Sentient in San Francisco – 24 January 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 24 January 1872 – Konstantin Bogaevsky, a Russian painter.

Below – “Ships”; “Tropical Landscape”; “Rainbow”; “Cloud”; “South Country. A cave town”; “Port of an Imaginable City.”

Musings in Winter: Bill Watterson

“I like these cold, gray winter days. Days like these let you savor a bad mood.”


This Date in Art History: Died 24 January 1881 – James Collinson, an English painter.

Below – “Mother and Child by a Stile, with Culver Cliff, Isle of Wight, in the Distance”; “For Sale”; “The Landlady”; “The Writing Lesson”; “Ship Scene”; “The Young Mother.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 24 January 1862 – Edith Wharton, an American novelist, short story writer, playwright, author of “The Age of Innocence,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Edith Wharton:

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
“One can remain alive … if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity interested in big things and happy in small ways.”
“But I have sometimes thought that a woman’s nature is like a great house full of rooms: there is the hall, through which everyone passes in going in and out; the drawing-room, where one receives formal visits; the sitting-room, where the members of the family come and go as they list; but beyond that, far beyond, are other rooms, the handles of whose doors perhaps are never turned; no one knows the way to them, no one knows whither they lead; and in the innermost room, the holy of holies, the soul sits alone and waits for a footstep that never comes.”
“The real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only ask one to pretend!”
“If only we’d stop trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time.”
“One of the great things about travel is you find out how many good, kind people there are.”
“An education is like a crumbling building that needs constant upkeep with repairs and additions.”
“What a shame it is for a nation to be developing without a sense of beauty, and eating bananas for breakfast.”
“It was easy enough to despise the world, but decidedly difficult to find any other habitable region.”
“The other producer of old age is habit: the deathly process of doing the same thing in the same way at the same hour day after day, first from carelessness, then from inclination, at last from cowardice or inertia. Luckily the inconsequent life is not the only alternative; for caprice is as ruinous as routine. Habit is necessary; it is the habit of having habits, of turning a trail into a rut, that must be incessantly fought against if one is to remain alive.”
“How much longer are we going to think it necessary to be American before (or in contradistinction to) being cultivated, being enlightened, being humane, and having the same intellectual discipline as other civilized countries?”
“I believe I know the only cure, which is to make one’s center of life inside of one’s self, not selfishly or excludingly, but with a kind of unassailable serenity—to decorate one’s inner house so richly that one is content there, glad to welcome anyone who wants to come and stay, but happy all the same when one is inevitably alone.”
“Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.”

This Date in Art History: Died 24 January 1920 – Amadeo Modigliani, an Italian painter and sculptor

Below – “Portrait of a Young Woman”; “The Little Peasant”; “Gypsy Woman with Baby”; “Woman with a Fan”; “Caryatid”; “Reclining Nude.”


Musings in Winter: Bill Bowerman

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.”

This Date in Art History: Died 24 January 1962 – Andre Lhote, a French painter and sculptor

Below – “The Tow Friends”; “The Stopover”; “French Landscape”; “Deux femmes dans la casbah d’Alger”; “La Forêt à La Cadière”; “Still Life.”


A Poem for Today

“Cliff Swallows – Missouri Breaks”
by Debra Nystrom

Is it some turn of wind
that funnels them all down at once, or
is it their own voices netting
to bring them in—the roll and churr
of hundreds searing through river light
and cliff dust, each to its precise
mud nest on the face
none of our own isolate
groping, wishing need could be sent
so unerringly to solace. But
this silk-skein flashing is like heaven
brought down: not to meet ground
or water—to enter
the riven earth and disappear.

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