Robert Winthrop Chanler

Robert Winthrop Charler, “Leopard and Deer”, 1912, Gouache or Tempera on Canvas on Wood, Single Panel Screen, 194.3 x 133.4 cm, Rokeby Collection

Born in February of 1872 into the Astor family, one of America’s oldest and wealthiest, Robert Winthrop Chanler was a largely self-taught decorative artist, designer, and muralist. One of eleven children in the family, he and his siblings became orphans after the death of their mother, Margaret Astor War, in 1875 and their father, John Winthrop Chanler, in 1877, both of whom succumbed to pneumonia. They were raised at their parents’ Rokeby Estate in Barrytown, New York, and amply provided for by their father’s will with twenty-thousand dollars a year for each child, equivalent to approximately four hundred seventy thousand dollars today.

Coming of age, Chanler traveled to Europe, where he stayed in Paris in the 1890s and associated with the artists of the city. His formal training in the arts was done at Paris’s École des Beaux-Arts, where he produced his best known work, the screen “Giraffes”, which was exhibited later at the 1905 Salon d’Autumne and  purchased by the French government. Returning to the United States in the early 1900s, he purchased a townhouse in New York City on East 19th Street. This townhouse, decorated with his own works, became a social center for the art community of the city. Whole living in the city, Chanler was a member of the New York State Assembly  in 1904 and the sheriff of Dutchess County from 1907 to 1910. 

Robert Chanler’s work involved the use of sculpted gesso, gilded finishes, and transparent glazes  to produce highly ornamental and decorative designs. His work included paintings, fresco murals, stained glass windows, and architectural interiors whose compositions featured fantastical avian, jungle, and aquatic creatures, many overlaid with iridescent metallic finishes. However, Chanler’s specialty was exotic and brilliantly colored, multi-paneled,  lacquered screens.

Chanler painted what interested and entertained him; his work attracted the wealthy Gilded Age patrons, which included Gertrude Vanderbilt and Mai Rogers Coe, and earned him both critical and popular acclaim at many exhibitions. He exhibited his works at the 1905 Salon d’Automne in Paris; his refined work, with its glazes and lacquered finishes, balanced the salon’s exhibition which was dominated by the  bold colors and aggressive brushwork of the Fauvist painters.  Chanler exhibited his painted screens, with great success, at the legendary “International Exhibition of Modern Art” in New York City, known as the 1913 Armory Show. 

His elaborately painted screens were placed in Gallery A near the entrance of the show, where they immediately captured the attention of the arriving public and critics. Chanler exhibited twenty-five screens during the three weeks of the Manhattan show and at least nine at the show when it relocated to Chicago. Two of these exhibited screens were his five-panel “Hopi Indian Snake Dance”, one of two works that focused on Native American subjects,  and  the single-panel, oil on wood  “Porcupines”, currently in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection. 

Robert Winthrop Chanler was a member of the National Society of Mural Painters and a member of the New York Architectural League. Known for both his artistic prominence, bohemian lifestyle, and eccentricity, he was a close friend of novelist and poet Hervey White, who was one of the original founders of the Byrdcliffe Art Colony in Woodstock, New York.  Founded in 1902, it is the oldest operating arts and crafts colony in America.  Chanler became a member of the colony in the early 1920s and, toward the end of his life, owned a house in Woodstock, where he participated in local exhibitions. Robert Winthrop Chanler died, after having lain in a coma for twelve hours, at the Byrdcliffe Colony on October 24th in 1930.

Top Insert Image: Robert Winthrop Chanler, “Before the Wind”, 1919, Painted Screen, Private Collection

Middle Insert Image: Whitney Cox, “Robert Winthrop Chanler”,  circa 1900, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Robert Winthrop Chanler and Hunt Diederich, “Mille Fleurs”, 1919, Painted Screen, Private Collection

Half of My Body Smiles

Photographers Unknown, Half of My Body Smiles

Si la mitad de mi cuerpo sonríe
La otra mitad se llena de tristeza
Y misteriosas escamas de pescado
Suceden a mis cabellos. Sonrío y lloro
Sin saber si son mis brazos
O mis piernas las que lloran o sonríen
Sin saber si es mi cabeza
Mi corazón o mi glande
El que decide mi sonrisa
O mi tristeza. Azul como los peces
Me muevo en aguas turbias o brillantes
Sin preguntarme por qué
Simplemente sollozo
Mientras sonrío y sonrío
Mientras sollozo

If a half of my body smiles,
The other one is steeped in sadness,
And strands of my hair
Turn into mysterious fish scales as they grow.
I smile and I cry
Oblivious as to whether it is my arms
Or my legs that smile or cry,
Oblivious as to whether it is my head,
My heart or my glans
Deciding on my smile
Or sadness. Blue like the fish,
I swim through waters troubled or shimmering,
Never wondering why
I just sob
As I smile and I smile
As I sob.

–Jorge Eduardo Eielson, Cuerpo Dividido (Body Divided)

Born in April of 1924 in Lima, Jorge Eduardo Eielson was a Peruvian artist, poet, and novelist. The son of a Peruvian mother and a Swedish-American father, he showed an early interest in the arts, where he developed skills in playing the piano and drawing. At the end of his secondary studies, Eielson met writer and anthropologist José Maria Arguedas, who introduced him to the ancient civilizations of Peru and Lima’s literary and artistic circles. 

In 1941, Eielson enrolled at the National University of San Marcos, Lima’s public research university. Three years later, at the age of twenty-one, his collection of poems “Reinos (Kingdoms)” earned him the National Poetry Award and influenced a new generation of modern Peruvian poets. In 1948, Eielson received Peru’s National Drama Award and held a successful exhibition of his visual artwork at the prestigious Lima Gallery. 

After receiving a film study scholarship from the French government, Jorge Eielson traveled in 1948 to Paris, where he exhibited at the Colette Allendy, a gallery linked to the avant-garde of the post-war period. After a stay in Switzerland, he traveled, in 1951, to Italy where he settled in Rome and met his life partner, the Sardinian avant-garde painter Michele Mulas. They lived together in various cities in Italy and traveled to Paris, New York and Peru. 

In the late 1950s, Eielson abandoned the extreme avant-garde and began to texturize his canvases, by using organic materials such as clay sand, and earth to sculpt the canvas surface. Initially using these materials on his landscapes, Eielson moved towards figurative works using textiles of various kinds. In 1963, he began producing his first quipu, an ancient Inca device of knotted colored threads for recording information, which he modernized  by using brilliant colored fabrics, knotted and tied on canvas. These works were exhibited by Eielson in the 1964 Biennale in Venice and received wide acclaim and led to exhibitions at New York’s MOMA and Nelson Rockefeller Collection, as well as the Salon De Mai in Paris. 

Living in Rome, Jorge Eielson wrote his collection of poems, “Habitación en Roma” and his two novels: the 1971 “El Cuerpo de Giulia-No (The Body of Julia-n)” and “Primera Muerte de Maria (Maria’s First Death)”, published in 1988, which contain Eielson’s recurring themes of love, eroticism, religion, the sea, and the city of Lima. In the middle of the 1970s, Eielson returned to Peru where he devoted himself to the study of pre-Columbian art. At this time, Peru’s  National Institute of Culture published most of Eielson’s collective poetry under the title of Poesia Escrita (Written Poetry). 

In 1978, Eielson received a Guggenheim Fellowship for a lecture in New York City. At the end of the decade, he and Michele Mulas moved to Milan, Italy, where Eielson would spend the rest of his life writing and producing his art, which continued to be exhibited around the world. Eielson returned to Peru in 1990 to participate, along with  Peruvian-born visual artist Jorge Piqueras, in the last Trujillo Biennial which also included artists from neighboring countries. In 2002, he gave his last public interview through a streaming video organized by Fundación Telefónica. 

Following the death of Michele Mulas of leukemia in 2002, Jorge Eielson’s own health significantly deteriorated. He died in Milan on March 8th of 2006; his ashes were laid to rest beside his partner’s ashes in a small cemetery in Bari Sardo, a municipality in the Italian region Sardinia. Eielson’s work is in the collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Museo de Arte de Lima, the Rockefeller Collection in New York, and the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas, among others.

Glyn Warren Philpot

Glyn Warren Philpot, “A Young Breton”, 1917, Oil on Canvas, 127 z 101.6 cm, Tate Museum, London

Best known for his portraits of contemporary figures, Glyn Warren Philpot was a British painter and sculptor. Born in Chapham, London in 1884, he began studies at the Lambeth School of Art in 1900, under landscape painter Philip Connard. Philpot later studied at the studio of painter and sculptor Jean-Paul Laurens at the Académie Julian in Paris.

 In 1904 one of Philpot’s paintings was included in the Royal Academy’s annual Summer Exhibition and this led to his first portrait commission. By 1911, he was living and working in a studio flat in London and had become successfully established as a society portrait painter. Painting up to dozen portrait commissions a year, Philpot was able travel in Europe and America, where he absorbed the modernist influences of portraits by Diego Velázquez, Edouard Manet, and  Francisco de Goya, among others. 

Following his conversion to Catholicism in 1905, Glyn Philpot explored religious and spiritual subject matter throughout his career. After a visit to Florence and central Italy for the first time in the early 1920s, his production of religious-inspired paintings increased significantly. Philpot also produced narrative scenes that were less formal and done with looser brushwork. Some of these show the influence of the French Symbolist movement, which was disseminated throughout the European art forms at this time. These more personal works of Philpot were shown in 1910 at his first solo exhibition in London, however, these works  received far less critical acclaim than his portraits. 

Despite his conversion to Catholicism, Philpot’s interests in the male nude and portraits of young men show a gradual expression of his own homosexuality. A trip to Berlin in the autumn of 1931, where Philpot confronted both the shocking rise of Nazism and the sexual openness of the city, encouraged him to be less secretive about his own homosexuality. This trip further contributed to his belief in the need for a change and a new openness in his art. At an exhibition in 1932, Philpot showed transparently homoerotic portraits of Julien Zaïre, a Parisian cabaret artist, and Karl Heinz Müller, a young German man who had been Philpot’s companion in Berlin. 

After the start of World War I, Glyn Philpot joined the Royal Fussiliers and, in August of 1915, attended a training course at Aldershot, known as the home of the British Army. There he met Vivian Forbes, a fellow soldier and aspiring artist.. In 1917, as officers, they were independently invalided out of the army and, together, they shared a home and studio at Lanstown House in London between 1923 and 1935. Formerly a business man in Egypt, Forbes, with encouragement from Philpot, became an artist and later exhibited at the Royal Academy and elsewhere throughout the 1920s. Although he was talented, charming and devoted to Philpot, Forbes demonstrated increasing emotional instability, within which he became insanely jealous of Philpot’s other friends and liaisons. Despite the tumultuous nature of the relationship, Philpot never disowned him and found inspiration in their relationship.

Philpot lived in Paris  for a year in 1931, at a time when modernism was at its beginning. His exposure to modern art in Europe had an impact on Philpot’s work and influenced the change in style that characterized his early paintings in the 1930s. His “Acrobats Waiting to Rehearse”, painted in 1939 with monochromic light pink hues and contemplative mood, is similar in style to Picasso’s work of his Rose Period. Philpot was also acquainted with the art of Henri Matisse, whom he had met in 1930 when both were on the jury at the Carnegie International Competition, where Picasso was awarded first prize.

On visits to America and Paris, Glyn Philpot frequented jazz clubs and made sketches and painted portraits of black men. At a time when few portraits of black men were painted by white artists, Philpot’s paintings and drawings display empathy and sensitivity towards his sitters. In 1929, he met Henry Thomas, a Jamaican man who had missed his boat home, and  became a steady companion and aide until Philpot’s death. Starting in 1932, Thomas would sit as the model for all of Philpot’s paintings of black men. 

During the 1930s Philpot suffered from high blood-pressure and breathing difficulties. He passed the summer of 1937 in France where he spent time with Forbes. On December 18th,  Philpot collapsed suddenly in London and died of a brain hemorrhage. Vivian Forbes returned from Paris in a highly distressed state to attend Philpot’s funeral at Westminster Cathedral on December 22. The following day he took his own life with an overdose of sleeping pills. Glyn Warren Philpot is buried in a pink granite tomb in St. Peter’s Churchyard, Petersham, in west London. The burial site of Vivian Forbes is unknown.

Note: In regards to Glyn Philbo’s 1917 painting “A Young Breton”, there is another picture of the same young man, full face, entitled ‘Guillaume Rolland, a Young Breton’, in the Art Gallery of Toronto, Canada. This painting most likely was painted about the same time as the Tate image, shown above.

Inser Images From Top to Bottom:

Glyn Warren Philpot, “Portrait of Henry Thomas”, Date Unknown, Private Collection

Glyn Warren Philpot, “Resurgam (Again)”, 1929, Oil on Canvas, 86 x 89 cm, Private Collection

:Glyn Warren Philpot, “The Man in Black”, 1913, Oil on Canvas, 76.8 x 69.2 cm, Tate Museum, London

Glyn Warren Philpot, “Portrait of Vivian Forbes”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 146 x 97 cm, Private Collection

Everything Extraneous Has Burned Away

Photographers Unknown, Everything Extraneous Has Burned Away

everything extraneous has burned away
this is how burning feels in the fall
of the final year not like leaves in a blue
October but as if the skies were a paper lantern
full of trapped moths beating their fired wings
and yet I can lie on this hill just above you
a foot beside where I will lie myself
soon soon and for all the wrack and blubber
feel still how we were warriors when the
merest morning sun in the garden was a
kingdom after Room 1010 war in not all
death it turns out war is what little
thing you hold onto refugees and far from home
oh sweetie will you please forgive me this
that every time I opened a box of anything
Glad Bags One-A-Days KINGSIZE was
the worst I’d think will you still be here
when the bus is empty Rog Rog who will
play boy with me now that I bucket with tears
through it all when I’d cling beside you sobbing
you’d shrug it off with the quietest I’m still
I have your watch in the top drawer
which I don’t dare wear yet help me please
the boxes grocery home day after day
the junk that keeps men spotless but it doesn’t
matter now how long they last or I
the day has taken you with it and all
there is now is burning dark the only green
is up by the grave and this little thing
of telling the hill I’m here oh I’m here

Paul Monette, Here, Love Alone: Eighteen Elegies for Rog 

Born in October of 1945 in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Paul Monette was n poet, author, and gay rights activist, best known for his essays about gay relationships. He graduated from the Phillips Academy, a university-preparatory school, in 1963 and earned his Bachelor of Arts at Yale University in 1967.  

Monette’s formative years in the rigid social boundaries and strict religious atmosphere of his middle-class upbringing prompted him to not disclose his gay orientation. Questioning his sexual identity, he moved to Boston, where he taught writing and literature at Milton Academy and Pine Manor College. In 1974 in Boston, Monette met his longtime partner, lawyer Roger Horwitz, a graduate of Harvard Law School, with a Ph.D in comparative literature from Harvard University.

In November of 1977, Paul Monette and Roger Horwitz moved to Los Angeles, where they became strongly associated with the gay rights movement in the city. Monette wrote and published several novels during this period; his first novel, “Taking Care of Mrs Carroll”, featuring two male lovers and a legendary movie goddess, was published in 1978. In the period from 1977 to 1982, he wrote several more works of poetry, fiction and memoirs, including the 1979 “The Gold Diggers” and the 1981 murder mystery “The Long Shot”.

Monette’s more serious work began with the onslaught of the AIDS crisis, when his work focused on its occurring loss and heartbreak. In 1985, his partner, Roger Horwitz, was diagnosed with the AIDS virus and, after a long nineteen month fight against the virus, passed away in October of 1986. After Horwitz’s death, Monette continued his writing and remained active with many public speaking appearances.

In 1988, Paul Monette published his “Love Alone: Eighteen Elegies for Rog”, a collection of poems in remembrance of Horwitz. Using different fonts and no punctuation, the lines are interpreted by the reader’s determination when to begin and end a sentence. Through the poetry Monette described the events that occurred during Roger’s decline in health and his own transition through the various  emotions he experienced, which included denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance. His description of his loss is particularly evident in the poem “The Very Same”, written on the day of Horwitz’a funeral.

Monette published his “Afterlife” in 1990 and “Halfway Home” in 1991, both which were centered around people with AIDS and their families’ experiences. His most acclaimed book, the 1988 “Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir”, chronicles his partner Roger Horwitz’s long fight, and eventual death, from the AIDS virus. Describing the devastating loneliness felt by AIDS patients and their loved ones, the memoir received both the PEN Center West and Lambda literary awards. Monette’s 1992 memoir “Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story”, an autobiography of his early closeted life, culminating with his meeting Roger, was written as a classical coming of age story and won the National Book Award in 1992. 

Monette’s life story, including the final years before his own death from AIDS in February of 1995, is documented in Monte Bramer and Lesli Klainberg’s 1996 film “Paul Monette” The Brink of Summer’s End”. Premiered at the 1996 Los Angeles Outfest, the film went on to win four awards for best documentary, including the GLAAD Media Award and the Sun Dance Film Festival. 

Paul Monette died in Los Angeles where he lived with his partner of five years, author and psychotherapist Winston Wilde. He is buried alongside Roger Horwitz at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills Los Angeles. Shortly before his death, Paul Monette established the Monette-Horwitz Trust to support future LBGT activism and scholarship.Trust Awards are given annually to individuals and organizations for their contribution to eradicating homophobia through literary, scholarly, archival, or activist work. 

George Washington Lambert

George Washington Lambert, “The Half-Back (Maurice Lambert)”, 1920, Oil on Canvas, 76.2 x 61 cm, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Although “The Half-Back (Maurice Lambert)” is a portrait of an individual, Australian painter George Lambert intended it to be seen as a general type of portrait, and thus gave it a generalized name. He originally exhibited it as “Young Man in a White Sweater” in 1920 at  London and, in the following year, at the Pittsburgh International. He later gave this portrait of his son Maurice, then an eighteen-year old sculpture student, a more athletic title, “The Half-Back”.

Lambert presented his son with a sensuous and powerful presence, typical of a matinee idol. This resulted from Lambert’s depiction of the sultry eyes, the dark brushed-back hair, the pouting expression of the mouth, and the subject’s white sweater, with the raised collar’s emphasis on the nape of the neck. Silhouetted against a plain blue background, the subject’s head and torso, composed of thin layers of paint to create a flat, matte surface,  are the focus of the painting.

Born in Paris in 1901, Maurice Lambert was the eldest of two children of George Lambert and Amelia Absell; the other child was a daughter Constant, born in 1905, who became a composer and conductor. Maurice Lambert studied sculpture under Derwent Wood at London’s  Royal Academy and also attended Chelsea Polytechnic. He is known mostly for his public sculptures. 

Considered one of the new group of British sculptors, Maurice Lambert’s  work in the late 1920s and 1930s was radical in his experimental use of materials. The wide range of his materials was evident in his 1929 “New Sculpture” exhibition, where he showed work made from African hardwood, alabaster, Portland stone, marble and metal. At the time his father painted this portrait, Maurice Lambert was still studying sculpture at the Royal College and was, also. working with his father at his studio as a model and painting assistant. 

Originally “The Half-Back” was in the collection of Australian painter Hans Heysen, known for his watercolors of monumental Australian gum trees, and images of men and animals in the Australian bush. It was purchased in 1958 by Adelaide’s Art Gallery of South Australia through a South Australian Government Grant. 

Biographical information on the life of George Lambert can be found at:

Luigi Lucioni

Paintings by Luigi Lucioni

Born in 1900 in Malnate, a small town near Milan, Italy, Luigi Lucioni was an accomplished etcher and artist who painted precisely described landscapes, still-lifes, and portraits over his sixty year career. Working with a strong feeling for his subjects and with great technical skill. Lucioni was a classical realist with a modern perspective, who drew inspiration from the Italian Renaissance artists, as well as the work of Paul Cezanne and landscape artist Claude Lorrain.

Lucioni’s body of work, both landscape and portraiture, was a result of close observation, meticulous delineation, and the careful positioning of compositional elements. He was paid close attention to the textures, patterns, colors, and the arrangement of shapes that would effect his compositions. 

In August of 1911, Luigi Lucioni came to the United States with his family, where they landed in New York Harbor with three hundred-fifty other third-class passengers. After being processed, the family initially moved into an apartment on Christopher Street in Manhattan before finally eventually settling, in 1929, at Union City, New Jersey. At age fifteen, Lucioni entered a competition for admission to Cooper Union, a private college with full scholarships to admitted students, and was accepted. 

In 1915, Lucioni began studying drawing and painting at the Cooper Union, where he received sound criticism from painting instructor and muralist William de Leftwich Dodge. Through Dodge’s influence, Lucioni developed a determination not to adapt to current trends in art but to pursue his own artistic vision. At age nineteen, he entered New York City’s National Academy of Design, where he studied etching under William Aueerbach-Levy. As a student, Lucioni met and was acquainted with many in the city’s circle of gay artists, including painter Jared French, photographer George Platt Lynes, writer Lincoln Kirstein, and artist Paul Cadmus, with whom he became romantically involved. 

In 1924, Lucioni was awarded a Tiffany Foundation Scholarship, which enabled him to spend part of every year for the next decade painting at Tiffany’s Oyster Bay, Long Island, estate. In 1925 he traveled to Italy for the first time since he had left the country as a boy. Lucioni’s encounter with Italy’s Renaissance art, which included the works of Botticelli, Raphael, and Piranesi, had a profound affect on his developing painting style. Upon his return to the United States from Italy, Luigi Lucioni lived and worked in a townhouse at 33 West 10th Street in New York City.

In 1928, Lucioni painted his “Portrait of Paul Cadmus” which memorialized the passion of both artists for the works of painter Piero della Francesca. Using a modern, close-up format, Lucioni modeled Cadmus against the geometric backdrop of a creased white cloth, capturing a piercing gaze that is at once mysterious and mesmerizing. In 1931, Lucioni  was commissioned to paint a Vermont landscape and, struck by the beauty of the mountains, eventually purchased a farmhouse in 1939 near Manchester, where he spent his  summers.

 In 1938, Lucioni met actress and singer Ethel Waters through a mutual friend, writer and photographer Carl Van Vechten, who was a patron of the Harlem Renaissance. The result of this meeting was the 1939 “Portrait of Ethel Waters”, which last seen publicly in 1942 and presumed lost, is now in the collection of the Huntsville Museum of Art. In 1939, Lucioni also painted the “Portrait of Jared French” in which he used a  close-up format to capture the textures of French’s  hair and skin with fine details; Lucioni also highlighted French’s face by placing it against an off-white cloth background.

During the course of his successful career, Luigi Lucioni  exhibited in New York with the Ferargil Gallery, the Associated American Artists, and the Milch Gallery. In 1932, he became the youngest person to have a painting purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Lucioni passed away on July 22nd of 1988 in New York City..

Lucioni’s work is in the collections of many leading American museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Brooklyn Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Dallas Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Top Insert Image: Luigi Lucioni, “Rose Hobart”, 1934, Oil on Canvas, 76.7 x 61 cm, Private Collection

Middle Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Luigi Lucioni”. 1930, Photographic Print, 13 x 18 cm, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Museum 

Bottom Insert Image: Luigi Lucioni, “Resting Athlete”, 1938, Oil on Canvas, 110.5 x 122 cm, Private Collection

The Faces of Man: Photo Set Eleven

Photographers Unknown, The Faces of Man: Photo Set Eleven

“I thought about the word ‘profile’ and what a weird double meaning it had. We say we’re looking at a person’s profile online, or say a newspaper is writing a profile on someone, and we assume it’s the whole them we’re seeing. But when a photographer takes a picture of a profile, you’re only seeing half the face… It’s never the way you would remember seeing them. You never remember someone ‘in profile.’ You remember them looking you in the eye, or talking to you. You remember an image that the subject could never see in a mirror, because you are the mirror. A profile, photographically, is perpendicular to the person you know.” 

― David Levithan, Every You, Every Me

Born in Short Hills, New Jersey in 1972, David Levithan is an American fiction author, who has written works which feature strong male gay characters. After graduating from Millburn High School in 1990, he received an internship at Scholastic Corporation, a multinational publishing and media company, where he was edited the young-adult novel series “The Baby-Sitters Club”. Levithan is still an editorial director at Scholastic and is also the founding editor of PUSH, an imprint of Scholastic focused on new authors. 

Levithan acknowledged his style of writing, both humorous and affecting, was influenced by the works of author Judith Viorst, known for her humorous observational poetry and children’s literature. The majority of Levithan’s work is in the young-adult category, of which several have been adapted for film. He collaborated with writer Rachel Cohn on the 2006 novel “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist’, which was adapted into the 2008 feature film directed by Peter Sollett. David Levithan’s 2012 novel “Every Day” was adapted into a romantic fantasy drama, of the same name, and was released in 2018. A second collaboration between him and Cohen produced the 2007 novel “Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List”, a best-friends relationship story of two apartment neighbors, one gay male and one heterosexual female. This novel was adapted into a film directed by Kristin Hanggi, best known for her 2009 Broadway musical “Rock of Ages”, and released in 2015 at the Outfest Film Festival. 

David Levithan/s first novel specifically for adults was the 2011 “The Lover’s Dictionary”. The novel was inspired by the alphabetical order of entry of words in the book “Words You Need to Know” shich was sitting on his desk. The “Dictionary” is told entirely through alphabetically arranged dictionary entries, both brief and concise and  without chronological order, that reveal the two characters joyful but struggling relationship. 

Levithan has edited, along with Billy Merrell, the 2006 anthology “The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing About Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Other Identities”. He was also a collaborative author with Ned Vizzini for the 2021  graphic novel “Be More Chill: The Graphic Novel”, illustrated by Nick Betozzi, known for his Alternative Comics series “Rubber Necker”..

Erzsébet Korb

Erzsebet Korb, “Alter Ego”, 1920, Oil on Canvas, 111 x 90.5 cm, Private Collection

Born in 1899, as the eldest daughter of Hungarian architect Flóris Korb, Erzsébet Korb was raised in an artistic environment and began painting at an early age. She exhibited three works at the 1916 National Salon in Budapest; these works were heavily influenced by the new classicism. Between 1917 and 1919, Korb studied at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts under painter Oszkár Glatz, who was a member of the Nagybánya art colony which had a rich history of classical compositions of bathers and nudes in the tradition of Cézanne. 

Korb was connected through her contacts with the Szőnyi Circle, a group of artists who were developing the new Hungarian post-war classicism. She later shared a studio with Károly Patkó and Vilmos Aba-Novák, both forerunners of the new modern movement. Korb was also influenced by the symbolist painter Aladár Körösfői Kriesch and Gödöllö Art Colony he formed, which linked her classicist style to pre-war symbolism and the secessionist movement. The work she was doing in this period depicted Arcadian scenes with shiny and gloomy lighting, populated by nude mythical figures. 

Between 1920 and her death, Erzsébet Korb continued to develop her style, in which she further expanded the nuances between the monumental and partly symbolist imagery of women in idealized nudity. Her works are known for their both melancholy and spiritual atmospheres, and her keen fondness for monumental forms. Korb’s rhythm and a sense for color patterns played a huge role in awakening the often tranquil compositions of neo-classicist paintings back to life.

In 1920, Erzsébet Korb painted her “Alter Ego”, one of her best known oil paintings, which depicts two sides to the personality of the male figure. Her 1921 painting, “Nudes” depicts a male and a female figure; these figures are idealized nudes with bodily features typical of the new classicist style. In Korb’s 1922 “Promised Land”, she added variation and movement to an otherwise tranquil classical composition of nude women. Her 1923 “Revelation” shows androgynous young men acting as saints, with a female figure in awe, bathed in divine light. Korb’s last major work was the 1925  “Danaidae”, a popular mythological subject within the Szőnyi Circle, in which fifty women, after killing their husbands, are condemned to carry water in perforated buckets.

Erzsébet Korb did a study tour of Italy in the spring of 1924; an exhibition of the work opened May in the following year. Shortly after the exhibition, she died of unknown reasons. Korb’s memorial exhibition was held in March of 1927 at the Ernst Museum in Budapest. 

Top Insert Image: Erzsébet Korb, “Self Portrait”, Date Unknown, Charcoal on Paper, 36.5 x 30 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Erzsébet Korb, “Saint Sebastian”, 1021, Oil on Canvas, 68.5 x 55 cm, Private Collection

Servando Cabrera Moreno

The Artwork of Servando Cabrera Moreno 

Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1923, Servando Cabrera Moreno was a painter and sketcher, whose work contains a wide range of themes and styles. from traditional to abstraction, cubism and expressionism. A supporter of the Cuban revolution, his paintings are rooted in the tradition of vanguardia, a vigorous avant-garde current of artistic, cultural and social innovation, and are especially indebted to the work of Carlos Enríquez Gómez, one of the most original painters and illustrators of the vanguardia.

Along with painter Umberto Peña, Servando was the first of the 1960s artists to make homoerotic art in Cuba. Various artists in Cuba, including painters Raul Martinez and Manuel Mendive, used the theme of eroticism in their work; however, Servando and Peña dared to portray the issue of homosexuality in their work during a time when such work resulted in ostracism and exclusion from exhibitions.

Servando graduated, after winning first place in the painting examination, from the San Alejandro School of Fine Arts in 1942. He held his first individual exhibition, consisting of charcoal portraits, in the Havana Lyceum in September of  1943. Three years later, Servando  traveled to the United States and studied at the Art Students League in New York, where he also became involved in theater, and costume and stage design. 

Servando  traveled to Europe in 1949 and continued his studies at Paris’s  Grande Chaumiére in the Montparnasse district, where he discovered  and became influenced by the artwork of Pablo Picasso.  In 1950 and 1951, Servando gained recognition with his geometric and cubist oil paintings which were leaning towards abstraction. Mainly influenced by the works of Jean Miró and Paul Klee, he later entered a brief period of intense abstraction from 1953 to 1954; the works from this period were exhibited in solo exhibitions in France and Spain. 

During his stay in Paris, Servando met and became good friends withAlfredo Guevara. The friendship later deepened when Servando worked, along with filmmakers Julio Garcia Espinosa and Guevara, on the 1954 “El Megano”, a semi-documentary on the life of the charcoal makers of the Ciénaga de Zapata wetlands. Guevara became an important support for Servando during the difficult period of the 1970s, which were marked by discrimination towards homosexuals and a restrictive Cuban political culture. 

Servando  Cabrera Moreno , discouraged by the art market system, made  a sudden change in his style after a successful solo exhibition in January of 1954 at Paris’s La Roue Gallery. In Spain Servando began a series of realistic charcoal drawings of popular and village characters, which he would continue until 1955. This series of drawings and his work on the documentary  would lead to Servando’s 1955 oil painting “Los Carboneros del Megano (Megano’s Charcoal Workers)”. 

Servando traveled extensively through Europe and visited both Mexico and Central America. Observing the works of Matisse, Léger, and the cubist period of Picasso, he developed a new style in which architectural ornamentation and the  elements of modern painting are integrated. With the 1959 triumph of the revolution in Cuba, Servando’s art reached a turning point; he began incorporating topics from recent Cuban history in his paintings and, in 1961, his style was fully committed to the new reality. 

Towards the end of 1961, Servando exhibited at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana the first of  his Cuban epic paintings in which he decided to represent all those who had never achieved a leading  role in the arts. Servando documented events, such as the April 15th bombardment, and produced paintings of crowded popular assemblies, the literary campaign brigades, and the young people in the streets. This series of epic  paintings would continue to 1964, when he exhibited the “Heroes, Riders, and Couples” at the Habana Gallery. 

After again traveling to Europe in 1965, Servando began a five year period of expressionism that would lead to a sudden and long  period of eroticism in his work, a period which became the climax of his artistic development. Beginning in 1970, the male figure became the central focus of his work; he portrayed the human body as a sensual landscape of intertwined torsos and embracing couples. In this period, Servando made a 1077 series of  fifty-four drawings entitled  “La Soledad de un Autorretrato” and a series of explicitly erotic large ink drawings

Servando suffered a heart attack in 1967 and his work during the 1970s was regularly criticized  due to his consistent addressing of the homoerotic theme.  He was eventually fired from the faculty at the National Art School, which left scars on his personal life. A 1971 exhibition of Servando’s work at the Museo National de Belles Arts was dismantled and banned. That same year, issue number forty=four of the revolutionary cultural magazine, “Caimán Barbudo”, illustrated by Servando, was destroyed after printing. After 1971, exhibition space in Cuba was closed to him. 

Servando Cabrera Monero  participated in many Biennials in Venice, Säo Paulo, and Mexico, as well as the Inter-American Painting, Sculpting, and Print Biennial. Hs received a number of prizes at Cuban salons: a gold medal at the Pan-American Tampa Exhibition and silver medal at the 1969 International Joan Miró Drawing Contest held in Barcelona.

Along with all of Servando’s  friends and relatives, Alfredo Guevara was deeply affected  by the artist’s early death in 1981. He  became the legal trustee of Servando’s stored works which contained half of his oeuvre. This collection, overseen by Guevara, was transferred by the National Heritage Council and now resides at the Servando Cabrera Moreno Museum Library in Havana. An equal number of works are in the collection of Havana’s Museo Nacional de Bellas Arts. 

Note: A complete online copy of “Servando Cabrera Moreno: The Embrace of the Senses” by Rosemary Cruz and Claudia Machado can be found at the international database ISSUU located at:

The Parts and Pieces Making a Whole: Set Twelve

Photographers Unknown, The Parts and Pieces Making a Whole: Set Twelve

They call me Gianni
They call me Jim
But also Dominic
In both genders
In every guise

Whether it be Gianni, Jim or Dominic
In the present tense as in the past
First or third person
We’re talking of the same person
With the difference that each one
Speaks in another tongue
Confounding strangers
Claims the spiteful gossip

At time Gianni and Jim will be one and the same
At times they will oppose each other
Sometimes they might act as total strangers
And so it goes for both Dominics

The distance between them may be paper thin
Or else wide as the ocean
That which separates two languages
Or lies, mute, within the blood cells

Albert Russo, Dramatis Personae, The Crowded World of Solitude, Vol. 2

Born in February, 1943, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Albert Russo is a poet, short story writer, novelist and photographer. The son of a British mother and an Italian Sephardic father, he attended the high school in Bujumbura, a coastal city in Burundi, where he mastered four languages: French, English, Dutch, German, and vernacular Swahili. Russo earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration at New York University in 1964  He traveled to Heidelberg in 1965, where he earned a degree in German culture and literature at the Collegium Palatinum. 

Russo first began writing poems in English in 1964 during his years at New York University. In 1965, he settled in Milan, Italy, where he  worked at the family firm and continued his writing. His first novel entitled “La Pointe du Diable”, written in French, was published in 1973 in Brussels. For this work, Russo won the Prix Colette in Cannes and the Prix de la Liberté in Paris. 

In 1975, Albert Russo returned to New York for three years. During this period, he taught language classes and published several poems and short stories in a variety of international magazines, including The Literary Review, Culture Française, La Libre Belgique, and Revue Zaire. Russo also worked with UNICEF translating scripts for children’s documentary films. He returned to Europe in 1978  and settled in Paris. 

Albert Russo has written more than twenty-five works, translated into twelve languages. His main themes are the defense of individual and collective rights, including ethnic, gender and religious, and the fight against racism. Many of his works are centered around life in Africa; two of which are“Mixed Blood” and “Eclipse over Lake Tanganyika”, both published in 2000. Russo wrote a large two-volume series entitled “The Crowded World of Solitude”, the first volume which includes short stories, essays, and fables: the second volume contains forty year collection of poems. 

During the 1980s, through their common Congolese experience and love for Africa, Russo met and befriended Italian artist and philosopher Joseph Pace. Later in the 2999s, he became friends with poet and photographer Adam Donaldson Powell. Together they authored the 2009 “Gaytude”, a volume of poetry, with photographs by Russo, which dealt with the gay experience of life on five continents.

As a professional photographer, Albert Russo has earned several prizes, including winning a National Indie-Excellence award and a silver medal from a Gallery Photografica competition. His photographic work has been shown at Switzerland’s Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne. In 2019, Russo won a UNICEF Award for his poetry oeuvre and, in 2020, an Artavita Certificate for his photography.

Jake Grewal

Drawings and Paintings by Jake Gerwal

Born in South London in 1994, Jake Grewal is an artist whose work, done in the mediums of oil paint, watercolor and colored pencils, expresses his own life experiences. 

In 2013, Grewal received his Foundation Diploma in Art and Design from Kingston University in London. He received his Bachelor of Arts with first-class Honors in Fine Art and Painting from the University of Brighton in 2016. Grewal completed a year of postgraduate studies at London’s Royal Drawing School in 2019 and, following that, undertook a month-long residency at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence.

Grewal’s autobiographical work is a blend of Romanticism and his South Asian heritage. His drawings and paintings are influenced by his early exposure to the Romantic artists who emphasized nature and individualism, such as painter and watercolorist William Turner, landscape artist Caspar David Friedrich, biblical artist John Martin, and visionary artist William Blake. 

Themes of love and loss, identity, violence, and adolescence are presented  in Grewal’s populated scenes of the natural world. Seen through a queer perspective, the two dominant aspects of his work are the natural idyllic world setting and the relationship between the nude male figures contained within. 

Grewal’s paintings and drawings have evolved over the years to a point where natural surroundings, often used as an allegory for the work’s narrative, has become an intrinsic feature of his observational work. A major influence on this evolution was a trip taken to Borneo where he viewed the extensive deforestation undertaken to increase palm oil production.

Jake Grewal had his first solo show, held at Very Lab, which was entitled “When I First Met You, I Was Younger”. His work has been exhibited at Baltic 39, a contemporary art center in Newcastle, where he won the 2016 Woon Foundation Prize. In 2019, Grewal’s work was exhibited at the “Looking for Validation” group exhibition at the Nayland Rock Hotel and at the “Full English” exhibition at the multi-discipline art program Platform Southwark, both in London. Among other exhibitions, his work has also been shown at Christie’s in London and the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester.

Bottom Insert Image: Jake Grewal, Title and Date Unknown,Seed Pods, Colored Pencil on Paper

Glittering Frostily

Photographers Unknown, Glittering Frostily

     There are more things to love
     than we would dare to hope for.
     –Richard of St. Victor

where the car hit him, fireweed sprang with
blossoms of fennel

and umbels
of dill fell
through the spokes of a wheel

on Whistun holiday to the sun, Denton
Welch spun a web in his crushed cycle,

sat in the seat, spine curled up like a spider–

and spied: “saw
                     the very drops of sweat glittering frostily
                     between the shouder blades”

                     of a lad

…on and on he spied and bled from the blades of his cycle
small as a spider,
hiding in the fireweed, getting
wet from the skins of many human suns aground
at the Kentish river near
Tunbridge Wells,

where the dill

and all boys

Jonathan Williams, The Wreck on the A-222 in Ravensbourne Valley, Jubilant Thicket: New & Selected Poems, 2995

Born in Asheville, North Carolina, Jonathan Williams was a poet, photographer and graphic artist. He attended St. Albans School in Washington DC, and then Princeton University. After leaving Princeton to pursue the arts, Williams studied painting with Karl Knaths at the Phillips Gallery, and graphic arts and engraving under Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17 in New York City. He later studied photography at Black Mountain College with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind.

In 1951, Williams, along with David Ruff, founded the book publishing company, The Jargon Society, with the goal of publishing obscure writers. This press, long associated with the Black Mountain Poets, an  post-modern group in North Carolina, launched a number of artists, both literary and visually artistic, who pioneered the 1980s avant-garde movement in United States. 

Jonathan Williams was a link between the experimental poets of the second generation of Modernists and the upcoming vernacular artists of Appalachia. Akin to a cultural anthropologist, he based his work on “found’ language, acquired through listening to others reminisce about their lives and experiences. Williams loved to reveal the poetic within the pedestrian, whether from commercial signs, such as “O’Nan’s Auto Service”, to amorous lavatory wall scribblings, such as “The Current Sexist Machismo in a Loo Along the River Kent”. He often infused light verse forms such as limericks, clerihews, and acrostics with his own ribald wit.Williams also invented a form of his own called the Meta-Four, which specified no length, only that every line contain four words. 

Jonathan Williams and his life-long partner, the poet Thomas Meyer, typically divided their year between Skywinding Farm, the property he owned in the Blue Ridge Mountains, outside Highlands, North Carolina, and a seventeenth-century stone cottage in  Cumbria, England. A longtime contributing editor of the photography journal Aperture, Jonathan Williams died from pneumonia on March 16, 2008 in his Blue Ridge Mountain home.

Insert Image: Guy Mendes, “Jonathan Williams and Thomas Meyer at Corn Close”, 1081, Silver Gelatin Print

The Liberty of a Frozen Morning

Photographer Unknown, The Liberty of a Frozen Morning

“The approach of a man’s life out of the past is history, and the approach of time out of the future is mystery. Their meeting is the present, and it is consciousness, the only time life is alive. The endless wonder of this meeting is what causes the mind, in its inward liberty of a frozen morning, to turn back and question and remember. The world is full of places. Why is it that I am here?”

—Wendell Berry, The Long-Legged House

Henry Marvell Carr

Henry Marvell Carr, “Maurice Alan Easton”, 1944, Oil on Canvas, 76.2 x 63.5 cm, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

Born in August of 1894 in Leeds, England, Henry Marvell Carr was a British portrait and landscape painter. He studied at Leeds College of Art and did his postgraduate work at the Royal College of Art under painter and printmaker William Rothenstein, best known for his work as a war artist in both World Wars. 

Henry Carr served in the Royal Field Artillery in France during World War I. The work he produced as a war artist was exhibited at London’s Royal Academy in 1921, and in other British and Parisian galleries. Among the works Carr painted during the 1920s were landscapes depicting England’s south coast and portraits of Olivia Davis, his daughter, and writer Aldous Huxley.

At the outbreak of war in 1939, Carr received an appointment by the War Artists’ Advisory Committee to serve as an official war artist. The first exhibition of his war paintings was held in July of 1940 at the National Gallery in London, which included his 1940 “Dismantling Emergency Water Tank”, a tableaux depicting the removal of one of the National Fire Services’s storage tanks installed during the Nazi bombardment of London. Other wartime works of Carr includes the 1941 “Incendiaries in a Suburb”, “Merchant Seaman Fireman” in 1942, and views of London’s gothic Saint Pancras Station and Saint Danes Church on the Strand.

Between 1942 and 1945, Henry Carr was later attached to the British First Army in North Africa and Italy, where he painted the battles, infantrymen, and casualties of these campaigns. Among his works in this period were portraits of General Dwight Eisenhower and naval telegraph operator Maurice Easton, and a 1945 depiction of a gun crew stationed at the entrance to the port of Algiers, entitled “A Bofors Gun, Algiers”. While stationed in Italy in 1944, Carr witnessed and painted a major eruption of Mount Vesuvius which occurred in late March and destroyed several towns. 

After the war, Carr resumed his career as a portrait painter. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 1948, and, in 1956, was awarded the Paris Salon’s Gold Medal. In 1966, Carr was elected Royal Academician at London’s Royal Academy. He published two academic works, the  1952 “Portrait Painting” and “Portrait Drawing” in 1961. Henry Marvel Carr died in South Kensington, London, in March of 1971 at the age of seventy-five.

Henry Carr’s 1944 head and shoulders portrait “Maurice Alan Easton” depicts Easton, who had a hostilities-only rating, in his seaman’s uniform and naval cap. As he was a telegraphist, Eason bears the radio communicator’s badge on his right arm. Originally a civilian railway clerk from Oxfordshire, Easton was selected from his naval barracks at Naples by Captain Carr who was working there as a wartime artist. In order to impart a symbolic significance to the portrait of the young man, Carr used fluid brushstrokes and portrayed Easton in a heroic stance. 

Carr’s finished work was exhibited simply as ‘The Sailor’ in the Navy League’s post-war ‘Naval Art Exhibition’, which was held at the Suffolk Street Galleries and opened by the First Lord of the Admiralty on the 29th of January in 1946. The image of Easton was also used as a poster for the show, which greatly astonished Easton when he was sent back to London at that time and saw his face on the advertising billboards. Greenwich’s Maritime Museum only learnt the identity of the sitter, and the circumstances surrounding the portrait, from a 1946 clipping of the Sunday Dispatch newspaper, that it received in 1975 from an acquaintance of Maurice Easton.

Insert Image: Henry Marvell Carr, “ Staff Sergeant major E. A. Billett”, 1943, Oil on Canvas, 60.9 x 51.4 cm, Imperial War Museum, London

Parva Scaena (Brief Scenes): Photo Set Twenty-Three

Photographers Unknown, Parva Scaena (Brief Scenes): Photo Set Twenty-Three

“To grow old is to realize the universe is Copernican, not Ptolemaic, and that self and the loved one do not form the epicenter of the solar system>”

—Edward O. Phillips

Born on November 26th of 1931 in Westmount, an enclave of Montreal, Edward Openshaw Phillips was a Canadian novelist who has written mainstream literary fiction and is best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay detective Geoffry Chadwick. 

Edward Phillips earned his Bachelor of Arts from McGill University in Montreal, and earned his Bachelor of Civil Law Degree from the Université de Montréal. After deciding against legal practice, he graduated from Harvard University with a Master’s Degree in Education, and later earned a second Master’s Degree in English Literature from Boston University. Phillips taught English for seven years, first in the public English school system and later at Selwyn House School, an independent boys’ school located in Westmount. 

Having a long-established interest in drawing and painting, Phillips pursued this interest with art classes at both the Visual Arts Center in Westmount and the Montreal Museum School of Art. He later entered his work in numerous group shows and was exhibited in five solo shows within Canada.

Throughout his teaching career and painting period, Edward O. Phillips devoted himself to his writing, from which would come twelve novels and numerous short stories. His first novel, “Sunday’s Child”, the first of six titles in the Geoffry Chadwick series, was published in 1981, and was shortlisted for the Books in Canada First Novel Award. Phillips won the Arthur Ellis Award, presented annually by the Crime Writers of Canada, in 1987 for his novel “Buried on Sunday”, the second book of the Chadwick series. In 1989, his novel, “Hope Springs Eternal”, was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humor. 

Phillips’s short story, entitled “Matthew and Chauncy”, was adapted by director and screenwriter Anne Claire Poirier into the 1990 film “Salut Victor”. Produced by the National Film Board, the film starred Jean-Louis Roux as Philippe and Jacques Godin as Victor in the story of two older men, one openly gay and one closeted, who fall in love during their stay at a retirement home.

Edward O. Phillips spent most of his life in Westmount, Quebec. Openly gay, he was in a fifty-two year relationship with partner Kenneth S. Woodman, who passed away in 2018. Edward Phillips died on May 30th of 2020 of complications from Covid-19. 


Jan Muller

Jan Muller, “The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian”, Detail, circa 1699, Engraving, 53.6 x 33.8 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

At the end of the sixteenth and early in the seventeenth century, Dutch Mannerist artists turned their attention to the German master Albrecht Dürer and other northern Renaissance artists, creating a revival of interest in their works. Printmakers copied these earlier designs or made new compositions emulating the style of their predecessors. 

Born in 1571 in Amsterdam, Jan Muller was one of these reproductive engravers. He most likely received his initial training in engraving from his father, Harmen Jansz Muller, an engraver and owner of The Gilded Compasses, a publishing business in Antwerp. Jan Muller’s work is generally associated with the school of Hendrick Goltzius, the most prominent of the Dutch Mannerist engravers, with whom Muller was employed until about 1589.

Though Jan Muller made engravings based on his own designs, he was essentially a reproductive engraver for works by Haarlem Mannerists or Prague artists, such as painter Bartholomeus Spranger and engraver Hendrick Goltzius. Muller had contact with many artists in the Prague area including, by relation through family marriage, Dutch sculptor Adriaen de Vries, who was working at Emperor Rudolf II’s court.

During the late 1590s, Muller would often be employed by Emperor  Rudolph to reproduce the designs of artists working at the royal court. The work he produced were characterized by an array of engraving techniques including areas of hatching and broad, sinuous lines. From 1594 through 1602. Muller traveled in Italy and lived in both Naples and Rome, where he continued to make engravings, including what are considered his most accomplished works. 

After 1602, Jan Muller continued to produce engraved portraits and a few other works. Upon his return to Amsterdam, he virtually abandoned his engraving and managed The Gilded Compasses, which he had inherited. Muller’s inheritance from his father included all his father’s engraved copperplates, artwork and printed paper along with the tools and their accessories. Between 1624 and his death in 1628, Jan Muller produced only four known compositions and one painting, whose provenance is  firmly attributed to him through his inventories and will.

Insert Image: Jan Muller, “The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian”, Full Image, circa 1699, Engraving, 53.6 x 33.8 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Guillermo Martin Bermejo

The Drawings of Guillermo Martin Bermejo

Born in 1971, Guillermo Martin Bermejo is a Spanish Postwar and Contemporary artist who is currently based in a small village north of Madrid. Influenced by the works of French novelist Marcel Proust and Swiss painter and graphic artist Otto Meyer-Andem, Bermejo’s pencil drawings reference both historical paintings and literature to form a very personal world. 

Drawn in pencil on pages from second-hand notebooks and the covers of paperback books, Bermejo’s  work, although deceptively simple in composition, is woven with his own life experiences and memories. While some of his drawings are simple portraits, others portray elaborate scenes which contain the settings and the traditions of village life in the mountainous area of norther Spain. 

Guillermo Bermejo’ stylized figures, often taken from history, appear in subtly altered scenes taken from renowned artworks,  These figurative scenes act, in a visual sense, as legends in which the total story is understood only through the underlying meaning of the objects placed in the tableaux. An example of this is found in Bermejo’s 2020 “Aschenbach’s Dream”,  a drawing which relates to an interpretation of Thomas Mann’s “Death in Venice”, drawn with figures from Luchino Visconti’s 1971 film of the same name . 

Guillermo Martin Bermejo’s work has appeared at the 2018 exhibition at Real Academia de San Fernando in Madrid, the Museo Carmen Thyssea Malaga in 2017, and the 2016 exhibiton at the Fundación Santiago y Segundo Momes in Valladolid. His most recent solo exhibition , entitled “La Pleyade de la Espana Moderna”, was held in 2019-2020 at Madrid’s Museo Lázaro Galdiano. Bermejo also exhibited at the 2020 Modern and Contemporary Art Fair in London. He is  currently represented by the James Freeman Gallery in London.

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Madrid acquired a series of twelve drawings by Bremejo in 2020 for the collection. His works appear in a number of notable collections, including the Koc Collection in Istanbul, the Caja Collection in Madird, the Marine International Bureau in Mónaco, and the Spanish Embassy in Tokyo, Japan.

This Vast Expanse

Photographer Unknown, This Vast Expanse

Je vois les effroyables espaces de l’Univers qui m’enferment, et je me trouve attaché à un coin de cette vaste étendue, sans savoir pourquoi je suis plutôt en ce lieu qu’en un autre, ni pourquoi ce peu de temps qui m’est donné à vivre m’est assigné à ce point plutôt qu’à un autre de toute l’éternité qui m’a précédé, et de toute qui me suit.

I see the dreadful spaces of the Universe that lock me up, and I find myself attached to a corner of this vast expanse, without knowing why I am more in this place than in another, nor why this little time given to me to live is assigned to me at this point rather than to another in all the eternity that preceded me, and all that follows me.

—Pascal, Pensées sur la Religion

Yerebatan Samici: Basilica Cistern

The Yerebatan Samici  (Basilica Cistern)

The Yerebatan Samici, or Basilica Cistern, is the largest of several hundred cisterns located beneath the city of Istanbul in Turkey. Built in the sixth-century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, it is located one hundred-fifty meters southwest of the Hagia Sophia and currently maintained as a tourist site.

Before the construction of the cistern, a public building serving as a commercial, legal and artistic center, called the Stoa Basilica, was located  on the site of the large public square at the First Hill of Constantinople. After assuming control of the empire in 324 AD, the Emperor Constantine built the Basilica Cistern on that site. The cistern served as a water filtration system for the extensive palace complex of Constantinople and other public buildings on the hill. After the Nika Riots of 532 destroyed nearly half of the city of Constantinople, the original cistern was rebuilt and enlarged during the reign of Emperor Justinian.

The Basilica Cistern/s chamber is about ninety-eight hundred square meters and is capable of holding eighty-thousand cubic meters of water. The ceiling, nine meters in height, is supported by twelve rows, spaced five meters apart, of twenty-eight marble columns, with capitals of mainly Corinthian and Ionic styles. The majority of the columns, carved and engraved from various types of marble and granite, were likely brought to Constantinople from other parts of the empire

Entrance to the Basilica Cistern is reached through a descent down fifty-two stone steps to the water storage. The source for the cistern’s water supply is the current Eğrikapı Water Distribution Center in the Belgrade Forest, located nineteen kilometers north of Istanbul. The water’s long journey includes a one-thousand meter run through both the Valens and Mağlova Aqueducts to reach the storage basin of the cistern.

The Basilica Cistern has undergone several restorations since its foundation. During the eighteenth-century reign of Ottoman Emperor Ahmed III, architect Muhammad Agha of Kayseri oversaw a major restoration in 1723. A second major restoration during the nineteenth-century was conducted during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II. The Metropolitan Museum of Istanbul also undertook two repairs to cracks in the masonry and damage to the columns, the first in 1968 and the second in 1985. 

During the 1985 restoration, fifty thousand tons of mud were removed from the Basilica Cistern, and platforms for tourists were built to replace the former tour boats. The cistern was opened to the public on the 9th of September in 1987. It has appeared as settings in fiction novels, video games, and films, including the 1063 James Bond “From Russia with Love” and Jean-Baptiste Andrea’s 2013 thriller “Brotherhood of Tears”

The Primary, the Crucial Scenario

Photographers Unknown, The Primary, the Crucial Scenario

Lie to yourself about this and you will
Forever lie about everything.

Everybody already knows everything

so you can
lie to them. That’s what they want,

But lie to yourself, what you will

lose is yourself. Then you
turn into them.

For each gay kid whose adolescence

was America in the forties and fifties
the primary, the crucial


forever is coming out—
or not. Or not. Or not. Or not. Or not.

Involuted velleities of self-erasure.

Quickly after my parents
died, I came out. Foundational narrative

designed to confer existence.

If I had managed to come out to my
mother, she would have blamed not

me, but herself.

The door through which you were shoved out
into that light 

was self-loathing and terror.

Thank you, terror!

You have learned early that adults’ genteel
fantasies about human life

were not, for you, life. You think sex

is a knife
driven into you to teach you that.

–Frank Bidart, Queer, 2012

Born in May of 1939 in Bakersfield, California, poet Frank Bidart was educated at the University of California at Riverside, where he was attracted to the works of T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Upon graduation, he moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to study literature at Harvard University. During his graduate years, Bidart became a student and friend of poets Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop. 

Frank Bidart has written his work in a variety of forms, of which the best known are his earliest books containing monologues by troubled characters. Throughout the wide range of his work,  the dilemma of individual guilt, both its origins and consequences,has a prominent place in the work and is explored in its various forms. In order to express the importance of words and sentences in his stories, Bidart regularly uses varied forms of typography in the formal structure of the work, including blank spaces, block capitalization, italics, punctuation, and techniques such as quotations, monologues, and paraphrasing. 

Frank Bidart’s first volume of poetry, “Golden State”, an eight year project of self-reflection and a search for identity, was published in 1973. The volume was selected  for the Brazilier Poetry series by Pulitzer Prize recipient Richard Howard. The first poem, and most famous, in the collection is “Herbert White”, which presents the first-person confession of a child-murdering necrophiliac without any introduction or narrative frame. Bidart’s intent was to present someone, whose violent pattern grew out of the drama of his past, as the direct opposite of a previous poem’s character who sought insight through order and analyzation.

In 1977, Bidart published his second collection of poetry, “The Book of the Body”, a series of poems featuring characters struggling to overcome both emotional and physical adversity. The opening poem, “The Arc”, is written through the musings of an amputee. Included also in Bidart’s collection is a monologue, entitled “Ellen West”, spoken by a woman with an obsessive eating disorder. The narratives in this collection are not seamless, but spliced together bits of speech, journal notes, anecdotes, reminiscences, and analogies which follow each other in a progression.

Frank Bidart gained his reputation as an original poet with his 1983 collection “The Sacrifice”, which received widespread praise. The core of this volume is a thirty-page work entitled “The War of Vaslav Nijinsky”, a poem which alternates prose sections on the dancer’s  life with monologues by Nijinsky. A two year project, it went through many revisions and emerged as an experiment in language and punctuation.

Frank Bidart’s  1997 book “Desire” was published as a single work in two sections. The first section contains thirteen short poems, including a memorial to New York City artist and writer Joe Brainard, who died of AIDS-induced pneumonia in 1994. The book’s second half , entitled “The Second Hour of the Night”, contains a recounting of Ovid’s tale of Myrrha’s incestuous love for her father Cinryus. Appearing at the end of the work, the tale is told in a single-narrative of formal dictation which is essentially a meditation on longing and desire. This collection was nominated for the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award; it received the Library of Congress’s 1998 Rebekka Bobbit Prize for best poetry book.

Bidart’s 2005 “Star Dust”. also divided in two parts, has a central theme: man’s drive toward creation, the way we give form and shape to experience. The first section is composed of the short poems about the failure of men to realize the human need to create. These poems were  previously published in the Pulitzer nominated chapbook “Music like Dirt”. The second section consists of eight short lyrics and a long narrative poem entitled “The Third Hour of the Night”, which tells the story of Benvenuto Cellini’s struggle to complete his statue of Perseus holding the head of Medusa. Composed of poems which emphasized the way we shape our lives and experiences, “Star Dust” was nominated for a National Book Award.

Frank Bidart’s  most recent collections include the 2008 “Watching the Spring Festival: Poems”, “Metaphysical Dog: Poems” published in 2013, and “Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016” which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Frank Bidart was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2003. He  has taught at Wellesley College since 1972.