Sunday, February 03, 2008

Buying a post card

I have to write something here to get my photos properly spaced -- I've just "fixed" sort of the picture of The Horse Fair -- which is to say a detail from the whole big thing. Now, to return to the blog as I wrote it yesterday.

Such a beatiful day -- the sun and blue sky promised yesterday finally arrived. So I decided to walk across the park to the Met. Museum to get a post card. Not just any p.c. but one of Rosa Bonheur's Horse Fair. I tried repeatedly to get a picture of it [my scanner doesn't scan yet] with out a light glare but failed. However, it's not as well known as one might expect so you can get the idea. The reason I wanted it was because when I had brunch with Beth a couple weeks ago we talked of paintings that entered our lives when we were young. She was not familiar with this painting so I'll send the card to her tomorrow.

The story is this. When I was a child in very rural Indiana I had not idea "Art" existed. We had some snapshots, in shoe boxes, and we had on our walls nothing but calendars from funeral homes or insurance companies. I remember Holsteins in a field and covered bridges. But I also remember a calendar with a picture of many big -- realy big! and very spirited horses. It was Rosa Bonheur's Horse Fair. I don't even know if I knew it wasn't a photograph but those horses were so big and unlike anything I had every seen that they stayed in my memory stamping and snorting long after the year was over and the calendar replaced. At some point, in reading about art in my college years I saw a reproduction and recognized it immdiately. Art -- with a capial A!! A few years more and I went to the Met for the first time, going to the Imperssionists first. After going up the grand staircase, turning left and walking up that sloping hallway, at the entrance to the Impressionists there -- first thing I saw. The Horse Fair, huge, powerful. I always stopped to look for a while at those memorable big asses on those horses. Now I know that Rosa Bonheur was a remarkable woman, not nearly as famous as her more docile successors, Mary Cassett, et al. She refused to stick to ladylike mother and child portraits; she, like George Sand, wore trousers when that was shocking and unlike Aurora, Rosa didn't hide behind a pseudonym.

So why a pitcure of a quilt book? Most Sunday walks are both longer and more expensie than one plans. How could I got to the Met's gift shop without looking around? There were some boxes of cards for sale and then, as always, I chcked the sale books and, as almost always, I found a most satisfying bargain. This big book, Quilted Planet, is goregously producted, wonderful pictures of quilts and best of all, if not truly comprehensive, it is a very informed survey of quilting around the world. Europe and North American, as expected, but they have not left out China and Japan, nor, Australia and New Zealand and -- surprise -- they include India, several traditions in Arica and also Central America. All for $14.95. Much more perusing later this evening. What a lovely day!

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