Sentient in San Francisco – 25 October 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 25 October 1916 – William Merritt Chase, an American painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Studio Interior”; “A Friendly Call”; “Landscape: Shinnecock, Long Island”; “Mrs Chase Playing the Piano”; “Study of a Girl in Japanese Dress”; “At the Seaside.”


This Date in Cultural History: Died 25 October 2012 – Jacques Barzun, a French-American historian known for his studies of the history of ideas and cultural history.

Some quotes from the work of Jacques Barzun:

“Old age is like learning a new profession. And not one of your own choosing.”
“Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.”
“If it were possible to talk to the unborn, one could never explain to them how it feels to be alive, for life is washed in the speechless real.”
“Everybody keeps calling for Excellence – excellence not just in schooling, throughout society. But as soon as somebody or something stands out as Excellent, the other shout goes up: ‘Elitism!’ And whatever produced that thing, whoever praises that result, is promptly put down. ‘Standing out’ is undemocratic.”
“The world has long observed that small acts of immorality, if repeated, will destroy character. It is equally manifest, though never said, that uttering nonsense and half-truth without cease ends by destroying Intellect.”
“Americans began by loving youth, and now, out of adult self-pity, they worship it.”
“Except among those whose education has been in the minimalist style, it is understood that hasty moral judgments about the past are a form of injustice.”
“Finding oneself was a misnomer; a self is not found but made.”

This Date in Art History: Died 25 October 1916 – William Merritt Chase, an American painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Open Air Breakfast”; “A Sunny Day at Shinnecock Bay”; “Girl in a Japanese Costume”; “An Afternoon Stroll”; “The Song”; “Back of a Nude.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 25 October 1989 – Mary McCarthy, an award-winning American novelist and critic.

Some quotes from the work of Mary McCarthy:

“We all live in suspense, from day to day, from hour to hour; in other words, we are the hero of our own story.”
“Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.”
“If someone tells you he is going to make a ‘realistic decision’, you immediately understand that he has resolved to do something bad.”
“Every age has a keyhole to which its eye is pasted.”
“I shall never send for a priest or recite an Act of Contrition in my last moments. I do not mind if I lose my soul for all eternity. If the kind of God exists Who would damn me for not working out a deal with Him, then that is unfortunate. I should not care to spend eternity in the company of such a person.”
“Life for the European is a career; for the American it is a hazard.”
“Our language, once homely and colloquial, seeks to aggrandize our meanest activities with polysyllabic terms or it retreats from frankness into a stammering verbosity.”
“From what I have seen, I am driven to the conclusion that religion is only good for good people.”

This Date in Art History:Born 25 October 1888 – Nils Dardel, a Swedish painter.

Below – “Portrait of Nita Wallenberg”; “Japanese Woman”; “Dreams and fantasies”; “Two Girls”; “The Dying Dandy”; “Black Diana.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 25 October 1941 – Anne Tyler, an American writer, critic, author of “Breathing Lessons,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Anne Tyler:

“I read so I can live more than one life in more than one place.”
“I love to think about chance – about how one little overheard word, one pebble in a shoe, can change the universe.”
“Ever consider what pets must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul – chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we’re the greatest hunters on earth!”
“It is not how much you love someone, but who you are when you are with him.”
“It seems to me that good novels celebrate the mystery in ordinary life, and summing it all up in psychological terms strips the mystery away.”
“Just because we’re related doesn’t mean we are any good at understanding each other.”
“I’ve always thought a hotel ought to offer optional small animals. I mean a cat to sleep on your bed at night, or a dog of some kind to act pleased when you come in. You ever notice how a hotel room feels so lifeless?”
“People always call it luck when you’ve acted more sensibly than they have.”


This Date in Art History: Born 25 October 1881 – Pablo Picasso, a Spanish painter and sculptor.

Below – “Three Musicians”; “Girl Before A Mirror”; “The Old Guitarist”; “The Dream”; “Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust”; “Blue Nude”; “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 25 October 1914 – John Berryman, an American poet and recipient of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

“The Ball Poem”
by John Berryman

What is the boy now, who has lost his ball.
What, what is he to do? I saw it go
Merrily bouncing, down the street, and then
Merrily over—there it is in the water!
No use to say ‘O there are other balls’:
An ultimate shaking grief fixes the boy
As he stands rigid, trembling, staring down
All his young days into the harbour where
His ball went. I would not intrude on him,
A dime, another ball, is worthless. Now
He senses first responsibility
In a world of possessions. People will take balls,
Balls will be lost always, little boy,
And no one buys a ball back. Money is external.
He is learning, well behind his desperate eyes,
The epistemology of loss, how to stand up
Knowing what every man must one day know
And most know many days, how to stand up
And gradually light returns to the street,
A whistle blows, the ball is out of sight.
Soon part of me will explore the deep and dark
Floor of the harbour . . I am everywhere,
I suffer and move, my mind and my heart move
With all that move me, under the water
Or whistling, I am not a little boy.

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