This essay examining the pragmatic attitudes of Winslow Homer is included in my most recent book The Modern Salonnière. The 34 other essays in the book…View More Winslow Homer In Situ
Prying into the lives of painters is a perfect tack for literary adventuring because there is generally so much drama their stories have been told repeatedly.
Take Paul Gauguin, for instance. Who hasn’t heard at least one wild story about the bohemian Frenchman who made haste to Tahiti and had himself a harem within a fortnight? I saw many of the paintings he created there in 2010 when the Tate Modern in London staged Gauguin: Maker of Myth. The nearly 150 items on view included paintings, drawings, carvings and prints, an assemblage that I would say is one of the most stimulating spectacles I’ve ever seen.
The Tate had gathered works from museums, institutions and collectors worldwide, and many of Gauguin’s Tahitian paintings I found to be vibrantly alive. To have the opportunity to walk through this revolutionary period of his life was remarkable, as the curators had assembled more than just art—even including a replica of the door-surround on the two-story hut he built himself, onto which he’d scrawled “Maison de Jouir”—so apropos of his sexually-charged mindset when he lived in the islands. It’s remarkable to be able to take in such a comprehensive view of an artist’s work; the paintings gave me visuals to enliven a poem I had written about Gauguin so I’m grateful I was able to see his Tahitian oeuvre. I am always on the lookout of exhibitions by painters of this stature to feature on the The Diary of an Improvateur.
Debating Da Vinci in Milan
This essay exploring the genius of Leonardo da Vinci in Milan is included in my most recent book The Modern Salonnière. The 34 other essays in…View More Debating Da Vinci in Milan
Ottoline Morrell Gets Lit
This essay exploring the literary world of Ottoline Morrell is included in my most recent book The Modern Salonnière. The 34 other essays in the book…View More Ottoline Morrell Gets Lit
The Fashionable Grecian Supper
This essay about a fashionable Grecian supper held by Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun is included in my book The Modern Salonnière. The 34 other essays in…View More The Fashionable Grecian Supper
Café Society as Cultural Interpreter
What do the Paris and New York City cafés that served as historical backdrops for some of the world’s most brilliant creatives say about the…View More Café Society as Cultural Interpreter
The Nature of Noble Loyalty
It’s spring in London and the flowers are bursting forth on Cheyne Walk, which skirts the edge of the River Thames until it gives way…View More The Nature of Noble Loyalty
Henry VIII’s Cult of Cloth
A trip to Frankfurt to attend Heimtextil a week from today has inspired me to share one of my favorite anecdotes about Henry VIII and…View More Henry VIII’s Cult of Cloth
Vigée Le Brun’s Passion for Painting
A Passion for Painting Billowing ruched fabric, pointy toes of dainty shoes visible from beneath flounced skirts hemmed in gold fringes and ornate trims. A bejeweled…View More Vigée Le Brun’s Passion for Painting
Peggy Guggenheim Visits Oculus Gallery
In 2009, I trekked to Venice with my dear friend JoAnn Locktov, the founder of Bella Figura Publications whose newest book Dream of Venice Architecture…View More Peggy Guggenheim Visits Oculus Gallery
It Is Time to Experience More
Experience more. It sounds like a simple directive but how many of us really take the time to savor what is happening right in front…View More It Is Time to Experience More