A Gay-Oriented Collection of Art Works, Literary Quotes, Songs, Films, and Male Images. Please be aware thet there is mature content on this blog. Information and links to sources will be provided unless unknown. Enjoy your visit.
Joseph Fortuné Séraphin Layraud, “Étude de Torse”, 1861, Oil on Canvas, 100 x 81 cm, École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France
Born in October of 1833 at the commune of La-Roche-sur-le-Buis, Joseph Fortuné Séraphin Layraud was a French painter and, in his later years, a professor at Académie des Beaux-Arts in Valenciennes. The son of Jean Pierre Paul Layraud and Marie Anne Amic, he painted historical scenes, landscapes, religious and mythological subjects, and portraits.
Joseph Layraud began his initial art training in 1853 at the historic port city of Marseille. He relocated to Paris in 1856 and studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts under Léon Cogniet and Tony Robert-Fleury, both painters of portraits and historical scenes. After finishing his studies, Layraud traveled to Rome where he took up residence at the Villa Medici until 1870. He distinguished himself as a painter of history and portraits; the work he exhibited at the 1863 Rome Exhibition won the Grand Prix de Rome.
After his stay in Rome, Layraud traveled through Italy and Portugal where he produced primarily landscapes and portraits. He entered several works at the 1872 Paris Salon for which he was awarded medals. In 1876, Layraud painted the “Portrait of the Portuguese Royal Family” which portrayed the members of the ruling House of Braganza, King Luis I dressed in a hunter’s outfit, his wife Maria Pia of Savoy, and their two children, Carlos I and Infante Afonso. This painting is now housed in the Palácio Nacional da Ajuda in Lisbon. Layraud’s two portraits of Queen Maria Pia, executed in the same year, are also housed in this national collection,
While in Lisbon, Joseph Layraud also painted a portrait of Elisa Friederike Hensler, Countess of Edla. She was a Swiss-born American actress and singer, who married the former King Ferdinand II of Portugal, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. After leaving Portugal, Layraud returned to France where he exhibited his work in both the 1889 and 1900 Expositions Universelles held in Paris. In recognition of his work, Layraud was appointed Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur in 1890, with a later promotion to Officer in 1903.
In 1892, Layraud received an appointment as professor at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Valenciennes. Among his many pupils were such artists as Naturalist painter and printmaker Jules Chaine, portrait painter Max Albert Decrouez, and Lucien Hector Jonas, a painter of both religious and military scenes. Joseph Layraud lived in Valenciennes until his death in October of 1913; he is buried at the Communal Cemetery of St. Roch in Valenciennes.
Layraud’s work can be found in the Musée d’Orsay, Valenciennes’s Musée des Beaux-Arts, the Ajuda National Palace, Musée Saint-Loup in Troyes, and the Smith College Museum of Art in Massachusetts, among others.
Top Insert Image: Joseph Layraud, “The Artist in His Studio”, (Recto), 1899, Oil on Canvas, 97 x 66 cm, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: Joseph Layraud, “Der Morgen Danach (The Morning After)”, 1884, Oil on Panel, Dimensions and Location Unknown
Photographers Unknown, A Drink, a Glow of Resolve and Sensible Postponement
“In truth the memoir was a game of postponement – a trick he played on himself almost daily, and fell for every time. There would be a poor and evasive morning, with letters to write as well, and a number of phone calls that had to be made; then lunch, at a place not necessarily close, and several things to do after lunch, with mounting anxiety in the two hours before six o’clock: and then a drink, a glow of resolve and sensible postponement till the following morning, when, too hung-over to do much work before ten, he would seek infuriated refuge, about eleven forty-five, in the trying necessity of going out once more to lunch. Over lunch, at Caspar’s or at the Garrick, he would be asked how work was going, when it could be expected, and the confidence of the questioner severely inhibited his answers – they had a bottle of wine, no more, but still the atmosphere was appreciably softened, his little hints at difficulties were taken as mere modesty – ‘I’m sure it will be marvelous’ – ‘It will take as long as it takes’ – and he left fractionally consoled himself, as if some great humane reprieve were somehow possible, and time (as deadline after deadline loomed and fell away behind) were not an overriding question. In the evenings especially, and towards bedtime, half-drunk, he started seeing connections, approaches, lovely ideas for the work, and sat suffused with a sense of the masterly thing it was in his power to do the next morning.”
-Alan Hollinghurst, The Sparsholt Affair, 2017, Picador Publishers, London
Born in May of 1954 in Stroud located in the Cotswold area of Gloucestershire, Alan James Hollinghurst is an English novelist, short story author, poet and translator. Continuing the tradition of Christopher Isherwood and Edward Morgan Forster, he presents in his work the protagonist’s gay orientation as a given fact and, building on that fact, examines both the complexities and mundane aspects of everyday gay life.
Born the only son to a bank manager father and a relatively emotionally-distant mother, Hollinghurst was raised in a politically conservative and financially comfortable family. He lived in all-male boarding schools from the age of seven to seventeen. Hollinghurst studied literature at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in 1975. Upon receiving his degree, he taught for one-year terms on the Oxford campus at Somerville, Magdalen and Corpus Christi colleges. For his 1980 Master of Philosophy thesis, Hollinghurst wrote on the strategies adopted by such writers as Leslie Poles Hartley, Ronald Firbank and E. M. Forster to covertly express their sexuality in an age of stigma and prosecution.
In 1981, Alan Hollinghurst lectured at University College London and, in the following year, joined the staff of London’s weekly literary review, The Times Literary Supplement, where he edited the art and poetry pages before serving as deputy editor from 1985 to 1990. While working at the Times, he devoted his writing to poetry and published his first major collection, “Confidential Chats with Boys”, in 1982. This volume of poems was based on physician William Lee Howard’s 1911 sex education book of the same title which was adopted as standard by numerous boys’ schools.
Hollinghurst began work on four different novels before a grant allowed him to concentrate on his 1988 “The Swimming-Pool Library”. He presented his finished novel to his former housemate Andrew Motion, a subsequent Poet Laureate, who at that time was employed by London’s publishing house Chatto and Windus. The story is centered around Will Beckwith, a privileged, cultured and promiscuous gay man who meets the elderly aristocrat Lord Nantwich. This chance meeting and the later reading of Nantwich’s diaries lead Will to re-evaluate his own sense of the past as well as his family’s history. “The Swimming-Pool Library” won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1988 and, in the following year, the E. M. Forster Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
As a result of this successful literary debut, Alan Hollinghurst received an advance for his next novel, which allowed him to purchase a house in London’s Hampstead Heath and concentrate fully on writing fiction. His second novel, the 1994 “The Folding Star”, dealt with the incommunicable obsession of a middle-aged tutor for his seventeen-year old Belgian student. The tutor, Edward Manners, becomes involved in affairs with two men and, after introduced to the world of Symbolist painter Edgard Orst, is ultimately caught in the memories of his own adolescence and first love affair.
Hollinghurst’s third novel, the 1998 “The Spell”, used the satirical and romantic style of a weekend in the country plot to follow the changing relationships within a group of friends and occasional lovers. This work was followed by the 2004 three-part novel “The Line of Beauty”. Set during the Thatcher years between 1983 and 1987, the novel followed the life of the young, middle-class gay protagonist Nick Guest. Through exploring the realities of Nick’s tense and intimate relationships and life as a gay man, Hollinghurst examined the themes of hypocrisy, drugs, privilege and homosexuality during the time of England’s emerging AIDS crisis. “The Line of Beauty” won the high-profile 2004 Man Booker Prize with its fifty-thousand pound stipend and became the first gay novel to be so honored. It was also a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.
Alan Hollinghurst’s fifth novel, the 2011 “The Stranger’s Child” which, told over the course of decades, revolves around a minor poet’s successful published poem and the resulting changes in his work and life. Received positively by critics, the novel was on the Man Booker Prize longlist, the Walter Scott Prize shortlist, and the winner of the 2013 Prix du Meilleur Livrr Étranger, France’s best foreign book prize. Hollinghurst’s sixth novel, the 2017 “The Sparsholt Affair”, explores the changing attitudes towards homosexuality as seen through the lives of two Englishmen: a teenager attending Oxford during the Second World War, and his later openly-gay son in London just after England decriminalizes homosexuality.
Hollinghurst currently lives in London with his partner Paul Mendez, the British author who authored the 2020 semi-autobiographical novel “Rainbow Milk” published by Dialogue Books, a Little, Brown and Company imprint.
“I grew up reading certain writers like Iris Murdoch who was very interested in sexual ambivalence and often created gay characters, usually from a cultured or academic background. I’m not sure how many straight writers I’ve read who create gay characters successfully from the inside, though I agree about Anthony Burgess and (his novel) “Earthly Powers”. — Alan Hollinghurst, 2017, Guardian Interview with Alex Clark
Born in Waukegan, Illinois in 1952, Greg Drasler is an American painter known for his metaphorical images that explore the formation of identity and memory. His representational work incorporates elements of abstraction, surrealism, and the postmodernist elements of graphic design.
Drasler’s paintings of elaborately constructed interior spaces, symbolic and commonplace objects, and patterned panoramas hold enigmatic puzzles and psychological mysteries that intrigue the viewer’s sense of perception. A major component of his work is the exploration of liminal spaces and thresholds between public and private, real and imaginary, and object and environment. Liminality, in anthropology, is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage. Participants in effect stand at the threshold of their previous self-identification and their new existence established by the rite.
Greg Drasler uses the strategies of bricolage, the creation of a work from a diverse range of objects, to place the viewer in a state of liminality. His images of suitcases, men with hats, automobile interiors, film sets, and the American highway contain symbols, metaphors, visual puzzles and puns. Humor, nostalgia and a sense of the uncanny are contained in these examinations of the Self and its relationship to local culture and both personal space and location.
In the 1960s, Drasler became interested in art as a career through his exposure to the contemporary art of his time. A major influence on his life’s work came from James Rosenquist’s awe-inspiring 1964-65 “F-111”, a painting of fifty-nine interlocking panels that enclosed the viewer. Drasler was also influenced by sculptor Horace Clifford Westermann, a master of traditional carpentry and marquetry techniques, as well as the representational artists of the Chicago Imagists such as Jim Nutt, whose work was inspired by pop culture, and Robert Brown for whom collected art and objects functioned as important source materials.
In 1976, Drasler entered the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study art. He committed to the medium of painting in 1978 and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1980. After receiving his degree, Drasler enrolled in the university’s Year in Japan Program, a period which focused his work on the relationship between identity and place presented through the use of domestic functional imagery. After completing his Master of Fine Arts in 1983, Drasler relocated to New York City and began to exhibit his work professionally. The first exhibition of his paintings was in the first “On View” held at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in 1983.
Greg Drasler’s earliest work focused on builder and handyman imagery that served as an allegory for self-construction. His first series, executed between 1987 and 1990, was the “Baggage Paintings”, which depicted plush luggage in random but carefully composed states, either stacked as in “Samson and Delilah” or grouped as in “Baggage Claim”. The meticulously detailed groups of baggage, whose lighting and color were playfully painted, presented allegories of identity, luxury, and privacy. Drasler’s 1990 painting from the series, “His”, depicts two upright traveling trunks in a room. One contains a set of six drawers while the other is opened to reveal an empty space for hanging clothes. The bright golden light that emanates from the interior of the trunk, almost magically, is in stark contrast to the dull interior of the room.
With the support of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in 1991 and a subsequent National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1993, Drasler began “Cave Paintings” which depicted intricately constructed, ornate interior living spaces that served as metaphors for one’s creation of the Self, as well as, the relationship to one’s personal, domestic space. These tableaus with their architecture, wallpaper and fabric were distinguished by human absence and trope-l’oeil obfuscation. The illusionistic perspective and the meld of motifs were designed to create a voyeuristic view of unsettling presence and closely guarded secrets, a similar sensation akin to painter Giorgio de Chirico’s famous piazza paintings. “Cave Paintings’ were first presented at New York’s Queens Museum of Art in 1994, followed by exhibitions in Seattle, Boston and New York.
Greg Drasler’s “Tattoo Parlor” series explored wallpaper patterns and the psychological imprint they have on a room’s occupants. One group from the series was “Jesus Wallpaper”, that consisted of papered walls of loosely rendered iconic images of Jesus and assorted hanging objects; the “Jumping Jesus” installation, for instance, contained hanging auto jumper-cables. Starting in the early 2000s, Drasler’s investigations of liminal spaces included automobile interiors, Hollywood illusionism, and the great American road trip. After seeing cutaway automobile props used in film sets, which exist as both interior and exterior spaces, he employed that image in several paintings including the 2006 “Green Screen” and the 2010 “Internal Combustion”.
With a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship, Drasler drove across country, during which he gathered ideas for what became his “Road Trip”series, expansive vistas of the Midwest that often depicted the vernacular architecture of the American roadhouse. These paintings included large areas of criss-cross patterning, often looking like quilts in the sky, that suggested the vast reach of the landscape and its division into property. A major work of this series was the 2016 six-panel “Stratocaster Suite” which presented a stop-motion sequence in the style of Eadweard Muybridge when displayed across the wall.
Greg Drasler’s essay “Painting into a Corner: Representation as Shelter” was published in editor Joseph Scalia’s 2002 “The Vitality of Objects: Exploring the Work of Christopher Bollas”, published by Continuum Press, London, and Wesleyan Press. He collaborated with poet Timothy Liu for the 2009 “Plolytheogamy” published in 2009 by Philadelphia’s Saturnalia Press; it was comprised of interleaved images of Drasler’s paintings and Liu’s poetry. Drasler has taught and lectured at schools, including Princeton University, Pratt Institute for the past twelve years, Williams College, Hofstra University, and Montclair State University. Starting in 2007, he has been represented by New York’s Betty Cuningham Gallery on the Lower East Side.
Notes: A biographical narrative by Greg Drasler on his life, as well aa contact information and video projects, can be found at the artist’s site located at: https://www.drasler.com
Born in the West Midland city of Coventry in April of 1929, Sir Nigel Barnard Hawthorne was an English stage, television and film actor. Among the many honors for his work, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1987 New Years Honors List, which highlights the good works by citizens of the Commonwealth. Hawthorne was later knighted in the 1999 New Years Honors List for services to Theater, Film and Television.
The second child of physician Charles Barnard Hawthorne and his wife Agnes Rosemary Rice, Nigel Hawthorne was three years old when the family moved to the Gardens district of Cape Town, South Africa. He attended Cape Town’s St. George’s Grammar School and laterits Christian Brothers College. Hawthorne enrolled at the University of Cape Town where he acted in plays with fellow student Theo Aronson, who became biographer to England’s royal family and partner of historian Brian Roberts. Hawthorne’s professional theatrical debut was the character Archie Fellows inthe 1950 Cape Town production of British playwright Edward Percy Smith’s 1940 thriller “The Shop at Sly Corner”.
Dissatisfied with life in South Africa, Hawthorne relocated to London where he pursued a career in acting. Through his performances, he gradually gained recognition as one of London’s great character actors. Starting in the late 1950s, Hawthorne appeared in various character roles in British television series. Seeking opportunities in the United States, he traveled to New York City where, in 1974, he was cast as Touchstone in Broadway production of Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It” at the Mark Hellinger Theatre. Through the persuasion of British stage actors Ian McKellen and Judi Dench, Hawthorne joined the Stratford-upon-Avon based Royal Shakespeare Company in the mid-1970s.
In 1980, Nigel Hawthorne began his most famous television role of Sir Humphrey Appleby, the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Administrative Affairs, in the BBC2 political satire series “Yes Minister” which ran from 1980 to 1984. He later portrayed the character of the Cabinet Secretary in its sequel “Yes Prime Minister”. For this role, Hawthorne won four British Academy Television Awards for Best Light Entertainment Performance.
Hawthorne appeared as Mr. Kinnnoch in Richard Attenborough’slong delayed 1982 historical film “Gandhi”, which became the winner of eight Academy Awards and the third highest grossing film in the world for 1982. In the same year, he appeared as dissident Russian scientist Dr. Pyotr Baranovich in Clint Eastwood’s cold war thriller “Firefox”. Hawthorne returned to the New York stage in 1990 to appear as British writer C. S. Lewis in the Broadway production of William Nicholson’s “Shadowlands” performed at the Brooks Atkinson Theater. For that role, Hawthorne won the 1991 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play.
In 1991, Nigel Hawthorne played his most famous theatrical role, King George III, in playwright Alan Bennett’s fictionalized biographical study “The Madness of George III”. Bennett’s play toured the United Kingdom and the United States before returning to London’s Royal National Theater in 1993. For this role, Hawthorne won a Best Actor Olivier Award. He also appeared in the same role for the 1994 film adaption of the play, entitled “The Madness of King George”, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award for Best Actor.
Hawthorne followed this success with the role of George the Duke of Clarence, playing opposite his friend Ian McKellen, in Richard Loncraine’s 1995 British period drama “Richard III” adapted by McKellen and Loncraine from Shakespeare’s play. He won his sixth BAFTA award for his role in the 1996 television mini-series “The Fragile Heart” and also drew praise for his role of Georgie Pillson in the London Weekend Television series “Mapp and Lucia”, based on the three 1930s novels by Edward Frederic Benson. Hawthorne next appeared in the film role of U.S. President Martin Van Buren in director Steven Spielberg’s 1997 historical drama “Amistad”, a story based on the 1839 events aboard the Spanish slave ship La Amistad and the legal battle that followed.
Beginning in the late 1970s, Nigel Hawthorne began work as a voice actor and appeared in several animated films. In 1978, he was cast as the voice of Campion in Martin Rosen’s “Watership Down”, a British animated adventure-drama film based on Richard Adams’s 1972 novel. Hawthorne was also cast in two Disney films: the voice of Ffiewddur Fflam in the 1985 dark fantasy “The Black Cauldron” and Professor Porter in the 1999 “Tarzan”, the first animated version of the novel.
In 1968, Hawthorne met his life-long partner Trevor Bentham who at that time was the stage manager for the Royal Court Theater in the West End of London. Bentham later became a scriptwriter and wrote for John Irvin’s 1995 romantic comedy “A Month by the Lake” and “The Clandestine Marriage”. From 1979 until Hawthorne’s death, the couple lived together and acted as fundraisers for the North Hertfordshire Hospice and other local charities.
In 2001 after undergoing several surgeries for diagnosed pancreatic cancer, Nigel Hawthorne was discharged from the hospital in time for the Christmas holidays. On the twenty-sixth of December in 2001, he died at the age of seventy-two from a heart attack at his home. His funeral, attended by many of his fellow actors, was held at St. Mary’s, the Parish Church of Thundridge, Hertfordshire; Trevor Bentham served as one of the pallbearers.
Notes: Nigel Hawthorne completed his autobiography just before he died. “Straight Face”, which covered his ambition to be an actor, his career, and his battle with cancer, was published posthumously in 2002 by Hodder & Stoughton.
An interview with Sir Nigel Hawthorne and film critic Dan Lybarger, in which Hawthorne discussed King George III, director David Mamet, and the film “The Big Brass Ring”, can be found at the Lybarger Links website located at: http://www.tipjar.com/dan/hawthorne.htm
Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Nigel Hawthorne”, Studio Publicity Photo, Gelatin Silver Print
Second Insert Image: “Derek Fowlds, Nigel Hawthorne and Paul Eddington”, circa 1980, “Yes Minister”, Television Series Studio Shot, BBC2
Third Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Nigel Hawtorne”, Studio Publicity Photo, Gelatin Silver Print
Fourth Insert Image: “Nigel Hawthorne and Helen Mirren”, 1994, “The Madness of King George”, Film Clip Shot, Director Nicholas Hylner, Cinematographer Andrew Dunn
Bottom Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Nigel Hawthorne and Trevor Bentham”, Date Unknown, Gelatin Silver Print
Born in the historic market town of Castleford, West Yorkshire in 1898, Albert Wainwright was painter, illustrator, and designer of theatrical costume and sets. A prolific artist, his body of work includes thousands of watercolors, drawings, painted ceramics, costume and theatre designs and book illustrations, which reveal him to be an artist of powerful inventiveness and ability.
The youngest of three children, Albert Wainwright had a Methodist upbringing and an early interest in art. He attended Castleford’s Secondary School where he met classmate Henry Moore and began a friendship secured by their mutual interest in art. Until 1920, Wainwright and Moore would correspond to each other through illustrated letters, even as soldiers in the first World War. Although encouraged by his father to seek a profession as an engineer, Wainwright was given permission to train in the arts through the persuasive efforts of his secondary school’s art teacher.
In 1914, Wainwright entered Leeds Arts University in West Yorkshire. Through his studies, he was influenced by the works of illustrator Aubrey Beardsley and Russian painter and theatrical designer Léon Bakat, as well as, the new works created by the Viennese Secessionist artists. Wainwright was also drawn to the fluid use of line, exaggerated forms, and dynamic use of pattern and color in the works of painters Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.
After his service in the Royal Flying Corps, Albert Wainwright rejoined his family who now lived in Pontefract, West Yorkshire. He transformed a room in the family home for use as a studio where he continue his work as artist and designer. In 1920 at the age of twenty-two, Wainwright had his first solo exhibition at Leeds City Art Gallery which, well received, gained him the support of Leeds University’s Vice Chancellor Sir Michael Sadler and influential art critic Frank Rutter. He also gained representation by London’s Goupil Gallery which held solo exhibitions of his work in 1921 and 1922.
In 1927, Wainwright was appointed temporary art master at Castleford’s Secondary School for two years. During this period, he went on a school excursion to Germany, the first of his many journeys to Europe, both alone and with his partner. This was a time of great social and political change in Europe, particularly in Austria and Germany with the rise of fascist movement. Beginning with this trip to Germany, Wainwright began a regular practice of illustrating sketchbooks with people he contacted and landscapes he admired. After his family bought a cottage in 1930 at Robin Hood’s Bay, he would spend every summer there to paint watercolors of people on holiday, beach scenes, and depictions of the town’s red roofs.
As a gay man, Albert Wainwright exercised discretion in his life, a necessity felt by many during that era due to the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885 which had made homosexuality illegal; often a letter of affection was sufficient to bring prosecution. He did have a life-long lover, George Collins, who was a schoolmaster and friend of the Wainwright family. Wainwright often refers to his sexual identity as a gay man in his work. His sketchbooks contain not only landscapes but also studies of men in uniforms at rest or play. Although generally clothed, Wainwright’s portraits of men were sensitively painted with alluring expressions. He considered these sketchbooks as personal and private documents and not intended for public view.
Wainwright received many commissions to design costumes and sets for local theaters including the Leeds Art Theater and the Leeds Civic Playhouse. He designed for plays ranging from Greek tragedies to modern dramas by Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekov and Bernard Shaw. Wainwright designed sets and costumes for over one-hundred productions which included seven-hundred costumes for a single play in 1927, the “Miracle Play” held at Kirkstall Abbey on the north bank of the River Aire.
Wainwright never achieved the same level of commercial success and recognition as his school friend, sculptor and lithographer Henry Moore, and had to supplement his art with teaching. In March of 1943, he applied for and was offered a teaching post for the duration of the war as an art teacher at the historic Bridlington School in Yorkshire. After teaching for only three months, Albert Wainwright was stricken with meningitis and died on a bus on his way to his Harrogate home in September of 1943. His work is in many private collections; the largest public collection of his work is housed at the Hepwotth Wakefield Gallery in West Yorkshire, England.
Born in 1897 in Nagydobrony, now the Ukrainian city of Velyka Dobron, Géza Vörös was a Hungarian painter. He studied at the Budapest Academy of Fine Arts under Ede Balló, a Hungarian graphic artist and painter best known for his portraits. After his studies, Balló lived and worked in Szolnok located on the Tisza River and the former mining town of Nagybánya (Baia Mare in Romania).
Géza Vörös painted landscapes, both rural and urban, still life arrangements, posed figurative works, and portraits. His stylized paintings reveal a keen sense of observation and subtle humor. Vörös’s work bears the objectivity of the Neo-Classical style as well as the elegant sensual aesthetic seen in works of Paris’s École des Beaux-Arts.
In the early twentieth-century, Szentendre was a small provincial town on the Danube River, approximately twenty miles north of Budapest. During the period between the two World Wars, its established artist colony provided a shelter for numerous artists and writers. With Vörös’s arrival at Szentendre in 1929, his paintings changed from their earlier uninspiring shades of color to palettes of warm, soft colors. Vörös remained in the city until the 1940s, after which there is very little information on his life.
Géza Vörös was a member of both the New Artists’ Association and the prestigious New Society of Artists. He was associated with Budapest-born painter Hugó Scheiber, a modernist painter whose work, initially executed in a post-Impressionist style, turned increasingly towards Futurism and German Expressionism. Scheiber was also a member of the New Society of Artists.
Géza Vörös died in Budapest in 1957. A memorial retrospective of his work was organized in 1961 and held at Budapest’s Mücsarnok Kunsthalle, its historic Neoclassical styled Hall of Art.
Note: If anyone has any additional biographical information on Géza Vörös, I would be interested in adding that to the biography. Please send it via my contact page.
Top Insert Image: Géza Vörös, “Self Portrait”, 1935, Oil on Canvas, 60.5 x 50 cm, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest
Bottom Insert Image: Géza Vörös, “The Bird Preachers”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 70 x 70 cm, Private Collection
Photographers Unknown, The Very Apocalypse of Fertility
“For Alwyn’s grandfather, who was known as “the greatest talker in the country,” used words which no one else understood, words which he did not understand, and words which do not exist, to swell a passionate theme, to confound his neighbors in an argument, and for their own sake. He would say, for example, “My farm was the very apocalypse of fertility, but the renter has rested on his oars till it is good for nothing,” or “Manifest the bounty to pass the salt shaker in my direction.” Something of the Bible, something of an Irish inheritance, something of a liar’s anxiety, made of his most ordinary remark a strange and wearisome oratory.”
—Glenway Wescott, The Grandmothers: A Family Portrait, 1927, Harper & Brothers
Born in Kawaskum, Wisconsin in April of 1901, Glenway Wescott was an American poet,essayist, and novelist. The oldest of six children born to Bruce and Josephine Wescott, he was an openly gay figure of the 1920s American expatriate literary community in Paris. Wescott, who socialized with Ernest Hemingway in Paris, is considered the model for the young novelist character, Robert Prentiss, in Hemingway’s 1926 “The Sun Also Rises”.
Upon his graduation from Wisconsin public schools in 1917, Glenway Wescott enrolled on a scholarship at the University of Chicago. He was a member of its literary circle which included such future writers as Elizabeth Madox Roberts and Arthur Yvor Winters. In the spring of 1919 at a Poetry Club meeting, Wescott met Monroe Wheeler, the twenty-year old founder of the Poetry journal. Their relationship together as a couple would last for almost seventy years until Wescott’s death. Both of their careers grew through these years, Wescott as a published writer and Wheeler as a publisher and the museum director of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
In the later part of 1919, Wescott contracted the Spanish flu and withdrew from the university. For health reasons, he relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico where he stayed for several months with friend and poet Arthur Yvor Winters. While recuperating, Wescott produced his first series of poems that was published by Wheeler in 1920 under the title “The Bittems”. He and Wheeler traveled to Europe in the fall of 1921, first stayingin Sussex with English writer and critic Ford Madox Ford before continuing onto Paris.
With Wheeler’s return to New York City, Glenway Wescott traveled across Europe in 1923 employed as a factotum for the family of banker and philanthropist Henry Goldman. Returning to Wheeler in New York, he finished his first novel, “The Apple of the Eye”, a reflection on his Wisconsin childhood that was published in 1924.In the following year, the couple took up residence in the French Riviera town of Villefranche-sur-Mer where they quickly became members of its literary and artistic circles. Amongtheir friends were dancer Isadora Duncan, German pianist Elly Ney, and artist Jean Cocteau. .
In 1925, Wescott published a second collection of poetry entitled “Natives of Rock: XX Poems”. The following year, the couple met George Platt Lynes, a minister’s son from New Jersey who, living in France, was preparing for college. Mutually infatuated, the three men would share a home for seventeen years. Wescott published his second work of fiction in 1927, “The Grandmothers: A Family Portrait”, a series of portraits drawn from his early memories in Wisconsin. This novel won the Harper Prize for that year; the critics’ praise for the best-selling work gained Wescott further recognition.Wescott published a 1928 collection of short stories entitled “Good-bye Wisconsin” that dwelt on the oppressive nature of Midwest life.
By 1930, Wescott, Wheeler and Lynes had settled in Paris, where Wheeler and the wealthy American heiress Barbara Harrison established Harrison of Paris, a book publishing enterprise with the goal of producing high quality limited editions. Although not officially a partner, Wescott provided literary advice and selected manuscripts for publication. Their first venture was a 1930 edition of Shakespeare’s poem “Venus and Adonis” with a cover design by Wescott. After a successful five years, the press was closed in 1935 due to prohibitive cost of production.
After publishing his 1930 novella “The Babe’s Bed”, Glenway Wescott wrote two underwhelming works of nonfiction, the 1932 “Fear and Trembling” and the 1933 “Calendar of Saints for Nonbelievers”. In 1935 with the closing of the Harrison press, he and Wheeler moved back to the United States where they shared a series of Manhattan apartments with now-noted photographer George Platt Lynes. The next year, the three men alternated living between New York and a farm house, named Stone-Blossom, on Wescott’s brother Lloyd’s dairy farm property in Union Township, New Jersey.
In 1940, Wescott published his most critically-praised novel “The Pilgrim Hawk: A Love Story”. The short novel describes the event of a single afternoon in the life of Alwyn Tower, an expatriate novelist living in Paris. It is still considered one of the finest American short novels, on par with Faulkner’s “The Bear”. After his 1946 novel “Apartment in Athens”, Wescott ceased writing fiction and concentrated on publishing essays and editing the works of others. His last full-length book was the 1962 “Images of Truth”. Beginning in 1938, he worked in earnest on his journals documenting his life and thoughts. One volume of this extensive work was published posthumously as “Continual Lessons” in 1990.
In 1959, Glenway Wescott and Wheeler moved into a two-story farmhouse, Haymeadows, on Lloyd Wescott’s new farm in Rosemont, New Jersey. On the twentieth of February in 1987, Glenway Wescott died of a stroke in Rosemont and was buried in the small farmer’s graveyard behind a rock wall at Haymeadows. Two days after Wescott’s death, Wheeler had a stroke that left him blind and partially paralyzed. He died eighteen months later on August 14th in 1988 and was buried alongside Wescott.
Notes: George Platt Lynes ended his relationship with Wescott and Wheeler in 1943, after falling in love with studio assistant George Tichenor. After a long career as a successful and renowned photographer, Lynes was diagnosed with lung cancer in May of 1955. He took one final trip to Europe and, upon his return to New York City, lived with his brother’s family. Wescott was at Lynes’s bedside when he passed away in December of 1955.
The Monroe Wheeler Papers, consisting of correspondence, manuscripts and photographs, and the Glenway Wescott Papers, containing notebooks, journals, and correspondence, are housed at the Yale Research Initiative on the History of Sexualities of Yale University’s Department of History.
Born in February of 1836 in the Catalonian city of Reus, Josep Tapiró i Baró was a Spanish painter and one of the leading representatives of international Orientalism. Hewas the first painter from the Iberian Peninsula to settle in Tangier. Through his thirty-seven years in Tangier, Tapiró was a direct witness to North Africa’s urban and cultural transformation under European colonialism. He is best known for his series of half-length portraits of traditional characters and religious scenes.
The son of hardware retailers, Josep Tapiró i Baró displayed an affinity for drawing in his early years. He began his formal art training in 1849 under Domènec Soberano, a prosperous wine merchant and self-taught artist who had founded a drawing school in Reus. At the age of thirteen, Tapiró met fellow student Marià Josep Maria Bernat Fortuny i Marsal. These young men, both exceptionally talented painters, established a friendship that lasted their whole lives. In 1853, Tapiró and Fortuny were given the opportunity to exhibit their work at a show held by the cultural and recreational association Casino de Reussense.
In the latter part of 1853, Tapiró and Fortuny enrolled at Barcelona’s Escola de la Llotja where they studied under Claudi Lorenzale i Sugrañes, a Spanish painter associated with the German Nazarene movement for the revival of spirituality in art. Tapiró produced mainly historical and religious scenes during his time in Barcelona. In 1857, a group of four students, among whom were Tapiró and Fortuny, were given the opportunity to compete for a Rome study grant. The test was a portrait of Barcelona’s eleventh-century military hero Ramon Berenguer III.Marià Fortuny unanimously won the competition and left for Rome in 1858.
Josep Tapiró i Baró traveled to Madrid in 1858 and enrolled at the School of Painting and Engraving which was a branch of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Saint Ferdinand. He studied under portrait and historical painter Federico de Madrazo until his return to Barcelona in 1860. Tapiró assisted with the decoration of the façade of the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya, one of the few medieval buildings in Europe still functioning as a seat of government.
At his arrival in Rome in 1862, Tapiró joined his friend Fortuny and was introduced to Fortuny’s circle of artists who regularly frequented the Antico Caffè Greco. This café, the oldest in Rome, was a historic meeting place for such figures as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, George Gordon Byron, Franz Liszt, and John Keats. While in Italy, Tapiró visited Naples and Florence with Fortuny, took watercolor classes and painted works that focused more on genre themes. In 1871, he and Fortuny traveled to Tangier in Morocco where they spent most of a year. While Fortuny painted scenes of courtyards and Moroccan landscapes, Tapiró painted detailed watercolors of common people and beggars. Their trip ended in 1872 with his return to Rome and Fortuny’s return to his wife and son in Granada. In 1873, Tapiró exhibited his Orientalist works at the International Art Circle in Rome.
In November of 1874,Josep Tapiró i Baró was shocked to learn of Fortuny’s sudden death in Rome from malaria he had contracted painting in the open air in Naples. Rather than remain in Rome or Spain, Tapiró decided in 1876 to join a diplomatic mission to meet Sultan of Morocco Hassan bi Mohammed. He moved into a house near the historical district of Tangier and acquired an old theater as a studio. Although he traveled as far as New York and Saint Petersburg to exhibit his work, Tapiró lived in Tangier for the rest of his life. Returning to the medium of watercolor, he painted a series of detailed, brooding portraits that, instead of his previous dramatic Orientalist style, documented the humanity of the Moroccan people.
In 1886, Tapiró married a Tangier native of Italian ancestry, twenty-year old Maria Manuela Veleraga Cano. Shortly after the marriage, they adopted the orphaned son of Maria’s friend who had recently died. In 1903, Tapiró contracted a lung infection which caused respiratory and cardiovascular problems that led to lack of energy and, by 1905, a decline in his career. The decline was compounded by the decrease in foreign visitors to Tangier due to a kidnapping of two British nationals and a rebellion led by Bou Hmara, a pretender to the throne of Morocco.
In 1907, Josep Tapiró i Baró and his wife relocated to Madrid in order to promote his work at an exhibition held at the Circulo de Bellas Artes, a major cultural center. After their return to Tangier, Tapiró’s health problems worsened over time and led to his death, at the age of seventy-seven, in October of 1913. He initially was buried in Tangier; however, the government of Reus demanded in 1921 that he be recognized in his home town. Tapiró’s remains were moved to Reus in 1947 and reinterred near the burial space of his friend Marià Fotruny. The city of Reus placed a commemoration plaque on the house in which Tapiró was born.
Notes: The Catalan-speaking territories abide by the Spanish naming customs; however, the discrete surnames are usually joined with the word “i”, meaning and, instead of the Spanish “y”, a practice very common in formal contexts. Thus, Josep Tapiró i Baró’s first or paternal surname is Tapiró and the second or maternal family name is Baró.
Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti, “Warrior with Drawn Sword”, 1808, Oil on Canvas, 92.5 x 73 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Born in 1777 in the municipality of Maastricht in the southern Netherlands, Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti was a Dutch Neo-classical painter. The son of Italian lawyer Arnold Josua Joannes Alberti and his Belgian wife Maria Catharine Vogels, he was baptized on the 20th of June in 1777 in Maastricht’s Saint Martin’s Church.
At the age of five, Joannes Alberti moved with his parents to Amsterdam. He began his initial art training in 1796 at Amsterdam’s City Drawing Academy. For two chalk drawings of male nudes entered in competitions, Alberti won a third class prize in 1803 and a second class prize in 1804..These works are currently in the collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. In 1804, Alberti won the gold medal of honor at the Felix Meritis Society’s exhibition for his drawing “Marius Amid the Ruins of Carthage”. He won another gold medal in 1805 at the Felix Meritis Society for his drawing of the Greek Hellenistic king Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
In the beginning of 1807, Alberti received a four-year student pension from the Kingdom of Holland’s Ministry of the Arts for studies in Paris and Rome. He found residence in Paris on the Rue Bataves and, on the fifth of March, enrolled in the École des Beaux Arts where he studied under history painter Jacques-Louis David until 1809. Alberti painted copies after the work of Flemish artist Antoon (Anthony) van Dyck and Italian artist Guido Reni, who painted primarily religious works. As a favored artist of Louis I, the King of Holland, he sent some of his work to Amsterdam for exhibitions in 1808 and 1810,
In the middle of October in 1809, Joannes Alberti, along with fellow artists Josephus Augustus Knip and Peter Rudolf Kleijn, traveled to Rome, Italy. He met and took up residence with French painter and draftsman Claude Thiénon, who specialized in landscape scenery. Alberti made copies of old master paintings but also personal works. Among the works he shipped back to Holland in 1810 was his painting “Proculeius Prevents Cleopatra’s Suicide”. After returning to Paris, Alberti made engravings coped after master paintings. He also published an educational course on drawing entitled “Cours Complet Théorique et Pratique de l’Art du Dessin”.
From baptismal records, we know that, through Alberti’s union with Marie Catherine Joséphine Neumeyer, a son named Pierre Charles Antoine Raphaël Alberti was born in Paris on the 12th of December in 1807. From the Departmental Archives of Haute-Marne, a birth certificate shows that a second son, François Eliza Charles Prosper, was born in the town of Giey-sur-Aujon on the 26th of January in 1813.
Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti became a member of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1822. The Archives de Paris places his death in Paris on the 10th of May in 1832; he is buried in Paris’s Montparnasse Cemetery. Three of Alberti’s works are in the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam: the 1808 “Warrior with Shield and Spear”, the 1808 “Warrior with a Sword” and the 1810 “Proculus Prevents Cleopatra’s Suicide”. His 1809 “Scene from the Polish Revolution” is housed in Berlin’s Staatliche Museum Preussischer KulturBesitz.
Top Insert Image: Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti, “Warrior with Lance and Shield”, 1808, Oil on Canvas, 72.5 x 91.5, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Second Insert Image: Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti, “The Preaching of John the Baptist”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 60 x 82 cm, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti (Attributed), (Warrior with Spears and Shield), Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 112 x 88 cm, Private Collection
Born in Los Angeles, California in August of 1907, Wesley E. Barry was an American actor, director and producer. A child star in silent films from 1915 to 1924, he made a successful transition in his adult years to other activities in the film industry.
In 1914 at the age of seven, Wesley Barry was noticed by a director for his distinctive facial features and given a contract with Kalem Studios, a production and distribution film company founded by screenwriter Frank J. Marion, Biograph production manager Samuel Long, and wealthy film distributor George Kleine. With his freckles covered with greasepaint, Barry made his screen debut in the 1915 “The Phoney Cannibal”, a silent short starring the child-star duo Ham Hamilton and Bud Duncan. His first appearance in a feature film was the role of a freckled school boy in Marshall Neilan’s 1917 “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm”, which starred Mary Pickford as Rebecca.
Noted now for his freckles, Barry soon became a much demanded child actor. In 1919, he was in Neilan’s comedy drama “Daddy Long Legs”, which starred Mary Pickford, and Cecil B. DeMille’s adventure film “Male and Female”. Barry appeared in four silent films in 1920; but it was the success of Neilan and John McDernott’s 1920 comedy drama “Dinty”, specifically written for Barry, that made him a star in his own right. Throughout the 1920s, he appeared in twenty-two screen productions, among which were the 1922 “Penrod” with Our Gang actor Ernest “Ernie’ Morrison; the 1924 comedy “George Washington Jr.” with actress Gertrude Olmstead; and the 1924 sports comedy “Battling Bunyan” with Frank Campeau, known for his roles in cowboy westerns.
Wesley Barry, grown out of his infancy, made minor film appearances in sound films throughout the 1930s. He appeared in director John Ford’s 1937 drama “The Plough and the Stars”, which starred Barbara Stanwyck and Preston Foster, and Hal Roach’s musical comedy “Pick a Star”, released through MGM in 1937 and, later, by Astor Pictures in 1954. Barry did play the lead role the 1938 western “The Mexicali Kid” in which he played under the direction of Wallace For and opposite Jack Randall. He stopped acting regularly after his appearance in the 1939 “Stunt Pilot”; his last role on the big screen was an uncredited appearance in the 1943 baseball comedy “Ladies’ Day”.
Beginning in the 1940s, Barry directed and produced films, a career which would extend thirty years. For about a decade, he directed B movies including some in the “Joe Palooka” and “Bowery Boys” series. Barry also worked in the field of television where he directed several episodes of “Lassie”, the police dramas “Mod Squad” and “The Rookies”, and the western series starring Guy Madison, “The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok”. In 1952, Barry both directed the drama film “The Steel Fist”, starring Roddy McDowell, and co-produced Frank McDonald’s action film “Sea Tiger”. Among the westerns he directed were “The Secret of Outlaw Flats”, starring Guy Madison and Andy Devine, and “Trail Blazers” with Alan Hale Jr, both films released in 1953.
Wesley Barry founded his own production company Genie Production in the beginning of the 1960s. His first film though his studio, now considered a sci-fi cult classic, was the 1962 “The Creation of the Humanoids”. The film, starring Don Megowan, was based on the story of robots, disparagingly referred to as ‘clickers’, who provided android bodies to the dying, radiation-affectedhuman race. Barry’s studio produced two more films in his lifetime: the animated 1963 fantasy “The Jolly Genie”and a 1965 television documentary “The Market”.
Barry also had a prolific career as an assistant director on many major motion pictures, most notably director Roger Corman’s 1967 American gangster film “The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre”, one of the few Corman films backed by a major Hollywood studio, in this case 20th Century Fox. Barry’s last credit as assistant director in the film industry was a 1975 episode of “The Rookies”. Wesley Barry died on the 11th of April of 1994 at the age of eighty-six in Fresno, California.
Note: Wesley Barry’s “The Creation of the Humanoids”, based on an original story and screenplay by Jay Simms, was produced on a limited budget, apparent from the film’s rudimentary sets and costumes. At a time when black and white film stock was still being used for many major productions, Barry and co-producer Edward J. Kay opted for the added expense of color film. The cinematography was done by twice-Academy Award winner Hal Mohr who used all his experience to make the best of the sets. The makeup artist was Jack Pierce who created the iconic “Frankenstein” and “Bride of Frankenstein” makeups for Universal Pictures.
Born in December of 1924 in Béziers, one of the oldest cities in France, Georges Noël was a French painter. His work was greatly influenced by two French avant-garde art movements: Nouveau Réalisme, founded in 1960 by art critic Pierre Restany and painters Raymond Hains and Yves Klein which made extensive use of collage and assemblage, and French Art Informel, an approach to abstraction in the !940s and 1950s that emphasized improvisation and highly gestural techniques.
Raised in the Castellón city of Pau, Georges Noël initially was an engineering student before his 1939 to 1945 studies of sculpture and painting. After his graduation, he worked for nine years as a draftsman and designer with the aeronautical firm Turboméca, a manufacturer of gas turbine turboshaft engines. In 1956, Noël relocated to Paris where, deeply impressed by the paintings of artists such as Jean Dubuffet and Paul Klee, he devoted his energies to painting.
Noël’s painting was associated with the French and Italian Informel movement. He was an admirer of the work by Lucio Fontana, an Argentine-Italian painter best known for his tagli, slashed, mostly monochromatic canvases. Noël was also friends with Nouveau Réalisme artists Raymond Hains, Jacques de la Villéglé and François Dufréne. He achieved recognition and commercial success through his representation with noted art dealer Paul Facchetti. Noël’s first solo exhibition was at the Facchetti gallery in 1960; he regularly exhibited there from 1957 to 1968.
During his stay in Paris, Georges Noël began to use paper laid down on canvas or torn and collaged newspaper as partial foundations for his painting. For his impasto, material paintings, he developeda mixture of powdery pigments, sand and polyvinyl glue which he layered onto canvas. In a gestural-automatic manner, Noël scratched symbolic signs or script into the partly hardened layer of paint to form the images he termed ‘Palimpseste’. With this term, he referred to the early stage of writing done by many cultures which involved the erasing and re-engraving of writen elements on stone or clay tablets. Noël’s wide vocabulary of signs showed his interest in the magic, symbolism and mystery of prehistoric, Mycenaean-Archaic and indigenous cultures.
In 1963 at a medieval abbey in Rowen, Noël met Margit Rowell who was training to be a medievalist. She would become his wife, life-time companion, and aveteran art historian and curator with key positions at the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Guggenheim Museum and Museum of Modern Art in New York. Feeling restless and seeking a change in venue and style, Noël moved with Rowell to New York City in 1968. After research and experimentation, he found the visual, geometric language he wanted to express in his work. Noël was represented by and exhibited with two major New York galleries from 1969 to his return to France: the internationally-based Pace Gallery and the renowned Arnold Herstand Gallery on Fifty-Seventh Street.
In 1982, Georges Noël and Rowell returned to France where he had a major exhibition at the Abbaye de Senanque in Provence, which was followed in 1985 by a retrospective at the Centre National des Arts Plastiques in Paris. Noël’s late stylistic development showed a unification of the gestural painting of his early work and the more structural compositions of his New York period. From 1985 forward, he exhibited regularly in Italy, Germany, and Japan. Noël’s work is currently represented for France by the Galerie Christophe Gaillard.
Through all the unusual diversity of styles during his fifty-year career, Georges Noël’s textured canvases and graphic interventions remained constant. His works on paper show the same spontaneous scripts and signs, either on wash, collaged or built-up surfaces. Considered one of the most important representatives of the French Informel movement, Georges Noël passed away in Paris in 2010 at the age of eighty-six.
Noël’s work is found in private collections and institutions throughout the world, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Bibliothèque National and the F.N.A.C. in Paris, and the Nationalgalerie in Berlin, among others.
Jacques Charles Derrey, “Untitled (Taking a Swim)”, 1935, Engraving on Paper, Edition of 60, 37.7 x 39.4 cm, Private Collection
Born in Toulouse in September of 1907, Jacques-Charles Derrey was a French engraver, painter and educator. He spent most of childhood and youth from 1914 to 1929 in Nantes with his maternal grandfather Félix Pommier, a painter and the curator of the Musée des Beaux-Arts. As a student at the Georges Clemenceau high school in Nantes, Derrey won first prize in its 1925 general drawing competition. He began his formal art training at the École des Beaux-Arts in Nantes in 1927. Derrey relocated to Paris in 1930 and studied at its École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts under impressionist painter Lucien Simon and portraitist and engraver Louis Roger until his graduation in 1935.
In 1934, Derrey won the Prix Blumenthal, a stipend given to young French artists through the foundation supported by American philanthropist Florence Meyer Blumenthal. For his 1936 intaglio engraving “Job sur Son Fumier”, he was awarded the Grand Prix at the annual exhibition of the American Academy in Rome. For a period of three years beginning in 1937, Derrey was a resident at the French Academy in Rome located at the Villa Medici.
Jacques Derrey created twenty-five etchings for Belgian playwright and poet Maurice Masterlinck’s “Le Trésor des Humbles (The Humble Treasury)”, published in 1949 by Éditions Dancette. He produced illustrations, ten etchings and burin engravings, for the classic 1955 “Versailles”, which included historic text written by Louis XIV. Derry created original engravings for François-Albert Buisson’s 1960 “Le Cardinal de Retz: Portrait”, a biography of Jean François Paul de Gondi, an archbishop and agitator in the 1648 civil war in France.
Derrey also executed a series of illustrations depicting various aspects of an Lacq industrial plant owned by the National Society for Petroleum in Aquitaine. Starting in 1963, he provided engravings of stamp designs to be printed for several French departments and countries overseas, including Comoros, Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Senegal, Somalia, Upper Volta, and Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon.
Along with his work as an engraver, Jacques Derrey drew and painted, using oils and gouaches, numerous landscapes in Italy, Corsica and the French provinces of Bearn and Brittany. He also executed work in fresco, most notably the fresco murals in the church of Sainte Marguerite located in the Paris commune of Perreux-sur-Marne. Derry’s work was exhibited in many salons and galleries including the 1936 Salon des Artistes Français where he won a gold medal, the Salon Comparaisons, the Salon Terre Latines, the Mignon-Massart Gallery in Nantes and Paris’s Marseille Gallery, among others. Derrey was a regular participant at the exhibitions of the Association de Deux Rives from 1970 to 1975.
In 1950, Derrey was appointed a Professor at the School of Fine Arts in Valenciennes and, two years later, became its Director until 1956. At that time, he became Drawing Master at the École Polytechnique in Paris where he founded an engraving workshop. He taught his vision of painting and general art at the school until his retirement in 1973. An ardent defender of contemporary Classicism, he was the author of several articles published in the magazine “La Peintre” and through publications of the school.
Jacques-Charles Derrey was awarded the position of Laureate of the Institut de France in 1950 and named a Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1958. He died in Paris in May of 1975. Major retrospectives of Derrey’s work entitled “Entre Deux Rives” were held in January and February of 1988 at the Municipal Center for the Arts in Valenciennes and at the Musée National du Château de Pau from November of 1997 to March of 1998. An exhibition “Four Generations: A Family of Painters”, which included the work of Derrey, his grandfather Félix Pommier, his mother Juliette, and his son Charles, was held in the towns of Pénestin in 2004 and Saint-Marc-sur-Mer in 2012.
Middle Insert Image: Jacques-Charles Derrey, “Les Volets Bleus”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 46 x 55 cm, Private Collection
Photographers Unknown, Parva Scaena (Brief Scenes): Photo Set Twenty-Six
Look in the Salon des Refusés of most periods
and there will hang the homosexuals
labeled by critics
“contrary to nature”.
Now, to use a familiar set of distinctions, what
exists but is not nature must be art;
yet art is also an imitation
of some process of nature: so art, too, is natural,
whatever its manner.
Art may evolve through accretions of tradition
or leap ahead into the unknown.
This form of expression, the gay life
so maddening and unimaginable to some,
necessarily involves a leap into the unknown,
for its traditions, such as they are, are shadowy.
Note how, on every side, images proclaim
and sustain the straight life. In parks and town squares
one may behold the monumental figures of, say,
Cohibere guarding his family from the Amplecti,
of Scruta and Amentia denouncing the barbarians,
or of the marriage of Turpa and Insulsus on the battlefield.
Images of the gay life, in contrast, are obscure, are
curiosities kept locked from the public in cabinets: in consequence,
gay lives must style themselves with craft,
with daring. Many fail. Even so,
some grow amazing and beautiful.
And since such triumphs are typically achieved
amidst general bewilderment and in defiance
of academic theory, the gay life
deserves to be ranked among
the significant examples of art, past and present.
And because it has disordered whatever may be
the accustomed ways of seeing in its time,
it is therefore avant-garde,
Jack Anderson, A Lecture on Avant-Garde Art, Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry, Editor Timothy Liu, 2000
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in June of 1935, Jack Anderson is an American poet, dance critic and dance historian. He has contributed numerous reviews on dance performances for both the “New York Times” and “Dance Magazine”. Anderson is also known for his scholastic work on dance history and eleven volumes of poetry.
In his formative years, Jack Anderson studied piano and acted in theater groups before his departure to college. He earned his Bachelor of Arts at Northwestern University with a major in Theater and minors in English Literature and Philosophy. Anderson completed his graduate studies at Indiana University where he earned his Master of Arts in Creative Writing. He pursued further studies at the University of California, Berkeley, until a position became available at the “Oakland Tribune”.
Anderson joined the staff of the weekly news publication in 1959 as a copy boy. He was promoted after one year to assistant drama critic and, in addition to his work at the Tribune, began writing dance criticism for both the English periodical “Ballet Today” and America’s leading dance periodical “Dance Magazine”. After relocating to New York in 1969, Anderson was a member of the editorial staff of “Dance Magazine” until 1970, after which he continued to contribute reviews until 1978.
While living in London with his partner, dance historian and writer George Dorris, Jack Anderson was deputy dance critic from 1970 to 1971 at the “Daily Mail” under critic and broadcaster Oleg Kerensky. In 1972, he became the New York correspondent for London’s “Dancing Times” magazine. Already writing and teaching dance history, Anderson along with George Dorris founded the scholarly journal “Dance Chronicle: Studies in Dance and the Related Arts”, which became one of the genre’s leading periodicals. In 1978, he joined Anna Kisselgoff and Jennifer Dunning as the dance critics for “The New York Times”, where he remained until 2005.
Drawn to poetry throughout his adult life, Anderson published his first two collections of poetry in 1969: “The Hurricane Lamp” and “The Invention of New Jersey”. His subtle yet witty poems often explore themes of urban life and travel. Anderson has the urban sophistication and the alertness to create often lurid tales that in a strange way make sense. Among his many volumes are the 1978 “Toward the Liberation of the Left Hand”, “The Clouds of That Country” published in 1982, the 1990 “Field Trips on the Rapid Transit”, and “Backyards of the Universe” published in 2017. In recognition of his work, Anderson received a creative writing fellowship and a literary award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Recognized as both an effective teacher and lecturer, Jack Anderson has taught dance history and criticism at the University of Adelaide in Australis, the University of Minnesota, the North Carolina School of the Arts, the University of Oklahoma, and New York’s New School, among others. From the 1970s through the 1990s, Anderson has produced seven books on various aspects of dance. Among these are the 1979 “The Nutcracker”, the “Ballet & Modern Dance” available in three editions, and the 1981 “The One and Only: The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo” which won that year’s José de la Rorre Bueno Prize for best English-language writing in dance history.
Note: Jack Anderson and George Dorris, a dance scholar and now retired English professor, had known each other slightly at Northwestern University. They later met in 1965 on the Lincoln Center subway platform after a New York City Ballet performance. They have traveled together throughout the world and become friends with dance scholars in many countries. In 2006, they were married in Toronto and currently reside in Manhattan, New York.
Born in Belfast in 1916, Francis Gerard Dillon was an Irish painter and designer. He was one of the most imaginative folk-inspired Irish painters of the twentieth-century. Except for a drawing class in London and a short period at the Belfast Art School in the early 1930s, Dillon was a self-taught artist who developed his own particular style.
Interested in art, film and theater since childhood, George Dillon left school at the age of fourteen and traveled to London. He supported himself with odd jobs during the early 1930s followed by a position with a London decorating firm from 1934 to 1939. Dillon began to paint in 1936 and frequently visited the Connemara region which played a major influence on his work. There he painted many landscapes and portraits of the local people working the land.
With the outbreak of World War II, Dillon returned to Belfast and, over the next five years, developed his skill as a painter in Dublin and Belfast. In 1942 with the support of his friend Mary Harriet “Mainie” Jellett, an early abstract painter and promoter of Irish modern art, he had his first solo exhibition at The Country Shop in St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin. The paintings in the show, “Father Forgive Them Their Sins”, were focused on his concerns over the new war in Europe.
Beginning in 1943, Gerard Dillon was a regular contributor and committee member of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art. Founded by Mary Jellett, it was a yearly exhibition of Irish abstract expressionism and avant-garde art that challenged the traditionalist Irish art movements supported by the Royal Hibernian Academy and National College of Art. In 1944, Dillon presented his work alongside the work of fellow Belfast painter George Campbell at painter John Lamb’s Portadown Gallery.
Dillon relocated to London in 1945; however, he continued to return to Connemara in the late 1940s and during the 1950s so he could paint in his favorite town of Roundstone. In 1951, Dillon was introduced to Belfast painter Noreen Rice, who was also a self-taught artist of surrealistic and primitive style. For the support and guidance given in her early career, Noreen Rice would regard both Dillon and George Campbell as her mentors for decades.
In the late 1950s Gerard Dillon moved away from landscape painting and moved into complete abstraction. He was surrounded by the abstract expressionist movement and exposed to works by Mark Rothko, William de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Antonio Tàpies and Asger Jorn, all of whom were exhibiting at the Tate. It is possible that collage artist and painter Richard Hamilton, while staying with Dillon in London in 1950s, influenced Dillon who began working with collage, found objects, and repetitions of color and patterns for large-scale composition pieces. After moving to Dublin, Dillon received a double honor in 1958 with his representation of Ireland at New York City’s Guggenheim International Exhibition and his representation of Great Britain at Pittsburg’s International Exhibition.
Dillon’s three brothers tragically passed away within quick succession of one another between 1962 and 1966. This traumatic period gravely affected his state of mind; Dillon’s work turned into a form of escapist art as he tried to cope with the loss. Throughout this period he returned continuously to the motif of the clown and the figure of Pierrot, a theme also explored by other artists in the Ulster group. At the end of the 1960s, there was a pronounced shift in Dillon’s work. The impact of his loss followed by suffering a stroke in 1967 affected his artistic output. The reoccurring motifs of clown and Pierrot became submerged in surreal, fantastical landscapes and geometric patterns. Dillon was also struggling with finding a way to express his sexuality. His deep interest in self-analysis developed a series of symbolic motifs, most often masked figures, which came to represent himself within his art.
Gerard Dillon continued his painting, made tapestries, and designed theatrical sets and costumes for playwright Seán O’Casey’s 1968 “Juno and the Paycock”. During the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Dillon withdrew his work from the Belfast branch of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art; however, he also gave work for gallery owner Sheelagh Flannigan’s October 1969 exhibition supporting relief for the victims of the Belfast riots. During his last years of illness, Francis Gerard Dillon continued to be actively involved in a children’s art workshop at Dublin’s National Gallery of Ireland. On the 14th of June in 1971, he died of a second stroke at the age of fifty-five. Dillon’s grave, as requested, is unmarked in Belfast’s Milltown Cemetery.
Note: Gerard Dillon was both a homosexual and a religious man. There is one entry in his diary of a homosexual encounter that resulted in a sense of guilt; that incident aside, there is no other empirical evidence concerning encounters in his life. Karen Reihill, the author of “Gerard Dillon: Art and Friendships”, points to a probable love on Dillon’s part for the painter Daniel O’Neill, another self-taught artist from Belfast who, along with Dillon and George Campbell, was a member of a small artists’ colony in Conlig, County Down. Reihill also pointed to Dillon’s association with two members of the modernist White Stag Group: British painters Basil Rákóczi, who was known to be bisexual, and Kenneth Hall, who was homosexual.
Top Insert Image: Gerard Dillon, “Self Portrait”, Date Unknown, Pen and Ink Drawing on Paper, 16.5 x 11.4 cm, Private Collection
Second Insert Image: Gerard Dillon, “Hole in the Hill”, circa 1959, Mixed Media and Collage, 45 x 59 cm, Private Collection
Third Insert Image: Gerard Dillon, “Self Portrait with Pierrot and Nude”, circa 1960s, Oil on Board, National Gallery of Ireland
Bottom Insert Image: Gerard Dillion, “Marine Movement”, Date Unknown, Mixed Media on Canvas, 40 x 51 cm, Private Collection
Saturnino Herrán, “Our Ancient Gods”, 1916, Museo Colección Blaisten, Mexico City, Mexico.
Born in July of 1887 in the city of Aguascallentes, Saturnino Herrán Guinchard was a Mexican painter of indigenous Mexican and Swiss descent. One of the pioneers of Mexican Modernism, he was also an educator, muralist, book illustrator, draftsman, and a stained glass colorist. Herrán was the first Mexican artist to envision the concept of totally Mexican art; he also laid the foundation for the development of its muralist movement.
In 1901, Saturnino Herrán began his studies in drawing and painting at the Aguascallentes Academy of Science where his father was a Professor of Bookkeeping. He studied under Chlapas classical painter José Inés Tovilla and Severo Amador, a painter known for his Mexican Impressionist and Modern work. After the death of his father in 1903, Herrán and his mother relocated to Mexico City where heworked to support his mother and studied at the city’s Academy of San Carlos. At the Academy, he studied under Mexican Symbolist painter and printmaker Julio Ruelas; Catalan painter, sculptor and draftsman Antonio Fabres; and painter Germán Gedovius who taught color, composition and chiaroscuro, the use of strong contrasts between light and dark.
An outstanding student in his courses, Herrán’s work was strongly inspired by the European theories of modern art which included Greek and Roman aesthetics and naturalism, the depiction of objects with the least possible amount of distortion. Strongly drawn to Mexican art, he united this cultural heritage with his academic European training to create work that would produce a spiritual experience. Herrán’s first figurative works were presented as allegories of nature and Spanish mythology; he also painted scenes of working people in everyday life.
Saturnino Herrán painted using the techniques drawn from the cultures of Spain, including the Catalonian area, and Europe. He preferred dynamic imagery, balanced colors, and strong contours. Herrán used blurred background colors to create ambiance and used free brushwork over drawings to capture variations of light. Through his refined draftsmanship and use of color, he combined drawing and watercolor to produce naturalistic works, a technique he adapted from Spanish painters.
By 1908, Herrán had gained recognition within the artistic community and was receiving awards and scholarships. In 1909 at the age of twenty-two, he was appointed a Professor of Drawing at Mexico City’s National Institute of Fine Arts; among his pupils were the future fresco muralists Diego Rivera and Roberto Montenegro Nervo. In 1910 Herrán, along with painter Jose Orozco, founded the Society of Mexican Painters and Sculptors which, in opposition to the official art exhibition at Mexico’s 100th anniversary of independence, staged an alternative exhibition of purely Mexican art. In this exhibition, Herrán presented his “The Legend of the Volcanos”, a canvas triptych depicting figures of an Indian prince and a European princess.
This exhibition of work by Mexican artists made a strong impression on lawyer Jose Vasconcelos who was to become the Secretary of Education of post-revolution Mexico. He realized that painting was not only for the elite but could in the form of murals reached a wider audience. Herrán was among the first artists commissioned by Vasconcelos to do mural paintings. In August of 1911, he completed his first large-scale fresco mural in the auditorium of Mexico City’s School of Arts and Crafts. This work by Herrán would serve as a model for future muralists in the 1920s and 1930s.
In 1914, Saturnino Herrán, at age seventeen, was commissioned to create a triptych of fresco panels glorifying Mexican heritage for the walls of Mexico City’s Palace of Fine Arts which also housed the National Theater. He completed a small 101 x 112 centimeter oil study of one panel. From this small study, Herrán was able to complete the larger fresco wall panel, “Our Ancient Gods” in 1916, two years before his untimely death.
For this work, Herrán abandoned his earlier bright colors in favor of somber, earthly colors with muted nuances. He used West Mexican men for his modelsdue to their strong indigenous and ethnic facial features. He particularly chose local men around the Pre-Columbian archeological site of Xochicalco because of their strong Mayan, Teotihuacan and Matlatzinca ancestry. The warriors are portrayed lean and lithe with firm muscles; they stand in poses with a slight tension of impending action, caught in a balance of action and inaction.
The figures and objects in the fresco are heavily outlined with strong, thick and bold, black lines. Herrán used similar line-work in the illustrations and graphic work he had previously executed for books, magazines and stained glass panels. “Our Ancient Gods” contains images appropriate to elite members of Pre-Columbian society: among these are gold earrings, red feathers and leather sandals. Herrán’s extensive use of indigenous motifs, powerful style, and cultural richness elevate the figures in his fresco to a high godlike status.
A representative of both the Art Nouveau and the mural art movements in Mexico, Saturnino Herrán Guinchard, at the age of thirty-one, died suddenly from a gastric complication in Mexico City on the eighth of October in 1918.
Notes: An extensive article written by Deborah Dorotinsky Alperstein on Saturnino Herrán’s mural at the School of Arts and Crafts, its removal and relocation, and its restoration can be found at: http://www.dezenovevinte.net/uah2/dda_en.htm
Second Insert Image: Saturnino Herrán, “Alegoría”. 1915, Watercolor and Gouache on Paper, 34 x 21 cm, Museo Nacional de la Acuarela Alfredo Guati Rojo
Third Insert Image: Saturnino Herrán, “Study for Nuestros Dioses (Our Ancient Gods)”, 1915, Figures on the Left Panel
Fourth Insert Image: Saturnino Herrán, “Alegoria de la Construcción”, 1910, Oil on Canvas, 114 x 62 cm, Decorative Border for the School of Arts and Crafts, Mexico City
Bottom Insert Image: Saturnino Herrán, “La Ofrenda (The Offering)”, Study on Paper, 81 x 138 cm, Museo Nacional de Arte de la Cludad de Mexico
Gizan Katō, “Jigen”, 2019, Carved Wooden Figure, 110.2 cm without Metal Stand, Private Collection
Born in Tokyo in 1968, Gizan Katō is a contemporary Japanese sculptor that works with Buddhist themes and classical stories. He studied under the Busshi (sculptor of Buddist statues) Shubun Iwamatsu, who is descended from Takamura Koun. An Imperial Household Artist, Takamura was a modernist in the field of wood carving and greatly respected professor at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts. It was he who created the statue of Japanese samurai Kusunoki Masashige which stands in front of the Tokyo Imperial Palace.
With the understanding that he is both Japanese and Busshi, Gizan Katō focuses his work on the aesthetic roots of Japan, its history, tradition and culture, and the Buddhist realization of material existence’s impermanence. Gizan, as a modern sculptor, explores though his work the meaning of these cultural roots to contemporary art.
Instead of a sketch on paper, Gizan’s creative process begins with a model in plaster or clay. He next employs calipers to make a point-to-point transfer of the model to the wood that will form the actual sculpture.This lengthly and exacting technique requires both concentration and patience. Through this time-absorbing process, Gizan is able to reflect on his work’s expression of both longevity and dignity.
Gizan Katō’s first show was at the Takashimaya Exhibition in 2008. In 2016, he presented work at the Hakuin Exhibition held at the Tohoku History Museum. Gizan exhibited his work in several shows in 2017 including the “Amazing Craftsmanship Exhibition” at Tokyo’s Mitsui Memorial Museum, the Gifu Prefectural Museum of Contemporary Ceramics, Osaka’s Abeno Harukas Museum, and the Yamaguchi Prefectural Art Museum. A solo exhibition of Gizan’s work was held at the Nihonbashi Takashimaya X Gallery in 2019.
In 2011, Gizan, with Buddhist master Miura Yayama, participated in the Buddha Statue Dedication Project, an activity pf prayer and remembrance that carried Buddha statues to the disaster area in Toboku. He was also active in the 2019 Typhoon Number Nineteen Charity Exhibition and the 2020 Signs of a New Era Charity Project.
Gizan Katō’s “Jigen (Manifestation)” is a 110.2 centimeter carved wooden figure which sits on a metal stand. He represents the physical form of an intangible subject, either religious need or secular interest, that a person deeply craves. This subject, need or interest, is that which supports a human being’s existence among greater humanity. Even in our age of accelerated development in technology, the subject supports each human and it will perpetually conserve humanity for years forward.
Gizan’s “Jigen” was auctioned at Christie’s in September of 2020 and sold for 312,500 USD. The figure was exhibited at the Hiratsuka Museum of Art in the Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan from April of 2022 to March of 2023.
Note: Japanese naming conventions arrange names with the surname first and the given name second. Thus, Gizan Katō is a member of the Gizan family and was given the birth name of Katō, meaning ‘increasing wisteria’.
Second Insert Image: Gizan Katō and Yozan Miura, Leafing by Miyoko Washio, “Buddha Statue”, Cypress Wood, Crystal, Red Agate, 70 x 95 x 80 cm, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: Gizan Katō, “Jigen”, 2019, Carved Wooden Figure, Detail, 110.2 cm without Metal Stand, Private Collection
Photographers Unknown, The Silent Traffic of Bystanders
Henry went over the edge of the bridge first; he always did.
Then Mr. Interlocutor and Mr. Bones, then the blackface
with their tambourines. You have to empty out
all the contents before the person himself dies.
The beard went over the edge, and Stephen Crane,
and the never-completed scholarly work on Shakespeare,
and faculty wives, and a sheaf of recovery wards
white-tiled in the blue shadow of the little hours.
He loosened his necktie and the recurrent dream
of walking out under water to the destined island.
His mother went over in pearls; his father went over.
His real father went over, whoever his father was.
He thought to go over with someone, hand in hand
with perhaps Mistress Bradstreet, but someone always
The news of his death preceded him. It hit the water
with a fat splash and the target twanged.
When there was nothing to see with or hear with, the
of bystanders wrapped in snow, his only body
let itself loose, turned and waved before it went over
to what it could never understand as being the human
William Dickey, The Death of John Berryman, January 1996
Born in Bellingham, Washington in December of 1928, William Hobart Dickey was an American poet and educator. While his talent was known to critics, Dickey worked on his poetry without actively promoting it and, thus, was largely unknown to the general public. In his work, he often used abstract ideas that contained both insight and feeling. Dickey expressed his personal visions through poetry and gave preceptive observations on life that spoke to his readers.
William Dickey attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon where he earned his Bachelor of Arts, with a novel as his thesis, in 1951. With an awarded Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, Dickey earned his Master of Arts in 1955 at Harvard University and his Master of Fine Arts at the University of Iowa in 1956. As a Fulbright scholar, he studied from 1959 to 1960 at the University of Oxford’s Jesus College.
Dickey studied at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop under poet John Berryman, a major figure in American poetry in the latter half of the century and a key figure in Confessional Poetry, a form which focused on extreme moments of individual experience. Barrymore, whose childhood was shaken by the suicide death of his father, developed his own style and is best known for his 1964 “The Dream Songs”, short lyric poems of eighteen lines in three stanzas. Dickey studied in Barrymore’s intense poetry workshop with such poets as Henri Coulette, Donald Justice, Jane Cooper, and Robert Dana.
In 1959, William Dickey published his first volume of poetry, “Of the Festivity”, a balanced collection ofhumorous and serious works expressing keen observations on life. Selected by scholars as being culturally important, “Of the Festivity” was chosen by Oxford’s Professor of Poetry William Hugh Auden as the winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition. In his 1971 volume “More Under Saturn”, Dickey wrote darker toned poems with an added degree of cynicism to their humor. For this collection, he won a 1972 silver medal from the Commonwealth Club of California.
Dickey’s sixth volume of work “The Rainbow Grocery” was also published in 1971. It later received the Juniper Prize from the University of Massachusetts Press in 1978. The poems in this volume, which achieved a balance between humor and seriousness, were more loosely constructed, more sexual, and more frenzied than the poems in “Of the Festivity”. Dickey published seven more volumes of poetry. Among these are the 1981 “The Sacrifice Consenting”, “Brief Lives” and “The King of the Golden River”, both published in 1985, the 1994 “In the Dreaming”, and his last volume, the posthumously published 1996 “The Education of Desire”.
William Dickey, after receiving his Masters at the University of Iowa, taught English at Cornell University from 1956 to 1959. After returning from Oxford in 1960, he was an assistant professor of English at Dennison University in Granville, Ohio until 1962. At which time, Dickey joined San Francisco State University’s faculty as a Professor of English and Creative Writing and taught until his 1991 retirement. In 1988, he was the editor of the tenth-anniversary edition of the established literary journal “New England Review and Bread Loaf Quarterly”. In 1990, the journal returned to its original 1978 name “New England Review”.
Dickey lived in San Francisco with life-partner Leonard Sanazaro, a poet and teacher of English and Creative Writing at San Francisco’s City College. Due to complications from a series of HIV-related surgeries, William Hobart Dickey died at the age of sixty-five at San Francisco’s Kaiser Hospital in May of 1994.
Notes: William Dickey’s poem “The Death of John Berryman”, an elegy to his former professor, was completed shortly before Dickey’s death. It was published posthumously in the January 1996 issue of “Poetry” and in the 1997 anthology “The Best American Poetry”.
Born in Romania in 1981, Alina Noir is an visual artist, author and choreographer. Her education in literature and art history was internationally based with studies in Romania, Germany, France, Sweden and New Zealand. Noir studied classical and contemporary dance at Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal and Lyon’s École Nationale de Musique de Danse et D’art Dramatique. This multi-cultural academic background has had strong influence on her work as a photographer.
Alina Noir maintains an artist studio in the Renaissance city of Lyon, France, where she works with a team of ballet dancers and actors. Her work is influenced by the city’s classical Renaissance and Baroque paintings, in particular the works of Michelangelo Caravaggio. Initially focused on color photography, Noir has incorporated black and white images and re-colored images into her oeuvre. She shoots both theatrical and nude photography with an emphasis on the interaction of bodies in a given space. A variety of emotions and situations, such as fragility, force, solitude, despair and connection, are expressed in Noir’s images.
For each of her photographic projets, Noir shoots a series of images that often contain an autobiographical dimension. An early project entitled “I Turned My Blood Into a River” was a personal anthology of legends and myths. Noir’s “Cathedrals” was an exploration of her favorite artistic themes presented more mathematically in concept. This project examined the intricate ways , other than sexual or emotional, in which human bodies connect in space. During the winter months of 2018 to 2019, Noir created “Sculptures in the City”, a series of sixty digital photographs of random constructions and urban landscapes in Montreal. Based on the 1930s Surrealist art form of objet trouvé (found objects), the project’s impersonal images evoked sensations of both strangeness and displacement.
In 2019, Alina Noir produced a two-part project “La Bal-Act One” and “La Bal-Act Two”. The first part was a series of photographs taken during May and June of 2019 in which characters were involved in scenes both improvised and choreographed. In the images, references to art history and popular culture were combined with contemporary issues, such as gender, identity and body control. The shooting for “Act Two” took place in Lyon between July and September of 2019. These images were studies of choreographed movements that examined how desire, vulnerability, and intimacy become motivating forces in one’s life. The figural gestures portrayed in the photographs draw upon gestures exhibited in Renaissance paintings.
In January of 2020, Noir created “The Magic Square” series at the Institute for Contemporary Art during Lyon’s fifteenth Biennial for Contemporary Art. Inspired by Albrecht Dürer’s 1514 engraving “Melencolia I”, this series of photographs explored the notion of contemporary masculinity and examined its relationship to the male image in western art. In 2021, Noir created the series “Ships Anchored in Fog”, a set of nine self-portraits visually inspired by statues from classical Antiquity. These photographs translated certain aspects of mathematical set theory into the art of dance. The uniqueness of the dance movements, reinterpreted through the choice of statues, became static choreography which allied the subliminal creative idea with infinite sets.
Alina Noir created a collection of twenty dance performances from 2018 to 2022 among which were “Keeping This Body Alive”, “Black Bird”, and “No Ghost Just A Bell”. Her “Chrysanthèmes” was a 2021 performance at Lyon’s Maison de la Danse that translated certain aspects of Ferdinand de Saussure’s Semiotics theory into dance movements. The Semiotics theory provides a framework for understanding how humans use signs to make meaning of the world around them; however, an important assumption of this theory is that signs do not convey meaning that is inherent to the object being represented. The performance piece is centered around the symbol of the chrysanthemum as seen in two different cultures, Alina Noir interpreted the chrysanthemum in Romania (a symbol of mourning, death and rebirth) and dancer Mio Fusho interpreted the flower in Japan (a symbol of light, hope and metamorphosis).
Alina Noir’s photography has been featured in many print and online publications. She has exhibited her work in both collective and solo exhibitions in Lyon, Paris, Berlin, Potsdam, Prague, and Geneva.
Alina Noir’s portfolio site, which contains contact information and images of her work including installations and performance videos, is located at: https://www.alinanoir.com/index.html
Born in Geneva in October of 1866, Charles de Sousy Ricketts was a versatile British illustrator, author and printer known for his work as a book designer, typographer, and designer of theatrical sets and costume. He was the only son of Charles Robert Ricketts, a Royal Navy veteran and amateur painter, and Héléne Cornélie de Sousy, daughter of the Marquis de Sousy. Ricketts spent his formative years mainly in France and received his education through his governesses.
After the death of his mother in 1880, Charles Ricketts relocated with his father to London where, considered too frail for school, he became largely self-educated through reading and visiting museums. In 1882, Ricketts entered the City and Guilds of London Art School where he apprenticed to wood-engraver Charles Roberts. Later that year, his father died and he became dependent on the modest support of his paternal grandfather. On his sixteenth birthday, he met his lifelong partner Charles Haslewood Shannon, a fellow student three years his senior who was studying painting and lithography. The two men lived together in both a personal and professional partnership until Ricketts’s death.
After finishing their studies, Ricketts became a commercial and magazine illustrator; Shannon took a teaching post at London’s newly founded Croyton School of Art. In 1888, Ricketts took possession of painter James Whistler’s former house, The Vale, in Chelsea which soon became a gathering place of contemporary artists. Starting in 1889 until its final issue in 1897, Ricketts and Shannon produced “The Dial”, a journal of poetry, prose, and English Pre-Raphaelite and French Symbolist illustrations. This portfolio became a major publication of the Aesthetic Movement.
Charles Ricketts, in collaboration with Shannon, illustrated their close friend Oscar Wilde’s 1891 ”A House of Pomegranates” and the 1894 “The Sphinx”. Ricketts and Shannon worked together on the type and illustrations for editions of “Daphnis and Chloe” in 1893 and “Hero and Leander” in 1894. After initially running a small press, they founded London’s Vale Press in 1896 which published more than seventy-five books including a thirty-nine volume edition of Shakespeare’s work. Ricketts designed illustrations as wells fonts, initials, and borders specific to Vale Press. He also executed woodcut illustrations of Art Nouveau design and androgynous figures for their publications. After a 1904 fire at their printer Ballantyne Press destroyed their engraving woodcuts, Ricketts and Shannon made the decision to abandon publishing; Ricketts destroyed all the typefaces he had designed for Vale Press.
Beginning in the early 1900s, Ricketts placed his focus on painting and sculpture. He had a deep knowledge of earlier painters and was particularly influenced by the works of the Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau and the French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix. Among Ricketts’s many paintings are the 1904 “Betrayal of Christ”, the 1911 “The Death of Don Juan”, “Bacchus in India” painted in 1913, “Jepthah’s Daughter” painted in 1924, and the 1915 “Montezuma”, now at the Manchester Art Gallery. Over the course of his career, Ricketts produced about twenty sculptures among which are “Silence”, a memorial to his friend Oscar Wilde, and two bronze works entitled “Paolo and Francesca” and “Orpheus and Eurydice”.
From 1906 to his death, Charles Ricketts was a celebrated theatrical set and costume designer. His first commission was for a private production of s double billing of Oscar Wilde’s plays, “Salome” and “A Florentine Tragedy”, at King’s Hall in Covent Garden. In 1907, he designed costumes and stage sets for Aeschylus’s “The Persians” also performed at King’s Hall. During the early 1900s, Ricketts designed both costume and sets for many commercial theater productions including Hugo Hofmannsthal’s “Electra” in 1908, “King Lear” at the Haymarket in 1909, and two of Bernard Shaw’s plays, “The Dark Lady of the Sonnets” in 1910 and “Annajanska, the Bolshevik Empress” in 1918.
After World War One, Ricketts continued his theatrical design with Shaw’s “Saint Joan” at the New Theater in 1924, “Henry VIII” at the Empire Theater in 1925 and “Macbeth” at the Princess Theater in 1926. He also designed costumes and sets for the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company’s 1926 production of “The Mikado” at the Savoy Theater. Most of Ricketts’s designs for “The Mikado” were retained by other designers of the company for more than fifty years. Ricketts final theater designs were for the 1931 production of Ferdinand Bruckner’s “Elizabeth of England” preformed at London’s Cambridge Theater and a production of Donald Tovey’s opera “The Bride of Dionysus” staged posthumously in Edinburgh after Ricketts’s death.
As a writer, Charles Ricketts published two monographs on art as well as essays and articleson a wide range of subjects for publications. Using the pen-name of Jean Paul Raymond, he wrote and designed two collections of short stories published in 1928 and 1933. Under the same pen-name, Ricketts wrote the 1932 “Recollections of Oscar Wilde”, an extremely personal memoir that was published after Ricketts’s death. Ricketts’s last years were were greatly effected by Charles Shannon’s serious fall and resulting permanent brain damage. The strain of the situation with the addition of overwork to finance the household contributed to the decline of Ricketts’s health and ultimately his death.
Charles de Sousy Ricketts died suddenly at age sixty-five from coronary heart disease on the 7th of October in 1931 at the Regent’s Park house. He was cremated and his ashes partly scattered in London’s Richmond Park, and the remainder buried at Arolo, Lake Maggiore in Italy. Charles Shannon outlived him by six years and died in March of 1937.
Top Insert Image: George Charles Beresford, “Charles de Sousy Ricketts”, October 1903, Sepia-Toned Platinotype Print, 15.5 x 10.7 cm, National Portrait Gallery, London
Second Insert Image: Charles de Sousy Ricketts, Page from Ricketts’s “The Prado and Its Masterpieces”, 1923, Published by E.P. Dutton and Company, New York, Private Collection
Third Insert Image: Charles de Sousy Ricketts, Illustration and Text from Michael Field’s “The Race of Leaves”, 1901, Woodcut, The Ballantyne Press, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: George Charles Beresford, “Charles Haslewood Shannon and Charles de Sousy Ricketts”, October 1903, Modern Print from Original Negative, 11 x 15.7 cm, National Portrait Gallery, London
Born in Sleaford, Lincolnshire in April of 1863, Charles Haslewood Shannon was an English artist best known for his portraits. The son of Reverend Franklin William Shannon, Rector of Quarrington and Old Sleaford, and Catherine Emma Manthorp, he received his primary education at St. John’s School in the town of Leatherhead, Surrey.Shannon received his art training at the City and Guilds of London Art School, which emphasized a strong connection between fine arts, craft and design.
In October of 1882, Charles Shannon met his lifelong partner Charles de Sousy Ricketts, a fellow student who was studying wood engraving under the prominent engraver Charles Roberts. Inspired by a meeting with the French artist Pierre-Cécile Puvis de Chavannes in 1887, Shannon retired from the world to focus on his painting while Ricketts provided an income through work as an illustrator. Over the course of their lives, they collected Old Master paintings and drawings, Egyptian and Greek antiquities, Persian miniatures, and Japanese woodblock prints. Shannon and Ricketts moved into Whistler’s house, The Vale, in 1888 and lived together in London’s Chelsea community for over fifty years until Ricketts’s death.
Shannon’s work was influenced by painters of the Italian Renaissance’s Venetian school, which gave primacy to color over line, and his partner Charles Ricketts’s work inspired by Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix and Symbolist Gustave Moreau. Abandoning his early heavy-toned works, Shannon painted his new works in clearer, more transparent colors. He achieved success with portraits and classically-styled figure compositions distinctive for their color and mood. A gold medal was awarded to Shannon for work entered at Munich’s Annual Exhibition of Fine Arts in 1897.
Although known for his portraits, Charles Shannon also created lithographs and etchings. He was particularly interested in woodcut illustrations and experimenting with different lithographic techniques. Many complete sets of Shannon’s lithographs and etchings have been acquired by London’s British Museum and the print collections at both Berlin and Dresden Museums.
Shannon and Ricketts collaborated on the design and illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s 1891 “A House of Pomegranates” and 1894 “The Sphinx”, as well as wood engraving for editions of “Daphnis and Chloe” in 1893 and “Hero and Leander” in 1894. Influenced by Arts and Crafts designers William Morris and A. H. Mackmurdo, Shannon and Ricketts founded the Vale Press in 1896 with assistance from investor William Llewellyn Hacon. Through this celebrated London establishment, they published fine art journals and books, including the last year’s issues of their own art portfolio “The Dial”. While Shannon and Ricketts did all the design and typographic work for all books issued by Vale Press, the actual printing was entrusted to Ballantyne Press, the work of which was supervised by Ricketts with fastidious care.
Charles Shannon painted Ricketts’s portrait “Man in the Inverness Cape” in 1898, a striking portrayal of the bearded Ricketts now housed in London’s National Portrait Gallery. Among the many portraits by Shannon are the 1904 “The Lady with the Green Fan”, depicting Amaryllis Roubichaud-Hacon, a leading Scottish suffragist; the 1922 portrait of theatrically-dressed actress Lillah McCarthy as the character “The Dumb Wife”; the 1928 “Portrait of Hilda Mary Moore”, the stage and film actress; and the 1917-1918 portrait of Queen Victoria’s grand-daughter “Princess Patricia of Connaught”.
Shannon was elected as Associate of the Royal Academy in 1911 and, in 1918, became vice-president of the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers. In 1920 he elevated to Royal Academician at the Academy. In January of 1928, Shannon became disabled after a fall while attempting to hang a picture at their house in Regent’s Park. The neurological damage suffered from the fall was permanent and halted his successful artistic career.
Devastated by his partner’s poor health and working ceaselessly to support their household, Charles Ricketts died at age sixty-five of heart failure in October of 1931. Charles Haslewood Shannon died in March of 1937 at the age of seventy-three. At Shannon’s bequest, their extensive art collection was given to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
“Oscar Wilde had taken me to the Vale to see Ricketts and Shannon before I came to live in Chelsea, when I was charmed by these men, and by their simple dwelling, with its primrose walls, apple-green skirting and shelves, the rooms hung with Shannon’s lithographs, a fan-shaped watercolor by Whistler, and drawings by Hokusai – their first treasures, to be followed by so many others.”—William Rothenstein, 1893