Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014!

I kicked off the new year today by visiting the New-York Historical Society, as I suggested I would do in my last post. Their big exhibition has been The Armory Show at 100: Modern Art and Revolution, a celebration of the international modern art show that arguably revolutionized the history of American art itself with the introduction of Cubism and Fauvism to American audiences. The exhibition gave a survey appreciation of the 1913 show by bringing back many of the most famous works that were on exhibit, but I was actually surprised the show wasn't very large. It was an interesting study of the history and impact of the 1913 Armory show, and I did learn a few new things, but the show didn't impress me as I had expected. In contrast, Beauty's Legacy: Gilded Age Portraits in America was much more appealing. Highlighting exquisite grand-manner portraits of wealthy Americans painted from about 1880 to 1920, when the Astors and Vanderbilts ruled New York City's social scene, this exhibition offered interesting ways to consider these portraits as symbols of feminine beauty and masculine virility. One of the stand-out portraits was the one you see here of James Hazen Hyde (1876-1959) painted by the French artist Theobald Cartran (1849-1907). The portrait dates from 1901 when he was 25 years of age, and both his proud, peacock-like stance and hand gestures connect the portrait to a 16th-century work by Bronzino at the Met Museum. Hyde was the chief owner of his father's company, Equitable Life Assurance Society, and soon after this painting was completed he was unjustly accused of a scandalous bungling of the company's assets. He spent the rest of his years as an expatriate living in if that were such a tragedy. (Image source: New-York Historical Society)

bklynbiblio readers know I start off the new year with a blog post; last year's coincided with my 400th post! It's been a quiet holiday season for me this year, giving me time to write and catch up on a few things. I've even redesigned the look of bklynbiblio, since I had not changed it in a couple of years. If you're reading this by email and/or through an RSS feeder, go to to see the new look. I've also activated the mobile version with a slightly different template, so it will read better on iPhones, iPads, etc. And's to another year of blogging, and working toward my 500th post. Happy 2014!

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