Monday, April 29, 2013


Louis XV style (ca. 1735-45) Lampas Brocade
Salvaging the Past: GEORGES HOENTSCHEL and FRENCH DECORATIVE ARTS. This remarkable but little- known collection was presented to the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a gift in the early 20th century, by J. Pierpont Morgan, one of the great patrons and collectors of the age and president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art at the time. In collaboration between the Metropolitan and the Bard Graduate Center (BGC) the exhibition presents the first comprehensive examination of the Georges Hoentschel, a significant figure in the history of collecting. Hoentschel's collection is the focus of the exhibition, Salvaging the Past, which has an extended run through August 11, 2013. Image: Lous XV style (ca. 1735-45) Lampas brocade, Fontaine et Lustres French ordered by Georges Hoentschel December 1910. Linen, silk frise and lame silver thread.: Manufacture: Prelle, France.

J. PIERPONT MORGAN’S LARGESS Morgan, a man of large gestures and largess, was so impressed with the Hoentschel collection that he had purchased it, en bloc, in the spring of 1906. It took 364 packing crates to ship the collection from Hoentschel’s gallery. Morgan’s collection of medieval and eighteenth –century furnishings, acquired from Hoentschel, was donated by the financier to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, forming the basis of its decorative arts department, which provided an important collection of French decorative arts, unique in the United States at the time. These holdings are the subject of the groundbreaking exhibition of over 200 objects, drawn primarily from the Metropolitan’s holdings, at the Bard Graduate Center with loans from other private and public collections. The Bard exhibition tells the story of this unique collection in four sections.

WHO WAS GEORGES HOENTSCHEL? The first section introduces Georges Hoentschel, who is described as “an architect of distinction in Paris,” in his various roles as an influential French designer, collector and, art and antiques dealer. He was an enterprising and successful decorator during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when France witnessed a great scientific, industrial and social transformation, and the newly moneyed bourgeoisie, who wanted to be de rigueur, adopted a lifestyle based on the aristocratic model. As director of the Parisian decorating firm Maison Leys, Hoentschel catered to these affluent clients, creating for them interiors in historic French styles. Some of his clients included Robert de Montesquiou, Edmond de Concourt, and J. Pierpont Morgan. Ephemera, family papers, photographs, personal possessions, and a film presentation outlines his story within the context of Belle Époque Paris.

THE HISTORIC COLLECTION All that meets the eye in the second venue dazzles by the historic nature of the items on exhibit; delicately carved woodwork, decorative paintings, and exquisite chased gilt-bronze mounts highlight the holdings here. Treasures include a chair made for Louis-Elisabeth of Parma, daughter of Louis XV; and armchair made for Louis XVI; and a panel from shutters originally installed in a room outside the chapel at Versailles.

The exhibition at the Bard Graduate Center also delves deep into the pottery aspects of this incredible story. The Third and Fourth sections do not disappoint especially the examples of Hoentschel’s stoneware and those of his friend and sculptor and potter, Jean-Joseph Carries.

The Bard Graduate Center is located in New York City at 18 West 86th Street. For information contact Lectures, study days, gallery talks and conversations are offered in conjunction with the exhibition. For details call 212.501.3011 or email

Monday, April 22, 2013

LOVE WITH MUGUET, MAY 1st (c) By Polly Guerin


Convallaria Majalis, LILY OF THE VALLEY
Spring is in the air and if you are a Francophile you know that come May 1st it is time to show your love in true romantic French tradition by presenting your loved ones with a “Muguet,” bouquet of delicate, white bell-shaped flowers, commonly called “Lily of the Valley.” Other names include May lily, May bells and ladder-to-heaven but in the language of flowers, these sweetly scented bells signify the return to happiness. Lilys of the valley nod their pretty little bells and flower in late spring and give us an opportunity to remember those we love and cherish.

I LOVE THIS FRENCH TRADITION It is such a perfect way to welcome the Rites of Spring, when all is bursting into blossom, and new life appears revitalized with the song of birds and birth of baby animals. It's the time of year when our thoughts turn to beauty, love, caring and togetherness, precious moments to share together in world of peace and harmony. Lily of the Valley is the symbol of humility in religious paintings as it is considered to be the sign of Christ’s second coming. The lily of the valley has also been attributed to the power of men to envision a better world. Should we therefore perhaps take this opportunity to reinstate the Lily of the Valley as the symbol of peace loving nations? It should be made a worldwide tradition!

HISTORICAL LORE Muguet is also known as Our Lady’s Tears or Mary’s Tears since, according to Christian legend; the flower sprang from the weeping of the Virgin Mary during the crucifixion of Christ. The name “lily of the valley” is used in some English translations of the Bible in Song of Songs, 2:1, but the Hebrew phrase, “Shoshanna-ha-amaqim” in the original text (literally ‘lily of the valleys”) doesn’t refer to this plant, though the biblical phrase may have had something to do with the origin of the modern plant-name.

A WEDDING CHOICE The flower has become popular for wedding bouquets, albeit it can be expensive. Lily of the Valley was featured in the bridal bouquet at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton and this set a trend for other brides who adopted the flower. Lily of the Valley has also been a tradition as decorative icing on wedding cakes and in prints on textiles. If the flower is not readily available where you live there is a plethora of products with the Lily of Valley theme and aroma; candles, bath and show gels and soaps, embroidered motif on towels and linens, and handkerchiefs are among the lovely symbols for May 1st gift-giving.

May the sweet scent of Muguet announce spring’s awakening with happiness in your heart and may it influence the power of men and women to envision a better world.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Museum venues offer a plethora of exhibitions—all to set the tone for a spring awakening of cultural pursuits in Manhattan. Only in New York my friends, the best of everything. Here’s the scoop!!!

MUNCH/WARHOL, and the Multiple Image brings together two of the 20th century’s most prolific and inventive printmakers: Norwegian Edvard Munch and American Andy Warhol, in an exhibition organized in honor of the 150th anniversary of Munch’s birth. The exhibition at The ASF, American-Scandinavian Foundation Museum closely examines four graphic images produced by Munch at the turn of the century: The Scream, Madonna, The Brooch, Eve Mudocci, Self -Portrait with Skeleton Arm and later revisited by Andy Warhol in a well-known but extraordinary series of prints from 1984. The members preview is Friday April 26 at 6pm. The exhibition opens Saturday, April 27, 2:30 to 5:30 pm with an afternoon symposium that includes an introductory talk by exhibition co-curator and noted Munch scholar Dr. Patricia G. Berman. $10 (FREE for ASF members) At 58 Park Avenue, Between 37 and 38th Streets. 2l2.514.0013 for free audio tour.

HENRI LABROUSTE: Structure Brought to Light is the first U.S. solo exhibition dedicated to the 19th century architect, a pioneer in the use of exposed iron framework. Some 200 watercolor drawings, photographs, fragments and other items are organized into sections exploring his philosophy of design; his principal creations, notably the Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve and Bibliotheque nationale in Paris; and the inheritors of his legacy, from his pupils and followers in France and abroad to later figures such as Frank Lloyd Wright. Through June 24 at MOMA, the Museum of Modern Art, at 11W 53rd Street.

THE IMPRESSIONIST LINE from Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec: Drawings and prints from the Clark Museum is the first loan exhibition devoted to the Williamstown, MA, museum’s fine collection of 19-century French works on paper. Highly varied, the 58 pieces on view reflect the dynamism of the art scene at a time when nations of appropriate subject matter, materials and techniques were upended. At The Frick Collection, 1 East 70 Street, Through June 16, 2013.

AFTEROON OF A FOEHN, The French Institute Alliance Francaise presents Afternoon of a Foehn Version 1, 20-minute dialogue-free show directed and performed by transgender artist Phia Menard to Debussy’s music. Seated on a stage, the audience admires the graceful moves of simple plastic bag puppets transformed into dancers by air currents (a’foehn’ is a warm, dry wind on the downward slope of a mountain. April 27th at Florence Gould Hall, 55 E. 59th Street, between Madison & Park Avenues. Box office: 212.355.616

Ta Ta Darlings!!! I’m off to see the Munch/Warhol Multiple Images…hope to see you at the opening!!! Fan mail welcome at Polly’s Blogs are best accessed at her website Just click on the link in the left-hand column for visonarymen, womendeterminedtosucceed, poetry or fashion.

Monday, April 8, 2013


The Bridge of Sighs, circa 1903-4, John Singer Sargent

There is nothing that engages our cultural pursuits more than art exhibitions and poetry, two elements of creativity that feed our passion for beauty in all that elevates our imagination. This time in Brooklyn, my friends. The very best to date. Here’s the Scoop!!!

JOHN SINGER SARGENT WATERCOLORS Breathtaking, delightful, engaging, colorific are words that describe the first expansive Sargent watercolor exhibition in twenty years combining holdings from the Brooklyn Museum and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The Brooklyn Museum’s watercolors feature scenes of Venice, Mediterranean sailing vessels, intimate portraits, and Bedouin subjects. The watercolors in the Boston collection feature subjects from Sargent’s travels to the Italian Alps, the villa garden near Lucca, and the marble quarries of Carrara, as well as portraits.
     Not to be missed, this once-in-a-generation opportunity opens your vista to see Sargent’s oeuvre like you have never seen before. This landmark exhibition of ninety-three, jewel-like watercolors provides an unexpected sampling of Sargent’s most superb watercolor work. Among the most engaging in the Brooklyn collection, is The Bridge of Sighs, a translucent and opaque watercolor with graphite and red-pigmented underdrawing depicts a vigorously painted view of gondoliers at work.
      Bedouins, a work of expressive force and coloristic vibrancy was completed during Sargent’s travels in Syria, while Medici Villa, reveals the artist’s love of formal Italian gardens. The Cashmere Shawl engages your attention and illustrates the virtuosity of Sargent’s grand portraits for which the artist is renowned. Corfu: Lights and Shadows is a brilliant exploration of the colors and tones of sunlight and shadows cast on brilliant white surfaces.
     Select works throughout the dazzling exhibition are paired with videos that show a contemporary watercolor artist demonstrating some of Sargent’s working technique. In conjunction with the exhibition, a number of public programs are offered: April 20, 27, May 4, 18. Saturday, April 27, at 2 p.m. the subject is “Painting Sunlight,” with curator Erica Hirshler. Through July 28, 2013 at Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY Tel: 718.638.5000.

LORCA IN NEW YORK: A CELEBRATION In June 1929, at a time when young writers and painters dreamed of living in Paris, Federico Garcia Lorca, Spain’s greatest modern poet and playwright, broke boldly with tradition and sailed for New York. His nine months, here followed by three months in Havana, changed his vision of poetry, the theater, and the social role of the artist. Lorca came to New York to study English but devoted himself instead to writing “Poet in New York,” a howl of protest against racial bigotry, mindless consumption, and the adoration of technology.
       The exhibition of manuscripts, photographs, letters and personal items on view through July 20, 2013 coincides with Farrar, Straus & Giroux’s publication of a new edition of “Poet in New York,” the poems Lorca wrote during his stay in new York City, from 1929-1930. In 1936, the poet left the manuscript of Poet in New York on the desk of his Madrid publisher with a note saying that he would be ‘back tomorrow,’ probably to discuss final details. He never returned.
       Weeks later, at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, he was brutally murdered by fascist elements in Grenada, his body thrown into an unmarked grave. At the New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Gallery. Mondays, Thursdays and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6p.m.; Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. FREE. A schedule of events can be found at

Ta Ta Darlings!!! Sargent’s watercolors are a dreamy exhibition that captures the imagination of far off places. Fan mail welcome at Polly’s Blogs are best accessed at her website Just click on the link in the left-hand column for visonarymen, womendeterminedtosucceed, poetry or fashion.

Monday, April 1, 2013


Captain Charles A. and Sergeant John M. Hawkins
 As Spring lifts her sleepy head with a nod to sunshine and flowers anniversary celebrations and sesquicentennial Civil War reminders, and retrospectives, headline museum exhibitions this week, Only in New York, my friends. The Best of New York. Here’s the scoop!!!

PHOTOGRAPHY and the AMERICAN CIVIL WAR, opening this week coincides with the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863), the turning point of the war. More than 200 of the finest and most poignant photographs of the American Civil War have been brought together in this landmark exhibition that includes intimate studio portraits of armed Union and Confederate soldiers preparing to meet their destiny. Pictured here: Captain Charles A and Sergeant John M. Hawkins, Company E, 38th Regiment Georgia Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1862, Unknown Artist. The camera recorded from beginning to the end the heartbreaking narrative of the epic four year war (1861-1865) in which 750,000 lives were lost. Granted this exhibition is not  for the faint of heart, but it is a testament, through photography, of the full pathos of the brutal conflict, that after 150 years, still looms large in the American public imagination with battlefield landscapes strewn with human remains, rare and multi-panel panoramas of the killing fields of Gettysburg and the destruction of Richmond. Among the most extraordinary, if shocking, photographs in the exhibition are the wounded and sick soldiers from the war’s last battles. Through Sept. 2, 2013. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave.

SEARCH FOR THE UNICORN: IN MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE ART marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of The Cloisters museum and gardens-the branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicated to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. The exhibition includes some 40 works of art in the diverse media drawn from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, other public institutions and private collections. The Unicorn Tapestries remain the best-known masterpieces; yet, 75 years later, their history and meaning remain as elusive as the mythical beast itself. The Morgan Library and Museum has lent its celebrated English Bestiary, a 12th-century manuscript that depicts the unicorn with its head in the lap of a maiden. Programs that accompany the exhibition include a family festival at The Cloisters on May 25 and 26, focusing on mythological beasts. Location: Romanesque Hall and Unicorn Tapestry Hall, The Cloisters.

R.B. KITAJ: PERSONAL LIBRARY: The Jewish Museum’s exhibition features 33 screen prints from the a suite of 50, created by the internationally celebrated painter and graphic artist, R. B. Kitaj in 1969. For this series, Kitaj reproduced from his personal library the covers of books that had a profound meaning for him. The images offer insights into the artist’s psyche and form a remarkable artistic statement. The range of texts and typographies convey the artist’s eclectic interests and tastes, from Margaret Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa to essays by Ezra pound and Damon Runyan. The deep library and conceptual underpinnings of his art are in evidence in the suite, ‘In Our Time,’ a highly unusual body of work within his oeuvre. Opens April 5. The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave. at 92nd Street. 212.423.3200.

‘RENOIR,’ Polly’s Movie Pick of the Week is gorgeous to be hold, an intriguingly portrait of the impressionist master as a maker of beloved art. Here is Pierre-August Renoir in 1915 turning out paintings in the sublime Riviera setting of Cagnes-sur-Mer. Beautiful and enchanting!                                                     
The new TV drama, MR. SELFRIDGE, of Selfridge’s Department Store takes London like a circus showman creating retailing firsts that entertain and amaze the Brits. I remember visiting the store several years ago. Our car pulled up into Selfridge’s first-ever automobile station inside the store. We left and car to be serviced and went shopping. Now that’s what I call a full service retailer!!!

Ta Ta Darlings!!! I’m off to the Cloisters to fantasize about the Unicorns. Fan mail welcome at Polly’s Blogs are best accessed at her website Just click on the link in the left-hand column for visonarymen, womendeterminedtosucceed, poetry or fashion.