Thursday, April 01, 2010

Hoards, Coffins, Studio-Taught, Self-Taught, Toshiro Mifune & Edo Arts...


- The Collector in Chief Hoards Nation’s Irreplaceable Stuff : "The National Archives are the repository of the nation’s heritage: the actual $7.2 million check with which the United States bought Alaska, strands of wampum attached to an Indian treaty, a letter from Annie Oakley offering President William McKinley 50 female sharpshooters to fight in the Spanish-American War. Slave ship manifests. Japanese surrender documents from World War II..." Read the story at the New York Times

- Ancient lead sarcophagus contains Roman VIP? "Who's in the Lead Coffin? “Very unusual and very intriguing” is how Nicola Terrenato from the University of Michigan describes a Roman-era lead coffin that has been uncovered in the ancient city of Gabii, 11 miles east of Rome. The professor of classical studies is the leader of an archaeological project to excavate the site. He added: “It's definitely the most unusual finding of the campaign so far.” Read the story at The Independent


April 1, 1852: Edwin Austin Abbey, American painter and illustrator, was born. The first "Great" illustrator of the Great Age of Illustration, Abbey moved from pen to brush and magazines to books, galleries and mural commissions. He remains best known for his murals and paintings of Shakespearean and Victorian subjects.

April 1, 1854: William "Bill" Traylor was born into slavery. The self-taught artist would live most of his life in poverty and die in obscurity in 1945, only to be "discovered" by art critics in the 1970s. His drawings are now avidly collected and are held in the collections of museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, and the High Museum of Art.

April 1, 1873: Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff was born. "Russian composer, pianist, and conductor, he was one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, very nearly the last great representative of Russian late Romanticism in classical music. Early influences of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and other Russian composers gave way to a thoroughly personal idiom which included a pronounced lyricism, expressive breadth, structural ingenuity and a tonal palette of rich, distinctive orchestral colors."

April 1, 1883: Lon Chaney was born. "Nicknamed "The Man of a Thousand Faces," Chaney was an American actor during the age of silent films. He was one of the most versatile and powerful actors of early cinema. He is best remembered for his characterizations of tortured, often grotesque and afflicted characters, and his groundbreaking artistry with film makeup."

April 1, 1920: Toshirō Mifune, Japanese actor, was born. "Mifune appeared in almost 170 feature films and is best known for his 16-film collaboration with filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, from 1948 to 1965, in works such as Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, and Yojimbo. He is also popular for portraying Musashi Miyamoto in Hiroshi Inagaki's Samurai Trilogy."

'I Live In Fear' (1955) with Takashi Shimura (right).

'Stray Dog' (1949), with Takashi Shimura and Keiko Awaji.


“Bridge of Dreams. The Mary Griggs Burke Collection of Japanese Art”
By Miyeko Murase.
Published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art 2000.

“The Burke Collection of Japanese art is recognized worldwide as the most significant collection of Japanese art in private hands. This catalogue presents 168 masterpieces from the collection that date from the Protoliterate era (ca. 10,000 B.C.) through the Edo period (1615–1868), including handscrolls and hanging scrolls, woodblock prints, large screens, lacquerware, and ceramics. The text is written by the renowned scholar Miyeko Murase, the principal adviser to Mary Griggs Burke in the development of the collection. Murase presents Japanese art as an eloquent expression of Japanese culture; more than a record of an important exhibition, this stunning volume takes its place as a key resource for understanding and appreciating the art and culture of Japan.”


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