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
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: Visit Polly's other Blogs at        

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
For a complete list of related prgrams:          
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: Do visit Polly's other Blogs at 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


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.    


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 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.

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 
Fan mail welcome at  

Monday, September 16, 2019

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

       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.    
     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
Fan mail welcome at  Visit Polly's other blogs at

Monday, September 9, 2019

PARIS Capital of Fashion at FIT: Review By Polly Guerin

John Galliano for Christian Dior Haute Couture
Paris Fashion Week may be the place to be starting September 23, but for those fashionistas not so
lucky to be there in person  just parlez-vous over to the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) where the recently opened exhibition, PARIS Capital of Fashion, is not only a spectacular tribute to haute couture but a history lesson in itself.  On view through January 4, 2020.
        The dazzling 100 garments and accessories on display date from the 1700s to today. According to The NewYorker, "Paris remains despite the competition, the most glamorous and competitive of the world's fashion capitals."  Image: John Galliano for Christian Dior Haute Couture, autumn/winter 2000-2001 collection was inspired gy Marie-Antoinette; on the runway the model was bewigged and befeathered. Photo by Guy Marineau,.
         Valerie Steele director of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology and curator of the exhibition said, "This is the first exhibition that really looks at Paris in a global context and unique in the entire history and explains, historically, how it became so important, so really unique in the history of fashion and also how it creates and maintains an aura with a kind of brand image of Paris as the ultimate fashion city. The rise of the haute couture was crucially important to the consolidation of Paris as a modern fashion capital. HAUTE COUTURE It all started with Louis XIV, who viewed magnificent personal attire as as part of the grandeur of Versailles. "Fashion is to France what the gold mines of Peru are to Spain," declared Louis XIV's minister of finance Jean-Baptiste Colbert. The splendor of the French royal court at Versailles ignited the fashion explosion for
opulence and French fashion prestige.          
Robe a la francaise, 1755-1780, France
CHARLES FREDERICK WORTH: In 1858, when Charles Frederick Worth founded the first couture house at 7 Rue de la Paix, Paris was already home to many "petite" dressmakers and
design specific ateliers flourished where artisans created lace, sewed sequins and beads into merveilleux marvels of design or fashioned feathers, even flowers to alight on magnificent gowns. The British-born Paris designer, Charles Frederick Worth, was a business-savvy industry pioneer, often credited as the father of haute couture, he also founded of  the Chambre  syndicale de la couture and de la confection pour dames et fillettes in 1868.
         Worth created top of the line, "plus grande" Haute (high) couture. Elite women were attracted to the prestige of Paris fashion, and Worth recognized their importance as clients saying they had "the faces, the figures, and the francs." With seemingly demand- ing social engagements elite women changed their dresses up to four times a day, some purchasing their entire wardrobes from Worth. They paid homage to Worth as if he was the ruler of the fashion world and Worth did not disappoint but held court to an admiring entourage of faithful clients.
     Moving into the 20th century during World War II
when Paris was occupied by the Nazis, they threatened to fold Paris's couture industry into an organization of their own headquartered in Berlin and Vienna. Of special note, after the war,
the Chambre worked to revive its battered industry by launching Theatre de la Mode, a touring
exhibition of some 200 27-inch couture clad dolls dressed by prominent couture designers in
fashions and accessories, "la dernier cri de la mode." They were posed in elaborate sets, one, I remember, featured dolls in couture gowns among the ruins of a boomed out sitting room. 

Jacques Fath for Joseph Halpert 1952
As I wrote earlier, the exhibition is both a testament and celebration of Haute Couture, historically informative and a reminder to not forget PARIS Capital of Fashion and its legends and its permanent imprint on fashion, even today. Image: Jacques Fath for Joseph Halpert, cocktail dress, 1952, USA. The exhibition was developed in collaboration with the Chateau de Versailles, and supported by Chargeurs Philanthropies. a partner of the Fashion Institute of Technology and of the events sponsors along with the museum's Couture Council.  The Chargeurs group, which owns France-Amerique magazine, designed and provided the exhibition's decor, including a spectacular reproduction of the gildings in the chateaux's Galerie des Glaces. This exhibition transports you to Paris in a fairytale reincarnation of
fashion. It is perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Haute Couture and pretend you are traveling from Versailles to modern day couture.  The Museum at FIT hours: Tuesday-Friday, noon-8pm, Saturday, 10 am-5pm. Closed Sunday, Monday and legal holidays.  Admission is FREE. Location: Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, New York City through January 4, 2020. Ta Darlings!!! There is something, je n'est ce pas, about Couture fashions. When one wears a couture garment it seems that their whole personality changes and they take on the persona of an elegant lady.  I should know, I once worked in the press office at the House of Guy Laroche in Paris and was paid for my services with two couture dresses. Send Fan mail to: Visit Polly's other Blogs at on fashion, women determined to succeed, visionary men, and poetry from the heart.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Space Age Designer: PIERRE CARDIN: Review By Polly Guerin

Raquel Welch in a Pierre Cardin Outfit
PIERRE CARDIN, (French b. 1922), the living monument of Space Age Fashion is the true embodiment of a twentieth-century renaissance man who tops the scales of designer achievements in pioneering advances in ready-to-wear and unisex fashion. "Throughout his decades-long career, Pierre Cardin has proved to be a master tailor and designer, as well as an intuitive businessman," says Matthew Yokobosky, Senior Curator of Fashion and Material Culture.
      PIERRE CARDIN: FUTURE FASHION at The Brooklyn Museum traces the legendary career of the fashion world's most innovative designers, one whose futuristic designs and trailblazing to democratize high fashion for the masses pushed the boundaries of the industry for more than seven decades. Image: Terry O'Neill (British b. 1938). Raquel Welch in a Pierre Cardin outfit featuring a miniskirt and necklace in blue vinyl, worn with a plexiglass visor, 1970. Image courtesy of Iconic images (c) Terry O'Neill/Ironic Images.
     The retrospective exhibition features over 170 objects that date from the 1950's to president, including haute
couture and ready-to-wear garments, accessories, film, and photographs drawn from the Pierre Cardin archive. Matthew Yokobosky added, "Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion reveals the designer's bold, futuristic aesthetic, which had a pervasive influence not only on fashion, but on other forms of design that extended beyond clothing to furniture, industrial design, and more."  SPACE AGE
Pierre Cardin Space Age Unisex Designs
INFLUENCE: Pierre Cardin is best know for his avant-garde Space Age fashions and his fascination with new technologies and the international fervor of the l960s Space Race visibly influenced his couture apparel, which subsequently became emblematic of the era.  His clothing design, which featured geometric silhouettes were often made from unconventional materials and were worn by international models and film stars from Brigette Bardot and Lauren Bacall to Alain Delon, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Raquel Welch. BREAKING THE MOLD: Fueled with an appetite for experimentation and "breaking the mold" he was on of the first European designers to show in Japan, China and Vietnam. Most significantly his entrepreneurial spirit kicked in on a massive scale when he licensed his name , using it to brand an expansive line of diversified products on a global scale. While Pierre Cardin was one of the few couturiers who was able to draw, cut and sew, fit, and finish his own clothing, his designs were far beyond garments, he also designed furniture, lighting, and automobile interiors. On view are rarely seen "couture" furniture and home decor, as well as custom accessories including hats, jewelry, shoes, and sunglasses. The costume, set and lighting designs for films such as Things to Come (1936), by visionary filmmaker William Cameron Menzies compliment Cardin's futuristic fashions providing a fuller picture of the fascination with outer
Pierre Cardin Space Age Fashion
space that dominated popular culture during the period. PIERRE CARDIN THE TAILOR: Trained in his teens as a tailor, Cardin lived in Vichy, France, during World War II and served in the Red Cross. Following the War, he moved to Paris, working at Maison Paquin and briefly at Elsa Schiaparelli before joining Christian Dior's groundbreaking house in 1947, the year of the "New Look."                          In 1950, Cardin founded his own fashion house, focusing first on costume design and then on haute couture. His ability to sculpt fabric with an archiectural sensibility, which became his signature, was complimented by his love for geometry. For Cardin's landmark 1964 "Cosmocorps" collection he designed futuristic looks using vinyl, metallic fabrics, large zippers, and hats that resembled astronatuts' helmets.  Since then, he has continuously turned to futurism and new technologies for inspiration. in his lifetime Cardin has won numerous accolades for his fashion, but also for his humanitarian efforts. In his lifetime Cardin has received an astonishing level of success, and at the age of 96 continues to walk to his office each morning and approach design with inventiveness and wonder.

Put on your space shoes and visit PIERRE CARDIN : FUTURE FASHION at The Brooklyn Museum 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY You still have time to visit Pierre Cardin's remarkable journey. The exhibit extends to January 5, 2020.
          Ta Ta Darlings!!!  Just fly me to the moon and let me live among the stars wearing a
Pierre Cardin space suit.  Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's other
Blogs on and click on the links listed in the left-hand column.

Monday, August 19, 2019

FORGOTTEN SOLDIER: African Americans in the Revolutionary War: Review By Polly Guerin

Forgotten Soldier' exhibition is a cautionary tale of duplicity, a time of patriotism and a time when enslaved and free African Americans fought on both sides of the Revolutionary War. They had the opportunity to join either the American or the British fighting forces and were lured by the promise of obtaining their freedom at the end of the war.  It was a promise that lured hundreds of men like Bristol Rhodes, an enslaved man to join the Rhode Island Regiment, fought at the Siege of Yorktown in October 1781 and many others who are now given their due recognition and respect for their bravery. Their story is now told with rare documents and artifacts on display, lectures and interpretive demonstrations with re-enactors from African American military regiments.          
Portrait by John Trumbull, circa 1797
FORGOTTEN SOLDIER' at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, Virginia through 
March 22, 2020 presents the compelling stories of  some of the thousands of African Americans who took part as soldiers in the Continental Army. They fought in George Washington's army for the American cause for a free and independent nation. Men like Crispus Attucks, a sailor, a fugitive from slavery who was the wars first casualty at the Boston Massacre, and later considered "the First Martyr of Liberty,"  While FREEDOM was to be their reward history recounts that after the war George Washington wanted enslaved people to be returned to their owners and sadly the enslavers came looking for their property.
       Then, too, no less significant are the stories of those African Americans who made the risky choice to join nearby British units with the promise of obtaining their own freedom. The exhibition features Dunmore's Proclamation of 1775 on loan from the Library of  Congress. Virginia's royal governor, Lord Dunmore, promised freedom to all enslaved African Americans owned by rebelling Patriots, if they would serve and bear arms with Loyalty to Britain. FREEDOM was at the core of their urge to serve.  What motivated hundreds of enslaved men to leave their life of servitude? You must remember that before the Revolution few enslaved African Americans could ever escape bondage. Yet,  with the promise of becoming Free Men the enslaved African Americans fought bravely with the Continental Army. What's even more disturbing is the fact that at the wars end their former owners tried to enslave these men again, but not everyone. Image: Lieutenant Thomas Grosvenor and his Negro servant by John Trumbull, ca. 1797. In this oil-painting, Asaba and his owner, Lt. Thomas Grosvenor of Pomfret, Connecticut, look at the fallen hero, Dr. Joseph Warren, killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. Asaba survived this battle and was freed by Grosvenor after the war. Painting on loan from Yale University Art Gallery, Mabel Brady Garvan Collection. 
Inspection Roll and Book of Negroes
The "Inspection Roll of Negroes Book No. 1," on loan from the U.S. National Archives in Washington, DC, and the "Book of Negroes," on loan from the National Archives of the United Kingdom. The Americans and the British created these documents to partially satisfy a requirement of Article 7 of the Treaty of Paris, also on loan from the United States National Archives for the exhibition. These ledgers record the names of approximately 3,000 African American men, women and children who  escaped to British lines during the war in hopes of obtaining their freedom. An interactive in the exhibit offers an in-depth exploration of

of the "Inspection Roll of Negroes Book, No. 1" from the United States National Archives.
          The exhibits interactive and hands on experiences also include Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness where an interactive wheel shows the choices that many African Americans made in the hope for freedom. By turning the wheel visitors can find out what actually happened to people who made the same choice and learn about their stories. Then, too, there is "Hidden in Plain Sight, the story of James Lafayette who served as a Patriot spy and relayed messages to George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette. 
        Of special note is the original work by Titus Kaphar, an American contemporary artist whose
riveting three-dimensional sculpture invites visitors to "shift their gaze" or look at history in a new light to contemplate the Forgotten Soldier often overlooked in historical accounts.
        The AMERICAN REVOLUTION MUSEUM at Yorktown is located at 200 Water Street, parking is free. Visit Visitors can connect with more stories of African Americans in the Revolution and their wartime experiences by also exploring the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown PERMANENT GALLERY EXHIBITS where senior curator Sarah Meschutt said, "Even the average African American today does not know the story about the participation of African Americans in the Revolutionary War.  In addition to bearing arms their manual labor dug the trenches, they served as musicians, cooks, and in various other capacities. Ms. Meschutt further stated that "Without the participation of African Americans it would have been difficult to win the war." The exhibits in the Permanent Gallery uncovers the lives of Peter Salem, Billy Flora and Billy Lee to name just a few of the men who labored as enslaved men on the docks and in searing hot smelting furnaces.    Martha Katz-Hyman, assistant curator, proudly pointed out two rare items, the Marquis de Lafayette's pistols and references to other notable patriots including Sylas Deane, a Connecticut merchant who figures importantly in convincing the French to support the American Revolution, but that, too, is another worthy story.    
       Ta Ta Darlings!!!  Forgotten Soldier burns into our collective memory to never forget even our brave soldiers who today are protecting our Freedom.  Please send fan mail and your story to Visit and click in the left-hand column to links to
Polly's other Blogs.                           

Monday, August 12, 2019

TENACITY: Women in Jamestown, Virginia: Feature By Polly Guerin

TENACITY, Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia at Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th Century Virginia history and culture, explores little known, captivating personal stories of real women in Jamestown colony and their tenacious spirit and impact on a fledgling society.   

What could have possessed women like Ann Jackson, Anne Burras, Allice Burges, Ann Tanner, Mary Moore, Jane Hill and many other English women to embark on a journey across perilous seas to start a new life in Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the New World? Among them were widows, spinsters, orphans and servant girls, many just teenagers who  sought a better life and adventure. They were lured by the Virginia Company of London, dear readers, with the only honorable profession of their time--the prospect of marriage. 
      The Virginia Company of London sent the first English settlers to Virginia in 1607 they did not include women intentionally, keeping their potentially distracting "fairer sex" home in England.  However, the first women to arrive in Jamestown in 1608 were Anne Burras, age 14 who was the maidservant to Mistress Forrest, the wife of colonist Thomas Forrest. Her mistress died soon afterward  and Anne married John Laydon in the first recorded English marriage in Virginia. Ann's tenacity and resilience insured her survival through relentless troubles including deadly winter of 1609-10, which took the lives of 75 percent of the colonists. Later during Martial Law she survived a severe whipping and later that night lost her unborn child. Go to the exhibit and find
out why so cruel a punishment was decreed.  
      The London Company soon realized that a settlement of men would not thrive without wives and ensuing families. So in order to improve upon the situation, and support their interest in profit, in 1619 the company began a campaign to recruit wives for the Virginia colonists.                   Women's roles in early Virginia were rarely recorded but this exhibit features the names and the personal stories of many of these tenacious women who were lured by incentives that might improve their status in life.  The exhibit gives us the opportunity to share their stories and to give these women a voice and rightful place in history
      Dr. Beverly Straube, Curator of the 17th Century galleries who played a major role in planning the exhibit said, "Our team of five tenacious women got passionate about bringing the women's stories to light."   As for incentives that motivated women to journey to the New World, Dr. Straube pointed out that these women of modest means were offered several incentives saying, "Women received perfumed lambskin gloves, a luxury at that time, and practical items such as clothing and bedding." Unaware of the danger and hardship that awaited them these pioneering women were tenacious, determined and persistent travelers.  ANN JACKSON: Perhaps full of hope and optimism for a new life in Virginia, took it upon herself to leave her father William's  
Ferrar Papers Interactive Screen
house in London and boarded the Marmaduke as one of 56 skilled and respectable women who sailed in 1621. Ann Survived the Atlantic crossing arriving in Jamestown only to have her dream of finding a husband was dashed when in March 1622 the Powathan Indians captured her and 18 other women during an attack on the settlement. Her riveting story of survival and return to England is among many other accounts of hardship and unrequited love. 
     INTERACTIVE DISPLAYS: Among the artifacts on display is the Ferrar Papers, circa 1621. a key source of information about English women who arrived in Virginia in 1621 and 1622. Compiled by a London merchant Nicholas Ferrar, The Ferrar Papers include business documents of many of he 56 women recruited to go to Virginia in 1621, to become wives of he settlers. A touch screen interactive display near the original documents allows visitors to learn more about these early English women. Other interactive Displays throughout the exhibit shed light on many other women including Angelo.
    ANGELO'S STORY: Then, too, there was a woman of a different color. When Angelo stepped off the ship Treasurer she saw no one who looked like her. As one of the first Africans in the colony, she arrived in 1619 as an enslaved woman from the Portuguese colony of Angola in West Central Africa.  To add to the drama of her life in Virginia. English officials traded suppliers forAngelo. It is further revealed from period documents that by 1625 she worked for planter William Peirce and his wife Joane on their property in Jamestown. Look for two rare documents related to Angelo on loan for the first time in America from the National Archives of the United Kingdom.
Naming the Women Step by Step up the Staircase
LEGACY WALL: Add your own Tenacity to the exhibit. An interactive "Legacy Wall" allows visitors to explore the stories of women from 1607 to the present with a touch a screen, as well as share their own stories of tenacious women in history and their own lives. Image Left: Although you can take an elevator instead look for the staircase that leads up to the TENACITY exhibit where the names of these courageous women are listed, step by step, including Temperance Flowerdew Barrow Yeardley West who stepped off a ship in 1609 in Virginia in the midst of a harsh, starvation-fraught winter. Yet tenacious 
Temperance survived.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!! This new exhibit TENACITY runs through to January 5, 2020. For information about Tenacity and related programs, visit and Administered by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.
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Saturday, August 3, 2019

Tom Christopher at Molly Barnes Art Salon: Review By Polly Guerin

Tom Christopher at the Brill Building with Window Onlooker
To the art world cognoscenti Molly Barnes' art history lectures at her Friday Brown Bag luncheon salon has introduced some of the country's celebrated emerging artists and others who have acquired international reputations like, Tom Christopher who shared his paintings and views on art last Friday at the host location, The Roger Smith Hotel in New York City. 
        Known for his impressionist urban paintings and murals, mostly of New York City, Christopher said "The energy of New York City caught me up in a love affair with the dynamic flow of the city." He advised "Paint from your heart and with no concern about pleasing anyone. Do not follow trends, do it because you are inspired." Fashion Institute of Technology, Associate Professor, Advertising Design Thomas McManus, School of Art and Design who also has worked with Christopher on special projects added, "Don't do whats being done, do something different and be patient. When Picasso came out with Cubism nothing sold until 8 years later."
Tom Christopher's Bicycle City
The unnamed large-scale painting on exhibit conveyed Christopher's unique take on the cacophony of a congested city 
street through dynamic pulsating acrylic red paint bursting out of the images like the energy of the city. Then, too, the golden sun drenched  light illuminating other figures in a cluster mingling looks like a person on a motorcycle and others hustling in the blaring traffic. One unpainted area reveals the white canvas and draws the eye deeper into the painting.
       POLLY OBSERVES: As a regular attendee at Molly's art salon I am always thrilled to sit among the artists who ask questions, "How do you get your ideas?"  Christopher sent around his note book in which his rough sketches depict real New Yorkers---street people, bicycle messengers, cars, pedestrians, just plain characters who might become subjects in a painting.  Sometimes he uses a camera to record scenes.     
Tom Christopher's painting suggests NYC's Hustling Masses
MOLLY BARNES The lectures are part art history and advice on how to make it in the art world. That's something 
that the dynamic Molly Barnes tells her students at the Otis College of Art and Design where she created a course for artists on how to make it in the art world, including how to look prosperous, For men "Wear new classic shoes. For Women carry a designer handbag."  Then, too, other serious concerns are on the agenda like mingle at gallery openings, promote and publicize yourself with etiquette and decorum. Her Molly Barnes Gallery is located in West Hollywood, California and she has generously launched many art careers.  If you are interested in attending one of Molly's Brown Bag free lectures, usually held from noon to 1 p.m. at The Roger Smith Hotel, located at Madison and 47th Street, make a reservation: Call 212 255 7100. The
art lectures start up again in October.
      Ta Ta Darlings! I never miss a Molly Barnes Brown Bag Lectures that are not only a art
salon experience but also an art history lecture and a splendid networking opportunity for
everyone, especially, of course, artists.  Fan mail welcome at Visit
Polly's Blogs at on visionary men, women determined to succeed, beauty
and even, poetry.

Monday, July 29, 2019


"Botstein and BARD SummerScape shows courage and great imagination, honoring operas that larger institutions are content to ignore"--Time Out New York
     Indeed, BARD Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, committed to reviving important but neglected
operas, presents this year's immersion in "Korngold with the American premiere of THE MIRACLE OF HELIANE ("Das Wunder der Heliane") the grand opera that Erich Wolfgang Korngold considered his masterpiece. A not-to-be-missed extravaganza the music soars with melodic ecstasy under the baton of Leon Botstein, music director of the American Symphony orchestra with a fully staged new production by German director Christian Rath.  
       The next scheduled performances in the Sosnoff Theater, are Friday, August 2 at 4 pm and Sunday, August 4 at 2 pm. The SummerScape Coach from New York City is available on both dates.  Contact the Box Office for tickets and coach information at 845.758.7900.      

THE MIRACLE OF HELIANE (1927),  An allegorical tale, is set in an unnamed totalitarian state in which love, lust and hate emerge in an intricate, erotic triangle between a ruthless despot, The Ruler, portrayed with grim consequences by the brilliant bass baritone, Alfred Walker.  His unrequited passion  focuses on his beautiful and neglected wife, Helaine, with Lithuanian soprano Ausrine Stundyte in the title role. She specializes in strong female personalities and does not disappoint as the tortured Helaine. The clarity and sheer volume of her voice is stunning and magically engages our listening pleasure with her soaring soprano. She is put on trail but can she perform a miracle and bring her lover back to life? Then, too, there is the Stranger with internationally acclaimed tenor, Daniel Brenna, bringing the complications of love into the story. Sung in German with English supertitles. All this with captivating Judges in fierce red costumes and the large Bard Festival Chorale adding drama to the epic and sequences of  dancers interpreting emotional charged scenes in choreographed interludes.   Erich WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957)   

whose lush romanticism would define the
quintessential sound in Hollywood movies began his career as a classical prodigy in Vienna, becoming a highly respected opera composer at just 19.  Yet, despite his ensuing successes, The Miracle of Helaine was dogged with difficulties from the outset. First caught up in the musical politics of the time, then banned by the Nazis, Helaine all but disappeared from the repertoire, and still almost a hundred years later, the opera never been staged in the United States until Bard's production.  This represents to opera lovers and the music world at large a considerable loss. Helaine features "Ich ging zu ihm," one of Korngold's best loved arias, styling the opera "a huge triumphant song of love and liberation on the grandest scale. Brendan G. Carroll, President of the International Korngold Society explains, "Helaine is not only arguably the composer's greatest work," but also one that stands "among the masterpieces of Romantic Opera."
      Ta Ta Darlings! Everyone stood up with thunder applauds at yesterday's Sunday
afternoon performance. The cast on stage was in top form, the music was glorious, the
singers sensational and the chorale and orchestra beyond measure, just pure, pure excellence. 
Be there next weekend for an experience of a lifetime that even the Metropolitan Opera could envy. Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's other Blogs at 

Monday, July 22, 2019

GIFFORD PINCHOT, The Father of American Conservation By Polly Guerin

Gifford Pinchot "Father of American Conservation"
In September 1963, while giving a speech dedicating Grey Towers, Gifford Pinchot's ancestral home in Milford, PA to the National Forest Service, President John F. Kennedy declared Gifford Pinchot the "FATHER OF AMERICAN CONSERVATION."  
      Yet, in some regard, Gifford Pinchot's
name has been lost to history, He may not be as oft quoted as Thoreau or John Muir, but  PINCHOT has a well-earned spot in American wilderness conservation serving as its First Chief, and friend and advisor to
president Theodore Roosevelt.
      GIFFORD CHOOSES TO BE A FORESTER: While other career paths were available to this son of a wealthy clan, he chose forestry.  It was an odd choice at the time because in the 1870s there were no United States Foresters.  
      That did not deter the outdoor adventurer. He had honed his skills as a boy scouting the woods, hunting and  fishing around his boyhood home in Pennsylvania. Later his father, James, recognized the destruction of natural resources overtaking the nation in the 19th century, advised his eldest son, Gifford to consider a career in forestry. thus introducing the idea of conservation to America. Gifford took naturally to the suggestion attended college and with further knowledge of forestry, acquired in Europe, Gifford returned home determined to implant conservative techniques to save our forests.
1925 Black Butte fire lookout, CA USFC Photo
One must look back to the 1870s and 
1880s, to the sheer magnitude of the lush rich land and its forests Americans thought the the forests would last forever but that was not the case.  Loggers plundered the land and there seemed  no need to plant trees or replant for the future. Hillsides laid barren further caused the cry for conservativism.
      Pinchot worked hard to to change what was happening, and through a long and arduous struggle he as was so successful that he was appointed head of the U.S. Forest Service, and often called the Father of Forestry. Forest Rangers were trained and stationed throughout major forests with fire lookouts and patrols to protect forests for generations to come Pincholt once said the goal of conservation was the use of the Earth for, THE GREATEST GOOD, FOR THE GREATEST NUMBER, FOR THE LONGEST RUN,"
      The Theodore Roosvelt connection: When New York State governor Theodore Roosevelt needed advice about the state's forests in 1899, his choice of adviser was Gifford Pinchot. The two
men talked forestry and a bond of friendship formed with respect for the forests and the great need for conversation was formed so strong that in 1905, President Roosevelt created the U.S. Forest
Service and appointed Pinchot the first Chief Forester.  During Pinchot's five years in that position
millions of acres became national forests.  
      Sadly, conservation of the forests was threatened. In 1910, President
Add caption
 William Taft began unraveling some of the Roosevelt-Pinchot conservation policies and Pinchot became a vocal critic.  The result, Taft fired Pinchot, who then came home to Grey Towers and launched his political career. Pinchot later served as governor of Pennsyvania from 1923 to 1927 and 1931 to 1935 and accredited much of his success in the political arena to his wife Cornelia Bryce 
Pinchot, who was a "tour de force" herself. 
      Cornelia was a suffragette, she worked tirelessly for the public good, taking a stand against low pay and poor working conditions for women and she worked tirelessly to campaign for her husband's future as governor.  However, Cornelia Pinchot's viewpoint resonates even today that women---as a strong block of constituents--can bring about change in a society. Need I say more? Cornelia is yet another historical figure worthy of a follow-up feature, Stay tuned.
P.O.Box 188, 151Grey Towers Drive, Milford, PA. For tours information for schedules and fees.  Telephone: 570.296.9630. Grey Towers is open daily Memorial Day through October and on limited days other times of the year. 
       Natural resource agencies groups and organization doing conservation work can use the Grey Towers Conference Center for workshops, conferences, seminars and programs that address the management of natural and cultural resources.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!!  Grey Towers, originally a private home has magnificent period rooms that reflect the grand style and grand entertainments of the Pinchot family. These rooms and the surrounding acreage make a visit here both a historical and pleasurable experience. Fan mail
welcome at  Visit Polly's other Blogs at