Art and friends. Is there a better formula for lovely times? I think not. Works splendidly for me, since art and friends are two major components of my life. Last Saturday was an occasion of loveliness. Lunch at the Met with my mom, and our friends Damian, Kathi, and Susan. Fabulous day, delightful conversation, and a post-lunch stroll through the museum galleries to top off a perfect afternoon.
At Kathi’s encouragement, we went to the the Charles Engelhard Court to view a work of art that inspires her. It was Harriet Whitney Frishmuth’s sculpture, “The Vine”, and boy was it worth it. Good call, Kathi! This 1924 bronze piece dances, bends, and undulates in the center of the gallery, a spectacular marriage of artistic grace and athleticism. Flaunting the mother of all backbends, the Vine sculpture commands that room. Feminism at its finest Here she is, the gorgeous star of the museum’s American WIng:
I copied the text description because it was an excellent read and provides a brief history of sculptor/dancer collaboration in the 20th century:
In the early twentieth century, sculptures of dancing women were produced in great numbers, inspired in part by the popularity of Isadora Duncan, Loie Fuller, and Anna Pavlova. Frishmuth often turned to dancers for her sculptural themes and employed them to pose for her with musical accompaniment. Shown stretching upward and outward in imitation of a living vine, this lyrical nude balances on tiptoe in the ecstasy of performance, a grapevine suspended in her hands. The first version of the work, a statuette eleven and a quarter inches high, was enormously popular, cast in an edition of 396. In 1923, Frishmuth enlarged the sculpture to monumental scale, using Desha Delteil of the Fokine Ballet as her model.
The Vine girl from the other side:
Desha Delteil was an amazing dancer and model, famous for her work with Frishmuth and her ability to hold unbelievably challenging poses. But I had to break away to offer humble reverence to the great, GREAT muse just a few feet away. The one and only, New York’s own Audrey Munson, hanging on the wall, carved into the Melvin Memorial. Rock on, Audrey:
Still in the American Wing, more dazzling splendor, in the form of glass mosaic by Louis Comfort Tiffany. I took three pictures of this display, left side, center, right side:
The Metropolitan Museum ensures that you are surrounded with beauty at every moment. That includes the lobby, where fresh flower arrangements are displayed every day to greet you when you enter and bid you farewell when you leave. We had sunflowers on Saturday! Somewhere in heaven, Vincent Van Gogh was smiling: