it might almost be called, a moment of trance.”
“We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates.”
“The ancients waited for cherry blossoms, grieved when they were gone, and lamented their passing in countless poems. How very ordinary the poems had seemed to Sachiko when she read them as a girl, but now she knew, as well as one could know, that grieving over fallen cherry blossoms was more than a fad or convention.”
Japanese-themed Art for Today – Catalin Ilinca: “Cherry Blossom (L’une 92)”
Contemporary Portuguese Art – K Lewis
Below – “Window to Graca, Pink Interior”; “Evening Meditation”; “The Neighbor’s Garden”; “Interior with Daisies and Rocking Chair III”; “View with Japanese Pot”; “Nude with Braid and Decorative Fabrics.”
A Poem for Today
“Music I Heard”
by Conrad Aiken
Music I heard with you was more than music,
And bread I broke with you was more than bread.
Now that I am without you, all is desolate,
All that was once so beautiful is dead.
Your hands once touched this table and this silver,
And I have seen your fingers hold this glass.
These things do not remember you, beloved:
And yet your touch upon them will not pass.
For it was in my heart you moved among them,
And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes.
And in my heart they will remember always:
They knew you once, O beautiful and wise!
Below- louise camrass: “Since You’ve Been Gone”