Sentient in San Francisco – 25 November 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 25 November 1870 – Maurice Denis, a French painter.

Below – “September Evening”; “Racket game on a lawn”; “Homage to Cezanne”; “Wave”; “Nude with a Bouquet of Violets”; “Self-Portrait.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 25 November 1970 – Yukio Mishima (the pen name of Kimitake Hiraoka), a Japanese author, poet, and playwright.

Some quotes from the work of Yukio Mishima:

“Dreams, memories, the sacred–they are all alike in that they are beyond our grasp. Once we are even marginally separated from what we can touch, the object is sanctified; it acquires the beauty of the unattainable, the quality of the miraculous. Everything, really, has this quality of sacredness, but we can desecrate it at a touch. How strange man is! His touch defiles and yet he contains the source of miracles.”
“For an artist to do creative work, he needs at once physical health and some physiomental ill health. He needs both serenity and gloom.”
“Young people get the foolish idea that what is new for them must be new for everybody else too. No matter how unconventional they get, they’re just repeating what others before them have done.”
“In the pale light of daybreak the gravestones looked like so many white sails of boats anchored in a busy harbor. They were sails that would never again be filled with wind, sails that, too long unused and heavily drooping, had been turned into stone just as they were. The boats’ anchors had been thrust so deeply into the dark earth that they could never again be raised.”
“Nobody even imagines how well one can lie about the state of one’s own heart.”

This Date in Art History: Born 25 November 1873 – Albert Henry Krehbiel, an American painter and illustrator. In the words of one writer, Krehbiel “was the most decorated American painter ever at the French Academy, winning the Prix De Rome, four Gold Medals and five cash prizes.”: Part I of II.

Below – “Beach Scene and Crowds”; “Chicago El Station”; “Deep Snow Wonders”; “Des Plaines River”; “Evening Sky-Lights in Homes”; “Lady and Her Bowl of Nasturtiums.”

A Poem for Today

“Moss”
by Bruce Guernsey

How must it be
to be moss,
that slipcover of rocks?—
imagine,

greening in the dark,
longing for north,
the silence
of birds gone south.

How does moss do it,
all day
in a dank place
and never a cough?—

a wet dust
where light fails,
where the chisel
cut the name.

This Date in Art History: Born 25 November 1873 – Albert Henry Krehbiel, an American painter and illustrator. In the words of one writer, Krehbiel “was the most decorated American painter ever at the French Academy, winning the Prix De Rome, four Gold Medals and five cash prizes.”: Part II of II.

Below – “Magical Moment”; “Misty Down River”; “Orange Umbrella”; “Panorama of Color”; “Sand Dunes”; “Shoreline.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 25 November 1893 – Joseph Wood Krutch, an American writer, critic, naturalist, author of “The Desert Year” (often called the “Cactus Walden”), and recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Joseph Wood Krutch:

“It is not ignorance but knowledge which is the mother of wonder.”
“We need some contact with the things we sprang from. We need nature at least as a part of the context of our lives. Without cities we cannot be civilized. Without nature, without wilderness even, we are compelled to renounce an important part of our heritage.”
“Whenever man forgets that man is an animal, the result is always to make him less humane.”
“Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many different ailments, but I have never heard of one who suffered from insomnia.”
“The most serious charge which can be brought against New England is not Puritanism but February.”
“To those who study her, Nature reveals herself as extraordinarily fertile and ingenious in devising means, but she has no ends which the human mind has been able to discover or comprehend.”
“As machines get to be more and more like men, men will come to be more like machines.”
“Security depends not so much upon how much you have, as upon how much you can do without.”
“It is not a sentimental, but a grimly literal fact that unless we share this terrestrial globe with creatures other than ourselves, we shall not be able to live on it for long.”
“Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want.”
“The wilderness and the idea of wilderness is one of the permanent homes of the human spirit.”
“To have passed through life and never experienced solitude is to have never known oneself. To have never known oneself is to have never known anyone.”


This Date in Art History: Born 25 November 1945 – Patrick Nagel, and American painter and illustrator.

Below – Untitled; “Dyansen (N.17)”; Untitled; “Her Casual Pose”; “Aries”; “Lori.”

A Poem for Today

“Under Stars”
by Tess Gallagher

The sleep of this night deepens
because I have walked coatless from the house
carrying the white envelope.
All night it will say one name
in its little tin house by the roadside.

I have raised the metal flag
so its shadow under the roadlamp
leaves an imprint on the rain-heavy bushes.
Now I will walk back
thinking of the few lights still on
in the town a mile away.

In the yellowed light of a kitchen
the millworker has finished his coffee,
his wife has laid out the white slices of bread
on the counter. Now while the bed they have left
is still warm, I will think of you, you
who are so far away
you have caused me to look up at the stars.

Tonight they have not moved
from childhood, those games played after dark.
Again I walk into the wet grass
toward the starry voices. Again, I
am the found one, intimate, returned
by all I touch on the way.

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