Sentient in San Francisco – 21 November 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 21 November 1907 – Paula Modersohn-Becker, a German painter.

Below – “Stilleben mit Tonkrug”; “Madchen mit Kaninchen”; “Kinderakt mit Goldfischglas”; “Mädchen mit Strohhut und Blume”; “Self-portrait with green background and blue irises”; “Self-Portrait, Nude with Amber Necklace Half-Length II.”

A Poem for Today

“Amaryllis”
by Connie Wanek

A flower needs to be this size
to conceal the winter window,
and this color, the red
of a Fiat with the top down,
to impress us, dull as we’ve grown.

Months ago the gigantic onion of a bulb
half above the soil
stuck out its green tongue
and slowly, day by day,
the flower itself entered our world,

closed, like hands that captured a moth,
then open, as eyes open,
and the amaryllis, seeing us,
was somehow undiscouraged.
It stands before us now

as we eat our soup;
you pour a little of your drinking water
into its saucer, and a few crumbs
of fragrant earth fall
onto the tabletop.

Below – Jeanne Young: “Red Amaryllis”


This Date in Art History: Died 21 November 1909 – Peder Severin Kroyer, a Danish painter.

Below – “Summer Evening at Skagen Beach – The Artist and his Wife”; “Midsummer Eve Bonfire on Skagen Beach”; “Roses”; “Summer Evening at Skagen. The Artist’s Wife and Dog by the Shore”; “Artists’ Luncheon at Skagen”; “Summer Evening on Skagen’s Southern Beach with Anna Archer and Marie Kroyer.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 21 November 1945 – Ellen Glasgow, an American novelist, author of “In This Our Life,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Ellen Glasgow:

“All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.”
“What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens.”
“The only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions.”
“He knows so little and knows it so fluently.”
“Life is never what one dreams. It is seldom what one desires, but for the vital spirit and the eager mind, the future will always hold the search for buried treasure and the possibility of high adventure.”
“The pathos of life is worse than the tragedy.”
“Preserve, within a wild sanctuary, an inaccessible valley of reverie.”
“The older I grow the more earnestly I feel that the few joys of childhood are the best that life has to give.”

Contemporary American Art – Sveta Osborne

Below – “Magic Blue Forest”; “Golden Trees”; “Red Abstract Landscape”; “Mediterranean Dream”; “Magic Garden #231”; “Enchanted #184.”


A Poem for Today

“To The Stone-Cutters”
by Robinson Jeffers

Stone-cutters fighting time with marble, you foredefeated
Challengers of oblivion
Eat cynical earnings, knowing rock splits, records fall down,
The square-limbed Roman letters
Scale in the thaws, wear in the rain. The poet as well
Builds his monument mockingly;
For man will be blotted out, the blithe earth die, the brave sun
Die blind and blacken to the heart:
Yet stones have stood for a thousand years, and pained thoughts found
The honey of peace in old poems.

Below – J.M.W. Turner: “The Temple of Poseidon at Sunium”


Contemporary Dutch Art – Bryan Claessen

Below – “Nebraska, decks of the American dream”; “Standard, decay of the American dream”; “News from home (NY metro)”; “The Diner”; “The Slide.”

A Poem for Today

“In November”
By Lisel Mueller

Outside the house the wind is howling
and the trees are creaking horribly.
This is an old story
with its old beginning,
as I lay me down to sleep.
But when I wake up, sunlight
has taken over the room.
You have already made the coffee
and the radio brings us music
from a confident age. In the paper
bad news is set in distant places.
Whatever was bound to happen
in my story did not happen.
But I know there are rules that cannot be broken.
Perhaps a name was changed.
A small mistake. Perhaps
a woman I do not know
is facing the day with the heavy heart
that, by all rights, should have been mine.

Below – Tomasa Martin: “Newspaper and coffee”

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