Bohemian Paris: Myth or Fact?

How do you imagine Paris? For the artist in many of us, it is a Bohemian Paris we conjure up and even yearn for. But is Bohemian Paris merely an illusion? What is a Bohemian, anyway? In the popular view, she is someone unconventional, carefree, and usually involved in the arts. A free spirit who…

The Language of Undulating Forms: Iconic Buildings

Undulating forms are beautiful, sensuous, and seductive. You often find them in nature—in the curve of a woman’s body, the outline of a camel’s neck and hump, the motif on a sidewalk mosaic, etc. They appeal to an aesthetic sense in all of us. Artists have been aware of this appeal for a long time.…

Art Against War: Echoes From Guernica

Today is the anniversary of the massacre of civilians in the small town of Guernica. On this day, April 26, 1937, Spanish cubist Pablo Picasso, who was living in Paris, worked on a painting with a familiar theme, the autobiographic subject of a painter and his model. The painting was commissioned by Spain’s Republican government…

Remembrance of Things Polish: The Power of Art

October 2012. I stood in the Bibliothèque Polonaise on the Ile Saint Louis in Paris, looking at the works of Andrzej Kreütz-Majewski. Captivated. Unsettled. His images haunted me and I had to find out more about him. An operatic and theatrical scenery designer, and professor of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Kreütz-Majewski was…

What is Art ? Part 3. Art is: A Tube of Paint. No More, No Less

Art is: A Tube of Paint. On first blush, this makes sense, at least when it comes to painting: Most paintings start with a canvas and a tube (or tubes) of paint. But, before Marcel Duchamp and, perhaps, Russian avant-garde painter Wassily Kandinsky—credited with producing the first abstract paintings—a painting also needed an idea and/or…

A Summer Across the Bay From San Francisco

“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Recall that famous line? No, Mark Twain never said it quite that way. It turns out that’s a misattribution. If, indeed, Mark Twain (Can you ever just say “Twain”? I can’t) uttered something like it, it might have been in reference to Paris.…

Macau’s Portuguese Legacy

Custard tarts and patterned stone pavements. These are the attractions that stood out for me in Macau when I visited it with my husband before China reclaimed it. Both are Portugal’s legacy to China. You may know that Hongkong once belonged to the British. But it’s neither the first nor the only Chinese region occupied…