Wednesday, April 8, 2009

William Sartain Thomas Eakins and Alfred Maurer - Ramblings

Yesterday Amy mentioned the shoes in the painting, The Aqueduct. I checked the image here on the website and on the postcard I had purchased from the museum. Feet, I could barely see the figure let alone the feet. Being able to see the details is a good reason to go to the museum. Not only did I get to see those feet, I was also able to study the figure a bit closer. The shoes looked like they had been in the dust and dirt around Algiers for some time, perhaps the person's favorite shoes. Or maybe his only pair – for me the person is male. Talking with one of the Security officers she and I vacillated but then decided at least for the day the figure was a man. After coming to that conclusion we spent quite a bit of time looking at the sky. Sartain has a fine combination of green and blue surrounding those arches. The painting is as much about the sky as it is the arches of the aqueduct. (On the left is Sartain's self portrait.)

Alfred Maurer appeared on my right, tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me of a couple of things as I talked with the Security officer. "Willy and Tom Eakins were good friends. They went to grammar and high school together as well as Paris. Tom also dated Emily Sartain, Willy's sister, but that's an anecdote for another day." Maurer feels a bond with Sartain since they both had poor relationships with their fathers. Wanting to change the subject, Maurer insisted that we go look at his portrait of George Washington and his wall mate, Annette Kaufman. They both hang in the gallery next to the The Aqueduct. Maurer enjoys the beauty of Annette Kaufman everyday. She is certainly luminous in the painting by Milton Avery. The sparkle in her eyes lets you know she's a force to reckon with. Maurer nudged me and I told the Security officer that of all of the painters and portraits in the room where we were standing, Kaufman is the only person still alive. At 95, she still lectures, discussing the music of her husband Louis Kaufman. Maurer grinned when he thought about the beautiful Annette Kaufman and the red shoes he imagines her wearing. Of the four he asked me to publish only the last pair would probably be appropriate for walks on the roads outside of Algiers. These photos were all taken last summer in Manhattan on some of the same streets that the Kaufmans, Eakins, Maurer, and Sartain all have walked.

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