Monday, February 8, 2010

"made like a Greek statue, super-real"

"Writing to Gertrude Stein in the summer of 1926, he [George Platt Lynes] gave this description of himself: 'Picture me being oh-so-pastoral this summer in the meadows of Connecticut. Here I am completely rural. Sunshine is giving me that well-reputed tan. Surrounded by extraordinarily shaped near-mountains, coveted EARLY AMERICAN furniture, red and white mooley cows, and every known variety of stupidity, I am becoming muscular and disgustingly healthy.' Perhaps the masculine Stein enjoyed this kind of society-girl letter. Somehow one doubts it."

~David Leddick
Intimate Companions

It's funny how you come across things. After finishing the Ballets Russes documentary, I wanted more. Wandering my favorite place, The Providence Public Library, I found a book full of gorgeous photos of the company all shot by George Platt Lynes. I needed more. I found the above biography and am in the middle of an obsession. The art scene of New York in the Great Deprssion/Pre WWII time facinates me, and Platt Lynes was front and center.

ps...Lisa from A Bloomsbury Life (a blog I hold close to my heart) gave me a nod!


Anonymous said...

Do you ever go to the Athenaeum?

Nick Heywood said...

If you haven't already, you MUST read "Magician of the Modern," a biography of Hartford Athenaeum director Chick Austen. He was thick in this whole milieu. You'll love the book.

Steven and I are planning a trip to his Pasteboard Palace this Spring.

DM said...

anon/kelsey? ...not yet! i wanted to go a few weeks ago but completely forgot! maybe this weekend?

Nick...there's a whole chapter on Chick Austen! I believe he was the one created the Paper Ball? That will be my next read for sure. Where is the Pasteboard Palace?

Anonymous said...

If you love PPL (and I do, too, and I hope you know the wonderful Special Collex librarian there, Rick Ring, and here is his blog,, then you must come to the Providence Athenaeum, too. We live in a city of amazing libraries, so hope you will check out yet another, Salon this Friday is by Laurie Brewer, the curator of a tiny but gorgeous show at RISD Museum called Queen of the Insects: the Art of the Butterfly - never has so much beauty and imagination from so many places and centuries been crammed into one tiny room. Anyway, see her show, come hear her talk about its curation at her Salon (from 5 to 7pm), & see if you won't want to make the Athenaeum one of your haunts.

Nick Heywood said...

Ah! That lecture at the Atheneuem sounds too good to miss. I may have to go.

The Pastboard Palace is the house Austen built in Hartford, which I've read about, seem images of and drooled over for years. It's basically all neo-Palladian facade -- a one room deep, 86' long folly, decorated on the first floor with high Baroque and Mannerist boiserie bought in Austria and Venice (dirt cheap, as it was completely out of style at the time), and on the second floor, perhaps the first Bauhaus interiors this side of the Atlantic. Killer, no?

And! He entertained Gertrude Stein, Philip Johnson, Balanchine, Nijinski, and others in the blue-green, velvet upholstered sunken living room. It's too much.

DM said...

It really is too much! I remember in my book them talking about his house, and how it stuck out like a sore thumb in boring Hartford. I had no idea about all the interior details though! Thank you for whetting my appetite!

Scott Fazzini said...

Daniel -The great L.B.G. of fabled Bloomsbury Life has the most pristine taste. A nod from her is quite a compliment, and a well deserved one at that. I foolishly lent my Ballet Russes Documentary to a friends bf about a year ago and never saw it again -I'm sure there is some life lesson to be learned there.

DM said...

LBG, is an honorable lady and I feel ever so indebted to her compliments!