Monday, May 17, 2010

The Last of the Silent Picture Organists

I remember when I first arrived in New York in the early '90s... one of the first things I wanted to do was to see a silent film in an actual New York City movie theatre.  I managed to find an extant Garbo screening, which was fascinating... and, I believe, in Long Island City at the Museum of the Moving Image, saw one of the famous silent film organists playing live to a silent picture.  I was so thrilled.  But not as thrilled as when I attended Lillian Gish's 100th birthday celebration at MoMA.  She had recently died at 99!

Now, Rosa Rio, among the very last to have played the silent-picture houses, "accompanying the likes of Chaplin, Keaton and Pickford on the Mighty Wurlitzer amid velvet draperies, gilded rococo walls and vaulted ceilings awash in stars," has passed on to the Great Silent Beyond!  She was 107!!  Read more here...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chester Dale Collection Represents the BEST

I thoroughly enjoyed the National Gallery of Art (in Washington, D.C.) yesterday and especially the Chester Dale Collection.  What magnificence!  We watched a short film while we were there which described how Mr. Dale obtained the paintings with his wife, Maud - growing their collection throughout the mid-20th century.  Some of the best paintings by the Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, his friend, George Bellows... modern painters, Matisse, paintings from Picasso's blue and classical periods and so much more. Go HERE for more on the exhibit.

Dale was an astute businessman who made his fortune on Wall Street in the bond market. He thrived on forging deals and translated much of this energy and talent into his art collecting. He served on the board of the National Gallery of Art from 1943 and as president from 1955 until his death in 1962. Portraits of Dale by Salvador Dalí and Diego Rivera are included in the show, along with portraits of Dale's wife Maud (who greatly influenced his interest in art) painted by George Bellows and Fernand Léger.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Last of the Ziegfeld Girls

I've always loved the vaudeville era and as a youth was fascinated with the Ziegfeld follies. One of my favourite movies is The Great Ziegeld (1936), which won the best picture that year. So, to hear that the last Ziegfeld girl has passed on to the Great Beyond is sad.

The last Ziegfeld Follies Girl has died. Doris Eaton Travis, one of the legendary Ziegfeld Follies chorus girls, who wore elaborate costumes for the series of lavish Broadway theatrical productions in the early 1900s, died Tuesday at age 106, public relations firm Boneau/Bryan-Brown said. It didn't say where or how she died.

Travis, who was from West Bloomfield, Mich., also was a supporter of the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS fundraising organization and appeared often in its Easter Bonnet Competition.

She continued to work long after her Follies days ended, with annual appearances on Broadway, a small role in a Jim Carrey movie and a memoir, "The Days We Danced: The Story of My Theatrical Family From Florenz Ziegfeld to Arthur Murray and Beyond. [more...]

Friday, May 7, 2010

Art-Mine Review

Sandy Frazier is a mixed-media Expressionist whose art encapsulates qualities of mysticism and allegory. Working with color in the manner of the Fauves and of Gauguin, and with mixed-media and collage in the manner of Picasso, she envisions from a subliminal source emblematic representations of her own life and the world in which she lives.

With joyous color and striking form, Sandy Frazier's artworks create a dynamic vision of a world both everyday and transcendent. Working with acrylic and mixed media, Frazier’s bold Expressionist style is unique, an alluring combination of intense hues, layered patterns, subtle textures and strong lines. Her handling of color is superb, taking unusual shades and placing them next to each other in a taut harmony that seems almost to vibrate with energy from the painting’s surface. The strong stylized lines that define her subjects are influenced by Picasso, but Frazier makes them her own, giving them fluidity. The result is a stunning combination of technical skill and artistic interpretation. [more...]