It begs the question, “What is art?”
Boston, San Diego, Austin, New Orleans, Nashville. We all have our favorite artists – painters, musicians, sculptors, architects, poets, composers, writers…. We often surround ourselves with their work. More than just being creative, the art you choose to be part of your life most often resonates with you. It has a subtle dynamic that is inspirational, sometimes comforting, sometimes challenging.
If these people can make their life a work of art, why can’t we?
People often quote the age-old expression, “Ars longa, vita brevis. Most often attributed to Hippocrates” and translated most simply, “Art is long, life is short.” I always add, “…so make your life a work of art by building on these foundations…“
The paintings of three artists – Anthony Toney, Joseph Greenberg, Jean Louis Liberte – were purchased from an old friend in New York City.
Our home in New Orleans: 2008- 2017 Google over (the house with the hole in the roof)
2017. We moved out of 10016 Sauve Oak Lane (River Ridge) New Orleans to Round Rock, abutting-and-north of Austin, Texas.
In our NOLA home the Joseph Emanuel Greenberg painting was prominently displayed at the end of the hallway to the living room. The painting reminded me of my daily commute in 1969 from Manhattan over onto the Willis Avenue bridge, over the Harlem River into the Bronx, and on up the Bruckner Expressway to PS 48x. Greenberg actually captures the school (far right) PS48x, on a Hunts Point bluff seen from his perch in Manhattan.
In Round Rock it was hanging over the piano in the dining room.
Currently, it is over my desk. Greenberg died in 1991 at the age of 75. In the foreground is Harlem River. He catches just a bit of the High Bridge, a footbridge that blocks the view of Washington Heights Bridge and the Alexander Hamilton Bridge (Interstate 95) just prior to the George Washington Bridge. With its unwitting juxtapositions of good and evil, for me this painting rekindles so many early and formative memories of the vibrancy of New York City.
Another picture is the work of Anthony Toney who taught in NYC at the New School. Here his work is hanging over the fireplace (rarely used in New Orleans).
It was also featured quite prominently in the living room of the Round Rock house (just below).
Theoretically, it is George Washington on his mount in Washington Square Park, but there is no sculpture like that in that park. Toney may have been taking some poetic license by using the spirit of the sculpture of Peter the Great in Sennaya Square in St. Petersburg. There is a sculpture of George on a much less lively horse a few blocks away in NYC’s Union Square Park (photo). Also, in Boston Public Gardens, Philadelphia and DC (Washington Circle), the horse is not rearing up in any of them!
The Anthony Toney painting now hangs over our piano. Toney died in 2004 at the age of 91.
A third painting by Jean Louis Liberte who graduated from The Cooper Union in New York City in 1916. It’s in a rough frame over a mirrored chest of drawers in the sitting room of the guest bedroom. Supposedly it is in Provincetown on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Who knows?
Our guest suite in our River Ridge, New Orleans home
The Liberte oil painting made its way to our Round Rock home but not into any pictures. Here it is just below in my office today just opposite the Greenberg painting (over my desk). Both paintings bring me back to the very early days of my youth.
Round Rock, Texas. August 2017- May 2018 As it turned out, the Round Rock home was just a stop along the way to see and experience the capital city of Texas. It is a very special place. Ultimately, however, that house was too big, too suburban, and too far from the “big” airport which is much too deferential to Houston and Dallas. After making this property just as nice as we could, it was opened for public inspection and for sale and an offer was accepted in just over one week.
On the road again. May 2018 to January 2019 Once the house sold, we went to visit the USA and places we may never visit again within this lifetime. Everything went into storage!
Ken Done, Sydney Australia
In 2002, at his studio in Sydney, Ken Done was painting a picture of the Jacaranda Reef, part of the Great Barrier Reef. It became the focus of an episode of our television series, Small Business School. We started and ended that episode with him in action with the actual unfolding of that painting. Of course, Hattie really wanted to buy it as her keepsake!
The New Orleans Informal Dining Room
The painting hanging on the wall on the left is the Jacaranda Reef by Ken Done and the room became known as “The Done Room” in the New Orleans house. It was for less formal family time, especially sharing lunch or dinner with all the children and young adults in our life.
Here’s a bit better view of it in Round Rock house in Texas.
And now, The Done hangs prominently on the living room wall in our Nashville home.
Art from within the family…
More to come…