Monday, October 14, 2019

TAMARA DE LEMPICKA: Painter Extraordinaire By Polly Guerin

Self-Portrait Tamara De Lempicka  driving Bugatti
TAMARA DE LEMPICKA: Russian Revolution refugee, bohemian, socialite, and classic beauty--- she sped forward into the limelight as a painter extraordinaire in the Art Deco era, the age of modernity.
          Her stunning Auto-Portrait featured on the cover of the German fashion magazine, Die Dame featured Tamara in her green Bugatti, wearing a chic helmet, her glove hand on the steering wheel driving forward as a free, independent woman paving the route for women of the century to follow in her footsteps. Tamara possessed a persona and beauty that rivaled Hollywood stars, but her reputation as an Art Deco painter is legendary,  Interest in Tamara paintings are re-discovered and sort after by the art world cognoscenti.
         ****Tamara Lempicka is in the limelight at the The Kosciuszco Foundation with her famous portraits on display at 15 East 65th Street, opening  October 16th. Free admission.****
          Tamara was born into a wealthy and prominent Polish family. Born on May 16, 1898, she was named Maria, and later in life adapted the name Tamara. He mother, the former Malvina Decler was a Polish socialite and her father Boris- Gurvik-Gorski was a Polish lawyer. Adhering to the custom of the aristocracy, at the time, she was sent off to a Swiss boarding school . However, her first exposure to the Great Masters of Italian painting came when she fortuitously spent the winter of 1911 with her grandmother in Italy. Her parents divorce in 1912 and moving still further Tamara went to live with her wealthy Aunt Stefa in St. Petersburg.
       Tamara by then was quite a beauty and at the age of fifteen she set her sights on marrying
the man of her dreams and abetted by her well-connected Uncle she married Tadeusz Lempicka
in St.  Petersburg. Rumor circled that this bon vivant, ladies man, probably was seduced by
Tamara's significant dowry.
      Their privileged lifestyle cane to a startling end during the RUSSIAN REVOLUTION in
1917, when Tadeusz was arrested by the Bolsheviks. Escaping to Paris, the Lempickas lived for
a while from the sale of her family jewels. While Tadeusz seemed unable or unwilling to find
work Tamara literally became the breadwinner. Paris the city of light and haven for artistic venues was the ideal place for Tamara's artistic development. It was also at this time that Tamara gave birth to her only child, a daughter named Kizette. who was sent off to a boarding school while Tamara studied and improved upon her oeuvre. 
       
Tamara developed a technique that exemplified the Art Deco era. Her lines had an architectural quality that was sleek, clean and elegant, yet had a certain curvilinear softness, which was described as "soft cubism"  Through her aristocratic connections she produced numerous portraits and the Lempickas lifestyle improved significantly.  During the Roaring 20s Tamara was a recognized celebrity.  She knew the best of the Bohemians from Pablo Picasso to Jean Cocteau and her legendary reputation became the topic among the gossip mongers.            Tadeusz andTamara divorced in 1928, and it was perfect timing because a long time patron, Baron Raoul Kuffner commissioned a portrait of his mistress, but true to her winsome ways Tamara replaced the mistress when the portrait was finished. 
       Through Kuffner, who she married in 1923, Tamara was re-established on the high society of the era.  The Depression did not seem to curtail her prolific output and her painting continued its popular course of commissions. And yet, there is more opportunity when the Kuffner's settled in Beverly Hills, California and they began to socialize with the Hollywood stars of the day. She became known as the "Baroness with the Brush," and cultivated a Garboesque persona, which was not so difficult to do because Tamara was still a blonde beauty and was often compared to the legendary star.
      
The Glamorous Tamara de Lempicka
However, her trademark style of angularity in figures of celebs and
aristocrats
in streamlined poses were beginning to become less popular, so Tamara turned to palette painting but this technique never took off.  We remember best the grand scale and prolific renderings of paintings in magnificent color with nuances so realistic, yet so mesmerizing, that forever made her one of
the most revered painters of her time.
        She retired from painting in 1962 and after Baron Kuffner's death, the same year. Tamara traveled extensively, the lived with her daughter Kizette for a while in Houston, Texas.
She finally moved to Cuernavaca, Mexico in 1978 where she died in her sleep.
       Ta TA Darlings!!! You have a chance in a lifetime to see the extraordinary talent of Tamara Lempicka at the Kosciuszco Foundation and revel in her whirlwind career in paintings that are mesmerizing and modern.  Fan mail to: pollytalkfromnyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's other Blogs at www.pollytalk.com.        

Monday, October 7, 2019

SARGENT, VERDI, GUERCINO Exhibits at THE MORGAN: Review By Polly Guerin

Mrs. George Swenton 1906
"Good Things come in threes," so they say, and with the start of autumn THE MORGAN LIBRARY and MUSEUM introduces three exceptional exhibitions to delight your cultural inquiry.
       While John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) is best known for his powerful paintings, The Morgan presents JOHN SINGER SARGENT: PORTRAITS IN CHARCOAL through January 12, 2020. This is a rare and insightful opportunity to see the first major exhibition to explore over 50 of these expressive portraits in charcoal. Sargent changed his oeuvre in 1907 when he largely ceased painting portraits and turned instead to charcoal to satisfy portrait commissions. His technique took a mere three hours, sometimes less, and in that short time through the mastery of chiaroscuro he animated his sitters on canvas. Then, too, he captured in charcoal the flimsiest of fabrics, sun kissed highlights in a coiffure or a shimmering satin gown, which gave female sitters elegance and facial features revealed their personality
      Sargent was a master craftsman in the charcoal genre and many of his sitters were famous for their roles in politics, society, the arts, theater, writers, patrons and  very often valued  friends including the author Henry James, who had championed the young Sargent's work. His striking charcoal drawing of Ethel Barrymore resonated with a powerful presence. Often set against a dramatic dark background, his charcoal portraits---they number 750 in total--are vivid portrayals of the men and women who sat for hm. The finished charcoal portraits are valuable testaments to Sargent's prodigious skill as an artist and draftsman, and reflect the social and cultural fabric of the United Statesand Great Britain in the early twentieth century.
       Concurrently the exhibition VERDI:CREATING OTELLO AND FALSTAFF---HIGHLIGHTS FROM MILAN'S FAMED RECORDI ARCHIVE MAKE U.S. DEBUT, is on view through January 5, 2020. It is astonishing to learn that except for occasional projects Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), Italy's pre-eminent composer, retired from Opera at the age of 58. However,
the opera world did not agree. With constant pleas from his publisher and future librettist for the maestro to return to the opera stage, reluctantly Verdi was coaxed out of retirement and composed what would become the crowning achievements of his career. Otello premiered in 1887, and Falstaff in 1893. The Morgan Library and Museum offers visitors a rare opportunity to view insight into the production of these two operas, as well as the complex enterprise of bringing an opera to life.  Highlights from the Ricordi Archive traces the genesis and realization of Otello and Falstaff through original scores, libretti, selected correspondence, set and costume design, and more, marking the first exhibition of these rare documents and artifacts in the United States.
     
Otello and Falstaff Costumes on Display from Milan's Teatro alla Scala
The Ricordi Archive is regarded as one of the world's foremost privately owned music collections. In this exhibition, treasures from the Archive are complemented by rarities from the Morgan's collection, including early editions of texts by William Shakespeare, whose dramaturgical material served as a basis for Verdi's last two operas. In addition to rare editions of scores and libretti, contemporary publicity material include
an autograph letter from Verdi's wife, and autograph sketches for Otello. Set designs, costumes from Milan's Teatro alla Scala, autographed manuscripts, contracts, publications, publicity and video excerpts from recent productions provide entertaining viewing, even if your are not an opera lover. This exhibit makes it perfectly clear that Grand Opera exhibited here enables visitors to experience the tremendous collaborative efforts behind operatic productions. 
      GUERCINO: VIRTUOSO DRAFTSMAN: The Morgan Celebrates the most diverse draftsman
of the Italian Baroque Era through February 2, 2020.  Who was Gercino? Giovanni Francesco Barbierei (1591-1666), known as GUERCINO, was arguably the most the most interesting and
diverse draftsman of the Italian Baroque era, a natural virtuoso who created brilliant drawings in a broad range of media.Supreme examples of virtually every type of drawing, produced in seventeenth century Italy survive from his hand: academic nudes, genre scenes and caricatures, energetic and fluid pen sketches for figures and compositions, highly refined chalk drawings, designs for engravings, and diverse landscapes. To say that Guercino was prolific only tells a
small part of his celebrity. The Morgan owns more than thirty-five works by the artist, and these are the subject of a focused exhibition, supplemented by a pair of loans from New York private
collections. 
For a complete list of related prgrams: www.themorgan.org.          
GUERCINO: Vision of St. Philip Neri (1646-47) pen and brwon wash.

 IMAGE LEFT: The Morgan Library and Museum, gift of Janos Scholz, 1977.
         TA TA DARLINGS!!! Cultural news comes in three wonderful exhibits at the Morgan, not to be missed.
So make it a day visit and take lunch or tea in the Morgan Cafe.  Fan mail welcome, please send an email to: pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Do visit Polly's other Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the left-hand column with direct links to visionary men, women determined to succeed, fashion historian, and poetry.




 

Saturday, September 28, 2019

ADIEU TO SEPTEMBER 2019


















We anticipated Autumn's beautiful golden days 
This is our favorite time of the year-long phase

Yet, summer's best of weather lingered on and on
Caressed us by warmer weather like a lullaby song

Alas the glorious September month arrived on cue
Autumn' s favorite time of the year this we knew 

Fall's Equinox announced the first day of autumn
When nature's luscious bounty was not forgotten

On  pristine days, the sun seemed evermore brighter
The sky more intensely blue, the clouds even whiter

Apple picking excursions to orchards way upstate
The pungent pure air tasted like apple peel of late

The gold of Autumn brings the gentle chill of fall
With verdant meadows and bird song most of all

Here and there a lone yellow leaf suddenly appears
The trees respond and wear tawny colors in their hair

In all its flaming glory trees perform their  foliage dance
The forest sings a new tune of Indian Summer romance

The scene  was painted like a Claude Monet picnic party
And Autumn was named the crowning glory, very arty

And new beginnings started up and rushed in again 
Back-to-school, our social calendars were in a spin 

I do so very much mind saying goodbye to September
Knowing that I cannot hold back the time I am resigned.
  



Sunday, September 22, 2019

POCKET PARK SANCTUARY in the Heart of New York City: By Polly Guerin

Finding a Lush green sanctuary is a rare commodity in mid-town Manhattan and just finding a place to enjoy your brown bag lunch is a challenge.  Yet, there is a half-acre, public plaza between West 45th and 46th streets known as Marsh & McLennan plaza.
     In this half-acre public plaza you can find calm and rejuvenation in the geometrically arranged garden, which includes a rare and dense grove of dawn redwood, white fir, weeping cheery and dogwood trees.  Such a
sanctuary attracts workers spilling out of 
massive office buildings and the city sparrows find sanctuary, too.
       Situated on the east facade of the Marsh & McLennan building, the plaza features an arcade,  
central garden area, and a peripheral walk. The geometrically arranged garden space provides tree-shaded tables and movable chairs for dining, reading or Internet work, a large central fountain, and those wonderful trees that make the air so pleasant. Circular planters and rectangular planting beds hold flowering shrubs, while easy access can be made from either 45th or 46th street. The space also becomes an easy walk through from either side.  The water channel is anchored by Tony Smith's sculpture"Throwback."

      REMEMBERING 911 At the north end of the plaza, bordering 46th street, a stone edged, glass wall of names memorializing Marsh & McLennan employees killed on September 11, 2001, is now a focal element where people linger and remember, some pray for their loved ones lost that day.
The September 11 memoria

        There are many food options nearly and 45th street itself is known for its highly diversified
selection of restaurants as well as the entrance to restaurant Gaby at the Sofitel hotel. This is a very pleasant pocket park with numerous seating areas for all ages. You are always welcome. just do not feed the pigeons.  
      By the way, just so you know,
Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. is a global professional service firm headquartered in New York City.    

CANTERBURY CHORAL SOCIETY GALA: October 2:, 2019


Count yourself in for a night to remember. There's a delightful and elegant musical evening at the Canterbury Chorale Society's Gala fundraising GALA on Wednesday, October 2, 2019,  from 6 to 9 pm, on the upper east side at the historic House of the Redeemer, 7 East 95 Street.
     This is Canterbury's major event of the fall season. While grants and ticket sales are important portions of its budget, donations to the annual fund are the single biggest source of income for CCS's annual 
operating expenses. TO RESERVE please contact 
acseeler@yahoo.com or telephone  917-579-2942. 
        On this GALA occasion the Canterbury Choral Society sends a big note of thanks to the SIX of CLUBS for generously contributing their time, talent and fabulous show, THE SWINGING 40'S, for our Gala Benefit Evening..
      This show is a homage to the Big Bands and Swing music and will provide such lively entertainment that we will swinging in our seats.
      Get in the Swing of a gala evening and remember the 1930s and 1940s were a time of musical innovation. Great bandleaders like Glen Miller and Tommy Dorsey delivered Swing music to the country and launched the careers of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Shore, and many others.  
       The show was produced by John Hargraves, conceived and narrated by Nick Firth and has musical arrangements by Jeff Klitz. Founded in 2010, Six of Clubs is a group of friends who are music aficionados and have enjoyed performing songs from the Great American Songbook over the past ten years
Cocktails and Hors D'Oeuvres will contribute to the conviviality of the evening and a SILENT
AUCTION of the most wonderful items will be on display for your perusal and purchas---just another way of supporting the Canterbury Choral Society.
       Under its current Artistic Director, JONATHAN DE VRIES, Canterbury presents three major concerts a year at the glorious Art Deco inspired, Church of the Heavenly Rest, where the CCS began in 1952. Founded by Charles Dodsley Walker with the mission as it was then and remains steadfast, "to perform sacred choral music with original intended orchestration."
     The upper east side FABBRI mansion has a rich and surpris-ing international history. The Italian Renaissance building was  given by Margaret Louis Vanderbilt as a wedding gift to her daughter, Edith Shepard Fabbri (the great granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt) and her son-in-law Ernesto Fabbri. The
Renaissance and Baroque furnishings and artifacts and architectural details contribute to
an eventful evening with the CCS.
      INVITATION INFORMATION AND MAILING
ADDRESS AS FOLLOWS.
      

Friday, September 20, 2019

Baron von Steuben: Revolutionary War Hero: By Polly Guerin-ARRT-NY-Media Outreach


The German-American parade on Saturday, September 21 not only celebrates German-American pride, but in particular it honors Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben. Though his name is little known among Americans today, during the American Revolution he created America's professional army with "Rules and Disciplines," that are standard for the United States army today.  
                                    Von Steuben was a Prussian soldier who was seeking to join the Continental Army and had been highly recommended by the American patriot, Sylas Deane. Armed also with a letter from American diplomat Benjamin Franklin in September, 1777,  the baron sailed from France to join the Continental Army.              
        Von Steuben arrived at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in December 1, 1777. with four French aides to translate for him and a large dog named Azor. His exaggerated reputation traveled fast . In Boston, he met John Hancock, who hosted a dinner for him, and he chatted up Samuel Adams about politics and military affairs. Next, von Steuben headed to York, Pennsylvania, the temporary American capital , while the British occupied Philadelphia. Aware that the Continental Congress had soured on foreign volunteers, von Steuben offered to serve under Washington and asked to be paid only if America won the war. They took the deal and sent van Steuben to Valley Forge.  It is interesting to note that Washington's confidence in von Steuben grew quickly and within two weeks, he made von Steuben acting inspector general and asked him to examine the Continental Army's condition, "Baron Steuben has arrived in camp," Washington wrote soon after. "He appears to be much of a gentleman, and as far as I have had the opportunity of judging, a man of military knowledge and acquainted with the world."
        
Steuben barking orders at Valley Forge
"What Steuben discovered was nothing less than appalling," wrote the famed author, Tom Fleming in Washington's Secret War.  "He was confronting by a wrecked army. A less courageous man would have quit on the spot."  Steuben was in charge of whipping the bedraggled troops into shape. 

       The baron found soldiers without uniforms, rusted muskets without bayonets, companies with men missing and unaccounted for. Different officers used different military drill manuals, leading to chaos when their units tried to work together. The baron warned, "If the army had to fight on short notice, he might find himself commanding one-third of the men he thought that he had. The army had to get into better shape before the fighting resumed in the spring.  So, von Steuben put the entire army through Prussian-style drills, he taught them how to reload their muskets quickly after firing, charge with a bayonet and march in compact columns instead of miles-long lines. Though von Steuben raged and cursed in a garbled
mixture of French, English, and German, his instructions and presence began to build morale.
         
Von Steuben' Manual
The baron's lessons didn't just make the American troops look impressive, under his stern

tutelage, they became a formidable battlefield force. At the Battle of Monmouth on June 28, the Revolution's last major battle in the northern states, American troops showed a new discipline. They stood their ground during ferocious fire and bayonet attack and forced the British to retreat. "Monmouth vindicated Steuben as the organizer. The Continental Army's new strength as a fighting force, combined with the arrival of the French fleet off the coast of New York in 1778, turned the tide of the war. 
     Von Steuben served in the Continental army for he rest of the Revolutionary War. In 1779 he codified the lessons into the Army's Blue Book.  Officially the Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the troops of the United States. It remained the Army training manual for decades. The Army still uses some portions
of it in training manuals today, including von Steuben's instructions on drill and ceremonies. After the war, the governor of New York granted von Steuben a huge wilderness estate in the Mohawk Valley as a reward for his service in the war. His importance to the Revolution is evident in Washington's last ac as commanding general. In December
1783, the very year when the last of the British were driven out of New York City, he wrote von Steuben a letter of thanks for this"faithful and Meritorious Services."
        Let's not forget Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben for herein is the primary reason to
make the German-American parade more meaningful.  This feature was written with reference to
Erick Trickey's, April 26, 2017 feature Smithsonian.com. 
Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com  


Monday, September 16, 2019

One Million Specie Face Extinction: NYBG: Review By Polly Guerin

A MILLION SPECIES FACING  EXTINCTION
WITH PLANET EARTH IN A STATE OF CRISIS, A MILLION SPECIES ARE FACING EXTINCTION.
       The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) launches a new season of lectures and symposia on important and timely subjects that provoke concern NOT ONLY for a million species facing extinction but include concern for our own future existence.
      Featuring renowned authors, leading scientists, specialists in horticulture and the environment, and outstanding landscape architects and designers, the NYBG line up features a roster of luminaries in the world of science. On Thursday, September 26, 10-11 a.m., Ross Hall, NYBG features the author and activist Bill McKibben, whose 1989 best seller The End of Nature first brought the issue of global warming to public consciousness. Now the stakes are even higher as climate change shrinks the spaces where civilization can exist and technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics threaten the very nature of human experience.                
  McKibben has responded with FALTER; Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?, a powering and sobering look at these converging trends, the ideological passions that present us from controlling them, and some possible ways out of the trap. Audience Q and A and book signing to follow. Location: Ross Hall, NYBG, at 2000 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, N.Y. visit WWW.NYBG.ORG to select a lecture, register, and pay by credit card. Remember, it is less than a half-hour by Metro North Train, at Grand Central to NYBG and the stop, as you might expect, is "Botanical Garden."
      Another luminary on the environmental tract Sir Robert Watson will speak about the international research effort that he had reported earlier this year that one million species face
extinction if humanity does not act now to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity. His
talk, under the banner Andrew Carnegie Distinguished Lecture 2019: Sir Robert Watson will address the issue: Saving a Livable World on Thursday, October 10; 6 p.m., Manhattan Location, Christie's, 20 Rockefeller Plaza. Sir Watson will explore how vital ecosystem are deteriorating more rapidly than ever and if transformative change is not well under way in the next few years,
biodiversity will continue to be lost, and Earth's climate will continue to change.





Sir Watson, who chaired the IPBES and was Chief Scientist and Director for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development at the World Bank, will share the report's crucial findings nd then be joined by renowned conservation biologist and NYBG Trustee Thomas E. Lovejoy, Ph.D for a compelling conversation on biodiversity and current programs on global goals. 
     
Extinction Evidence
To access the complete fall 2019-winter 2020 line up of lectures including the 21st Annual Landscape Design Portfolios Lecture Series, Responding to the Land, and award-winning Caribbean-American writer Jamaica Kincaid, who is best known for her evocative portrayals of family relationships but who has also expanded the scope of garden writing in her essays and memoirs. 

       To access the full schedule of thought provoking and time sensitive subjects click on the Link for tickets and admission charges. http://www.nybg.org/content/uploads/2019/09/NYBG-Lectures-Symposium.    
     Ta Ta Darlings!!  Count yourself in at the International Global Climate Strike a world wide, call to action event, Thursday, Septemher 20, three days before the UN Climate Summit in NYC. Young people and adults will strike globally to demand transformative action be taken to address the climate crisis. Check it out at www.globalclimatestrike.com.
Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's other blogs at www.pollytalk.com