Sentient in Seattle – 31 July 2018

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 31 July 2000 – William Keepers Maxwell, Jr., an American editor, novelist, short story writer, essayist, children’s author, memoirist, recipient of both the National Book Award and the Mark Twain Award.

Two quotes from the work of William Keepers Maxwell, Jr.:
“What we, or at any rate what I, refer to confidently as memory–meaning a moment, a scene, a fact that has been subjected to a fixative and thereby rescued from oblivion–is really a form of storytelling that goes on continually in the mind and often changes with the telling. Too many conflicting emotional interests are involved for life ever to be wholly acceptable, and possibly it is the work of the storyteller to rearrange things so that they conform to this end. In any case, in talking about the past we lie with every breath we draw.”“It seemed like a mistake. And mistakes ought to be rectified, only this one couldn’t be. Between the way things used to be and the way they were now was a void that couldn’t be crossed. I had to find an explanation other than the real one, which was that we were no more immune to misfortune than anybody else, and the idea that kept recurring to me…was that I had inadvertently walked through a door that I shouldn’t have gone through and couldn’t get back to the place I hadn’t meant to leave. Actually, it was other way round: I hadn’t gone anywhere and nothing was changed, so far as the roof over our heads was concerned, it was just that she was in the cemetery.”

Art for Summer – Part I of II: Ludimila Kondakova (Russian/American, contemporary)

Below – “Le Consulat”; “Stairway”; “Room with a View”

For Your Information: 31 July is National Raspberry Cake in the United States.

Art for Summer – Part II of II: Anatole Krasnyansky (Ukrainian/American, contemporary)

Below – “Misguided”; “Accordion III”; “Merry Toast”

Remembering a Composer on the Date of His Death: Died 31 July 1886 – Franz Liszt, a Hungarian composer, pianist, and conductor.

This Date in Art History: Died 31 July 1693 – Willem Kalf, a Dutch still life painter.

Below – “Still Life with Holbein Bowl, Nautilus Cup, Glass Goblet, and Fruit”; “Still Life”; “Still Life”; “Still Life with Silver Bowl, Glasses, and Fruit”; “Still Life with Ginger Pot and Porcelain Bowl”; “Still Life with Chinese Porcelain Pieces and Glassware.”

Worth a Thousand Words: A Hubble telescope photograph of the Crab Nebula.

This Date in Art History: Born 31 July 1860: Mary Vaux Walcott, an American painter of wildflowers known as “The Audubon of Botany.”

Below – “Arrowleaf Balsamroot”; “Hibiscus moscheutos”; “Harebell”; “Avalanche Lily”; “Desert Mariposa”; “Bottle Gentian.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 31 July 2012 – Gore Vidal, an American writer and public intellectual.

Some quotes from the work of Gore Vidal:

“The unfed mind devours itself.”
“How marvelous books are, crossing worlds and centuries, defeating ignorance and, finally, cruel time itself.”
“Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.”
“There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party … and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt – until recently … and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.”
“As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.”
“Ayn Rand’s ‘philosophy’ is nearly perfect in its immorality, which makes the size of her audience all the more ominous and symptomatic as we enter a curious new phase in our society…. To justify and extol human greed and egotism is to my mind not only immoral, but evil.”
“[Professor] Frank recalled my idle remark some years ago: ‘Never pass up the opportunity to have sex or appear on television.’ Advice I would never give today in the age of AIDS and its television equivalent Fox News.”
“Monotheism is easily the greatest disaster to befall the human race.”
“We are the United States of Amnesia, we learn nothing because we remember nothing.”
“The American press exists for one purpose only, and that is to convince Americans that they are living in the greatest and most envied country in the history of the world. The Press tells the American people how awful every other country is and how wonderful the United States is and how evil communism is and how happy they should be to have freedom to buy seven different sorts of detergent.”
“I have always regarded as a stroke of good fortune that I was not born or brought up in a small American town; they may be the backbone of the nation, but they are also the backbone of ignorance, bigotry, and boredom, all in vast quantities.”
“I’m not sentimental about anything. Life flows by, and you flow with it or you don’t. Move on and move out.”

American Art – Emil Kosa Jr.

In the words of one writer, “Emil Kosa Jr. was born in Paris in 1903 and moved to the U.S. at the age of 4. A highly trained early California artist, Kosa studied fine art in Prague, Paris and at the Los Angeles area schools including the Otis and Chouinard Institutes, ultimately teaching at the latter.”

Below – “There Was a Song in My Heart”; “Shacks by the Road”; “Acton”; “By a Stream”; “Winter Sun”; “Nude Female Standing.”

A Poem for Today

“Sappho I”

by Sara Teasdale

Impassioned singer of the happy time.
When all the world was waking into morn,
And dew still glistened on the tangled thorn,
And lingered on the branches of the lime —
Oh peerless singer of the golden rhyme,
Happy wert thou to live ere doubt was born —
Before the joy of life was half out-worn,
And nymphs and satyrs vanished from your clime.
Then maidens bearing parsley in their hands
Wound thro’ the groves to where the goddess stands,
And mariners might sail for unknown lands
Past sea-clasped islands veiled in mystery —
And Venus still was shining from the sea,
And Ceres had not lost Persephone.

Below – Francis Coates Jones: “Sappho”

American Art – Herb Kornfeld

In the words of one writer, “An American School painter whose prolific career spanned eight decades, Kornfeld (1915 – 2001) helped forge a new style referred to by art critics as ‘California Modernism’.”

Below – “View From Atop”; “Bait Boat With Punts Along Shore”; “Found Objects”; “The Drop Forge”; “The Wooden Derrick”; “Boat.”

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