hispanic society of america, a good andean music group, and millet
Today was a wonderful day. I made a trip to the Hispanic Society, to see some of the paintings by Sorolla and Velazquez. This museum is somewhat of a secret, in that it is located in an obscure corner of the city, and makes no effort to be trendy, stylish, or sexy. The building has the feeling of a baroque castle which was picked up from the north of Spain by zeppelins, and dropped randomly in the upper island of Manhattan. There are no apps for your iphone to guide you through the collection, no placards to inform, no projection screens showing documentary films on the life of the artists. Instead, it is simple- unobfuscated architecture, and paintings.
I will be teaching a master copy class (I hate the word “Master”, it is too often used), and in this class will be bringing students to the Hispanic Society to copy paintings. Today, I met up with the head of the Education Department at the museum, and strolled about the collection and drew. I found my favorite figure in Sorolla’s painting, The Bread Festival, and immersed myself in a sketch.
Once I was saturated with the brilliant colors of Sorolla, I took a train downtown. On the subway, I encountered a pretty good group, crooning some folk tunes from, I believe, South America. They were very good, I was so impressed. Arriving at the Salmagundi Club on Fifth Avenue, I entered the club library- a quiet oasis of brown leather, dark wood trim, brass busts, and the wonderful smell of old paper. The Salmagundi library is another well kept secret of Manhattan. It is filled with rare, old books on art, books that are typically cut off from from the eyes of mere mortals. In keeping with the club’s universal, democratic vision, the fragile books are available for artists to enjoy. I leafed through one of my favorite books I’ve ever come across, a limited edition, hand bound collection of the lithographic reproductions of the drawings of Millet. It is printed on imperial Japanese paper, and is number 46 of 300! It’s amazing to have access to such a book. This book has had a real influence on me, I’m so moved by the earthy, honest drawings of Millet.