Sentient in San Francisco – 17 December 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 17 December 1859 – Paul Cesar Helleu, a French painter and illustrator: Part I of II.

Below – “Lady with Flowers”; “On the Sofa”; “Young woman in white”; “Le Joueur de flûte”; “Hydrangeas”; “An elegant lady in a sunlit interior.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 17 December 1873 – Ford Madox Ford, an English novelist, poet, critic, and author of the “Parade’s End” tetralogy: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Ford Madox Ford:

“Only two classes of books are of universal appeal. The very best and the very worst.”
“The object of the novelist is to keep the reader entirely oblivious of the fact that the author exists – even of the fact he is reading a book.”
“The instances of honesty that one comes across in this world are just as amazing as the instances of dishonesty. After forty-five years of mixing with one’s kind, one ought to have acquired the habit of being able to know something about one’s fellow beings. But one doesn’t.”
“What the artist wishes to do — as far as you are concerned — is to take you out of yourself. As far as he is concerned, he wishes to express himself.”
“We are almost always in one place with our minds somewhere quite other.”
“I know nothing – nothing in the world – of the hearts of men. I only know that I am alone – horribly alone.”
“The world is full of places to which I want to return.”
“It is not merely that people must die and people must suffer, if not here, then there. But what is dreadful is that the world goes on and people go on being stupidly cruel – in the old ways and all the time.”

This Date in Art History: Born 17 December 1859 – Paul Cesar Helleu, a French painter and illustrator: Part II of II.

Below – “Lady in a Feather Hat”; “The Letter”; “Madame Helleu in a Blue Hat”; “On the Beach”; “Seated Young Woman”; “Female Nude with Long Hair.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 17 December 1873 – Ford Madox Ford, an English novelist, poet, critic, and author of the “Parade’s End” tetralogy: Part II of II.

“In Tenebris”
by Ford Madox Ford

All within is warm,
Here without it’s very cold,
Now the year is grown so old
And the dead leaves swarm.

In your heart is light,
Here without it’s very dark,
When shall I hear the lark?
When see aright?

Oh, for a moment’s space!
Draw the clinging curtains wide
Whilst I wait and yearn outside
Let the light fall on my face.


This Date in Art History: Died 17 December 1928 – Frank Rinehart, an American photographer famous for his portrait photographs of Native Americans.

Below – “Chief American Horse”; “Sarah Whislter, Sauk and Fox woman”; “Geronimo, Chiricahua Apache leader”; “Yellow Shirt, Hunkpapa Sioux chief”; “Freckle Face, Arapahoe woman”; “Bonie Tela, San Carlos Apache, and Hattie Tom, Chiricahua Apache.”

Born 17 December 1937 – John Kennedy Toole, an American novelist , author of “A Confederacy of Dunces,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of John Kennedy Toole:

“Having once been so high, humanity fell so low. What had once been dedicated to the soul was now dedicated to the sale.”
“I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip.”
“‘I doubt very seriously whether anyone will hire me.’ “What do you mean, babe? You a fine boy with a good education.’ “Employers sense in me a denial of their values.’ He rolled over onto his back. ‘They fear me. I suspect that they can see that I am forced to function in a century I loathe. This was true even when I worked for the New Orleans Public Library.’”
“The only problem that those people have anyway is that they don’t like new cars and hair sprays. That’s why they are put away. They make the other members of the society fearful. Every asylum in this nation is filled with poor souls who simply cannot stand lanolin, cellophane, plastic, television, and subdivisions.”
“You could tell by the way he talked, though, that he had gone to school a long time. That was probably what was wrong with him.”
“With the breakdown of the medieval system, the gods of chaos, lunacy, and bad taste gained ascendancy.”
“Apparently I lack some particular perversion which today’s employer is seeking.”
“I mingle with my peers or no one, and since I have no peers, I mingle with no one.”
“The only excursion of my life outside of New Orleans took me through the vortex to the whirlpool of despair: Baton Rouge. . . . New Orleans is, on the other hand, a comfortable metropolis which has a certain apathy and stagnation which I find inoffensive.”

Contemporary British Art – Michelle Loa Kum Cheung

Below – “Swell #2”; “After Oz”; “Double Edged Cloud”; “Above Arcadia”; “Map (The Falls Between)”; “Estuary.”


A Poem for Today

“Bindweed”
by James McKean

There is little I can do
besides stoop to pluck them
one by one from the ground,
their roots all weak links,
this hoard of Lazaruses popping up
at night, not the Heavenly Blue
so like silk handkerchiefs,
nor the Giant White so timid
in the face of the moon,
but poor relations who visit
then stay. They sleep in my garden.
Each morning I evict them.
Each night more arrive, their leaves
small, green shrouds,
reminding me the mother root
waits deep underground
and I dig but will never find her
and her children will inherit
all that I’ve cleared
when she holds me tighter
and tighter in her arms.

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