A Gay-Oriented Collection of Art Works, Literary Quotes, Songs, Films, and Male Images. Please be aware thet there is mature content on this blog. Information and links to sources will be provided unless unknown. Enjoy your visit.
Born in Paris on the twenty-fourth of January in 1921, Raymond Carrance was a French photographer and book illustrator whose work became known under the name Czanara. One of the little-known erotic artists of the twentieth-century, he began his career as a costume and set designer for theatrical companies and as a graphic designer for commercial brands, among which wasFrance’smineral water company Perrier.
In the 1940s and 1950s, Raymond Carramce was commissioned to create elaborate etchings and lithographs as illustrations for published editions by author Pierre Jules Renard and playwright Cyrano de Bergerac. He also illustrated a 1951 edition of Henry du Montherlant’s classic theatrical play “La Ville Dont le Prince Est un Enfant (The City Whose Prince is a Child)”. Clarrance also received a commission for seventeen copper engravings as signed illustrations for a 1971 limited edition folio which included writer Jean Giono’s “Le Chant du Monde: Bourg-Le-Reine (The Song of the World)”. This folio was a special tribute to Jean Giono who had passed away on the eighth of October in 1970.
As a photographer, Carrance’s private catalogue of homoerotic work is reminiscent of the magical-realist style of his contemporaries, the painters Paul Cadmus and Jared French. His images are simple compositions without extensive detail, distinctly European in style and reverential in nature. Carrance’s unique work contained both simple nude portraits and dreamlike scenes composed with overlaid graphics. The desired atmosphere of these collaged male nude scenes was established by layers of superimposed photographs depicting props, flowers, bodily details, or simple patterns and shadows. Carrance exhibited both his photographic and illustrative work in several venues throughout Paris during the 1960s and 1970s.
Raymond Carrance died in Paris on the fourth of June in 1998 at the age of seventy-seven. He passed in obscurity without heirs; his entire body of work was sold at auction. Carrance’s work was rediscovered by art collector David Deiss who acquired the contents of Carrance’s atelier from a Lyon bookseller upon his death. Focused on the discovery of unknown artists of significance, Deiss is responsible for publishing the 2007 monograph “Czanara: Photographs and Drawings”, an imprint of Carrance’s work through Antinous Press. This imprint was the first book published by creative director Sam Shahid’s new press.
Nicole Canet, publisher and owner of the Parisian gallery “Au Bonheur du Jour”, exhibited her collection of Carrance’s drawings and photographsat her gallery in 2010. The gallery and its publishing arm are known for their focus on early European homoerotic photographers; Canet is recognized for her work as a researcher and archivist of sexual sociology in Paris.
Top Insert Image: Raymond Carrance, “Flanders,Belgium”, circa 1950-1960s, Vintage Print, 24 x 18 cm, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: Raymond Carrance, “Venice”, circa 1950-1940s, Vintage Print, 18 x 17 cm, Private Collection
Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrists?
And what has he been after that they groan and shake their fists?
And wherefore is he wearing such a conscience-stricken air?
Oh they’re taking him to prison for the colour of his hair.
‘Tis a shame to human nature, such a head of hair as his;
In the good old time ’twas hanging for the color that it is;
Though hanging isn’t bad enough and flaying would be fair
For the nameless and abominable colour of his hair.
Oh a deal of pains he’s taken and a pretty price he’s paid
To hide his poll or dye it of a mentionable shade;
But they’ve pulled the beggar’s hat off for the world to see and stare,
And they’re haling him for justice for the colour of his hair.
Now ’tis Oakum for his fingers and the treadmill for his feet
And the quarry gang on Portland in the cold and in the heat,
And between his spells of labour in the time he has to spare,
He can curse the God that made him for the colour of his hair.
Alfred Edward Housman, Oh Who Is That Young Sinner, First Draft Summer 1895
Published 1939, Collected Poems,’Additional Poems’, Number 18
Born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire in March of 1859, Alfred Edward Housman was an English classical scholar, educator and poet. Recognized as one of the foremost classicists of his era, he emerged as a poet with his 1896 “A Shropshire Lad”, a collection of works espoused by a simple youth preoccupied with the idea of early death.
The eldest of seven children to Edward Housman and Sarah Jane Williams, Alfred Housman was educated at King Edward’s School in Birmingham and later at Bromsgrove School. In 1877 at the age of eighteen, he won a scholarship to St. John’s College, Oxford, where he studied the classics. Though introverted by nature, Housman developed strong friendships with two roommates, Moses John Jackson, who became the principal of Sind College in Karachi, and Alfred William Pollard, a future bibliographer and scholar of Shakespearean texts.
At Oxford, Housman knew that emendation, the revision andcorrection of scribal errors in classical texts, would be his life’s work. So, he studied accordingly. In 1879, Housman earned a first on his exam for Moderations but failed the Finals due to his neglect of ancient history and philosophy. He returned inSeptember for the Michaelmas term to retake the exam and achieved the lower-grade pass degree. Housman, who was homosexual, fell in love at Oxford, for the first and only time, with his classmate Moses Jackson who was heterosexual. This unreciprocated love would remain a constant throughout Housman’s life and play a role in the creation of his poetry, an emotional and physiological experience for him..
After Oxford, Housman joined Jackson in London to work as a clerk in the Patent Office. They shared lodgings with Jackson’s brother Adalbert until 1885 at which time Housman found a flat of his own. Two years later, Jackson took a position in Karachi, India as an educator; he returned in 1889 to marry and resided with his wife and family in India until his retirement. Learning in 1922 that his friend, now back in England, was dying from stomach cancer, Housman wrote thirty-seven pages of poems that were published in early 1922. A copy of the collection was sent the hospital where Jackson was being treated. Jackson read the poems in October, a few months before his death in January of 1923.
Housman’s most sustained period of poetry composition was during his professorship at University College. Of the work he produced during this period, his 1896 “A Shropshire Lad” became his best effort. After its rejection by Macmillan Company, it was published by Kegan Paul at Housman’s expense; at his insistence he took no royalties from Kegan Paul. Over two years, the book sold very slowly until Grant Richards, who became a lifelong friend, published five-hundred copies in 1897. Sold out, two more editions were printed and three-thousand copies sold by 1902.
Profoundly affected by his mother’s death when he was twelve, Alfred Housman’s poetic themes largely dealt with time, seen by Housman as the enemy, and the inevitability of death. He frequently dealt with the plight of the young soldier, in which sympathy for the youth was balanced with patriotism of the nation. Housman also saw, through its changing seasons, death in nature; however, he regarded this manner of death with a stoic outlook rather than one of complete pessimism. Although the universe is seen in his poetry as cruel and hostile, his work also extolled the preciousness of both youth and youth’s beauty.
In 1922, Housman published his “Last Poems” which greatly added to his reputation. His place in the poetic world was further enhanced by British composers setting his work to music. The cycle of poems from “A Shropshire Lad” were wet to music in 1904 by composer Arthur Somervell. As of 2023, there have been six-hundred and forty-six musical settings of Housman’s poems. Among these are Ribert Vaughan Williams’s 1909 “On Wenlock Edge” for sting quartet, tenor and piano, George Butterworth’s 1911 “Six Songs fro A Shropshire Lad”, and John Ireland’s 1920 song cycle “Land of the Lost Content”.
Alfred Edward Housman died at the age of seventy-seven in April of 1936 at Cambridge, England. After his death, his brother Laurence published several collections of works by Housman among which include the 1936 “More Poems” and 1939 “Collected Poems”. In 1936, Laurence deposited an essay, “A. E. Housman’s ‘De Amicitia”” at the British Library with the proviso that it not be published for twenty-five years. This essay discussed Alfred Housman’s homosexuality and his love for Moses Jackson. Despite his own caution in public life and the conservative nature of the era, Housman was fairly open in his poetry about his love for Jackson.
Notes: A 2021 article by Veronica Alfano, a Research Fellow at Australia’s Macquarie University in Sydney, on the life of Alfred Edward Housman can be found at the Yellow Nineties 2.0 site located at: https://1890s.ca/aehousman_bio/
Alfred Edward Housman’s poem “Oh Who Is That Young Sinner” was written in the summer of 1895, a few months after the crimainal trial of poet Oscar Wilde on charges of gross indecency under the Criminal Law Amendment Act, which applied to same-sex activity. In his poem, Housman criticized the imprisonment of Wilde by stating that Wilde’s homosexuality was natural and created by god/nature and, as such, should not be condemned. Housman, himself gay, avoided the fate of his contemporary but, as seen in the poem, was very sympathetic to Wilde’s plight. Housman died before homosexuality was decriminalized in England during the 1960s.
Photographers Unknown, The Whole forest Goes Silent
In the evenings, Sam performs exercises to prepare his body for love-making with Franz. He practices kissing (something he’d once hated) by smooching deer lips, antelope ears, frog anuses, and the great, whiskered muzzles of sleeping bison. He improves his petting skills by necking with juniper bushes and pine tree trunks with such passion that the bark snaps and sap runs, or with such tenderness that the whole forest goes silent and swallows nest in his hair.
Barry Webster, The Lava in My Bones, 2012, Arsenal Pulp Press
Born in Toronto in 1961, Barry Webster is a Canadian musician, translator, and writer of fiction, short stories, and non-fiction. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at the University of Toronto and his Master of Arts in Creative Writing at Concordia University in Montreal. Webster is a classically trained pianist with two Associate Diplomas, ARCTs, from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Fluent in French, English and some German, he has translated some of his novels into French.
Webster’s first book of stories, “The Sound of All Flesh”, published by Porcupine’s Quill, won the 2005 ReLit Award for the best collection of Canadian short fiction; it was also a finalist for that year’s Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction presented by the Quebec Writers’ Foundation. This magic-realist collection of stories follows the lives of such people as a hydrophobic competitive swimmer, an opera singer who bathes in tubs of margarine for inspiration, and a travel writer whose terrified of having his photo taken. Webster’s stories from “The Sound of All Flesh” were short-listed for the National Magazine Award and the Canadian Broadcast Company-Quebec Prize.
Barry Webster’s 2012 novel entitled “The Lava in My Bones” is an ecologically-based novel, written in a magic-realist style, that is narrated from various perspectives. The storyline, divided into elemental sections such as rock, air, and water, follows Sam, a Canadian geologist, who attends an academic conference in Switzerland. There he meets the young, sexually active Franz, a swinger whoawakens Sam’s nascent homosexuality. “The Lava in My Bones” is a fantasy story through which the connection between lovers, the dysfunction of families, and personal links to the planet we inhabit are examined. Webster’s novel was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, the Ferro-Grumley Foundation and Publishing Triangle’s annual Literary Award, and the 2013 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LBGTQ Emerging Writers presented by the Writers’ Trust of Canada.
Barry Webster has participated at numerous literary series, among which were the Saints and Sinners Festival in New Orleans, Berlin’s Takl Galerie Series, the National Gallery of Ottawa, Vancouver’s Raw Exchange, and muliple literary programs on CBC Radio. Webster’s work has appeared in various publications including The Toronto Star Event, The Washington Post, Fiddlehead Magazine, and The Globe and Mail, Canada’s foremost news media company. After periods in various European cities, Barry Webster currently resides in East Montreal.
“I once attended a panel discussion where the topic was ‘Canadian Literature: Quiet Writing for a Quiet Nation.’ Leonard Cohen’s Beautiful Losers is anything but quiet. It rants, seethes, and uses humor as a machete. The hyper-sensual language and extravagant fantasy of the erotic trysts between the narrator, his lover ‘F,’ and the ghost of saint Catherine Tekakwitha changed my understanding of fiction. I realized that thinking outside traditional heterosexual binaries requires a new template and so-called ‘realism’ can simply reinforce the status quo. Beautiful Losers showed me that literature could re-imagine what sexuality can be rather than merely slavishly reproducing the surface of life.”
—-Barry Webster, Montreal, The Query Project, September 2015, Plenitude Magazine
Plenitude Magazine is Canada’s only queer literary magazine. It promotes the development and growth of LGBTQ+ literature through online publication. The magazine can be found at: https://plenitudemagazine.ca
Top Insert Image: Camille Martin, “Barry Webster”, 2018, Color Print, Rogue Embryo Website
Header Photo Set: Fifth Image: Francesco Merlini, “Hua Hin”, The Farang Series, Gelatin Silver Print
Gaston Goor, “Homere et les Bergers (Homer and the Shepherds)”, 1940, Oil on Panel, 81.3 x 119.4 cm, Private Collection
Born in Lunéville, the capital city of Lorraine in October of 1902, Gaston Goor was a highly accomplished, albeit controversial, French illustrator, painter, muralist and sculptor. He is best known for his illustrations in “Amitiés Particulières (Special Friendships)”and other works by French writer and diplomat Roger Peyrefitte, his primary patron.
The son of Auguste Léon Goor and Marie Angèle Berthe Becker, Goor entered the École des Beaux-Arts at the age of seventeen. He left his native province in 1925 to travel to Paris where he worked in the studio of painter and writer Amédée Ozenfant. In 1917, Ozenfant and painter Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier, had founded the doctrine of Purism, a style of art in which elements are represented as robust simplified forms with minimal detail. Through his association with Ozenfant and Le Corbusier, Goor was introduced to modern art and prominent artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse andJean Lurçat, best known for his tapestries.
During his stay in Versailles, Gaston Goor was introduced by poet André Salmon to author André Gide who guided him to the profession of illustrator. Working with Capitole Editions, Gore became a prominent artist and created illustrations for forty volumes under that title. He created illustrations for Léon Daudet’s “Écrivains et Artistes”, Henry de Montherlant’s “L’Etoile du Soir”, Lucien Daudet’s “Le Voyage de Shakespeare”, and François Mauriac’s “Hommes Devant Dieu”. Goor also provided illustrations for both the Horizons de France and the Trianon editions.
In 1929, Goor was commissioned to produce decorative work for the Colonial Exhibition in Paris. After a study trip to Morocco, he returned Versailles where he worked briefly for its Department of Fine Arts before locating to the resort town of Hyères where his family had settled. Goor’s nude studies of the young model Jean Joerimann caught the attention of writer Jean Renaud Icard who gave him an exhibition in his Lyon gallery. After the exhibition, Goor received a commission to illustrate Icard’s latest book “Mon Page”.
In the 1930s, Gaston Goor received private commissions, both illustrative and decorative, from wealthy clients and art collectors. Among these prominent men was the owner of a large luxury hotel in Hyères, who was the father of Jean Joerimann, the model for the “Mon Page” illustrations and an unreciprocated love interest for Goor. In 1942, he received a commission from architect Maurice Novarina to create murals for the Church of Douvaine in the Auvergne-Rhõne-Alpes regional city of Haute-Savoie.
While in Haute-Savoie, Goor was accused by German police of helping Jewish people to cross the Swiss border; as a result, he was given ‘voluntary worker’ status and sent to the camp near Zittau in Saxony. Noticed for his talents, Goor was employed as an artist; he remained in the camp until February of 1945 when the city of Dresden was destroyed by Allied bombing. After the war, Goor initially returned to Paris before he moved to Cannes for an exhibition of his work.
There is little information available on the remainder of Gaston Goor’s life. This period was marked by several disappointments, including that his other illustrations for the “Satyricon” were not published. It is known that Goor retired and remained in Hyènes until his death from cancer at the French Riviera city of Toulon on the thirteenth of December in 1977.
Photographers Unknown, Whispering to the Nearby Warriors
At Jeffers Petroglyphs
By their initials and first names
scratched into quartzite
underfoot, I know the culprits: Otto
like a fancy scar
on a buffalo’s flank, Sven
muddling the lines of a glyph,
the meaning of its shape forgotten, and Judy
who needed to record the date
of defacement. I hear her story from the guide:
how she stole her father’s chisel,
chipped her way into a turtle’s back,
how much shame she brought
to her family in this search for the lost meanings
hidden within the shapes of the letters,
written on a shell next to the sun, an attempt,
if I’m generous,
to contrast two languages and find,
in the mixed -up symbols,
the trees of her homeland cut down long ago.
She still lives. I believe, on some days,
wherever she is, she hears the forest mumbling
when the wind blows across the carved twigs
of her name, out here, whispering to the nearby warriors,
asking forgiveness for this trespass.
Michael Walsh, The Kids Who Carved into Petroglyphs, The Dirt Riddles, 2021
Michael Walsh is a poet and writer, an independent scholar, and a creative writing instructor. With an early interest in writing, he began his studies at Illinois’s Knox College in 1993. Walsh studied under Poet-in-Residence Sheryl St. Germain and the Philip Sydney Post Professor of English Robin Metz, both of whom made an impact on his writing career. Supported by his professors, Walsh was able, as a Queer student, to connect and have meaningful conversations with the faculty. He graduated with his Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing in 1997.
After a period of reflection on his past studies during a stay at his family’s farm, Walsh entered the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities from which he graduated with his Master of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing. His first collection of poetry, “The Dirt Riddles”, was published in 2010 by the University of Arkansas Press; this volume won the Miller Williams Prize and the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. Walsh’s poetry collections also include two chapbooks through Red Dragonfly Press, the 2003 “Adam Working the Garden” and the 2011 “Sleepwalks”. His 2021 “Creep Love”, published by Autumn House Press, was a Lambda Poetry Award finalist.
Michael Walsh is the editor of the 2022 “Queer Nature: A Poetry Anthology”, the first eco-queer anthology of contemporary nature poetry that magnifies and centers LBGTQ+ voices and perspectives. It contains work from over two hundred queer writers from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. Expanding the genre of nature poetry and offering new views on queerness and the natural world, the anthology features poets Elizabeth Bishop, Richard Bianco and Allen Ginsber, as well as, emerging poets such as Jari Bradley, Alicia Mountain and Eric Tan.
In recognition for his work, Walsh was awarded a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship in Poetry and a Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist Fellowship. After residing in Minneapolis for more than two decades, Michael Walsh now lives with his husband in the Driftless region of southwest Wisconsin where he continues to develop his eco-queer and literary teachings.
Michael Walsh’s website, which includes information on readings, lectures and poetry manuscript reviews, is located at: https://www.michaeltwalsh.com
Header Image (Eight): Danny Lyon, “Showers”, 1968, Gelatin Silver Print, Detail, 35.6 x 27.9 cm, Private Collection
Top Insert Photo: Adam Nelsen, “Michael Walsh”, Date Unknown, Color Print
Born in the Monmouthshire city of Newbridge on the eighth of June in 1904, Angus Rowland McBean was a Welsh photographer and set designer associated with the Surrealist movement. He went through two main creative periods in his forty-year career: pre-World War II in which he experimented successfully with surrealist images and post-war when his portraiture photography became more conventional and focused on theatrical and entertainment artists.
Angus McBean was the eldest and only son of Clement McBean, of Scottish descent, and Irene Sara Thomas, of Welsh descent. His father, after his military career in the South Wale Borderers, became a surveyor in the mining industry which necessitated frequently moving his family. McBean had his primary education at the Monmouth School for Boys and later attended the Newport Technical College where he developed an interest in photography. At the age of fifteen, McBean bought his first camera and created sets, props and costumes for the amateur dramatic productions at Monmouth’s Lyceum Theater.
In 1925, McBean’s father died from tuberculosis which he had contracted while fighting in the trenches during World War I. After his fathers death, McBean relocated to London where he worked in the antiques department of Liberty’s, London’s luxurydepartment store on Regent Street. In his free time, McBean engaged in photographing his friends, making masks, and attending theater performances in the West End. He left Liberty’s in 1931, grew a distinctive beard, and began a career in photography. McBean served as an apprentice at the New Grafton Street Studio owned by photographer Hugh Cecil who taught him photographic techniques. After a year, McBean established his own studio on Belgrave Road in Victoria, London.
The turning point in Angus McBean’s career came in 1935 when Welsh actor and dramatist Ivor Novello asked him to create masks for playwright Clemence Dane’s adaption of author Max Beerbohm’s “The Happy Hypocrite”. Pleased with the masks, Novello commissioned McBean to take portrait photographs for the production. In 1937, McBean received a commission from the British weekly illustrated journal “The Sketch” for a photograph of actress Beatrix Lehmann in Eugene O’Neill’s “Mourning Becomes Electra”. This portrait was inspired by the surrealist art of the era. McBean, in collaboration with artist Roy Hobdell, produced a series of surrealist-styled portraits of leading actresses for a weekly series which ran until the beginning of World War II.
After the war, McBean established a new studio on Endell Street in London. One of his first commissions was to photograph the American actress Clare Luce who was appearing in “Anthony and Cleopatra” at Stratford-on-Avon’s Shakespeare Memorial Theater. McBean next produced a series of portraits that incorporated notable objects from the lives of his sitters: Ivor Novello is shown with bound editions of his musicals and Cecil Beaton is surrounded by pages from his scrapbooks. In the 1940s and 1950s, he was the most important photographer of theater and dance personalities. Among his many sitters were Audrey Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, Noel Coward, Mae West, Katharine Hepburn, Margot Forteyn and Robert Helpmann.
Angus McBean’s career took a new direction in the 1950s and 1960s as he began shooting color photographs for album covers. He photographed Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Shirley Bassey and the Beverley Sisters, and Spike Mulligan for his album “Milligan Preserved”. McBean also was responsible for the 1963 cover art of The Beatles album “Please, Please Me” which showed the group leaning over the balcony at the EMI offices in London. Six years later, he was to recreate the shot for the the proposed “Get Back” album; however, the recreated shot later appeared on the two retrospectives of the group’s work “1962-1966” and “1967-1970”.
In the 1960s, McBean purchased Flemings Hall in Bedingfield, Suffolk and undertook a major renovation project; this estate would be his home until his death. In this period, he gradually reduced the number of commissions he accepted but continued to work on selected projects. In 1984, McBean appeared as a special guest in musician-composer David Sylvian’s music video “Red Guitar”. Sylvian, who has a strong interest in McBean’s work, was directly inspired by McBean’s 1938 surrealistic portrait of cinema and theatrical actress Flora Robson.
Over the course of his career, Angus McBean produced two hundred and eighty portrait photographs; he was also produced seventy-nine self portraits. In 1990, McBean fell ill on a holiday in Morocco and, after returning to England, died at Ipswich Heath Road Hospital on the 9th of June in 1990, eighty-six years after his birth. His work is in many private and public collections including London’s National Portrait Gallery, the Mander & Mitchenson Collection at the University of Bristol Theatre Collection, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal National Theater Archive, and the Shakespeare Center Library and Archive in Stratford-on-Avon.
Note: In the spring of 1942, Angus McBean’s career was temporarily ruined when he was arrested in the city of Bath for criminal acts of homosexuality. He was sentenced to four years in prison; however he was released in the autumn of 1944. After the end of the second World War, McBean was able to successfully resume his career. In the late 1940s, he formed a close, yet brief, relationship with male model Sebastian Minton. McBean helped Minton, who had ambitions of becoming an actor, put together a photographic portfolio for studio presentations.
Note: If anyone knows the identity of the actress in the fourth photo of the header photo array, please send me that information via the contact page. Thank you.
Top Insert Image: Angus McBeam, “Self Portrait”, circa 1951, Bromide Print, 29.4 x 26 cm, National Portrait Gallery, London
Second Insert Image: Angus McBean, “Surrealist Beach Scene with a Male Figure”, circa 1949, Hand-Colored Silver Print, 50.5 x 67.0 cm, Private Collection
Third Insert Image: Angus McBean, “Vivien Leigh ‘Twelfth Night’ Old Vic Tour”, 1961, Bromide Print, Private Collection
Fourth Insert Image: Angus McBean, “Choreographer and Dancer Berto Pasuko”, 1947, Gelatin Silver Print, 37.5 x 28.6 cm, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: Angus McBean, “Binkie Beaumont, Angela Baddeley and Emlyn Williams”, 1947, Bromide Print, 38 x 29.7 cm, Harvard Theater Collection, Harvard University, National Portrait Gallery
Born in 1947, Ben Kimura (木村べん) was a Japanese artist known for his gay erotic artwork. As noted by historian and artist Gengoroh Tagame, he and Sadeo Hasogawa were among the central figures in Japan’s resurgence of gay artwork in the 1970s.
Ben Kimura began his career in 1978 as an illustrator and cover artist for “Barazoku”, Japan’s first commercially circulated gay men’s magazine. The monthly magazine, edited by Bungaku Itō, began publication in July of 1971 and published four-hundred issues, the last being in 2008. Kimura was a regular art contributor until his departure in 1989. During this time, he was also a major contributor for cover and story illustrations for “Sabu”magazine.
Kimura also contributed illustrations to the early yaoi magazines “June” and “Allan”, both male to male romance-fiction magazines for a female audience. His work for these magazines placed him among the first gay artists to achieve crossover success with a female audience.
Ben Kimura’s artwork was highly sought after by the Japanese gay publications throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Unique among contemporary Japanese homoerotic artists, his work typically depicted masculine, handsome men rendered in a style that was romantic and sensual rather than explicitly pornographic. Kimura’s fit and stylish young men evoked both familiarity and a sense of nostalgia for life’s past encounters .
In addition to work done for periodicals, Kimura self-published two collections of his homoerotic illustrations. The first collection was the 1997“Tan-Pan Body (画集)” which was primarily a collection of cover art done for Sabu magazine prior to 1997. Kimura’s second collection “Go-One Boy (作品集)” was published in 1998.
Ben Kimura died from a pulmonary embolism at the age of fifty-six on the eighteenth of February in 2003. As a tribute, a second printing of his “Tan-Pan Body” was reissued shortly after his death. Kimura’s collected works are managed by his partner and artistic executor Kihira Kai.
Photographers Unknown, Victorious We Will Come Out
Non farmi ricordare i giorni che sono passati
se tu ancora tornerai a me come una volta
vittoriosi usciremo da questa lunga lotta con il tempo
ci attend forse maggiore felicità del passato
(la forza degli occhi il riconoscere in noi
che vivi siamo del nostro amore).
Victorious we will come out
Don’t make me remember the days that have passed
if you will come back to me as it once was
victorious we will get out of this long struggle with time
perhaps greater happiness than in the past awaits us
(the strength of the eyes, the recognition in us
that we live, we are of our love).
Mario Stefani, Vittoriosi Usciremo, Il Male di Vivere, 1968
Born in August of 1938 in Venice, Mario Stefani was an Italian poet and journalist. He graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Literature; his thesis examined the letters of sixteenth-century author and playwright Pietro Aretino, an influential figure in Venice’s art and politics. Stefani worked on Professor Neuro Bonifazi’s literary research team at the University of Urbino. He began a career as a journalist employed by the Venice newspaper “Il Gazzettino” and, later. became a contributor to the “Literary Political Observer”, “Arena”, and “Resto del Carlino”.
Mario Stefani’s poetry is mostly written in Italian. Stefani’s deceptively simple poems are characterized by a clarity of expression that bring forth his own experiences, often imbued with nostalgia. His two collections of Venetian-dialect poetry, written in the late 1960s, were composed of that era’s simple Venetian style without any linguistic experimentation. Prefaces to Stefani’s collections were written by such notables as novelist and essayist Aldo Palazzeschi, biologist and novelist Giuseppe Longo, and poets Giovanni Raboni and Andrea Zanzotto.
In 1960, Mario Stefani published his first collection of poetry “Desiderio della Vita (Desire for Life)”. In the course of his career, over twenty volumes of Stefani’s poetry were published. Included among these collections are the 1961 “Giorno Dopo Giorno (Day After Day)”, the 1968 “Come el Vento ne la Laguna (Like the Wind in the Lagoon)”, and “Il Male di Vivere (The Evil of Living)” published in 1968. Stefani’s “Elegie Veneziane (Venetian Elegies)”, published in 1971, won the first prize Bergamo Award for poetry.
Other notable poetry collections by Stefani include the 1974 “Poesie per un Ragazzo (Poems to a Boy)’, “In Debito con la Vita (In Debt to Life)” published in 1984, and “ Una Quieta Disperazione (A Quiet Despair)”, published posthumously in 2001. In 1981, Stefani’s “Nessun Altro Dio (No Other Gods)”, a collection of fifty-five poems, was translated into English by Anthony Reid, a translator and personal friend of Stefani, and published with annotations by illustrator Martin Pitts.
In addition to his poetry, Mario Stefani also published several short stories: the 1986 “At the Table with Margherita”, “Excellent Cakes and Vicious Virtues” in 1987, and the 1988 “Metamorphosis of a Dog and Other Tales”. In addition to the Bergamo Prize, Stefani was awarded the Prize of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, and prizes at festivals in Milan, Gabicce, and Abano. American writer John Berendt devoted a chapter on the life of Mario Stefani, entitled “The Man Who Loved Others”, in his 2005 non-fiction book of Venice’s interesting inhabitants, “The City of Falling Angels”. In 2013, literary scholar Flavio Cogo published “Mario Stefani and Venice: Chronicles of a Great Love”, which examines Stefani’s love for Venice through his writings and his political and cultural engagements.
Mario Stefani became an openly gay in the 1970s. He worked for a period as an high school teacher of literature and was an active member of Italy’s Radical Party for decades. Stefani also hosted a popular unscripted television show. His poems were included in school text books and set to music in 1973 by composer Roberto Micconi for a performance at the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory of Music in Venice.
In the middle of February of 2001, graffiti featuring the quote “Loneliness is not being alone; it’s loving others to no avail. Mario Stefani” appeared on a wall by Venice’s Rialto Bridge. Three weeks later on the fourth of March, Mario Stefani committed suicide by hanging himself in his kitchen.His estate, valued at one million dollars, was per his request given to the local fruit vendor whose young daughter had inspired Stefani’s work.
In 2002, Stefani created an archive of his work which consists of sixty-eight hundred volumes from his personal library, articles related to his cultural work and twenty-six artworks including paintings and graphics. This archive is housed in the museum collection of the Fondazione Querini Stampalia, a cultural institution in Castello, Venice.
Photographers Unknown, I Am What Gladiators Call a Man in Love
I don’t remember how I hurt myself,
The pain mine
Long enough for me
To lose the wound that invented it
As none of us knows the beauty
Of our own eyes
Until a man tells us they are
Why God made brown. Then
That same man says he lives to touch
The smoothest parts, suggesting our
Surface area can be understood
By degrees of satin. Him I will
Follow until I am as rough outside
As I am within. I cannot locate the origin
Of slaughter, but I know
How my own feels, that I live with it
And sometimes use it
To get the living done,
Because I am what gladiators call
A man in love—love
Being any reminder we survived.
Jericho Brown, Colosseum, The New Testament, 2014, Copper Canyon Press
Born in April of 1976 in the Louisiana city of Shreveport, Jericho Brown is an American poet, writer and educator. In 1995, he earned his Bachelor of Arts at the historical Dillard University where he was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Brown graduated with his Master of Fine Arts from the University of New Orleans and earned his Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Houston.
From 2002 to 2007, Jericho Brown was a teaching fellow in the University of Houston’s English department. He was a visiting professor for the MFA program at San Diego State University in the spring of 2009, as well as, an assistant English professor at the University of Sand Diego. Brown is currently an associate professor of English and the director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to his duties at Emory, he has taught at conferences and workshops, including the University of Iowa’s Summer Writing Festival.
Brown’s first publication was the 2008 “Please”, a winner of the American Book Award. The poems and prose contained in this volume explore, through recollections of family, history and culture, the intersection of love and violence that surrounds the identity and sexuality of both the African American and male personae.
Jericho Brown’s second work was the 2014 collection of poems “The New Testament”. Lamenting the erasure of culture and ethnicity, he examined the issues of race, masculinity and sexuality by means of elegies, myths, and fairy tales. This collection won the American Book Award, the Whiting Award for Poetry, and the Paterson Poetry Prize. “The New Testament” also won the 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, a literary award to honor written works that make contributions to the understanding of racism and the rich diversity of human culture.
Brown published his third collection “The Tradition” through Copper Canyon Press in April of 2019. The work in this volume examines our modern traditions developed in a time when terror is the norm. Juxtaposed with themes of the natural world are poems that expose the numbness of society to issues of sexuality, racism, sexual assault, gun control, and police brutality. This third collection by Brown won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the Paterson Poetry Prize, as well as, a place in the finals for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
In October of 2020, Jericho Brown traveled to his hometown of Shreveport to accept the John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence from Centenary College’s Department of English. He is also the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brown’s literary work has appeared in multiple publications including The New Republic, The New York Times, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Buzzfeed, Jubilat, and volumes of The Best American Poetry.
Notes:Jericho Brown’s website includes both poems and prose, interviews, and scheduled lectures and readings. The site is located at: https://www.jerichobrown.com
Born in 1968, Curtis Holder is an English artist based in London. He works primarily in colored pencil and graphite to create large-scale figurative works and portraits on paper.Raised on an estate in Leicester in the 1980s, Holder majored in Graphic Design at the prestigious Kingston University and completed his postgraduate studies in Character Animation at Central Saint Martins in London.
Curtis Holder’s multi-layered drawings emerge through an unpredictable series of energetic lines that reveal the form, as well as, the emotional state of his subject. He works briskly, layering pencils and graphite for their dynamic effect. Holder does not alter any marks after they are laid on the paper. All pencil marks, including preparatory ones, remain on the paper in the finished work. The complexity of the lines, the pose of the sitter, and the graphic quality of the work combine to form images of great insight.
A prolific artist, Holder has entered his work in many group exhibitions. Among these are the Society of Graphic Fine Art’s 2021 Centenary Exhibition “Unlocked” in London; the 2021 United Kingdom Colored Pencil Society’s 20th Anniversary Gala Exhibition at Oxo Tower Wharf in London; the 2022 Portrait Artist of the Year at Compton Verney, Warwickshire; and the 2023 Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition in London.
Curtis Holder’s debut solo exhibition “Something Unspoken” was held from November of 2021 through January of 2022 at the 45 Park Lane Gallery in London. His solo exhibition “The Makers: Portraits from Backstage” opened at the National Theater, South Bank, London in January and continues to the 4th of November in 2023. These multilayered pencil portraits depict those valuable theater people who work backstage at the National Theater. In 2022, Holder was awarded the honor of being the National Theater’s first artist in residence.
Holder is a member of the Contemporary British Portrait Painters and an Associate Member of the Society of Graphic Fine Art. His work is held in private and public collections including London’s National Portrait Gallery, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the Soho House, and the National Theater in London.
Curtis Holder and his partner, Steve Goggin, a digital content manager for the Historic Royal Palaces, reside in a midcentury house in south London. Holder holds summer drawing classes in the garden for neighbors and also teaches part-time at the local primary school.
“What prevents people from breaking into that (art) world is visibility. If you don’t see yourself represented, you’ll think there’s no way in. I’d like to take my story to as many children as possible and say, you can survive as an artist. It’s like any other job, you have to work hard. But it’s as real as becoming a doctor. I want to show others that art can be a career, and a way of life.”—Curtis Holder, December 2020, The Guardian, London
Note: Curtis Holder’s website contains information on current exhibitions and the commission of work, as well as, available original drawings and limited edition prints. His site is located at: https://www.curtisholder.co.uk
Photographer Unknown, “Jack Larson as Jimmy Olsen”, circa 1950s, Studio Publicity Photo, “Adventures of Superman”, Warner Brothers / International Movie Data Base
Born in Los Angeles, California in February of 1928, Jack Edward Larson was an American actor, screenwriter, producer and librettist; he wrote the libretto to American composer Virgil Thomson’s 1972 three-act opera “Lord Byron”. Larson’s acting career spanned a period of sixty years, during which he appeared in both film and television productions.
The son of George Larson and Anita Calicoff, Jack Larson was raised in Pasedena, California, and attended its Junior College. Encouraged by his teachers to study the works of Shakespeare, he began writing and directing plays at the college. Larson’s productions caught the attention of a talent scout from the Warner Brothers film studio. After signing with Warner Brothers, he was given his first role, as Lieutenant ‘Shorty’ Kirk, in director Raoul Walsh’s 1947 aviation film “Fighter Squadron”. Three uncredited roles followed: the boy role in R. G. Springsteen’s 1949 drama “Flame of Youth”; the role of Dusty in Philip Ford’s 1950 western “Redwood Forest Trail”; and the role of Tommy in Ford’s mystery film of the same year “Trial Without Jury”.
In early 1951, Larson was presented with the film role of an energetic but naive young reporter. Encouraged by his agent, he agreed to portray Jimmy Olsen in Robert L. Lippert’s black and white film “ Superman and the Mole Men”. This film, shot in the month of July, served as the pilot for the “Adventures of Superman” television series. The initial filming and production for the first season was accomplished in August/September of 1951. There were one hundred-four episodes in the series which was filmed in black and white until 1954 after which it was filmed in color until the series’ end in April of 1958. While Larson’s character of Jimmy Olsen gave him wide recognition, it also limited his development as an actor by typecasting him in his future roles.
During his film work on “Adventures of Superman”, Jack Larson continued to appear, both credited and uncredited, in fourteen films produced through different production companies. Among these were Joseph Kane’s 1951 adventure film for Republic Pictures “Fighting Coast Guard”; Harry Levin’s 1952 family comedy “Belles on Their Toes” for 20th Century Fox; Thomas Carr’s 1953 western for Allied Artists “Star of Texas”; and John H. Auer’s 1957 drama for Warner Brothers “Johnny Trouble” which starred Ethel Barrymore in her final role.
Larson made cameo appearances in two films of the Superman series. He played a train passenger in Richard Donner’s 1978 “Superman”. In Bryan Singer’s 2006 “Superman Returns”, Larson was given the role of Bo, the Metropolis bartender and loyal friend of Superman. In addition to his film roles, Larson also acted in several television series: the 1955 “Navy Log” with roles in four episodes; “The Millionaire” in 1960; “Gomer Pyle” in 1965; “Superboy” in 1991; “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” in 1996 as old Jimmy Olsen; and “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” in 2010.
Jack Larson was a longtime friend of Gore Vidal whom he first met in 1954 at a Santa Monica party. His social circle included other literary figures such as Christopher Isherwood and expatriate writer and composer Paul Bowles, author of “The Sheltering Sky”. In 1958, Larson met his life partner, the director and screenwriter James Bridges. Listed among Bridges’s many films are “The Paper Chase”, “Urban Cowboy” and “The China Syndrome”. Larson and Bridges resided together at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed George Sturges House in Brentwood, Los Angeles, until Bridge’s death in June of 1993.
Prior to his meeting Bridges, Larson had been the companion of actor Montgomery Clift. When Larson was feeling typecast by his Jimmy Olsen character, it was Clift who advised him to stop putting himself in those casting positions, advice which Larson followed by writing plays and librettos. Due to his long association with Clift, Larson was interviewed extensively for the 2018 biographical documentary “Making Montgomery Clift”. Directed by Hillary Demmon and Montgomery Clift’s nephew Robert Clift, the film presented a different side to Montgomery Clift’s life than previous biographies. Told through interviews with family and friends, it presented Clift as a man who enjoyed life and was comfortable with himself as a gay man.
Jack Larson died on September 20th in 2015 at the age of eighty-seven. On both plays and films, he had often collaborated with his longtime partner, James Bridges. Larson’s interment was at the Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.
Photographers Unknown, The Winged Horse Contains My Passion
The farmers call me by name on the roads
as they might tell a skylark from a thrush
but they know the names of the animals better
than mine, for my name is Dolor.
If that which I love weighs upon my wound, it pains it;
if it weigh only upon summer, it is the field that suffers.
What will feed summer and my love if not that sorrow,
since my love and summer can no longer feed on joy?
The swan disappears in the slant of branches,
and the naked muses take me in their arms;
the winged horse contains my passion
and the wild flowers spread for me.
Max Jacob, Ballad of the Country Exile, 1939 (Original French Composition)
Translation by Harvey Shapiro for Poetry, Volume 76 Issue 2, May 1950
Born in July of 1876 in Quimper, a prefecture of the Finistère department of Brittany, Max Jacob was a French poet, writer, critic and painter. His poetry, a complex blend composed of Breton, Parisian, Jewish and Roman Catholic elements, was instrumental to the new directions of modern poetry in the early twentieth-century. In addition to his birth name, Max Jacob used two pseudonyms for his writings, Morven le Gaëlique and Léon David.
At the age of eighteen, Max Jacob relocated to Paris’s Montmartre artist community in 1894, a time when Symbolism was at its peak. He supported himself through a series of odd jobs including teaching piano and freelancing as an art critic. In the summer of 1901, Jacob met the twenty-year old Pablo Picasso who had arrived in Paris with no knowledge of the French language. Both struggling financially, they shared a studio flat on the Rue Ravignan and named their residence Bateau Laviour for its resemblance to laundry boats floating on the Seine. Through various social connections, Jacob and Picasso became friends with poet and novelist Guillaume Apollinaire and artists Jean Hugo, Christopher Wood, Jean Cocteau and Amedeo Modigliani.
As a homosexual, Jacob attempted to achieve a sense of belonging in France, whose moral attitudes, politics, and institutions excluded him. Even though homosexuality had not technically been illegal under the Napoleonic Code since 1810, police still harassed gay men in the name of public order. Although Jacob was not involved in politics, he remembered the miscarriage of justice and antisemitism involved in the 1896-1899 Dreyfus Affair and saw first-hand the racist questioning of the French Jewish community regarding their patriotism.
In the fall of 1906, Max Jacob told friends he received a vision of the Christ. After which, he began to embrace Catholicism and was eventually baptised in 1915. He fictionalized this spiritual vision in the 1911 “Saint Matorel (Saint Matthew)”, illustrated by Pablo Picasso, and the 1919 confessional work “La Defense de Tartufe”. Jacob began to find an audience for his literary work in France with his first collection of unique prose poetry, the 1917 “The Dice Cup” which was well received in Parisian literary circles. In 1921, he published a volume of free verse poetry entitled “Le Laboratoire Central”.
Disenchanted with his life in Paris, Jacob sought a change and became a lay associate at the Benedictine community in Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire, where he lived on a small income earned from selling his gouache paintings. Jacob spent two long periods in association with the Benedictine community, the first from 1921 to 1928 and the second from 1936 to 1944. Though the church met his spiritual needs, he still had a series of infatuations with artistic men which he expressed through letters of spiritual and stylistic advice. Jacob later produced a series of love poems that proclaimed his desires, abeit in a heterosexual style similar to what Marcel Proust wrote about his chauffeur Alfred Agostinelli.
Despite half of his live as a practicing Catholic and being awarded the Legion of Honor, Max Jacob was arrested by the Gestapo in February of 1944. Taken to the city of Orléans, he was place in a ten by ten meter military cell with sixty-five other Jewish men, women and children. On the twenty-sixth of February, Jacob and the others were packed into a train and hauled to the Gare d’Austerlitz in Paris. During his stay at this train station, Jacob sent out written pleas for help to his friends and influential people who might possibly intercede.
Jacob was next sent to the Drancy internment camp where, after surrendering his gold watch and money, he was registered and numbered. Given a green sticker, Jacob was scheduled to leave on transport number sixty-nine on the seventh of March. He developed severe pneumonia in the internment camp and, due to the lack of medicine, suffered severely for two days. Max Jacob died in the evening of the fifth of March, two days before the scheduled transport carried 1,501 people to Auschwitz.
Director Gabriel Aghion’s 2007 biographical drama “Monsieur Max” was a film that covered the life of Max Jacob from the First World War until his death in 1944. The role of Jacob was played by French actor and director Jean-Claude Brialy. This was Brialy’s last role before his death in May of 2007; he was survived by his partner, Bruno Finck.
Notes: For those interested in more information on the life of Max Jacob, there are two excellent online articles worth reading:
Photographers Unknown, How Many Times Do I Remember From You
Do I ever remember
certain nights in June of that year,
almost blurry, of my adolescence
(it was in nineteen hundred it seems to me
because in that month
I always felt a restlessness, a small anguish
the same as the heat that began,
than the special sound of the air
and a vaguely affective disposition.
They were the incurable nights
The high school hours alone
and the untimely book
next to the wide open balcony (the street
freshly watered it disappeared
below, among the lighted foliage)
without a soul to put in my mouth.
How many times do I remember
from you, far away
nights of the month of June, how many times
tears came to my eyes, tears
for being more than a man, how much I wanted
or dreamed of selling myself to the devil,
you never listened to me.
life holds us because precisely
it is not how we expected it.
Jaime Gil de Biedma, Nights of the Month of June, Fellow Travelers, 1959
Born in November of 1929 in Nava de la Asunción, Jaime Gil de Biedma y Alba was a Spanish poet. He is considered, among his readers, one of the most proficient Anglophiles in the field of contemporary literature originating from the Iberian Peninsula. Gil de Biedma belonged to the “Generation of ’50”, a group of poets born from the cultivated social realism that arose in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. He introduced new techniques into traditional Spanish literature through his use of both dramatic monologue and a diary form of intimate introspection.
Born into a Catalan family with strong conventional values, Jaime Gil de Biedma studied law both in Madrid and Salamanca. As a student in Madrid, he became acquainted with intellectuals such as Gabriel Ferrater and Carlos Barral, both of whom became influential Spanish poets. Gil de Biedma’s lifelong adherence to Anglo-American culture became firmly established by his Oxford studies as a law graduate in 1953 with his reading of works by T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, and Stephen Spender, who would go on to become United States Poet Laureate in 1965.
Gil de Biedma was also fascinated with the work of Spanish poet Luis Cernuda, a member of the “Generation of ’27” who went into self-exile during the Spanish Civil War. Although separated in age by twenty-seven years, both men had several traits in common: great respect for lyrical English, upbringing in a conventional bourgeois family, openness in regard to their homosexuality, and opposition to the Franco dictatorship. Gil de Biedma exchanged many letters with Cernuda and dedicated his 1959 poem “Nights of the Month of June” to him. In the fall of 1962, one year before Cernuda’s death in Mexico, he published a strong tribute to Cernuda that placed him above all other poets of the 1950s.
In regard to his poetry, Jaime Gil de Biedma is a member of Spain’s “Generation of ’50” which included such poets as José Ángel Valente, Francisco Brines Bañó, and Ángel González. The poets in this group, while focused on social issues, were all aware of the literary character of their verse. Partly due to Luis Cernuda’s influence, they introduced to Spain what is now known as poetry of experience, an immediate intellectual experience presented through narration by a fictional-self.
In his work, Gil de Biedma created bridges between English and his birth language of Spanish. He brought his poetry closer to the language spoken on the street by incorporating older Spanish poetic forms such as sestina. Attributed to the twelfth-century troubador Arnaut Daniel, sestina is a fixed verse form containing six stanzas of six lines each, normally followed by a three-line envoi, essentially a postscript in the form of a ballad or dedication. A perfectionist in the composition of his work, Gil de Biedma believed the essential experience in the first reading of a poem was not the understanding of the poem but rather the feeling the verses produce in the reader. The understanding will manifest, sooner or later, when the reader asks why he was so affected.
Gil de Biedma published his first work in 1952, “Versos a Carlos Barral”, a series of poems dedicated to his friend Carlos Barral, poet and literary publisher. This was followed in 1953 by “Segun Sentencia del Tiempo (According to the Judgement of Time)”. In his early work, Gil de Biedma strongly criticized the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. The title for his 1952 “Compañeros de Viaje (Travel Companions)” referred to a Trotskyist expression for Communist sympathizers. By the early 1950s, Franco was either suppressing or tightly controlling all political opponents across the spectrum, from communist to liberal democrats and Catalan separatists.
In 1965, Jaime Gil de Biedma published a collection of love poems imbued with eroticism entitled “Un Favor de Venus” which was followed by another socially-themed collection, the 1966 “Moralidades (Moralities)”. In 1969, he published his last collection of poems, “Poemas Póstumos (Posthumous Poems)” in which a disappointed Gil de Biedma confronted himself and the facades he had erected around his personal identity. After this volume, he published poems in various literary journals and wrote his 1974 memoir “Diario de un Artista Seriamente Enfermo (Diary of a Seriously Ill Artist)”. Diary entries from February and April of 1960 reveal that Gil de Biedma was already rereading his 1956 notes; in 1971, he began a lengthy and meticulous reconstruction of the written material.
As a homosexual during a strongly conservative period in Spain, Gil de Biedma was essentially forced to lead a double life. As part of a conservative family and, since 1955, holding an important position in the family’s Compañia General de Tabacos de Filipinas, he was a discreet and respectable executive. In the company of close friends, Gil de Biedma was openly gay with a quick wit and sharp tongue. At different times, he had suffered discrimination and blackmail. Gil de Biedma’s poetry was a reflection of this duality as, while he explored themes of love, romance and sex, he never disclosed the gender of the loved one.
Even at the end of his life, Jaime Gil de Biedma was adamant about keeping his poetry neutral. After learning that a journalist wanted to analyze his work from a gay literary point of view, he was distressed and went through great trouble to ensure that the journalist would not take that approach. Ten years before his death, Gil de Biedma stopped writing poetry. He had decided that the persona of the poet James Gil de Biedma had nothing left to say and, subsequently, abandoned that role in literary society. Three years after being diagnosed in 1987, Jaime Gil de Biedma died in Barcelona on the eighth of January in 1990 from complications due to AIDS.
Director Sigfrid Monleón’s 2009 biographical drama “El Cónsul de Sodoma (The Consul of Sodom) is a journey through the work and life of Catalan poet Jaime Gil de Biedma. It premiered at the San Sebastián International Film Festival in 2010. The film received five nominations at the Goya Awards, including Best Lead Actor (Jordi Mollá) and a Gaudi Awards nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Jordi Mollá).
Photographers Unknown, And the Moral Seems to Be . . .
In winter, Miss Jansson paints in her very comfortable studio in Helsinki; but in summer, she comes to the island and draws Moomin.
Max said, “Don’t you ever feel inspired to paint the Finnish countryside in summer?”
“It’s all so damned green,” she answered.
Then she told us about the squirrel, the one squirrel which has appeared on the island; and it slept under her neck and tried to collect food there. As the relationship between artist and squirrel developed, the squirrel came to expect a game at four o’clock in the morning. Tove Jansson had to get out of bed and pretend to be a tree. The squirrel would run up and down her frozen limbs.
One day, the squirrel disappeared. He may have jumped on a floating plank, for later he was reported to have appeared on another island. It must have been the same squirrel, for he positively forced open the tent of some campers, and—he was not welcome. It was four o’clock in the morning.
As soon as Miss Jansson learnt of the incident, she immediately rowed to the other island. She called. She stood about the place looking like a tree. But the squirrel never showed a whisker. Perhaps he’d sailed off again on a romantic Odyssey, looking for another squirrel and using his curly tail as a sail. And the moral seems to be that it is not enough to be a tree!
Oswell Blakeston, Sun At Midnight, 1958 Travel Book, The Archipelago, Page 85, Publisher Anthony Blond, London
Born to a family of Austrian origins in May of 1907, Henry Joseph Hasslacher was an English writer, poet, and filmmaker. He used the pseudonym Oswell Blakeston during his career, a reference to his mother’s maiden name and to English poet and essayist Osbert Sitwell.
Oswell Blakeston left his home at the age of sixteen; he subsequently became a stage magician’s assistant, a cinema organist, and an assistant cameraman at Gaumont Studios where he worked alongside the young David Lean. In August of 1927, Blakeston joined the staff of the Pool Group’s magazine “Close Up” as the protégé of the publication’s editor Kenneth Macpherson. He contributed a total of eighty-four articles to all but four of the journal’s issues, more than any other writer.
While writing for “Close Up”, Blakeston worked in various capacities in the British film industry. In 1929, he first tested his directorial skills with the short film “I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside”, which was based on the popular British music hall song of the same name. Working alongside American photographer Francis Bruguière, Blakeston directed and produced the short 1930 film “Light Rhythms”. This strictly abstract film, one of the first in England, added new dimensions to Bruguière’s experimental photographic work through the use of moving light sources, superimpositions, and elements of music. The film score was composed by Jack Ellitt and played on piano by Donald Sosin.
Among Oswell Blakeston’s early literary endeavors was his co-editorship with Herbert Jones of the small magazine “Seed” from 1932 to 1933. Under the pseudonym of Simon, he collaborated with novelist and screenwriter Roger Buford on the writing of four mystery novels: the 1933 “Murder Among Fiends”, “Death on the Swim” in 1934, the 1935 “Cat with a Moustache”, and “The Mystery of the Hypnotic Room” in 1949. Blakeston also wrote novels and story collections, as well as, ten volumes of poetry under his own name. His fifteen books of fiction were wide ranging in scope and included a number of works that mixed gay themes with suspense and detective plots.
Blakeston contributed writings to British writerand poet John Gawsworth’s published short-story anthologies. He also collaborated on works with Matthew Phipps Shiell, also known as M. P. Shiel, a writer of supernatural horror and science fiction whose “The Purple Cloud” remains his best known work. Blakeston is known in the literary world for a number of publication firsts. His 1932 “Magic Aftermath” was the first fiction published with a spiral binding and his 1935 crime novel “The Cat with the Moustache” contained one of the first descriptions of a hallucinatory experience with peyote or mescal.
In the 1950s, Blakeston was a frequent contributor to “ArtReview” and other periodicals including “John O’ London’s Weekly” and “What’s On in London”. In addition to his novels and poetry, Blakeston published cookbooks, travel adventures, works on photography and cinematography, and two books on animals, “Working Cats” and “Zoo Keeps Who?”. Most of his literary work was produced for publication by small presses and speciality publishers and thus is no longer in print. Recent interest in Blakeston’s writings has resulted in reprints of his more popular works; more obscure volumes appear occasionally at more specialized venues.
Blakeston met painter Max Chapman at the end of the 1920s. Chapman had attended London’s Byam Shaw School of Art where he studied under and became friends with painter Charles Ricketts. Ricketts and his life-time companion Charles Shannon were part of the literary and artistic circle that included Aubrey Beardsley and Oscar Wilde. Blakeston and Chapmanbecame life-long partners and lived together at a residence named “Lobster Pot” in Mousehole, a small fishing village in Cornwall. Through his association with Chapman, Blakeston met and became friends withmodernist writer Mary Francis Butts and poet and author Dylan Thomas.
Both Blakeston and Chapman became fixtures of the Cornish artistic scene. Blakeston’s paintings werea mix of abstract and expressionistic imagery executed in a small scale. His 1982 “Adolescence”, though influenced by Chapman’s work, is stylistically closer to the Pop Art movement; it is currently housed in the collection of the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. Blakeston exhibited his artwork in over forty solo shows and one-hundred group shows. In 1981, he shared an exhibition with Max Chapman at the Middlesbrough Art Gallery. Blakeston’s paintings are housed in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, Belfast’s Ulster Museum, the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, and galleries in Poland, Finland and Portugal.
Blakeston and Chapman’s portraits were drawn by painter and sculptor Sven Berlin, a member of the St. Ives artistic community: Blakeston’s portriat in 1939 and Chapman’s in 1941. These portraits became part of a series entitled “St. Ives Personalities”, that is now held in a private collection. A portrait of Blakeston painted by Max Chapman was part of a 1976 exhibition of portraits held at the Camden Art Centre. Oswell Blakeston died on the 4th of June in 1985. Max Chapman continued to paint until his death, fourteen years later, on the 18th of November in 1999.
Notes: Although listed at the British Film Institute registry and mentioned in Michael O’Pray’s “The British Avant-Garde Film 1926 to 1995”, Oswell Blakeston’s film “I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside” seems not available for viewing. His 1930 “Light Rhythms” is however available for viewing at the Light Cone Experimental Film site located at: https://lightcone.org/en/film-5793-light-rhythms
Since the 1930s, one of Oswell Blakeston’s passions was the history and architecture of follies, costly ornamental buildings with no practical purpose that were usually built in gardens or parks. He amassed a collection of county files, notes and clippings on the subject. A short article on this topic can be found at The Folly Flâneuse’s site located at: https://thefollyflaneuse.com/oswell-blakestons-folly-suitcase/
Born in January of 1905, Roland Ferdinand Caillaud was a French film and theater actor, as well as, an illustrator and painter. Known professionally as Roland Caillaux, he was a key figure among the literary and artistic celebrities who lived and worked in Saint-Germain-des-Prés of Paris’s sixth Arrondissement.
The son of a wealthy Parisian family, Roland Caillaux inherited enough money upon the death of his parents to enable him to live a comfortable life free from financial restriction. He had a residence at5 Rue de l’Ancienne-Comédie in the sixth Arrondissement of Paris and maintained a studio space on the Rue Boulard in the fourteenth Arrondissement. Caillaux was openly homosexual and enjoyed the relative freedom of Paris in the 1930s. He developed friendships with many of the writers, artists and filmmakers of the period including Jean Cocteau, Maurice Sachs, François Sentein, Jean Marais, Marcel Carné, and Jean Genet, among others.
In his lifetime, Caillaux was best known as a film and theater actor. His first appearance, an uncredited role, was in director Jaque Catelain’s 1924 drama film “La Galerie des Monstres”, a story of a young married couple’s tribulations after they join a circus. After playing the role of Le Sergent in Jene Renoir’s 1928 “Tire au Flanc”, Caillaux was given the role of Grippe-Soleil in Tony Lekain and Gaston Ravel’s 1929 “Figaro”, a film adaption of the 1778 Beaumarchais play “The Marriage of Figaro”. In the same year, he had a role in René Hevil’s film “Le Ruisseau (The Stream)”, and appeared onstage in a brief run of Vladmir Kirchon and Andreï Ouspenski’s play “La Rouille” at the Théâtre de l’Avenue in Paris.
The height of Roland Caillaux’s acting career occurred in 1930 with appearances in two films: “Soyons Gais” and composer John Daumery’s comedy musical “Le Masque d’Hollywood” directed by Clarence Badger. In the same year, he was in two theatrical performances: playwright Georges Neveux’s first notable work “Juliette ou la Cié des Songes” and Edmond Haraucourt’s “La Passion” held at the Comédie-Française. In 1932, Caillaux appeared in two films: the character of André Duval, Sergent de Spahis, in Rex Ingram and Alice Terry’s “Baroud” and a lead role in Georges Lacombe’s comedy “Ce Cochon de Morin”. His final film role was Lieutenant Jean Dumontier in Jean Benoît-Lévy and Marie Epstein’s 1934 “Itto” which, filmed in French Morocco, received a nomination for Best Foreign Film at the 1935 Venice Film Festival.
As a visual artist during the period from 1940 to 1960, Caillaux worked in his Rue Boulard studio where he produced landscapes, portraits, lithographs and drawings. The rare erotic works he produced were meant to be circulated among his circle of friends in the arts, cinema and music worlds. In Paris in 1945, Roland Caillaux produced what is probably his best known illustrated work, “Vingt Lithographies pour un Livre que J’ai Lu (Twenty Lithographs for a Book I Read)”, a folio of twenty homoerotic lithographs loosely presented in printed wrappers within a cloth folding box.
Caillaux’s “Vingt Lithographies pour un Livre que J’ai Lu” was published in a small run of one-hundred fifteen copies without the name of the author, illustrator or printer. The lithographs were accompanied by text, attributed to novelist and playwright Jean Genet, that contain variant excerpts from two poems, “Notre Dame-des-Fleurs” and “The Parade”. These two poetic works by Genet were later published in a limited edition run, entitled “Poems”, in 1948 by Editions L’Arbalète.
Roland Caillaux passed away in Paris in December of 1977. Many of his illustrations, not publicly seen before, were discovered by Nicole Canet of Paris’s Galerie Au Bonheur du Jour and subsequently exhibited. Caillaux’s works are housed in many private collections and frequently appear in international auctions.
Note: The spelling of Roland Caillaud’s birth name was written with a “d”; however, throughout his career as an actor and draftsman, he wrote his last name with an “x”. In regards to his drawings, those not erotic were signed Roland Caillaux; while the erotic drawings were signed with a “spider” signature, a small spider web with an “x” in the middle.
Nicole Canet’s Galerie Au Bonheur du Jour, located in the heart of Paris, represents work by Caillaux and other artists in the fields of painting, illustration and photography. The gallery also publishes a wide collection of catalogues. Galerie Au Bonheur du Jour is located online at: https://www.aubonheurdujour.net
Top Insert Image: Dora Maar (Henriette Théodora Markovitch), “Portrait of Roland Caillaux”, Date Unknown, Gelatin Silver Print
Second Insert Image: Roland Caillaux, “Sailor”, 1932, Oil on Canvas on Cardboard, 26 x 21 cm, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: Dora Maar (Henriette Théodora Markovitch), “Portrait of Roland Caillaux”, 1935, Gelatin-Argent Negative on Flexible Support in Cellulose Nitrate, 18 x 13 cm, Le Centre Pompidou, Paris
Photographers Unknown, A Drink, a Glow of Resolve and Sensible Postponement
“In truth the memoir was a game of postponement – a trick he played on himself almost daily, and fell for every time. There would be a poor and evasive morning, with letters to write as well, and a number of phone calls that had to be made; then lunch, at a place not necessarily close, and several things to do after lunch, with mounting anxiety in the two hours before six o’clock: and then a drink, a glow of resolve and sensible postponement till the following morning, when, too hung-over to do much work before ten, he would seek infuriated refuge, about eleven forty-five, in the trying necessity of going out once more to lunch. Over lunch, at Caspar’s or at the Garrick, he would be asked how work was going, when it could be expected, and the confidence of the questioner severely inhibited his answers – they had a bottle of wine, no more, but still the atmosphere was appreciably softened, his little hints at difficulties were taken as mere modesty – ‘I’m sure it will be marvelous’ – ‘It will take as long as it takes’ – and he left fractionally consoled himself, as if some great humane reprieve were somehow possible, and time (as deadline after deadline loomed and fell away behind) were not an overriding question. In the evenings especially, and towards bedtime, half-drunk, he started seeing connections, approaches, lovely ideas for the work, and sat suffused with a sense of the masterly thing it was in his power to do the next morning.”
-Alan Hollinghurst, The Sparsholt Affair, 2017, Picador Publishers, London
Born in May of 1954 in Stroud located in the Cotswold area of Gloucestershire, Alan James Hollinghurst is an English novelist, short story author, poet and translator. Continuing the tradition of Christopher Isherwood and Edward Morgan Forster, he presents in his work the protagonist’s gay orientation as a given fact and, building on that fact, examines both the complexities and mundane aspects of everyday gay life.
Born the only son to a bank manager father and a relatively emotionally-distant mother, Hollinghurst was raised in a politically conservative and financially comfortable family. He lived in all-male boarding schools from the age of seven to seventeen. Hollinghurst studied literature at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in 1975. Upon receiving his degree, he taught for one-year terms on the Oxford campus at Somerville, Magdalen and Corpus Christi colleges. For his 1980 Master of Philosophy thesis, Hollinghurst wrote on the strategies adopted by such writers as Leslie Poles Hartley, Ronald Firbank and E. M. Forster to covertly express their sexuality in an age of stigma and prosecution.
In 1981, Alan Hollinghurst lectured at University College London and, in the following year, joined the staff of London’s weekly literary review, The Times Literary Supplement, where he edited the art and poetry pages before serving as deputy editor from 1985 to 1990. While working at the Times, he devoted his writing to poetry and published his first major collection, “Confidential Chats with Boys”, in 1982. This volume of poems was based on physician William Lee Howard’s 1911 sex education book of the same title which was adopted as standard by numerous boys’ schools.
Hollinghurst began work on four different novels before a grant allowed him to concentrate on his 1988 “The Swimming-Pool Library”. He presented his finished novel to his former housemate Andrew Motion, a subsequent Poet Laureate, who at that time was employed by London’s publishing house Chatto and Windus. The story is centered around Will Beckwith, a privileged, cultured and promiscuous gay man who meets the elderly aristocrat Lord Nantwich. This chance meeting and the later reading of Nantwich’s diaries lead Will to re-evaluate his own sense of the past as well as his family’s history. “The Swimming-Pool Library” won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1988 and, in the following year, the E. M. Forster Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
As a result of this successful literary debut, Alan Hollinghurst received an advance for his next novel, which allowed him to purchase a house in London’s Hampstead Heath and concentrate fully on writing fiction. His second novel, the 1994 “The Folding Star”, dealt with the incommunicable obsession of a middle-aged tutor for his seventeen-year old Belgian student. The tutor, Edward Manners, becomes involved in affairs with two men and, after introduced to the world of Symbolist painter Edgard Orst, is ultimately caught in the memories of his own adolescence and first love affair.
Hollinghurst’s third novel, the 1998 “The Spell”, used the satirical and romantic style of a weekend in the country plot to follow the changing relationships within a group of friends and occasional lovers. This work was followed by the 2004 three-part novel “The Line of Beauty”. Set during the Thatcher years between 1983 and 1987, the novel followed the life of the young, middle-class gay protagonist Nick Guest. Through exploring the realities of Nick’s tense and intimate relationships and life as a gay man, Hollinghurst examined the themes of hypocrisy, drugs, privilege and homosexuality during the time of England’s emerging AIDS crisis. “The Line of Beauty” won the high-profile 2004 Man Booker Prize with its fifty-thousand pound stipend and became the first gay novel to be so honored. It was also a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.
Alan Hollinghurst’s fifth novel, the 2011 “The Stranger’s Child” which, told over the course of decades, revolves around a minor poet’s successful published poem and the resulting changes in his work and life. Received positively by critics, the novel was on the Man Booker Prize longlist, the Walter Scott Prize shortlist, and the winner of the 2013 Prix du Meilleur Livrr Étranger, France’s best foreign book prize. Hollinghurst’s sixth novel, the 2017 “The Sparsholt Affair”, explores the changing attitudes towards homosexuality as seen through the lives of two Englishmen: a teenager attending Oxford during the Second World War, and his later openly-gay son in London just after England decriminalizes homosexuality.
Hollinghurst currently lives in London with his partner Paul Mendez, the British author who authored the 2020 semi-autobiographical novel “Rainbow Milk” published by Dialogue Books, a Little, Brown and Company imprint.
“I grew up reading certain writers like Iris Murdoch who was very interested in sexual ambivalence and often created gay characters, usually from a cultured or academic background. I’m not sure how many straight writers I’ve read who create gay characters successfully from the inside, though I agree about Anthony Burgess and (his novel) “Earthly Powers”. — Alan Hollinghurst, 2017, Guardian Interview with Alex Clark
Born in the West Midland city of Coventry in April of 1929, Sir Nigel Barnard Hawthorne was an English stage, television and film actor. Among the many honors for his work, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1987 New Years Honors List, which highlights the good works by citizens of the Commonwealth. Hawthorne was later knighted in the 1999 New Years Honors List for services to Theater, Film and Television.
The second child of physician Charles Barnard Hawthorne and his wife Agnes Rosemary Rice, Nigel Hawthorne was three years old when the family moved to the Gardens district of Cape Town, South Africa. He attended Cape Town’s St. George’s Grammar School and laterits Christian Brothers College. Hawthorne enrolled at the University of Cape Town where he acted in plays with fellow student Theo Aronson, who became biographer to England’s royal family and partner of historian Brian Roberts. Hawthorne’s professional theatrical debut was the character Archie Fellows inthe 1950 Cape Town production of British playwright Edward Percy Smith’s 1940 thriller “The Shop at Sly Corner”.
Dissatisfied with life in South Africa, Hawthorne relocated to London where he pursued a career in acting. Through his performances, he gradually gained recognition as one of London’s great character actors. Starting in the late 1950s, Hawthorne appeared in various character roles in British television series. Seeking opportunities in the United States, he traveled to New York City where, in 1974, he was cast as Touchstone in Broadway production of Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It” at the Mark Hellinger Theatre. Through the persuasion of British stage actors Ian McKellen and Judi Dench, Hawthorne joined the Stratford-upon-Avon based Royal Shakespeare Company in the mid-1970s.
In 1980, Nigel Hawthorne began his most famous television role of Sir Humphrey Appleby, the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Administrative Affairs, in the BBC2 political satire series “Yes Minister” which ran from 1980 to 1984. He later portrayed the character of the Cabinet Secretary in its sequel “Yes Prime Minister”. For this role, Hawthorne won four British Academy Television Awards for Best Light Entertainment Performance.
Hawthorne appeared as Mr. Kinnnoch in Richard Attenborough’slong delayed 1982 historical film “Gandhi”, which became the winner of eight Academy Awards and the third highest grossing film in the world for 1982. In the same year, he appeared as dissident Russian scientist Dr. Pyotr Baranovich in Clint Eastwood’s cold war thriller “Firefox”. Hawthorne returned to the New York stage in 1990 to appear as British writer C. S. Lewis in the Broadway production of William Nicholson’s “Shadowlands” performed at the Brooks Atkinson Theater. For that role, Hawthorne won the 1991 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play.
In 1991, Nigel Hawthorne played his most famous theatrical role, King George III, in playwright Alan Bennett’s fictionalized biographical study “The Madness of George III”. Bennett’s play toured the United Kingdom and the United States before returning to London’s Royal National Theater in 1993. For this role, Hawthorne won a Best Actor Olivier Award. He also appeared in the same role for the 1994 film adaption of the play, entitled “The Madness of King George”, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award for Best Actor.
Hawthorne followed this success with the role of George the Duke of Clarence, playing opposite his friend Ian McKellen, in Richard Loncraine’s 1995 British period drama “Richard III” adapted by McKellen and Loncraine from Shakespeare’s play. He won his sixth BAFTA award for his role in the 1996 television mini-series “The Fragile Heart” and also drew praise for his role of Georgie Pillson in the London Weekend Television series “Mapp and Lucia”, based on the three 1930s novels by Edward Frederic Benson. Hawthorne next appeared in the film role of U.S. President Martin Van Buren in director Steven Spielberg’s 1997 historical drama “Amistad”, a story based on the 1839 events aboard the Spanish slave ship La Amistad and the legal battle that followed.
Beginning in the late 1970s, Nigel Hawthorne began work as a voice actor and appeared in several animated films. In 1978, he was cast as the voice of Campion in Martin Rosen’s “Watership Down”, a British animated adventure-drama film based on Richard Adams’s 1972 novel. Hawthorne was also cast in two Disney films: the voice of Ffiewddur Fflam in the 1985 dark fantasy “The Black Cauldron” and Professor Porter in the 1999 “Tarzan”, the first animated version of the novel.
In 1968, Hawthorne met his life-long partner Trevor Bentham who at that time was the stage manager for the Royal Court Theater in the West End of London. Bentham later became a scriptwriter and wrote for John Irvin’s 1995 romantic comedy “A Month by the Lake” and “The Clandestine Marriage”. From 1979 until Hawthorne’s death, the couple lived together and acted as fundraisers for the North Hertfordshire Hospice and other local charities.
In 2001 after undergoing several surgeries for diagnosed pancreatic cancer, Nigel Hawthorne was discharged from the hospital in time for the Christmas holidays. On the twenty-sixth of December in 2001, he died at the age of seventy-two from a heart attack at his home. His funeral, attended by many of his fellow actors, was held at St. Mary’s, the Parish Church of Thundridge, Hertfordshire; Trevor Bentham served as one of the pallbearers.
Notes: Nigel Hawthorne completed his autobiography just before he died. “Straight Face”, which covered his ambition to be an actor, his career, and his battle with cancer, was published posthumously in 2002 by Hodder & Stoughton.
An interview with Sir Nigel Hawthorne and film critic Dan Lybarger, in which Hawthorne discussed King George III, director David Mamet, and the film “The Big Brass Ring”, can be found at the Lybarger Links website located at: http://www.tipjar.com/dan/hawthorne.htm
Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Nigel Hawthorne”, Studio Publicity Photo, Gelatin Silver Print
Second Insert Image: “Derek Fowlds, Nigel Hawthorne and Paul Eddington”, circa 1980, “Yes Minister”, Television Series Studio Shot, BBC2
Third Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Nigel Hawtorne”, Studio Publicity Photo, Gelatin Silver Print
Fourth Insert Image: “Nigel Hawthorne and Helen Mirren”, 1994, “The Madness of King George”, Film Clip Shot, Director Nicholas Hylner, Cinematographer Andrew Dunn
Bottom Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Nigel Hawthorne and Trevor Bentham”, Date Unknown, Gelatin Silver Print
Photographers Unknown, The Very Apocalypse of Fertility
“For Alwyn’s grandfather, who was known as “the greatest talker in the country,” used words which no one else understood, words which he did not understand, and words which do not exist, to swell a passionate theme, to confound his neighbors in an argument, and for their own sake. He would say, for example, “My farm was the very apocalypse of fertility, but the renter has rested on his oars till it is good for nothing,” or “Manifest the bounty to pass the salt shaker in my direction.” Something of the Bible, something of an Irish inheritance, something of a liar’s anxiety, made of his most ordinary remark a strange and wearisome oratory.”
—Glenway Wescott, The Grandmothers: A Family Portrait, 1927, Harper & Brothers
Born in Kawaskum, Wisconsin in April of 1901, Glenway Wescott was an American poet,essayist, and novelist. The oldest of six children born to Bruce and Josephine Wescott, he was an openly gay figure of the 1920s American expatriate literary community in Paris. Wescott, who socialized with Ernest Hemingway in Paris, is considered the model for the young novelist character, Robert Prentiss, in Hemingway’s 1926 “The Sun Also Rises”.
Upon his graduation from Wisconsin public schools in 1917, Glenway Wescott enrolled on a scholarship at the University of Chicago. He was a member of its literary circle which included such future writers as Elizabeth Madox Roberts and Arthur Yvor Winters. In the spring of 1919 at a Poetry Club meeting, Wescott met Monroe Wheeler, the twenty-year old founder of the Poetry journal. Their relationship together as a couple would last for almost seventy years until Wescott’s death. Both of their careers grew through these years, Wescott as a published writer and Wheeler as a publisher and the museum director of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
In the later part of 1919, Wescott contracted the Spanish flu and withdrew from the university. For health reasons, he relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico where he stayed for several months with friend and poet Arthur Yvor Winters. While recuperating, Wescott produced his first series of poems that was published by Wheeler in 1920 under the title “The Bittems”. He and Wheeler traveled to Europe in the fall of 1921, first stayingin Sussex with English writer and critic Ford Madox Ford before continuing onto Paris.
With Wheeler’s return to New York City, Glenway Wescott traveled across Europe in 1923 employed as a factotum for the family of banker and philanthropist Henry Goldman. Returning to Wheeler in New York, he finished his first novel, “The Apple of the Eye”, a reflection on his Wisconsin childhood that was published in 1924.In the following year, the couple took up residence in the French Riviera town of Villefranche-sur-Mer where they quickly became members of its literary and artistic circles. Amongtheir friends were dancer Isadora Duncan, German pianist Elly Ney, and artist Jean Cocteau. .
In 1925, Wescott published a second collection of poetry entitled “Natives of Rock: XX Poems”. The following year, the couple met George Platt Lynes, a minister’s son from New Jersey who, living in France, was preparing for college. Mutually infatuated, the three men would share a home for seventeen years. Wescott published his second work of fiction in 1927, “The Grandmothers: A Family Portrait”, a series of portraits drawn from his early memories in Wisconsin. This novel won the Harper Prize for that year; the critics’ praise for the best-selling work gained Wescott further recognition.Wescott published a 1928 collection of short stories entitled “Good-bye Wisconsin” that dwelt on the oppressive nature of Midwest life.
By 1930, Wescott, Wheeler and Lynes had settled in Paris, where Wheeler and the wealthy American heiress Barbara Harrison established Harrison of Paris, a book publishing enterprise with the goal of producing high quality limited editions. Although not officially a partner, Wescott provided literary advice and selected manuscripts for publication. Their first venture was a 1930 edition of Shakespeare’s poem “Venus and Adonis” with a cover design by Wescott. After a successful five years, the press was closed in 1935 due to prohibitive cost of production.
After publishing his 1930 novella “The Babe’s Bed”, Glenway Wescott wrote two underwhelming works of nonfiction, the 1932 “Fear and Trembling” and the 1933 “Calendar of Saints for Nonbelievers”. In 1935 with the closing of the Harrison press, he and Wheeler moved back to the United States where they shared a series of Manhattan apartments with now-noted photographer George Platt Lynes. The next year, the three men alternated living between New York and a farm house, named Stone-Blossom, on Wescott’s brother Lloyd’s dairy farm property in Union Township, New Jersey.
In 1940, Wescott published his most critically-praised novel “The Pilgrim Hawk: A Love Story”. The short novel describes the event of a single afternoon in the life of Alwyn Tower, an expatriate novelist living in Paris. It is still considered one of the finest American short novels, on par with Faulkner’s “The Bear”. After his 1946 novel “Apartment in Athens”, Wescott ceased writing fiction and concentrated on publishing essays and editing the works of others. His last full-length book was the 1962 “Images of Truth”. Beginning in 1938, he worked in earnest on his journals documenting his life and thoughts. One volume of this extensive work was published posthumously as “Continual Lessons” in 1990.
In 1959, Glenway Wescott and Wheeler moved into a two-story farmhouse, Haymeadows, on Lloyd Wescott’s new farm in Rosemont, New Jersey. On the twentieth of February in 1987, Glenway Wescott died of a stroke in Rosemont and was buried in the small farmer’s graveyard behind a rock wall at Haymeadows. Two days after Wescott’s death, Wheeler had a stroke that left him blind and partially paralyzed. He died eighteen months later on August 14th in 1988 and was buried alongside Wescott.
Notes: George Platt Lynes ended his relationship with Wescott and Wheeler in 1943, after falling in love with studio assistant George Tichenor. After a long career as a successful and renowned photographer, Lynes was diagnosed with lung cancer in May of 1955. He took one final trip to Europe and, upon his return to New York City, lived with his brother’s family. Wescott was at Lynes’s bedside when he passed away in December of 1955.
The Monroe Wheeler Papers, consisting of correspondence, manuscripts and photographs, and the Glenway Wescott Papers, containing notebooks, journals, and correspondence, are housed at the Yale Research Initiative on the History of Sexualities of Yale University’s Department of History.
Photographers Unknown, Parva Scaena (Brief Scenes): Photo Set Twenty-Six
Look in the Salon des Refusés of most periods
and there will hang the homosexuals
labeled by critics
“contrary to nature”.
Now, to use a familiar set of distinctions, what
exists but is not nature must be art;
yet art is also an imitation
of some process of nature: so art, too, is natural,
whatever its manner.
Art may evolve through accretions of tradition
or leap ahead into the unknown.
This form of expression, the gay life
so maddening and unimaginable to some,
necessarily involves a leap into the unknown,
for its traditions, such as they are, are shadowy.
Note how, on every side, images proclaim
and sustain the straight life. In parks and town squares
one may behold the monumental figures of, say,
Cohibere guarding his family from the Amplecti,
of Scruta and Amentia denouncing the barbarians,
or of the marriage of Turpa and Insulsus on the battlefield.
Images of the gay life, in contrast, are obscure, are
curiosities kept locked from the public in cabinets: in consequence,
gay lives must style themselves with craft,
with daring. Many fail. Even so,
some grow amazing and beautiful.
And since such triumphs are typically achieved
amidst general bewilderment and in defiance
of academic theory, the gay life
deserves to be ranked among
the significant examples of art, past and present.
And because it has disordered whatever may be
the accustomed ways of seeing in its time,
it is therefore avant-garde,
Jack Anderson, A Lecture on Avant-Garde Art, Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry, Editor Timothy Liu, 2000
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in June of 1935, Jack Anderson is an American poet, dance critic and dance historian. He has contributed numerous reviews on dance performances for both the “New York Times” and “Dance Magazine”. Anderson is also known for his scholastic work on dance history and eleven volumes of poetry.
In his formative years, Jack Anderson studied piano and acted in theater groups before his departure to college. He earned his Bachelor of Arts at Northwestern University with a major in Theater and minors in English Literature and Philosophy. Anderson completed his graduate studies at Indiana University where he earned his Master of Arts in Creative Writing. He pursued further studies at the University of California, Berkeley, until a position became available at the “Oakland Tribune”.
Anderson joined the staff of the weekly news publication in 1959 as a copy boy. He was promoted after one year to assistant drama critic and, in addition to his work at the Tribune, began writing dance criticism for both the English periodical “Ballet Today” and America’s leading dance periodical “Dance Magazine”. After relocating to New York in 1969, Anderson was a member of the editorial staff of “Dance Magazine” until 1970, after which he continued to contribute reviews until 1978.
While living in London with his partner, dance historian and writer George Dorris, Jack Anderson was deputy dance critic from 1970 to 1971 at the “Daily Mail” under critic and broadcaster Oleg Kerensky. In 1972, he became the New York correspondent for London’s “Dancing Times” magazine. Already writing and teaching dance history, Anderson along with George Dorris founded the scholarly journal “Dance Chronicle: Studies in Dance and the Related Arts”, which became one of the genre’s leading periodicals. In 1978, he joined Anna Kisselgoff and Jennifer Dunning as the dance critics for “The New York Times”, where he remained until 2005.
Drawn to poetry throughout his adult life, Anderson published his first two collections of poetry in 1969: “The Hurricane Lamp” and “The Invention of New Jersey”. His subtle yet witty poems often explore themes of urban life and travel. Anderson has the urban sophistication and the alertness to create often lurid tales that in a strange way make sense. Among his many volumes are the 1978 “Toward the Liberation of the Left Hand”, “The Clouds of That Country” published in 1982, the 1990 “Field Trips on the Rapid Transit”, and “Backyards of the Universe” published in 2017. In recognition of his work, Anderson received a creative writing fellowship and a literary award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Recognized as both an effective teacher and lecturer, Jack Anderson has taught dance history and criticism at the University of Adelaide in Australis, the University of Minnesota, the North Carolina School of the Arts, the University of Oklahoma, and New York’s New School, among others. From the 1970s through the 1990s, Anderson has produced seven books on various aspects of dance. Among these are the 1979 “The Nutcracker”, the “Ballet & Modern Dance” available in three editions, and the 1981 “The One and Only: The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo” which won that year’s José de la Rorre Bueno Prize for best English-language writing in dance history.
Note: Jack Anderson and George Dorris, a dance scholar and now retired English professor, had known each other slightly at Northwestern University. They later met in 1965 on the Lincoln Center subway platform after a New York City Ballet performance. They have traveled together throughout the world and become friends with dance scholars in many countries. In 2006, they were married in Toronto and currently reside in Manhattan, New York.
Born in Belfast in 1916, Francis Gerard Dillon was an Irish painter and designer. He was one of the most imaginative folk-inspired Irish painters of the twentieth-century. Except for a drawing class in London and a short period at the Belfast Art School in the early 1930s, Dillon was a self-taught artist who developed his own particular style.
Interested in art, film and theater since childhood, George Dillon left school at the age of fourteen and traveled to London. He supported himself with odd jobs during the early 1930s followed by a position with a London decorating firm from 1934 to 1939. Dillon began to paint in 1936 and frequently visited the Connemara region which played a major influence on his work. There he painted many landscapes and portraits of the local people working the land.
With the outbreak of World War II, Dillon returned to Belfast and, over the next five years, developed his skill as a painter in Dublin and Belfast. In 1942 with the support of his friend Mary Harriet “Mainie” Jellett, an early abstract painter and promoter of Irish modern art, he had his first solo exhibition at The Country Shop in St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin. The paintings in the show, “Father Forgive Them Their Sins”, were focused on his concerns over the new war in Europe.
Beginning in 1943, Gerard Dillon was a regular contributor and committee member of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art. Founded by Mary Jellett, it was a yearly exhibition of Irish abstract expressionism and avant-garde art that challenged the traditionalist Irish art movements supported by the Royal Hibernian Academy and National College of Art. In 1944, Dillon presented his work alongside the work of fellow Belfast painter George Campbell at painter John Lamb’s Portadown Gallery.
Dillon relocated to London in 1945; however, he continued to return to Connemara in the late 1940s and during the 1950s so he could paint in his favorite town of Roundstone. In 1951, Dillon was introduced to Belfast painter Noreen Rice, who was also a self-taught artist of surrealistic and primitive style. For the support and guidance given in her early career, Noreen Rice would regard both Dillon and George Campbell as her mentors for decades.
In the late 1950s Gerard Dillon moved away from landscape painting and moved into complete abstraction. He was surrounded by the abstract expressionist movement and exposed to works by Mark Rothko, William de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Antonio Tàpies and Asger Jorn, all of whom were exhibiting at the Tate. It is possible that collage artist and painter Richard Hamilton, while staying with Dillon in London in 1950s, influenced Dillon who began working with collage, found objects, and repetitions of color and patterns for large-scale composition pieces. After moving to Dublin, Dillon received a double honor in 1958 with his representation of Ireland at New York City’s Guggenheim International Exhibition and his representation of Great Britain at Pittsburg’s International Exhibition.
Dillon’s three brothers tragically passed away within quick succession of one another between 1962 and 1966. This traumatic period gravely affected his state of mind; Dillon’s work turned into a form of escapist art as he tried to cope with the loss. Throughout this period he returned continuously to the motif of the clown and the figure of Pierrot, a theme also explored by other artists in the Ulster group. At the end of the 1960s, there was a pronounced shift in Dillon’s work. The impact of his loss followed by suffering a stroke in 1967 affected his artistic output. The reoccurring motifs of clown and Pierrot became submerged in surreal, fantastical landscapes and geometric patterns. Dillon was also struggling with finding a way to express his sexuality. His deep interest in self-analysis developed a series of symbolic motifs, most often masked figures, which came to represent himself within his art.
Gerard Dillon continued his painting, made tapestries, and designed theatrical sets and costumes for playwright Seán O’Casey’s 1968 “Juno and the Paycock”. During the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Dillon withdrew his work from the Belfast branch of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art; however, he also gave work for gallery owner Sheelagh Flannigan’s October 1969 exhibition supporting relief for the victims of the Belfast riots. During his last years of illness, Francis Gerard Dillon continued to be actively involved in a children’s art workshop at Dublin’s National Gallery of Ireland. On the 14th of June in 1971, he died of a second stroke at the age of fifty-five. Dillon’s grave, as requested, is unmarked in Belfast’s Milltown Cemetery.
Note: Gerard Dillon was both a homosexual and a religious man. There is one entry in his diary of a homosexual encounter that resulted in a sense of guilt; that incident aside, there is no other empirical evidence concerning encounters in his life. Karen Reihill, the author of “Gerard Dillon: Art and Friendships”, points to a probable love on Dillon’s part for the painter Daniel O’Neill, another self-taught artist from Belfast who, along with Dillon and George Campbell, was a member of a small artists’ colony in Conlig, County Down. Reihill also pointed to Dillon’s association with two members of the modernist White Stag Group: British painters Basil Rákóczi, who was known to be bisexual, and Kenneth Hall, who was homosexual.
Top Insert Image: Gerard Dillon, “Self Portrait”, Date Unknown, Pen and Ink Drawing on Paper, 16.5 x 11.4 cm, Private Collection
Second Insert Image: Gerard Dillon, “Hole in the Hill”, circa 1959, Mixed Media and Collage, 45 x 59 cm, Private Collection
Third Insert Image: Gerard Dillon, “Self Portrait with Pierrot and Nude”, circa 1960s, Oil on Board, National Gallery of Ireland
Bottom Insert Image: Gerard Dillion, “Marine Movement”, Date Unknown, Mixed Media on Canvas, 40 x 51 cm, Private Collection