Eliot Hodgkin

Eliot Hodgkin, “Peeled Lemons”, 12/03/1958, Tempera on Board, 21.5 x 24.7 cm, Estate of Eliot Hodgkin, Exhibition: Royal Academy 1958

Born in Purley-on-Thames in June of 1905, Curwen Eliot Hodgkin was an English painter best known for his highly detailed still lifes. The only son of Charles Ernest Hodgkin and his wife Alice Jane Brooke, he was raised in a Quaker family related to Roger Eliot Fry, a prominent member of the Bloomsbury Group of artists. Eliot Hodgkin was also the younger cousin of abstract painter Sir Howard Hodgkin. 

Hodgkin received his early education at the Harrow School from 1919 to 1923. His initial formal art training was in London at the independent Byam Shaw School of Art. He later enrolled at the Royal Academy School where he studied under painter and draughtsman Francis Ernest Jackson, a student of both William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant. Hodgkin left the Royal Academy to prepare works for an upcoming exhibition at Liverpool’s Basnett Gallery. 

Eliot Hodgkin was very particular in the choice of subjects for his paintings; he would choose simple things, often natural objects, and meticulously arrange them against the painting’s background. Hodgkin originally painted in oils, both indoors and en plein air. Introduced in 1937 to a method of creating egg tempera by his friend and teacher Maxwell Armfield, he dedicated more of his time to painting indoors with egg tempera on primed hardboard. Hodgkin’s interest in egg tempera was influenced by the detailed work of such artists as Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbaran, known as the Spanish Caravaggio, and Adriaen Coorte, the Dutch Golden Age painter of small still lifes.

By the middle of the 1930s, Hodgkin had established himself as a painter of still lifes, landscapes and murals through regular exhibitions at the Royal Academy. Between 1934 and 1981, he took part in all the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions. Three of Hodgkin’s works, including the 1939 “October”, were purchased at the summer exhibitions by the Chantrey Bequest founded by wealthy portrait sculptor and painter Sir Francis Chantrey. These three works were later presented to the Tate Gallery collection in London. In 1938, Hodgkin had his first solo exhibition at the Picture Hire Gallery on London’s Brook Street where he showed twenty-three works painted during a ten month span.

During the years of World War II, Eliot Hodgkin joined the Air Raid Precautions, an organization of wardens supporting citizens during air raids, and worked for the Home Intelligence Division of the Ministry of Information. He continued his painting during the war and produced paintings contrasting the ruins of London’s bomb sites with the vegetation that thrived in the devastation. For his work, he received a commission as part of the War Artists Scheme, a project devised and administered by Kenneth Clark, the Director of the National Gallery. 

Hodgkin taught briefly as a teacher in 1936 at the Westminster School of Art. He was offered the position of academic at the Royal Academy of Art in 1959; however, he declined in order to concentrate on his painting. Hodgkin wrote a novel, “She Closed the Door” in 1931 and, in the following year, six articles on mural decorations for the book “Fashion Drawing” published by Chapman and Hall. In 1949, he published “A Pictorial Gospel”, a collection of old master illustrations of the Gospel story. His last published work was an article entitled “How I Paint in Temper” for the Society of Painters in Tempera’s 1967 yearbook. 

Eliot Hodgkin continued his painting until his late seventies. Due to eyesight difficulties, his work slowly diminished until it stopped completely in 1979. During the last years of his life, he suffered from axatia, loss of full control of his bodily movements. Eliot Hodgkin died in May of 1987 at the age of eighty-one; his ashes are buried in the churchyard of St. John’s Ladbroke Grove in London. 

“Why tempera?… Because tempera enables me most nearly to achieve the effects I am aiming at… I try to show things exactly as they are, yet with some of their mystery and poetry, and as though seen for the first time. And it seems to me that, in trying to depict “a World in a grain of sand”, perhaps the best medium is tempera, because it combines clarity and definition with a certain feeling of remoteness.” – Eliot Hodgkin, 1946, Royal Watercolor Society Catalogue

Note: More extensive information on Eliot Hodgkin’s life and work can be found at The Estate of Eliot Hodgkin website located at: https://www.eliothodgkin.com

Top Insert Image: Howard Coster, “Eliot Hodgkin”, 1953, Silver Gelatin Print, 22.9 x 17.8 cm, National Portrait Gallery, London

Second Insert Image: Eliot Hodgkin, “Five Gladiolus Bulbs”, 04/03/1954, Tempera on Board, 10.2 x 13.7 cm, Private Collection, Exhibited at Leicester Galleries in 1956

Third Insert Image: Eliot Hodgkin, “Portrait of Douglas Fitzpatrick”, Date Unknown (circa 1930), Pencil and Watercolor, 58.4 x 47 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Eliot Hodgkin, “Orto Chiuso, Malcontenta, Italy”, 1957, Oil on Canvas, 24.2 x 19.7 cm, Private Collection, Exhibition Waddesdon 2019

Gordon Coster

The Photography of Gordon Coster

Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1906, Gordon H. Coster was an American photographer known for his abstracted industrial images and his photojournalism documenting civil rights and labor issues. Interested in photography from an early age,  he joined the Baltimore Camera Club in the early 1920s and garnered a reputation when his modernistic images were accepted in international photographic salons. At nineteen years old, Coster’s 1925 Bauhaus-inspired image of Baltimore’s Washington Monument, “Shadow of the Washington Monument”, was published in the Baltimore Sun’s rotogravure section. 

From 1920 to 1925, Gordon Coster worked for the Bachrach Portrait Studio in Baltimore. Once photography replaced drawing in advertising illustration, he moved to New York City where he became employed by the prestigious Underwood & Underwood. Originally the largest producer and distributor of stereoscopic and other photographic images, the photographic studio became a pioneer in the field of news bureau photography. Coster secured his place in the field by creating innovative advertising and industrial photo-illustrations for newspapers, magazines and catalogues. 

From the beginning of 1927 through 1936, Coster documented labor union activities. He relocated to Chicago in 1930 where he founded a mid-western branch of Underwood & Underwood. During his years in Chicago, Coster developed an unique artistic style for his evening cityscapes. These experimental works presented an abstracted perspective of Chicago’s buildings, shot with tilted angles and occasionally through unfocused lenses. Coster shifted his career to photojournalism with freelance work for such periodicals as Life, Scientific American, Time, Fortune, and Holiday.

Gordon Coster’s personal commitment to the welfare of his fellow citizens led to many extensive documentary projects. In the late 1930s, he produced many projects dedicated to American life in the mid-west. Coster created a series on the lives of wheat farmers and a detailed photo-documentary on the Tennessee Valley Authority Dam Project. Passed in 1933, the TVA project, though controversial at the time, transformed the wild Tennessee Valley river system into a stable region with flood-control, safe navigation, electrification, and economic development. Through the 1930s and 1940s, Coster documented the impact of World War II on the U.S. home front through images of  factories repurposed for military production, women assembly-line workers, and rallies to support the troops.

In 1946 Bauhaus professor László Moholy-Nagy, who founded the Chicago Institute of Design, invited Coster to lecture at the institute’s course “The New Vision in Photography” alongside such eminent photographers as Paul Strand, Erwin Blumenfeld and Berenice Abbott. Coster returned to lecture in 1950 to 1951 and later in 1960 with a focus on socially-oriented themes. In 1955, Edward Steichen selected Coster’s work for inclusion in the landmark exhibition “The Family of Man” held at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. 

Gordon Coster ceased his photographic work in 1964 and eventually retired in 1982. He passed away in 1988 at the age of sixty-two. Coster’s work has been included in exhibitions at Houston’s Contemporary Art Museum, the Stephen Daiter Gallery in Chicago,  London’s Viewfinder Gallery, and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Notes: Gordon Coster’s  photographic work is included in the current 2023 exhibition “Trick Photography and Visual Effects”  (January 19 to March 18) at the Keith de Lellis Gallery located at 41 East 57th Street in New York City.

A major collection of Gordon Coster’s work, including over twenty-five thousand prints, negatives, transparencies, and film reels, is housed at the Research Center of the Chicago History Museum. 

Top Insert Image: Gordon Coster, “Self Portrait”, circa 1945, Gelatin Silver Print, 20.3 x 25.4 cm, Private Collection

Second Insert Image: Gordon Coster, “Eliot Elisofon”, 1942, Gelatin Silver Print, Life Magazine Cover July 13, 1942, International Center of Photography

Bottom Insert Image: Gordon Coster, “Chicago Outdoor Street Market”, 1944, Gelatin Silver Print, Life Magazine Collection, 33.7 x 26.7 cm, International Center of Photography

John Dall: Film History Series

Photographer Unknown, “John Dall”, 1948, Publicity Shot for Universal International, Gelatin Silver Print

Born in New York City in May of 1920, John Dall Thompson was an American stage and film actor. The younger of two sons born to Charles Thompson and Henny Worthington, he moved with his family in the 1920s to Panama, where his father was employed as a civil engineer for airport construction. After performing at a local theater, Dall first gave thought to the possibility of acting as a career. Due to the death of Charles Thompson by suicide in 1929, the family chose to return to New York City.

John Dall attended the Horace Mann School, a private college-preparatory school in the Bronx, and enrolled at Columbia University with the intention of studying engineering. He soon left the university and studied at the Pasadena Playhouse and the Theodore Irvine School of Theater. Dall also took theater courses in New Orleans at the Petit Theatre, a historic French Quarter playhouse founded in 1916. 

Dall performed for six years in various stock companies, primarily the Children’s Theater founded in New York City in 1924 by British actress and playwright Clare Tree Major. He also worked in several theater companies headed by such performers as Academy Award winner Aline MacMahon, actor Arthur William Byron, and stage and screen actress Edith Atwater. During the 1941-1942 season, Dall had small roles on Broadway which included the 1920 science-fiction play “R.U.R.” by Czech writer Karel Čapek. In 1942-1943, Dall had the lead role of Quizz Martin in the touring production of Maxwell Anderson’s “The Eve of St Mark” which later moved to Broadway. 

John Dall’s performance in the Broadway version of “The Eve of St Mark” caught the attention of the wife of Jack Warner, founder of Warner Brothers Pictures. This resulted in a film contract with the studio; a proviso was added to the contract that allowed Dall personal time for stage performances. Dall’s first film with Warner Brothers was director Irving Rapper’s 1945 “The Corn is Green”, a drama starring Bette Davis as a schoolteacher bringing education to a Welsh coal mining town.  Dall played the lead role of miner Morgan Evans and was nominated for the 1946 Academy Award / Best Supporting Actor. 

Impressed with the film rushes for “The Corn is Green”, Warner Brothers signed Dall to a new contract. He became one of the studio’s six contract players that were to be built into stars; the others included Lauren Bacall, Dane Clark, Faye Emerson, Robert Hutton and William Prince. In 1944, Dall returned to the stage with the lead role in playwright Norman Krasna’s highly successful “Dear Ruth”, which eventually ran for six-hundred and eighty performances. The film rights to the play, however, were purchased by Paramount Studio which cast William Holden in Dall’s original role. 

Warner Brothers purchased the film rights to John Patrick’s play “Hasty Heart” with the intention of giving the lead film role to John Dall. In 1945, Dall performed “Hasty Heart” on a three-month stage tour. However as it took several more years before the film was started, casting changes gave the lead role to Irish-British actor Richard Todd. In May of 1946, Warners released Dall from his contract after filming only one role for the studio.

Although Paramount Studio cited interest in signing Dall for an adaption of ”The Wayfarers” based on Becky Chambers’s series of books, Dall signed a seven-year contract with David Selznick’s Vanguard Films in May of 1946. He performed “Hasty Heart” during the summer theater season but was never given any roles by Selznick. Signing with Universal International, he played Canadian actress Deanna Durbin’s love interest in Irving Pichel’s 1947 musical comedy “Something in the Wind”. Dall next appeared in a supporting role in Michael Gordon’s 1948 post-Civil War drama “Another Part of the Forest”. 

Founded by Alfred Hitchcock and his longtime associate Sidney Bernstein at the end of World War II, Transatlantic Pictures chose John Dall for one of the lead roles in its first production. Dall and actor Farley Granger played the two killers who matched wits with James Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock’s Technicolor 1948 crime thriller “Rope”. On its theatrical release, the film performed poorly at the box office; screenwriter Arthur Laurents attributed the poor performance to audience uneasiness with the homosexual undertones between the characters played by Dall and Granger.

Dall did an hour episode for the ABC anthology radio series “Theater Guild on the Air” and then appeared on Broadway in an adaption of Jean-Paul Satre’s “Red Gloves” with Charles Boyer. In 1949, he made his television debut in The Chevolet Tele-Theatre’s production “Miracle in the Rain”. Dall appeared as one of the leads in Joseph H. Lewis’s 1950 crime film-noir “Gun Crazy” playing opposite femme-fatale actress Peggy Cummins. He later had supporting roles in the 1950 crime film-noir “The Man Who Cheated Himself”, playing opposite Lee J. Cobb and Jane Wyatt, and in a revival on Broadway of the romantic drama “The Heiress”, playing alongside Basil Rathbone.

Throughout the 1950s, John Dall appeared in stock productions of such plays as “Gramercy Ghost”, “The Hasty Heart”, “Born Yesterday” and “The Man Who Came to Dinner”. He worked extensively in television and appeared in guest roles on such shows as Studio One in Hollywood, General Electric Theater, Schlitz Playhouse, The Clock, Broadway Television Theater, and Lights Out. In 1955, Dall returned to Broadway for writer and director Leslie Stevens’s “Champagne Complex”. 

Dall’s first film role after a span of eight years was that of the Roman soldier Marcus Glabus, based on the life of Roman military commander Gaius Claudius Glaber, in Stanley Kubrick’s 1960 epic historical drama “Spartacus”.  This film won four Academy Awards and had the highest ranking box office in Universal Studio’s history until “Airport” in 1970. Dall’s final film performance was as the villain Zaren in George Pal’s 1961 science-fiction film “Atlantis, the Lost Continent”. 

As to John Dall’s personal life, there is very little verifiable written record. According to music journalist Phil Milstein, at the time of his death Dall had lapsed into alcoholism and was living with his partner, actor Clement Brace. While visiting London in October of 1970, John Dall sustained a serious fall. He died three months later of cardiac arrest, a complication of myocarditis, at his Beverly Hills home in January of 1971 at the age of fifty. His body was donated to medical science. Dall’s papers and correspondence are housed at the Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills, California. 

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “John Dall”,  Date Unknown, Studio Publicity Shot, Gelatin Silver Print

Second Insert Image: Joseph A. Valentine, “John Dall, James Stewart and Farley Granger”, 1948, Film Shot from “Rope”, Director Alfred Hitchcock

Third Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Donald O’Connor, Deanna Durbin and John Dall”, 1947, Pulicity Shot for “Something in the Wind”, Director Irving Pichel, Cinematographer Milton R. Krasner

Fourth Insert Image: Sol Polito, “John Dall and Bette Davis”, 1945, Film Shot from “The Corn is Green”, Director Irving Rapper

Fifth Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “John Dall”, Date Unknown, Publicity Shot, Gelatin Silver Print

Bottom Insert Image: Russell Harlan, “John Dall”, 1950, Film Shot from “Gun Crazy”, Director Joseph H. Lewis

R. H. Ives Gammell

The Paintings of R. H. Ives Gammell

Born into a wealthy Providence, Rhode Island family in 1883, Robert Hale Ives Gammell was an American artist, one of the last American artists who were trained in the French Academic tradition of the late nineteenth-century. His work shows the influence of French Neoclassical painters Jacque-Louis David and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, as well as Academic painter Jean-Léon Gérôme. Gammell was also inspired by the work of his teachers: William Sargeant Kendall, with whom he studied from 1906 to 1914, and Boston artist William McGregor Paxton who mentored him from 1928 to 1930.

R. H. Ives Gammell attended Groton School, a private college-preparatory boarding school, where he spent much of his personal time drawing. His formal art education began at Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts under Impressionist painters Joseph DeCamp, Edmund C. Tarbell, and Philip Leslie Hale. Gammell later studied in Paris at the Académia Julian and the Atelier Baschet under genre painter Henri Royer and portrait artist William Laparra. Although he had intended to stay five or six years in France, these studies in Paris were interrupted by his service in the United States military during World War I.

Upon his return to the United States, Gammell briefly returned to his studies at the Boston Museum School. However, he was frustrated as he felt that, although the standards established by the great nineteenth-century painters were generally accepted and understood, the procedures and principles for the construction of large figural compositions and imagined scenes were not being taught. Trained as an impressionist, Gammell was interest in painting decorative subjects in the academic tradition. He began his career in the Boston tradition with portraits, nudes and interior scenes with primarily female figures. As he matured, Gammell turned to ancient history, Greek mythology, literary and religious scenes, and psychology particularly that of C. G. Jung, for his subjects.

R. H. Ives Gammell produced many works in the 1930s; however, the recognition that he was working against the current trend in art and other stress factors led to a nervous breakdown in 1939. While recovering, Gammell read Carl Jung’s “Psychology of the Unconscious” and discovered an approach to a series of paintings based on poet Francis Thompson’s “The Hound of Heaven”. Read while a sixteen-year old student, this poem had held Gammell’s imagination and formed the basis of a number of sketches. He now saw Jung’s work as a link between myths, symbols, poetry and the recurring emotional patterns of human life.

Gammell had begun planning in 1941 the sequence of images that would embrace many of the themes he had considered throughout his career. His “Hound of Heaven” series consisted of twenty-three large format oil on canvas paintings, each being 200.7 x 68.6 cm in size. These illustrations of Thompson’s poem contain images and symbols drawn from various ancient and modern sources and conjure up deep human responses. The series, completed and exhibited in 1956, is considered by many to be Gammell’s greatest achievement, one which represented his artistic aims and ideas.

Starting in the 1940s, R. H. Ives Gammell taught at the Fenway Studios in Boston. His classes included the study of anatomy, memory drawing and the sight-size method, a technique that ,when viewed from a set vantage point, presents the drawing and subject with exactly the same dimensions. Among his many students were painters Robert Cormier and Richard Frederick Lack, the founder of Classical Realism; Robert Douglas Hunter known for his academic still lifes; and Samuel Rose known for his realistic and surreal subjects.

Gammell publish a book of art criticism in 1946 entitled “Twilight of Painting”, in which he argued that the tradition of European craftsmanship was undermined by modern art with its emphasis on abstraction. He also wrote a monograph on the Boston painter Dennis Miller Bunker, one of the first biographies on this innovator of Impressionism, and the 1961 book “Shop Talk of Edgar Degas”, a discussion of Degas’s connection to the act of painting. Gammell wrote a book of essays entitled “The Boston Painters: 1900-1930”, an examination of the genesis, contributions and motivations of the Boston School artists, many of whom Gammell knew personally. This volume was published posthumously.

Robert Hale Ives Gammell died, at the age of eighty-eight, in his Boston home in April of 1981. His papers, diaries, and notebooks with sketches are housed in the Archives of American Art of the Smithsonian Museum.

Note: A transcript of an 1973 Oral History interview with painter Robert Douglas Hunter, in which he discusses his years as a student of H. R. Ives Gammell, can be found at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art sit located at: https://www.aaa.si.edu/download_pdf_transcript/ajax?record_id=edanmdm-AAADCD_oh_212739

Second Insert Image: R.H. Ives Gammell, “The Predicament”, 1958, Oil on Canvas

Third Insert Image: R. H. Ives Gammell, “William” 1915, Oil on Canvas, 74.9 x 59 cm, Provincetown Art Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Robert Ives Gammell, “The fates”, circa 1930, Oil on Paper, 26.7 x 28.6 cm, Private Collection

Hart Crane: “A Perfect Cry Shall String Some Constant Harmony”

Photographers Unknown, A Perfect Cry Shall String Some Constant Harmony

      As silent as a mirror is believed
      Realities plunge in silence by . . .

      I am not ready for repentance;
   Nor to match regrets. For the moth
        Bends no more than the still
      Imploring flame. And tremors
        In the white falling flakes
                   Kisses are – –
        The only worth all granting.

                It is to be learned–
      This cleaving and this burning,
           But only by the one who
          Spends out himself again.

                  Twice and twice
         (Again the smoking souvenir,
      Bleeding eidolon!) and yet again.
        Until the bright logic is won
         Unwhispering as a mirror
                   Is believed.

Then, drop by caustic drop, a perfect cry
 Shall string some constant harmony,–
 Relentless caper for all those who step
The legend of their youth into the noon.

Hart Crane, Legend

Born in Garrettsville, Ohio in July of 1899, Harold Hart Crane was an American modernist poet considered one of the most influential poets of his generation. He was admired by many artists including playwright Eugene O’Neill, essayist Alan Tate, poet and playwright E.E. Cummings, and writer William Carlos Williams. Important American poets such as John Berryman and Robert Lowell cited Crane as a significant influence.

The son of successful business man Clarence Crane and Grace Edna Hart, Hart Crane had a stressful childhood in which his parents constantly fought. Raised in part by his grandmother in Cleveland, he read continuously in his grandmother’s extensive library which contained the complete editions of such poets as Robert Browning, Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson. As he aged, Crane broadened his interest with writers such as philosopher Plato, novelist Honore de Balzac, and Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. His formal education was undermined by long absences from school caused by constant arguments between his parents. 

In 1916, Crane left Cleveland without graduating and relocated to New York with the hope of passing the entrance exam to Columbia University. Once settled in New York City, he made the decision to abandon college and concentrate on a literary career. Crane met other writers in the city and became exposed to the various art movements prevalent at that time. As a result of his parents’ divorce in 1917, Crane’s mother and grandmother relocated to New York City and moved into his one-bedroom apartment. 

To escape the pressures of family life, Hart Crane attempted to enlist in the army but was rejected due to his young age. He relocated to Cleveland and worked in a munitions factory during World War I. After the war, Crane worked briefly as a reporter for the local “Cleveland Plain Dealer”, worked in New York City for the “Little Review”, and then returned to Cleveland as an employee in his father’s candy company. Tensions between him and his now Cleveland-based family finally erupted in the spring of 1921. This led to Crane resettling back in New York City and two-years of non-communication with his father.

Throughout the early 1920s, Crane published poems in small but respected literary magazines, including “Little Review” and “Seven Arts”, which gained him respect among the avant-garde. By 1922 he had already written many of the poems that would be included in his first collection, “White Buildings”, finished in 1924 and published in 1926. This collection was written when he was falling in love with the Danish merchant mariner Emil Opffer. Their relationship, one of intense sexual passion and occasional turmoil, inspired “Voyages”, a sequence of erotic poems in praise of love. Other poems in the collection include “For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen”, set in contemporary times with Faustus representing a poet seeking ideal beauty, and the notable “Chaplinesque”. Produced after watching Charlie Chaplin’s 1921 film “The Kid”, the poem portrayed Crane’s personal outlooks towards adversity and innocence. 

By 1924, Hart Crane had already started the first drafts of his ambitious “The Bridge”, a long poem of fifteen sections with a finished length of sixty pages. Using the Brooklyn Bridge as the poem’s symbol, the poem celebrates the American experience from explorer Christopher Columbus to the 1910 opening of the newly constructed East River Tunnel. The Brooklyn Bridge functioned as a source of inspiration and a symbol of the unique American optimism. 

The optimism seen in Crane’s “White Buildings” was not quite indicative of his emotional state at that time. In the spring of 1923, he was working at an advertising agency, a job he found tedious and unrewarding. The tumult and loud noises of city life spoiled Crane’s concentration and made his writing difficult. By 1926, his intense relationship with Opffer had faded; this was followed by more conflicts with his mother and the deaths of both his father and grandmother. 

Hart Crane began to seek solace in alcohol and sexual encounters. With his inheritance, he fled his mother and traveled to Europe. Crane associated with many prominent figures in Paris’s expatriate community, including Harry Crosby, the owner of the fine art Black Sun Press, who offered Crane the use of his country estate. There Cane wrote a key part of “The Bridge” but continued his alcohol use and engaged in multiple sexual encounters with Marseilles sailors. 

Through money lent by Crosby, Crane was able to return to the United States where he finally finished “The Bridge”, which received upon its publication poor reviews from the critics. His pattern of self-destructive behavior, with its alternating depression and elation, continued. Crane entered a creative slump from which he could not recover. He applied for a Guggenheim Fellowship with the intention to study European culture and American poetry. Granted the fellowship, Crane decided instead to travel in 1931 to Mexico where he had a heterosexual romance with Peggy Baird, the divorced wife of writer Malcolm Cowley. The poem “The Broken Tower”, one of his last published works, emerged from the affair.

Despite the relationship with Peggy Baird, Hart Crane returned to his homosexual activities. Still feeling himself a failure, he returned to New York aboard the steamship Orizaba. During the voyage, Crane was beaten up after making sexual advances to a male crew member. Drinking heavy and leaving no suicide note, he jumped overboard into the Gulf of Mexico just before noon on the 27th of April in 1932. Crane’s body was never recovered. His father’s tombstone carries the inscription: ‘Harold Hart Crane 1899-1932 Lost at Sea’. 

Hart Crane’s correspondence, manuscripts, documents, drawings and paintings are housed in the archival collections of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Columbia University. In the collection are most of the original manuscripts of his major works with corrections and additions in Crane’s hand. Included in this collection are “The Bridge”, “White Buildings” and “West Indies Poems”.

Note: An online collection of Hart Crane’s work can be found in the Digital Collections of the Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas at Austin. The site is located at: https://hrc.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p15878coll32

 

Maurizio Bonfanti

The Paintings of Maurizio Bonfanti

Born in 1952 in Bergamo, a city in the alpine Lombardy region, Maurizio Bonfanti is an Italian painter and the son of fresco painter Angelo Bonfanti. He currently works from his studio in Bergamo close to his home in Torre Boldone.

Maurizio Bonfanti’s formal artistic education began with studies at the Liceo Artistico in Bergamo with additional courses in etching and intaglio at Bergamo’s Accademia di Bella Arti. In addition to his art studies, Bonfanti also studied modern literature at the Università Statale in Milan. In 1973, he left his study of modern literature and began to pursue his career as a painter. 

Bonfanti spent the decade of the 1970s exclusively working in the medium of etching but later made the decision to concentrate on painting. His work, which deals with the themes of nature, the human body and urban landscapes, is produced using experimental techniques influenced by his knowledge of etching. Bonfanti paints in thematic cycles, many of which are influenced by his early religious upbringing. His work has been influenced by such figurative artists as painter Renzo Vespignani, sculptor Augusto Perez, and postwar painters Gionfranco Ferroni and Giuseppe Guerreschi.

The development of a specific viewing angle seen in many of Bonfanti’s paintings was influenced by his experience in the photographic field. The focus point for his figurative work lies with the faceless human figures placed central in his compositions. These figures are posed theatrically, either standing, seated or crouching, and often portrayed alone, naked and surrounded by darkness. These compositions, represented in large-format images on canvas paper, display tension between the fragility of man highlighted by body language and the dense mixture of the unraveling, surrounding space. Faceless, the central figure’s condition and emotional state are inferred by the viewer solely through the pose of the depicted body.

Since 1978, Bonfanti’s work has been shown in many collective and solo exhibitions, both in Italy and abroad. He has participated in two prestigious exhibitions at Utrecht’s Contemporary Art Centre in Schalkwijk and showed in major exhibitions in Belgium and Holland. In 2001, on the occasion of the first Day of Remembrance, Bonfanti exhibited a cycle of large-format works entitled “Five Doors in Memory of the Shoah” in the Tempietto of the Synagogue of Turin. 

Bonfanti won the 2004 Prize of the Lord Mayor at the  International Biennial of Drawing in Pilsen. In 2012, his cycle of works, inspired by the biblical text “Ezechiele: 37”, was exhibited at the Museo Bernareggi in Bergamo. Bonfanti showed his work at the 2015 “A Different Perspective: Artwork by the Laureates of the Biennial of Drawing Pilsen” held at the Museum of West Bohemia. In 2016, his solo show “Limen” was held inside the historic Palazzo Storico del Credito Bergamasco in Bergamo. 

Maurizio Bonfanti taught painting techniques at the Liceo Artistico from 1976 to 1983. Since 1983, he has been a teacher of drawing and visual communication at a design and advertising school in Bergamo. 

“The surface of the paper on which I create my nudes suffers a series of attacks, which are an integral part of the expressive language of my works. I try to give substance to a smooth and neutral surface, and make it undergo a deterioration alongside the image, which is also intentionally eroded and scratched. The “wounded” paper is then glued to the canvas, creating the image of a body which seems to re-emerge from the past, but carries with it the fragility and energy of contemporary man.” — Maurizio Bonfanti, Excerpt from the 2021 Novitas Gallery exhibition

Second Insert Image: Maurizio Bonfanti, “Figura maschile in Paesaggio Urbano”, 2008, Mixed Technique on Paper on Canvas, 110 x 80 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Mauricio Bonfanti, “Confinato VI”, 2020, Acrylic Charcoal and Oil on Paper on MDF Panel, 30 x 30 cm, Private Collection

Erwin Olaf

The Photography of Erwin Olaf

Born in Hilversum, the Netherlands in July of 1959, Erwin Olaf Springveld is a Dutch photographer known for both his personal and commercial work. He is primarily known for his lush large-format color prints of staged scenes that depict complex and dramatic narratives. 

Erwin Olaf studied journalism at the School of Journalism in Utrecht. an important Dutch city with roots back to the eighth-century. He started his photographic career by documenting pre-AIDS gay liberation in Amsterdam’s 1980s nightlife. This work soon led to Olaf’s personal exploration of varied series shot in both black-and-white and color. Assuming the role of both photographer and director, he currently shoots cinematic-styled tableaux whose arrangements and diluted color palettes evoke memories of the early 1960s. 

Olaf  has been commissioned to photograph advertising campaigns for large international companies including Microsoft, Nokia and Levi’s. His bold approach to photography has led to a number of prestigious collaborations, among which have been Louis Vuitton, Vogue Magazine, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Throughout his forty-year career, Olaf has maintained an activist approach to equality. His diverse series center around the issues of society’s marginalized individuals, including people of color, women and the LBGTQ+ community. 

Erwin Olaf designed the national side of the 2013 Euro coins for King Willem-Alexander Koning, which commemorated two-hundred years of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Olaf served in 2017 as the official portrait artist for the Dutch royal family. In 2018, he completed a triptych of photographic and filmic tableaux depicting periods of sudden change in major world cities and their effects. Olaf became a Knight of the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands in 2019 after five-hundred works from his oeuvre were added to the collection of the Rijksmuseum. He was awarded the Netherlands’ prestigious Johannes Vermeer Award, as well as Photographer of the Year at the International Color Awards, and Kunstbeeld magazine’s Dutch Artist of the Year.

Among the many photographic series produced by Olaf are the 2005 “Hope, Grief, Rain” which centers on the suspended moment when emotional reaction begins;  the 2012 “Berlin” series shot outside of the studio in six different locations in Berlin, sites reminiscent of the city’s past; the 2020 “Im Wald” which was shot purely on location and highlighted isolated people in their relationship to nature; and the 2001-2002 “Paradise Portraits”, a series of close-up shots of party goers at Amsterdam’s renowned Club Paradiso on New Year’s Eve in 2000.  

Erwin Olaf’s work has been shown in major galleries throughout the world, including London’s prestigious photographic space Hamiltons Gallery, Berlin’s Wagner + Partner Gallery, Amsterdam’s Flatland Gallery, and the Galerie Magda Danysz in Paris. Museum exhibitions have included the Haifa Museum of Art in Israel, the Fondation Oriente Museu in Macau, the Museo de Arte Contemporaine de Rosario in Argentina, the National Art Gallery in Sofia, Bulgaria, and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.

In the spring of 2019, Olaf’s work was the subject of a double exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and The Hague Museum of Photography, as well as a solo exhibition at the Shanghai Center of Photography. In the summer of 2021, the Kunsthalle München mounted a major exhibition of 220 artworks, including Olaf’s two most recent series, the 2020 “April Fool” and “Im Wald”, the latter of which was made specially for this show. 

Note: More information of Erwin Olaf’s work and extensive exhibitions, including videos in which he explains his work, can be found at London’s Hamiltons Gallery website located at: https://www.hamiltonsgallery.com/artists/erwin-olaf/overview/

Erwin Olaf’s website, which includes contact information and an extensive list of exhibitions, is located at: https://www.erwinolaf.com/art

Top Insert Image: Erwin Olaf, “Self Portrait”, Date Unknown, Color Print

Second Insert Image: Erwin Olaf, “Chessmen XII”, 1988, Gelatin Silver Print, 37.5 x37.5 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Erwin Olaf, “Kleines Requiem II”, 2022, Color Print, Edition of Ten, 110 x 110 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Erwin Olaf, “Self Portrait”, 1985, Gelatin Silver Print, Futomuseum Den Haag, The Hague, The Netherlands

David Trinidad: “My Spirits Are Lifted”

Photographers Unknown, My Spirits Are Lifted

Depressed because my
book wasn’t nominated
for a gay award,

I lie on my couch
watching—not listening to—
the O.J. trial.

Byron, who senses
something’s wrong, hides under the
bed until Ira

comes home, carrying
a bouquet of beautifully
wrapped tulips. I press

the mute button. “This
is your prize,” he says. “Guess what
they’re called.” A smile in-

voluntarily
overcomes my frown. “What?” “Red
Parade.” “That sounds like

the name of an old
Barbie outfit,” I say. “That’s
exactly what I

told the florist. And
you know what she told me?” “What?”
“When she was a girl,

she turned her Barbie
into Cleopatra: gave
her an Egyptian

haircut and painted
her nipples blue.” “How cool.” “Yeah,
but now she thinks that

her doll would be worth
eight hundred dollars if she
hadn’t messed it up.”

Once in water, the
tulips begin to unclench—
ten angry fists. Their

colors are fierce, like
Plath’s “great African cat,” her
“bowl of red blooms.” Poor

Sylvia, who so
desperately wanted awards,
and only won them

after she was dead.
Byron jumps up, Ira sits
down and massages

my feet. “You guys.” My
spirits are lifted by their
tulips, kisses, licks.

David Trinidad, Red Parade, Plasticville, Turtle Point Press, 2000

Born in Los Angeles, California in 1953, David Trinidad is a contemporary American poet know for his masterful use of popular-culture references in his work. He attended California State University at Northridge where, as an undergraduate, he took Introduction to Literature with poet Ann Stanford. It was Stanford who introduced Trinidad to the genre of found poetry in 1972. 

Trinidad earned his Bachelor of Arts in English at California State University in 1979. Relocating to New York City in 1988, he studied at Brooklyn College where he earned in 1990 his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Among the poets who have influenced Trinidad are Ann Stanford, Sylvia Plath, Ann Sexton, Ted Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O’Hara. In particular, the autobiographical style of such poets as Sexton, whose work he discovered in 1975,  and O’Hara can be seen in Trinidad’s work.

 While at Northridge, Trinidad edited its literary journal “Angel’s Flight” and became friends with poet Rachel Sherwood, fellow student and co-founder of “Angel’s Flight”. An automobile accident in July of 1979 severely injured Trinidad and proved fatal for Rachel Sherwood. Her friends established the annual Rachel Sherwood Poetry Prize at Northridge in her honor; Trinidad also created the Sherwood Press and published, in collaboration with Yarmouth Press, the 1981 book of Sherwood’s poetry “Mysteries of Afternoon and Evening”. 

In the early 1980s, David Trinidad was one of a group of poets active at the Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice, California. The group, which included such writers as Dennis Cooper, Amy Gerstler and Bob Flanagan, gave readings and published literary books and magazines such as “Little Caesar Magazine” and “Barney: The Modern Stone-Age Magazine”. Through interchange of ideas and poems between the collective’s members, Trinidad met other poets such as Tim Dlugos from New York and Elaine Equi from Chicago. 

While living in New York City, Trinidad was active in The Poetry Project at Saint Mark’s Church from 1990 to 1991 and in The Writer’s Voice at the West Side YMCA Center for the Arts. In 1991, he published his first book of poems, entitled “Pavane”.  Trinidad has authored seventeen volumes of poetry which include the 1985 “Monday, Monday”; the 1987 “November”;  the 1994 “Answer Song”, which includes the more focused and intimate poem “Driving Back from New Haven” based on a conversation with AIDS-diagnosed poet Tim Dlugos; and the 2007 “Late Show” which contains the long prose poem “Classic Layer Cakes”. Trinidad’s most recent work is the 2022 “Digging to Wonderland: Memory Pieces”. 

In addition to his own work, David Trinidad has edited several collections of Tim Dlugos’s poetry: the 1996 “Powerless: Selected Poems 1973-1990”; the Lambda Literary Award winner “A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos” published in 2011; and the 2021 “New York Diary”. He has also edited collections of works by Ann Stanford and Emily Dickinson, as well as co-edited the 2007 anthology “Saints of Hysteria: A Half-Century of Collaborative American Poetry”. 

Since 1996, Trinidad has been with the Writers at Rutgers Reading Series  of the Department of English at Rutgers University and the Masters of Fine Arts Creative Writing Program at New York City’s The New School for Social Research. Trinidad’s awards include, among others, the Michael Tuck Foundation Fellowship from Brooklyn College, New York’s Fund for Poetry Award, Blue Mountain Center Fellowship from New York, and an artist’s fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. David Trinidad’s personal papers are housed at Fales Library at New York University.

Notes: In 2015, a candid interview with David Trinidad was conducted by educator and lecturer Bryan R. Monte for the Amsterdam Quarterly which publishes and promotes writing and art in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This informative interview can be found at the Amsterdam Quarterly’s site: https://www.amsterdamquarterly.org/aq_issues/aq14-radio-tv-film/david-trinidad-straighforward-and-candid/

The black and white image of three tulips was taken by the award-winning English photographer Dianna Jazwinski who is based in West Sussex. An editorial photographer, she specializes in gardens, plants, forals for horticultural magazines, and books and catalogues. Jazwinski’s website is located at: https://diannajazwinski.co.uk

Sam Szafran

The Artwork of Sam Szafran

Born in Paris in November of 1934 to Jewish-Polish immigrants, Sam Szafran holds a unique place in the art world of the latter twentieth-century. His work is known for its figurative and lyrical approach to reality which he developed in the seclusion of his studio. 

Szafran grew up in the Quatier des Halles and had a particularly difficult childhood marked by the disasters of the second World War. During the war, he was hidden in the Loire Valley and southern France, and later in Switzerland. After returning to his mother in Paris in 1944, Szafran was captured by the Nazis and sent to a camp in Drancy, a commune in northeast Paris. Freed by the American forces, he left Europe and spent four years in Australia before returning to Paris in 1951. His traumatic life during the war years led Szafran to prefer solitude in which he focused on his own inner thoughts and sense of existence; this introspection gave rise to the prominent themes in his work.

Sam Szafran studied at the Atelier de la Grande Chaumière, located in the Montparnasse district of Paris, under French-American surrealist painter and engraver Henri Goetz. During the post-war period in France, Szafran became associated with painters and printmakers Jean Arp, Alberto Giacometti, and Yves Klein, a leading member of the French Nouveau New-Realism movement. He also became acquainted with photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson and documentary photographer Martine Franck.

During his studies at the atelier, Szafran earliest works were in the field of abstraction. In the early 1960s, the discovery of the pastel became a significant event in his life. Since then, Szafran began using the chalks of Pastels Roché as the dominating technique in his work, either alone or in combination with charcoal or watercolor. At the same time, the themes of his work changed. Szafran’s obsession with mastering the technique of pastel led to numerous series of staircases, greenhouses with jungle-like interiors, and ateliers filled with materials. His work focused on figurative themes and the technical precision needed for pastel work, a style quite opposite the abstract and gestural work at that time.

Sam Szafran was an experimental artistic explorer. Throughout his career, he concentrated on a small range of subjects, most notably views of the interior of his studio and a staircase in a Rue de Seine apartment building. In Szafran’s staircase and room series, the viewer’s gaze is challenged by the distorted and deconstructed perspectives and enclosed places that are tightly sealed on themselves. For over fifty years, he produced what he called “feuillages” or studies of potted plants in interior spaces. These are watercolors depicting Szafran’s obsession with plants: their  infinite interstices of leaves, aerial tendrils and luxuriant foliage. 

In 1991, Sam Szafran received the Grand Prix des Arts de la Ville de Paris. He was awarded the 3rd Prix Piero Crommelynck in 2011. Sam Szafran passed away in September of 2019 and is buried in the Cimetière Parisian de Bagneux. Throughout much of Sam Szafran’s career, his work was acquired by a coterie of enthusiastic and devoted collectors. Prominent among these was the French-American businessman and collector William Louis-Dreyfus, who assembled an exceptional group of works by the artist that spanned several decades of his career.

Szafran’s work has been exhibited in many galleries throughout the years including Paris’s Galerie Claude Bernard, Galerie Jacques Kerchache, and Galerie Vallois. His work was shown at Caja Iberia in Saragosse, Spain in 1988; New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2004: the Musée d’Orsay in 2008; and the Max Ernst Museum in Brühl, Germany in 2010. Szafran’s work is housed in many public collections including that of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Top Insert Image: Sam Szafran, Untitled (Plants), 1986-1987, Watercolor on Paper, Page from Sketchbook, 73.7 x 47.6 cm, William louis-Dreyfus Foundation

Bottom Insert Image: Sam Szafran, “L’Atelier”, 2019, Lithograph in Colors, Edition of 80, Publisher Cornette de Saint-Cyr, 121 x 80 cm, Private Collection

Tom Tyron: Film History Series

Photographer Unknown, “Tom Tyron”, Date Unknown, Publicity Photo, Gelatin Silver Print

Born in Hartford, Connecticut in January of 1928, Thomas Lester Tyron was an American actor and novelist. He grew up in Wethersfield and, in 1943 at the age of seventeen, enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he spent three years as a radio operator in the South Pacific. After his discharge from service in 1946, Tyron joined the Cape Playhouse in Dennis, Massachusetts where he was employed as a set designer and assistant stage manager. He also studied at Yale University and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. 

Encouraged by actress Gertrude Lawrence and her husband, producer Richard Aldrich, Tyron entered into acting. His first appearance on New York City’s Broadway was a role in Arthur Kober and Joshua Logan’s 1952 musical “Wish You Were Here”. In 1953, Tyron was in two productions on Broadway, “Cyrano de Bergerac” and Shakespeare’s “Richard III”. His television appearances at this time include an episode of the 1955 daytime drama series “The Way of the World” and the two-part episode “King of the Dakotas” as a guest-star of NBC’s Western series “Frontier”.

Tom Tyron moved to Hollywood in 1955 and was given a contract by Paramount Studios. In his film debut for the studio, he was given second-billing in Michael Curtiz’s 1956 crime drama “The Scarlet Hour” which starred actress Carol Ohmart. Lent to Allied Artists, Tyron was given the lead role as Private Mason in Charles F. Haas’s 1956 World War II film “Screaming Eagles”. In the same year, he appeared in a supporting role acting opposite Charlton Heston and Anne Baxter in Paramount’s Western film “Three Violent People”, directed by Rudolph Maté. In 1958, Tyron had the starring role as husband/alien Bill Farrell in Gene Fowler’s horror science fiction film “I Married a Monster from Outer Space”, now a cult classic.

Most of Tyron’s acting was in the medium of television with appearances in episodes of popular drama and Western series. These included Playhouse 90, Zane Grey Theater, Lux Video Theater, Jane Wyman’s Fireside Theater, Studio 57, Wagon Train, The Big Valley, The Millionaire, and The Twentieth-Century Fox Hour. Tyron’s longest running role in television was as Texas John Slaughter in the Disney series of movies of the same name which ran from 1958 to 1961. The “Jack Slaughter” series was based on the historical American lawman John Horton Slaughter. Born in 1841, Slaughter was a cowboy, poker player and sheriff who earned a reputation fighting outlaws and hostiles in the Arizona and New Mexico territories. 

Tom Tyron appeared in several films for Twentieth-Century Fox; the first of which was a starring role as Mahlon, a brother of Ruth, in Henry Koster’s  1960 biblical CinemaScope film “The Story of Ruth”. In 1961, he had a starring role as Private first class Roth in Raoul Walsh’s Korean War film “Marines, Let’s Go”. Tom Tyron appeared in two films in 1962: the Disney space-age satire “Moon Pilot”, in which he starred alongside Brian Keith, Edmond O’Brien and Tommy Kirk, and Fox Studio’s epic black and white war-drama “The Longest Day” which featured a large international ensemble cast.

Tyron’s most notable starring role was as the ambitious Catholic priest, Stephen Fenmoyle, in Otto Preminger’s 1963 drama film “The Cardinal”, based on the 1950 novel of the same name. Shown through a series of memory flashbacks during the Cardinal’s formal ceremony of institution, the film was shot in multiple locations and touched on issues of interfaith marriage, racial bigotry, sex outside of marriage and the rise of fascism. “The Cardinal” was the highest-grossing film of 1963 and won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Drama. Tom Tyron received a nomination for the Golden Globe Best Actor in a Drama.

Tom Tyron followed this success with appearances in two more films: a supporting role in the 1958 epic war film directed by Preminger “In Harm’s Way” and a leading role in Arnold Levin’s 1965 calvary Western “The Glory Guys”, with a screenplay written by Sam Peckinpah. Tyron appeared in several television performances in the late 1960s including a live television performance of “The Fall of the House of Usher”, the 1967 television movie remake of  “Winchester ’73”, and episodes of The Big Valley and Bob Hope’s Chrysler Theater.

Disillusioned with acting, Tyron retired from the profession in 1969 and, inspired after seeing “Rosemary’s Baby” in the theater, began to successfully write mystery and horror novels. His best known work is the 1971 psychological horror novel “The Other”, a story of a boy whose evil twin-brother might be responsible for a 1930s’ series of deaths. Tyron adapted the novel into a film of the same name that was released in 1972.  The film was directed by Robert Mulligan and shot entirely on location in California; actor John Ritter made one of his early film appearances in the role of Rider. Tyron’s 1973 folk-horror novel “Harvest Home”, a story of dark pagan rituals in a small New England town, was adapted into a television mini-series “The Dark Secret of Harvest Home” which starred Bette Davis. 

Tom Tyron wrote “Crowned Heads”, a collection of novellas inspired by the legends of Hollywood. The first in the series was the novella “Fedora”, a story of the relationship between a reclusive former actress and her plastic surgeon. This tale was adapted by Billy Wilder for his 1978 German-French drama film “Fedora” which starred William Holden and Marthe Keller, best known for her role in “Marathon Man”. Tyron wrote two more novels: the 1989 “The Night of the Moonbow”, the story of a harassed boy at summer camp who turns to violence, and the 1991 “Night Magic”, the story of a NYC street magician who is offered real magic. “Night Magic” was published posthumously in 1995.

Starting in 1955, Tyron was in a brief marriage to Ann L. Noyes, the daughter of a stockbroker; the couple divorced three years later in 1958. During the 1970s, he was in a romantic relationship with Clive Clerk, an interior designer, television actor, and one of the original cast members of the Broadway hit “A Chorus Line”. They lived together in a Tyron’s apartment at Central Park West in New York City. From 1973 to 1977, Tyron was in a relationship with John Calvin Culver, a Broadway revival stage actor. Culver also performed in pornographic films under the name of Casey Donovan. The relationship ended as Tyron was deeply closeted and grew increasingly disturbed by Donovan’s notoriety.

An actor with appearances in eighteen films and numerous television series, Tom Tyron passed away in September of 1991 at the age of sixty-five in Los Angeles, California. The announced cause of death was stomach cancer; however, Tyron’s literary agent, G. Thomas Holloway, later stated the stomach cancer was related to Tyron’s HIV-positive status. At the time of his death, Tyron had asked to keep this information private as he did not want his readers or relatives to know.

Second Insert Image: Arthur E. Arling, “Tom Tyron and Elana Eden”, 1960, Publicity Shot for “The Story of Ruth”, Director Henry Koster, Gelatin Silver Print

Third Insert Image: NBCU Photo Bank, “Tom Tyron as Lin McAdam”, “Winchester ’73”, 1967, Publicity Film Shot, Gelatin Silver Print

Fourth Insert Image: Jean Bourgoin and Walter Wottitz, “Tom Tyron”, 1962, Film Shot “The Longest Day”, Directors ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, and Bernhard Wicki

Sergey Svetlakov

Paintings and Drawings by Sergey Svetlakov

Born in 1961 in the city of Kazan located on the Volga River in southwest Russia, Sergey Svetlakov is a painter and stage designer. His oeuvre includes psychological portraits from life, still lifes, and figurative paintings and drawings of nude models. Svetlakov graduated in 1981 from the Kazan Art School; founded in 1895, it is one of the oldest art institutions in Russia. He graduated with honors in 1986 from Saint Petersburg’s Theater Academy, a state institute for theater, music and cinematography, where he was an art director of drama and musical theater.

Svetlakov worked for several years as a set designer in theaters throughout the country. His most notable work during this period was costume design for composer Edison Denisov’s 1981 opera “L’Ecume des Jours” which was based on Boris Vlan’s novel of the same name. The opera’s 1986 world premiere took place at the Opéra-Comique in Paris with later performances at Perm’s Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theater in 1989 and the Staatsoper Stuttgart in late 2012.

In the early 1990s, Sergey Svetlakov ceased working on theater productions and focused on portraits, nude studies and still lifes. In his carefully detailed work, he attempts to join the traditions of academic Realism with the style of Neo-Classicism. In his still lifes, the fruit, vases and other objects retain their natural material weight against the heavy folds of arranged, patterned drapery. For his portraits and nude studies, Svetlakov works only from models and strives to convey the beauty and inner life of his sitters, usually ordinary people with various types of social backgrounds. 

One of Svetlakov’s models, Denis, was an actor who had placed an advertisement in the local paper in order to make extra money. Svetlakov’s “Portrait of Denis: Actor, Juggler and Fashion Model” is a painting, done primarily in a red palette, that presents an intense figure of Ukrainian, Russian, Greek, and Tater origins. This portrait won the second-place 2020 BP Portrait Award from the National Gallery in London.

Sergey Svetlakov has exhibited widely across Europe, the United States and Japan. In April of 2000, he entered his work in Moscow’s Zero Gallery as part of the exhibition for the Manege Art Fair. Other group exhibitions include the 2012 Art Asia in Miami; the Art Hamptons-USA 2013 exhibition at Gallery G-77 in Kyoto, Japan; the 2014 Affordable Art Show at Galerie MooiMan in Groningen, the Netherlands; and the Affordable Art Shows held at Galerie MooiMan in Milan, Italy and in Maastricht, the Netherlands, both in 2015. 

Svetlakov also had a solo exhibition of his work at Penates, formerly the estate of portrait painter Ilya Repin and now a museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of his most recent works, “The Youth from Moldavia” was exhibited at the 2021 Royal Society of Portrait Painters’ Annual Exhibition held at the Mall Galleries in London. 

Sergey Svetlakov’s life and work was the subject of a documentary for the “Property of the Republic” series  produced and aired by Russian National Television in 1991. For many years, the prestigious London auction house, MacDougall’s, has been selling Svetlakov’s work as part of its Russian art series. Sergey Svetlakov currently lives and maintains a studio in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Sergey Svetlakov’s website, with images and contact information, can be located at: https://sergeysvetlakov.com

Second Insert Image: Sergey Svetlakov,, “Anton Karavaev”, Date Unknown, Graphite Pencil on Paper Life Drawing

Bottom Insert Image: Sergey Svetlakov, “Portrait of Dmitry”, Date Unknown, Graphite Pencil on Paper Life Drawing

Robert Arthur: Film History Series

Photographer Unknown, “Robert Arthur”, 1948, Publicity Photo “Yellow Sky”, Gelatin Silver Print

Born in Aberdeen, Washington in June of 1925, Robert Paul Arthur was an American motion picture actor, primarily of youthful secondary roles, who appeared in thirty-five feature films and numerous episodes of television series.

Robert Arthur graduated in 1943 from the Aberdeen High School, where he had won a radio announcing contest. He attended the University of Washington and was in the U.S. Navy training program. While at the university, Arthur also maintained a professional career as a radio announcer. Relocating to Los Angeles, he was soon given his first role as Rosalind Russell’s teenage son Frankie in Michael Curtiz’s 1945 comedy-drama for Warner Brothers, “Roughly Speaking”.  

Arthur was soon given a contract with Warner Brothers and appeared in three more films in 1945, including the role of Jimmy in Frederick de Cordova’s “Too Young to Know” and an uncredited role in the film noir “Mildred Pierce”.  Between 1946 and 1948, he appeared in seven films, the most notables being the 1946 biographical-musical on the life of Cole Porter, “Night and Day”, and Walter Lang’s 1947 Technicolor musical with Betty Grable “Mother Wore Tights”, later nominated for American Film Institute’s 2006 list for Greatest Movie Musicals.

In 1948, Robert Arthur appeared in the role of Ken McLaughlin in Twentieth Century Fox’s western “Green Grass of Wyoming”; he had a credited role with his name appearing on the publicity posters. In the same year, Arthur appeared as Bull Run in William A. Wellman’s western “Yellow Sky” which starred Gregory Peck, Richard Widmark and Anne Baxter. This film from Twentieth Century Fox was praised by critics for its cinematography, screenplay and its realistic Western style. In 1949 , Arthur appeared as Sergeant Mc Illhenny in a major film of the era “Twelve O’Clock High”. Directed by Henry King, the film was nominated for four Academy Awards, of which it won two, and later became a television series that ran for three years.

Robert Arthur appeared as a supporting actor in seventeen films between 1950 and 1960. Among these films were Billy Wilder’s 1951 film noir “Ace in the Hole”,  Richard Brooks’s 1953 war film “Take the High Ground”, and Nathan Juran’s 1957 submarine war film “Hellcats of the Navy” which starred  Ronald Reagan, Nancy (Reagan) Davis, and Arthur Franz. Arthur’s last film before leaving acting was the 1961 “Wild Youth” in which he played the role of Frankie, an escapee from a detention Honor Farm.

In the early days of television in the 1950s, Arthur appeared in supporting roles on several series. Among these were the syndicated western “Frontier Doctor” with actor Rex Allen and ABC’s eight-year drama-western “The Lone Ranger”, which starred Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels.

In his later years, Robert Arthur went into business and became active in several causes. He became an activist for gay rights on behalf of senior citizens, assisted in the founding of Project Rainbow, and was a co-founder of the Log Cabin Republicans which advocated for equal rights for LBGTQ+ Americans. Robert Arthur died in Aberdeen, Washington, on the first of October in 2008 at the age of eighty-three. 

Note: The “Clayton Moore The Lone Ranger” website has a short article in which Robert Arthur reminisces on his experience with Clayton Moore on the western series. The short piece on Arthur can be found at the Clayton Moore site: https://claytonmoore.tripod.com/arthur.html

Top Insert Photo: Photographer Unknown, “Robert Arthur”, circa 1950-55, Publicity Shoot, Gelatin Silver Print

Second Insert Image: Charles Land, “Robert Arthur”, 1951, Film Scene “Ace in the Hole”, Director Billy Wilder

Third Insert Image: Charles Land, “Kirk Douglas and Robert Arthur”, 1951, Film Scene “Ace in the Hole”, Director Billy Wilder

Bottom Insert Image: Joseph MacDonald, “Robert Arthur and Gregory Peck”, 1948, Film Scene “Yellow Sky”, Director William A. Wellman

Randall Lake

Artwork by Randall Lake

Born in California in 1947, Randall Lake is an American artist who, influenced by an exhibition of work by Van Gogh, paints oil landscapes, still-lifes and portraits in an impressionistic realist style. He is currently based in Utah with a studio in Salt Lake City and a studio in his Spring City cottage home. 

Lake traveled to France and studied French in 1968 at the Sorbonne of the University of Paris. When the events of the May 1968 protests closed the university, he continued his studies at the Academie Julian under painter Claude Schurr. In addition to his painting studies, Lake completed his English Degree, Cum Laude, in 1970 at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 1972, he studied with Belgium designer and color-abstract painter Gustave Singier at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts. 

Randall Lake was an instructor in English at the Sorbonne from 1970 to 1973. He studied printmaking in 1973 under English printmaker and painter Stanley William Hayter at the Atelier 17, an experimental workshop that was influential in the teaching and promotion of printmaking in the twentieth-century. After four years of teaching, Lake settled in Utah where he studied under English-born portrait artist Alvin Gittins at the University of Utah. He earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1977 and became in 1978 a visiting member of the Department of Art Studio faculty at the university.

Lake continuously searches for new subjects and techniques for his work. Over time, his journey in art has reflected his journey in life, from the traditional landscapes executed as a Mormon to the more daring works as an openly gay man. Lake is drawn to the atmosphere that was present in the nineteenth-century, the lifestyle, the arts and the architecture. He paints from life and location to capture the essence of the subject and the moment. Seeking a change in his work, Randall Lake has begun experimenting with the elements of Abstraction and Fauvism, a movement which emphasized painterly qualities of brushwork and strong color. 

Randall Lake is the recipient of many awards for his work, including the 2003 Grand Prix du Peintre Maudit from Salt Lake City’s Guthrie Institute, the 2015 and 2016 Award of Merit for the Spring City Plein Air Competition, ant the 2001 and 2006 Governor of Utah Award for Fine Art, among others. His work is in many private and public collections, including the Jinling Library in Nanjing, China; Utah State Collection of Art; Wyoming State Collection; Utah Museum of Fine Art; and the Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York.

Note: A video portrait of Randall Lake by Michael Schoenfeld for  RadioWest Films can be found at: https://films.radiowest.org/film/randall-lake

An article on Randall Lake’s work, with quotes by the artist, can be found at the Springville Museum of Art website located at: https://www.smaexhibition-self.org/randall-lake.html

Randall Lake’s website, containing his work, gallery events and contact information, can be found at: https://www.randalllake.com/page/11302/collection

Second Insert Image: Randall Lake, “Afternoon Nap”, 1991, Pastel on Paper, 35.6 x 45.7 cm

Bottom Insert Image: Randall Lake, “Self Portrait with Model”, 1992, Oil on Canvas, 91.4 x 76.2 cm

Reinaldo Arenas: “As Long As the Sky Whirls”

Photographers Unknown, As Long As the Sky Whirls

For Lázaro Gómez

As long as the sky whirls
You will be my redemption and my doom,
magnetic vision,
lily in underwear,
salvation and madness
every night waiting.
As long as the sky whirls
no infernal could be a stranger
because I have to take care that that would not harm you,
No joy would go by inadvertent
Because in some way I have to reveal it to you,
As long as
the sky
whirls
you will be the truth of myself,
the song and the venom,
the danger and the ecstasies,
the vigil and the sleep,
the dread and the miracle.
As long as the sky whirls . . . but perhaps the sky whirls?
Well: as long as the sky exists.

As long as
the sky
exists
you will be my pain most noticeable,
my loneliness most tragic
my bewilderment unanimous
my perpetuous silence
and my absolute consolation.
As long as the sky exists . . . but perhaps the sky exists?
Well: as long as you yourself exist.
As long as
you yourself
exist
you will be the mirror and the time,
the infinity and the imminent,
the memory and the unusual
the defeat and the verse,
my enemy and my image.
Because there would be no more suns than the ones you yourself radiate
like there would be no other penance than to know that you exist.
But perhaps you do exist?

New York (May 1985)

Reinaldo Arenas, Mientras el Cielo Gire, 1989, English Translation 3003 Lázaro Gómez Carriles

Born in Aguas Claras in July of 1943, Reinaldo Arenas Fuentes was a gay Cuban poet, playwright and novelist known for his criticism of Fidel Castro, the Cuban Revolution and the ensuing government in Cuba. He was the author of the memoir “Before Night Falls”, written after Arenas’s escape to the United States in 1980. The memoir narrates his experience in the Cuban dissident movement and years as a political prisoner.

After moving to the city of Holguin as a teenager at age fourteen, Reinaldo Arenas became employed at a guava paste factory. Around 1958 when living conditions in the city worsened, he decided to join Castro and his revolutionary movement. Arenas spent ten days at the guerrilla headquarters in Velasco but was turned away. Once the guerrilla commandant realized that President Fulgencio Bastista’s secret police were already searching for Arenas, he accepted him into the group.

At the age of sixteen, Arenas was awarded a scholarship at La Pantoja, a captured Batista military camp that was converted into a polytechnic institute. Students attending took major courses in Marxist-Leninism in which they had to master the USSR manuals of  the Academy of Sciences and the Political Economy. Cuban Marxist theorist Blas Roca’s “Foundations of Socialism in Cuba” was also required reading. Arenas graduated with a degree as an agricultural accountant, but would later describe his education as indoctrination. 

In the early 1960s, Reinaldo Arenas relocated to Havana where he enrolled in a planning course at the University of Havana. While in the program, he worked for the National Institute for Agrarian Reform. During this time, Arenas began to live his life as a gay man, albeit secretly for fear of ending up in a Military Unit to Aid Production (UMAP), a term which basically described a concentration camp for Christians, suspected Cuban dissidents and LBGT people. A previous relationship Arenas had with a man, later arrested and sent to a UMAP camp, led to Arenas being listed as a gay man by the Cuban Committee for the Defense of the Revolution. 

Throughout his life, Arenas developed friendships and had relationships with many gay men. Various friends and acquaintances he knew pledged their loyalty to the Cuban regime in exchange for their safety. Many became informers for the government and reported other men, often friends or those with whom they had relationships. The government’s intention, in addition to seeking out dissidents, was to find gay and bisexual men and either persecute and jail them or turn them into informers. Although the reward for cooperation with the regime meant life outside of prison, the price to pay for living as an informer was to participate publicly in acts of repudiation denouncing your anti-regime beliefs or homosexuality.

In 1963, Reinaldo Arenas moved to Havana to study at the School of Planification and later at the Faculty of Letters of the University of Havana, where he studied literature and philosophy. He began working in 1964 at the National Library José Marti. Maria Teresa Freye de Andrade, who was the director of the National Library, officially transferred Arenas from his position at the National Institute for Agrarian Reform to a position at the National Library. When Fidel Castro appointed Police Captain Sidroc Ramos as the library’s director, Areans left his position at the library and became an editor for the Cuban Book Institute until 1968.

Arenas’s writings were beginning to gain recognition in the Cuban literary world in the 1960s. He received a literary award for his 1967 novel “Singing from the Well” at the Cirilo Villaverde National Competition held at the National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists. In the year before, Arenas’s “El Mundo Allucinante (This Hallucinatory World)” was awarded First Honorable Mention by the National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists. Although there was no better entry in the competition for that year, the judges refused to give the First Prize to Arenas; as a result, no First Prize was given in 1966. By 1967, Arenas’s critical writings and openly gay life were bringing him into conflict with Cuba’s communist government. 

From 1968 to 1974, Reinaldo Arenas was a journalist and editor for the literary magazine “The Cuban Gazette”. In 1974, Arenas was charged and convicted of ideological deviation and publishing abroad without official consent. He escaped from prison and tried a failed attempt to leave Cuba on a tire inner tube. Rearrested in southern Havana, Areanas was imprisoned in El Moro Castle, used at that time as a prison for rapists and murderers. By writing letters for illiterate prisoners, he maintained his life in prison and was able to obtain paper for his own scholarly work. Arenas was caught and severely punished for attempting to smuggle his work out of prison. Threatened with death, he was forced to renounce his work and was finally released in 1976.

Arnenas fled to the United States during the 1980 Mariel Boatlift, a mass migration organized by Cuban Americans with the consent of Cuban President Fidel Castro. In 1987, Arenas was diagnosed with the AIDS virus. He continued to write, speak against the Cuban government, and mentor many Cuban exile writers. After battling AIDS for three years, Reinaldo Arenas died of an intentional overdose of drugs and alcohol in December of 1990 in New York City. In 2012, he was inducted into the Legacy Walk, an outdoor public display on Chicago’s North Halsted Street, which celebrates LGBT contributions of world history and culture. 

Reinaldo Arenas published a significant oeuvre of work in his life. In addition to his two poetic volumes “El Centro” and “Leprosorio”, he wrote a set of five novels, the “Pentagonia” series,  which recounts life in post-revolutionary Cuba. Volumes included in this series are “Singing from the Well”, “Farewell to the Sea”, “Palace of the White Skunks”, the satirical “Color of Summer” and “The Assault”. Arenas’s second and best-known novel  “Hallucinations”, also published under the name “The Ill-Fated Peregrinations of Fray Servando”, was smuggled out of Cuba and first published in France in 1969. 

Arenas’s autobiography “Before Night Falls”, written after his escape from Cuba and published in English in 1993, was listed on the 1993 New York Times Best Books of the Year. This book became the 2000 film of the same name, directed by painter and filmmaker Julian Schnabel; the role of Arenas was played by Spanish actor Javier Bardem. The film version of the book was listed as one of the Top Ten Movies of the Year by the American Film Institute, nominated for the Golden Lion at the 2001 Venice International Film Festival with filmmaker Schnebel winning the Grand Jury Prize and Bardem winning Best Actor.

Reinaldo Arenas’s papers, typescript drafts, essays, interviews, newspaper articles, correspondence and other documents are housed in the Princeton University Library.

Note: Several interesting articles on Reinaldo Arenas and his work can be found on the eclectic blog website Byron’s Muse. The articles can be located at: https://byronsmuse.wordpress.com/tag/reinaldo-arenas/

Karl Bertil Gadö

The Artwork of Karl Bertil Gadö

Born in Malmö in July of 1916 to railway official Karl Emil Gadö and Hedvig Maria Persson, Karl Bertil Gadö was a Swedish painter and graphic artist. In addition to his self-study, he received formal training between 1933 and 1935 at the Skåne Painting School (Skånska Målarskolan) in Malmö. Gadö’s work and that of his contemporaries was inspired by political ideologies of the 1930s and ideas posed by the prominent Surrealist movement; the combination of these two forces created a new form of art, magic realism.

Gadö first exhibited his work in 1939 at a collective exhibition in Malmö. In 1943, he had his first solo exhibition in Malmö and later exhibited in 1947 at a group exhibition in Malmö’s City Hall. Works by Gadö were included in the 1948 “God Konst i Alla Hem (Good Art in the Home)” exhibition held at the HSB-Huset in Fleminggatan, Stockholm. Along with landscape painter Lars Engström, he regularly participated in Skåne’s art exhibitions. 

From 1948 to 1952, Karl Bertil Gadö was a member of the Imaginisterna, an avant-garde surrealist artist group founded in 1948 by painter and designer Max Walter Svanberg. This group of artists, who were looking for an alternative approach to surrealism, left the detailed style of Salvador Dali in favor of the artistic works of artists like Max Ernst and Paul Klee. Members of the Imaginisterna included such Swedish artists as painter Max Walter Svanberg, painter and lithographer Carl-Otto Hultén, painter Anders Österlin, and book illustrator and cartoonist Gösta Kriland.

Gadö was also a member of the Skånsk Avantgardekonst, or the Skånes Avant-Garde Art: he participated in their 1949 exhibition at the Malmö Museum and the 1951 exhibitions held in  Hälsingborg and Stockholm. Gadö presented his work in the 1951 Biennial held at the Museum of Modern Art in San Paulo, Brazil. He was also represented in the same year at an exhibition of Skåne artists held in the Liljevalch Art Hall in Stockholm.

In the 1960s, Karl Bertil Gadö presented intense experiences of nature in his work. Various animal species were presented as symbols of life’s struggle in scenes foreboding disasters and devastation; he also emphasized in his work the ideals of  independence and man’s willingness to find his own way in life. Around 1980, a culmination of Gadö’s work was a series of images whose content revolved around cosmic motifs. Most of these paintings were executed with clear contour lines; between these lines, the spaces were covered in a limited scale of brown and gray tones. 

Gadö worked for decades with public works in relief, free sculpture, mosaics and stained glass. These works contained content similar to his paintings with the earlier ones containing strong abstract compositions. Karl Bertil Gadö died in 2014, at the age of eighty-eight. His work is held in both private and public collections. Major collections include the Malmö Museum and the Moderna Museet of the National Museum in Stockholm.

Note: An extensive study entitled “Surrealism, Occultism and Politics: In Search of the Marvelous”, which dwells on the motifs, thoughts and techniques of Surrealism’s various artists and writers, is a well researched article that explores the relationship between Occultism and Surrealism. The article can be found at: http://s3.amazonaws.com/arena-attachments/1418044/4266cce09074ad02812bbef9fd73cc1b.pdf?1510498215

Second Insert Image: Karl Bertil Gadö, “Uppe i Projektet”, 1990, Oil on Canvas, 130 x 100 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Karl Bertil Gadö, “The Miracle”, Date Unknown, Colored Woodcut, Edition of 25, 36 x 35 cm, Private Collection

William ‘Billy’ Halop: Film History Series

Photographer Unknown, “Billy Halop”, Studio Shoot for “Dead End”, 1937, Director William Wyler, Cinematographer Gregg Toland

Born in Jamaica, Queens, New York City in February of 1920, William (Billy) Halop was an American actor who, while in his mid-teens, achieved fame in the 1930s as the leader of the Dead End Kids in the Broadway stage and movie versions of Sidney Kingsley’s drama “Dead End”.

William Halop was one of three children born to Benjamin Cohen Halop and Lucille Elizabeth Halop, a theatrical dancer. In 1933 at the age of thirteen, he was given the lead role as Bobby Benson in the popular radio show “The H-Bar-O Rangers”, a juvenile Western adventure radio program that was broadcasted on the CBS network. For three years beginning in 1934, Halop starred as Dick Kent, the son of Fred and Lucy Kent, in the radio series “Home Sweet Home”.

Halop was already a successful radio actor when he began studying at New York City’s Professional Children’s School, a preparatory school for working and aspiring child actors and dancers. He and five other boys were chosen to appear as the poverty-stricken juvenile delinquents in Kingsley’s 1935 play “Dead End”. Halop played the role of Tommy, a tough street-wise fugitive from a reform school, who was the brother of the play’s heroine Drina Gordon. The six boys were the favorite actors in the play; the Broadway audience was both shocked and amused by the vile gutter language spoken in the play.

With the success of the production, William Halop and his fellow actors were signed to two-year film contracts with Hollywood producer Samual Goldwyn for United Artists and became known as the Dead End Kids. In his first film appearance, Halop appeared as the character Tommy in the 1937 film version of the “Dead End” play; he would play this character role in several following films. Due to the boys’ wild behavior and their destruction of studio property that was committed during filming, their contracts were sold to Warner Brothers Studio. 

Halop’s first film role with Warner Brothers was the character of Frankie Warren in the 1937 “Crime School”, a reform school film that starred Humphrey Bogart and the Dead End Kids. In 1938, he had a role in the short comedy-musical color film entitled “Swingtime in the Movies”, another film which featured Bogart and the Dead End Kids. As the Kids grew older, Halop and the others appeared in six more films for Warner Brothers which included the 1938 “Angels with Dirty Faces”, the 1939 “They Made Me a Criminal” and the 1939 “On Dress Parade”. 

By the end of the 1930s, William Halop had acted with such stars as James Cagney, Pat O’Brien, John Garfield and Ronald Reagan. In 1940, he appeared as the bully Harry Flashman, speaking with a British accent, in Robert Stevenson’s 1940 coming-of-age drama film for RKO Radio Pictures, “Tom Brown’s School Days”. His co-stars in this film were stage and film actor Cedric Hardwicke and Freddie Bartholomew, who had played the title role in the 1935 “David Copperfield”. Halop also appeared in the role of Billy ‘Ace” Holden in the 1940 Universal twelve-chapter serial “Junior G-Men of the Air”, in which the Dead End Kids prevented the sabotage of the American defense program.

After serving in the United States Army Signal Corps during World War II, William Halop found that he had grown too old to resume the characters he had played during his fame. The last role he played depicted as a juvenile character was Tony Albertini in the 1946 “Gas House Kids”; he was twenty-six at the time. Halop continued to act in film with supporting and small uncredited roles until 1967. 

Starting in 1951, Halop began a twenty-three year career of acting in various television series, where he would appear in an occasional episode. He made appearances in such shows as “Racket Squad”, “The Cisco Kid”, “The Jack Benny Program”, “Playhouse 90”, “Perry Mason”, “The Fugitive”, The Andy Griffith Show”, and “The Thin Man”. In 1970, Halop’s career had a resurgence with the character of Bert Munson, the cab driver and close friend of Archie Bunker on the series “All in the Family”. He appeared in ten episodes of the popular series including the 1972 “Sammy’s Visit”, which starred Sammy Davis, Jr. 

According to interviews given in the latter part of his life, William Halop was married four times, all of which ended in divorce. The nursing skills he acquired in his third marriage to Suzanne Rice, who had multiple sclerosis, led him after their divorce to steady work as a registered nurse in Santa Monica, California. Halop’s  marriage to his fourth wife, Barbara, was quickly ended after she allegedly attacked him. He later moved back in with his second wife, Barbara, but they chose not to remarry.

William Halop’s career included roles in thirty-eight films and appearances in forty-two television series. Following two heart attacks, he underwent open-heart surgery in the fall of 1971. Halop died in Hollywood of a heart attack in November of 1976, at the age of fifty-six. William Halop is interred in the Garden of Sher Mot at Los Angeles’s Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery. At the time of his death, he was working on his autobiography, titled “There’s No Dead End”. 

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Billy Halop”, 1942, Publicity Shot for “Junior G-Men of the Air”, Directors Lewis D. Collins and Ray Taylor, Cinematographer William A. Sickner

Second, Third and Fourth Insert Images: Cinematographer Ernest Haller, Billy Halop in “Blues in the Night”, 1941, Film Gifs, Director Anatole Litvak, Warner Brothers Pictures

Bottom Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Billy Halop and Humphrey Bogart”, Studio Shoot fro “Crime School”, 1938, Director Lewis Seiler, Cinematographer Arthur Todd, Warner Brothers Pictures

Mark Maggiori

Mark Maggiori, “What Lies Within Us”, 2021, Oil on Linen, 127 x 142.2 cm, Private Collection

Western Paintings by Mark Maggiori

Born in June of 1977 in Fontainebleau, a commune in the Paris metropolitan area, Mark Maggiori is a French-American painter, draftsman, graphic designer, musician and lead vocalist of the metal band Pleymo. He is known for his landscapes of the American Southwest and scenes featuring Native Americans and American cowboys. 

At the age of fifteen, Maggiori traveled during a vacation with his family on a month-long road trip from New York to San Francisco. This long trip, with views of the country’s majestic national parks, made a lasting impression on him and evoked his fascination with Western art. Years later, Maggiori was formally trained in academic drawing at Paris’s Academie Julian, where other great western artists, such as Joseph Henry Sharp and Ernest L. Blumenschein, had trained before forming the Taos Society of Artists in 1915. 

In 1997 after earning his degree, Mark Maggiori formed, along with musicians Benoít Julliard, Fred Ceraudo, and Mathias Borronquet, the successful nu metal band Pleymo. The band caught the attention of producer Stéphane Kraemer and released their first album entitled “Keçkispasse?” through the Wet Music label. The band led to opportunities in Europe and other artistic disciplines, such as photography and filmmaking, that increased Maggiori’s artistic creativity.

Maggiori met and married Los Angeles multi-media artist Petecia Le Fawnhawk, both of whom were drawn to the beauty of the American West. At the age of thirty-six, he made the commitment to concentrate on painting Western art. As a Frenchman, Maggiori had a profoundly unique vision of the American cowboy: however, in a span of a few years, he rose through the ranks to become one of the notable Western artists working today. Maggiori’s work combines the outdoor perspective with the colors and techniques he learned from his earlier photographic and film experiences. A prominent aspect of his Western scenes is the depiction of layered, textural clouds which highlight the figures in his landscapes.

Mark Maggiori has participated in many important solo and group shows. At the 2007 “Night of Artists” exhibition at the Briscoe Western Art Museum, he won the Sam Houston Award. To acquaint himself with the Western lifestyle, Maggiori began to spend time on ranches with cowboys and on horseback. Starting in 2017, he concentrated on painting outdoors, en plein air, in Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming.

Maggiori’s work has been featured in various publications including Southwest Art, Forbes Magazine, Flaunt, Western Horseman, and others. His work has been exhibited at San Antonio’s Briscoe Western Art Museum, the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis, and Los Angeles’s Maxwell Alexander Gallery.

Second Insert Image: Mark Maggiori, “Trail Blazing”, 2019, Oil on Linen, 61 x 45.7 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Mark Maggiori, “Under the Pueblo Sun”, 2020, Oil on Linen, 81.3 x 86.4 cm, Private Collection

Radek Husak

The Artwork of Radek Husak

Born in Poland in 1984, Radek Husak ia a contemporary process-driven mixed-media artist whose works in the expanded field of print. He earned his Master of Fine Arts from the Royal College of Art and is currently based in London. 

Through his research and experimentation, Husak developed a new approach to printmaking. He works with pigment transfers twinned with carbon-drawn elements that are either placed on paper or sandblasted aluminum panels. Blasting through the outer layer of aluminum reveals a reflective inner core upon which the pigment transfers are placed. These images are then embellished with paint, soft pastels, bodycolor, and carbon and color pencils.

Radek Husak’s work is inspired by art history, fashion, and queer theory. He combines the tradition of the nude with the large color-elements of 1950s and 1960s Pop Culture. Husak’s images, with their overlapping figurative forms, create in essence a static glitch. The edges of one body blurs and melts into the next, thereby creating  sense of movement. The resulting movement effect of these bold, modern images bring to mind the early movement studies by French scientist and photographer Étienne-Jules Marey, which he produced in the 1800s. 

Husak creates works in the abstract form and constructs these images by taking elements of nature, such as skies, clouds and anatomical features, fragmenting and rearranging them to form flowing patterns. He also has produced figurative work in other mediums including ceramics and stained glass. 

Radek Husak has shown his work in 2021 and 2011 at the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair in London. The Grove Gallery and Quantus Gallery, both in London, are the venues for Husak’s first solo show, entitled “Duality” which is running from November 23 until December 22 in 2022. 

Radek Husak’s work can be seen at his website located at: http://www.rhusak.co.uk   His work can also be seen at Artsy located at: https://www.artsy.net/show/grove-gallery-duality?sort=partner_show_position

Bottom Insert Image: Radek Husak, “Saint Sebastian (SS5)”, 2022, Pigment Transfer, Bodycolor, Carbon and Color Pencils and Collage on Sandblasted Aluminum, Edition of 3, 84 x 60 cm, Private Collection

Edmund Teske

The Photography of Edmund Teske

Born in Chicago, Illinois in March of 1911, Edmund Rudolph Teske was an American photographer who along with his portraits produced a prolific volume of experimental photography. For him, photography was more than a way to record a specific moment in time; it was a way to explore the soul of his subjects. Although he was well known among other photographers and participated in many exhibitions, his work was not widely known among the general public.

The eldest son of three children born to Polish emigrant parents, Teske moved at the age of eight with his parents to Wisconsin. It was at this early age that he began to develop his interests in painting and poetry. When the family moved back to Chicago in 1921, Teske began to study music, lessons which concentrated on the piano and saxophone. Encouraged by his elementary school teacher, he began in 1923 to experiment in photography through the school’s facilities. By 1932 Teske was accomplished in the piano to such a degree that he became the protégé of concert pianist Ida Lustagarten. 

Edmund Teske had his first solo exhibition of photographs at the Blackstone Theatre, now the Merie Reskin Theater, in the Loop community area of Chicago. In 1933, he began a career in photography working at a Chicago studio. Traveling to New York in 1936, Teske met and received encouragement in his work by American photographer and modern-art promoter Alfred Stieglitz. In the same year he had the opportunity to meet Frank Lloyd Wright at his studio in Wisconsin. At Wright’s invitation in 1938, Teske took up a fellowship in photography to be conducted at Taliesin, Wright’s personal estate in Wisconsin, where he documented Wright’s architectural projects and began experiments with his own photographic work. 

Teske’s professional relationship with Wright enhanced his reputation and brought him into contact with such artists as Ansel Adams, portrait and architectural photographer Berenice Abbott and Hungarian constructivist photographer Lászió Moholy-Nagy. Teske taught briefly in the late 1930s with Moholy-Nagy at the New Bauhaus Institute of Design in Chicago and was an assistant at Abbott’s New York studio later in 1939. In the late 1930s, he started a documentary series of Chicago scenes entitled “Portrait of My City” which focused on the social issues of the city. 

Although drafted at the beginning of World War II, Edmund Teske failed the medical exam for asocial tendencies and emotional instability, terms often used at that time to disqualify homosexual men. He was instead appointed as an assistant photographer for the Army Corps of Engineers stationed at Illinois’s Rock Island Arsenal where he printed aerial maps for the military. In the early part of 1943, Teske was able to leave his position and, allured by a new life in Hollywood, made the decision to move to Los Angeles. 

After a brief working stay at Wright’s Arizona Taliesin West, Teske arrived in Los Angeles in April of 1943. He was hired for Paramount Pictures’s photographic still department and soon joined the artistic and bohemian movement in the city. After a chance meeting with oil heiress Aline Barnsdall, who was a client of Wright, he was invited to live at the Olive Hill estate that Wright had designed for her. Assuming a larger role than that of just caretaker, Teske hosted informal parties and artistic gatherings with such personalities as artist Man Ray, novelist Anaïs Nin, director George Cukor, sculptor Tony Smith, and actors Joel McCrea and Frances Dee. 

Among the people that Edmund Teske met during this period was the novelist and playwright Christopher Isherwood who introduced Teske to the Hindu philosophy of Vedanta. Teske embraced this philosophy with its concept of the connection of life and nature, and its understanding of the existence of time in relation to the larger universe. He also believed in the coexistence of both the masculine and the feminine within every individual. These teachings  became a firm basis for his existing view of  life and formed a bonding point with Isherwood and the growing Los Angeles gay community. 

Teske continued his photographic experiments with manipulated and combined multiple images from which he produced composite prints from sandwiched negatives, prints with solarization to reverse highlight and shadow, and photographic collages. One of the series he produced was “Shiva-Shakti” which featured a nude male overlaid with human faces, landscapes, or abstract subjects. After moving in 1949 to a small studio in Laurel Canyon, Teske became active during the early part of the 1950s with several small, local theater groups. Throughout the 1950s, he experimented with new manipulative and chemical techniques which culminated in 1958 with a new combination of photographic print toning and solarization, later named duotone solarization. 

Edmund Teske frequently returned during the 1960s and 1970s to older negatives and reinterpreted them through experimental printing techniques. He participated in more than two dozen group exhibition including the Museum of Modern Art’s 1960 “The Sense of Abstraction” show and was given eighteen solo shows. A colleague of photographer Robert Heineken at the University of California in Los Angeles in the 1960s, Teske taught many of the important photographers of that time, among whom were Aaron Siskind and Judy Dater, and mentored many local photographers. He befriended singer Jim Morrison of The Doors and took a series of informal portraits of Morrison and long term companion Pamela Courson.

During the last twenty years of his life, Teske worked and lived in his East Hollywood studio where he regularly taught workshops. He assembled a comprehensive  six-volume autobiographical collection of his work , entitled “Emanations”; however it was never published during his lifetime. In 1994 the Northridge Earthquake severely damaged his studio which forced him to relocate to downtown Los Angeles. Edmund Teske died alone in his home at the age of eighty-five on November 22nd in 1996. A posthumous retrospective of Teske’s photographs was given in 2004 by the John Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. 

“Strive to accept the facts of life with courage and serenity to develop talent, as an outlet for emotion, and to find happiness in the world of the mind and spirit. In the days when Greece and Rome ruled the world in arts and letters and philosophy, love of man for man reached openly its pinnacle of beauty. Civilization today, moving forward, must eventually recognize these true facts of love and sex variations.”

–Excerpt from Edmund Teske’s Journal, Published in Julian Cox’s “Spirit into Matter: The Photographs of Edmund Teske”, John Paul Getty Museum, 2004

Note: An informative and more extensive read on the life of Edmund Teske is Rosalind G. Wholden’s article for the February 1964 print issue of ARTFORUM entitled “Edmund Teske: The Camera as Reliquary”. The article can be found online at: https://www.artforum.com/print/196402/edmund-teske-the-camera-as-reliquary-37879

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Edmund Teska”, Date Unknown, Gelatin Silver Print

Second Insert Image: Edmund Teske, “Richard Soakup, Teske’s Lover in Their Chicago Flat”, 1940, Gelatin Silver Print, 20.3 x 19.7 cm, Private Collection 

Third Insert Image: Edmund Teske, “Jim Morrison and Pam”, 1969, Gelatin Silver Print Composite, Private Collection

Fourth Insert Image: Edmund Teske, “Herb Landegger and Bill Burke, Olive Hill, Hollywood”, 1945, Gelatin Silver Print, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Elisa Leonelli, “Edmund Teske, Topanga Canyon”, 1976, Gelatin Silver Print

David Manners: Film History Series

 

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in April of 1900, David Joseph Manners, birth name Rauff de Ryther Duan Acklom, was a Canadian-American actor. It was not until 1940 that he officially changed his name, taken his mother’s maiden name, and applied to become a naturalized citizen of the United States. 

David Manners was the son of British parents, Lilian Manners and the writer George Moreby Acklom, who was at that time the headmaster of Canada’s prestigious, private boarding school Harrow House. In 1906, George Acklom emigrated to the United States and took a position as a literary advisor for New York’s publishing company E. P. Dutton.  The following year, David Manners, his older sister and mother joined his father and settled in Mount Vernon, an inner suburb of New York City. 

The Acklom family relocated in January of 1920 to West 123rd Street in Manhattan where Manners, still using the name Rauff, resided with his parents. He gained employment as an assistant publisher; however, he soon returned to Canada and enrolled to study forestry at the University of Toronto. Attracted to stage work on campus, Manners started drama training and made his acting debut in 1924 at the university’s Hart House Theater with a role in Euripides’s play “Hippolytus”.

Despite objections from his father, David Manners continued his acting career after his return to the United States. He joined English stage and screen actor Basil  Sydney’s Touring Company and, later, stage actress and director Eva Le Gallienne’s New York Civic Repertory Company. With these companies, Manners performed in theaters in Chicago and on New York City’s Broadway. He continued his acting studies under Le Gallienne and was able to get a co-starring role with actress Helen Hayes in Edgar Selwyn and Edmund Goulding’s play “Dancing Mothers” which premiered at Broadway’s Booth Theater in mid-town Manhattan.

In 1927, Manners relocated to California and was soon discovered at a Hollywood party by gay film director James Whale. His first appearance in film was an uncredited role as the pilot in the 1929 pre-code adventure film “The Sky Hawk”, directed by John G. Blystone for the Fox Film Corporation. This was followed in 1930  with the role of Lieutenant Raleigh in director James Whale’s war film “Journey’s End”. Manner’s performances in these two films received endorsements from reviewers working with Variety and The New York Times, both of which praised subsequent performances. 

In late 1930, David Manners performed perhaps his best remembered role, that of Jonathan Harker, the protagonist to Bela Lugosi’s vampire in Universal Studios’ “Dracula”. The following year, he played a blind war veteran with co-star Barbara Stanwyck in Frank Capra’s critically acclaimed romance film “The Miracle Woman”. During his brief contract with Warner Brothers Studios, Manners progressed from supporting player to true movie-star with his successful role as Teddy Taylor in the 1932 “Crooner”. Directed by Lloyd Bacon, the musical drama told the story of Taylor’s rise and fall as a singing star  

With his stardom achieved by “Crooner” and “Dracula”, Manners was able to freelance with success and worked for several years as a romantic leading man, most often tuxedo-dressed in romantic comedies and light dramas. Two exceptions to this were his role as Shep Lambert in the 1931 ensemble cast film “The Last Flight” and the role Frank Whemple, the son of archaeologist Sir Joseph Whemple, in Karl Freund’s 1932 horror  film “The Mummy”, where he played opposite Boris Karloff’s role as the mummy. Manners joined the Screen Actors Guild in 1933 but became increasingly frustrated by his Hollywood roles and film career. After appearing in three films in 1936, David Manners left the studios and retired from film work, a career containing roles in thirty-nine movies.

David Mainers continued to perform regularly on stage for the next seventeen years in tour productions, summer stock, and on Broadway. He used his influence to help promising up-and-coming actors such as Lucille Ball, who had a small role in the musical “Roman Scandals” which co-starred Manners, and Marlon Brando, with whom Manners co-starred in the Broadway production of “Truckline Café”, directed by Elia Kazan. Manners quietly financed small theatrical groups in California and paid medical bills for people in the film industry who had fallen on hard times. Under his birth name, Duan Acklom, he supported anti-drug programs and helped performers overcome addictions.

Manners married Suzanne Bushnell, a native of Ohio, in New York City on the 23rd of May in 1929. The 1930 census has the couple living in Los Angeles, along with Antonio Dumles, a twenty-two year old Filipino listed as servant. The marriage soon ended with Manners and Suzanne Bushnell divorcing in 1932. Manners changed his name legally from Acklom in 1940 and achieved citizenship while he was living in Victorville, California. He became a published novelist with his 1941 “Convenient Season”, a novel of familial reconciliation, which was followed by the 1943 novel “Under Running Laughter”, both published by E. P. Dutton. 

In 1948, David Manners began a long-term relationship with playwright and writer Frederic William (Bill) Mercer. They initially lived together at Manners’s ranch in Victorville but moved in 1956 to a residence in Pacific Palisades. Following his retirement, Manners spent his last decades pursuing personal interests including painting, writing and philosophy. In 1971, he published his views in “Look Through: An Evidence of Self Discovery”, published by El Cariso Publications. 

Manners and Mercer were partners until Bill Mercer’s death in August of 1978, Twenty years later, David Manners died at the age of ninety-eight in the health center of a  retirement community in Santa Barbara, California. His ashes were taken to  San Bernardino County and scattered at Rancho Yucca Loma in Victor Valley. It is unknown where Frederic William Mercer is buried. 

Second Insert Image: Sidney Hickox, “Katharine Hepburn and David Manners”, 1932, Still Shot from “A Bill of Divorcement”, Director George Cukor

Fourth Insert Image: John J. Mescall, “Boris Karloff, David Manners, Bela Lugosi”, 1934, Film Shot from “The Balck Cat, Director Edgar G. Ulmer