[T]hen to the girls: From this moment on, you are Follies Girls - the cynosure of all eyes male and female - So watch your step - keep out of the newspapers headlines - I mean the unfavorable headlines - it is up to you.
Please report for rehearsals here when Bill the stage mgr. contacts you - very soon. Thanks for coming - You’re dismissed for today! —
-Alberto Vargas, Alberto Vargas Diary, page 35, (c 1946).
And with that, we release you into the weekend with our first Final Lines Friday!
Here’s the tail end of a scripted encounter drafted by Alberto Vargas, whose diaries are shared by archivesofamericanart. You may have seen some of the Peruvian painter’s work in the form of WWII era Esquire Magazine pin ups and aircraft nose art, but this script recalls his time working with the lavish Zeigfeld Follies productions.
We’re borrowing a page from classicpenguin to share the closing lines of our digitized, transcribed projects on Fridays. See you next week for more final phrases!
I guess “there is no such thing as bad publicity” doesn’t apply to Ziegfeld Follies Girls?
The history of nude sculptures in America is a complex one. Victorian-era Americans clung to their deep Puritan roots well into the 1800s, essentially requiring artists to provide explicit written explanations on how to interpret nude statues in a moral and chaste way. Hiram Powers, keenly aware of the strict social mores of his audience, did just that when he introduced his famous sculpture, “The Greek Slave,” in 1844.
Here you see a bust of the original full-bodied work carved in white marble; this medium, preferred for nude sculptures at the time, disallowed for indecent thoughts and ultimately promoted two female ideas: purity and virginity. An account of Turkish slavery during warfare, the statue also communicates Powers’s powerful feminist and abolitionist ideals during a time when gender inequality still plagued American society.
”Bust of ‘The Greek Slave,’ ” 1846–73, by Hiram Powers
See more of Powers’s work here.
Since we didn’t provide much background (just animation) to our Hiram Powers post this morning, thought you would appreciate this fascinating blurb on Powers from philamuseum. Incidentally, “The Greek Slave” is also featured on that page of photographs that we made our Venus GIF from.
Friday GIFday: the many Venuses (Venusii?) of Hiram Powers.
Selections from: Page of photographs of various works by Hiram Powers and two images of the artist, 186-? / Longworth Powers, photographer. Hiram Powers papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Brilliant design for a bookmobile, especially if you need to throw off predators with a dizzying array of stripes.
Miami-Dade Public Library bookmobile, ca. 1976 / Lowell Nesbitt, photographer. Lowell Nesbitt papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Reblogging for National Bookmobile Day, the crown jewel (at least as far as I’m concerned) of National Library Week.
…I didn’t have an accountant, and I made out my own tax, so they sent for me because it was a joint tax, and I had [husband] Sam down as a loss ‑‑ you know, studio rent … Against my salary I deducted his loss. I was called by the board, and in those days they had three men, august gentleman, all of them sitting there. I brought our checkbook because we always had a joint account and I kept the books. Everything checked off but perfectly … These three men looked me over and then they told me to wait outside … Then they called me in again, and they asked me whether I would like to go out for a drink … I said, ‘No, I have to go back to work.’ They said, ‘You know, everything on the books is right, but we can’t understand how an attractive, young woman like you could be married to a total loss.’ I got so mad. I said, ‘If I’m not complaining, I don’t know why in the hell Uncle Sam should.’ —
Edith Halpert deals with tax scrutiny due to being the principle wage earner in her household. Hope you don’t have to face any panels of august gentlemen passing judgement on your lifestyle today!
Read more about Halpert’s remarkable life as a businesswoman and gallery owner, and listen to a clip of the interview here: Oral history interview with Edith Gregor Halpert, 1962-1963
Check out the new post on our blog about German-born Monuments Man Walter Horn, who did some major investigative work in recovering the crown jewels of the Holy Roman Empire. And, after you finish that, tune in to the Monuments Men Tweetup that we’re co-hosting with the National Gallery today from 12:45-3:00pm EST. Follow along with the hashtag #MonMenTweetup.
Walter Horn’s certificate of naturalization, 1943 June 28. Walter Horn papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
As a public service announcement for Jazz Appreciation Month, we would like to remind you that roosters appreciate a hot trumpet solo just as much as the next guy.
Honoré Sharrer sketches of a trumpeter and a rooster, between 1927 and 2002. Honoré Sharrer papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Happy Birthday to abstract painter Kenneth Noland, who would have turned 90 today (born April 10th, 1924). In his honor, let’s start a dance craze called the “Noland” that involves leaning back and hunching your shoulders in time to the music.
Kenneth Noland in his studio, 1965 / Andre Emmerich, photographer. André Emmerich Gallery records and André Emmerich papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.