Wednesday, May 05, 2010

How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Put on a Stetson, Chanel No.5, Grab a Picasso, and Stand by Your Man--


- Picasso Sells at Auction for $106.5 Million, a Record for a Work of Art : "A painting that Picasso created in a single day in March 1932, “Nu au Plateau de Sculpteur (Nude, Green Leaves and Bust),” sold for $106.5 million, a world record auction price for a work of art, at Christie’s Tuesday night. The painting, more than 5 feet by 4 feet, shows Picasso’s mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, both reclining and as a bust. Picasso’s profile can be discerned in the blue background" (It can?? Suddenly I feel like I'm trapped in a 'Where's Waldo" cartoon). read the whole story

- The Full ‘Metropolis’ : "For fans and scholars of the silent-film era, the search for a copy of the original version of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” has become a sort of holy grail. One of the most celebrated movies in cinema history, “Metropolis” had not been viewed at its full length — roughly two and a half hours — since shortly after its premiere in Berlin in 1927, when it was withdrawn from circulation and about an hour of its footage was amputated and presumed destroyed. But on Friday Film Forum in Manhattan will begin showing what is being billed as “The Complete Metropolis,” with a DVD scheduled to follow later this year, after screenings in theaters around the country. So an 80-year quest that ranged over three continents seems finally to be over, thanks in large part to the curiosity and perseverance of one man, an Argentine film archivist named Fernando Peña..." read the full story


May 5th, 1809: Mary Kies becomes the first woman awarded a U.S. patent, for a technique of weaving straw with silk and thread. That was a big deal for two reasons- first, there was the matter of sex: because many states had laws against women owning property, many female inventors simply didn't bother applying for patents. Secondly, straw hats were an important commodity at the time, widely used by farmers, outdoor workmen and many others, and high tariffs on imported European goods had opened the door for American manufacturers. Massachusetts factories made hay of the situation, manufacturing an estimated half-million dollars worth of straw hats in 1810 alone. Unfortunately her patent did not help Mary Kies very much, and she died penniless in 1837.

May 5, 1830: Speaking of hats, this was the day John Batterson Stetson, inventor of the "cowboy hat", was born. Son of a prosperous Philadelphia hat-manufacturer, young John was sick with tuberculosis in 1860 and traveled the American West for his health. While he was touring he couldn't help but notice that the cowboys and farmers, miners and other outdoor workers were making do with a motley variety of old coonskin caps, sea captain hats, straw hats and wool derbies. He modeled his new "Boss of the Plains" hat after the Mexican sombrero, and the 1865 invention was an instant success, soon dubbed the "Stetson" by cowboys and western outdoorsmen. And not a moment too soon- can you imagine John Wayne in a wool derby?

May 5, 1891: Carnegie Hall (then named Music Hall) opened in New York City. "Designed by architect William Burnet Tuthill and built by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1891, it is one of the most famous venues in the United States for classical music and popular music, renowned for its beauty, history and acoustics."

May 5, 1921: Coco Chanel's "Chanel No. 5" is introduced. "The first fragrance launched by Parisian couturier Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, it has been on sale continuously since its introduction in 1921. It has been described as "the world's most legendary fragrance," and ranks on the top places in the perfumery sales charts. When asked her how she would name the perfume, she replied: "I always launch my collection on the 5th day of the 5th months, so the number 5 seems to bring me luck – therefore, I will name it Nº 5". Her intention in launching the scent was to give women a perfume with the scent of a woman rather than the scent of a flower bouquet. "I want to give women an artificial perfume," said Chanel. "Yes, I really do mean artificial, like a dress, something that has been made. I don't want any rose or lily of the valley, I want a perfume that is a composition"."

May 5, 1942: Tammy Wynette (born Virginia Wynette Pugh), the "First Lady of Country Music", was born in Tremont, mississippi. Wynette was "one of country music's best-known artists and biggest-selling female vocalists, and one of her best-known songs, "Stand by Your Man," was one of the biggest selling hit singles by a woman in the history of the country music genre. Many of Tammy Wynette's hits dealt with classic themes of loneliness, divorce and the difficulties of male-female relationships. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, she dominated the country charts, scoring 17 number one hits. Along with Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton, she defined the role of female country vocalists in the 1970s."


“Circa 1900. From the Genteel Tradition to the Jazz Age”
By Helen A. Raye.
Published by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in 2001.

The engaging catalog to an exhibition of (mostly American) sculpture, paintings, photography and decorative arts of the fin de siecle. In the accompanying essay, “Helen Raye, a specialist in nineteenth century American art, has done a brilliant job of taking us from the genteel Tradition, or the Gilded age, occurring around 1880, to the beginning of the Jazz Age, around 1920.”



Hats, hats, hats...


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