Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday Salon: A Favorite Painting or Two.....or Three!

The Blue Hat - Portrait of  Vera Hone from The Angler Series - 1912

Self-Portrait 1907

The Man From Arran - self-portrait 1918

The Jockey - (Looks like another self-portrait to me, though it isn't listed as such.)

Portrait of the painter, Augustus John - 1900

In Dublin Bay - 1909

The Eastern Gown

Portrait of Mrs. Ruby

The Mirror - 1900

Bridgit  - A Picture of Miss Elvery (Glenavy) 1909

Portrait of Herbert Bernard John Everett

The Thinker - On the Butte de Warlencourt

Zonnebeke - 1918

The NCO Pilot - W.G. Bennett

An Airman - Lieut. RTC Hoidge

To An Unknown Soldier

Sir William Orpen (1878 - 1931) was an Irish painter born in Dublin. He lived and painted in England and became a famed war artist during WWI. Though he was well known during his lifetime and painted many portraits of the well to do, politicos and such i.e. President Woodrow Wilson, time wasn't kind to Orpen and he and his work virtually disappeared from collective memory in the years since his death at the age of 53.

I admit I'd never heard of him until I stumbled across a painting of his online while looking for something else. Orpen's work hangs in various museums, especially The Imperial War Museum in London, but his place in art history is apparently overdue a re-evaluation. (Prices for his work have recently increased and that usually means re-evaluation is currently underway.)

In 1917, Orpen was commissioned and sent to the Western Front to paint what he saw, along with several other painters of talent and renown, i.e. Sir John Lavery. Many of these paintings offer a grim account of life in the wretched trenches, the price of war, especially on the 'common' soldier. Orpen grew to despise the generals in command though forced to work for them as a main source of commissions.

In later years alcohol and ill health (due to his war exploits), helped curtail his life.

Sir William Orpen

I was taken with Orpen's work, quite moved by some of it. I hope you will be as well.

To learn about Sir William Orpen and his work, please check this link and also this one.

In 1909 Orpen painted a wonderful portrait of his friend and former pupil, Bridgit Glenavy nee Elvery, with whom he continued to exchange letters  for many years until their final falling out.

Many of the letters that Orpen exchanged with his friends were peppered with sketches and comments. Below are some examples:

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the images included in today's post not do I claim to have the rights to any of the artwork. I have garnered these images from various sources on the internet strictly for purposes of education and historic and artistic enlightenment.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Foreign Film Poster Friday

The Italian poster of a 1947 film which had a very short title in English: T-MEN. I like the Italian version better. This is such a fabulous poster, even if the film it advertises and the actors in it, has fled from our collective memories.

Friday's Forgotten Book: THE MUMMY CASE MYSTERY (1933) by Dermot Morrah

Friday is Forgotten Book Day, a weekly meme hosted by Patti Abbott at her blog, PATTINASE.

Don't forget to check in at Patti's for all the links to bloggers who are talking 'forgotten' tomes today. It's always intriguing to see what other readers come up with.

My post today also counts as an another entry in Bev's VINTAGE MYSTERY READING CHALLENGE. Link on over there to see what other vintage reads other bloggers have read and recommended.

Today's book is a kind of repeat since John already talked about it on January 13th for FFB.. But I'd forgotten that particular little tidbit and since this is the book I'd earmarked for today I'm kind of stuck with it. But all in a good cause if we help shine a ray of light unto a forgotten but deserving, author.

The link to John's initial review: Pretty Sinister Books.


THE MUMMY CASE MYSTERY by Dermot Morrah is a book by another writer I wasn't familiar with, but with a title like this (plus John's recommendation), I had no choice but to look around for a copy. I love mysteries with these sorts of fairly innocuous titles - nothing fancy, just the right choice of words - enough to intrigue and easy to remember. Throw in 'mummy case' and what's not to like? Those are the magic words.

The setting is terrific as well: Academia - Beaufort College, Oxford and the time is 1933. When Egyptology Professor Benchley's newly acquired mummy of Pepy I is used to disrupt Commemoration Night festivities, it will not be the first untoward event of the boisterous evening.

Later that same night, Benchley's room at the college will go up in flames and nothing but a charred, blackened body will be found within. But is it the Professor's body? Or the mummy's? The police don't seem very interested in prolonging the investigation and the coroner is in a hurry to declare the whole thing an unfortunate accident. Several of the professor's personal items were found on the body so ipso-facto, it must be Professor Benchley's charred remains.

However, Professors Denys Sargent and Humphrey Considine, surely two of Oxford's most laconic Dons, have doubts. For one thing: where is the mummy's body? There should have been two bodies found in the burnt ashes of the room. Between the last time Benchley was seen alive and the fire, there simply had been no time to dispose of a huge Egyptian mummy case and the mummy therein.

But perhaps the professor had been duped and the mummy case has been sold to him empty? Not hardly, Benchley was a renowned Egyptologist, of course he would have double checked to make sure the mummy was who and what and where it was purported to be by the seller - one Professor Bonoff, a down on his luck refugee (and Egyptian specialist) in need of cold hard cash.

So, without the aid of the police who are satisfied they know what happened, Sargent and Considine begin their own halting investigation. The interesting thing about all this is that a lot of the book is just Sargent and Considine talking things over, considering alibis and times, surreptitiously looking around for a missing mummy case with or without a body.

Professor Bonoff (the mummy seller), currently living on the Isle of Wight, was also the man with whom Professor Benchley had been carrying on a feud - opposing theories and strongly worded letters in the Times, that sort of thing. But the feud appeared to have dissipated with Benchley's capitulation and the purchase of the mummy (the oldest ever found) for rather a large sum of money.

As their investigation gathers a bit of steam, Sargent and Considine pick up the help of two bright young things - a pair of women students who have stumbled upon the missing mummy case lying in a punt (!?) and are more than eager to lend a hand. Sargent and Considine are impervious to their pleas to be included in the mystery, Considine, especially, appears to be a misogynist in the making.

This is a delightfully dry book - if you're looking for action, keep looking - this is all British wit, entertaining conversation peppered occasionally with Latin quotations, conflicting alibis, mistaken identities, red herrings and that indefinable attraction that mysteries dripping with college ambiance seem to have. Of course near the end of the story, our heroes are kidnapped and face dire consequences, so it's not all tea and crumpets.

Their hunt for a killer takes the two professors to the tiny Isle of Wight and brief residence at the Flossington House and Tea Garden. The delightfully ramshackle house is owned by Edward Bunny, a retired Naval officer. He and his wife and brood of eight children, live all tucked together with several cats and dogs and whatever neighbor or island visitor happens to stray in for tea or gossip or even possibly to rent some rooms.

My favorite interlude in the book - I loved the Bunnys. They reminded me so much of the family Hercule Poirot runs into in one of Christie's books - where he's forced to stay at a decrepit guest house while solving a murder. In the end, finally, he is forced to teach the charming but hapless owner how to make an omelet good enough to eat. The Bunnys though, are not hapless at all, in fact, just the opposite. Their happy eccentricities made for a kind of perfect cock-eyed sense.

It is on this Isle of Wight excursion that Sargent and Considine pick up the final pieces of the puzzle.

The grand denouement in THE MUMMY CASE MURDER - which we're led to in a nicely convoluted, blind alley sort of way - is a great deal of fun even if murder was at the heart of events which appear more than a trifle bizarre once explained.

Oh yes, and to add to the mix, Humphey Considine decides to get married.(Remember the women students eager to help?) And don't think we didn't see that coming.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

What was Holmes thinking? Now we know.

Now at long last, we know what Sherlock Holmes was thinking when he first met his future partner and wife, Mary Russell on the Sussex Downs lo, these many years ago.

We also realize (if we've read The Beekeeper's Apprentice) that Watson was absolutely correct in his estimation - though Holmes accuses him of being over-dramatic. Not true. Watson was right on the money.

BEEKEEPING FOR BEGINNERS is a short story recalling what was on Holmes' mind that fateful day. (The Beekeeper's Apprentice is written from Mary Russell's point of view.) For me it's just a bit of amplification that adds clarity to the events which at the time, for Holmes and Russell, at least - were momentous.

For me too, come to think of it since The Beekeeper's Apprentice was the beginning of my love affair with this wonderful series.

BEEKEEPING FOR BEGINNERS is available for 99 cents as an e-book. I've downloaded the Kindle for PC from amazon (it's free) and occasionally - at the risk of a headache - will read a story on my computer screen - it's it's short enough.

Lemony Snicket Strikes Again!

It isn't often that a book cover makes me laugh out loud or, for that matter, a book title - but this morning's 'Omnimystery' email news about Lemony Snicket's new book/series did just that.

You know Lemony from his Series of Unfortunate Events books for kids (and those of us who are kids at heart), now it appears he's writing an 'autobiographical' series. One shudders to think.....

Last month a new series of Lemony Snicket autobiographical books was announced by Little, Brown. Today, the cover of the first of these was released.

"Who Could That Be at This Hour?" will be published on October 23rd, 2012. Though no synopsis is available, here's what has been revealed about the books in the "All the Wrong Questions" series:

" In a fading town, far from anyone he knew or trusted, a young Lemony Snicket began his apprenticeship in an organization nobody knows about. He started by asking questions that shouldn't have been on his mind. Now he has written an account that should not be published, in four volumes that shouldn't be read."


(Can't help it, folks, this is my kind of humor.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday Overlooked (or Forgotten) Film: TARZAN AND HIS MATE (1934) starring Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan

Because I still continue to have trouble with google search, I'm unable to do my regular Tuesday film post in the style to which I have become accustomed, that is, with pix from my chosen movie to add to the general ambiance.

So instead I've taken a post I did at the beginning of last year and amplified it for today's Overlooked (or Forgotten) Film entry - the weekly meme hosted by Todd Mason at his blog, SWEET FREEDOM. Don't forget to check in and see what other overlooked or forgotten films other bloggers are talking about this week. Todd has all the links.


While it may not be universally known, I have seen all the Tarzan films over the years (even the one with Herman Brix aka Bruce Bennett) but TARZAN AND HIS MATE with Johnny Weissmuller as the taciturn ape man,  remains my very favorite and, to my mind, the most romantic of what is, essentially, a series of jungle romances. (When they try to be anything else, they fail.)

Though TARZAN THE APE MAN (the first in the series) could give this one a run for its money. If it weren't for the nude underwater scenes shot as if they were ballet (in TARZAN AND HIS MATE), I'd switch the numbers around. These scenes were censored when the film was originally aired on TV and for many years thereafter. Then, finally, they were returned to their rightful place. (Thankfully they weren't destroyed.) The last two times I've seen the film, the sequence was there.

The film also implies that Tarzan and Jane (the gorgeous and spunky Maureen O'Sullivan) have, somehow, gotten married in the interim between this film and the first. But of course, we know better. I mean, who was there to marry them? They live cloud-high on the freakin' Mutea Escarpment where the only neighbors appear to be gorillas, elephants, rhinos, a leopard or two and some rather unpleasant native tribes.

Well, either/or, this time out, it's Jane's friend Harry Holt (the stoic Neal Hamilton), from the earlier safari which brought her to Tarzan's attentions in the first place, and Martin Arlington, an unscrupulous type played unctuously by Paul Cavanaugh, who turn up to cause trouble in paradise. Martin slavers most unattractively over Jane and the fortune he anticipates lying in wait at the famed elephant's burial ground - a cache of ivory to equal a king's ransom.

As I mentioned, this film is notable for the beautiful nude underwater scenes. Maureen O'Sullivan (at least it looks like her, but it could be a close body double, you never know) and Johnny Weissmuller, he in only his Tarzan-regulation loin-cloth swim for several minutes, all underwater. (He has ripped a gown off her just before they jump in the water from the branches of a tree in which they've spent the night.)

The gown (among several outfits, dresses, hats, shoes etc.) was brought from England by Harry and the vile Martin in hopes that Jane, as a woman, would be shallow enough to be swayed by fripperies into returning to England. Do these men know women or what?

They've even brought a wind-up record player which, by the way, scares the hell out of the bearers and transfixes Tarzan. The lascivious Martin, openly drooling over Jane who has tried on one of the gowns, dances suggestiely with her, sure of his own sleazy charm. Tarzan should have dealt with him then, but he is too intrigued by the music coming from the record player to think that Jane would ever even glance at another man. Well the truth is, with Weissmuller around, there ARE no other men.

Johnny Weissmuller at his peak. All together now.....SIGH!

Later when Tarzan refuses to guide Harry and Martin to the elephants' burial grounds, Martin fatally wounds an elephant and the two men and their few remaining bearers follow the poor limping creature to the fabled resting place.

Martin manages to get rid of Tarzan by nefarious means (he is a total murderous sleaze) and convinces Jane that he saw Tarzan meet his end in a duel with a crocodile. Jane then decides to head back to London with Harry and Martin, since without Tarzan, there's nothing to keep her in Africa.

Unfortunately the best laid plans of mice and murderers often do not go awry - Cheetah finds the limp and battered body of Tarzan, barely alive. With the help of a friendly elephant, the chimp manages to get Tarzan to a place of safety.

When Tarzan has recuperated sufficiently, he goes searching for his woman.

As usual, Tarzan arrives in the nick of time as Jane and the men have been attacked by some fiendish natives. In the end, with the help of his animal friends - mostly elephants - Tarzan gets Jane back but not before Martin gets his just comeuppance. Jungle justice has never been so well deserved.

For those of you interested in such things, Jane's fetching little jungle outfit is the skimpiest it will ever be in TARZAN AND HIS MATE. Between this and the third film, the censorship board came into being and Jane shows up in later films in this ridiculous neck to mid-thigh outfit guaranteed to make a cat laugh. She became then and forever, Jane the asexual mom.

There is, unaccountably, one other nude scene at the beginning of the film when Martin strips for a bath in a portable tub while having a conversation with Harry Holt. The only thing that prevents us seeing Martin's spare parts are a timely arrival of a servant who steps in front of the camera for a moment. Lots of nudity going on here. But all tastefully done. Still, it does make one wonder.....

What? Oh sorry, my mind...uh, wandered.

A fun film. And never has the magic attraction between Weismuller and O'Sullivan been more apparent. I love it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Nine Tough Movie Dames

This would have been Ten Tough Broads, except that Google continues to deny me access to any photo links. Hopefully when daughter returns from a trip, she'll be able to straighten things out for me. The photos I've used on this post were stored by me in a file a while back.

9 Tough Broads.

You know who I mean - movie dames so tough they spit bullets. Not the major stars who were known for their impenetrable on-screen veneer: Toughies like Joan Crawford (the toughest of them all, merely a lift of those indelible eyebrows was enough to get a hernia going ), Bette Davis (no slouch herself, less obvious than Joan, she had The Voice that could eviscerate a man at twenty paces) Barbara Stanwyck (she had honed the sneer to perfection), even Jane Russell and Lana Turner.

All were tough movie dames. All were stars of the first tier. Broads of the first water. (And I mean that in the best possible way.)

But today's post is about some second tier toughies, all battle-scarred (figure of speech), all veterans of the double-cross, all wise to the use of the coup de grace, all fine-tuned to the ways of men.

My nine are just not as well known as the stars I listed above, they are nine who didn't quite make it into the Abestos Hall of Fame.

I had added Rita Hayworth to the stars mix, but then decided she was tough, yeah, but she was too soulful, too often the object of heartbreak, too glammed up to commandeer a sub-machine gun and take out a nest of bad guys (or good) without chipping a nail. Same for Ava Gardner.

The following, then, are my choices for the toughest of the tough - women with dollar signs for hearts, women who think nothing of flipping off the geek who served them with devotion, think nothing of scorning true love for great sex. Women who could shoot to kill with and without a gun, but never without a manicure.Women who were occasionally good enough, but more often bad enough.

Now before anyone takes umbrage or accuses me of besmirching the memory of a good woman, I am ONLY talking about the screen presence of these beautiful creatures who were born, more or less, to slink their way into bad-girl movie history. Maybe not strictly Hall of Fame material, but close enough.

Gloria Graham

Gloria Graham was and always will be (at least for me) the epitome of the tough broad. She just had that sleepy look about her that told you a thing or two without uttering a word. She had a tough as nails glossy exterior and a low-key way of making herself understood, speaking softly, barely without
moving her mouth. (I believe she'd had some kind of surgery that had gone wrong or something. But it just added to her on-screen allure.)

Even when she played good, she played bad, if you know what I mean. No one would ever mistake her for a member of the PTA - at least on screen. Borderline sleazy, she was really quite wonderful in just about anything she did. She had the strange ability to make men quiver and yet, women liked her. Go figure.

To learn about Gloria Graham and her films, please use this link.

Marie Windsor

Now, Marie Windsor was a different kettle of...uh, fish. She wasn't breaking her heart over anyone - she was there to stomp on hearts and to hell with the debris. I know no woman who can honestly say they liked Marie on-screen. Her film persona was just too brittle, too hard-edged. You'd pour your soul out to her and she'd sell you down the river for a couple of dollars and some bling.

Can't help it, that's the impression she always gave. She meant business with a capital B. In films she was usually the gal friend of the swarthy guy who owned the local gambling hall, nightclub, bar, dance hall, carnival or strip joint. Though in the end she was usually left holding the bag while the head honcho went on to greener pastures with the young innocent do-gooder who'd caught his jaded eye, you knew Marie would live to connive another day. The cigarette in the fancy holder told you that much.

Marie had been around the block one too many times and often looked it. She had a steely glitter in her googly eyes which would, of course, instantly put another woman on guard. Not that it actually ever got her anywhere, since in most movies she usually wound up dead or dumped. But while she had the upper hand, she enjoyed the heck out of it.

I'll bet in reality she was a sweetheart, but we're talking film persona now.

To learn about Marie Windsor and her films, please use this link.

Jan Sterling

Poor Jan Sterling, she was almost always doomed to play dumb but shifty. I don't think I ever saw her in a movie where there was much going on behind the sultry, vacant stare. (As my daughter would say, the hamster must have left the wheel untended.)

Jan's characters were always ready to believe anything a man told them and were cruelly disappointed (every damn time) when the inevitable double-cross landed her in the gutter (literally, in UNION STATION), in the arms of the law or on a slab in the morgue.

You had to feel sorry for her, you really did. The minute she slinked onscreen, it was 'uh-oh' watch out, this one's gonna' get it. All you had to do was wait for the inevitable. And every single time it came as a total surprise to Jan. I think it was all the peroxide.

To show you how the camera can distort reality, Sterling was born to a well-to-do family and educated in Europe. So much for verisimilitude.

To learn about Jan Sterling and her films, please use this link.

Joan Blondell

Joan Blondell was always the hussy with the heart of gold. She was tough, she could dish it out, she knew the score, but when push came to shove, she did what the second banana usually did, she took the fall for the leading lady who usually had much less on the ball than she did. But again, it was the screen persona.

Even when she wasn't really a gold-digger, Warren Williams thought she was and treated her like it. Even when she was just there as girl-friend back-up to Carole Landis, Joan is the one who gets killed instead. True, she comes back as a ghost to frolic with Topper (in TOPPER RETURNS) and hunt for her killer, but still...

Joan always looked as if she worked at the local burlesque joint and didn't care who knew it. Yet she had a motherly vibe about her that made it impossible for anyone to dislike her.

She seemed to know every snappy one-liner ever written and wasn't shy about spitting them out. I loved Joan in just about anything she was ever in. She had a fabulous way of looking ditzy but you knew, deep inside, she was figuring the angles. With the fussy Warren Williams in GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933, she shared one of the best screen kisses ever. Yeah, believe it or not - Warren Williams. Who'd of thunk it? He fell hard for her. Who wouldn't?

To learn about Joan Blondell and her films, please use this link.

Audrey Totter

Audrey Totter had a way of popping her eyes (most on display in her famous close-up in THE LADY IN THE LAKE with Robert Montgomery as Phillip Marlowe) that eventually turned her into a caricature of herself. I could never take her seriously as a femme fatale (but I'm a woman and I wasn't meant to) and yet, she nearly always played one onscreen. She looked tough as nails without even trying, vulnerable was a reach for her.

On screen, Audrey Totter had a straight arrow spine and unyielding body posture - a combo which can be kind of romantically intimidating. Actually, this sort of thing is intimidating in real life as well. She also had a dissatisfied curl to her lip which instantly raised your hackles.

According to Wikipedia, Miss Totter is still live at the age of 93 and I say more power to her. Lots of these saucy dames lived and are living to ripe old ages which only goes to show you that playing bad on screen must be good for your health.

To learn about Audrey Totter and her films, please use this link.

Lizabeth Scott

In my view, one of the more beautiful of the tough movie broads. She had a sexy, sultry voice to die for. I like to think that with a voice like that I could have conquered not only Hollywood, but half of Europe as well. Ah, dream on, Yvette.

Scott had a reclusive quality, a loner vibe which is what I think kept her from big time Hollywood Stardom. (That and some of the movies she was in.) She looked self-contained and perfectly complacent on her own even when she was supposed to be clinging to her male lead. She also had a 'touch me not' quality which went rather well with her don't come hither beauty. In other words, she was an on-screen enigma.

She gave the cool appearance of perhaps not being being worth the trouble it would take to keep her. There's more to life than being 'sultry', but 'sultry' was Lizabeth Scott's modus operandi. She also had a way of gobbling up the camera so that when she was on screen you didn't notice much else.

For me, she was and always will be, the 'I don't care' girl. I always thought she should have been a bigger star. (Yes, I know about the rumors. But surely that couldn't have been the reason. Not in Hollywood.)

To learn about Lizabeth Scott and her films, please use this link.

Hillary Brooke in JANE EYRE

Hillary Brooke was never tougher (or more coldly alluring) then in her role as Blanche Ingram, the gold-digging 'gentle-lady' from the estate  next door, on the make for Jane Eyre's Mr. Rochester in the form of Orson Welles. I mean, her hard-edged indifference was scary.

She would have made a good vampire. But I don't think she ever played one.

In general Hillary Brooke played society types, often British, though she was American born. Her stock in trade was an  icy coolness which served her well in the roles of women who meant to get their own way in life, by hook or by crook - she made business suits look sexy. For whatever reason, Brooke's beauty never lifted her above the role of character actress and she appeared in many films and on television over the years, usually as the steely blond femme - fatale or otherwise.

Somehow, she played foil to Abbott and Costello in a couple of their movies and on their TV show. Hollywood makes for strange bedfellows.

To learn about Hillary Brooke and her films, please use this link.

Ida Lupino

Ida Lupino was a rarity down at the Division of Tough Broads. She could slide into the role of slightly used night club chanteuse just come in from slithering around the block as easily as she could play the caring and beleagured ingenue in THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES.

She all but breaks our hearts in the part of the blind girl who falls for Robert Ryan's rough detective in need of redemption in ON DANGEROUS GROUND.

But when Lupino played a hard dame, there were no two ways about it, she was as hard a dame as ever two-timed a movie he-man. Fortunately or unfortunately, she always had a way of looking smarter than the hero.  "I was the poor man's Bette Davis" she once said.

Later in her career, Ida Lupino became that rarity for film actresses then and now, a director.

To read more about Ida Lupino and her films, both as actress and director, please use this link.

Jane Greer and Robert Mtchum

Now we come to a really, REALLY tough broad, every one's favorite deceitful dame, Jane Greer. I saw her recently with Richard Widmark in RUN FOR THE SUN where she played a good enough type, a magazine writer looking for a story who goes to some Latin American country and gets more than she bargained for. Not a very good film and Richard Widmark, not the best actor Hollywood ever produced, is plain awful. As usual, he was good to look at though....But I digress.

Jane Greer always looked as if she knew something nobody else in the movie knew. She appeared wise beyond her years, wise in the ways of men and the wicked, wicked world. She knew every trick, knew how to put her beauty to good use. She was a belle dame sans merci - for sure.

She had a disgruntled, impatient quality, as if there wasn't anything a man could do to win her favor short of showering her with dough and when that became boring, take the blame for her evil misdeeds. She also  had a way of making you feel as if none of it was ever her fault.

Here was a dame didn't seem to mind using a gun if the need arose, as it does in OUT OF THE PAST, her memorable film noir duet with Robert Mitchum - as tough a male presence as Hollywood ever produced. Yet in OUT OF THE PAST, Mitchum plays the sap to Greer's Lady Macbeth routine.

Hard to believe that Greer was once married to crooner Rudy Vallee. I kid you not.

To learn more about Jane Greer and her films, please use this link.

So, what do you movie mavens think of my list? I know it's vastly incomplete, but I plan on more posts (once google gets its act together) and I'm also working on a My Favorite Villains post. So, as I like to say - stay tuned.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday Salon: A Favorite Painting or Two.....or Three!

Portrait of Miss Dora Wheeler.

Portrait of Alice Gerson, Mrs. William Merritt Chase.

Portrait of Louis Betts.

Portrait of the painter James McNeill Whistler.

Mrs. Meigs at the Piano Organ

The Young Orphan At Her Ease

Portrait of Elizabeth Betsy Fisher.

Portrait of Kate Freeman Clark.

Portrait of A Lady.

William Merritt Chase (1849 - 1916), the American Impressionist was born and raised in Indiana. He showed an early interest in art, studied locally as best he could, and later had the opportunity to travel and study in Europe at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and elsewhere.

Heavily influenced by what he'd learned in Europe, Chase returned to this country a full-fledged Impressionist.. He married Alice Gerson in 1886 and between them raised eight children. Chase gained fame not only for his artwork and teaching ability but also for his flamboyance in dress and mode of living.

The Studio On 10th Street.

In the Studio

He moved into Alfred Bierstadt's old studio at the famed 10th Street Building (home to artists then and later) and set up a salon to suit his flamboyant taste. According to Wikipedia, Chase "filled the studio with lavish furniture, decorative objects, stuffed birds, oriental carpets and exotic musical instruments."

William Merritt Chase. Self-portrait.

Chase was fond of teaching and at the urging of a patron, opened the Shinnecock Hills Summer School on eastern Long Island in 1891. In 1896, he opened the Chase School of Art in NY which later became the renowned Parsons School of Design.

To learn about William Merritt Chase and his work in much more detail, please use this link.