Cowboys Coming to Town for Christmas

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Frederic Remington

Wishing you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON! I’ll be trying to keep the cowboys from too much trouble during the next week so I may not be at the computer that much, but will be back full time in the new year.

Love and blessings to you all~

Adrienne

PS~I hope Santa sends me a horse!

Spinster Turned Patroness of the Arts: Florence Griswold

 

Eligible Spinster

Eligible Spinster

Florence did what women fallen on hard times once did with big family houses and nothing but the memories of dead relatives for riches. She mourned the loss of her 16 year old brother, her father, her sister and mother and opened her house to boarders who happened to be artists.

I think artists like to be mothered. They never fully grow up and demand summer vacation like the rest of the children. I know this because I’ve recklessly thrown away any serious job I’ve ever had a chance at in favor of art and childhood. Even as a teacher staying in the lines never happened and syllabuses were thrown to the wind just long enough to inspire a few Peter Pans before moving on.

Florence seems to have been one of those forgotten women who saw their nurturing, quiet nature as a positive–the artists who flocked to her house for thirty years obviously appreciated her as well. She was still of a time when self sacrifice and creating cozy interior spaces for others was held as a woman’s right and calling. Understandably not every woman wanted to be Florence, but it seems every artist who met her wanted to repay her for her nurturing.

Quiet Beauty

Quiet Beauty

When in later life she grew frail and might lose the house artists of fame and renown banded together to not only save the house for her but restore it to its original beauty. A quiet life, acts of simple love and the inspiration for some of America’s great artists. Oh, what our little deeds mean to others–we may never know.

 

Art and Death

promised childThe nature of art’s ability to heal as told by the artist:

“In the course of my peregrinations, I saw a man walking up and down before an adobe shanty, apparently much distressed; I approached him, and inquired the cause of his dejection; he told me that his only daughter, aged six years *, had died suddenly in the night; he pointed to the door and I entered the dwelling.

Laid out upon a straw mattress, scrupulously clean, was one of the most angelic children I ever saw. On its face was a placid smile, and it looked more like the gently repose of healthful sleep than the everlasting slumber of death.

Beautiful curls clustered around a brow of snowy whiteness. . . . I entered very softly, and did not disturb the afflicted mother, who reclined on the bed, her face buried in the pillow, sobbing as if her heart would break.

Without a second’s reflection I commenced making a sketch of the inanimate being before me, and in the course of half-an-hour I had produced an excellent likeness.

A slight movement in the room caused the mother to look around her. She perceived me, and I apologized for my intrusion; and telling her that I was one of the Governor’s party. . . . I tore the leaf out of my book and presented it to her, and it is impossible to describe the delight and joy she expressed at its possession. She said I was an angel sent from heaven to comfort her.

She had no likeness of her child. I bid her place her trust in Him “who giveth and taketh away,” and left her indulging in the excitement of joy and sorrow. I went out unperceived by the bereaved father, contemplating the strange combination of events, which gave this poor woman a single ray of peace for her sorrowing heart.

When I was about starting the next day, I discovered in the wagon a basket filled with eggs, butter, and several loaves of bread, and a note to my address containing these words “From a grateful heart.” Solomon Nunes Carvalho 

Incidents of Travel and Adventure in the Far West

Adventurous young man

Adventurous young man

Solomon Nunes Carvalho was the first photographer taken on government explorations of the West. He’d never taken outdoor pictures, saddled a horse or built a campfire, but when Captain John C. Fremont asked him along on his next trip, Carvalho jumped at the chance–yet another adventurous young American. The small party of 22 men–a leader, a photographer, a topographer, 7 assistants, 10 Delaware Indians and 2 Mexicans set out with high hopes only to end up in the treacherous Rockies in winter. If they hadn’t stumbled into the remote Mormon village of Parowan they would have died.

Solomon Nunes Carvalho was born in 1815 in Charleston, South Carolina, into a Jewish family of Spanish-Portuguese descent. Carvalho worked as both a portrait and landscape painter and a photographer.  The daguerreotypes that Carvalho took on this expedition no longer exist.

A New Woman: Fanny Benjamin Johnston

Self Portrait as "New Woman"

Self Portrait as “New Woman”

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“While Johnston was running her studio in Washington, feminist campaigns to secure the vote and other rights were encouraging women to break out of their domestic roles. In 1897, she published an article in the Ladies’ Home Journal urging women to consider photography as a means of supporting themselves. “To an energetic, ambitious woman with even ordinary opportunities, success is always possible,” she wrote, adding that “hard, intelligent and conscientious work seldom fails to develop small beginnings into large results.” Johnston also used her influence to help other American female artists—for example, arranging exhibits of their work for the 1900 Paris Exposition. Her portraits of Susan B. Anthony, taken that same year, capture the stoic determination that the feminist leader needed—for half a century—to hold together the competing groups working toward women’s suffrage. And yet there is no evidence that Johnston ever participated in a feminist campaign.”  http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Victorian-Womanhood-in-All-Its-Guises.html

A nice room of her own.

A nice room of her own.

American sensuality in studio.

American sensuality in studio.

Portrait of artist.

Portrait of artist.

Photographer's studio

Photographer’s studio

Images Library of Congress

Stuffed Dead Victorian Bunnies Are So Cute!

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Eccentric Victorian taxidermist Walter Potter created these adorable scenes and more between 1855 and 1890. A book is being published about them and I’m definitely buying a copy.

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Reel Jersey Girl–Trailblazing Filmaker–Alice Guy Blache

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http://www.bergen.com/artsmusic/History_Reel_Jersey_Girl.html

“Her ideas about narrative filmmaking predated all the great American filmmakers and most filmmakers in the world.”

“She was the earliest to deploy character arc and the psychological perspective of a lead character in a film story.”

“. . . pioneered the use of film close-ups years before D.W. Griffith who is usually given credit.”

She would almost single-handedly develop the art of cinematic narrative and define the role of movie director as separate from that of camera operator,” Alison McMahan, author of the biography Alice Guy Blaché: Lost Visionary of the Cinema, says. “She eschewed expensive backdrops in favor of real locations, making her films look startlingly modern. She pioneered the use of close-ups to dramatic effect in films several years before D.W. Griffith, who is usually given credit for the innovation, even started working in film. And most important, she was the earliest to deploy character arc and the psychological perspective of a lead character in a film story.” – See more at: http://www.bergen.com/artsmusic/History_Reel_Jersey_Girl.html#sthash.L09fw2N6.dpuf
She would almost single-handedly develop the art of cinematic narrative and define the role of movie director as separate from that of camera operator,” Alison McMahan, author of the biography Alice Guy Blaché: Lost Visionary of the Cinema, says. “She eschewed expensive backdrops in favor of real locations, making her films look startlingly modern. She pioneered the use of close-ups to dramatic effect in films several years before D.W. Griffith, who is usually given credit for the innovation, even started working in film. And most important, she was the earliest to deploy character arc and the psychological perspective of a lead character in a film story.” – See more at: http://www.bergen.com/artsmusic/History_Reel_Jersey_Girl.html#sthash.L09fw2N6.dpuf
She would almost single-handedly develop the art of cinematic narrative and define the role of movie director as separate from that of camera operator,” Alison McMahan, author of the biography Alice Guy Blaché: Lost Visionary of the Cinema, says. “She eschewed expensive backdrops in favor of real locations, making her films look startlingly modern. She pioneered the use of close-ups to dramatic effect in films several years before D.W. Griffith, who is usually given credit for the innovation, even started working in film. And most important, she was the earliest to deploy character arc and the psychological perspective of a lead character in a film story.” – See more at: http://www.bergen.com/artsmusic/History_Reel_Jersey_Girl.html#sthash.L09fw2N6.dpuf