Friday, February 20, 2009

pictures at an exhibition

in the early 1980s for three years we lived in a wonderful three-family home on orange street in new haven. the house was wonderful because we shared it with a variety of interesting, creative, and friendly people. we lived on the second floor, on the third floor was a young married couple who had deep roots in the area and they were 'townies' like us. however, the first floor seemed to attract students. when we first moved in a lovely young couple named jenny and karl lived there, but soon they graduated. after jenny and karl left, marty, ruth, and karen moved in.

for a while we stayed in touch with karen and ruth. after ruth graduated she taught in vermont at a progressive boarding school. we visited her which stimulated my longtime (unrequited?) love affair with vermont. however, after a year or two she went to graduate school, completed her ph.d, joined the world of academia and became recognized and accomplished in her field. I haven't had contact with ruth for at least twelve years, I think I dropped the ball when we moved to cleveland. but through the wonders of facebook, yesterday I found her name and sent a 'friend request' - so now it's whether I am accepted or ignored.

after karen graduated she went to new york city. we visited her once or twice when she lived in new york. then as often occurs, life happens and we lost touch with karen. the other day I started wondering about where karen is, I ran across a small slightly curled up photograph of a portrait that she did of em and I when em was around three years old. I can't remember if the painting was done for a class or just because - karen was passionate about painting and still is.

finding the photo, stimulated me to do a google. I discovered that karen is quite accomplished! I don't find this surprising. not only does karen's work stand on its own, I always felt that karen's work is evocative of mary cassatt, an artist whose work I (and many others*) dearly love; because of this association whenever I run across a painting of cassatt I also think of karen. by the way, at one time I did ask karen whatever happened to that portrait of em and I, she said it was sold to somebody who lived somewhere out west. it's funny to think that there is a painting of me and em out there hanging in someone's house or maybe someday being part of a retrospective exhibition on karen....her early years....

emerson, lake and palmer - the sage from their album pictures at an exhibition (1972)


*I have heard mary cassatt referred to as america's most beloved woman artist. hmmmm.....

22 comments:

John Hayes said...

That painting looks wonderful; odd how some times our thoughts drift strongly toward lost friendships....

Loveanewidea said...

When your post first opened on my screen, I thought the image WAS a Mary Cassat!

Colette Amelia said...

Isn't blogging and face book opening up our lives to re-connect with old friends and make new ones fabulous?

Now this is one part of globalism and technology that is a keeper!

I love love love that portrait!

tut-tut said...

Oh, I would have loved to have seen a portrait of you and Em. What a nice eddy of memories in your stream today.

I got a facebook invite . . . but I hear that they have changed the rules so that they own everything on there, even if you fold your membership. So I am conflicted.

An old high school friend recently sent me an e-mail out of the blue; I hadn't seen or heard from hear since 1975! The classes from the 70s combine for one joint (!) reunion and this next one is this August. They're calling is MontStock.

Meri Arnett-Kremian said...

How odd to think that this precious moment of personal history is floating off somewhere else, living with someone who doesn't know its context but took it to heart anyway.

marianne said...

cassatt is who i thought of immediately on seeing the painting. as an artist, i do find it interesting to think about what my work means to the people who choose to live with it. probably not what i felt when i created it in many cases! and on the facebook note- an old colleg friend found me yesterday- even tho i don't have my college info in my profile. this technology thing is amazing! have a great weekend!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

john - I have one friend from college that I really would love to find - she has been mia since we graduated, not only to me but to all our mutual friends. there is no trace of her that any of us can find it's so sad when this happens. of course our lives do seem to be peppered with lost friendships....but happily, with an open heart, one fill the void with new ones.

law - amazing isn't it!

ca - here's to old and NEW friends!

tut - i was suspicious for a long time about fb, but you do have control regarding security settings....good luck making the decision. are you going to go to the reunion? when is montstock? depending on when it is, perhaps we should start working on a blogging convergence - we call call it CatStock

meri - as long as it's hanging a good home I'm happy! it is a weird thought though!!! maybe since it features em and I reading together it will end up someday in a public library's children's department....wouldn't that be amazing!



ca - right on!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

ah marianne - your comment came in while I was writing....the question you raise is most interesting, I wonder if any enterprising art history/psychology graduate student has ever set out to investigate issues that touch on this

as a woman who has always had the same surname, I think for friends I can't find because they changed their name, if they think of me and want to hunt me out, they can find me....

R.L. Bourges said...

the colors on that painting! wonderful.

"townies" - ah yes, ah yes. As if yesterday, I remember The Withering I got from a group of graduate students in Psychology when I caught a logical flaw in the grant application I was translating - and they had written. It was so unacceptable that anyone should have a brain and no degree to prove it. (On the other hand, when visiting my paternal grandmother, anyone with more than a High School degree was well advised to keep their mouth shut. Oh the games people play...)

Great song. Here's to you and your friends, kimy - both new and long-lost.

Baino said...

What a shame you didn't get to retain the portrait, it's lovely. And for all the criticism of Facebook, it certainly is wonderful for connecting with old acquaintances, I hope she adds you as a friend!

Roy said...

Actually, when I saw the painting I thought it was a Bonnard. Mary Cassatt was very much an Impressionist, while this work is much more in the Post-Impressionist style, and very much in the style of Les Nabis: Bonnard, Vuillard, Maurice Denis... This one looks very much like some of Bonnard's studies. You can see what I mean here, here, and here.

I lost touch with most of the people I went to school with,but in 2001 reconnected with my high school graduating class. We scattered to the four winds after graduation, and while some have actually stayed in (or returned to) the area of MD where we all grew up, most now live all over the place. We have a mailing list with Yahoo Grous, but nowadays most of the group is on Facebook. Heh, heh! They're probably the only reason I keep an account there.

Nice to see and hear Greg Lake at his peak. Thanks.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

rlb - humans are always seeking to create barriers and boundaries between groups - us-them

baino - we were only karen's models, there was no expectation of retaining the painting. i would love to see it again...perhaps some day.

roy - stylistically perhaps you are correct. but especially in this painting, the subject (woman and child) is quite cassatt-esque! i love the post-impressionists, have always had a soft spot for bonnard, probably because of his habit of including cats and dogs (and birds) into his paintings!

flawsnall said...

this leaves my speechless...

flawsnall said...

leaves *me* speechless--i hate typos!

willow said...

"Pictures at an Exhibition" always brings to mind Mussorgsky, which my sister played for her senior college piano recital.

Megan said...

How cool is THAT? And how nice that you have a photo of it. Maybe you will get a chance to buy it back someday? Good idea for a short story there, I wonder if it's been done? Probably has.

The majority of my high school class is still in and around the Bay Area (well, there were only 86 of us) and I think I've collected about 20 or so on the Facebook. I like it.

K. said...

I haven't thought about that ELP album in a long time. Having it made me feel totally sophisticated!

Don Parker said...

tut, Facebook reversed that policy this week.

In the past year I've reconnected with a bunch of my old high school classmates ... and my writings and opinions have alienated most of them. So, now I know why I didn't keep in touch. But lots of my college and grad school friends are still dear friends, right, kimy?

Edward Yablonsky said...

The reality of memories and the conversation and friendships like this occur outdie of time, so it seems. I have had friends and conversation associates like these. AT ASU in the 60's at the dorm. Since then new ones. But not the same. Could not relocate them. But they are in my mind.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

flawsnall - i hate tpyos too but they seem to love me. no worries!

willow - off to check out mussorgsky! name doesn't ring a bell... or should i say chord?

megan - i definitely don't think i could afford to buy the painting. knowing it is out there is nice and knowing that tender moment was captured so artfully is particularly sweet! wow, I had a h.s. class with 750 people in it

k - i went through a big elp and moody blues phase....

parker - funny about h.s. friends - i have no regular contact with any friends from h.s. ....a few months ago I finally found where one 'lost' friend was and even got her number; but did a little research; what i learned made me realize that sometimes there is a good reason we lose touch with so folks from our past....

edward - so amazing how many memories and people a mind can house!

Saretta said...

You've had better luck than I have on Facebook!

lettuce said...

thats a fabulous portrait!

I wasn't aware of Mary Cassatt before seeing some of her work at an exhibit. in London (Americans in Paris, 2006 or 2007) - really lovely