Sentient in San Francisco – 23 March 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 23 March 1927 – Paul Cesar Helleu, a French painter.

Below – “Madame Helleu”; “On the Sofa”; “Camara”; “Portrait of a Young Woman”; “The Letter”; “Madame Marthe Letellier Sitting On A Sofa.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 23 March 1842 – Stendhal (the pen name of Marie-Henry Bayle), a French writer and author of “The Red and the Black.”

Some quotes from the work of Stendhal:

“The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same.”
“One can acquire everything in solitude except character.”
“Life is very short, and it ought not to be spent crawling at the feet of miserable scoundrels.”
“All religions are founded on the fear of the many and the cleverness of the few.”
“The sight of anything extremely beautiful, in nature or in art, brings back the memory of what one loves, with the speed of lightning.”
“A novel is like a bow, and the violin that produces the sound is the reader’s soul.”

This Date in Art History: Died 23 March 1961 – Albert Bloch, an American painter.

Below – “The Green Domino”; “Summer Night”; “Winter in the Dead Wood”; “Conversation”; “Windy Night Sky”; “Gulls.”

A Poem for Today

“Pink Pantsuit”
by Nancy Simpson

It hangs around the wardrobe
for days, dull,
or reclines in the hamper

like a flattened flamingo.
I wash it in soft water.
I give it new life, and what thanks?

It walks out the door with my legs,
through the gate,
headed straight for the racetrack.

Contemporary Polish Art – Paulina Sanecka

Below – “Water’s gone”; “Ultimate Landscape I”; “Unripe Pears”; “Sadness”; “Old Fruits”;“Girl with Dog.”

Remembering an Influential Filmmaker on the Date of His Birth: Born 23 March 1910 – Akira Kurosawa, a Japanese film director, screenwriter, producer, and director of “The Seven Samurai,” “Rashomon,” “Throne of Blood” (an adaptation of “Macbeth”), “Ikiru,” “Yojimbo,” “Ran” (an adaptation of “King Lear”), and “Dreams.”

Some quotes from the work of Akira Kurosawa:

“Man is a genius when he is dreaming.”
“I can’t afford to hate anyone. I don’t have that kind of time.”
“I am not a special person, I am not especially strong; I am not especially gifted. I simply do not like to show my weakness, and I hate to lose, so I am a person who tries hard. That’s all there is to me.”
“The role of the artist is to not look away.”
“Human beings are unable to be honest with themselves about themselves. They cannot talk about themselves without embellishing.”
“People today have forgotten they’re really just a part of nature. Yet, they destroy the nature on which our lives depend. They always think they can make something better… They don’t know it, but they’re losing nature. They don’t see that they’re going to perish. The most important things for human beings are clean air and clean water.”
“The truth is in the mystery.”
“The Japanese see self-assertion as immoral and self- sacrifice as the sensible course to take in life.”
“It is the power of memory that gives rise to the power of imagination.”
“I suppose all of my films have a common theme. If I think about it, though, the only theme I can think of is really a question: Why can’t people be happier together?”

Below – Akira Kurosawa on the set of “The Seven Samurai” in 1953.

Contemporary French Art – Thomas Saliot

Below – “Dark moody close up”; “Longboard skate girl”; “Yellow and Fast”; “Close up Bath”; “Blonde Surfin’”; “Freckles Butterfly.”

A Poem for Today

“Bottled Water”
by Kim Dower

I go to the corner liquor store
for a bottle of water, middle
of a hectic day, must get out
of the office, stop making decisions,
quit obsessing does my blue skirt clash
with my hot pink flats; should I get
my mother a caregiver or just put her
in a home, and I pull open the glass
refrigerator door, am confronted
by brands—Arrowhead, Glitter Geyser,
Deer Park, spring, summer, winter water,
and clearly the bosses of bottled water:
Real Water and Smart Water—how different
will they taste? If I drink Smart Water
will I raise my IQ but be less authentic?
If I choose Real Water will I no longer
deny the truth, but will I attract confused,
needy people who’ll take advantage
of my realness by dumping their problems
on me, and will I be too stupid to help them
sort through their murky dilemmas?
I take no chances, buy them both,
sparkling smart, purified real, drain both bottles,
look around to see is anyone watching?
I’m now brilliantly hydrated.
Both real and smart my insides bubble
with compassion and intelligence
as I walk the streets with a new swagger,
knowing the world is mine.

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