Sentient in Seattle – 29 July 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 29 July 1805 – Alexis de Tocqueville, a French diplomat, political scientist, and historian.

Some quotes from the work of Alexis de Tocqueville:

“It is easier for the world to accept a simple lie than a complex truth.”
“Despotism often presents itself as the repairer of all the ills suffered, the support of just rights, defender of the oppressed, and founder of order.”
“It is indeed difficult to imagine how men who have entirely renounced the habit of managing their own affairs could be successful in choosing those who ought to lead them. It is impossible to believe that a liberal, energetic, and wise government can ever emerge from the ballots of a nation of servants.”
“Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom…. The subjection of individuals will increase amongst democratic nations, not only in the same proportion as their equality, but in the same proportion as their ignorance.”
“A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.”
“In the United States, the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own.”
“There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.”
“I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for superior men if they ran for office, but there can be no doubt that such men do not run.”
“There is, indeed, a most dangerous passage in the history of a democratic people. When the taste for physical gratifications among them has grown more rapidly than their education and their experience of free institutions, the time will come when men are carried away and lose all self-restraint at the sight of new possessions they are about to obtain. In their intense and exclusive anxiety to make a fortune they lose sight of the close connection that exists between the private fortune of each and the prosperity of all.”

Art for Summer – Part I of II: Mike Klung (American, contemporary)

Below – “Toward the Light”; “Red Tree”; “Nature’s Colors”

For Your Information: 29 July is National Lasagna Day in the United States.

Art for Summer – Part II of II: Sokyojin Kobayashi (Japanese, 1897-1978)

Below – “Umiu”; “Landscape”; “Spring Rain”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 29 July 1905 – Stanley Kunitz, an American poet.

“The Snakes of September”
by Stanley Kunitz

All summer I heard them
rustling in the shrubbery,
outracing me from tier
to tier in my garden,
a whisper among the viburnums,
a signal flashed from the hedgerow,
a shadow pulsing
in the barberry thicket.
Now that the nights are chill
and the annuals spent,
I should have thought them gone,
in a torpor of blood
slipped to the nether world
before the sickle frost.
Not so. In the deceptive balm
of noon, as if defiant of the curse
that spoiled another garden,
these two appear on show
through a narrow slit
in the dense green brocade
of a north-country spruce,
dangling head-down, entwined
in a brazen love-knot.
I put out my hand and stroke
the fine, dry grit of their skins.
After all,
we are partners in this land,
co-signers of a covenant.
At my touch the wild
braid of creation
trembles.

This Date in Art History: Died 29 July 1890 – Vincent van Gogh, a Dutch painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Starry Night Over the Rhone”; “Crows Over Wheat Field”; “Cafe Terrace at Night”; “Toil Today, Dream at Night”; “Almond Blossom”; “Sunflowers.”

For Your Information: 29 July is International Tiger Day. In the words of one writer, this day “is an annual celebration to raise awareness for tiger conservation, held annually on 29 July. It was created in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit. The goal of the day is to promote a global system for protecting the natural habitats of tigers and to raise public awareness and support for tiger conservation issues.”

Below – David Stribbling: “Tiger Cub Resting”

This Date in Art History: Died 29 July 1890 – Vincent van Gogh, a Dutch painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Courtesan” (after Eisen)”; “The Sower With Setting Sun”; “Bedroomm in Arles”; “The Starry Night”; “Road With Cypress and Star”; “Self-Portrait” (1887).


Worth a Thousand Words: Sunset near Seronera Camp, the Serengeti, Africa.

Swiss Art – Peter Birkhauser, an artist best known, in the words of one writer, “for his paintings illustrating imagery from dreams in the context of analytical psychology.”

Below – “Puer”; “Linxul”; “Animalul din munte”; “Bear at the Tree of Light”; “Depression.”


A Poem for Today

“The Unborn”
by Sharon Olds

Sometimes I can almost see, around our heads,
Like gnats around a streetlight in summer,
The children we could have,
The glimmer of them.

Sometimes I feel them waiting, dozing
In some antechamber – servants, half-
Listening for the bell.

Sometimes I see them lying like love letters
In the Dead Letter Office

And sometimes, like tonight, by some black
Second sight I can feel just one of them
Standing on the edge of a cliff by the sea
In the dark, stretching its arms out
Desperately to me.

Below – Olga: “The Girl Sitting on the Edge of a Cliff”


American Art – Richard Klix (1928-2002)

In the words of one writer, “After studying with Joseph Albers at Yale, Robert Motherwell at Hunter College, and being influenced in New York City by Abstract Expressionists, Richard Klix developed his own form of expression in the middle 1950’s. Using an impasto line squeezed from a rubber bulb syringe, he produced color fields of “ideographs.” These ideographs done in “Op” colors and flat patterns were done rapidly and spontaneously in an attempt to outrun thought and allow the free play of the unconscious.”

Below – “Ribbon Rule”; “Studying”; “Flight”; “Birdman”; Untitled (Flowers in a Vase); Untitled (Nude Woman on a Chair).

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