Friday, May 31, 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Hedgerows are thought to have originated some 6,000 years ago. In Scotland, hedges planted in the 18th century are now the tallest and longest on earth -- 98 feet high and a third of a mile long. Amazing. In the U.S., some communities are opposed to tall hedges. A woman in Palo Alto, Calif., was arrested because her xylosma hedge exceeded 2 feet. Ridiculous. With laws like that America will never be a nation of great hedgerows.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The rising wave neer the land

"The rising wave neer the land, the water cover the beach sand" was painted by Anthony De Bernardin, an Italian immigrant who lived in Unity, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh, where he operated a variety store. The store did poorly because De Bernardin was unfriendly, thinking people were trying to steal from him. When De Bernardin died in 1972 he left his miniscule life savings to a female  grocery store clerk (M.F.), who was unaware the older man was obsessed with her. She is depicted in many of his paintings with a child's face and a woman's body. Another odd feature of De Bernardin's art is puzzling phrases such as "Up the deep blue river is no work for the beaver." Seven years after De Bernardin's demise, the Carnegie Institute Museum of Art showed 17 of his paintings, but he remains a relatively unknown artist. Describing De Bernardin's last hours, an old Pittsburgh Press article said police broke into his home after neighbors expressed concern and found him lying next to a mural he had painted showing his mountainous birthplace in Italy, populated with flowers and women.

Monday, May 20, 2013

News boy

Cabinet card from Brookings, South Dakota showing a young man wearing a costume of shredded newspaper. His cap says News Boy. Brookings, the state's fourth largest city, is home to South Dakota State University.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Deco milk bottle door handles

From a dairy business. Brass with the initials LP. Found in Flemington, N.J., 10.25 inches tall.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Linda Hall's trophy room

Artist Linda Hall, who teaches at Florida State University, creates other-worldly animals using old quilts and other materials. Her work will be on display in Atlanta beginning May 17 at the Barbara Archer Gallery group show "4 X 4: Benjamin Jones / Lydia Walls / Linda Hall / Joseph Kurhajec." In the short film Beasts by Hand, Hall talks about her "containers for the spirit," which take taxidermy to another level.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

Surprise Attack Near Harper's Ferry

An 8-foot-wide painting at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Ga., done around 1868 by George Mooney, who served in the Georgia infantry during the Civil War. Surprise Attack Near Harper's Ferry shows Confederate bathers in the Potomac River scrambling as Union soldiers fire on them. One of those bathers was the 20-something Mooney.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Luster Willis death painting

Luster Willis (1913-1990) lived in Mississippi and was one of the artists in the famous show "Black Folk Art in America, 1930-1980," held at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington. The book from that exhibition includes a full-page color image similar to this painting called "Mummie of the Stone Age," done in the 1970s. The "Black Folk Art in America" book, by Jane Livingston and John Beardsley, says Willis "is an innately sophisticated draftsman whose command of his technical medium separates him decisively from many of the more blunt and direct styles associated with 'folk' art. Willis's major works are subtle and diverse in both their subject  and execution as any painting by the most accomplished schooled artists." Willis is quoted in the book as saying, "I used to like to draw a lot of caskets and put imaginary figures in them. I think death is interesting because it's something that, sooner or later, we will all have to meet."

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mother Hatchett's vision

"Sleeping Church, Busy World" was painted by Mother Hatchett in the late 1950s (President Eisenhower is shown). The painting seems to be critical of churches that are not trying to save souls in this sinful world. Mother Hatchett packed in some great images to make her point. She may have been the same Mother Hatchett who served on the Wiseman Board of the Universal Hagar's Spiritual Church  and helped the church grow in Hackensack, N.J., and other places. The second to last photo shows a cutout photo of the artist.